Bill The Galactic Hero

This book is an interesting read, but for unusual reasons. Its as if Harrison sets out to write a terrible book, and learns new techniques to achieve this terrible along the way. An example of his mastery of the art:

A hundred bucks a month was good money, though, and Bill saved every bit of it. Easy, lazy months rolled by, and he regularly went to meetings and reported regularly to the G.B.I., and on the first of every month he would find his money baked into the egg roll he invariably had for lunch. He kept the greasy bills in a toy rubber cat he found on the rubbish heap, and bit by bit the kitty grew.

It seems to me that this book is so terrible it has to be deliberate, and its good to see that Wikipedia agrees:

Bill, the Galactic Hero is a satirical science fiction novel by Harry Harrison, first published in 1965.

It is a response to Heinlein’s controversially militaristic Starship Troopers. The overall plot is similar, the details rather less so; and Harrison makes the most of an opportunity to spoof the work of other authors including Isaac Asimov, “Doc” Smith, and Joseph Heller. Harrison reports having been approached by a Vietnam veteran who described Bill as “the only book that’s true about the military”.

This book is a study in bad writing, and that’s what makes it great. This book is entertaining, stupid, and funny. You wont to be a better person at the end, but you wont be bored while reading it either. To be clear — I loved this book and its paranoia-like universe.

[isbn: 0743423763;0380003953]