This book is a disappointment. I was excited about another Bolo book, but this one is all republished stories I’d previously read:
Overall I’m pretty sad that it wasn’t made more clear that this book was entirely reprints.
Created by Keith Laumer and then followed on by many others, this series was very entertaining whilst not being fine literature.
- 1986: The Compleat Bolo by Keith Laumer (includes Bolo, and Rogue Bolo)
- 1990: The Stars Must Wait by Keith Laumer
- 1993: Bolos Book I: Honor of the Regiment by S.M. Stirling, S.N. Lewitt, J. Andrew Keith, Todd Johnson, Mike Resnick, Barry N Malzberg, Christopher Stasheff, Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dickson and David Drake.
- 1994: Bolos Book II: The Unconquerable by S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier, Christopher Stasheff, Karen Wehrstein, Todd Johnson, and William R. Forstchen
- 1995: Bolos Book III: The Triumphant by David Weber and Linda Evans
- 1997: Bolos Book IV: Last Stand by S.M. Stirling, David Weber, William R. Forstchen, Robert Greenberger, William H Keith Jr, Todd Johnson, Steve Perry, John Decamp, Mark Thies, and Linda Evans
- 2001: Bolos Book V: Old Guard by Mark Thies, John Mina, J. Steven York, Dean Wesley Smith and William H. Keith Jr
- 2002: Bolos Book VI: Cold Steel by J. Steven York, Dean Wesley Smith, and Linda Evans
- 1997: Bolo Brigade by William H. Keith Jr
- 1998: Bolo Rising by William H. Keith Jr
- 2002: Bolo Strike by William H. Keith Jr
- 2006: Bolo! by David Weber
- 2005: The Road to Damascus by John Ringo and Linda Evans
- 2007: Old Soldiers by David Weber
- 2010: Their Finest Hour by Keith Laumer, David Weber, Mercedes Lacky, Larry Dickson, Linda Evans, David Drake, and William H. Keith Jr.
Another combat anthology, this time edited by David Drake.
- Or Battle’s Sound (Harry Harrison): already read in Battlefields Beyond Tomorrow and Body Armor: 2000.
- Liberty Port (David Drake): already read in The Complete Hammer’s Slammer’s Volume 1.
- Straw (Gene Wolfe): steam punk mercenaries in a future which is more like the past. A good read.
- Tomb Tapper (James Blish): this one has a nice twist at the end, although I found the underlying premise of the story hard to believe.
- A Relic of War (Keith Laumer): already read in The Compleat Bolo.
- Basic Training (Mark L Van Name): this one is a bit sad. Well, all of the stories in this book are sad, but I find this one a bit harder than others because the main character is about the age of my kids.
- Witch War (Richard Matheson): an interesting little tale which doesn’t end up at all like you expect.
- Transstar (Raymond Banks): I didn’t think this story was all that good when I was reading it the other night, but its the one I kept thinking about for the next day. There are lots of interesting issues raised here — arrogance, response, the cost / benefit of aggression.
- Time Piece (Joe Haldeman): this story is very much like a small summary of The Forever War, which makes it disappointing in a way… The book is better, and this story glosses over many of the issues.
- Clash by Night (Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore): this story is interesting because it prompted a sub-genre all of its own about mercenaries in the future. However, this story is entertaining by not earth shatteringly great.
There is a planet populated by humans which has been isolated for many years. In that time, aliens have come to rule the planet and treat the humans as slaves. Its pretty clear that they need liberating, right? What if you trash the planet in the process? What if they actually have the ability to defend themselves (something you didn’t adequately prepare for)? Pretty standard bolo fare, and fun for all the same reasons as the others. I enjoyed this book, even if I am not a better person for having read it.
In the distant future after the Melconians have done their thing, there is a small pocket of humans and they’re having a bad day. One of things I like about the Bolo books is that their consistent in their overall direction for future human history, and that future is reasonably plausible — its a bit like Asimov’s extended Foundation Series, but written by a bunch of different authors. There must have been a huge coordination effort while producing these books.
This book is pretty standard Bolo fair, which is well written and entertaining. It wont make you a better person, but its a fun read and makes you think.
There seems to be a formula for bolo books — an obsolete bolo or two, and alien invader, a solitary bolo commander, and preferably a management chain which either doesn’t trust bolos, the officer, or preferably both. Its even better if the chain of command is also grossly incompetent. This book has all of those, and I am left feeling that it didn’t really add much to the overall bolo universe. Other books have explored some new aspect of the bolo psyche, or expanded on the history of the concordiat universe in some way, whereas this book didn’t feel like it did any of that.
However, this was an entertaining book, and is reasonably well written. It just wasn’t as ambitious as I’d hoped it would be.
This bolo book is different from the previous ones, in that it heavily focuses on the humans side of the story, instead of the bolo’s inner monologue. I’ve seen reviews online that say this makes it a bad bolo book, but I think that’s unfair. The bolos are critical to the telling of this story, and you do hear from them. More than that, ultimately a point about the relationship between bolos and humans is being made that would be a lot harder to make if the story was told from the bolo side of the fence.
This was a good book and I enjoyed it.