I bought this book because it’s in the sidebar at Bayou Renaissance Man because he, the BRM, has a story in it.
It is a collection of military sci fi stories set in the Kratmanoverse, where the UN has settled undesirables on a planet called Terra Nova; the colonies are created by nation/ethnicity in different places, so they sometimes come into conflict (Muslim wars of conquest) but mostly the colonists resist the United Nations who runs the colonies corruptly. The colonists are not supposed to be armed, and they live near sustenance level in many cases, as technology is too expensive to import to the colony–and the UN wants to keep it restricted.
So even though the macro story has been decided elsewhere (in the novels in the series), the setting provides a fertile ground for smaller short stories in the millieu. We get murders and factionalism on a multi-year colony ship; we get a cleric who helps a fishing colony escape Muslim raiders; we get a helicopter pilot who defects; we get black mercenaries who come to help pacify an Asian province but come to sympathize with their fellow colonists; we get a couple of hackers who help a drug lord break UN smugglers’ hold on him; and more. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of room between the broad strokes of the novel series for interesting stories. It’s a little like how I was introduced to Dragonlance in the old days, although the collections of short stores I got my hands on mainly still focused on the main characters of the stories, and these stories likely deal with people who don’t show up in the Big Picture at all. Although I cannot say that for sure.
So the stories have different perspectives, styles, and themes, but they share a certain realistic outlook as to human nature and societies. It is a Baen book, after all, and if you’ve read any of the author’s blogs, you’d know they’ve got their heads on straight.
I wanted to read something in the military sci fi genre since I’ve got a military sci fi novel started around here somewhere. So it was research, and a pleasure.
I did not flag a lot of things, but I did mark this one:
“I was entirely comfortable with his questioning,” retorted Champlain. “I rather obkect to the murder of noncombatants. Sir.”
His last syllable rhymed perfectly with “curr.”
C’mon, man, that’s right out of the Marcinko.
So, as I said, I liked it, which is good, since I paid full price for it. I’ll even think about getting some of the other modern military sci fi as I mess around with it myself. Maybe some Kloos, maybe some Kratman. Or maybe I should just read the Ringo and Drake and other books I already have on my shelves. What a novel idea that is!
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