How Much Math Does It Take To Be A Machinisy MilSF At Its Best!

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MilSF At Its Best!

Where can you go to find the best of the best in MilSF? For great MilSF short stories from today’s leading authors, look no further than the anthology So It Begins (book two in the Defending the Future series) edited by Mike McPhail, who happens to have an entry in this col· lesson, the inimitable. and very cool offering “Cling Peaches”. There are sixteen stories in the anthology, including the superlative “Surrender Or Die,” a bonus story by David Sherman, written by fifteen authors. Charles E. Gannon has two stories in So It Begins (as I’ll call the anthology from here on out through this review), both very good, “Recidivism,” which opens the book, and “To Spec.” One of the features I really like about the anthology is that there is a section called Author Biography at the end of the book, before the bonus content story, so you can read about the authors and what they have written and learn more about them. if you don’t know them.

I can’t really go into depth and give a detailed analysis of each of the short stories unless I make this prohibitively long review, but I really enjoyed reading each of the MilSF stories in the anthology, so I’ll mention at least one a little bit. ‘some of the stories, to give you a taste of the literary feast in store when you read this collection. I’ve already briefly mentioned four of them, and in just one paragraph, so I’m pretty good…except for this expository paragraph, anyway. But, there are “brief” mentions of tales, and then there are brief mentions, which mean nothing, except that I’ll go back to the four I’ve already mentioned, write a few more sentences about each, and then cover a few of the other tales .

MilSF novels and stories with lots of blood, guts, and action are crazy, and I generally rank the ones with tons of those three elements as my favorites. But, I like a good story that zigzags when you think it should zag, or also funny or quirky. This is why “Cling Peaches” is one of my favorite stories in the anthology. The title alone made me wonder what it might be about and made me want to read it. Then the search by the two main characters of the story, chief engineer William Donovich and a technician named Patterson for an alien stowaway who likes peaches in thick syrup, was tense and at times humorous and it held my attention enthralled throughout its journey. the whole

Charles E. Gannon’s two short stories were also impressive. “Recidivism,” is a gem about Dan, “a data entry clerk with no reasonable hope of advancement,” who in his PhD proposal dared to suggest that aliens might one day try to take over the their planet and possibly even sterilize its inhabitants, should they not cooperate peacefully. No one believes him, until one day… “To Spec,” Gannon’s second story, is about a soldier in the ExoAtmospheric Corps who keeps a big secret without knowing what it is, and has been devoured by curious to find out what it is. is that he is risking his life. He starts putting two and two together, and… well, math was never my strong suit, but I know that in this case, “two and two” add up to a great story in one of many ways which could potentially spell Doomsday: CME, or: “A Coronal Mass Ejection.”

David Sherman is another leading MilSF author today. He also writes MilFantasy novels, such as his brilliant DemonTech series. “Surrender Or Die”, is a DemonTech adventure in which a land called “The Easterlies” is under invasion by the dreaded Jokapkul people, whose ships have been “locked in Handor Bay”. If you’re not familiar with the concept of exactly what “DemonTech” means, it’s that various types of trained demons are used for war purposes, such as powering weapons. Some are used to heal people, or to make them invisible. An example of this in “Surrender Or Die”, is an imbaluris, about “the size of a large owl”, which is “used as a messenger”. “Surrender Or Die” is a great addition to the DemonTech canon.

“The Last Report of Unit Twenty-Two,” by John C. Wright is the second story in the anthology. Wright is the husband of another fantastic author, L. Jagi Lamplighter (Wright). They both write fantastic fantasy and MilSF work that I highly recommend. Unit twenty-two is a sentient robot whose job is to mine ore from asteroids. He has a very human brain, and even though he’s been compulsively mining ore for years, he spends his time picking up ad transmissions that there’s more to life than mining. Unit Twenty-Two wants to somehow travel to Earth and spend the rest of its days there; for him, it would be like heaven. How he gets there and what happens to him when he does is a great addition to this anthology.

James Daniel Ross is the well-known author of the Radiation Angels series of books, and “The Nature of Mercy” is from the Chronicles of the Radiation Angels. I liked it from its vivid opening line: “It was as cold as seven dead men, buried deep and long.” At first, I thought it was a story about a father taking his son on a hunting trip to the planet Ozmandius in the dead of winter, a sort of “coming of age” story. What he became is something else; is the story of a boy who definitely has to grow up too fast, and his father, who tries to reach a reinforced bunker with his son to finally confront the robots who have acquired religion and grown old . Testament on the entire human population of Ozmandius. Humans programmed them to be sinless, but unfortunately they also have no sense of mercy. Great story; I would definitely like to read more from Ross in the future.

I have to mention the short story “Clean Sweeps” by Jonathan Maberry, besides being a good story, for those who may not have heard of Maberry, he is the author of the fantastic zombie novel Patient Zero, and a great novel that I reviewed elsewhere. , The Dragon Factory, about DNA manipulation, mad scientists, and doomsday diseases being unleashed on the world in an effort to genetically cleanse the world. Good stuff… “Clean Sweeps,” illustrates that the media and the military don’t always mix well, like oil and water in that regard. Or, indeed, they mix too well sometimes, but sometimes at a high cost in human lives.

The narrator is a sergeant in Free Ops and has a reporter (Tennet) embedded in his unit. They are on a raid on a factory that has allegedly been illegally manufacturing and selling weapons to space pirates. The thing is they got the information wrong and the people working in the factory are civilians and they don’t make illegal weapons. The whole operation has been set up by people above the narrator, for publicity, and the report fails to mention that the factory was actually legitimate, manned by civilians.

I’ll briefly say a couple of things about two more stories in the anthology, “First Line,” by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail’s wife and a very talented author; and “Everything’s Better With Monkeys,” by CJ Henderson, author of the Piers Knight series of novels, including Brooklyn Knight and Central Park Knight. “First Line,” is a short story of devotion taken to the extreme, by Lt. Sheila “Trey” Tremaine, “an officer assigned to the 428th Special Operations Unit, MOS: Demolition Specialist.” When an enemy round knocks her down and “kills” her, she agrees at the last minute to have her memories implanted in a mechanical demolition drive. He is told that if he agrees, his experience and training will thus be passed on, and although he will lose knowledge of his personality, he can still make a contribution. But, she doesn’t forget her past life and who she is…

“Everything’s Better With Monkeys,” is a lighthearted, clean tale that’s also one of my favorites in a collection of really great stories. CJ wrote a short story, “Shore Leave”, in the first Defending the Future anthology, Breach the Hull, featuring the same two main characters, Gunner Rockland Vespucci (Rocky) and Machinist First Officer Li Qui Kon ( Noodles). Service aboard the Roosevelt, and in general, inadvertently manages to screw things up and get into trouble. In this short story, however, they discover how to reach globular aliens from a distant planet who, four hundred years in the future, communicate through song and dance. Well, Noodles does, Rocky is pretty pitiful in both, but they manage to save the day in a very funny story.

So It Begins is a must read for anyone who loves MilSF. The short stories I haven’t mentioned, “War Movies,” by James Chambers; “Junked,” by Andy Remic; “Sergeant-at-Arms,” ​​by Jeffrey Lyman; “Grendel,” by Jack Campbell; “The Glass Box,” by Bud Sparhawk; and last but not least Tony Ruggiero’s “Looking For a Good Time” are also amazing, and I apologize to the authors for not mentioning them in more detail here, but I’m afraid I’m already writing a review quite long . The fact that I haven’t covered them in more depth is no reflection on their overall excellent quality – there’s no swagger to So It Begins, making it difficult to do justice to the anthology as a whole. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves SF, especially MilSF.

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