I arrived a bit late to the Baen presentation
at LoneStarCon 3, and by the time I interjected something nice about Baen Books and earned
a free book from the presenter, there wasnt much choice. That is how I came into
possession of this collection of stories and essays, which has one of the strongest
militaristic themes I have ever come across. If essays entitled the Ten Manliest
Firearms are liable to offend you, then this is not the book for you.
Being a collection, its a mixed bunch, even more so than usual;
there is fiction, non-fiction, personal anecdote, humour
and a filk on One Night
in Baghdad that you can pretty well imagine. Its also a mixed bag in terms of
quality. One of the highlights is a story called The Humans Call it Duty which I
found evocative of the tales of animal soldiers Ive being hearing about lately (dogs
are better at finding IEDs than any machine yet developed). Williamsons Freehold
stories were pretty good too. His depiction of warfare seems to me to be some of the most
authentic Ive come across (I read military SF, but I doubt Ill ever write it,
because you really have to have been there).
But some parts of this work simply dont work for me, because
Im not keen on guns, and Im not American. Neither is Williamson, by birth at
any rate, hes as British as I am
but youd never guess.