Book Review – War Stories edited by Andrew Liptak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really loved this fantastic collection of short stories. They are well laid out with a set of general themes, covering a wide range of perspectives and points of view.
What first attracted me to this was that there was a short story by Linda Nagata set in the same universe as her The Red: First Light novel. (See my review here) I’d enjoyed that so much that I was keen to read more, hence funding the kickstarter.
Having read it I think I’ll need to go look up some more of those authors and add them to my reading list. Not one of the stories in the collection seemed like it didn’t belong there, and all of them had something novel and engaging about them.
Themes covered were wider than I would have expected as well. From memory these included dealing with the aftermath, deliberate commission of genocide, post-traumatic stress, genetic enhancement of people conscripted, wars fought at a distance with the civilian population at home unaware. Also the last one, which I only read on the way into work this morning was about cyber warfare, which I thought was particularly inspired, because it had a heavy psychological element.
Also many of the stories passed the Bechdel test, there were many female characters (perhaps even a majority of leads, but I haven’t counted) and also a fair number of orientations and preferences on show. A handful of characters were identified as from ethnic minorities, and a fair number of others were ambiguous in that regard. So anyone looking for fiction that represents the population at large (and not purely the white male perspective) might find this worth a look on that respect. Although the excellent quality of the fiction should be enough on its own.
Overall I’d recommend this very highly to anyone that enjoys speculative fiction or military stories.
I’ll be nominating this for next year’s Hugos.