STARFIST: A World of Hurt

David Sherman, Author, Dan Cragg, Author . Del Rey $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-345-46052-3

In Sherman and Cragg's 10th superior military SF novel (after 2003's Starfist: Lazarus Rising ), the long-suffering troops of the 24th Marine Fleet Initial Strike Team (aka FIST) take on their alien nemesis, the malignant, acid-spewing Skinks, on a planet whose colonists have left most of it unexplored. Unbeknownst to the FIST team, a local system government, whose military chief decides that it's immoral to have all these warships and never use them, decides to invade the planet at about the same time. The results are unexpected, to say the least. There are basically two types of military SF: the first realistically depicts the horrors of war, while the second explores (usually affectionately and often in an idealized way) the sociology of the military unit. Most writers in the subgenre do one or the other well, but Sherman and Cragg, both retired career noncommissioned officers, excel at uniting these two approaches. Injecting freshness into a situation that was clichéd even in the days of Hugo Gernsback, they show how training and esprit de corps can overcome the most terrifying encounters. In contrast, the authors treat the stupidity of the book's comic-opera human antagonists with Swiftian invective. You don't have to be a military SF buff to appreciate this entertaining and instructive exercise. Agent, Owen Lock. (Nov. 23)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-345-46053-0
Ebook - 978-0-345-48080-4
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