cover image The Good Soldier

The Good Soldier

Nir Yaniv. Shadowpaw, $18.99 trade paper (370p) ISBN 978-1-989398-82-1

In this amiable satire of the gung-ho heroics of military sci-fi, Yaniv (coauthor of The Tel Aviv Dossier) sets a seeming simpleton against an immense empire, and the contest is hardly fair. Joseph Fux, conscript from the recently conquered planet Bohemia IV, is a peddler of dogs and an “idiot, second-class.” Assigned to the frigate UPS Spitz, he makes his way from naval draftee to Mobile Infantry trainee and officer’s orderly, spreading chaos and confusion as he goes, albeit unintentionally, or so his unwavering smile implies. Covering up his contraventions of military discipline leaves the rest of the crew, and even their feared captain, exposed to probable psychological “recycling” by order of the High Command. Yaniv riffs constantly on such sci-fi classics as Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, using subversive gentility to deflect the fierce authority of figures named Berserker and Havock. Failing upward, Fux provides readers an amusing alternative to the usual run of martial marvels and battle-tested warriors. Military SF fans will enjoy this gentle roasting. (Jan.)