cover image Berserker Fury

Berserker Fury

Fred Saberhagen. Tor Books, $23.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85939-8

The deadly struggle between the human Solarians and the berserkers, robot war machines dedicated to the extermination of organic life, continues in this disappointing entry in Saberhagen's far-future saga of interstellar warfare (Berserker Kill, etc.). Saberhagen interweaves several plot lines here: the cowardice, attempted treason and eventual redemption of Spacer Nifty Gift; the adventures of photographer Jory Yokosuka as she sees combat and uncovers berserker spies; the quest of Spacer Traskeluk, using the exotic weapons built into his body, to wreak vengeance upon Gift; a climactic space battle of human vs. berserker over outpost Fifty-Fifty, which reads like the Battle of Midway transferred directly, even simplistically, into outer space. The Berserker saga, now more than 30 years old, created one of the seminal concepts of military SF, but this volume, marred by flat writing and lackluster characters, is far from state-of-the-art in that genre. Nor is it representative of Saberhagen's best work, which includes his Dracula saga and superior independent works like Dancing Bears. (Aug.)