Future War edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann
With the exception of Philip K.Dick's "Second Variety", the ten stories here were written after, or in the latter stages of the Vietnam war and it shows with tales of pill popping soldiers in jungle warfare against indigenous populations, cynical government psychological manipulations and war haunted veterans unable ever again to take a normal place in society.
Dating from 1953, "Second Variety" is not just the oldest tale here, by almost two decades, it is also the best and it highights Dick's favouite theme of questioning the reality of what we perceive. The only small problem with its inclusion is that it is so well known that it may not be new to most readers. It is not the only fine tale here. Ian McDonald's "Floating Dogs" is a fascinating tale of a proxy war fought between armies of automated weapons and augmented, computer directed animals who fight with no real concept of the purpose of the war and who thus make almost perfect soldiers.
If you want tales of war on earth, in space or even spread across the dimensions, you can get them all here and there are a lot good stories in this colection. As usual in this series, there are brief biographical and bibliographial notes for each author should the reader feel the need to explore further.
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Seven out of ten.
A good selection of stories.
Dick, Phillip K.: "Second Variety"
Set in a near future war, originally between the East and the West, this story tells of a conflict in which soldiers in the form of self replicating weapons turn on their creators. The last men on Earth face attack from cyborgs which fool them with their human appearance. If this sounds like the movie "Terminator" then perhaps you should join me in wondering why it was the Harlan Ellison got payment from that film and not Phil Dick. Whatever, this is a terrific story and the highlight of the book. 9/10
McDonald , Ian: "Floating Dogs"
Haldeman, Joe: "The Private War of Private Jacob"
Reynolds, Alastair: "Spirey and the Queen"
Daniel, Tony: "A Dry, Quiet War"
Landis, Geofrey A.: "Rovik's War"
McAuley, Paul J.: "Second Skin"
Steele, Allen: "The War Memorial"
Dozois, Gardner: "A Special Kind of Morning"