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A Boy And His Tank Hardcover – March 1, 1999

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Leo Frankowski, author of the popular Conrad Stargard series, postulates a future in which the former Yugoslavia is still torn by civil war between Serbs and Croats. But now they've taken their endless conflict to space, and wars between minority factions are fought by starving workers symbiotically bonded with Mark XIX Main Battle Tanks. These sentient tanks provide for all their human pilots' needs (and we do mean all their needs).

Our hero, Mickolai Derdowski, is a Polish Kashubian who chooses to be inducted into the Croat branch of the army and bonded with a sexy female tank in lieu of being reduced to his organic components and used as fertilizer in the hydroponic vats. The real forces behind the war are the Tokyo Mining and Manufacturing Company, which makes money off the hapless Kashubians unfortunate enough to have colonized a brutal, barren metallic hunk of a planet, and the Wealthy Nations Group, which squeezes water from turnips all over the galaxy.

Like most military SF, the lighthearted Boy and His Tank is full of guns, girls, and galactic adventure, and Frankowski throws in a surprise ending that will make you either laugh or cry. --Adam Fisher

From Publishers Weekly

Centuries in the future, on the distant and dirt-poor planet of New Kashubia, young Mickolai Derdowski is sentenced to death for getting his girlfriend, Kasia, pregnant. His only alternative is to become a mercenary, a human backup for the artificial intelligence and virtual reality capabilities of a Mark XIX tank. After training in the VR "Dream World" (and falling in love with Agnieshka, the female personality of his tank), Mickolai is sent to fight Serbs on the planet of New Yugoslavia. There he meets Kasia again, persuades a division of Serbian tanks to change sides, undergoes a crash course in military science and winds up a victorious commanding general. But in Agnieshka's VR world, nothing is what it seems, and Mickolai (and the reader) must wait until the end of his mission to discover what has really happened. Filled with coincidences and expository lumps, this novel's action scenes are too short, while its sex scenes are too numerous. Frankowski (Conrad's Quest for Rubber) has done better than this disappointing mix of extravagances and implausibilities.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; First Edition edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671577964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671577964
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,480,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on June 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
New Kashubia is a planet of almost pure wealth. When its star went nova, the lighter elements were blown away leaving a complete planet of molten metal--which then cooled in neat layers. New Kashubia is a miner's delight, an industrialist's best dream, and the worst possible nightmare for any colonists unlucky enough to be sent there. With no oxygen, no hydrogen, no organic chemicals, essentially nothing to support life, the Kashubian population is condemned to slowly starve--while living in their gold-lined caves. When they discover that the industrialists left a vast array of military equipment, the Kashubians see a ray of hope--they can become mercenaries, exchanging their equipment and soldiers for the organics they require. Of course, without enough volunteers, it is tempting to resort to stripping the prisons--hence tank operator Mickolai.
The warring clans of the former Yugoslavia form ideal targets for mercenaries. The Kashubians sell their services to all sides and prepare for a friendly time with plenty of shooting and no casualties. Unfortunately for their plans, the Serbians discover that the divisions they paid for are severely undermanned and take over the largely automated tanks themselves. As a result, the hoped-for cake walk turns into real battle.
Author Leo Frankowski follows the tradition of Robert Heinlein more than that of David Drake with a personal adventure and coming of age story--yet he certainly doesn't neglect the battles. Frankowski's descriptions of the future tanks is a reasonable extrapolation from modern trends, which makes his story more compelling and interesting.
I did think that Mickolai's relationship with Kasia went a little too easily and the romantic conflict between the tank, the boy, and the girl could have been more fully developed, but this is a small quibble. A BOY AND HIS TANK is fun light reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ben Klausner on February 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Frankowski ventures into territory charted by Drake, Laumer, Heinlein, and Saberhagen, and actually comes up with a number of original twists on the theme of space-age armored warfare. But while he does have some novel technical ideas, the story itself dies about a third of the way through and then limps along on Frankowski's folksy narrative style. While this is pleasant, the story would probably have been better as a novella or some such.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book has some flaws, most notably that you don't have any idea until the end that the book might be the first of a series, (if it sells well). It's fun, lighthearted fare, and the author makes some serious points along the way about what might happen when reality and fantasy become indistinguishable. I found it well worth my time, and enjoyed myself along the way.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael F. Maddox on June 21, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a 4-star rating for books in this genre, not 4 stars against my other rated books. That said, this is really good pulp sci-fi. It's a fast read (2 hours or less), with a moving story, interesting premise, and good characters. I thought the ending was a bit bizarre, (and I'm DYING to read the hardcover ending that everyone has so-far panned) and could well be the weakest part of the book, but I didn't mind. It was a nice mental diversion, and probably something I'll re-read on some other summer afternood with nothing to do.
If you enjoyed Alan Cole and Chris Bunch's STEN series, you'll probably like this. It's basically military sci-fi, with plenty of sexual imagery thrown in for good measure. High-tech tanks and other weaponry are well described for the enthusiast, and the action is pretty quick in coming (most of it actually occurs in a virtual environment called the Dream World). The protagonist is a wry, worldly fellow with more-than-average mental skills (a common formula for this genre), and is easy to like. The book lulls a bit toward the end, with a short pick-up and a final let-down. You won't care. Read it; it's not supposed to be high art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book, and I enjoyed it. I have read all of his novels and this is the first that takes place in the distant future on different worlds. Not a bad attempt.
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Format: Paperback
Way too much time devoted into minutiae involving history, war, and conflict. This novel is about a 27 year old man forced into military servitude because he got a girl pregnant on a world with tight population restrictions (that don't really make sense, I mean splitting up the entire population by gender without contact including all the married couples?). His partner is a sophisticated AI computer system in a mark XIX supertank, who takes on avatar of a promiscuous young girl.

I found the story suffered from over-digression and parts of it made no sense (all those tanks lying around...) if I thought about it too much. However if you are guy who likes military fiction it is an okay book. Lots of training and battles without much emotional garbage. Too much made-up alternate history, but you can skip those pages and miss nothing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love to hear about planet formation. Earth, I'm told, is a planet with generous balance of metals, minerals and gasses. What about the less fortunate ones, like New Kashubia? Turn it into a place to dump combative Earthlings. Which leaves the populace few exports except mechanized warriors.
This book relies heavily on computer-savvy youths who circumvent computer security- otherwise it borrows from mercenary stories and mechanized warfare games. It limits interaction to just a couple people and their silicon sidekicks. At 273 pages, it is a novelette strrreeettttched into a book.
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