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The Compleat Bolo Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2004

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671698796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671698799
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Keith Laumer, in the book "The Compleat Bolo" (ISBN 0-671-69879-6) takes the tank, which was first deployed during World War 1 and uses the advances in technology (computers, armor, and weapons) to develop the most powerful combat vehicle known to man called a Bolo. There are eight stories that describe the evolution of the Bolo. His first story covers a Mark II and Mark III as man begins the first deep space mission and recovery from a war eighty years in the past. Next in the series, he describes how the first self-aware and self-directing Mark XX Bolo enters service with the military during another war. This Bolo, named Denny, scares many of the military brass, because of the potential for the gaint combat machine to attack its own creators. Denny's actions in battle and the results make good reading. Each of the other stories build on the honor and devoted service of these giant creations. This book is well worth the read for any science fiction addict.
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Anyone wishing to become familiar with Keith Laumer's Bolos should start here. It collects many previously published and widely scattered stories into one handy volume, and the writing is terrific. The stories cover many different eras, from the mid-21st century to the far future. A great all-around collection of SF stories, and the perfect starting place for the universe of the Bolos.
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This is a combination of previously released works. The 1976 Bolo was a collection of short stories of the computer-controlled tanks called Bolo. Rogue Bolo is a novel from 1986.

1976 Bolo:

o A Short History of the Bolo Fighting Machines (intro)

o The Night of the Trolls

o Courier (aka The Frozen Planet)

o Field Test

o The Last Command

o A Relic of War

o Combat Unit

Combat Unit, written in 1960, was Laumer's first Bolo story. The Night of the Trolls is from 1968. The Last Command: 1971. A Relic of War: 1972. Field Test: Mar 1976. Don't let the 1990 date of Compleat Bolo fool you, these stories have been out for a while. However, that is not to say they are not worth reading if you haven't read them, They are considered classics and are the originals by Laumer. This is just to let those that follow the Bolo series that they may have already read some or all of these stories.

If you don't already know, the Bolo stories are of computer-controlled, extremely armored and weaponed tanks (think of the tanks in beginning of the movie `The Terminator') that typically act with a strong sense of integrity and honor. In a sense it is like mechanized human engineering since these tanks are programmed with these qualities, but nevertheless the Bolo's are at times, if not always, to be admired for their actions. To be fair to us human beings, it's easier to be a bad-ass when you're surrounded by several tons of steel and quite formidable fire power.

I suppose the Bolo series would fall under the category of Military science fiction, which is considered a contentious issue in the present day Speculative Fiction `cutting-edge' world.
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This is one of my very favorite books. Just reading the chapter titles brings back a flood of emotions. And that's the special part, the emotions engendered by these stories. How can you feel a stab of pain when a tank dies? You'll find out!

Each of these tales depicts a Bolo that is either severely handicapped or hopelessly outnumbered. Most are sentient, although a few stories deal with earlier pre-sentient models. Each story stands on its own and can be read easily without need of prior Bolo knowledge.

At their hearts, they are tales of selflessness, loyalty, and duty. You'll have to keep reminding yourself that the main character is a tank.
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My first Bolo story was "Rogue Bolo", which I read over 20yrs ago, and which got me hooked on Mr Laumer's admirable and self-aware Continental Siege Units.
Artificial intelligence, coupled with irresistable force . . . A noble, multi-PhD-level entity that is not a two-arms, two-legs "classical-style" robot is a suprisingly engaging idea. These beings have 4 sets of treads,2 megaton per second firepower,and armor that can withstand a nuclear explosion 50yds away.

Anyone who has an issue with "military scifi" has an issue with scifi in general. As long as humans are human, there will always be those who will stop at nothing to impose their ideas on everyone else by force, from street thugs all the way to Evil Interstellar Empires. Warp drive and colonization of other star systems is just going to export the same old crap out into a bigger playing field. There is no inherent moral cleansing associated with space travel; it will become just another means to an end, and part of humanity's story out there will be military. The idea of the evil that men do taking place on such a vastly magnified scale is a hideous contemplation that has given any true scifi buff (military or otherwise) a shiver or two. The bad guys have the shortcuts and hyperfocus of evil on their side - the rest of us have the Bolos!
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