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Grimmer Than Hell Hardcover – January 28, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (January 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743435907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743435901
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,402,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As the title suggests, most of the 14 stories (many of which first appeared in "shared universe" theme anthologies) in this collection from military SF master Drake are unrelenting in their depiction of the brutalities of war and its effect on warriors. Two tales stand out: "With the Sword He Must Be Slain," in which a former CIA paramilitary operative now fights for Hell in the Final War and wonders why the opposing forces are just as messed up as his own troops; and "The Tradesmen" (set in S.M. Stirling's "Draka" universe), in which the very ruthlessness of a Draka partisan-hunter leaves her family vulnerable to a terrible irony. In the three long unavailable Jed Lacey stories, set in a near-future where privacy is a crime, Drake examines the price we'd pay both as a society and as individuals if omnipresent cameras recorded our every moment. These stories serve as cautionary tales to those who would trade freedom for security but forget Benjamin Franklin's appraisal of the bargain (i.e., those who do so "end up with neither").
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Fourteen short stories and an introduction make up the latest, highly recommended collection from a leading light of military sf. The first six stories, as much space opera as military sf, constitute Drake's contribution to the shared (by several writers) world series The Fleet, and the final three, featuring future policeman Lacey, recall the contents of Lacey and His Friends (1986). Lacey, like many other early Drake protagonists, has very few friends; in his society, however, most people aren't to be trusted with friendship. Ditto for conditions in the shared-world story "The Tradesmen," from Drakas! (2000), a shared-world opus amassed by S. M. Stirling and set in his Draka universe. Distinctly Drakean single shots include "With the Sword He Must Be Slain," and the introduction puts everything in perspective with a minimum of apologetics, compressing Drake's psychological history since the Vietnam War into a short essay valuable to new and old fans alike. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

The Army took David Drake from Duke Law School and sent him on a motorized tour of Viet Nam and Cambodia with the 11th Cav, the Blackhorse. He learned new skills, saw interesting sights, and met exotic people who hadn't run fast enough to get away.

Dave returned to become Chapel Hill's Assistant Town Attorney and to try to put his life back together through fiction making sense of his Army experiences.

Dave describes war from where he saw it: the loader's hatch of a tank in Cambodia. His military experience, combined with his formal education in history and Latin, has made him one of the foremost writers of realistic action SF and fantasy. His bestselling Hammer's Slammers series is credited with creating the genre of modern Military SF. He often wishes he had a less interesting background.

Dave lives with his family in rural North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael on February 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I would usually read a book like this in one or two sittings, but had to break this one up in daily readings over a week due to the relentlessly "Grimmer Than Hell" tone of the stories. Not that I didn't enjoy the book but just found I enjoyed it better in smaller doses. I mainly know David Drake's work through "The General" series, so it was interesting to see the darker side of his writings. Be sure to read the author's introduction for background on why the stories are so much more cynical than his more recent work.
Although this is a collection of previously printed stories, the only one I had read previously was the Draka story. I especially enjoyed the first set of stories (The Fleet series) and the last set (Lacey series).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on October 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In a series of short stories, author David Drake explores the dark side of war and a dystopic future. Drake is a Viet Nam veteran and that experience gives his stories a gritty realism that shows through even in the more space-opera stories of 'the Fleet.' In his world, battles never go well, the enemy doesn't miss all the time, and commanding generals, admirals, back-room intelligence, and civilian 'suits' don't have a clue what they're asking for.
GRIMMER THAN HELL is an apt title for this set of dark stories. Whether set in the futuristic universe of the Fleet, the monitored and dying world of Lacey, or even the wars of Hell itself, Drake chooses to show humanity at its best and worst--in deadly action.
If you're looking for a light and upbeat read, stay well away from GRIMMER THAN HELL. But in a world where politicians continue to order soldiers into harms way, GRIMMER is a brutal and useful reminder that harms way can be very harmful indeed--not just for the physical violence that warfare brings, but also for the emotional damage done to soldiers and, at a more hidden level, to those sending young warriors into battle. GRIMMER delivers a few enjoyable twists, a couple of intriguing characters in Captain (Major) Kowacs and Jed Lacey. If you're looking for the kind of SF that makes you think, GRIMMER is a great choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Potter on August 13, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you love Drake's "classic" combat science fiction, and you missed one or more of these short stories the first time around; get the book. Each story measures up to the high standards that Drake sets for himself and which his fans have come to expect. You'll love this one, too.

If you do not know Drake's work yet, and "space operas" do not thrill as much as they once did, maybe you should try something stiffer. Drake deserves your attention, and this volume is as good a place to start as any.

Not everyone loves Drake's future nightmare documentaries. If you prefer Drake's softer side (or just plain don't care for hard core "realistic" combat science fiction), you won't find much pleasure here; route your attention elsewhere.
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