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Star Soldiers Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2002

287 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two of SFWA Grand Master Norton's earlier novels, Star Guard (1955) and Star Rangers (1953), offered here with minimal textual changes, should be just as enjoyable to the grandchildren if not great-grandchildren of the original readers. In Guard, around A.D. 4000, humans are valued by Central Control as mercenaries, but otherwise are at the bottom of the galactic hierarchy. Kana Karr, a young swordsman investigating the mysterious deaths of some of his comrades, stumbles on a conspiracy that endangers Central Control and the human race alike. Some 4,000 years later in Rangers, the Patrol cruiser Starfire makes its last landing on an unknown but habitable planet. Three of the crew, the Rangers Kartr (human), Fylh (a birdlike Trystian) and Zinga (a reptilian Zacathan), become a sort of Three Musketeers to save the natives from the ruthlessness of other humans. They succeed well enough to eventually receive a shipload of assorted refugees and discover the secret of this "unknown" planet. The language, plot and characterization are somewhat simpler than we are used to today, but the settings come alive as well as anybody's. Moreover, Norton's handling of ethical issues, particularly the uses of telepathy and relations with nonhumans, is quite complex. This is no less remarkable when one considers that she was writing in the days when telepaths were often supermen and aliens usually depicted as BEMs. (Aug.)Miller; Forecasts, May 21) and Leopard in Exile (with Rosemary Edghill; Forecasts, Mar. 26).

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (August 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743435540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743435543
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on January 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
My first encounter with Andre Norton came around age 11 or 12 when I bought "Star Guard," a story loosely based on Xenophon's "Anabasis." It proved a rollicking good yarn. Earthlings had gone to the stars and met with a powerful empire under Central Control. Earthlings being too backward for anything else, they were allowed into the empire as mercenaries. "Star Guard" follows the adventures of a unit of mercenaries sent to serve a usurper on a backwater world. Their boss loses and they have to fight their way to freedom across a hostile world. I read and re-read the story several times, and I still have the old thirty five cent Ace paperback lovingly tucked away on a shelf in my library. "Star Guard" forms half of the book "Star Soldiers."
The other half comes from another novel I read multiple times as a preteenager--"Star Rangers." This book also found its inspiration in a historical incident (or at least a historical legend). During the decline of Rome an Emperor decided to rid himself of a pesky legion. He ordered them to march east; they obeyed; and they marched right off the pages of history. Some 6,000 years after that Emperor's edict, it is repeated by another crumbling civilization. Central Control is losing its grip on its far flung galactic empire. The Star Rangers are somewhat of a nuisance to Central Control, so it sends them off on a fool's errand of exploration. "Star Rangers" chronicles the history of this last mission.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. Allegra on September 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Star Soldiers" is the republication of two old Norton scifi juveniles: "Star Guard" and "Star Rangers." The books have no connection with each other. I still have the old paperback publications of these books which deal with opposite ends of time: man's conquest of the stars and his retreat. It seems to me that everything from the original publication is here.
"Star Guard" is a book that has stuck in my memory from my youth. It featured Norton's patented great action and strong characters. I hadn't read the book for years and expected it would lose something on this rereading. And it did, to some seemed much shorter now. I realized as I retraveled an alien world with the human mercenary troops of the "Star Guard", trapped, abandoned by "Central Control" and dying but always striving, how sophisticated Norton's juvenile's were and are. A happy ending for the hero, yes, but plenty of trial and loss along the way.
I have a slight preference for "Star Guard" over "Star Ranger." The mercenaries of the first book may be taking their lumps but they're considered a "young" race. The humans of "Star Rangers" seem old and tired. Not so much our young heroes but the civilization as a whole which I found rather depressing when I was a kid and still do now. Still the action and great character development is here. It is in "Star Rangers," I believe, in which Norton first writes about the strong human/alien bonds, team work and tolerance which will become signiture features of her later books.
One thing I did notice as I reread these books was the absolute
gender bias in these early books that I was not aware of as a teen.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Louette on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you haven't got the original books, get this copy. Or if you have more than one child, get one for each.
I grew up on Andre Norton books. Her young adult books have
lost none of their relevance to children today, and I raised
my sons on the very same books I read. Yes, the early books have
male characters, probably because it was hard enough for a woman
to get science fiction published then. Heinlein, if you notice,
managed to get away with writing strong female characters.
I was an oddity for a female in those days - refused to read/
couldn't stand the "Sweet Valley High" type stuff that was
published for girls, and Andre Norton's books, even if they
had male characters, at least dealt with problems of growing up
and with struggles to remain honest, honorable. Star Rangers
gave aliens a fair deal and they seemed alien enough to me then,
but also characters I could understand and admire. Took me years
to realize the message I'd absorbed - judge the person by what
they are and how they act, not by what they look like. That
message still needs to be delivered, and this is a great, enjoyable way to deliver it to young people.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Arthur W. Jordin on September 15, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Star Soldiers (2001) is an omnibus edition of two SF novels in the Central Control universe, including Star Guard and Star Rangers. These stories are among the earliest SF works by the author. When Terrans first learned to travel the space lanes, they discovered that the galaxy was already inhabited by many spacegoing species. These aliens were organized into a great confederacy under Central Control.

In Star Guard (1955), Central Control assigned Terrans to a special role that suited their aggressive temperament and also provided a safety valve for other belligerents. The Terrans became mercenaries of the Galaxy. Arch Hordes served on the relatively primitive worlds and Mech Legions served on the relatively advanced worlds. However, even the Mechs weapons were less advanced than those available to the Galactic Patrol. Three hundred years passed before any challenge arose to this system.

In this novel, Kana Karr, newly graduated Arch Swordsman Third Class, comes to Prime to receive his first assignment. Waiting in the hiring hall, he hears rumors of lost legions and refused assignments. Then, a senior Combatant, accompanied by a Galactic Agent, announces that the troubles on Nevers have been fully investigated, with the assistance of Central Control, and certified that the defeat there was due to local problems. Furthermore, rumors concerning this episode are not to be repeated by any of the Corps. Naturally, this stirs up even more rumors.

Shortly thereafter, Karr is offered a position with Yorke's Horde and accepts the assignment.
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