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
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.