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Rats, Bats & Vats Hardcover – August 29, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Freer (The Forlorn) and Flint (Mother of Demons) join forces in this lighthearted SF offering set on the colony world of Harmony and Reason, which is being invaded by the dreaded, insectoid alien Magh'. Chip, a former sous-chef and "vat"Aa human bred for hard laborAfinds himself trapped behind enemy lines with the rats and bats of the title, genetically engineered animals designed for close-quarters combat, stealth and plenty of off-color wisecrackery. But when Virginia Shaw, a daughter of the yuppie Shareholder class, gets caught behind enemy lines with her alien tutor, and Chip and Co. rescue her, the sexual sparks start to fly. Chip and Ginny recognize that their class hatred is an obstacle to defeating the Magh'; when the two learn to cooperate, everyone soon lends a hand or paw or wing, refurbishing a rusty old farm tractor, on which animal and human careen through Magh' defenses. Although the military SF plot is peppered with its share of Dirty Dozen-esque cliffhangers, the sharpest moments in this giddy entertainment are those where the rodents blithely skewer human mores. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

On the planet HAR (Harmony and Reason), vat-grown humansDalong with genetically enhanced rats and batsDwage a seemingly endless war against the alien Magh' (or Maggots). Coauthors Freer (The Forlorn) and Flint (1632) present a seriocomic epic of military fiction, complete with suicide missions, impossible odds, and an unlikely boy-meets-girl romance. A good choice for hard-core aficionados of blood-and-guts military sf.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Rats, Bats & Vats
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; Original edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067131940X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671319403
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,300,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What do Shakespeare, Irish freedom fighters and wet lettuces all have in common? Nothing? Well until I read this novel I would have agreed. In this case they are just a few of the many ingredients that go to make Rats, Bats and Vats an excellent read.
Drunken, lecherous cyber-intelligent rats with a fondness for shakespearean insults; fanatical cyber-intelligent bats with a penchant for blowing things up; a vat-grown human and an heiress. Not the most likely of comrades. And yet when thrown together under trench warfare conditions, the result is an enthralling mix of realism, pathos, gritty humour and riveting, fast paced action. A most refreshing change.
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By A Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the best science fiction book I've read in a decade. By combining futuristic DNA manipulation with a rollicking good time, Dave Freer has produced a truly great book. The layers of complexity in this story are exceeded only by the unexpected twists and turns. The setting, a colony planet, is beautifully drawn and so realistic it's almost scary. A cloned slave-grunt soldier, the lone human survivor of his platoon, takes on giant maggot aliens in a series of battles that swing between terrifying and hysterically funny. The grunt's companions are genetically engineered bats and rats, which were designed to help fight the human war and seem to be a cross between Mafia rejects and members of a biker gang. A high-ranking, disgruntled officer takes on the whole inept army beaurocracy. The romance between a naïve rich girl and the cynical army grunt adds extra color and hilarity. Even the bad guys turn out to be even badder than the reader expects, forcing the other characters to deal with betrayal and misinformation. The happy ending is satisfactory without being sugary-sweet or predictable. There are just enough ends left loose that the authors could conceivably write a sequal (hopeful hint!). Very highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My husband picked this up after telling me "any random book printed by Baen is good" - and, of course, because it has "rats" in the title . . . He read it and laughed his way through it and insisted that I read it, too, to which I agreed readily enough. I won't recap the story, but I will say it is a hoot and a half! The rats are hedonistic Shakespeareans; the bats are revolutionary Irish; and the vats are hapless humans who are just along for the ride. And, of course, you have the land-owners, who have the money - throw in the evil bugs from outer space and the benevolent aliens who are providing the technology to defeat them (or are they?) and you have a mix that is sure to please anyone who likes military science fiction, space opera, or just plain silliness. HIGHLY recommended!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The world is at war, and humanity is losing, badly. One group of fairly ordinary troops gets trapped behind enemy lines, and fight to survive. Add a kidnapped heiress and her escorts to the proletariat crew.
The result is one of the finest action comedies in fiction.

Recommend for everyone.

It does take a few chapters to get going, but is well worth it.
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Format: Hardcover
'Rats, Bats and Vats' blasts off in a future world forgotten by the rest of the known human universe, the heros, a mixed species cyber-adjusted strikeforce, find themselves inextricably trapped behind enemy lines between a corrupt 'colonial' regime and the forces of great evil. In this case, a hive of multi-morphed arthropod-like aliens. There's a lot of double dealing and the usual sort of 'corporate'shenanigans, combat action, with the obligatory sex, recipes, and romance, but with a real twist in the tail as it turns out regarding the latter!
It's a classic story of "human colonist struggle against aliens" but with a difference. There are a number of sub-plots twisted into the general story as the main plot gallops along. The turns in the story are unexpected, the characters real, and the action fast. It's a good read, I thoroughly enjoyed it (and the authors sense of humour!).
Didn't think much of the recipes though!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not my usual sub-genre -- military sf (sort of, anyway). Boy, am I glad I picked it up. I laughed a lot, the ideas were great, the characters surprisingly interesting (who would have thought I'd like a rat?), and it was really hard to put down once I got into it. In fact, I couldn't. After I was about halfway through, I just put off my life until I was done with the book. Watch for more from these two -- they are good!
Oh -- and if you like a good battle-- you'll like this for that reason as well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This author knows the inept bureaucratic military corrupt political mind & all variations thereof. Also, the rich & powerful, the poor & powerless, & the poor who seem powerless but pack surprises. The high command in this army make Sir Douglas Haig look like a military genius. Fortunately, there are also some good soldiers & heroes. Even when their physical form isn't human. AND it's all zany, fast moving fun with definite touches of Douglas Adams (author of the famous, multi-volume HITCHHIKER's GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE trilogy). The most entertaining book I have read recently.
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Format: Hardcover
This book manages to combine military SF, comedy (both slapstick and wordplay), satire, class wars, cloning, and genetic engineering with a little romance and still come out swinging. These collaborators can really, well, collaborate.
The hero is the sole human survivor of his platoon. Chip is trapped behind enemy lines ("way behind enemy lines" as one chapter title puts it). His compatriots are genetically engineered "rats" and bats. Imagine if Shakespeare's comical secondary characters were forced to spend time in close quarters with rebellious Irish poets, and you get the general idea of the chaos.
Mix with the daughter of a wealthy shareholder, her alien tutor, and her fluffy companion. Add the clashes between a military commander who knows what he's doing and lots and lots of "authority" figures who don't. Shake and stir.
I read this in the e-book edition (which you can purchase through Baen's Webscription program), but I enjoyed it enough that I'd like to buy the paperback when it comes out. It will be worth it for the cover alone.
My only real problem is that I kinda sorta figured out a major surprise a little too early. But I didn't figure out all the implications of that right away.
Anne M. Marble Reviewer, All About Romance
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