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The Two-Space War Hardcover – February 3, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Fun things about this book include many, many references to classic books in science fiction - Tolkien, Weber, Heinlein, Hokas, Asimov just to name a few. There's quite a bit of poetry which adds to the story but which can be easily skipped over if its not your thing. Finally the story really delves into the impact of war on the soldiers who engage in it - what it does to them to kill, how do you train for it, why one person is better at it then another, etc. (my understanding is that this is an area of expertise for one of the authors - Grossman I believe).
Bottom line - definitely worth a read. Its set up to be the beginning of a series so don't expect complete closure at the end of the story.
I am a big JRR Tolkien fan, and quickly realized I was reading a sci-fi meets fantasy story, with JRR Tolkien himself as the "editor".
But it is the masterful way LTC Dave Grossman & Leo Frankowski 'educate' the reader about the warrior spirit and the true nature of warriors - ordinary people who subscribe to a higher code of beliefs, and rise to the occasion - standing firm in the face of danger, when most people would opt to run away from the danger - that makes this book so significant.
The authors have captured the essence of what the true warrior is, and how the rest of "us" can become warriors in our own right. It is this warrior spirit woven throughout the book that I found most inspirational.
I wish to thank Dave Grossman & Leo Frankowski for "educating us" about warriors, and what "we" are really all about, in the oldest form of 'education' -- story telling.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a story is worth many times that "thousand".
Frankly, having read this book will make me look at combat in other books differently. Any author who is interested in learning more about the true stress of combat and what it mean to kill, would do well to read TSW and ponder it. This is the hard stuff.
As a long time fan of science fiction, it's always a treat to "discover" a new author. I will be waiting anxiously for the next installment. I just hope it doesn't take as long as Mr. Frankowski took between his first and second book. I'm older and don't have that kind of patience any more.
If you're familiar with Frankowski's earlier work you will recognize his usual plot - military man with genius-level skills in strategy, tactics and logistics - and a very large dose of blind luck - leads a few good people in defending a society of stupid cows against an immense enemy army, slaughtering them by the thousands in battle after battle.
I will admit that in this type of SF you just have to accept that the good guys will have an endless supply of ammunition, and that no one important will be killed. Hmm, all that gritty realism on so many other points ...
No complaints about the asides and the flip references to our-world writers and trainers. In a more serious novel they might be out of place, but hey, this is space opera.
In several places, it seems that the authors chose a bit of poetry and used it as the plot for the next six pages. A good idea, perhaps, if done less ham-handedly.
And of course readers of both Heinlein and Frankowski will recognize the "piss on golf" theme, which suggests pretty clearly that anyone who plays golf or any other leisure activity is somewhere between a loser and a traitor, because a Real Man would be at the shooting range getting ready for the barbarian invasion. Gosh, that same logic could be applied to reading works of fiction ...
Heinleinesque writers usually work in shots at a government whose representatives would dare to place any kind of limits on what soldiers can do in the field. In this case, the ambassador was a cartoon, so overdone as to be a waste of ink. If the authors were trying to make a point about diplomats etc., they didn't succeed.
Speaking of diplomats and overdrawn cartoon characters, Cuthbert Asquith XVI? Puh-leese. One doesn't make it to a very senior diplomatic post by being such a clod at the most basic levels. Indeed, I wonder if Asquith and Incessant aren't both a tribute to Harry Harrison, because they'd fit right into a "Bill the Galactic Hero" plot.
And yes, I can't blame the authors for mirroring Tolkien, Heinlein, and almost every other writer since the dawn of time in creating an enemy army that is mostly drooling subhumans. I prefer SF with smart opponents.
I look forward to reading someday a book in which the dwarf character isn't the same old Tolkien-Pratchett clone. They really ought to pay Pratchett royalties for the use of Broadax.
Despite all that, I enjoyed most of the book.
Overall - these authors need to decide if they are going to write a rollicking space opera, a thoughtful piece about what it means to be a soldier, a pamphlet on the poetry of warfare, or a lecture on killology. I don't think jamming all four into one plot worked very well.
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