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There Will Be War, Volume 10

Recently I wrote a review of Volume 2 of Jerry Pournelle’s “There Will Be War.” The series began in the 1980’s and came to an end in 1990 when the Soviet Union fell. After 9/11/2001, however, it was apparent that Fukuyama was quite wrong about “The End of History.” Notwithstanding the continuance (and increase) in wars around the globe, it took until 2015 for the series to reappear with Volume 10. It was a welcome return.

This collection follows much the same format as the earlier volumes. Fiction alternates with the occasional essay on war and/or military strategy. A few of the stories stood out in my mind. “The Man Who Wasn’t There” by Gregory Benford is an interesting speculation on the future response to Islamic terrorism. Charles W. Shao’s “Seven Kill Tiger” describes a high-tech genocide and the geopolitical circumstances that bring it about. “Battle Station” (Ben Bova) and “Flashpoint Titan” (Cheah Kai Wai) both describe future wars in space in an exciting and realistic way.

The longest piece is Larry Niven’s “Fly By Night.” I’ve always enjoyed Niven’s stories and admired their imaginative premises, but I’d forgotten that his writing can also be challenging. After the terse description of one of his action scenes, I said to myself “What just happened?” and had to read it again. It was still an engaging story, though, with one of Niven’s signature twisty endings.

Normally, I’m not that interested in the essays. Since power politics and secrecy are an intrinsic part of all things military, we can’t be sure how slanted a particular article is, and what the author has (of necessity) left out. However, I was glad to see a piece by William S. Lind, one of the world’s premier military strategists. His piece, “War and Migration” was eerily prescient, as the massive flows of Third World refugees to the West have become a much bigger problem since he wrote it.

The “There Will Be War” series is a must-read for anyone interested in military science fiction. I enjoyed all the stories to varying degrees. Sadly, the great Jerry Pournelle has since passed so I don’t know if there will ever be a Volume 11. Volume 10 is a refreshing update to the Cold War viewpoints of the previous books (judging by the one I’ve read.) I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


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