Showing posts from September, 2009

War Stories

[originally published May 2009.] For humans, war remains an inexhaustible subject of storytelling and analysis — such a compelling topic that experts trace the origin of historiography to the Athenian general Thucydides, who wrote The Peloponnesian War nearly 2,500 years ago. The appeal of war stories, whether we read them for elevation or escape, is eternal. Science fiction, like every other genre whose authors have written for economic gain and popular acclaim, has plenty of combat. We'll focus on two novels at opposite ends of the SF timeline: Robert A. Heinlein's Hugo-winning classic, Starship Troopers , and newcomer John Scalzi's Hugo-nominated novel, Old Man's War . From the Halls of Montezuma Although war has proven an eternally engaging subject, its portrayal varies widely. Science fiction authors live in a real world, and unless they're remarkably oblivious, the wars around them shape their imaginations. For the two books I focus on here, we'll look a