By Harry Turtledove, Martin H. Greenberg
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Uncluttered by means of the complexities of plot and personality that daunt such a lot of readers of the longer Russian masterpieces, Tolstoy's stories illumine everlasting truths with forceful brevity. whereas encouraged by way of a feeling of non secular walk in the park, their narrative caliber, sophisticated humor, and visionary energy raise them a ways above the typical run of 'religious' literature.
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Major Graaborg put a small pocket amplifier to his lips. “All right, lads,” he said casually, “assume gas masks, radiation shields, all gun squads to weapons. ” He himself blew down the wall with a grenade. Being perhaps the most thoroughly trained soldiers in the universe, the Norron men paused for only one amazed second. Then they cheered, with death and hell in their voices, and crowded at his heels. Little resistance was met until Graaborg had picked up von Brecca’s naval command, the crucial ones, who could sail and fight the ship.
Every time we thought we could begin, there would be war, usually with Kolresh, and the labor and materials would have to go for that. Once, about two centuries back, we did actually get stations established, it was even beginning to warm up a little. Kolresh blasted them off the map. “Norstad was settled eight hundred years ago. For seven of those centuries, we’ve had Kolresh at our throats. ” “My lord, I…I can sympathize,” said Unduma awkwardly. “I am not ignorant of your heroic history. ” jeered Rusch.
A spaceman does not lack courage, but he is a gentleman among warriors. His ship either functions well, keeping him clean and comfortable, or it does not function at all and he dies quickly and mercifully. He fights with machines, at enormous ranges. The ground soldier, muscle in mud, whose ultimate weapon is whetted steel in bare hands, has a different kind of toughness. Two weeks after departure, Graaborg’s wrist chronometer showed a certain hour. He was drilling his men in full combat rig, as he had been doing every “day” in spite of the narrow quarters.
Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century by Harry Turtledove, Martin H. Greenberg