Hey Space Cadets, here is the next installment in my book review series. This one is a little different, as it’s a review of a short story that in the Galaxy’s Edge Universe I love. Reading this was my reward to myself for finishing the Super-Duper-Secret novel I was writing this month. Soon I’ll post the top books on my TBR list, in case you want to read along and be able to comment on my review of those books! I’ve also finished Starship Troopers, and I’ll be posting that soon as well! I’ll plan on being more active on my blog in the new year with some exciting news, so stay tuned.
But enough about me, onto the review of what will surely be named as one of the most iconic science fiction universes of all time. Take that George Lucas! Let’s get to it!
Title: Tin Man (Galaxy’s Edge)
Author: Jason Anspach and Nick Cole
Price: Free when you join their newsletter
Obtained: I obtained this story for free, it’s available by signing up for the Galaxy’s Edge newsletter.
Rating: 4/5 Grenades
First, let me say that this story will be harder for me to keep spoiler free, but I’ll try. Unlike my normal book reads, this time the blurb didn’t draw me in. I received this for free because I’m on the Galaxy’s Edge mailing list. I didn’t even read the blurb, I saw the cover and dove right in. If you want to receive your own copy, click the link! In this story, we follow H292, a repurposed warbot, on his last mission. We get to watch his AI mature, showing the heart of a hero as he wades into the battle not to destroy—but to save. Fighting in the wilds of a jungle planet, the Legion fights in brutal combat as Republic marines fly their SLICS from one tragedy to the next. Only the bravery and self-sacrifice of this fully realized machine can turn the tides.
In this short story, there are two main characters; H292 and Captain Reese. Both of these characters were flushed out, more than you’d expect in a story that’s only 60 pages long. There isn’t a lot of growth from Reese, instead of leaving you with a desire to know more about him. When we revisit H292 years later, we find him struggling with the loss of the troops he couldn’t save, humanizing the war machine.
H292: This is a war bot brought back online to fight with his legion brothers, first as a medivac pilot, and then as a one-man army. When space to pull out more wounded troops was needed on the medivac, he volunteers to stay behind. Despite the risks, he was willing to sacrifice his own existence.
Captain Reese: He is a Marine medivac pilot, trying to use his piloting skills to save the lives of the legionnaires fighting against the Doro in the Aachon Valley, an inhospitable landscape
There was a lot of room for growth with these characters, but the limits of a short story didn’t allow for it. In all fairness, this is why I tend not to read shorter fiction. But despite that, I loved these characters and want more of them! Overall, I give this character 5 out of 5 Grenades.
This story was action-packed and kept you turning the pages. I read it in one sitting, and I honestly couldn’t put it down. It was easy to follow and is set before the events of the main series so you could read it as a stand-alone adventure tale. I got even more from it because I’ve read the first three novels in the main series, but it wasn’t required to love this story. Overall, there weren’t any parts of the plot that didn’t work for me. I wanted to know why the legion needs to fight on the planet, instead of bombarding it from orbit, but it is addressed by one of the main characters. While we don’t know the backdrop of this campaign, we know it wasn’t left out as an oversite by the authors. My overall review of this story is definitely slanted towards my preference for longer works, but I give the plot a 4 out of 5 Grenades. If it had had more time to explore all the unanswered questions, I would give it a 5!
This is a standalone short story and told the story of a war bot and a marine medivac pilot. While the scope of the plot was limited, the world was very flushed out. The setting struck me as an analog for the conflict in Vietnam, but not in the trite way we often find in literature. This story works within the scope of the larger world, but it doesn’t stand in the shadow of it either. This story stands alone, a fully realized universe in its own right. The authors balanced the micro with the macro for this world creation and did it well. They put together a compelling landscape, which served as a backdrop for this story. I give the world building 5 out of 5 Grenades.
The descriptions for this story were compelling enough to keep you reading, though limited by the scope of the adventure. I believe I was able to envision it very well, despite this because I have read the main series. I loved the chaos they described in the jungles and could envision the Doro, or Dobies, that the Legion was fighting. It was also fun seeing this world through the eyes of supporting services and machines, instead of only via the buckets of a legionnaire. I give Anspach/Cole 5 out of 5 Grenades in this category!
I loved this story, and the only complaint I had was that it was too short. There wasn’t enough of these characters, and I wanted more. I’ve become addicted to my #leejcrack, and I need more! This was the equivalent of going to the bar, and being served near-beer instead. It was good, but what a tease! The story was action-packed, with plenty of visceral combat scenes to love but it could’ve been the next big thing if they’d kept going! They got the military vibe down, and the chaos of combat. I was honestly surprised when I heard that Nick Cole’s time in the Army didn’t include combat. He faked it well, and the audience benefits from that ability with a glimpse into the lives of our combat veterans. He got the tactics down, at least you assume he did since we saw a narrow view of the action, instead of the bigger picture. He addressed the one glaring issue, so I’m satisfied that it was a plot decision and not an oversight. And in case you were unclear, I judge the tactics on how they fit in the world the author created, and nothing else. Again, my one complaint was that I wanted more! I wanted this story to be longer, and to find out what happened to them all. I definitely recommend that you join the mailing list and check out this mini-thriller! It’s worth your time, and I say that knowing how precious that commodity is. I give this a solid 4 out of 5 Grenades!
Until next time, stay frosty and don’t forget to keep your powder dry!
–> As usual, all images came from the Google’s “labeled for reuse” section or are used on the Fair Use Doctrine.