Sunday, November 6, 2016

Warbots 8 - Force of Arms by G. Harry Stine

Force of Arms
by G. Harry Stine
Warbots 8
Pinnacle 1990

In the non-apocalyptic, not very different, future, Chinese, Russian, and Japanese troops fight over the availability of prostitutes in a small coastal town.  Enter the Washington Greys, America's elite force of Warbots.

Warbots are - hell, I still don't know.  The term is used to describe all kinds of remote controlled military equipment, from tanks to bird-shaped spy drones.  They are not cyborgs or exoskeletons or mech-suits like the cover copy implies.  Some are mind-controlled remotely, others are controlled in the field with voice commands.  The guy on the cover there I'm assuming is what they call a "jeep", because we weren't confused enough.  They are larger than people but can move through a house, and that's literally all the description we're given.  That is also the only thing the Jeeps do the entire book - walk through a house.  The lavender loincloth does not come into play.

Love the military but hate violence?  Warbots is the series for you, with exactly one on-page death, by shotgun of all things.  Nothing resembling an action sequence until about 300 pages in, and even then everything happens off page.
"Let's split up.  I'll look for the kidnapped reporter.  Hey, look she's right there!"
"The fighting is all over now.  I killed eight people, by the way."
That's the biggest action scene - less than a page, half of which is describing how a warbot could shoot someone, which it doesn't.

There's another off-page action sequence told in the epilogue, which also wraps up a bunch of romantic angles that didn't exist until then.  Then what fills up more than 350 pages?  Logistics, diplomacy, and jargon-laden dialogue that makes ample use of the eight page glossary at the end.

Lots of female soldiers in the future who seem to only exist for off-page sex and a lovely, patronizing scene of them being left out of a mission because too many "ladies" had been killed.  And in the future, the official military terminology for the Chinese appears to be "Chink", with Mongol being an acceptable substitute.

Army Wives in mirrorshades.

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