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on 12 January 2013
Like most collections this is a mixed bag of military style short SF stories. The two best ones are Jack McDevitt's 'Cryptic' and 'Black to move'. Neither of which are military at all. One concerns a SETI researcher who discovers a possible signal and the other is about an exploration party on a deserted world. Both are worth reading even if you don't get this book. Of the remainder the better ones are those which, although they have a war setting, are not set in any military unit. For example, where a powerful and well armed agent has been sent on a relativistic journey alone to discover who attacked his home-world and exact retribution.

The tales set in units such as platoons, ships or squads do not work very well. It seems to me, in general, that the authors wrote the characters as speaking to each other in staccato orders and being martinets all the time. With only a couple of exceptions, they have taken the concept of military discipline and inappropriately applied it through ignorance. Anyone who has ever worked in those circumstances, or even watched a decent documentary will know that just does not happen. It is the opposite. Conversation and behaviour relaxes, rank drops in importance and the jobs get done. Any staff who behaved as the characters in the stories do would be moved out.
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