THERE WILL BE WAR: The ten best stories

This is just my personal list of favorites from Volume I and Volume II. I’m only considering the fiction here, not the essays, articles, or poems.

  1. “Cincinnatus”, Joel Rosenberg, Volume II. This story about a retired, possibly traitorous general brought back for one last command is probably my favorite-ever mil-sf story. As excellent in conception as execution, it has had a distinct influence on the world of Quantum Mortis.
  2. “On the Shadow of a Phosphor Screen”, William F. Wu, Volume II. The series features several stories from this world where wars are settled by professional gamers. It reads like a prophecy of Sega’s Total War series, but has a haunting edge to it that gives it a timeless feel.
  3. “Superiority”, Arthur C. Clarke, Volume II. A clever and amusing exercise in explaining how technological superiority can be a weakness. Particularly interesting if you’ve read van Creveld’s Technology and War. It’s more relevant than the average general would like to think.
  4. “Ender’s Game”, Orson Scott Card, Volume I. “Ender’s Game”. The original novella. Enough said.
  5. “In the Name of the Father”, Edward P. Hughes, Volume II. This is possibly the most light-hearted post-apocalyptic tale ever told. I like the stories of Barley’s Crossing.
  6. “Time Lag”, Poul Anderson, Volume II. A tribute to the significance of female steadfastness in times of war, as well as an illustration of how time and distance factor into the martial equation.
  7. “His Truth Goes Marching On”, Jerry Pournelle, Volume I. As Tom Kratman once called it, “the Spanish civil war in space”. Philosophically deeper than you might think at first.
  8.  “‘Caster” by Eric Vinicoff, Volume II. A little longer than it needs to be, not quite as artfully written as the others, but an inspirational and optimistic war story.
  9. “Ranks of Bronze” by David Drake, Volume I. Drake does Roman legions playing mercenary for aliens. A little short, but it’s a good battle scene.
  10. “Call Him Lord” by Gorden R. Dickson, Volume I. Less about war than the price of leadership. A bit artificial, but it comes to an emotionally powerful close.

As far as the non-fiction goes, while the articles on High Frontier are fascinating for their historical significance, my favorite is “Proud Legions” by T.R. Fehrenbach, which appears in Volume II. In fact, I have to confess that of the nine volumes of THERE WILL BE WAR, Volume II is my favorite. That is the very high bar that Volume X will attempt to clear.