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Sunday, 9 October 2005

Orphanage by: Robert Buettner

Orphanage
Robert Buettner

Aspect Science Fiction, 302p.

ISBN 0060002204
November 2004



“We crabbed shoulder to shoulder down the cargo nets to our landing craft bucking in the Channel, each GI’s bilge –and-sea-soaked boots drenching his buddy below. In that moment I realized that we fight not for flags or against tyrants but for each other. For whatever remains of my life, those barely met strangers who dangled around me will be my only family. Strip away politics and whatever or whenever, war is an orphanage.”
-Anonymous letter fragment, Recovered on Omaha Beach,
Normandy, June 1944.

Orphanage begins with this quote but it began a long time ago. This book is written in homage to Science Fiction Greats Robert A. Heinlien, and Joe Haldeman, who each wrote political commentaries on War set in science fiction stories. Heinlein wrote his original Starship Troopers in 1959, and Haldeman wrote his The Forever War in 1972 and revised it in 1975. Each of these books follows a young man from basic training through to great battles to attempt to save the earth from aliens, as does our story.

Our grunt is Jason Wander, a young man mad at the Universe, his parents were killed in the first meteor impact. After a few run-ins with the law because of anger and lashing out after his loss, he is given the choice to serve prison time or in the military. At some point in his training he goes from being apathetic, to deciding to become a good soldier. His adventure lead him to the moon where he is the first human to encounter the slugs who are trying to wipe out all life on earth, then onto Ganymade where the first major conflict of this war begins. Ganymade is the outpost in our solar system for our alien enemies that we are being bombarded from. During the heroic battle as the force of 10,000 is knocked down to a few hundred, he is promoted time and time again, for succeeding and rising to the occasion. Field promotions are hard earned for they come at the loss of good men and women, and with each promotion you become responsible for more lives. Can he take the pressure, can he save earth, read it and find out.

(First Published in Imprint 2005-09-02 as 'Science fiction goed to battle' and reprnted 2005-09-23 as 'Slugs attempt to wipe out life'.)

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