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Future Wars
Martin H. Greenberg and Larry Segriff
DAW, 317 pages

Future Wars
Martin H. Greenberg
Martin H. Greenberg is the most prolific anthologist in publishing history. He has won the Milford Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction Editing and was Editor Guest of Honour at the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

ISFDB Bibliography
Martin H. Greenberg anthologies - 1st of 4 pages

Larry Segriff
Larry Segriff is the editor of a number of anthologies and the author of The Four Magics and Spacer Dreams.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Silicon Dreams
SF Site Review: Past Imperfect
SF Site Review: Far Frontiers
SF Site Review: Battle Magic

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Ian Nichols

There is something redolent of failure in the title of this anthology, as if it takes for granted that war is so much a part of human nature that it will always be with us. Given current events, this may be correct. Given the massive sales of books which deal with war and the mechanisms of war, they have obviously tapped into a fairly lucrative market. Sad, really.

As far as I can see in Future Wars, the future of war is gadgetry. Even though some of the stories are character-focused, a fascination with gadgets permeates all of them. Indeed, Bill Fawcett's "Ranger" is almost totally focused on the gadgets used to humiliate, rather than assassinate, the enemy leader. He asserts at the end of the story that all the non-lethal equipment used in the story exists right now. He also asserts that the problem with non-lethal weapons is that they can be lethal. Fair enough, but the disclaimer still comes at the end of a story which shows war to be a game, of sorts, where the soldiers involved play tag with the enemy.

This is a problem with quite a few of the other stories, as well, in that they show war as a strangely joyous occupation, which brings people together in some mighty effort, even though this may be at personal cost. The characters have fun fighting and winning. The consequences may sadden them, or cause them to renounce war, or to see the futility of it all, but they still seem to enjoy the abandonment of conscience which the act of fighting brings.

Perhaps the lone exception to the obsession with gadgetry and fighting is Ron Collins's "The Vacation." It explores the reactions of a woman vacationing on a planet where her son had been killed in a battle. Initially, she is prejudiced against the natives, because the human forces had come to support them, and she sees them as causing her son's death. Eventually she becomes reconciled to them, accepting that her son's death had meaning, after all. It's a pleasant little story.

The stories are all entertainingly written, and some, such as William H Keith Jr's "Los Ninos" try to make a moral point regarding war. But it all winds up with the same message: war will be with us always, here on Earth, or in the stars. Sad, really.

Copyright © 2003 Ian Nichols

Ian Nichols is studying for his Masters degree at the University of Western Australia, and is fortunate enough to be studying in the area he most enjoys; Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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