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War Stories from the Future
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Book Discussions > War Stories from the Future edited by August Cole

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 14, 2016 07:29AM) (new)

This is the discussion hub for our discussion of the Short Story anthology...


War Stories from the Future by August Cole War Stories from the Future edited by August Cole

This entire collection is available free free online from the Atlantic Council in epub, mobi or pdf.

Please comment of each individual story in it's own topic in the War Stories from the Future folder (Links to each story's topic in the Table of Content below.) You can use this topic for general discussions of the anthology as a whole or the author.


CONTENT
"From a Remove" by Alec Meden (-->> DISCUSSION)
"Article I, Section 8, Clause 11" by Ken Liu (-->> DISCUSSION)
"A Stopped Clock" by Madeline Ashby (-->> DISCUSSION)
"Big & Noisy" designed by Alex Brady (-->> DISCUSSION)
"A Visit to Weizenbaum" by Jamie Metzl (-->> DISCUSSION)
"ANTFARM" by August Cole (-->> DISCUSSION)
"We Can Win the War, You Must Win the Peace" designed by EG Douglas (-->> DISCUSSION)
"Codename: Delphi" by Linda Nagata (-->> DISCUSSION)
"The Exception That Proves the Rule" by Mathew Burrows (-->> DISCUSSION)
"Coffee, Wi-Fi and the Moon. The unknown story of the greatest cyber war of them all" by Nikolas Katsimpras (-->> DISCUSSION)
"A Need for Heroes" by David Brin (-->> DISCUSSION)
"North Shore Mujahideen" designed by Same Cole (-->> DISCUSSION)
"Another Day of Infamy" by Ashley Henley (-->> DISCUSSION)

(Since the entire collection is available free online in several formats, I haven't bothered looking up free sources for individual stories.)


RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) I thought the anthology was a little uneven. The connections between the stories was pretty loose, not that I consider that a major problem. The quality of the stories was uneven too, which is a bigger problem. Reading the excerpt from David Brin's Earth really made me realize how much polish many of the other stories lacked in comparison. But hey, it was free. For free it wasn't bad at all. I gave it 3 stars.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments "From a Remove" by Alec Meden: Not a bad story. The drama of the action is conveyed without getting too bogged down in jargon. Dialogue needs some work, but I guess people don't read MilSF for dialogue or characters. 3/5.

"Article I, Section 8, Clause 11" by Ken Liu: A good thing that the prologue is attached to this story, because there is no way this doesn't end without a world war breaking out. 2/5.

"A Stopped Clock" by Madeline Ashby: I liked this one quite a bit. Human, compassionate, clever. 4/5.

"A Visit to Weizenbaum" by Jamie Metzl: What was this even about? 1/5.

"ANTFARM" by August Cole: Was the intent here to get the reader to root for the drone swarm? That's where I ended up. And also, maybe wishing it might go after the author for writing entirely in codenames. Also, terrible OPSEC. 1/5.

"Codename: Delphi" by Linda Nagata: couldn't figure out the point of this story while I was reading it. It appears to be a prequel introducing us to characters in the author's books? 1/5.

"The Exception That Proves the Rule" by Mathew Burrows: Hurray for civil rights violations! 1/5.

"Coffee, Wi-Fi and the Moon. The unknown story of the greatest cyber war of them all" by Nikolas Katsimpras: I've not read many "20 minutes into the future" type stories, and this one was interesting satire. 3/5.

"A Need for Heroes" by David Brin: Interesting concepts, doesn't fill me with a desire to read more by David Brin. 2/5.

"Another Day of Infamy" by Ashley Henley: What? 1/5.

MilSF isn't really my thing. Action scenes, militarism and jargon are not what I'm looking for in my stories particularly, so I'm probably not this anthology's intended audience. As Randy said, the stories were pretty uneven. Overall I'd give the whole thing a 2/5.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 15, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Randy wrote: "I thought the anthology was a little uneven...."

It's hard to find a really even anthology. Different authors, different styles, different subjects.

Randy wrote: "Reading the excerpt from David Brin's Earth really made me realize how much polish many of the other stories lacked in comparison. i..."

Brin, Liu, Ashby & Nagata are the established scifi authors in the collection. The rest are more non-fiction military think-tank types (from the Atlantic Council, which sponsored the project.) They're trying to translate their future predictions & policy ideas into a fiction story.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Brendan wrote: "MilSF isn't really my thing...."

Reading this month's Analog Magazine, which, except for a nonfiction article by Lerner, was dreck from cover to cover, helped crystallize why I like military sci-fi (and military fantasy, for that matter.) The authors who write those sub-sub-genre write actual stories, with characters, exposition, plot, conflict, & resolution. Nice straightforward stuff I can wrap my head around.


Brendan (mistershine) | 743 comments What does Analog specialize in? I mostly don't read these sci-fi magazines. My understanding was Analog tends towards the "old-school" of SF.


message 7: by Jennifer (last edited Jul 17, 2016 01:38PM) (new)

Jennifer Povey | 31 comments Analog is pretty much hard school, tech-focused SF written in a more transparent style.

I don't understand G33z3r's reaction, but then, I don't care for milSF for similar reasons to Brendan.

*Disclaimer: I'm an Analog contributor.


message 8: by Tom (new)

Tom Krug (thomas_krug) | 11 comments I'm a milSF fan, so I'll give this a whirl.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Jennifer wrote: "Analog is pretty much hard school, tech-focused SF written in a more transparent style...."

I would agree that was true under Stanley Schmidt's 35 year tenure as editor (1978-2013.) Hard SF, emphasis on space & technology (with the occasional outlier, of course.). I used to say it was the kind of SF Asimov would write, which was ironic given that Asimov's SF Magazine (under editor Sheila Williams) was more literary and not at all like Asimov would write :) (Both Analog & Asimov's are published by Dell Magazines.)

Current Analog editor Trevor Quachri seems to have more Literary aspirations (and I mean that in the worst possible way.) So much so, I now prefer Asimov's to Analog.


message 10: by V.W. (last edited Jul 19, 2016 06:28AM) (new)

V.W. Singer | 253 comments Brendan wrote: ""From a Remove" by Alec Meden: Not a bad story. The drama of the action is conveyed without getting too bogged down in jargon. Dialogue needs some work, but I guess people don't read MilSF for dial..."

I'm a huge fan of MilSF, but not for the jargon or the militarism, which I see as more an artifact of modern, especially US, military. I am also a fan of historical military novels.

What interests me is the tactical and strategic elements of combat as well as how people adapt to technological change as it relates to warfare, and in the case of aliens, totally non-human concepts of warfare.

The human aspect is very important, such as in David Drake's Redliners Redliners by David Drake . In addition you have the moral conflicts that arise in carrying out a vital mission that can save lives, and the possibility of collateral damage or even betrayal of allies, plus the effect of simple human bravery (or the lack of it).


message 11: by RJ - Slayer of Trolls (last edited Jul 20, 2016 09:57AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

RJ - Slayer of Trolls (hawk5391yahoocom) G33z3r wrote: "It's hard to find a really even anthology. Different authors, different styles, different subjects."

Fair enough. Even my favorite anthologies have stories I didn't like much. But in a typical anthology, authors will take a subject - future warfare in this case - and approach it from several different angles. Readers will have their personal favorites in terms of author and approach, and some stories will inevitably feel out of step from the anthology as a whole. But in this case it was the quality of the writing that felt uneven. As you pointed out, there are a few established authors mixed in with a "not ready for prime time" group. That mix just served to highlight the shortcomings of some of the lesser-known writers. David Brin's piece feels head and shoulders above everything else in terms of the ease with which he establishes characters, setting, theme, etc.; the stories from Liu, Ashby and Nagata were all good quality, while the other pieces seemed amateurish with varying degrees of promise. A smaller anthology like this one would be expected to provide a higher level of quality overall than a larger anthology with 30+ stories in which the editor will usually feel pressure to provide more variety and "new voices." The end result felt like someone (August Cole) wrote a publishable piece then decided to pair it with a few stories from established authors along with - let's be honest here - some filler material. It left me wondering if Cole picked some of the "filler" pieces only to make his own story look better in comparison? It's a fair question.

By the way, none of the "tactical jargon" or military terminology threw me off in the least. As a graduate of the Tom Clancy books (regrettably, far past the point where the quality of his published works hit rock bottom and continued to descend) I just accept the awkward cyber-thriller speak as the price of admission.


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