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Re: Lousy Combat Sci-Fi Novels [CLEAN STAMP]

From: Allan Goodall <agoodall@i...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 00:13:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Lousy Combat Sci-Fi Novels [CLEAN STAMP]

On Mon, 26 Jun 2000 08:33:04 -0400, "Rick Rutherford" <>

>I have to agree with Tom here... I just tried to re-read a few combat
>sci-fi novels last month by David Drake and Jerry Pournelle, and I
>found them to be so insipid & dull that I just couldn't finish them.
>I ended up putting them back on the shelf half-read, with a mental
>note to sell them to the local used bookstore.

I haven't gone back and read Drake's books. Sometimes it's best to leave
childhood memories intact. I do remember reading some of his Slammer's
and finding the characters a bit "lacking" (to put it nicely). There was
where this non-com took a deep dislike to the officer character, and
to do everything he could to destroy the character. The officer was such
obvious "ironman" and the NCO a "straw man" that I almost threw the book
across the room. Okay combat scenarios, though.

Niven and Pournelle have never been great at characters. They do
"good guy heroes" but that's an easy thing. Their minor characters have
had problems. The minor characters in "Footfall" and "Legacy of Herot"
(particularly women) drive me round the bend. Of course, sci-fi authors
alone in this. Tom Clancy can't write a half decent female character to

To be honest, very few combat writers can handle characters. They
devolve into cliche and stereotype. 

Allan Goodall
Goodall's Grotto:

"Surprisingly, when you throw two naked women with sex
toys into a living room full of drunken men, things 
always go bad." - Kyle Baker, "You Are Here"

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