After Armageddon: There Will Be War Volume IX
Created by Jerry Pournelle, Edited by John F. Carr
404 pages; $3.99
I really enjoy this series. It has been out of print for a long time, but you can readily find copies in used book stores or on the internet. Four of nine volumes in the series sit on my shelves, and I am always happy when I come across another one. I always manage to find a couple of really good stories in each volume that lead to further enjoyable reading, oftentimes in the novel version of the same story. Volume I featured a short story by Orson Scott Card called Ender's Game. Volume I also introduced me to David Drake's Ranks of Bronze. Volume IV has a chapter from Gordon Dickson's Way of the Pilgrim. In Volume IX, my favorites are The Voice of the Cockroach, by Leslie Fish, and The Contract, by Don Hawthorne.
I already knew Leslie Fish from her folk guitar performances of Rudyard Kipling, but this was the first of any of her fiction I have come across. In The Voice of the Cockroach, a man receives the rare gift of seeing himself as he truly is. The pain and clarity of that moral revelation was so powerful I had to put the book down for a moment, lest I be caught up in his grief and sorrow. The Contract is a historically informed tale of a Russian officer picking up the pieces after the world comes to an end. In a very, very, Russian manner.
There are also short essays in each volume discussing war and politics. It is interesting to look back on them 25 years later and see how their analysis and predictions held up. Alan Brown's essay on Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of Great Powers was still topical. Kennedy correctly predicted the Soviets were falling behind in the Cold War, but Kennedy also spent a lot of time in 1989 pondering how the Japanese could use their wealth to influence world affairs. It turns out mostly by making Hello Kitty branded everything. Kennedy didn't miss the potential of China, he just didn't know whether they could successfully reconcile capitalism with Marxism. Well, now we know.
Go pick one of these volumes up. You should find something you like.