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A Boy and His Tank
     

A Boy and His Tank

by Leo Frankowski
 

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The planet New Kashubia started out as a gas giant, but when its sun went dupernova, lighter elements were blasted into space. All that was left was a ball of heavy metals, heated to 8,000 degrees. As it colled, tungsten solidified first at the survace, and layers of other metals continued down to a ball of mercury at the center. The sun meanwhile evolved into a

Overview

The planet New Kashubia started out as a gas giant, but when its sun went dupernova, lighter elements were blasted into space. All that was left was a ball of heavy metals, heated to 8,000 degrees. As it colled, tungsten solidified first at the survace, and layers of other metals continued down to a ball of mercury at the center. The sun meanwhile evolved into a pulsar with a deadly beam of radiation that baked the planet's survace. The New Kashubians lived inside the planet, in tunnels drilled in a thousand foot thick layer of solid gold.

Still without carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, or even dirt, the colonists were the poorest people in the universe.

But when they combined virtual reality with tank warfare, giving their warriors symbiosis with their intelligent tanks, neither war nor the galaxy would ever be the same. Not to mention sex...

Editorial Reviews

Starlog
A Boy and His Tank is a literate military adventure laced with political allegory—and a great deal of fun.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Centuries in the future, on the distant and dirt-poor planet of New Kashubia, young Mickolai Derdowski is sentenced to death for getting his girlfriend, Kasia, pregnant. His only alternative is to become a mercenary, a human backup for the artificial intelligence and virtual reality capabilities of a Mark XIX tank. After training in the VR "Dream World" (and falling in love with Agnieshka, the female personality of his tank), Mickolai is sent to fight Serbs on the planet of New Yugoslavia. There he meets Kasia again, persuades a division of Serbian tanks to change sides, undergoes a crash course in military science and winds up a victorious commanding general. But in Agnieshka's VR world, nothing is what it seems, and Mickolai (and the reader) must wait until the end of his mission to discover what has really happened. Filled with coincidences and expository lumps, this novel's action scenes are too short, while its sex scenes are too numerous. Frankowski (Conrad's Quest for Rubber) has done better than this disappointing mix of extravagances and implausibilities.
Carolyn Cushman
...[T]he action is gripping, and there are plenty of novel twists and ironic moments.
Locus
Don D'Ammassa
[A] likable adventure story designed to appeal to general readers as well as those drawn specifically to military science fiction.
Science Fiction Chronicle
Kirkus Reviews
By the 22nd century, the Wealthy Nations Group relieves overpopulation by persuading ethnic or religious minority groups to colonize planets of their own. Poland's Kashubians accept a barren planet of solid metal, which they lease to the Japanese for mining-but then they're forced to inhabit the tunnels excavated by the miners. And since everything has to be imported, the New Kashubians live in economic slavery on starvation diets, with the sexes segregated so the population cannot increase. Finally they nationalize the mines, kick off the Japanese, and discover stockpiles of advanced weapons. Naturally, they grab these and sign mercenary contracts with planet New Yugoslavia, where the usual factions are still itching to start wars. Young Kashubian engineer Mickolai Derdowski, condemned for a trivial offense, is offered either execution or training as the human partner of an intelligent Mark XIX Main Battle Tank; Mickolai's beloved, Kasia, suffers a similar fate. Mickolai's tank calls herself Agnieshka, and communicates directly with his brain through a virtual reality, named Dream World. After training, the two are shipped to New Yugoslavia to fight for the Croats against the Serbs. Mickolai survives numerous campaigns, enjoys plenty of R&R in Dream World, undergoes officer training, wins more battles, and eventually is decanted from his tank-only to learn that all of this has taken place in Dream World. In actuality, he's built an underground road system on New Yugoslavia while both Croats and Serbs have been fed spectacular, soothing lies about huge, bloodthirsty battles.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780671578503
Publisher:
Baen
Publication date:
12/28/2004
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 4.20(h) x 0.77(d)

What People are Saying About This

Gene Wolfe
When I teach science fiction, I use Frankowsi's books as an example of how to do it right.

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