With my bagel overlords here at SF Signal doing a some Military SF podcasts over the past few weeks, as well an interview with Joe Haldeman, I figured now would be a great time to highlight a very recent example of the sub-genre, and a superb example at that. T.C. McCarthy’s SUBTERRENE WAR trilogy is a fascinating trilogy for many reasons. For starters, T.C. takes a smart step back. That is, much of Military SF is set in space in the far and distant future (Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet, David Weber’s Honor Harrington, even Heinlein’s Starship Troopers for that matter). While McCarthy’s series is indeed set in the future, the future might be best described as Twenty Minutes into the Future, and is firmly entrenched here on Earth.
While I haven’t read every Military SF novel out on the shelves, I’ve read my fair share and nothing I’ve read in the subgenre feels so filthy, dirty and uncomfortable as do these books by McCarthy. McCarthy is, after all, telling a story of war and nothing is spared – the death, the blood, the sickness, even the pure discomfort of having what is essentially power armor which includes a system to get rid of personal waste – there’s the rawness, and that is merely one fraction of it. Some people may consider disjointed a negative comment, but here, the disjointed feeling of the narrative is, I gather, completely intentional on McCarthy’s part.
On to the three books which comprise this brilliant, intense and grimy trilogy…
Read the rest of this entry