1632 In the year 1632 in northern Germany a reasonable person might conclude that things couldn't get much worse. There was no food. Disease was rampant. For over a decade religious war had ravaged the land and the people. Catholic and Protestant armies marched and countermarched across the northern plains, laying waste the cities and slaughtering everywhere. In many rural areas population plummeted toward zero. Only the aristocrats remained relatively unscathed; for the peasants, death was a mercy.
2000 Things are going OK in Grantville, West Virginia. The mines are working, the buck are plentiful (it's deer season) and everybody attending the wedding of Mike Stearn's sister (including the entire membership of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America, which Mike leads) is having a good time.
THEN, EVERYTHING CHANGED....
When the dust settles, Mike leads a small group of armed miners to find out what's going on. Out past the edge of town Grantville's asphalt road is cut, as with a sword. On the other side, a scene out of Hell; a man nailed to a farmhouse door, his wife and daughter Iying screaming in muck at the center of a ring of attentive men in steel vests. Faced with this, Mike and his friends don't have to ask who to shoot.
At that moment Freedom and Justice, American style, are introduced to the middle of The Thirty Years War.
He Was a Rugged, Hardened Combat Veteran Who Had
Gone to Hell and Back—in Virtual Reality! Now He Had to
Face the Real Thing.. .
The planet New Kashubia started out as a gas giant, but when its sun went supernova, lighter elements were blasted into space. All that was left was a ball of heavy metals, heated to 8,000 degrees. As it cooled, tungsten solidified first at the surface, 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 surface. The New Kashuhians 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...
"When I teach science fiction, I use Frankowski's books as an example of how to do it right." —Gene Wolfe
". . . the action is gripping, and there are plenty of novel twists and ironic moments." —Locus
"A Boy and His Tank is a literate military adventure laced with political allegory—and a great deal of fun." —Starlog
"... a likeable adventure story . . . [with] appeal to general readers as well as those drawn specifically to military SF." —Science Fiction Chronicle
When a human thinks he's Napoleon Bonaparte, it's time to get out a straitjacket. But when a Hoka thinks he's Napoleon Bonaparte, you'd better believe it! Particularly since there'll be hundreds of other Hokas around who know for a fact that they're the French army, mon amis, even if they're on another planet light years away from Earth, and the forces they're facing aren't the British but very nasty warlike aliens who by all reason should be expected to make mincemeat out of the Hokas.
But when it comes to Hokas, reason does not compute.
These friendly, fuzzy aliens who resemble large teddy bears have a very vivid imagination and have never quite grasped the difference between human fiction and reality, or (in the present case), between past history and the much later and rather different present. Always bet on the Hokas. Even when a young lad and his Hoka tutor find themselves stuck on a planet where they seem to be scheduled to fulfill an ancient (and lethal) prophecy that neither of them had ever heard of until now, Hokas as usual find that reality is merely optional and the good guys—and bears—always win, quicker than you can say
". . . the funniest s-f ever written."
-A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction
"You aren't apt to find a more gleeful book of S-F."
—The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
"I'll bet you can't read just one."
—Philadelphia Weekly Press
There are elves out there. And, mostly, they're the good guys. Oh, they drive too fast (they love hot cars] but we'll forgive them that since they also make a habit of rescuing children in peril.
But this time it isn't just the children who are in peril. Jamie's father has joined a fanatical cult that is in contact with a supernatural entity that is ancient, powerful—and unspeakably evil. And Amanda is an abused little girl who has unheard of psychic powers. In her pain, she might lash out and destroy Earth and Faerie both!
"[This] is one of her rollicking action comedies. . . . The comedy is clever, the characters strong. ... As with any book Lackey works on, the principal joy is story; she sweeps you along and never lets you go." —Locus
". . . Lackey's usual sound characterization, brisk pacing, and intelligently detailed world building . . . Lackey remains an undoubted mistress of the well-told tale. . . ." —Booklist
"Romance, action intrigue all blend in a believable fantastic setting. Fans of Lackey and fantasy will be delighted. ..." — Kliatf