First to Fight

“The Man Who Got Khruschev” by Jim DeFelice is set in the 60s and 90s but has a science fictional feel to it, particularly reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s fiction. A retiring college professor begins to recover his identity as a CIA operative sent to kill Khruschev in retaliation for JFK’s murder.,

S.M. Stirling turns in a surprisingly bad story, “Flyboy”. It’s about industrial espionage aimed at stealing a technology that allows fighter planes to be controlled via thoughts relayed by an implanted chip. Enjoyable but not really fitting in with the collection’s military theme or settings is William C. Deitz’s “The Bodyguard and the Client Who Wouldn’t Die”. It’s hero, Max Maxon from Deitz’s Bodyguard, is charged with the strange task of making sure his client stays dead.

The Turtledove story originally seems to be the simple, harrowing tale of a German soldier fleeing Russian troops on the Eastern Front of WWII. However, it slowly turns into something else, and Turtledove manages the transition without seeming gimmicky. Whether it’s a trip sideways in time or a trip into our future I’m not sure.

With the exception of the Stirling story, all the stories are enjoyable and worth reading. A fair number are memorable.


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