Edited by Geoff Brown and A J Spedding
The publisher approached me prior to the publication of this volume and asked if I’d consider writing the Foreword for it. I said, sure, send it over and I’ll have a look. After reading the book, I was more than happy to write the Foreword. Here, as a review, I’m reprinting that Foreword.
War is hell.
Nothing puts people closer to their base state than a threat to their life. Nothing reveals their animal nature more than the desire for survival at any cost. People trained for war have to deal with these extremes time after time, surviving for a greater purpose. Or at least, one hopes so. Because survival in a personal fight can be selfish, but survival in war might mean the fate of nations, or even species. And pretty much every permutation of that kind of fight for survival is explored in the stories you’re about to read.
Don’t be fooled into thinking an anthology of military horror is just a book full of Platoon or Aliens knock-offs. In these pages, the variety of story you’ll find is staggering.
Historical and imagined, science-fictional and contemporary. Mythos, the Wild West and Special Forces. Great wars, small wars and the American Civil War. Shapeshifters and ghosts and extraterrestrial parasites. Japanese demons and supernatural special agents. Monsters large and small. Battles fought with raging gunfire and earth-shattering explosions and battles fought cold, with paper trails and subterfuge. Battles won and lost in moments and battles that stretch across aeons.
There’s great variety in story style and length too. From very short stories to novella length yarns with lots of meat ready to be stripped off their bones. This book is a fine achievement and a great example of a theme superbly explored.
You’ll enjoy all the approaches here and the great writing from both established names and emerging talents. But no matter the variety, one thing that doesn’t change from tale to tale is the underlying truth evident in every one. Lives are at risk, great stakes are being played but throughout every page we’re never allowed to forget that regardless of the nature of the enemy, the real horror is war itself.
Alan Baxter, NSW Australia, 2014