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    Review of GRIMMER THAN HELL by David Drake (see his website)

    BAEN, February 2003

    In a series of short stories, author David Drake (see more reviews of novels by Drake) explores the dark side of war and a dystopic future. Drake is a Viet Nam veteran and that experience gives his stories a gritty realism that shows through even in the more space-opera stories of 'the Fleet.' In his world, battles never go well, the enemy doesn't miss all the time, and commanding generals, admirals, back-room intelligence, and civilian 'suits' don't have a clue what they're asking for.

    GRIMMER THAN HELL is an apt title for this set of dark stories. Whether set in the futuristic universe of the Fleet, the monitored and dying world of Lacey, or even the wars of Hell itself, Drake chooses to show humanity at its best and worst--in deadly action.

    If you're looking for a light and upbeat read, stay well away from GRIMMER THAN HELL. But in a world where politicians continue to order soldiers into harms way, GRIMMER is a brutal and useful reminder that harms way can be very harmful indeed--not just for the physical violence that warfare brings, but also for the emotional damage done to soldiers and, at a more hidden level, to those sending young warriors into battle. GRIMMER delivers a few enjoyable twists, a couple of intriguing characters in Captain (Major) Kowacs and Jed Lacey. If you're looking for the kind of SF that makes you think, GRIMMER is a great choice.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 10/10/03

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