Thursday, January 22, 2015
Bolo Rising, by William H. Keith, Jr.
Honestly, aside from changing up what sort of enemy humanity's facing and changing the type of Bolo and their personality, this book isn't terribly different from most of the others that I've read. Some sort of alien menace that threatens to overwhelm humanity. Bolos come in. Bolos help humanity fight alien menace. It becomes a very close thing at several points, with a chance that humanity and the Bolos will be beaten, but more often than not they end up carrying the day. The short stories definitely had more variation, but I think that's simply because there were more of them, allowing a larger sample size. Because of the mechanical nature of the !*!*! you sort of get a justification for some humans being suspicious of the Bolos and whether we can really trust our mechanical protectors, but it doesn't really come to the fore in this book and as always the fears of rogue Bolos proves incredibly unfounded. I kind of wished we learned more about the !*!*! and their motivations, their origins and so on, but it turns out that even they don't exactly know their own motivations and origins. (Although I don't know if that makes for a good character or just lazy writing. It's hard to say)
Aside from the pulp sci-fi tank action nonsense that happens in this book, and most of the other Bolo books, it's really hard to justify them as literature. They're sort of like action schlock movies, but in book form. Pretty to look at and all manner of stupid sorts of fun, but not necessarily great literature. Of course, I happen to really like that sort of thing, and I really hope other people do too, but there's just not a lot of substance otherwise.
In short, "WHEE! GIANT ROBOT TANKS!"