Man and Machine, edited by Mike McPahil

Man and Machine, edited by Mike McPahil book coverGenre: Military Science Fiction Anthology
Publisher: eSpec Books
Published: 2016
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer: David L. Felts

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Man and Machine, edited by Mike McPhail, is an anthology of 14 military short stories around the theme of replacing men in combat with artificial intelligence and machines.

Table of Contents

  1. Jennifer Brozek, “Inky, Blinky, and Me”
  2. Aaron Rosenberg, “Win or Lose”
  3. Nancy Jane Moore, “Teamwork”
  4. Ronald Garner, “We Are All Marines Today”
  5. Bud Sparhawk, “Turtle and Bird”
  6. Patrick Thomas, “Machine in the Ghost”
  7. Brenda Cooper, “Along the Northern Border”
  8. Robert E. Waters, “The First Peace”
  9. James Chambers, “The Meth Moth of Kraken Mare”
  10. Judi Fleming, “Service Call”
  11. Eric V. Hardenbrook, “Trigger Discipline”
  12. Jeff Young, “Armistice”
  13. Anton Kukal, “Trudy”
  14. Danielle Ackley-McPhail, “Casualties of War”

A few of the stand-out stories for me:

“Teamwork”, about an experience ship’s captain field testing an Artificial Intelligence.

“We Are All Marines Today” in which one soldier learns that Artificial doesn’t necessarily mean uncaring.

In “Machine in the Ghost”, fallen soldiers are resurrected with their consciousness transferred into machine bodies.

“The First Peace” tells a tale of revenge, both human and otherwise.

Two friends go to war, but only one returns in “Trigger Discipline”.

For a fun time, pick up a copy of Man and Machine. Although I only called out the handful above as my favorites, all of the stories are well-done and enjoyable reads. Anyone who enjoys military science fiction in general, and speculations on the future of machines, and machine/human interfacing and machine intelligence specifically, will be thoroughly entertained.

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