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Armor by John Steakley
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Armor (edition 1984)

by John Steakley

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1,215346,563 (3.84)33
Member:knownever
Title:Armor
Authors:John Steakley
Info:DAW (1984), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Armor by John Steakley

  1. 30
    Old Man's War by John Scalzi (goodiegoodie)
  2. 20
    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (RASinfo)
    RASinfo: Perfect read for the story and ideas of the same theme.
  3. 10
    Redliners by David Drake (TomWaitsTables)
  4. 00
    Death's Head by David Gunn (crazybatcow)
    crazybatcow: Both are military sci-fi with mature themes and a protagonist you might not like but who kicks butt anyway.
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Title: Armor: a spirit that won't die, a man that wants to.

Story Summary:
Felix is a anomaly, in more ways than one. He survives when others do not. Drop after drop he is the only scout that returns for pickup. Some say that he is not human, that no one could survive the carnage that he has been through and not have broken. Other's say that he has a death wish and that he can only play the odds for so long before he succumbs.

What they don't know is that Felix has an ally. A being that seems to live within him that he has named "The Engine". It scares Felix to death. The Engine is cold and methodical. A heartless killing machine that seems to blend perfectly with the custom battle suit that Felix wears on every drop to the hell world known as "Banshee".

Banshee. An anomaly in its self and home to the "Ants". The Ants are the only alien race in humanity's history that attacked the Earth and still exist. The have been pushed back to their homeworld of Banshee where it was thought that it would be simple enough to eradicate them. It didn't work out that way though as Banshee's strange atmosphere and planet compositon prevent the fleet's most advanced weapons from working correctly. So Fleet deciced to do it the old fashioned way: boots on the ground. Except no matter how many Ants are lazered, bombed, poisoned and as a all too common last resort ripped limb from limb there are always more Ants. Fleets answer to this is that there are always more soldiers too. Many soldiers die, as well as uncountable Ants. The Engine lives. Felix survives. The Ant War continues.

Meet Jack Crow. Space pirate, con man, legend and media sensation. He'll leave it to you to figure which two are lies. When we meet Jack for the first time he has gotten himself out of a bit of trouble by being rescued by someone that may be even more trouble. Borglyn is a mutineer that has gotten himself a fleet ship with very little fuel. He needs Jack's help to infiltrate and sabatoge a Fleet Colony that has the fuel that he needs. He offers Jack a handsome sum of credits and his very own barely used shuttle. It doesn't take long for Jack to accept and he is off to the colony bearing a gift for the head of the colony: a strange battle suit that he found on the shuttle.

It doesn't take long for Jack to befriend the head of the colony, a man by the name of Holly. After saving Holly from a lynch mob, mostly caused by Holly's inability to deal with people, Jack gives Holly the suit which he identifies as a rare early model of the Ant War. It doesn't take Holly long to discover that the suit belonged to a solider named Felix. There is a disturbing lack of information on the man, not even a full last name just the letter G.

In order to discover more Holly attempts to read the built in suit recorder but finds that it is damaged. Holly comes up with a way to read the recorder by way of direct neural interface, basically a form Virtual Reality, that will let Holly see what the occupant saw. In order for the experiment to be done safely though the information load needs to be spread among several people, so that one person does not get overloaded by the output.

So to solve the mystery Holly gets his wife, Lya, and Jack to volunteer to experience the contents of the memory recorder with him. They, for all intents and purposes, become Felix during the early days of the Ant War. They will wish they never had. In the record they will find the truth about the Ant War and the final account of a dead man that just would not die.

Conclusion:

I liked this story. For some reason it was one of those books that I had, I just never seemed to be in the mood to read it as the description on the back made it seem interesting but maybe just a little too heavy for a quick Scifi fix. In it's own way it is, but it's also written in away that, in least in my case, had me eagerly flipping the pages to find out what exactly was the real deal with Felix. The thing with this kind of story is that it presents it's ideas in a way that have to be thought about for a while, maybe in the background until something finally clicked and I would go "That's what the author was getting at or meant!"

The characters are will written, even if in the case of the two main characters they are a little vague. I won't go into spoilers but by the end of the story I imagine that most will find that Jack and Felix themselves prefer to stay vague for their own reasons. The rest of the characters that the two come across are pretty well self contained and most end up having a conclusion of some sort by the end.

I recommend this to any one who is looking for a good Scifi adventure that has some ideas it is trying to get across but is not going to bash the reade over the head with them. I also recommend this too anyone that might like to see what the Master Chief (Halo) might be like if he started out in a book instead of a video game. Some of the stuff in here reminds me of what they are trying to do with that character in the novels and the later games. m.a.c ( )
  cahallmxj | Sep 25, 2016 |
I read chapter one, half way through it I realized i no longer had any idea where the book is going. I suspect neither did the author. But I went ahead, got to chapter two and for the first part I thought I was still going to like the book. Half way through the second chapter I realized I no longer have had any clue where the book is going, for a second time.

People say the ending is nice. Well, good, but the middle part is an impassable platitude chasm. I had to stop. ( )
  Alfred.Faltiska | Aug 2, 2016 |
A great military sci-fi book that tries to bring more to the table. There is plenty of blowing up aliens and to superhero-like protagonists. It comes up a bit short, but the attempt to reach some emotional issues is a good effort for this genre, even if it falls a bit flat. ( )
  dougcornelius | Jun 30, 2016 |
FUN. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
3.9
  jim.antares | Nov 12, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Steakleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
You are
What you do
When it counts.

The Masao
Dedication
To my beloved father,
first (and foremost) John William Steakley—
and to Eagle,
first (and foremost) pal,
this book is gratefully dedicated.

Every single day I love them both.
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He drank alone.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0886773687, Mass Market Paperback)

The military sci-fi classic in a striking new package

Felix is an Earth soldier, encased in special body armor designed to withstand Earth's most implacable enemy-a bioengineered, insectoid alien horde. But Felix is also equipped with internal mechanisms that enable him, and his fellow soldiers, to survive battle situations that would destroy a man's mind.

This is a remarkable novel of the horror, the courage, and the aftermath of combat-and how the strength of the human spirit can be the greatest armor of all.



(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The planet was called A-9. The air was unbreathable, the water poisonous. But it had to be conquered, for it was the home world of the most implacable enemies that cosmically expanding humanity had yet encountered.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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