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Combat   By: (1917-1983)

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In Mack Reynolds' novel, Combat, readers are immersed in a thought-provoking exploration of war and its impact on society. Set in a futuristic world where wars are fought through gaming arenas, this book challenges conventional ideas of honor, heroism, and the true cost of conflict.

The story follows protagonist Jim Salton, a war veteran turned reporter, on his quest to unravel the mysteries behind the Combat program. As Salton delves deeper into the seemingly harmless amusement, he begins to question whether there is a sinister side to this so-called game.

Reynolds' writing pulls readers into a web of political intrigue and moral ambiguity. His vivid descriptions bring the futuristic landscapes and high-tech battlefields to life, creating a believable and immersive universe. The author's ability to blend action with social commentary is commendable, as he seamlessly moves from adrenaline-fueled combat scenes to thought-provoking discussions on the nature of war.

Through Salton's eyes, Reynolds explores the consequences of war on both the individual and society as a whole. The author raises crucial questions about the implications of using violence as a form of entertainment. Is it possible for horrific acts to be trivialized when turned into mere games? Reynolds raises these ethical dilemmas without offering easy answers, leaving readers to contemplate their own beliefs and values.

Moreover, the characters in Combat are well-developed and multi-dimensional. Salton's transformation from a disillusioned war veteran to an investigative reporter reveals layers of growth and introspection. The relationships Salton forms along the way add depth to the narrative, reminding readers of the importance of human connections amidst the chaos of war.

One aspect that could have been further explored is the world-building. While Reynolds provides enough details to give readers a glimpse into this dystopian future, additional elaboration on the political structure and societal dynamics would have enriched the reading experience.

Overall, Combat is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that forces readers to confront the nature of war and the dangerous line between reality and entertainment. Mack Reynolds' captivating storytelling, compelling characters, and insightful social commentary make this book a must-read for fans of science fiction and those interested in exploring the moral complexities of armed conflict.

First Page:

Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog Science Fact & Fiction October 1960. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.



Illustrated by Schoenherr

An Alien landing on Earth might be readily misled, victimized by a one sided viewpoint. And then again ... it might be the Earthmen who were misled....

Henry Kuran answered a nod here and there, a called out greeting from a desk an aisle removed from the one along which he was progressing, finally made the far end of the room. He knocked at the door and pushed his way through before waiting a response.

There were three desks here. He didn't recognize two of the girls who looked up at his entry. One of them began to say something, but then Betty, whose desk dominated the entry to the inner sanctum, grinned a welcome at him and said, "Hank! How was Peru? We've been expecting you."

"Full of Incas," he grinned back. "Incas, Russkies and Chinks. A poor capitalist conquistador doesn't have a chance. Is the boss inside?"

"He's waiting for you, Hank. See you later... Continue reading book >>

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