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Dogfight—1973   By: (1917-1983)

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In Dogfight—1973, Mack Reynolds delivers an intriguing and thought-provoking science fiction tale set in a dystopian future. The story transports readers to the year 1973, where a grim global conflict rages on and humanity teeters on the brink of self-annihilation.

Reynolds' writing style captivates from the first page, effortlessly immersing readers in a gritty world where an oppressive world government maintains control. The author's meticulous attention to detail and descriptive prowess create a vivid backdrop, enabling readers to visualize the claustrophobic metropolis and the constant tension that permeates the air.

The protagonist, assigned the pseudonym Jerry Warrender, is a military pilot forced into the harrowing world of dogfights. As he tries to navigate this treacherous field, Reynolds artfully explores the psychological toll that war takes on the human spirit. Warrender's internal struggles, coupled with his interactions with other pilots and military officials, further enhance the book's depth, making it not just a tale of war but a profound exploration of humanity's morality.

Reynolds weaves political intrigue seamlessly into the plot, peppered with allusions to real-world events and ideologies. The author's astute observation of human behavior and his ability to extrapolate potential societal outcomes make Dogfight—1973 feel eerily prescient even decades after its initial publication.

While the novel tackles weighty themes, Reynolds injects moments of respite through brief glimmers of hope and camaraderie. These instances of human connection provide a welcome contrast to the relentless hardships faced by the characters, adding a touch of realism to the narrative and evoking empathy in readers.

However, amidst the commendable aspects of Dogfight—1973, there are a few minor drawbacks. At times, the pacing lags, particularly during expositional passages that delve into the intricacies of the political landscape. Moreover, despite its meticulous world-building, some may find the absence of a comprehensive exploration of life beyond the conflict disappointing.

Ultimately, Dogfight—1973 is a gripping science fiction novel that delves into the dark underbelly of war, questioning the toll it takes on individuals and society alike. Reynolds' skillful storytelling, combined with his incisive social commentary, makes this book a timeless read. Dogfight—1973 showcases the power of science fiction to serve as a mirror, reflecting our own world and marking a sobering reminder of the consequences of unchecked human hubris.

First Page:


By Mack Reynolds

Flying at 1600 m.p.h. you act with split second timing after you sight the enemy. And you're allowed only one mistake your last!

My radar picked him up when he was about five hundred miles to my north northeast and about forty five miles above me. I switched the velocity calculator on him as fast as I could reach it.

The enemy ship was doing sixteen, possibly even sixteen and a half. I took the chance that it was most likely an Ivar Interceptor, at that speed, and punched out a temporary evasion pattern with my right hand while with my left I snapped an Ivar K 12 card into my calculator along with his estimated speed, altitude and distance. It wasn't much to go on as yet but he couldn't have much more on me, if as much; inwardly I congratulated myself on the quick identification I'd managed.

He was near enough now for my visor screen to pick him up. At least he was alone, that was something. My nearest squadron mate was a good minute and a half away. It might as well have been a century.

Now, this is what is always hard to get over to a civilian; the time element. Understand, it will take me a while to tell this but it all took less than sixty seconds to happen.

He had guessed my evasion pattern already either guessed it or had some new calculator that was far and beyond anything our techs were turning out... Continue reading book >>

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