Space Soldiers edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann
This book is another in the series of themed anthologies co-edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. It contains nine stories on the subject of war in space that were first published between 1965 and 2000. While it is not the best book in the series, it does contain some good stories and one absolute gem.

The highlight is Stephen Baxter's "On the Orion Line" which is as good as space adventure gets. It's about a war between men and aliens who are able to manipulate some of the basic laws of physics. It is the kind of story that you just cannot leave in the middle and it's a great introduction to Baxter.

As well as that tale, Paul McAuley, Alaistair Reynolds, Fred Saberhagen and Joe Haldeman all weigh in with interesting stories. Because of the wide time-span from which the stories have been drawn, most readers will find that a good portion of the stories are new and the editors provide biographical and bibliographical notes for further reading.

If you like the hard side of the science fiction spectrum and you are not already familiar with the authors mentioned, you will find this book to be a good buy. If you want more of the same, I'd suggest the anthology "Nanotech" by the same editors which is an even better collection.

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Seven out of ten.
Some good stories and one absolute gem.
Detailed contents.
McAuley, Paul J. The Gardens of Saturn
Set on an assortment of moons and spacecraft orbiting Saturn, this tale tells the story of a demobilised space fighter pilot who starts off as the slave property of an agricultural commune and, after a failed bid to gain freedom, which involves a forgotten lover and the disowned son of a wealthy biotech magnate, ends up as a slave to something far worse. Not bad, a little slow on pace and with too little character development but an interesting tale. 8/10

Barton, William Soldiers Home
Set at the end of a long war in which mankind was wiped out despite being on the winning side, the last surviving man, a nanotech boosted super-soldier seeks refuge and solace in one of the few remaining human habitats which looks a lot like the ones in Neil Hamilton's "Night's Dawn" trilogy. He finds not what he hoped for but what he feared and it is really no final resting place for the last man. This was an interesting tale with an overall atmosphere that reminded me a lot of "I have no mouth but I must scream" and that, together with the Hamilton derived aspects leads me to knock off one mark for making me feel that it was derivative. 6/10

Purdom, Tom Legacies
What was this for? This story is about a young boy whose parents are both in the military. He has problems and is receiving therapy and his therapist faces a dilemma over how to prepare him for the likelihood of one of his parents being killed in action. That's it. It is not really SF even though the combat is taking place in space. What it is, is dragged out for forty dull pages. 1/10

Leiber, Fritz Moon Duel
This tale is set on Luna which has been used as a penal dumping ground for the galaxy's misfits. An Earthman exploring the moon fights a battle with one such castaway who kills his friend. It's a readable space adventure but no more. 6/10

Reed, Robert Savior
One man saves the planet from an alien ship which has arrived in orbit and is attacking the planet. He becomes Earth's hero after he kills all of the attackers. Years later, the government decides that the concept of a crime against humanity can apply to aliens as well and they come to get him. The story is set on the first day of the hunting season when the hero, now an old man takes his grandson out for a days shooting. It's an interesting tale but the hunting trip does not really add anything to the story. 6/10

Reynolds, Alastair Galactic North
This story spans over a thousand years as the two protagonists chase each other out of the galaxy and back. In the meantime, a nanobot plague that they accidentally released eats across the galaxy. The tale starts when a starship, stranded by a technical fault, is attacked by pirates. It's a good story. It gets a little too mystical in parts and some hard editing would have made it better. 7/10

Saberhagen, Fred Mask of the Red Shift
This story is from the author's long established Berserkers series. It tells of the quest by a team of berserkers to verify the demise of the man who inflicted their greatest defeat. Of course, he is not dead and he has a surprise for them. It's a decent tale and makes a fair introduction to the Berserkers series for anyone unfamiliar. 7/10

Haldeman, Joe Time Piece
An old soldier just keeps on fighting because he has little else to do in a universe that is changing. His foe, a race of intelligent snail like creatures will win in the end though simply as a result of their far faster rate of breeding. An enjoyable read. 7/10

Baxter, Stephen On the Orion Line
This is as good as space adventure gets. In a conflict between men and an alien species, one small group from a navy ship manage to enter one of the alien's star fortresses. For the first time, they manage to find out some of their enemy's secrets but then they face the problem of escape in order to give the information to their fleet. As you would expect from Baxter the tale is full of hard science and zany physics. It is also an absolute page turner. 10/10