October 2022 Pick: Berserker by Fred Saberhagen

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Description and back cover blurb

Long ago, in a distant part of the galaxy, two alien races met—and fought a war of mutual extinction. The sole legacy of that war was the weapon that ended it: the death machines, the BERSERKERS. Guided by self-aware computers more intelligent than any human, these world-sized battle craft carved a swath of death through the galaxy—until they arrived at the outskirts of the fledgling Empire of Man.
These are the stories of the frail creatures who must meet this monstrous and implacable enemy—and who, by fighting it to a standstill, become the saviors of all living things.
This is Saberhagen’s classic book length collection of the first eleven Berserker stories. Meet Berserker hunter extraordinaire Johann Karlsen, his evil brother Felipe Nogara, The Third Historian of the Carmpan Race, gallant fighters of the killer machines and the deranged killer machine, Mr. Jester.

Comments

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    My 1967 Ace Paperback version opens with page (i) as soon as you crack the cover, even before the publisher's page, with an introduction.

    I, Third Historian of the Carmpan race, in gratitude to the Earth-descended race for their defense of my homeworld, set down here for them my fragmentary vision of their great war against our common enemy.
    The vision has been formed piece by piece through my contacts in past and present time with the minds of men and of machines. In these minds alien to me I often perceive what I cannot understand, yet what I see is true. And so I have truly set down the acts and words of Earth-descended men great and small and ordinary, the words and even the secret thoughts of your heroes and traitors.

    Strong intro, I feel - I'm hooked already. We've got alien races, space opera-like setting, machines with minds, heroes, traitors, ordinary people, and (perhaps) an unreliable narrator? Or at least a warning that the coverage will be piecemeal (we know this is a fixup novel).

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    @Apocryphal said:
    My 1967 Ace Paperback version opens with page (i) as soon as you crack the cover, even before the publisher's page, with an introduction.

    My Kindle version doesn't have that, but goes straight into Without a Thought after the standard list of where and when the stories were first published

  • 1

    I'll have to see if I can find the full intro, then, and past it here. That's only the first part.

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    Very cool, thanks for posting those

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    Does the kindle version have the short introductions to each story?
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    edited October 25

    @Apocryphal said:
    Does the kindle version have the short introductions to each story?

    Most of them no, but a few (eg Sign of the Wolf) have a short italicised paragraph written by The Third Historian of the Carmpan Race which basically sets the scene and if necessary fills in some background omitted between stories where the stardate has moved on and it might be important to know something.

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    I haven’t checked to see if they all do, but Goodlife and the next story should each have one.
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    @Apocryphal said:
    I haven’t checked to see if they all do, but Goodlife and the next story should each have one.

    Ah yes you're quite right, I'd forgotten they started that early.

    Yes, I. Third Historian, have touched living minds, Earth minds, so deadly cool that for a while they could see war as a game. The first decades of the berserker war they were force to see as a game being lost for life.
    Nearly all the terrors of the slaughters in your past were present in this vaster war, all magnified in time and space. It was even less a game than any war has ever been.
    As the grim length of the berserker war dragged on, even Earthmen discovered in it certain horrors that they had never known before.
    Behold...

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    Ok, good. Then Al least I don’t have to share those as well.
  • 1

    Questions are up, now.

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