Read After the Coup by John Scalzi Free Online
Book Title: After the Coup|
The author of the book: John Scalzi
Edition: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Date of issue: July 20th 2008
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 662 KB
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Loaded: 1809 times
Reader ratings: 7.4
ISBN 13: 9781429952125
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A humorous Tor short story featuring one-on-one alien combat and lots of snarky commentary. It works, though! Final review, posted on Fantasy Literature:
In this short story, set in the world of Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series, a human diplomatic group from the Clarke spaceship is trying to negotiate a treaty with a small but belligerent alien species, the Korba. It’s not going well. Since a recent military coup on their planet, the Korba are now intent on expanding to new planets. Humanity’s Colonial Defense Force actually thinks that’s fine … as long as the Korba expand in the direction of enemy planets, not ours. But before they accept that restriction, the Korba insist on proof of humanity’s military prowess, particularly their superhuman soldiers that the Korba have heard about. This part will make much more sense if you’ve read at least the first book in this series, Old Man's War. If you haven’t, well, knowing that humanity has developed a way to genetically engineer soldiers with superhuman strength (among other qualities) will see you through.
It just so happens that there is only one superhuman soldier on the diplomatic spaceship, Lieutenant Harry Wilson. The problem is that Harry is a technician, not a trained fighter, but time is short and the humans have no better options than Harry for the ritualized one-on-one combat display that the Korba are insisting on. What develops is a tricky mix between a sensitive diplomatic mission and hand-to-hand combat between Harry and one of the Korba, liberally spiced with humor..“The judge wants to know if you have a second. If you don’t have one he will be happy to provide you one.”
“Do I have a second?” Harry said.
“I didn’t know you needed one,” Schmidt said.
“Hart, please make an effort to be useful to me,” Harry asked.
“Well, I’m translating,” Schmidt said.
“I only have your word for that,” Harry said. “Tell the judge that you’re my second.“
“What? Harry, I can’t,” Schmidt said. “I’m supposed to be sitting with the Ambassador.”
“And I’m supposed to be in a bunk on the Clarke reading the first part of The Brothers Karamazov,” Harry said. “Clearly this is a disappointing day for both of us. Suck it up, Hart.”“After the Coup” isn’t profound, but it’s an amusing and highly imaginative story, and I enjoyed Harry’s snarky personality and world-weary view of politics and military policies.
It's interesting to compare this to Arena, a well-known and anthologized 1944 short story that also features one-on-one combat between a human and an unusual alien (which you can read online here). In both stories the fate of humanity may be riding on the outcome of the fight, but "Arena" takes a dead serious approach while "After the Coup" is much more light-hearted, though with some serious undertones.
"After the Coup" is free to read online here at Tor.com.
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Read information about the authorJohn Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.
(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)
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