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edited by John Joseph Adams
Baen, 580 pages

John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams is the editor of such anthologies as Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse (Night Shade Books, January 2008), Seeds of Change (Prime Books, Summer 2008), and The Living Dead (Night Shade Books, Fall 2008). He was also the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and is now the editor of Lightspeed and Fantasy Magazine. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of Central Florida in December 2000. He currently lives in New Jersey.

John Joseph Adams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Under the Moons of Mars
SF Site Review: Brave New Worlds
SF Site Review: The Living Dead 2
SF Site Review: The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
SF Site Review: Federations
SF Site Review: Wastelands
SF Site Review: Wastelands

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'The rising sun traced the edges of the armour's riveted plates, outlining its black manlike shape with a tracery of glowing orange. It stood over eight feet high. Each leg was big around as a tree trunk -- a proper English tree, not the stunted wrist-thick mallees of the Wombat Ranges -- and the torso bulked as large as a butt wine cask.'
Armored is a nicely chunky anthology comprised of twenty-three short stories based around the theme of powered armour. There are many well-known names represented here, but far more importantly the great majority have turned in superior works. The technology, necessarily, takes centre stage, but very much co-starring are those within the various armours. Characterisation here is almost always above average, and in at least a dozen instances of top quality. Within the quite narrow definitions of what this collection is about, the contributors have flexed muscles of imagination to deliver a surprising and pleasingly diverse array of settings and contexts. But it's still just armoured dudes stomping around blowing things up, right?

Actually, no. Browsing this book's cover and blurb a prospective reader might think that the contents are all heavy-handed military tech shoot-em-ups; a mech battle fest in word form. But, there are many inclusions which show a more subtle, fresher slant. Every story is, inescapably, centred around uses of powered armour, but not at the expense of ignoring the lives and personalities of those within the metallic shells. Readers who are interested in the people who make the amour move, and their reasons for being armoured or building armoured suits, are in for a series of treats. Among the works on offer are sub-themes featuring hard-edged combat, a love story, steampunk alternate history, survivor guilt, terraforming, and ecological awareness. Stand-out inclusions were Dan Abnet's "Death Reported of Last Surviving Veteran of Great War," the tale of an accidentally iconic old soldier, whose extreme longevity is due to the side effects of his armoured past. Simon R. Green's "Find Heaven and Hell in the Small Things," was a refreshing and touching view on extra-planetary ecological awareness. "Don Quixote" by Carrie Vaughn developed an alternate Spanish Civil War story, in which we discover how two men can make a big difference. My overall favourite was "The Last Days of the Kelly Gang" from David D. Levine, which is one of the more imaginative takes on a famous British inventor, in this world stagnating in self-imposed antipodean exile, and the work he is forced to do under the gun of Australia's most infamous anti-hero.

At close to six-hundred pages Armored is a great value, well written and highly entertaining collection, which I can recommend, albeit with the single and obvious caveat that readers must enjoy the central theme of powered armour.

Copyright © 2013 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at

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