Monday, April 22, 2013
Hammer's Slammers stories by fantasy and SF author David Drake. Although he's known mainly for his military science fiction and space opera output, the author has produced quite the catalog of fantasy--both (quasi-)historical and otherwise. However, the gritty future universe of the Slammers series has always been my favorite of his works.
I've learned a couple of things from reading these books: The first is that war is hell. You put armed men and deadly machines in a high-pressure situation, and someone's gonna get hurt. Or killed. Drake doesn't flinch from depicting what can happen to a human body in wartime. He also doesn't hesitate to show the reader what war does to a human mind. I've never seen combat, and thanks to this author, I hope I never do.
On a lighter note, another thing I learned from reading David Drake is that it's OK to borrow from history. He does this all the time in his works: filing the serial numbers off the Byzantine Empire in one SF setting, or using a time of strife among Greek city states as background for another future war novel. This is something that gamers can do when designing scenarios, and it's something I tried with my own short-lived Chancellor starship campaign.
Since the Slammers books are all about future armored combat, they make a great resource for scenarios in your sci-fi tank games. And while there is a Hammers Slammers wargame, the encounters Drake describes would not be out of place in Dirtside, Future War Commander, or OGRE. I'm curious; has anyone used a Slammers story as the basis for a wargame scenario? Please share in the comments.