Reviews of Compleat Bolo, the (1990)
Review by johnafair (2006-02-19)
Covering thousands of light years and hundreds of years, this book charts the rise of the bolo as the fighting arm of humanity. Starting out as barely more than the simple tanks that had fough the wars of the 20th centuary, each generation of bolo gained. Gained weaponary and armour, gained intelligence, until they were at least the equal of their human masters but bound in honoubound servitude to their masters.
This collection charts the rise of the bolo from barely intelligent tank to a thoroughly self-aware intelligence in its own right, capable of reasoned thought in defence of its masters whether they were aware of that fact or not! We travel through aspace from a war devastated Earth to innumerable planets where the bolos face enemies. We even get a double joy when Retief gets to play his skills against a bolo, still potent for all it's age!!
WIth the memories I had of the first time I had read it, the last part of the book made this feel rather light hearted, but on rereading it, the rest of the stories in the book are a lot darker than I had remembered and there is little of the sardonic humour underlying the Retief stories.