Must Read Robot Books

No all robot books end with taking over mankind or enslaving the world. My particular favorites are the BOLO books by Keith Laumer, and since his death in 1993, then taken over by other authors like the incomparable David Weber and William H. Kieth. The book to start with is The Compleat Bolo, by the original author. Mr. Laumer has quite a sense of humor, and is the author of the Retief novels, which may be the funnest science fiction ever written.

What is a Bolo? The Bolos are self-aware, intelligent tanks, or really self-propelled land battleships -- because Bolos are big. Really Big - with dozens of tracks, multiple turrets, and incredible weapons like infinite repeaters, and the great fan favorite, the Hellbore Cannon. The ongoing theme of all of the Bolo stories is that just because you weight 200,000 tons and have the firepower of a planet does not mean that a self-aware tank cannot have honor, faith, or loyalty. Bolos are supposed to take the best aspects of knights in shining armor or "the Honor of the Regiment" and be mankind's greatest protector. The "typical" Bolo story has an ancient battle machine, long out of use, being resurrected to protect a planet or colony from invasion, usually at the sacrifice of the machine itself. Bolos represent a standard for robot that in many ways is far more realistic than Asimov's three laws, and illustrates how ethics have a place in the midst of warfare. The best of the later Bolo stories is the novel "Bolo Brigade" by William H. Keith, who really found the right voice to carry on from the late Mr. Laumer, and a truly interesting enemy in the Malach, a race of pack-hunting intelligent dinosaurs.

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