Read War Dogs by Greg Bear Online


AN EPIC INTERSTELLAR TALE OF WAR FROM A MASTER OF SCIENCE FICTION.One more tour on the red. Maybe my last.They made their presence on Earth known thirteen years ago.Providing technology and scientific insights far beyond what mankind was capable of. They became indispensable advisors and promised even more gifts that we just couldn't pass up. We called them Gurus.It took tAN EPIC INTERSTELLAR TALE OF WAR FROM A MASTER OF SCIENCE FICTION.One more tour on the red. Maybe my last.They made their presence on Earth known thirteen years ago.Providing technology and scientific insights far beyond what mankind was capable of. They became indispensable advisors and promised even more gifts that we just couldn't pass up. We called them Gurus.It took them a while to drop the other shoe. You can see why, looking back.It was a very big shoe, completely slathered in crap.They had been hounded by mortal enemies from sun to sun, planet to planet, and were now stretched thin -- and they needed our help.And so our first bill came due. Skyrines like me were volunteered to pay the price. As always.These enemies were already inside our solar system and were moving to establish a beachhead, but not on Earth.On Mars....

Title : War Dogs
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316072830
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

War Dogs Reviews

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-05-26 21:54

    This is, in my opinion of course, military only in the strict sense of that phrase. It is about a group of marines that end up "lost" during a combat drop. Only a few have survived to reach the surface of Mars and now they have to survive there.The book proceeds from there through what is discovered, uncovered There is some political pontificating but it comes across as thoughtful musings on the part of the narrator. Frankly the less than stellar rating on my part comes partly from the fact that I wasn't in the mood for a heavier somewhat self righteous read. This isn't space opera, neither is it a military read in the sense that we deal with actual military situations.We are "told" up front about the Gurus, we are "told" that they showed up and that they gave humanity technology. Then their enemies arrived and we had to help them. This is all related in a few paragraphs and then we jump into the survival on Mars part of the book.I never got involved in the narrative, I never came to care about what was happening. Could be I was just burned out on heavy reads or it could just be that book didn't appeal to me. Either way not one I'm overly thrilled with. Not bad, but I was glad to get out of it.

  • Jack +The Page Runner+
    2019-05-20 21:16

    Meh.That's about the best response I can muster for this book. It's billed as an "epic tale of war", but I certainly didn't notice anything "epic" about it. And the war? What war? Seriously, there's more talking about the war than any actual combat, and the combat that is here is minimalistic at best. I get it...this is a thinking man's Sci-Fi tale. It just should have been labeled as such to avoid up-front confusion.Honestly, this book started off on the wrong foot for me from the very beginning. It's a very jargon heavy book, with most of the conversations either happening in future-Marine-speak, which is laden with nicknames and slang that are only occasionally explained/defined to us readers, to Mars-native-speak, which is written almost phonetically, and therefore difficult to read. I usually don't have issues with military jargon and slang, but when that's literally ALL your characters speak in, and all they think in as well, then we have a problem. We also have a problem when our characters have technology that is temperamental at best, and yet it's their standard issue stuff. If it's so problematic, then why do they use it? And honestly, WHAT is it? Some of what they use is never really defined, leading me to assume that these bad-ass marines have tactical gear that is made up of finicky sprites that only work when...well, I don't know. Their tactical shit NEVER works, and it really bothered me.The dynamic between the people from Earth and the settlers on Mars was about the only interesting thing that this book offered me, and that wasn't explored as well as it could have been. We do get some tidbits of the political events that led to the colonization of Mars, and the fallout after that, but these are told in broad strokes. In fact, nearly everything in this book is told in broad strokes. Unless you want descriptions of the vehicles, and why they are called what they are. That's about the only time that this book really gets descriptive. As for our main character? I don't have much of an opinion. He tells the tale, muses about whether he should tell it, changes his mind about telling it, then tells it some more. He's essentially a cipher, and even though I didn't finish this book THAT long ago, I cannot remember his name. That's how much of an impact he made. In fact, the only character that seemed to be someone worth learning more about, Teal, only gets a bit of time on the page before she's left to an uncertain fate.So yeah, I actually felt frustrated at the end of War Dogs. I have no doubt that Mr. Bear knows his stuff, but this book wasn't written for the everyman to read. There's some thought-provoking stuff here, and I could almost see where he was heading with his ideas...but in the end I just couldn't follow it all. I guess I just didn't "get it". There's nothing wrong with a dense, "what-if" Sci-Fi book. Just don't bill it as something different, especially as something it's obviously not.

  • Reese Copeland
    2019-06-12 22:17

    I found this to be an overall good book. Interesting story. Initially, reading it in the first person kind of drove me nuts. But as the story wore on, it actually was a good asset of the book. There were times it was hard to follow what was happening and I would sometimes get lost in the book. I listened to this as an audiobook.

  • Ric
    2019-05-30 18:03

    Despite the title and cover, not a war story per se, though it does start out seeming like one. The protagonist, presumably a war dog (?), relives his very strange experiences during a mission to Mars. There, he was meant to fight the Antags, aliens of unknown provenance, but ends up running for his life into the Eastern Grifter - an underground lair, old Martian hideout, crashed moon, mining skein, one of these, all of these, survives, and is smuggled back to earth, and becomes hunted for his knowledge. All of this sort of tumbles out during the mostly confusing, fog-of-war recounting. Typical Bear. Nothing is what it seems. The Grifter recalls the classic Bear novel Eon with its multiple surprises and unknowns, just ripe for exploration. The book stops short of that, the exploration, so there must be a sequel. One of those "publishing" sequels, split a longish book into two or more, and call the set a series. For anyone starting out this book expecting military SF, disappointment awaits. This is more mystery SF, almost horror, though not quite. If anything applies, it's that this is another Bear-ride, unpredictable and laced with arcane SF aspects. Works for me, but perhaps not for everyone.

  • Najaf Naqvi
    2019-05-24 16:58

    its a great book for anyone who hasn't read Starship Troopers, Ender's Game, Old Man's War or The Forever War. it was well written as one would expect from a seasoned writer like greg bear, although the characters were a little one dimensional.its just a little disappointing to see this book from an author who wrote Eon.

  • Bill
    2019-06-11 20:55

    Greg Bear does it again. War Dogs is a fast paced military, hard Sci-Fi and the best Mars novel I've read in a long time. Bear's prose is crisp and spare, and as one would expect from a future military. He manages to create compelling, visual characters and place in what seems a too short book. The ending is uncertain in a way that suggests this universe will be visited again. I certainly hope so. Just learned it's to be a trilogy! I hope Greg writes as fast as he reads. PS, I don't trust the Gurus.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-06-12 23:14

    I think Greg Bear is at his best when he's going for a real mindfuck. I mean, this writer can mess with the brains of his readers like nobody's business, pulling them down uncomfortable and compelling paths. As a result, I think I am always slightly disappointed when he does something more mainstream. The last Bear I read (I think it was him, and hopefully I'm not confusing him with another author) was a fairly straightforward thriller. It was fine, but not idea-rich.Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Jason
    2019-05-16 15:58

    War Dogs is the first book of a new trilogy by Greg Bear. I received an early review copy at BEA this year from the Orbit desk in the Hachette pavilion. This book is scheduled for release on October 14th 2014. War Dogs is a futuristic sci-fi military novel. In the future, Earth has visitors are known as the Gurus. The Gurus gave Earth technological gifts and other bits of knowledge. This much is on the cover flap, so I can safely say that I am not spoiling anything. They came in peace and initially asked nothing in return. Eventually they did reveal that their actions were only partially altruistic. More of a reciprocal altruism in fact. They let it be know, to their small cabal, that they have been traveling around fighting their long time enemy which we have come to known as the antagonists. Antags for short. Earth was enlisted to help fight this ancient war as the Antags were making their way into the solar system. This was technically optional, but if you want to get new shiny toys from the Gurus, you became signatory. Soldiers are sent off to the unforgiving vastness of Mars to fight the Antags at the request of their benefactors. This is where we join our main character, Sgt. Michael Venn. Venn is a Skyrine. In his latest campaign, he is dropped onto Mars in a botched operation. With the mission in shambles and the intel uplinks not communicating or sending orders, the soldiers revert to simply trying to survive. What they come across when traversing the harsh Martian landscape is unexpected and potentially game changing. The adventure is laced with Antag attacks, Mars settlers, racist groups, falling comets, psychedelic experiences and adverse conditions.Possible slight spoiler>(view spoiler)[Now, that is only half of the setting and plot. When you open to the first chapter, you will notice that the setting is not on the red surface of a dusty planet, rather here an Earth. Sgt. Venn has just returned to Earth from a drop and is en route to a safe house. What happens is that the viewpoint shifts between Venn recounting, in first person, the events that transpired on Mars, and the present day omniscient third person with Venn in the safe house accompanied by a friend of a friend.Now, here is the major criticism I have : All suspense that I thought I should feel in the Mars chapters is mitigated by the fact that the story is being retold on Earth by the main character. You really do not have to wonder if your main character will survive... he did. You already know he did. Since the first page. Obviously you could not tell the present day story without this effect, but it did have an effect nonetheless. It by no means ruined to narrative, it is still a great story, I think it just drained some of the punch. (hide spoiler)]What I really liked was the Mars lore Bear is establishing. What the Skyrines come across and learn is a fairly interesting plot line that sets the hook to bring readers along to the next volume of this series. Unfortunately you really only start getting to the more interesting unravelings towards the end of the book, leaving you with a cliffhanger. The cliffhanger certainly makes we want to continue on, but I do wish I learned a bit more first.Full review

  • Brian Ruddock
    2019-05-23 00:05

    I can't say this book is objectively bad. This is the first Bear book I've read, and he's clearly a talented and knowledgeable writer. I just really, really didn't like the style of this book for the following reasons:-Focus on irrelevant details: way, way too much text is dedicated to describing the Martian landscape. It's one thing to properly set a scene and let readers form a sufficient mental picture, but I think he wasted way too many pages on boring details about each and every cliff, rock formation, etc.-Poor set-pieces: the hand to hand combat scenes read more as choreographed dances than as, you know, actual fights. Battles with the Antags were hardly better.-Protagonist's inner dialogue: It's awful. Full of cliches, tropes, faux-deep thoughts that logically make little sense, etc. And the profanity: I'm no Puritan and curse plenty myself. But too many times he seems to be like a 12-year-old who curses for its own sake, without the benefit of any humor or cleverness.-Pace: it's too slow. You know from the outset that Bear isn't going for a Heinlein-like political commentary, which is totally fine. But, absent that substance, I'd prefer the book to move well. It doesn't. Just trods along until a twist ending that failed to land with me because I was so tired of the book.So again, not objectively bad, just definitely not my cup of tea. (For reference: I'm a huge Scalzi/Heinlein guy and probably rank "The Forever War" as my favorite military SF book.)

  • Darren
    2019-06-16 19:53

    I know authors don't always get to pick the titles of their books, but still, when one picks up a book with a Halo-esque space man on the cover, standing tall over a title like "War Dogs", one expects a little onomatopoeia of the "Boom! Boom!" variety, with a sidecar of "Pew! Pew!" There is exactly one firefight in this book that isn't stumbled upon long after all the fighting is over, and it takes place so far into the story that I'm not exaggerating when I say it's practically the epilogue. In its place is a lot of angst and confusion around a conspiracy and mystery that's almost Lovecraftian... only not quite. This book was alright, but I only say that in retrospect. The disconnect between what I was expecting and what I was getting absolutely kept me from enjoying it in the moment.

  • Fabio Goes
    2019-05-25 00:08

    I'm used to authors which do keep to a reasonable level of consistency across their works. I think that although nothing in Asimov's works surpasses the grandeur of the original Foundation trilogy, he has books almost as equally memorable, and most keep to a very high standard. I could present a similar case for Clarke, Hebert, Wilson and quite a number of other authors, which is why the fact that Bear alternates between absolutely fantastic books and total flops does really surprise me. As an author, I consider him very volatile. I've never disliked a single book from any of the others I mentioned, but I never now if I'll get my money's worth when ordering Bear.Which is not to say War Dogs is an horrendous flop or that it didn't take real talent to write it. What I most dislike in this book are the choices the author made. The story is narrated exclusively in the present tense and from the perspective of a military grunt in an airdrop gone bad. The lingo, the immediacy of the present tense and the mess of combat are very effective in having us as confused as the very marine. It is a design choice, I get it. But it doesn't make for a relaxing reading. Bear CHOOSES to tell the story through the eyes of a grunt who is deliberately kept in the dark so that his discoveries are the reader's too, but then the unrelenting torrent of (futuristic) military jargon coupled with the fact that the author chose to represent the accents, linguistic mannerisms and mispronunciations of different groups of Martian colonists in his writing makes the book so hard to decode. It is truly a chore.On the positive side there's all the hard science involved in imagining how fighting in Mars could be, and the hints at what political strings the Gurus might be pulling to get humans to do their bidding in an interplanetary war. But there's not much of that, as the focus is on our Mariner's mission rather than the general context that took him there.What would have got me hooked and caused me to give the book five stars would be a focus on the relationship between the Gurus, Antags and Mankind. A book where what is the background comes into focus and what is into focus fades into the background, that is what I'd like to have been given. Having said that, I understand that the limited perspective of a trooper as a window through which the story is seen/told is not necessarily something negative. It was a combination of the limited perspective, the sense of urgency and the difficulty in decoding the language that did the trick of ruining my experience.

  • Sarah Anne
    2019-06-11 22:53

    Skyrines on Mars. Need I say more?

  • Jo(Mixed Book Bag)
    2019-06-09 18:55

    Look for the unexpected in War Dogs. Bear takes some familiar themes and really turns them around. There are the aliens (The Gurus) who show up first and seem helpful. Then there are the aliens (The Antags) that show up on Mars. The Gurus recruit humans to fight the Antags on Mars.. Sound familiar but it gets all turned around when something new is discovered.War Dogs is the first book in a new series and most of it is devoted to back story and world building. Told from the first person view of Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a Skyrinen, after he made it back from Mars. His story moves back and forth from the present on Earth to the past on Mars. At times I found the story very slow going. What kept me reading were the unusual things that kept happening. It was hard to tell where the story was going. That did not change. Don’t expect to understand everything by the end of the book. Do expect to be left hanging and in the dark. Even so if you are a big SciFi fan I think you will enjoy this Military Science Fiction story full of plot twists and turns.Sky Dogs is an interesting start to a new series. I am waiting for the next book Killing Titan to see if at least some of my questions are answered.

  • Mitchell
    2019-06-09 23:50

    Flawed but interesting. The good - basically an update to the Space Marine as per Starship Troopers. Unlike in most Space Marines, this book definitely deals with the issue of having enough air and water and what looks that. And kind of had a The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must flavor to is, especially around the fountains. The downside - the whole story being told in flashback. Teal's dialect. The overly confused story of the aliens. Actually the whole underground place was kind of cool. Fairly readable though and I'll probably try the sequel.

  • Rich Van Ollefen
    2019-06-03 16:52

    I hate books with no real end. Even after I read some of the other reviews and found it was the first part of a trilogy, I still didn't like it. It's almost like Greg Bear wrote the whole thing as one book, counted the pages, divided by three, and that was where it ended. Up in the air if I bother with the next installment

  • Jacob
    2019-06-03 23:11

    Unlike Bear's other works. Created a frantic paced adventure that hides and hides and back pedals and hides before finally dumping the revelation out there too quickly. Good and enjoyable yes but left with too many mysteries.

  • Justin
    2019-05-23 18:09

  • Mark
    2019-05-31 21:14

    They were a highly advanced, interstellar species who brought amazingly useful and sophisticated technology to the human race. There was, of course, a catch. The Gurus warned of a far more malevolent life form, beings who have hounded the Gurus from sun to sun, planet to planet, across the cosmos. Pundits have taken to calling them the Antagonists – or Antags – and they have already established a beachhead on Mars. In exchange for all they’ve done for us, the Gurus would now like our help.Enter Master Sergeant Michael Venn, a veteran Skyrine (a Marine who is specially trained for off-world combat) who is dropped onto the Red Planet with his band of brothers on a mission to take down as many Antags as possible.But from the moment they’re dropped through the thin Martian atmosphere, their mission goes horribly, terribly wrong. From a group of female special ops Skyrines with secret orders, to mysterious humans who’ve settled on Mars, to the overwhelming and highly-reinforced Antags themselves, Venn and his brothers will face impossible odds just to survive – let alone make it home alive.Just in case that cover or the publisher’s synopsis doesn’t give it away, War Dogs is a military tale, told from the perspective of our ‘hero’ Sergeant Michael Venn, which, as the back of the book above says, looks at an ongoing battle on Mars between two groups of aliens (the Gurus and the Antagonists/Antags), with humans as a willing combatant. (I’m sure followers of politics may notice a similarity here between this tale and other more earthly conflict.)Whenever a story is told from a first-person perspective, the tale sinks or swims through the strength of the telling, here given through Michael. From a writing perspective, it is impressive. Here Greg manages that difficult skill of simultaneously developing a backstory and a new language, the combat language of the military, whilst also driving along a plot. As ever, the world of the soldier is an often unappreciated one, with the war happening a world away, on Mars. Michael struggles to cope with the effects of combat as well as settling in back at home, and Greg manages to convey that extremely well. Michael becomes an outsider, detached from the world ‘here’ as well as ‘there’, with no one but his soldier friends, who are going through the same issues, to rely on.There are lots of ideas compressed into this novel here, that only become noticeable on reflection – an unusual drop into combat that reminded me of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, the existence of a renegade troop of original settlers, before the aliens came, named Muskies (after a certain inventor of today), even a touch of Alien and Crichton’s Andromeda Strain. Greg subtly works these notions into the narrative in such a way that they seem natural at the time. It’s only when you think further that you realise how clever he has been.The combat itself is, as expected – at times exciting, at others scary and often rather confused, as snafu after snafu on the part of command and deployment makes the soldier’s job harder. There’s a few big weapons flung around, but the book is more of a reflection on the importance of the person in this role. Greg gets the slightly-sardonic tone right, that snarky world-weariness that is created by just having to cope and get the job done, despite everything that goes wrong.As if that wasn’t bad enough, combat on Mars is pretty tough too. It’s definitely a while away from the shiny future we were all expecting back in the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Breathable air is rare and generally it is very cold, with temperatures often one hundred degrees below. Life support is given through technology called fountains, but, at best, survival is difficult and seemingly rather smelly thanks to the skintights (as the book suggests, a body suit rather like Dune’s still-suits, but they do more.) All of this Venn and his motley crew cope with, with varying degrees of success. Suicide at times seems like a possible option, though the survival rate is low – rarely do Skyrines survive more than four missions – and Venn’s on his fifth. A soldier’s life is clearly not a happy one, but one where all adversities are dealt with in a stoic manner.Things become more complicated when Venn and his combat troop are rescued by a female Musky named Teal, referred (rather demeaningly) to as ’a ranch wife’. When they are taken to a secret underground lair by Teal, they then find themselves being hunted by a platoon of the Antags, none of whom seem to wish them well.The book at this point seems to be heading towards one of those Alamo-type moments, with our brave band of heroes about to make a last stand against overwhelming odds. I guess it would be unfair for me to say more about the plot at this point, other than War Dogs leads to an ending that is really more complex than I expected and quite clever, which takes the book from being mere mil-SF to something more SF. It doesn’t quite hold together in its latter half, but it was a pleasant surprise to end up somewhere I didn’t think I was going to go. Readers need to be warned, though, that there is no happy ending that ties things up neatly, and I was left at the end expecting more resolution than I got.But this is a minor quibble. Greg’s clearly been spurred on here by his recent HALO writing to write a military novel in his own imagined future. This would read very well as a HALO novel, I think, though here it is much more down-beat. War Dogs is a book that both celebrates and respects the role of the combat soldier, with all of their trials and tribulations. Think of it as The Forever War or Starship Troopers, upgraded to the 21st century, a tale that shows that even when the technology changes, the role of the soldier does not.It is the best book I’ve read from Greg for a while, and one of the best military-SF books I’ve read in years.

  • Royce Sears
    2019-06-14 22:02

    War Dogs is sadly my first experience with Mr. Greg Bear. Through the pages of War Dogs I developed a great respect for Mr. Bear and his ability to reach through the pages of the book to tell the story of a Skyrine - a marine trained specifically for the rigors of space combat. Having worked with Marines as a Navy Corpsman, Marines have a mindset that is very specific and very singular to the Marine culture. They speak alike, they fight alike, they're honest, loyal, courageous- and most of all- Marines are BADASS! In my opinion, Greg Bear captures the essence of how a Marine thinks, acts, and fights in War Dogs and that alone is worth the price of admission. As much as I liked this book, I gave it four stars because there were several places within the novel where I had to back-pedal a few pages to try to understand what was going on with the story. Setting those little things aside, it's a great novel that I highly recommend to SF readers, especially those with past experiences with the Navy and the Marines. Royce

  • Wilde Sky
    2019-06-13 23:49

    In the future alien visitors to Earth involve the human race in a battle with their enemies.The first hundred pages of this book were really good, but then the plot started to involve too many characters / descriptions (for a relatively simple plot) - less would have been more.Overall rating 3.5

  • Matthew
    2019-06-06 16:54

    Enjoyed this. I haven't read a good SF novel for a while and this one kept my attention to the end. However, a little dissatisfied particularly toward the end, where l really wanted to know more...

  • Alice at Raptureinbooks
    2019-06-07 19:56

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest reviewWar Dogs was so far out of my comfort zone I expected to not enjoy it. I’m pleased to say that I did enjoy this, not only was this a new style of writing for me, it was also a new author. At first I was a little sceptic of a book set on Mars (I haven’t read The Martian yet so the topic of being stuck on Mars is new!) this book was set in the perspective of Master Sergeant Michael Venn (Vinnie), a veteran Marine trained in off-world combat.The book opens with Vinnie being back on Earth after a shit-storm of a Mars mission throws everything for a loop:I’m trying to go home. As the poet said, if you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are. Home is where you go to get all that sorted out.The chapters flick between Earth now and Mars then which is, in reality probably only about 2 weeks or so. Michael Venn has been on multiple tours of the Red Planet in his six years as a Skyrine and this is likely to be his last. There’s a good setting of Seattle in the beginning of the book where he’s just got out of the military base he touched down in a little while ago, it’s told from first person perspective and lots of memories are forth coming to the reader.The basis of the Skyrine and their missions to Mars is from the Gurus – an alien race who made their presence known thirteen years ago when they touched down in the desert and spoke with some camel herders, it then progresses to the Gurus sneaking into the telecoms and satlinks, making a lot of money and then being “spotted” by some really clever computer folks. The Gurus then provide us humans with lots of technological advances for seemingly nothing, at least until they break the news that they have their own enemies – the Antagonists or Antags – and it’s now up the humans to go to war with the Antags.After this little bit of background the story flicks to Mars with what has got to be one of my favourite lines in this book:Physics is what kills you, but biology is what wants you dead.Another favourite is:…and share a silent fear that here, buckaroos, there are far too many cowboys and not nearly enough Indians.The story then continues with Michael Venn’s tale of how their mission went tits up and describes various settings on Mars where they are thrown in the deep end and are at risk of dying. I didn’t quite understand why the book was called War Dogs until page 75 when it was explained to a point:We’re all War Dogs, adopted by a very tall, strong ranch wife.The descriptions of the characters and the settings in this book are wonderfully done and you actually feel like you’re there on Mars suffering along with Venn, Tak, Kazak and the rest of the Skyrines (a Skyrine is a Marine who is ‘sky-bound’ to Mars) while they wait out the possibility of death before Teal the ranch wife from the above quote comes to their rescue and then while they discover that their mission was compromised from the very beginning long before they actually launched.Throughout the book there is a character called Alice who comes to Seattle on behalf of Joe (another Skyrine) who is there to help Michael come to terms with being back on Earth after the blow out of Mars. She’s a sort of psychotherapist I suppose who is there to listen to Michael’s story of what happened on Mars (which is basically how the book is written, the storytelling of what happened on Mars but through visions or flashbacks) and she eventually takes him to see Joe only they get caught by the military police. Michael ends up being taken “prisoner” as a fugitive.This book was – though short – incredibly well written and I definitely want to read the next one which is lucky as I have that as well. This one book has made me want to read more of Greg Bear’s work and I’m on the hunt for the next series to read. As mentioned before the characters were brilliant although there is lots of unique jargon that both does and doesn’t make sense (SNKRAZ for one), the Muskie lingo (Teal’s people) is a little hard going to understand.The chapter switches between past and present, with the past represented as memories or hallucinations/visions; ultimately War Dogs is a humorous but dramatic tale of Mars from the POV of a Marine that can’t swear. Michael Venn is a great main character with plenty of well presented secondary characters and a good ecclectic mix of plots.I will leave you with a parting quote:Ant farm stories are just like life. We have no idea why we’re here, what we’re doing alive, or even where we are, but here we are, doing our best to make do.

  • Andrea
    2019-06-09 22:50

    Seriously? This from the author of Eon? Blood music? You gotta be kidding. Please tell me it's not true.I couldn't finish it. Mixture of meh and boreing. Didn't care enough to read the end. Thankful Amazon wouldn't let me buy the trilogy for my Kindle.

  • Captain
    2019-05-27 19:56

    While the author has some really interesting ideas, the story for the most part fell flat for me once Venn and his men reach "the drifter". After the Voor's came I completely lost interest and stopped reading, in my opinion the story started to get a little predictable at that point. I know this is supposed to be a part of a trilogy ;and I might pick it back up one day. But at the rate in which the story is dragging nothing good is going to happen until halfway through the second book. I also had some trouble with the terminology used (ex: "skintights" if it wasn't for that Dune reference I would have had a hard time visualizing how they would work.)and the way the author described things like "the drop", " the fountains" and the way the tents worked really made them hard to visualize. Another thing that really got me was the fact that Venn was a damn space marine who caved and would say fridge instead of fuck because the gurus did't like it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? No self respecting military man would give up the word fuck because some alien overlords got their panties in a wad. I guess that's the author's way of showing how pervasive the gurus have become in earth society and politics.That said there were some aspects of the book I did enjoy, such as how the Guru's introduced themselves to humanity. How they dragged us into a space war and how they changed our civilization. I get the feeling they're not as "good"as they would like us to believe. There's a lot of "shady-ness" going on that could be a really interesting plot point. I also liked the Muskies, their history and how they got their name (I really got a kick out of that). The relationship between Mars and Earth sort of reminded me of the US/IRAQ war. There were a lot of parallels going on, such as not interfering with the muskie's way of life unless absolutely necessary. Again another interesting potential plot point (that isn't really addressed much in the first half of the book).If I hadn't known this book was written by a well read/respected science fiction writer I would have been a bit more forgiving, I'd probably go a far and say that it had a lot of potential but frankly it fell a little flat for me. I know that real war and combat isn't non-stop action but you've got to give me something, some kind of detail to keep me interested and unfortunately this book just didn't deliver.

  • Jonny
    2019-06-11 17:08

    I hadn't read any sci-fi in a while, much less a series, so I decided to pick this up from the library. The cover art, back cover blurb, and the results of a few random page-skimmings told me it was my kind of book.It was good. An intriguing mystery, futuristic yet believable tech, aliens both contemporary and ancient, heart-pounding battles, and perilous planetary survival, all wrapped up in the gritty realism (and constant cussing) one would expect from a war novel. I feel like a lot of the bad reviews I've read stem from people reading the book expecting only one of those elements, and being disappointed that it brought in other elements instead of focusing on their favorite one.For me though, it didn't matter, because I love all of those things (except maybe the constant cussing).That being said, I had two problems with the book:Number one, pacing. It starts out great, but around the middle it gets kinda slow. Truth be told, I put the book down halfway through and didn't pick it up again until over a week later, and only then because I saw that there was a second book that looked cool (seriously, the cover artist for these does great work). I do not regret my decision. From that point on, the book had me hooked.The second problem I had is that it's terrible as a stand-alone. It leaves a ton of unanswered questions, but not in a tantalizing cliff-hanger way. However, I read it knowing that there was going to be a second book, so it wasn't a big problem for me, since I was able to get the next book and dive right in as soon as I finished this one. So, while the story as a whole is likeable, the first book by itself can be a disappointment. In the end, any problems this book has are outweighed by the good storytelling, fascinating setting, intriguing mystery, and so on. It was well worth my time.I've never read anything by Greg Bear before, but I can say with certainty that I am now hooked on his style and have already procured more books of his which I plan on reading soon.

  • Eric
    2019-05-27 21:01

    I am a huge fan of Greg Bear's writing. I have all his books. So of course I bought War Dogs and was eager to read it.And having been on a recent military SF reading binge, this started out as exceptional military SF. The story is told first person mostly to another character which makes it interesting, because you know he survives, but the storytelling is so good you want to hear what happens next. The world he builds is complex and interesting, the characters compelling, the military viewpoint an insightful mix of hooorah, pain and insight. Plot and pacing are excellent.It is a great read. Right up to the end.In an ending borrowed from Monty Python and the Holy Grail the cops swoop in and arrest everyone. Off to a cell, and, well, that's it.Wait, what?!?Dangling loose ends doesn't even begin to express the disappointment. Hopefully Greg Bear will see fit to add another book or two in this universe to actually deal with the many interesting questions he raises. I for one would love to hear more.Update: Now that the second book is out (thank you!) this makes significantly more sense, and I have upgraded my review. Read the two together, for the full effect. They are really excellent. Eagerly awaiting book 3.

  • Thomas Higgins
    2019-06-04 19:55

    I understand this is book one of a trilogy and the story clearly "ends" in such a way as to set up the additional stories to be told. I was not disappointed with the ending understanding this, although I understand this as a frustration expressed by some other readers in their reviews Personally I think there is plenty of additional fodder for more stories than merely another two. Questions abound about the Gurus and their ultimate goal (and why their aversion to bad language, specifically biological vernacular), the Wait Staff, Antags, as well as the changes being brought about in our hero due to this time in the Drifter. Easily enough additional stories available to satisfy another half dozen books.I enjoyed it and will read through the rest in the series. I especially enjoy the fact that Greg Bear doesn't pander to the reader and dumb down the story or presentation. His expectation is that the reader plays an active role. Reading his books is not a passive activity.

  • Cam
    2019-05-26 16:59

    Aliens have arrived - one group has ginned up the world's technology and manufacturing base to fight another group following along. The warfront is Mars - Skyrines (Marines) are flung into space to fight the Antagonists and seize control. There are some settlers from earth there, too, and all sorts of SNAFU to keep it real. Like all to often, the Skyrines we get to know are set up to fail because of the big secret of the novel. All three groups want to be sure they don't make it back off Mars. The plot isn't that bad, but like a lot of military sci-fi the characters are pretty thin and the twists telegraphed a lot. A weak "3" rating, but entertaining enough for what it is.

  • Viking One
    2019-05-17 16:51

    I'm really puzzled, or confused. I don't know for sure. This is not a hard sci-fi story and it's barely a war story. What it is, is a poorly developed story.As it unfolds, the story is marginally interesting -the book totally lost me for several chapters, specially at the end, where it counts. Actually, I abandoned it for three months after some chapters and then decided to finish it. I can't imagine why somebody would buy its sequel -Killing Titan.The only reason I read it was the back story, I wanted to know more about the Gurus and the Antags.Don't fall in the same trap I did. Don't buy it, don't read it and don't keep reading it if you've started.

  • Gary
    2019-06-10 18:11

    With War Dogs, Greg Bear puts a lot of focus on the terrain of the battlefield (in this case, Mars). This aspect is a nice addition to the canon of MilSF, which often focuses on how military tech evolves to meet the enemy being faced, rather than the landscape being fought on.Everything else about War Dogs is a disappointment. The story is never particularly involving, nor the characters engaging. It is a smart book, as one expects from Bear, but comes off as a rather cold and cerebral genre exercise. I really expected a lot more.