Bill the Galactic Hero MOBI ☆ Bill the ePUB Ð

It was the highest honor to defend the Empire against the dreaded Chingers an enemy race of seven foot tall lizards But Bill a Technical Fertilizer Operator from a planet of farmers wasn't interested in honor he was only interested in two things his chosen career and the shapely curves of Inga Maria Calyphigia Then a recruiting robot shanghaied him with knockout drops and he came to in deep space aboard the Empire warship Christine Keeler And from there things got even worse


10 thoughts on “Bill the Galactic Hero

  1. says:

    I love this book He walks up to Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and slaps a cream pie in its face Then he kicks it in the balls and stands back to admire the effect before setting to work on Isaac Asimov's Foundation They both had it coming


  2. says:

    It was a time when men were men and alien Chingers had better watch out If Robert Heinlein and Issac Asimov collaborated on a humorous Space OperaTrooper novel this is what they may have writtenMeet Bill graduate of the Technical Fertilizer college on Phigerinadon II where no than two interesting events happen every four years until he signs on with the TroopersWhy are we fighting?The Chingers are the only non human race that has been discovered in the galaxy that has gone beyond the aboriginal level so naturally we have to wipe them outOn the space shipChristine Keeler Bill replaces giant fuses Remember those sci fy shows where the control panels would burst into showers of sparks? Well folks when the Christine Keeler is in battle there are sparks everywhereBeware of the recruiting sergeantLearn to obey Petty Chief Officer Deathwish DrangWatch Eager Beager insanely polish everyone's' bootsWork for Fuse Tender First Class SpleenObey all officers no matter how inbred they seemAnd above all never volunteerEnjoy


  3. says:

    There was a death in my family this week so reading a funny sci fi book was both a good and bad idea Good because the humor cheered me up bad because much of the humor was lost on me But even with my bias Bill the Galactic Hero is a fine piece of political sci fi Harry Harrison's book is not so much an anti war manifesto as it is an anti ridiculousness manifesto Harrison just happens to recognize that war bureaucracy government and all those other things that are so much a part of homo sapien social development are completely ridiculous So he gives us Bill the Galactic Hero a farm boy who becomes a raw recruit becomes a fusetender becomes a war hero becomes an awol military criminal becomes a garbage man becomes a revolutionaryspy becomes a captured military criminal becomes a recruiter moving through multiple levels of bureaucracy and mindless war like an ethyl alcohol fueled Forrest Gump Bill the Galactic Hero is an excellent example of sixties dissent and sci fi satire and if I'd read it at another time it might have become a favourite As it stands though I can only applaud Harrison's creativity and message at two right arms' lengthsHow's this for a simile The troopers chippered like birds and were as nervous as virgins at a defloration ceremony? Zoinks


  4. says:

    I once met a woman in a bookstore who was in the process of buying Harry Harrison's 1965 classic Bill the Galactic Hero She told me that she'd read it many times already and that it was the funniest book ever Well I've never forgotten that conversation and had long been meaning to ascertain whether or not this woman was right It took me almost 20 years to get around to this book but having just finished Bill the Galactic Hero I must say that well it IS very amusing indeed In it we meet Bill no last name is ever provided a simple farm lad on Phigerinadon II who is shanghaied into the galactic emperor's army to fight in the war against the lizardlike Chingers And what a grueling odyssey Bill goes through before all is said and done He experiences a boot camp from hell serves aboard the starship Christine Keeler and is almost killed gets lost on the planetwide city of Helior becomes a sanitation man a revolutionary a spy fights on a swamp planet that's almost as nasty as Harrison's original Deathworld and on and on Harrison keeps this short novel moving along furiously and the level of invention is very high throughout It is most impressive how just about every page features some amusing incident laff out loud line and I am not an easy person to make laugh out loud or imaginative detail The story is a very violent one a scathing commentary on the madness that is war and the crazy institution that is the military and part of the story's humor comes from the joking nonchalant manner in which horrible proceedings are described But there is much that is just inherently flat out funny The characters drink Heroin Cola and eat chlora fillies part chlorophyll part horse wieners There's a rock band called The Coleoptera beetles The combatants use flintlock ray guns There is a Robot Underground Resistance RUR and some characters are named Schmutzig von Dreck I guess it helps if you know some Yiddish Gill O'Teen and Eager Beager Still as I said this is a brutal tale and the reader would be well advised not to grow too attached to any character as at least half the cast gets offed before the book is through And that brutalization extends to our main man Bill who becomes less naive and animallike as the novel proceeds This is a tale told with almost Alfred Bester like panache and marvelous satiric detail but at times the detail is a bit sketchy I'm referring to details of geography here and background history and character With so many incidents to cram into the book's short length many of them seem a bit rushed and characters come and go without leaving much of an impression I suppose what I'm saying is that Harrison might have expanded his book a bit that it's almost too concise and to the point Still the story certainly does entertain But getting back to that woman in the bookstoreIS this the funniest book that I've ever read? Well I must admit that no book has ever made me laff than John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces 1980 and that Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan 1959 may be a worthier sci fi comedy than this one but Bill certainly does hold its own in that august company After all any book that provides big laffs and a positive message isn't to be sneezed at


  5. says:

    Harry Harrison wrote Bill the Galactic Hero in 1965 America's failure in the Korean War was starting to be replayed again in the early years of the Vietnam Conflict Vietnam was a conflict before it was a war although some historians say it was only a police action The Hippy movement was on the rise The Sixties were a weird time of Green Berets Flower Power Black Panthers and Free Love You were either a hippy or a commie hater You either enlisted or you got drafted Either way you were fuckedIn the world of science fiction numerous authors tried to capture the weirdness of the Sixties and specifically the War Some succeeded some failed Joe Haldeman's The Forever War was an unforgettable novel that tried to capture the absurdity of war while still being respectful of the military Haldeman was drafted and served as an engineer in Vietnam He was wounded in battle and received a Purple HeartHarrison's Bill the Galactic Hero was anything but respectful It was in every way a castigation of war and the military It's also damned hilariousBTGH is essentially Catch 22 in outer space It's a short novel and Bill isn't a very bright or memorable character he's kind of a cipher like Everyman to which any and every awful thing that can happen doesThe summary Bill is a farmer on a farm planet who gets drafted like kidnapped by the Space Troopers to fight in the Space Emperor's battle with the Chingers an alien race of seven foot tall reptiles with four arms who want to eat humans Bill suffers through torturous basic training almost getting killed on a starship being erroneously charged with going AWOL while on shore leave and being the only surviving member of his platoon on a war ravaged jungle planet He also learns that the Chingers are actually seven INCH tall peace loving creatures who don't understand why Mankind wants to wipe them out of the universe that the war is only going on in order to make profit for the military industrial complex and that almost everything being reported on the galactic news channels are completely wrong and pro Emperor propagandaThe kicker Bill doesn't care He's a good soldier which means he does what he's told even when what he's told goes against everything his mother taught him and even when he knows he's being lied toThis book will alternately make one laugh out loud and cringe in disgust with its disturbingly dead on satire and portrayal of the insanity of war There is something brilliant within these few pages of Harrison's somehow forgotten and overlooked novel


  6. says:

    Reading some of the Grandmasters of Science Fiction Probably not his best And not so awful I couldn’t finish it But certainly not the “laugh a page” experience it was made out to be Just okay I’ll have to try something in the Stainless Steel Rat series before casting further judgement


  7. says:

    As a satire of militarism and bureaucracy it had lots of ROLFing moments The problem is it all plays out in a very “in your face” way leaving almost everyone as a throwaway caricature It’s not subtle at what it’s doing so you can’t see it as a story about people lacking self awareness They are like cartoons written for a jokeThe structure of the plot is also problematic as it goes on The early part at the army is very fun and well planned out as everything seems to progress in an organic way The characters are easier to like as they are forced to do a job they don’t like and most likely die for rulers who don’t care about them After the battle is over continuity loses consistency as the events on the capital planet don’t connect well with each other You can shuffle them around with little difference Latter characters also don’t give you as much reason to care about and they are usually removed from the plot too fast for you to get to like them Overall a good read with a humorous look on propaganda and corruption but lacks the subtlety of the famous satires ala Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


  8. says:

    This book is about Hippies vs Commie haters then a cream pie gets thrown in someone's face


  9. says:

    My rating ★★★★


  10. says:

    143 pages is a quick read and what I actually have is the Berkeley Medallion edition from 1966 which originally cost fifty cents but we paid forty nine cents for Anyway this is a parody of military SF in which the hero is literally drugged into signing up for the army and the war is going on because humans are naturally warlike The ship that Bill winds up on is called Christine Keeler and I looked her up she was a model and showgirl and in 1963 her affair with a British government minister severely embarrassed the government Bill loses his left arm in battle and it's replaced with someone else's right arm as a result he could shake hands with himself And further weird stuff such as the capital planet Helior that's covered with gold tinted aluminum so it'll look like gold and which is such a three dimensional maze that when Bill loses his paper floor plan it takes him eight days to get back to his billet and then there are absurd complications I particularly enjoyed the 1960s tech in which the spaceship's electrical systems employ 90 pound fuses And then there's the bit on Helior where there are so many spies in the revolutionary movement that in fact they're all spies including Bill though I kind of saw that coming Anyway it was fun in a very anti war anti totalitarian anti bureaucracy anti stupidity way Kind of a weird cross between Starship Troopers and Catch 22 But it also ends on a full circle depressing note that all by itself elevates it above mere ridiculous humor and I think into the realm of satire