Book Review

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 6 No. 3 • June 2003


Book Review: Libertarian Science Fiction, The Excalibur Alternative, by David Weber (2002)

The Galactic Federation is a group of races dedicated to the proposition that they are justified in using their highly advanced technological military might to kill, control, and enslave the “inferior” races that cannot defend themselves from the Federation’s military. There were certain moral and ethical considerations in the Federation’s original constitution, but (surprise, surprise) two of the original founder races have “disappeared,” and ethical considerations in the Federation’s actions have also “disappeared,” although the remaining founder race continues to give lip service to them in a game of political one-upmanship.

Then a guild that is part of the Federation discovers a neat loophole. Although there is a “Prime Directive” that prohibits using modern weapons on the alien worlds (for fear that the aliens would get a hold of them), there is no prohibition on using weapons that are way behind Federation-level technology but are still advanced of the primitives. This guild then “acquires” a group of Roman warriors (i.e., kidnaps and enslaves them) and forces them to “serve” them, fighting against and slaughtering the primitive populations of worlds that don’t wish to trade on the guild’s terms. Later, a second guild sees how the guild with Romans is taking over and acquires their own group of warriors—English longbowmen. As the book jacket says, “Roman legions make dangerous pets . . . but English longbowmen are even worse. It may take a century or so, but the Galactics are about to discover what happens when the sword finally comes out of the stone.”

A wonderfully fun and intellectually stimulating read!

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