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A Plague of Demons & Other Stories

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Invisible aliens ruled the Earth, and only one man could see them-and they were hunting him down. A complete novel of science fiction adventure and a host of short novels in one large volume. A Plague of Demons: One man found out the secret behind the aliens who controlled the world, harvesting "dead" soldiers to fight wars on distant worlds-and only he could stop them, if Invisible aliens ruled the Earth, and only one man could see them-and they were hunting him down. A complete novel of science fiction adventure and a host of short novels in one large volume. A Plague of Demons: One man found out the secret behind the aliens who controlled the world, harvesting "dead" soldiers to fight wars on distant worlds-and only he could stop them, if he could keep from getting harvested himself. Thunderhead: An officer has manned an outpost on a lonely planet for years, watching for the alien enemy that may never come, forgotten by the bureaucracy which sent him there-and then the enemy came! Test to Destruction: Aliens are testing a human prisoner to determine how serious a foe the human race might be-and they have chosen the wrong man to Test to Destruction. And much more.


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Invisible aliens ruled the Earth, and only one man could see them-and they were hunting him down. A complete novel of science fiction adventure and a host of short novels in one large volume. A Plague of Demons: One man found out the secret behind the aliens who controlled the world, harvesting "dead" soldiers to fight wars on distant worlds-and only he could stop them, if Invisible aliens ruled the Earth, and only one man could see them-and they were hunting him down. A complete novel of science fiction adventure and a host of short novels in one large volume. A Plague of Demons: One man found out the secret behind the aliens who controlled the world, harvesting "dead" soldiers to fight wars on distant worlds-and only he could stop them, if he could keep from getting harvested himself. Thunderhead: An officer has manned an outpost on a lonely planet for years, watching for the alien enemy that may never come, forgotten by the bureaucracy which sent him there-and then the enemy came! Test to Destruction: Aliens are testing a human prisoner to determine how serious a foe the human race might be-and they have chosen the wrong man to Test to Destruction. And much more.

30 review for A Plague of Demons & Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    YouKneeK

    This is an anthology of stories that were written by Keith Laumer back around the 1959-1970 time frame. Baen has published several short story collections along these lines, each featuring different authors’ works from a few decades ago. Many of them are (or, at least, were) available from the Baen Free Library. I’ve tried a couple of Baen’s anthologies from different authors and I haven’t typically been that crazy for them, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I wouldn’t rank it among my f This is an anthology of stories that were written by Keith Laumer back around the 1959-1970 time frame. Baen has published several short story collections along these lines, each featuring different authors’ works from a few decades ago. Many of them are (or, at least, were) available from the Baen Free Library. I’ve tried a couple of Baen’s anthologies from different authors and I haven’t typically been that crazy for them, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I wouldn’t rank it among my favorites, but Keith Laumer’s writing seems to hold up pretty well today and I enjoyed the anthology for the most part. There’s an intentional theme in this anthology involving alien contact with humans. This ranges from alien invasions to long-standing wars between humans and aliens. There are also first contact situations. Not all of the aliens are unfriendly, but the majority did seem to be. The first story in the anthology, A Plague of Demons, was long enough to be considered a full-length novel. The other stories varied in size. Some were extremely short and others were long enough to have some meat to them. Looking back on the book, I find that a lot of the stories have started to blur together for me. I find this true of most anthologies – I’m not a huge fan of the format, because I prefer more meat to my stories and I need to spend more time with a story in order for it to be memorable. However, the first story, A Plague of Demons sticks out as one of the better ones and I remember that one well. It had some twists in it that I wasn’t expecting, as did a couple of the other stories. All of the stories are told from a single male point-of-view character. Most of those characters were pretty likeable, although there were exceptions. The stories were usually set in the future, and there was often a bit of a dystopian vibe. There seemed to me to be a slightly dark tone to most of the stories, with a somewhat pessimistic view of what the future held and also perhaps a tendency to portray authority figures as power-hungry or at least self-absorbed. In a couple of the stories, there was a laughable case of the main character meeting and apparently “falling in love” with a female character whom he knew nothing about but who was of course breathtakingly beautiful. But that played a very small role in the stories in question, and most of the stories were romance-free. I have five other e-books by Keith Laumer, and I believe most of them are anthologies. I liked this one well enough that I will probably read them eventually if they maintain the same or better quality as this one. Anthologies can be a good choice when I need something short and uncomplicated to read because I don’t have enough reading time to invest in a longer, more complicated story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Howard Brazee

    A selection of Laumer stories that I was already familiar with. Old style SF, with heroes and bad guys.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I’m not rating this book, because I only took it out in order to read the title story. I have no idea of the quality of the rest of it. I’d rate that novella either two or three stars, depending. I have to admit that, while I read it, I swung from hating it to almost liking it, and back to not liking it all that much again. “A Plague of Demons” starts out as a sort of James Bond-in-the-near-future story, descends into a Bug Eyed Monster invasion tale, and somehow winds up trying to be a Miltonian I’m not rating this book, because I only took it out in order to read the title story. I have no idea of the quality of the rest of it. I’d rate that novella either two or three stars, depending. I have to admit that, while I read it, I swung from hating it to almost liking it, and back to not liking it all that much again. “A Plague of Demons” starts out as a sort of James Bond-in-the-near-future story, descends into a Bug Eyed Monster invasion tale, and somehow winds up trying to be a Miltonian epic. It is easily the most “masculine” or homo-centric story I’ve ever read: not only are there no female characters with speaking parts, there aren’t any included as window dressing or even random bystanders as far as I can recall. The main character exists in a world that is totally, 100% male. The closest thing to a love interest in the book is a brain damaged hulking sailor, which gave me the impression that the author was gay, although there’s certainly no open acknowledgement of that, either. Apart from that, much of the story is an odd celebration of the main character’s increasing dehumanization into a perfect combat unit. At the end, this had reached such an extreme that I was reminded of Norman Spinrad’s “The Iron Dream,” which, let’s remember, was a deliberate attempt at writing science fiction from a fascist perspective. So what’s to like about it? Well, acknowledging the rules and limitations of Laumer’s universe, he’s fairly creative in escalating the warfare from a highly localized, to an increasingly cosmic level. The pacing is impressive – there is rarely a letup in the constant imposition of increasingly dire threat to the protagonist, and action is pretty much non-stop, somehow without being tedious. Laumer’s writing style is an interesting adaptation of hardboiled detective fiction in a sci fi setting. His use of metaphor, though it can get out of control, is often amusing. Here are some examples: Page 71: “I was as weak as a diplomatic protest.” (That one got a laugh out of me, and then another one when I learned that Laumer had worked as a diplomat before becoming a writer). Page 72: “The minutes crawled by like stepped-on roaches.” (Chuckle). Page 73: “I heard feet on the deck now – and a soft padding that sent a chill through me like an iron spear.” (Hm). Page 74: “The fever had drained my strength as effectively as a drained artery.” (All right already!). It started to take a toll, on me at least, but I admit that some of those were clever. In the end, the whole story hinges on his effort to make it a cosmic battle for freedom against slavery, and for me, there just wasn’t enough to sell that. Laumer’s strength is in describing action and combat, but when he tries to examine motivations and philosophy, he just seems to collapse into cliché and Cold War slogans. I’ll admit that reading this story was an interesting experience, but I don’t think I’ll seek out any more of his work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I'm genuinely glad that the folks at Baen Books have made the effort to keep some older authors' works in print and available. I had read some of Mr. Laumer's work with the Bolo and Retief series previously, but this collection was new to me. I really enjoyed the stories in this set. Yes, there are portions of these stories that show their age. Dated references aside, the language and plots are smooth and quite readable. The title story caught me off guard. I didn't expect it to go the direction i I'm genuinely glad that the folks at Baen Books have made the effort to keep some older authors' works in print and available. I had read some of Mr. Laumer's work with the Bolo and Retief series previously, but this collection was new to me. I really enjoyed the stories in this set. Yes, there are portions of these stories that show their age. Dated references aside, the language and plots are smooth and quite readable. The title story caught me off guard. I didn't expect it to go the direction it went ~ and that counts for quite a lot to me these days. The other stories were just as well done. There was a constant quality level across them all – and it was good. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for high quality stories involving human contact with aliens. They don't all turn out the way you might think... but they're all worth reading to the end.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This was a free ebook for my kindle. I got this because of the best known story A Plague of Demons, which I had read before. I am familiar with Laumer's Retief stories which are a sf satire on cold war diplomacy, and still readable. The other stories are competent and written in the 50s and 60s style of hard tech/political sf which Laumer does fairly well. the characters are somewhat stereotypical, as the men are tough and resourceful and the women quiet attractive and intelligent but definitely This was a free ebook for my kindle. I got this because of the best known story A Plague of Demons, which I had read before. I am familiar with Laumer's Retief stories which are a sf satire on cold war diplomacy, and still readable. The other stories are competent and written in the 50s and 60s style of hard tech/political sf which Laumer does fairly well. the characters are somewhat stereotypical, as the men are tough and resourceful and the women quiet attractive and intelligent but definitely part of the support and not the action. His ideas and aliens are well executed and believable, but a bit formulaic after the first few stories. I think a whole series of stories were written about the sentient war machines, later called Bolos, but I think I will avoid them

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sean Seger

    The titular story in this collection of novels and short stories was not the best in the collection. I actually preferred the second story "Thunderhead" with it's faster pace, and more likable characters. The titular story in this collection of novels and short stories was not the best in the collection. I actually preferred the second story "Thunderhead" with it's faster pace, and more likable characters.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steven Cole

    Lots of dystopia. Lots of "saved by mystical mind powers." Not really my cup of tea --- I like my human heroes to actually overcome their problems using the abilities they've had all along. When mystical new powers show up at the end of a story, I feel exceedingly cheated. Lots of dystopia. Lots of "saved by mystical mind powers." Not really my cup of tea --- I like my human heroes to actually overcome their problems using the abilities they've had all along. When mystical new powers show up at the end of a story, I feel exceedingly cheated.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Griffin

    I liked the stories in the collection, especially the title story. I couldn't read the book all the way through though. Eventually, I went back and finished it. Maybe I'll have better luck with other compilations by Laumer. I liked the stories in the collection, especially the title story. I couldn't read the book all the way through though. Eventually, I went back and finished it. Maybe I'll have better luck with other compilations by Laumer.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sadie

    I can't decide if I didn't like it because it wasn't my usual sort of genre, or if it was terrible and written badly. I can't decide if I didn't like it because it wasn't my usual sort of genre, or if it was terrible and written badly.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Read the stories Doorstep, which was ok. and Test to Destruction which was quite good and described the good and the bad within human nature. Did not read the rest of the stories in the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    I'm not sure why I like this book so much but I do. It is like the old pulp sci fi. I'm not sure why I like this book so much but I do. It is like the old pulp sci fi.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rich Murkin

    It's a truly dreadful book, but I did derive some enjoyment from the ridiculous twists of the plot. It's a truly dreadful book, but I did derive some enjoyment from the ridiculous twists of the plot.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Vucak

    Laumer at his best.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gary Shepherd

    Typical Laumer. A good read. This is probably my third time reading this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Classic wish-fulfillment -- fun but simple.

  16. 4 out of 5

    colleen

    read 06.03.06

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  18. 4 out of 5

    Isobel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    Meh. The opening story, "A Plague of Demons" did not hold up well since its initial publication. It felt like an outline to a novel that got filled in a little. Some of the shorter stories were a little better, but still very dated. The final story suffered the same type of issues I had with the first. They both seemed like a series of short stories strung together. Meh. The opening story, "A Plague of Demons" did not hold up well since its initial publication. It felt like an outline to a novel that got filled in a little. Some of the shorter stories were a little better, but still very dated. The final story suffered the same type of issues I had with the first. They both seemed like a series of short stories strung together.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wade Scheuerman

    ebook

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ray A

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bob Alexander

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carifax

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Smith

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jake Schaffner

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

  30. 5 out of 5

    James

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