Oct 25

At ease ... if that's possibleClick for larger image

Good Show Sir Comments: That medal must have cost him an arm and a leg.

Published 1979

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 8.40 out of 10)

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18 Responses to “Bill, the Galactic Hero”

  1. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Sloppy cover artist! The text of the book clearly states that Bill got a new arm grafted onto his shoulder ON THE SAME SIDE as he lost his old one.

    (But the new arm was a right-hand arm placed on his left side… or was it the other way around? :-S)

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    Also the cover to Shaw’s Arms and the Man, That’s Gotta Be Difficult to Put Your Trousers On.

  3. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    I was going to object that the book is a parody, which should go against GSS protocol…but goodness, that’s a horrid cover!

  4. fred Says:

    This cover rates a 2 guns salute

  5. Francis Boyle Says:

    Light up medals: an idea whose time has come.

  6. Tom Noir Says:

    Bill knew what he signed up for!

  7. Anna T. Says:

    I wonder if he’s related to Zaphod Beeblebrox, by any chance.

    And why does he have a large, glowing, glaring eye in the middle of his chest?

  8. Bibliomancer Says:

    @Tom Noir – Can’t beat that. Good Show Sir!

  9. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Can you see them?
    Parody covers
    Hurt our eyes
    Well, that’s no surprise

    When we see them
    Here on GSS we
    Turn away
    For the rest of the day

    Pay no mind to how they look
    They’re sitting on a different kind of book
    And our lips are sealed
    Our lips are sealed

  10. Tor Mented Says:

    So exile and maiming are just a “misadventure”?
    The next time you throw a salute, put your hand at the level of your mouth and see what reaction you get.
    Needs “A Farewell to Arms” tag.

  11. Tor Mented Says:

    I heard his fiancée got a letter
    That told how Billy died that day.
    The letter said that he was a hero
    She should be proud he died that way.
    I heard she threw the letter away.

    She said: “Billy, don’t be a hero
    Don’t try for medals of ting.
    Billy don’t be a hero
    Don’t let them shoot off your … thing.”

  12. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    BILDAGALAC wants to learn SALUTE, but BILDAGALAC can’t learn more than four moves.

    Congratulations! BILDAGALAC learned SALUTE and forgot ANARMANALEG.

  13. rccola Says:

    The Left Hand of Darkness–The Sequel

  14. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Ok, I can’t resist, and anyway it’s probably in the book, but, I wonder if his two hands fight over who gets to pull the gun out of the holster?

    “Hey, it’s my turn!”
    “No, you drew last time, it’s my turn.”
    “You’re wrong, I tried to draw last time, but I missed and you grabbed the gun.”
    No, you bumbling fool, that was the time before. You definitely had the last turn.”
    “I’m going to just call ‘shotgun’ from now on.”
    “You do that, and I’ll call ‘handgun.’ We’ll see who wins.”
    “Why you I oughtta . . . .”
    “Why you I oughtta . . . .”

  15. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Good book (very definitely a parody of the manly-man milSF), terrible cover.

    A quick Google reveals that most of the covers are horrible.

    @Tom Noir: indeed, Good Show Sir!

    A farewell to arm, a hello to a different arm.

    And there’s a movie you can watch online, free. (Only the intro is animation) Theme tune by Iggy Pop!

  16. Hammy Says:

    A favorite book of mine. Yes, it’s kind of a parody, but very much in the spirit of Harrison’s other works. Bil (he gets docked an ‘L’ by the NCO at the induction center, who says “two l’s for officers only”) does lose his left arm in combat, and it is replaced by the right arm of one of his squadmates.

    The arm does retain some independence, naturally – Bil tries to flee after he is arrested for desertion, as I recall, and the duty sergeant (a countryman of the the fallen spacer who was the source of Bil’s right-left arm) orders the arm to stop Bil. The hand on that arm grabs onto the desk and won’t let go, thus preventing Bil from getting away.

    As GSSxN says, a good, fun book, and very much in the vein of Harrison’s philosophy as it pertains to war and the military.

  17. JuanPaul Says:

    “Aye, Aye, sir!”

  18. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Aye aye, aye aye, sir!

    One of the covers on Google for one of the sequels does properly show the wrong-facing arm as @Hammy mentioned. (Not wrong-footed, but wrong-handed!)

    The 3rd-nth books were written by others, so aren’t nearly as good and trenchant, but still a good way to pass an idle rainy afternoon.

    It was written as a satire-parody of/response to “Starship Troopers” and the whole slavish adulation of the military therein. Harrison, being a brilliant, sardonic man of realism and liberal inclination, felt much differently. He also served as an Army draftee in WWII (as opposed to Heinlein, who was a Naval officer in peacetime) and wrote what he knew. With a soupcon of being against the Vietnam war, which was on at the time he wrote the book, in 1965.

    At a con in 2003:

    Harrison closed by telling the story of how a tough Vietnam veteran came up to him and asked if he had written “Bill, the Galactic Hero”. Somewhat nervously, Harrison admitted he had, to which the vet responded, “That’s the only book that’s true about the military.”

    Plus it can be enjoyed on the dumb fun adventure level.

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