Bill, the Galatic Hero

Superlative SF adventure/satire by Harry Harrison

This fabulous short novel I read when I was about 17 years old, which is a long time gone. It taught me that SciFi could be witty, excruciatingly funny, and incisive. Along with Robert Sheckley, they chivved the boundaries of classic science Fiction by poking fun at all the Golden Tropes.

I wanted to be a writer then and there. Now, nearly 45 years later I have that opportunity. But I’ve never forgotten this story.

Bill, the greatest non-hero to ever try slide under the radar of every dangerous mission, avoid KP, go AWOL, break all the rules, and luck out. From the first pages, you know what road this book is going down. I’ve always held a little candle for H Harrison – read the Deathworld trilogy, the Stainless Steel Rat, and his machinations. But Bill outdid the all of them.

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Like Robert Sheckley, with his Status Civilisation – a bona fide classic – they showed me that writing SF isn’t all about ray guns, hyperdrive, bizzare aliens (though, sometimes they get a look in). If you haven’t read this book, knock it over in an afternoon – it’ll be fun.