Quick, what story features foreign soldiers on a blue planet, a hero who wears a face that’s not his own, an alien culture that our hero infiltrates only to fall in love with one of the blue-skinned female natives, and the colonization of the native’s natural habit for cynical corporate gain? No, not Avatar…Blue War!
Blue War features the chameleon-faced Jeremy Stake, a mutant from Punktown who is also an ex-Vietnam-style veteran of the Blue War. The Blur War took place on Sinan, an earth-like world in another dimension that has a blue-skinned, black-eyed people. Like so many of our modern wars, the occupying soldiers were an intervening force in a civil war between the Haa Jin and the Jin Ha. Fans of Deadstock know Stake’s story, told in flashbacks, and will welcome the return of his lover, Thi Gonh. On opposite sides of the war, Corporal Stake captured the female sniper, protected her while she was in his custody, and became her lover. Much of Blue War deals with the decidedly unromantic aftermath of such a fairytale pairing.
Stake doesn’t just return to the lover and battleground that haunts him; all of Punktown visits too in the form of a self-replicating virus that builds the city from blue material, block by block, building by building. When it’s discovered that the city is even replicating human beings, international attention returns to Sinan and all the sins of the war’s past.
Blue War is a gripping read, thrusting readers into a world even more foreign than Punktown. The ending wraps things up a little too obliquely for my tastes – the arch-villain’s defeat happens almost independently of all the protagonists – but the ride is worth it. The ending, sad, thoughtful, romantic, and yet appropriate, will stick with you long after the blue fog lifts. Blue War is as much a romance story as it is a sci-fi action mystery.
And if that sounds familiar, just remember…Blue War did it first.