Book Review: Bill, The Galactic Hero

Bill, the Galactic Hero by Harry Harrison, Bill the Galactic Hero #1

Bill was a peaceful farm boy until he was lured by the martial music of a passing recruitment sergeant, drugged, and made to enlist in the Empire Space Corps. His basic training is sheer hell, but somehow he manages to stay alive and achieve the rank of Fusetender 6th Class in the process.

En route to an engagement with the lizard-like Chingers, Bill's spaceship is involved in a supreme contest and by accident Bill is the man who saves the ship and wins the day. A grateful Galaxy awards him its highest accolade, the Purple Dart, to be presented by the Emperor himself on the fabulous aluminium-covered capital planet, Helior. And then his adventures really start to take off in the most bizarre and nastily surprising ways...

Bill, the Galactic Hero popped up in the post rather spontaneously, and say for yourself when you see the cover, don't you want to read it? Pay close attention to the left arm (hint). When I opened the book I saw that the story was first published back in 1965. Wow. This was one of his earlier books and having wanting to read some fast paced Science Fiction I knew this book was rightly suited for the task. Bill, the Galactic Hero is a short read with just about 200 pages but I just found out that this is actually a series!

Bill, the Galactic Hero tells the story of Bill, who has his future turned quite upside down when one day he is transformed from an farm boy into a marine in the Empire Space Corps. Where Bill was first just a big guy minding the farm he is now all of a sudden fighting for a cause and put into a utter alien place for him. His farm training doesn't make him a marine, so he has to undergo a hard training to become a battle hardened 6th class Fusetender whether this is due to Bill's skill or his luck, well that is for you to judge. After the rigorous training Bill is send to fight big lizard-like creatures know as Chingers, nasty creatures! But the spaceship, Christine Keeler, he is traveling with gets caught in treacherous "waters" and in this scene Bill first starts to proof his title as Hero, as he saves the ship, at a cost though. Bill looses his left arm... I said take a look at the arm on the cover (enough said). Due to his heroic performance, Bill is granted a medal, the Purple Dart which will be given to Bill by the none other than the Emperor himself. And thus Bill makes his way to the planet of Helior... where even more surprises await him. The pacing and action up to this point was pretty fact, but Harry Harrison really turns it up a notch when Bill finally lands on Helior. Here he gets put into many tight situations that force him to become many things, quite the opposite of being a hero for the Empire, he becomes AWOL, on which stands the death penalty. Now Bill has to flee from his former drill sergeant to stay alive. In the end Bill still has to face a law suite, luckily he gets appointed a smart laywer, who can help him out... and everything seems to be ok? Or is it? 

Harry Harrison has created a highly eventful and very fun book on with the concept of space marines. I cant really compare this book to the currently published book as undoubtedly (this book was published back in 1965) this was the forerunner for many currently published Science Fiction books, but what I can say is that Bill the Galactic Hero still stand tall in 2015. I liked the book and the whole satirical atmosphere that Harry Harrision created in the story with Bill. It is over-the-top and a whole lot of fun to read. If you want to have a quick afternoon read that will definitely make you laugh grab this book. I know you will enjoy it! 



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