Bill, The Galactic Hero (Harry Harrison) - Berkley Publishing - 1965 - 143 pages

Tricked into enlistment, Fuse Tender Sixth Class Bill joined 89 million others to fight the galactic wars against the Chingers for who knows what reason.  Syfy author Harrison, who also wrote the Stainless Steel Rat series and the idea for Soylent Green (Make Room! Make Room!) started the "Bill" series in 1965 but did not return to it until 1989-1994 for seven more installments.  Harrison started his syfy career writing for the Flash Gordon comic strip (1958-1964).  Our Bill accidentally became a hero and was awarded the "Purple Dart with Coalsack Nebula Cluster" and the right arm of the reverend/laundry officer.  This short novel clearly identifies the hopelessness of wars and those who are thrust into them.  Towards the end, an enemy Chinger asks Bill: "Why do you homo sapiens like to fight wars?"  Bill's response is: " ... I guess we're just not civilized."  Truths are often found in fiction. [JAM 10/26/2010]