Keith Laumer

Updated Monday, 06 January, 2014

Retief. What a guy. Reminds me of Jim DiGriz (The Stainless Steel Rat -- see the author Harry Harrison).  Gets into interesting situations. Somehow manages to get out of them with surprising ease. Seems to know things nobody around him does. Even has the same first name (early Retief books refer to him as Jame, but in later books, that gets shortened to Jim). The biggest difference is that DiGriz is a criminal, while Retief works for the government. Which government, by the way, seems to be run by people of the same caliber as Dilbert's boss. These books are fun, lighthearted reading. As for the Bolo series, think of a tank. A large, self-aware tank. One that moves very quickly. That's kind of what a Bolo is. The books I have read so far kind of track the Bolo through some of its evolution, from initial concept to much later generations. Makes Robotech look like children's toys. Very good books. I like these better than the Retief books.

Books I've Read by Keith Laumer

Earthblood (with Rosel George Brown)
Terra had had the leadership of the Galaxy, culturally and politically. But five thousand years ago a warlike alien race suddenly appeared, also spacefaring. A thousand-year war was fought, the end result being a blockade of Terra by the Niss, and the multiple races of the galaxy relapsed into an almost anarchic Babel. (from the back of the book)


  1. Honor of the Regiment (Mass Market Paperback) (created by Keith Laumer) (short stories)
    Honor of the Regiment


    What is a BOLO? The symbol of brute force, intransigent defiance, and adamantine will. But on a deeper level, the BOLO is the Lancelot of the future: The perfect knight, sans peur et sans reproche. The perfect gentleman. With plated armor, a laser canon, an electronic brain, and wheels. Honor of the Regiment is the amplified history of the BOLO, from the first armored AI on Earth rescuing an American legion stranded in a forgotten part of the glob, to the last peacekeeper among the stars, defending humanity from aliens that threaten the entire species . . .


    S.M. Stirling:Lost Legion
    S.N. Lewitt:Camelot
    J. Andrew Keith:The Legacy of Leonidas
    Todd Johnson:Ploughshare
    Mike Resnick & Barry N. Malzberg:Ghosts
    Christopher Stasheff:The Ghost of Resartus
    Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon:Operation Desert Fox
    David Drake:As Our Strength Lessens

    (book description)

  2. The Unconquerable (Mass Market Paperback) (created by Keith Laumer) (short stories)
    The Unconquerable


    The Unconquerable continues the Amplified History of the Bolo: From the earliest entries in the Bolo saga comes the account of a besieged American platoon and their experimental robot tank facing an enemy who controls a live volcano and inundates his opponents with molten lava. In the more distant future, Bolos must survive alien computer viruses infecting their electronic brains, repel attacks on their assigned planet by space pirates, outmaneuver alien battle machines with firepower and robotic intelligence equal to their own, and challenge their own programming when that programming requires them to slaughter an enemy even though the war has ended. Throughout the galaxy, in the millennia to come, the formidable Bolos stand guard as the faithful and tireless protectors of the human race.


    S.M. Stirling:Ancestral Voices
    S. N. Lewitt:Sir Kendrick's Lady
    Shirley Meier:You're It
    Christopher Stasheff:Shared Experience
    Karen Wehrstein:The Murphosensor Bomb
    Todd Johnson:Legacy
    William R. Forstchen:Endings

    (book description)

  3. The Triumphant (Paperback edition) (created by Keith Laumer) (short stories)
    The Triumphant

    Two new powerhouses of science fiction, David Weber and Linda Evans, continue the amplified history of the Bolo, the nearly indestructible tank/artificial intelligence that changed the shape of the galaxy.

    David Weber tells the story of a Bolo, the epitome of the knight sans peur et sans reproche, who is driven over the edge by the very humans it is pledged to protect.

    Linda Evans gives us the tale of the "Little Dogs Gone" in a which a bored young woman on a frontier planet tinkers with a mothballed Bolo and revives it, only to discover that the artificial intelligence that ran it is hopelessly brain-dead . . . .


    Linda Evans:The Farmer's Wife
    Linda Evans & Robert R. Hollingsworth:Little Red Hen
    Linda EvansLittle Dog Gone
    David Weber:Miles to Go
    no author listed:Technical Notes

    (book description)

  4. Last Stand (Mass Market Paperback) (created by Keith Laumer) (short stories)
    Last Stand

    (But then, the first Bolos WERE GM products....)

    Controlled by their tireless electronic brains which were programmed to admit no possibility of defeat, the gigantic robot tanks known as Bolos were almost indestructible, and nearly unstoppable. Almost. Nearly. A sufficiently determined enemy armed with nearly limitless firepower and willing to sustain terrible losses could destroy a Bolo. But even a terminally damaged Bolo is still an opponent to reckon with. And as long as a Bolo's artificial intelligence retains a flicker of conciousness, its indomitable drive to defend the human race against all enemies will propel it forward. Bolos can be destroyed—but they never surrender!


    S.M. Stirling:The Sixth Sun
    David Weber:The Traitor
    John Mina & William R. Forstchen:Yesterday's Gods
    Robert Greenberger:Memories of Erin
    William H. Keith, Jr.:Hold Until Relieved
    Todd Johnson:A Question of Valor
    Steve Perry & John DeCamp:In the Flesh
    Mark Thies:And Don't Come Back
    David Weber:A Time to Kill
    Linda Evans:Beyond Concordiat Space

    (book description)

  5. (I haven't read this book, yet) Old Guard (Mass Market Paperback) (created by Keith Laumer) (short stories)
    Old Guard


    The onslaught of the Melconians was not the last conflict that humanity's interstellar Concordiat would have to face. For now the Kezdai—a newly encountered species with war at the center of their philosophy—have taken to arms against the Concordiat and its colony worlds. For war, the Terrans have only one answer:

    Break out the Bolos!

    Self-aware robotic tanks, the Bolos have fought bravely and well since the days when humans fought each other. Now they battle across the stars to defend us all . . . and though the times are perilous, we've never been in better hands than those of our old metal guardians: Keith Laumer's greatest creation, the Bolos.


    Mark Thies:Incursion
    John Mina:Rook's Gambit
    J. Steven York & Dan Wesley Smith:The Sky is Falling
    William H. Keith, Jr.:Brothers

    (book description)

  6. (I haven't read this book, yet) Cold Steel (Mass Market Paperback) (created by Keith Laumer) (short stories)
    Cold Steel


    Spreading throughout the galaxy, the human race finds that some of its new neighbors are very unfriendly. But when threats arise, the humans know what do do: Break out the Bolos!

    Gigantic tanks, with enough firepower for an army, controlled by a human-level artificial intelligence, and programmed to defend their creators at all costs, the Bolos have been decisive factors in battle since the time centuries ago when humans still warred with each other. Now they battle on star systems across the galaxy to defend us all.

    The dangers are great, but the Bolos are faithful and fearless. And though Bolos can sometimes be destroyed, they never surrender! The saga of Keith Laumer's greatest creation, the Bolo continues. And though the Bolos are formed from cold steel, they have warmer hearts than many of the flesh-and-blood creatures they protect.


    no author listed:Prologue
    J. Steven York & Dan Wesley Smith:The Greater Machine
    Linda Evans:Though Hell Should Bar the Way

    (book description)

The Retief Series

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