Cover image for Rats, bats & vats
Rats, bats & vats
Freer, Dave.
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Publication Information:
Riverdale, N.Y. : Baen Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
388 pages ; 25 cm
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Chip Connolly was a conscripted grunt in trouble. Here he was, stuck behind enemy lines with a bunch of cyber-uplifted rats and bats. Rats with human speech, but with rat values. Rats that knew what was worth fighting for: sex, food and strong drink. True, they were holed up on a ruined wine-farm with enough brandy to swim in. Trouble was, there wasn't much food. And with shrew-metabolism the rats had to eat. He was next on the menu. The bats were no help: they were crazy revolutionaries planning to throw off the yoke of human enslavement -- with high explosive. As if that wasn't bad enough, there was the girl they'd rescued. Rich. Beautiful. With a passionate crush on her 'heroic' rescuer. She came with added extras: a screwball alien tutor, and a cyber-uplifted pet galago -- a tiny little lemur-like critter with a big mouth and delusions about being the world's greatest lover.

So: he'd volunteered for a suicide mission. Of course things only got worse. The whole crew decided to come along. Seven rats, five bats, a galago, two humans, a sea urchin-like alien and an elderly vineyard tractor without brakes ... against several million inimical aliens. He was going to die.

Mind you, not dying could be even more terrible. That girl might get him.

Author Notes

Eric Flint was born in southern California in 1947. He received a bachelor's degree from UCLA in 1968 and did some work toward a Ph.D. in history, with a specialization in history of southern Africa in the 18th and early 19th centuries, also at UCLA. After leaving the doctoral program over political issues, he supported himself from that time until age 50 as a laborer, machinist and labor organizer.

In 1993, his short story entitled Entropy and the Strangler won first place in the Winter 1992 Writers of the Future contest. His first novel, Mother of Demons, was published in 1997 and was picked by the Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. He became a full-time writer in 1999. He writes science fiction and fantasy works including The Philosophical Strangler and the Belisarius series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Space opera grows fur and wings in this jape by two fairly new but accomplished writers. The planet Harmony and Reason is being invaded by the Magh, insectoid hive-dwelling aliens who believe in neither quality. The friendly Korozhet, who resemble sea urchins, have aided H&R's humans with intelligence-enhancing biological implants and force fields, but the invaders are gaining ground. Enter Chip, a vat-grown human grunt, and a motley of enhanced rats, who have been overexposed to Shakespeare, and bats, who all sound like Irish stereotypes. Chip rescues kidnapped aristocrat Virginia Shaw and her Korozhet tutor, an enhanced simian "pet" (think Zorro as a foot-high monkey), only to realize that the only way to friendly territory is through Magh-held ground. With a scrounged farm tractor and a load of fertilizer and alcohol, the company cuts a fine swathe through enemy ranks. In the end, Jack has Jill, the secret of the Korozhet is revealed, and all nonsurvivors have gone down in glory. Logical? Hardly. Politically correct? C'mon! Great fun? Ah, yes. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Freer (The Forlorn) and Flint (Mother of Demons) join forces in this lighthearted SF offering set on the colony world of Harmony and Reason, which is being invaded by the dreaded, insectoid alien Magh'. Chip, a former sous-chef and "vat"Äa human bred for hard laborÄfinds himself trapped behind enemy lines with the rats and bats of the title, genetically engineered animals designed for close-quarters combat, stealth and plenty of off-color wisecrackery. But when Virginia Shaw, a daughter of the yuppie Shareholder class, gets caught behind enemy lines with her alien tutor, and Chip and Co. rescue her, the sexual sparks start to fly. Chip and Ginny recognize that their class hatred is an obstacle to defeating the Magh'; when the two learn to cooperate, everyone soon lends a hand or paw or wing, refurbishing a rusty old farm tractor, on which animal and human careen through Magh' defenses. Although the military SF plot is peppered with its share of Dirty Dozen-esque cliffhangers, the sharpest moments in this giddy entertainment are those where the rodents blithely skewer human mores. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

On the planet HAR (Harmony and Reason), vat-grown humansDalong with genetically enhanced rats and batsDwage a seemingly endless war against the alien Magh' (or Maggots). Coauthors Freer (The Forlorn) and Flint (1632) present a seriocomic epic of military fiction, complete with suicide missions, impossible odds, and an unlikely boy-meets-girl romance. A good choice for hard-core aficionados of blood-and-guts military sf. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.