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This is the last of the Retro Hugo nominees for Best Novel for me - actually surprisingly short (I got it in a joint printing with After World's End from 1939, which I haven't read yet). I hadn't appreciated that this was where the phrase "jonbar point" originated; I twitched with some excitement about a reference in a 1938 book to the defence of Paris in 1940 (though there are then Russian rocket pilots from 1947 which is a bit early); I was struck by the intense descriptions of hand-to-hand combat, practically trench warfare, which presumably must have been much in the war literature of the time reflecting the previous conflict (Williamson himself would have been too young to have any direct knowledge of it); I was amused by the notion of gathering together the best soldiers of all time, copied of course by Doctor Who among others; I winced a bit at Good Princess vs Bad Princess; and I was a bit surprised when it was over after less than a hundred pages. Compared to two of the other entries, this is light stuff, but it's ahead of No Award on my list.

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