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Summary

The planet is called Banshee. The air is unbreathable, the water poisonous. It is the home of the most implacable enemies that humanity, in all its interstellar expansion, has ever encountered.

Felix is a scout in A-team Two. Highly competent, he is the sole survivor of mission after mission. Yet he is a man consumed by fear and hatred. And he is protected not only by his custom-fitted body armor, the culmination of 10,000 years of the armorers' craft, but also by an odd being which seems to live with him, a cold killing machine he calls "the Engine."

©1984 John Steakley (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Gripping, forceful, and compelling....A tour de force." ( Kliatt)

What listeners say about Armor

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Mechanised reality

If you could sum up Armor in three words, what would they be?

Better starship troopers

What was one of the most memorable moments of Armor?

Steakley conveys the emotions and concepts of both war and the resulting loss incredibly. His machine concept will be familiar to many.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The final scenes are good - summarising really what the book is about and the themes that run through it.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Man, machine, war.

1 person found this helpful

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Great idea could have been better

Wasn't a big fan of the performance. I had wanted to listen to this story for some time as I heard the battle scenes were meant to be very good. They were and the main character in his battle suit is an unfeeling robot like killer who is legendary in his ability to overcome. I really liked this. Then the story takes a turn and we meet another character and follow him. This is where I began to get bored it did pick up again at the end when the soldier comes back but in between I found uninteresting.

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A wretched experience

By the time you get through this garbage you'll feel as beat up as the protagonist. The story starts out interesting, sort of, but then changes time and location and goes right downhill. I would have given up then, but this tale has some good reviews so I made myself stick it out till the bitter end.

I think the main issue is the author's laziness. Nothing seems thought about or planned and every time we come to a difficult scene that might call for some effort the writer just sidesteps it with a quick bit of narration that sketches in what happened. It's not even that he doesn't follow the 'show don't tell' rule, most of the time he only 'suggests'. One line goes 'I said something provocative.' I mean, he couldn't even be bothered to think of a line. He probably felt pretty clever doing this when he wrote it, but it's just a continual series of slaps in the reader's face. On the flip-side, when we get to something the author does feel like writing about, we don't hear the end of it. It just keeps going and going and going. This book's title ought to be 'Tedium.'

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Couldn't get into it. Too jumpy and fractured

I couldn't get into this book. The plot was too fractured, and jumped around, expecting the reader to either already know what was going on, or be prepared to listen to swathed of conversation and plot before things were explained in passing.

It was saved by an excellent reading by Tom Weiner, but ultimately I found it a bit frustrating, and couldn't finish it.

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Great sci fi epic

Really enjoyed this kept wondering what's happened and yes I guessed the end twist but loved it.

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Classic story telling.

An interesting read with some likeable characters. A few too many loose ends for me at the end but still thoroughly enjoyed the book.

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  • George Dean
  • 19-03-13

An intense and unusual work, wonderfully performed

There are really two stories here, that eventually come together, and they are somewhat different. The Felix narrative tracks the experience of an individual soldier in an interstellar war. Steakley expends little time on the tech details and essentially none on the politics, the war is apparently completely pointless, but focuses instead on the actual experience that Felix endures. The writing is distinctive, with a chopped flow and bursts of intensity that mirror the fighting, and Weiner's narration captures this. It's very fast paced, and I found it even a bit emotionally draining. Felix has a rough ride.

The Jack Crow character provides the comic release and I found that storyline a welcome break from the intensity of the Felix chapters. Again, Weiner brings out the fun in that part of the story.

Ultimately Armor is a psychological fable, more than simple military SF, examining how people think, act and feel under extreme situations, the nature of heroism, the many ways people are motivated... some people look tough but aren't, some are brave and don't know why, some know how to lead but don't want to... lot's of unexpected little character dimensions.

Be prepared for large parts of this story to make little sense or be complete mysteries. Why the war? How do the warring technologies match up? Where does this fight fit into the larger war? How could their intel be so completely wrong? I didn't mind this; the story is not about the war, it's about these people, and this is a much more realistic way that such events are actually experienced. Only in novels do we get the "God view" that gives us knowledge of everything. Not in this novel, however. This one's all about the characters and they repeatedly say that they don't have any idea what's going on, and since they don't, neither do we.

64 people found this helpful

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  • clifford
  • 23-04-15

Hella Good - Not a simple military sci-fi story

I have read 1000's and 1000's of genre books. When I hand out a sci-fi to friends as a recommendation, I often give them this one.

This book has two halves. The first one, think Starship Troopers the movie. I think the movie took more from this book than from Heinlein's story. Only this book has a soul, whereas the movie was all campy fun.

The second half starts off so quietly, its disconcerting. But if you give it a shot, it will reward you.

All together, this is one of my favorite genre books. I am saddened that the author died before writing anything other than one more book. If he had done more I think he would have been remembered as one of the giants of the field.

35 people found this helpful

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  • usmcsky
  • 31-07-15

Excellent story

The storyline was incredible. Fantastic reader as well. It left the listener wanting more and cheering on the hero throughout. Delightful characters, great plot, and articulate performance.... highly recommend.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Shawn Smith
  • 01-04-15

Loved the Book 25 years ago.. Even better now.

Excellent story telling. The book stands on its own but, this narration makes it so easy to just Listen and listen some more..
Anybody that is fan of high tech futuristic fiction will love this and be able put yourself in the main characters shoes and live the journey. Just As when I read the book over 20 years ago as a teen, I found myself Talking back to it and laughing and gritting my teeth again.
Loved it all.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Barry
  • 27-03-15

A weird addiction

After my initial reading of this book, guess how many times I've listened to this audiobook? Go ahead guess. The answer is, I can't tell you how many times I've listened to this audiobook!
Do I love it? Yes. And the narrator? Absolutely great. He has to be one of the top three best narrators I've ever listened to. I can't believe that he's doing all the voices.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aerindel
  • 16-09-09

Not just a story this is literature

Like the others who have just posted reviews this is one of those books that I have been keeping an eye out for since I joined Audible. Like the Hyperion cantos this is book is more than science fiction, it is real literature that is a pleasure to read. At its heart this is a story about two very different psychopaths, One a bitter semi suicidal man who is driven by an inner demon that forces him to survive at all costs, and the other, A passionate maniac with a cunning vicious streak that he uses to accomplish his goals despite the guilt he occasionally feels.
This is not a David Weber or John Ringo style military novel. The technology is painted in broad strokes and in most places lacks any real detail. The energy weapons are simple called "Blazers", thrown weapons are "Blaze Bombs" the artillery are "Laser Cannon" Normally I hate this generic kind of sci-fi but in this book the characters are so well written that you feel the battle more than see it. This author is not a world builder or an armchair general but someone who can write the soul of a real killer, something that many so called military fiction writers fail at. Many people may not "get" this book but for those of us that have felt the touch of the "Engine" this is book is a striking experience.

Normally I don't rate the narrator, caring more about the story instead but in this case I will say that he does an excellent job. You can always tell who's speaking just by the voice of the character and the voices fit perfectly with what I imagined when I first read this book.




44 people found this helpful

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  • robin
  • 24-07-15

Great book, well acted

Can't recommend enough. Still feels fresh and relevant. Get this book. Felix personifies the soldiers dilemma with humanity and sense of self.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Pat
  • 09-09-14

Action and surprise ending, couldn't put it down..

What did you love best about Armor?

While I am always a fan of military Sci Fi, this books pace and unfolding storyline when I first read it in book form kept me reading till I finished it in one sitting. I was surprised to see it in audio.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The main character. Since this is a first person book.

What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

His narration made you see and feel with the character. Many readers detract from the story with their performances. This one helps pull you into the narrative.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The first scene in the book which is of considerable length, serves well to draw you into the rest of the book.

Any additional comments?

I have read and listened to this a number of times and the story is always one I like revisiting. The action is well paced and believable. The storyline unfolds well and hints at a greater revelation of the main character. Unlike many military Sci Fi books, the details of this one seem plausible and don't get in the way of the story. If you are looking for a good action book with decent character development and some twists and turns... pick this one up.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Grokkin geek
  • 01-09-20

Never read anything by this horrible person.

Was kinda bored to begin with, but I listen to books while working, so the bar is pretty low for me to finish a story. In the early part of the third section of the novel, one of the characters begins to relate a story from her past. She tells an agonizingly protracted tale of how she let a puppy die in helpless agony and struggle. I don't care what artistic reason the author had for it, I will never read or listen to anything he has or will ever do for fear of having such an unnecessarily graphic scene pop up again. Shame on you.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Nick F.
  • 20-07-15

Best sci-fi book.

Terrific book. lots of fighting and lots of "ants." there needs to be more authors like John Steakley. also has a great narrator.

3 people found this helpful