Remembering Warriors: The Museum of Modern Warfare

I first read “The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch long enough ago that I can’t remember where I encountered it. It might have been included in a bundle sponsored by StoryBundle, but—then again—it might not.

Regardless of where I discovered the story—which isn’t really very important—it stayed with me. It’s a powerful and moving narrative, so I was delighted for the excuse to re-read it when I learned it was included in the Remembering Warriors bundle.

When the Ambassador to the Dylft System—a veteran of the Dylft Wars—receives orders to lead a diplomatic mission to Craznaust, she wonders at the wisdom of accepting the assignment.

Still, when she arrives at the controversial Museum of Modern Warfare, she believes herself prepared to face the past and address whatever diplomatic issue she might find there.
But nothing could prepare her for what she finds deep within the museum. Something long buried. Something that could change everything she thought she knew about the war.
Winner of the 2015 Analog Anlab Award for Best Short Story.

“The Museum of Modern Warfare” is a deeply internal story, compelling and immersive. We are embedded so firmly within the thoughts and feelings of the ambassador that we never even learn her name. And we don’t need to. Her experience as a veteran of war is the centerpiece here. In a sense she is everyman or everywoman who has fought and lost pieces of herself and survived.

As the narrative progresses, we learn the specifics of what made her military posting to Craznaust so challenging, how the planet eroded the sanity of many serving there, and why the ambassador accepted a return to that environment on a mission of diplomacy.

At the heart of the story, we discover a personal secret the ambassador buried so deeply that she’d forgotten she held it—along with the revelation of a universal truth about grief, mourning, and reconciliation.

I enjoyed the story very much, primarily because of how flawless was the illusion it created that I walked in the ambassador’s shoes. I felt like I was her, that I felt her feelings, thought her thoughts, experienced her experiences, and received the gift of her personal internal revelation.

10% of the royalties from the Remembering Warriors bundle will go to the Royal British Legion plus another 10% to Help for Heroes, two charities that support wounded and ex-service personnel and their families, in commemoration of the World War I centenary.

Comrades in Arms by Kevin J. Anderson
Outside the Walls by A. L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Norman Blood by Barbara G.Tarn
The Rise of a Warrior by Harvey Stanbrough
Total War by Russ Crossley
“Resonant Bronze” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Siren by Blaze Ward
“The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Nothing for Nothing by Harvey Stanbrough
“The Rescue” by Blaze Ward
Soldier, Storyteller by Linda Maye Adams
“Heroes of Old” by Russ Crossley
With a Broken Sword by Stefon Mears

The Remembering Warriors bundle (with 13 titles, including “The Museum of Modern Warfare” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and my own Resonant Bronze) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories in the Remembering Warriors bundle, see:
Remembering Warriors: Siren
Remembering Warriors: With a Broken Sword
Remembering Warriors: Resonant Bronze



Winter Warmer: Nutball Season

I love Christmas stories, from the original about the babe in a manger through Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to Connie Willis’ Miracle and Other Christmas Stories and more by other contemporary authors.

As I was reading through the Winter Warmer bundle (in which my novella Winter Glory appears), I encountered a new Christmas story to love: “Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

I’ll share the official blurb and then talk about a few of the elements that charmed me. Here’s the blurb:

According to Officer Nick Mantino, Nutball Season runs from Halloween to Christmas. This Christmas season, he sees more than his usual number of nutballs.

First, there’s the geezer who thinks he’s been cast in Miracle on 34th Street. Then there’s Mrs. Billings, who has told everyone she’ll shoot Santa if he lands on her roof.

Mrs. Billings has scared the local children, and Nick Mantino must investigate. What he finds in Prudence Billings’ house scares him too—and makes him wonder if he hasn’t just joined the lists of candidates for Nutball of the Year.

So why do I love this story?

The biggest reason is Officer Nick Mantino, who’s lonely and longing for family, but making the best of it, doing his job and dealing with the crazies brought out by the holiday season. He’s an experienced cop, a realist, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Yet he finds his pragmatism conflicting with his basic decency and niceness, causing him to treat a Santa impersonator with kindness.

I loved Nick and found myself believing in him, rooting for him, and liking him. He’s very human and very much the heart of the story. But the plot of “Nutball Season” is clever and fun, and the happy ending is completely in the spirit of the season, encompassing healing and new beginnings.

I won’t say more, because I don’t want to give away all the good stuff. Get it, read it, and enjoy it!

“Nutball Season” is available solo, but I urge you to pick up your copy via the Winter Warmer bundle, because then you’ll obtain several other stories with it that are equally good.

The Winter Warmer bundle (with 13 titles, including “Nutball Season”) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories and novels in the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Phoenix
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory