Social Question

anartist's avatar

I'm trying to remember the name of a science fiction novel about cloned soldiers that I read many years ago. It was probably written in the 60s or 70s.

Asked by anartist (14732 points ) August 7th, 2012

I do not remember too much of it except that the soldiers were cloned from war heroes, and in batches, so a human squadron commander might be looking at his squad of 6 Claire Chennaults or 6 Manfred von Richthofens who were perfect in every way, and he had to earn their trust and loyalty. The clones knew they had been bred for war and would never know another life. Humans disparaged the clones when away from them calling them “spam in a can” and one of the clones finally told the officer that they referred to humans as “uties” [uterus-born].

It was an interesting read and I’d like to find it again. Probably written in the 60s or 70s.

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8 Answers

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Going by the terms you remember, it wasn’t Forever War by Joe Haldeman, though the main character (named Mandela, naturally born in the 1970’s) eventually becomes a commander of a company of far-future infantry who were bred ex-utero in a selective fashion by the government (their last name being the gamete donor with the “higher genetic rating”). Homosexually is the enforced norm in human society at this point to allow the government to practice eugenics and have total control over population growth. They all need to be taught 20th century American English in order to be able to communicate with him! (Mandela has survived several campaigns and experienced much time dilation from relativistic travel between wormhole-like ‘collapsars’.) Mandela thinks back to his first company commander and tries to imagine how much more he would have hated him if he had been a sexual deviant by his standards and he also had to learn and speak a foreign language at all times for his convenience.

anartist's avatar

No it wasn’t nor was it Universal Soldier[s] both of which I checked out. Thanks anyway.

hearkat's avatar

Wikipedia has a list of “supersoldiers” in various media… maybe this list will help?

anartist's avatar

@hearkat Thanks, but I tried that too.

wundayatta's avatar

Take a look through this page, if you haven’t already. But I’m not seeing anything other than folks have already mentioned.

anartist's avatar

@wundayatta Thanks, but been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.

wundayatta's avatar

Thought you might have seen it, but you didn’t say where you’d been looking, so I didn’t know for sure.

Can you remember any other details about the novel?

anartist's avatar

Unfortunately very little—at one point the human officer watches as one of them drops a paper off his desk and notes that all of them within reach bent quickly and adeptly to retrieve it, showing their excellent, and identical, motor skills.

And that after the discussion about what human soldiers, at their worst, called the cloned soldiers and what cloned soldiers called human soldiers, there was a bonding.

And, near the end of the novel, when the bond between the human officer and his squad was strong, he revealed that he was unmarried and childless [and maybe sterile] and that his only hope of children was such a meritorious military career that he, too, would be cloned and would live on in the form of his own clones.

I guess this was more a social-issues story than a futuristic combat story.

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