The Compleat Bolo

Previous: The Stars Must Wait

The classic military dilemma—preventing those who defend you from turning on you—is seemingly solved with the implementation of the Bolos, mechanical servants with artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art high-tech weaponry. But when the implacable alien Deng invade Earth, the Bolos leap to the offensive with a war plan that doesn’t take humanity into account.

Bolo (1976) • collection:
The Night of the Trolls (1963) • novella
Courier (1961) • novelette (variant of The Frozen Planet
Field Test (1976) • short story
The Last Command (1967) • short story
A Relic of War (1969) • short story
Combat Unit (1960) • short story
Rogue Bolo (1986) • collection:
Rogue Bolo (1986) • novella
Final Mission (1986) • novella
A Short History of the Bolo Fighting Machines (1976) • short story


“His tales speak to issues that we still grapple with today […] Laumer’s Bolos were a compelling concept, as demonstrated by the fact that the stories have been reprinted for decades. Laumer’s stories were always fun and entertaining, as well, so it is no surprise they are still being read […] Today, as our technology begins to make some of the capabilities of a Bolo possible, and we pause to consider our next steps, his speculations give us much to think about.”

“A moving portrayal of futuristic warfare from a master of military science fiction.”

William C. Dietz, The New York Times bestselling author

“Most writers would be pleased to have one major series in a lifetime. Keith Laumer had two. His BOLO series was so good that other writers have appropriated it, and James Retief, the super diplomat commanded by incompetent bosses, is surprisingly relevant in the world of the 21st century.”

Michael McCollum, science fiction author and aerospace engineer

Awards & Accolades