Summary

Five short novels by five masters of military science fiction.
It’s a war out there. In these pulse-pounding tales, the best (or worst) soldiers in the galaxy are pitted against powerful aliens on distant battlefields. Never-before-published stories about monsters, deadly combat tech, treachery, and honor:
"Big Plush" by Aaron Allston (a novella from the Action Figures series) - The Dollgangers, artificial people made in mankind's image, take up arms in a desperate bid to win their freedom.
"Comrades in Arms" by Kevin J. Anderson - A damaged cyborg soldier and an enemy alien fighter turn their backs on the war and try to escape. But the human and alien governments can't tolerate the two deserters working together, so they join forces to hunt them down.
"Shores of the Infinite" by Loren L. Coleman (a novella from the ICAS File series) - Separated from command & control, Combat Assault Suit troopers force a beachhead to liberate a new planet from the cyborg threat.
"The Black Ship" by B.V. Larson (a mech novella from the Imperium Series) - A human settlement on the deadliest planet ever colonized clings to life...but today new invaders are coming down from the stars.
"Out There" by Michael A. Stackpole - The Qian have discovered humanity and welcomed them into their star-spanning empire. The benefits they offer humanity are many, and they don't want much in return: just the best human pilots available to take apart a most diabolical enemy.
©2012 Aaron Allston; WordFire, Inc.; Loren L. Coleman; B. V. Larson; and Michael A. Stackpole (P)2013 Brilliance Audio
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4 out of 5 stars
By Kingsley on 30-03-17

Perfectly Readable and Very Good.

The term "Five by Five" comes from radio communications, where two scales of 1 to 5 are used for Readability and signal Strength. a '5x5' is perfectly readable with a very good signal strength. It's basically become another way of saying "loud and clear" or "affirmative", and linked to military actions. Thus it's a great name for a collection of five short space military stories.

All the stories are somewhat "space marine" type stories - a mix of futuristic soldiers fighting wars. while being generally of the same genre all the stories are distinct from each other, and they generally have something fresh to add to the genre.

While all good, not all the stories are great. It is the first two "Big Plush" and "Comrades in Arms" that I enjoyed the most. They are all certainly "Perfectly Readable", even if they are not all perfect.

Phil Gigante narrated all five stories, and did well. He carries the action clearly as well as making the characters distinct. He is clear and easy to follow. I would have preferred a little more differentiation between the different stories (maybe have two narrators alternating), but barring that this was good work.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Baron on 04-04-15

Good shorts - make you want to get the main books

I was looking to spend a credit - and get the most bang for it.

This collection was a good one all around; and I will have checkout a few of these universes.

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