Rats, Bats, and Vats by Dave Freer and Eric Flint

Rats, Bats, and VatsPublished: 2000

Genre: military science fiction

Length: 448 pages

Setting: Harmony and Reason, and human colony world in the far future

Interest: I was looking for some light reading on my Kindle, and I was fairly certain any book with this title had an excellent chance of being light. This is a Baen book that you can get electronically here.

Summary: Chop is a grunt in the human’s war against the bug-like Mugh’. The humans on Harmony and Reason were warned of the imminent invasion by the Mugh’ by the Korozhet, a sea urchin-like race. Chip survives a battle that kills all the rest of the humans in his platoon, and is trapped behind the enemy forcefield along with a contingent of uplifted rats and bats. They head toward the sea, in the hops of getting out. Along the way, they rescue Ginny, a Shareholder, and her Korozhet tutor. The Korozhet convinces the crew to head to the center of the scorpiary to take out the hive mind. Turns out, the Korozhet led the Mugh’ to Harmony and Reason for conquest and all the “advising” by the Korozhet has actually been devised to lead to human defeat. An intelligence-gathering officer uses the attack by Chip’s band to attack, contrary to higher-up regulations, and Chip’s plucky band is able to do some serious damage to the scorpiary.

Final thoughts: This book certainly did deliver on its expectations. It was a fun little military romp, with the nice twist of genetically engineered rats and bats working as auxiliary troops. The banter between the individuals in the group was enjoyable, and got a good sense of everyone’s character. Ginny, who started out as a damsel-in-distress who sees Chip as a hero from a book, realized early on she’d never get anywhere unless she started doing things for herself. She ended up playing quite an important and active role in the final fight.

Title comes from: Fighting the war were the uplifted rats and bats and colonists grown from stored DNA, known colloquially as Vats.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 53/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge

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