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Issue 45 • July 2022
Veterans of Future Wars
edited by Deborah L. Davitt

Introduction to Issue 45 • Veterans of Future Wars

No matter how bright a future we can imagine, conflict is unlikely to vanish. Science fiction is replete with wars and struggle, represented in futures as utopian as Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek to as grimdark as Warhammer 40k. Soldiers as different as the wild jihadis of Dune to the genetically-altered, professional soldiers of Halo cross the galaxies of our imagination, struggling with enemies both alien and human.

Rarely, however, does science fiction hold up a mirror to the costs of these struggles. My father served in both Korea and Vietnam as a member of the Army Signal Corps, and while he was the first to say that once he became a civilian, he was a civilian, he carried the burdens of both wars on his shoulders for the rest of his life. He grew chronically ill when I was thirteen, and fought against polymyositis, an auto-immune disorder with no known cause and no known cure, for many years. His death in 2007 followed that fight, and struggles with other chronic illnesses, that lasted over twenty years. We suspected, but could never prove, that the polymyositis had its origin in his war-time years.

As I write my own science fiction, I almost inevitably have military characters dealing with the burdens and the bonds of service. The tight-knit camaraderie between those who have served and their fellows. The desperate struggle with loss—loss of a sense of family, the loss of identity when no longer in the service. The struggle to adapt to cybernetic limbs. The costs of PTSD.

But I’m just a member of a service family, not someone who has ever served, herself. When I proposed this topic to SFPA, I wanted to hear from actual veterans, from people, who, like my father, have served, to hear their voices on this subject.

And they responded. A third of the poets represented in this issue are veterans, or the family of veterans. Each of them has contributed a unique voice to our chorus, and I hope that this issue of Eye to the Telescope does justice to the topic at hand.

I hope that you enjoy reading these poems as much as I did!

—Deborah L. Davitt