Drake, David A

Tagged: Author

(1945-    ) US lawyer and writer who served in the US Army in Vietnam 1969-1971 and then as the Assistant Town Attorney in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1972-1980, becoming a full-time writer in 1981, although his first story, the H P Lovecraft pastiche "Denkirch", had appeared much earlier, in Travellers by Night (anth 1967) edited by August W Derleth. The wide success of his various Military SF novels and series and Shared-World enterprises has clearly had a simplifying effect on his reputation, but Drake has, in fact, from the beginning of his career, written a wide variety of work, both stories and novels, a range perhaps best encapsulated in his first collection of unconnected stories, From the Heart of Darkness (coll 1983), which assembles sf, fantasy and horror tales written from 1974 onwards and set in the past, present and future; Night & Demons (coll 2013) conveniently augments this selection. From early in his career, his prose has been spare and telling though occasionally, in some of the more routine sf adventures, seemingly no more than cost-efficient. But that alone is a kind of virtue: even Drake's least memorable work is thoroughly well-constructed; there is never an excess of talk.

Drake first came to wide notice with his Hammer's Slammers sequence of military-sf tales set in a Space-Opera Galaxy: Hammer's Slammers (coll 1979; exp 1987), #2: At Any Price (1985), #3: Counting the Cost (1987), #4: Rolling Hot (1989), #5: The Warrior (coll 1991), #6: The Sharp End (1993) and #7: Paying the Piper (coll 2002). Also set in the Hammer's Slammers universe are Cross the Stars (1984) and The Voyage (1994), retellings of, respectively, the Odyssey (see Homer) and the tale of Jason and the Argonauts. [For further iterations of this basic series, see Checklist below.] It is very noticeable that the mercenaries involved in Hammer's Slammers, and in most of Drake's other Military SF, are (as it were) soldiers on the ground, and that representatives of the officer class generally merit the suspicion with which they are greeted. Though its general political vision could not be described as anarchist, Drake's work lacks – possibly as a consequence of his indifference to the loquacious cod stoicism ascribed by other writers to officer classes in general – a sense of philosophizing import, gaining much thereby, so that he can concentrate on the moment-to-moment exigencies of honorable mercenary soldiering. The Fleet sequence of Shared-World anthologies, created and edited by Drake and Bill FawcettThe Fleet (anth 1988), #2: Counter Attack (anth 1988), #3: Breakthrough (anth 1989), #4: Sworn Allies (anth 1990), #5: Total War (anth 1990) and #6: Crisis (anth 1991) – does not depart markedly from this mature restraint, which is further manifested in a sequel series, the Battlestation sequence comprising Battlestation (anth 1992) and Vanguard (anth 1993).

Several sequences, and some singletons, have been published as by Drake in collaboration with others; Drake has always emphasized that these titles have been written by his "collaborators" from his outlines, and though they are formally registered as collaborations in the Checklist below, each of these Ties is also described (as Drake wishes to make articulate) as having been "written essentially by the named collaborator". The first of these is the Crisis of Empire sequence – Crisis of Empire #1: An Honorable Defense (1988) with Thomas T Thomas, #2: Cluster Command (1989) with William C Dietz, #3: The War Machine (1989) with Roger MacBride Allen and Crown of Empire (1993) with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro – which rather flamboyantly follows the plummeting career of a captain who reaches bottom in the third volume but whom we expect, eventually, to save the Empire. The Northworld sequence – Northworld (1990), #2: Vengeance (1991) and #3: Justice (1992) – sets its military operations on a world which operates as a gateway to several Alternate-History settings. The General sequence with S M Stirling, beginning with The Forge (1991), features yet another military officer, befriended on his far-off planetary home by a battle Computer planning to re-establish a Galactic Federation. The Reaches, beginning with Igniting the Reaches (1994), like several of his enterprises, takes and transmutes the life of a legendary or history character – in this case Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), avatar of the captain of a space ship engaged in complex Space Opera conflicts.

Three substantial series – Lord of the Isles, Belisarius and the ongoing Book of the Elements – are fantasy [see Checklist for details].

With The Dragon Lord (1979), an exercise in Arthurian Sword and Sorcery, Drake began to publish singletons set in various venues and times, and of varying quality. Time Safari (coll of linked stories 1982; exp vt Tyrannosaur 1994) makes one of the hoary Clichés of Time-Travel tales – the Dinosaur hunt – vividly present to the mind's eye through the well-researched verisimilitude of the telling. Birds of Prey (1984) brings Ancient Rome, again through time travel, vividly to life, as does Killer (1974 Midnight Sun #1; 1985) with Karl Edward Wagner (1945-1994). Bridgehead (1986) combines time travel with interstellar military action and intrigue. Dagger (1988) is a tied contribution to the Thieves' World enterprise, and Explorers in Hell (1989) with Janet E Morris is part of the Heroes in Hell enterprise. Old Nathan (coll of linked stories 1991), set in a traditional USA, nostalgically tells tales of a crabby but lovable ghost-hunter. Patriots (1996), written for a Young Adult audience, translates Ethan Allen (1738-1789) and the Green Mountain Boys into analogous actions played out at the edge of colonized space. Drake has not yet written any significant work derived from or inspired by the exceedingly complex world into which the working soldiers, who remain clearly close to his central concerns as a writer, have in the early twenty-first century, been plummeted. Future novels are awaited with anticipation. [JC]

see also: Aliens; Future War; Gamebook; Games and Sports; Star General; Venus; Weapons.

David Allen Drake

born Dubuque, Iowa: 24 September 1945

died

works

series

Hammer's Slammers

first iteration

second iteration

  • The Tank Lords (New York: Baen Books, 1997) [coll: reassembling material from the first iteration of the series, see above, plus new material: Hammer's Slammers: pb/Larry Elmore]
  • Caught in the Crossfire (New York: Baen Books, 1998) [omni: assembling Counting the Cost and The Warrior and other material from the first iteration of the series, see above, plus new material: Hammer's Slammers: pb/Larry Elmore]
  • The Butcher's Bill (New York: Baen Books, 1998) [coll: reassembling material from the first iteration of the series, see above, plus new material: Hammer's Slammers: pb/Charles Keegan]

third iteration

  • The Complete Hammer's Slammers, Volume One (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2006) [coll: reassembling material from the first and second iteration of the series, see above; plus new material: Hammer's Slammers: hb/John Berkey]
  • The Complete Hammer's Slammers, Volume Two (San Francisco, California: Night Shade Books, 2007) [coll: reassembling material from the first and second iteration of the series, see above; plus new material: Hammer's Slammers: hb/John Berkey]

Crisis of Empire

Seas of Venus

  • Surface Action (New York: Ace Books, 1990) [set in the Venusian world created by Henry Kuttner and C L Moore for "Clash by Night" (March 1943 Astounding) and sequels: Seas of Venus: pb/Tony Roberts]
  • The Jungle (New York: Tor, 1992) [set in the Venusian world created by Henry Kuttner and C L Moore for "Clash by Night" (March 1943 Astounding) and sequels: Seas of Venus: hb/Allan Gutierrez]
    • Seas of Venus (New York: Baen Books, 2002) [omni of the above two: set in the Venusian world created by Henry Kuttner and C L Moore for "Clash by Night" (March 1943 Astounding) and sequels: Seas of Venus: pb/Bob Eggleton]

The General

  • The Forge (New York: Baen Books, 1991) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: pb/Paul Alexander]
  • The Hammer (New York: Baen Books, 1992) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: pb/Paul Alexander]
    • Warlord (New York: Baen Books, 2003) with S M Stirling [omni of the above two: The General: hb/David Mattingly]
      • Hope Reborn (New York: Baen Books, 2013) with S M Stirling [vt of the above: The General: pb/Alan Pollack]
  • The Anvil (New York: Baen Books, 1993) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: pb/Paul Alexander]
  • The Steel (New York: Baen Books, 1993) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: pb/Paul Alexander]
    • Hope Rearmed (New York: Baen Books, 2013) with S M Stirling [vt of the two above: The General: pb/Kurt Miller]
  • The Sword (New York: Baen Books, 1995) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: pb/Paul Alexander]
  • The Chosen (New York: Baen Books, 1996) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: Follow-On Series: pb/Stephen Hickman]
    • Hope Renewed (New York: Baen Books, 2013) with S M Stirling [vt of the two above: The General: pb/Kurt Miller]
  • The Reformer (New York: Baen Books, 1996) with S M Stirling [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: Follow-On Series: pb/Garry (Gary) Ruddell]
  • The Tyrant (New York: Baen Books, 2002) with Eric Flint [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: Follow-On Series: pb/Garry (Gary) Ruddell]
    • Hope Reformed (New York: Baen Books, 2014) with S M Stirling [vt of the two above: The General: pb/Kurt Miller]
  • The Heretic (New York: Baen Books, 2013) with Tony Daniel [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: Follow-On Series: hb/Kurt Miller]
  • The Savior (New York: Baen Books, 2013) with Tony Daniel [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: The General: Follow-On Series: hb/Kurt Miller]

Thieves' World

  • Dagger (New York: Ace Books, 1988) [tie: Thieves' World: pb/Gary Ruddell]

Heroes in Hell

Car Warriors TM

Northworld

The Reaches

Terra Nova

  • Enemy of my Enemy (New York: Baen Books, 1996) with Ben Ohlander (1965-    ) [tie: written essentially by the named collaborator: only volume to appear in this series: Terra Nova: pb/Paul Alexander]

ARC Riders

Lord of the Isles

Belisarius

RCN/Leary and Mundy

Book of the Elements

The Citizen

individual titles

collections and stories

works as editor

The Fleet

Starhunters

  • Men Hunting Things (New York: Baen Books, 1988) [anth: Starhunters: pb/Pat Ortega]
  • Things Hunting Men (New York: Baen Books, 1988) [anth: Starhunters: pb/Pat Ortega]
  • Bluebloods (New York: Baen Books, 1990) [anth: Starhunters: pb/Pat Ortega]

Space

Battlestation

individual titles

links

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