“War Pig” was written by Gregg Cunningham, a fellow contributor to the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology World War Four(2019). After reviewing Neal Asher’s Monitor Logan and Sam Phillips’ Cold Fusion, I thought I’d round things out with Cunningham’s story.
It does have to do with the fourth world war and an interplanetary battleship called a “war hog,” only this “hog” is also capable of time travel, which makes things kind of confusing.
We start out with our protagonist and a (more or less) sapient robot named a “Floyd” on the surface of a terraformed Moon thirty years into the war. The war hog has been destroyed and it looks like Commander Redux (although the highest rank he can ever remember is Sergeant) is just trying to survive. Then, through (apparently) a series of flashbacks, we see how Redux got into this mess in the first place, especially when a younger version of himself is put on trial by an older counterpart, and then the older Redux sacrifices his life so that the younger self can steal the war hog at an earlier point in history and try to fix whatever he got wrong.
I must admit, it was difficult to follow all of the time shifts and versions of his Floyd companion, though it’s an intriguing concept and the writing’s quite good.
The story doesn’t have a definitive resolution, but given how Redux seems to be bouncing back and forth Billy Pilgrim-like across time, maybe that’s the point.
The thought of terraforming the Moon is interesting and it makes me wonder if Cunningham did any “worldbuilding” research about the (fictional) feasibility. This seems to me to be a nice introduction into a much larger world, and I hope the author decides to write other tales in this universe, maybe even a novel or two.