Some years ago (20), I read a short story in an anthology where the protagonist is a 20th Century drill sergeant awoken from a cryogenic sleep in the distant future. The human race is extremely pacifist and he has to train a group of humans to be warriors since Earth is facing an impending alien invasion. Great story, but I've lost the books over the years and cannot remember anthology, author or title.

I do remember it was a paperback collection of short stories probably published in the early to late 90s, the story was illustrated with a couple of line drawings showing the newly trained humans dressed in pelts.

Some memorable points include: Written in first person, but you never learn protagonist's name, the leader of the new earth reminds the protagonist of Ben Franklin, the humans are so pacifist that one trainee is notable for having actually have tasted meat, the protagonist reminded me of the drill Sgt from Full Metal Jacket, he makes up derogatory nicknames for his trainees, he finally has to take them into the wilderness to train, a bear kills one, but the other trainees hunt down and kill the bear, there was a great mourning when they're done training and they bring back a number of them who were killed during training, "Ben Franklin" promotes protagonist to General and the story ends before Earth is invaded, but they're now ready for them.

  • 1
    Take a look here for a list of things you can add to your question. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 13:20
  • Thought it could be Peace Warrior by Steven L Hawk, but that seems to be a very recent book.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 15:34
  • I've researched a little further, and it seems like Peace Army, the second book in the trilogy combined with the first sounds quite like your story.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 15:35
  • Edlothiad, it's not a trilogy, it's a stand-alone short story, probably 50 pages or less. However, will check the author to see if he also wrote the story am thinking about, thanks!
    – SCR
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 16:54
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    So, looked up "Peace Warrior"...probably not story I'm thinking about, the one I'm thinking about was 50 pages or less, plus it didn't stink! Reviews for "Peace Warrior" aren't great. However story details are suspiciously similar...
    – SCR
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


I know this story, and no, it isn't Peace Warrior or Peace Army. It's "Ploughshares" by M.W. Keiper.

It was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume XII in 1996.

  • 3
    Why do you think this is the answer? I.e. what details are the same with the story OP describes? Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 4:51
  • I know this story. It's one of my favorites. I have a copy of the anthology, so I'm familiar with the line drawing, the details of the story as mentioned in the OP, and the narrator's voice. It's a short story, so there's not much to add beyond what the OP mentioned and what I added, except that the Drill Sergeant contemplates killing himself at the end of the story; he's out of time and place, at that point, and has completed the duty required of him. He changes his mind when he's asked to lead the human armies. Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:49
  • Quoting a few relevant bits might help jog OP's memory :) Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:52
  • :) I just edited it to that effect. Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 19:52
  • Added some links as well as which book it was published in. Still no other details online.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 18:29

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