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I am trying to remember the name of a science fiction book I borrowed from a library in BC, sometime between the years 2005–2008. I don't believe it was part of the Bolo series, though have had that suggested a couple times.

  • Book starts at the end of a fake war on a planet, which the public believes is real.
  • Most characters are commanders of "bolo" style super tanks, complete with intelligent AIs and fuel sources beamed from local stars.
  • The survivors buy some land in the "destroyed" areas, which is still fertile.
  • They start an idyllic farming community, using the AIs from the tanks as companions and tractor AIs.
  • AIs run on diamond boards, which they have because the planet found a diamond the size of a building (or larger).
  • They use this diamond as windows, allowing them to mine it without Earth finding out.
  • At some point they rebel against Earth, and include fighting in the mined out core of a gas giant (which had the gas scoured clean from a nearby neutron star).
  • At the end of the book, they find Earth has been hijacked by one of their own rogue AIs, which was part of a medical ship (similar to the ending of Empire from the Ashes).
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    Can you remember any specific phrases used in the book? Were they explicitly "diamond boards" or were they something else, like "diamond circuits"? Was the gas giant "scoured clean"? etc etc
    – Valorum
    Feb 26 at 23:28
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    "had that suggested a couple times." - Where else have you asked this question? What books and stories have you already ruled out?
    – Valorum
    Feb 26 at 23:29
  • honestly, this is long ago i only remember large brush strokes. I remember they had a giant diamond they didnt want earth to find about, since it was the key to their AI's, so they started using it as windows in their colony. I did a lot of googling, and tried using ChatGPT, but nothing i found was quite right Ruled out: - Anything main series "bolo", read plenty of that, none of the vibe fits - Gridlinked: seemed promising at first, with FTL, tanks, and being linked in, but not right Havnt found much else that seems right. Feb 26 at 23:39
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    I don't think it's right but Hammer's Slammers series is a possibility. I've only read the first one, so can't comment on the rest.
    – bob1
    Feb 27 at 0:42

1 Answer 1

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I think this is probably The War With Earth, which is book two of the New Kashubia series by Leo Frankowski and Dave Grossman. It was published in 2003 so it fits the time you remember reading it.

The War With Earth

New Kashubia was a planet rich in heavy metals, but utterly lacking in carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Even dirt had to be imported at great expense. The colonists, moved there from Earth against their will, lived in tunnels drilled through solid gold but still were the poorest people in the universe. Since their only resource was people, they sent draftees out as mercenaries, fighting in tanks in symbiosis with a highly intelligent computer. And Mickolai Derdowski had fought bravely and brilliantly for nearly a decade, losing many friends in the process, and risen to the rank of General-he thought. But then he found out that it was all in virtual reality. The war had been faked, no one had died, and he was still just a tank commander, not a general at all. But New Kashubia had been well paid by the planet that had hired the mercenaries for the war they had faked, severe food rationing back home was no longer necessary, and people could now afford luxuries like homes and clothing. There was just one problem. A real war was looming on the horizon and this one couldn't be settled in cyberspace. A lot of people might get really, permanently killed. Such as Mickolai ...

It's not a perfect match but then you say your memories of it are a bit vague. It does match a lot of your points including the giant diamond:

"You might say that, or you could say finders, keepers. While we were digging one of the Loways to the south of here, we came across The Diamond, the largest ever discovered by many orders of magnitude. It is almost half a cubic kilometer in volume, it is composed of absolutely pure carbon twelve, and it is a perfect, flawless, single crystal. We've been using it to make integrated circuits, since it is vastly superior to the silicon that has been used for hundreds of years. My own circuits were upgraded some months ago, and I am now thirty times faster than I was before. Every other military computer in our army has now been upgraded as well. There has been more diamond dust, bits and pieces generated than we can find a use for industrially, so we will be using it extensively in the flooring here, and in your other buildings."

The gas giant stripped by a neutron star is New Kashubia:

The planet had started out as a gas giant circling an oversized star. About a billion years ago, the star had gone supernova, and had eventually converted itself into a neutron star. The gas giant had largely evaporated, with the small central core reduced to a ball of boiling, mostly vaporized metal. This ball eventually cooled, and as it did, the metals with the highest melting points solidified on the surface first, and those with lower melting points solidified later. This was a lot like zone refining, but on a planetary scale. Oh, there was a good deal of natural alloying, with a lot of eutectic alloys present, alloys with particularly low melting points. Nonetheless, for the most part, New Kashubia was a series of concentric metal shells, with a layer of tungsten at the surface, and a pool of mercury at the center.

The first book of the series was asked about in Book about a prison sentence carried out by piloting a tank in wars and the third book in Book where members of a reptilian species eat their own kind to increase their intelligence, so this completes the set!

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    Thats way too perfect a match to not be it! Thank you! Ill pick it up. Its entierly possible i have one or two stories mashed together. That said, this review made me genuinely laugh! > This book gets 0 out of five stars from me. If it were possible to have negative stars, it would. Godawful shit that I'm amazed was even published. If you see a copy on the shelves, run... Feb 27 at 17:06

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