As I recall:

  • Interplanetary war featuring bipedal mechs piloted by disembodied brains.
  • The "good guys" used mortally wounded regular soldiers to become mech pilots.
  • The "bad guys" killed their own volunteers in an elaborate ceremony before turning them into mech pilots.
  • Many of the pilots had psychological problems due to their situations.
  • At one point a female officer on the "good guys" retires to her spaceship's quarters to view prisoner torture and interrogation on the planet below via robot or surveillance system and pleasures herself (bizarrely memorable, obviously)
  • The story was published sometime before summer 1999, because I gave the mass-market paperback version to an acquaintance at that time and haven't seen the person since, so the date is clear in my memory.
  • It evidently became a series, as I recall that acquaintance later writing me to say he had read several more books in the same series.

Best of luck and many upvotes to the finder! :-)

  • Parts of your description sound like the Warhammer 40k setting (Dreadnoughts, specifically), with the "good guys" being the Space Marines and the "bad guys" being the Chaos Space Marines. I'm not aware of a novelization series which includes a female officer pleasuring herself, though, so not posting as an answer.
    – Brian S
    Feb 7, 2014 at 14:57

2 Answers 2


That's definitely from the "Legion series" series by William C Dietz. I don't remember which book that was specifically but I don't think it was the first in the series. It's a great series and they revisit the mechs in numerous books.

I believe the bad guys if I remember correctly called "Hudathans" killed their own because they couldn't compete with the cyborg soldiers the legion had in the last war.

  • you should try and post a link or something ;)
    – Rocket
    Feb 6, 2015 at 1:48
  • 1
    There are 3 prequel books and there are a total of 9 books in the main series bringing the total to 12 books. goodreads.com/series/42234-legion
    – Cherubel
    Feb 6, 2015 at 11:01
  • Following up, this is the correct series and the book I originally read was the 2nd, "The Final Battle". Thanks a lot!
    – Drew
    Mar 1, 2015 at 4:15

Sounds a bit like one of the battletech books, sorry not got enough reputation to comment. http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Natural_Selection I think this one had a female captain that forced old injured mechwarriors to fight with her.

  • This doesn't need to be a comment - it actually does try to answer the question.
    – The Fallen
    Feb 7, 2014 at 18:13
  • I'm not familiar with this series. Are the mech pilots humans who can climb in and out of the mechs or are they disembodied brains that are kept alive in the mech? That part is very clear in my memory from the original story.
    – Drew
    Feb 8, 2014 at 1:26
  • They are humans.
    – Mauro
    Feb 8, 2014 at 6:33
  • I don't think so. Mechs in the Battletech universe are piloted by humans. Feb 6, 2015 at 18:37

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