My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Read as part of the Retro-Hugo 1941 Voter Packet.
If you’ve read and enjoyed George R.R. Martin’s “Old Venus” anthology, you owe it to yourself to read this, because this (and, of course, other stories like it) is exactly what inspired those stories.
The Stellar Legion, fighting on Venus against the natives, is quite the opposite of stellar. Rather, they’re the dregs of the service, the psychotic, the criminal, the dishonored. But when the young commander Lehn encounters one of his new underlings, MacIan, he senses that something about him is different. MacIan seems like an honorable and brave soldier. Still, when it turns out that someone in their company is a traitor, and it looks like MacIan, Lehn is willing to admit that his instinct might’ve been wrong. But was he really wrong?
The story is characterized by plenty of action and ingenious solutions to desperate situations.