Bill, the Galactic Hero


Bill, the Galactic Hero is a satirical science fiction novel by Harry Harrison, first published in 1965. Harrison reports having been approached by a Vietnam veteran who described Bill as ‘the only book that’s true about the military.’ Harrison introduced a new euphemism, ‘bowb,’ in the series to cover the vulgarity necessary to render military life accurately. It is used extensively in Bill, the Galactic Hero.

Bill is a farmboy on a small backward agricultural planet who is drugged, hypnotized, then shanghaied into the Space Troopers and sent to recruit training under a fanged instructor named Deathwish Drang. After surviving boot camp, he is transferred to active duty as a fuse tender on the flagship of the space fleet in battle with the Chingers, a small reptillian race. Injured and with the fleet almost destroyed, he fires off a shot witnessed by the admiralty and is proclaimed a hero.

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