The Cold Cash War – Robert Asprin

The Cold Cash War

The Cold Cash War


Corporations opt for efficiency by only simulating attacks against each other. But these bloodless exercises take a turn for the worse when some participants argue for making the attacks a little more realistic.


The short story version of The Cold Cash War was in my August 1977 edition of Analog. It’s not Asprin’s fault that it was in the same volume as Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”, and I did think Asprin’s story was clever and funny. I was later introduced to Asprin’s Thieves’ World, but wasn’t that impressed, and don’t think I really thought about Asprin again until I found the Myth Inc. series.

On re-reading this longer version, I still think it’s clever and funny, and Asprin’s debt to his mentor Gordon Dickson stands out more. What struck me equally, however, was how weak and drawn out the ending is. The original story was relatively compact and punchy, and I think worked much better. Asprin’s and Card’s stories together may show some of the literary risk of extending a good story – Asprin’s got worse, and Card’s got no better.

That said, this novel is still engaging and enjoyable to read, and I can recommend it for light entertainment, especially since it’s no doubt easier to find than the short story version.

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