David Drake

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer

Hammer’s Slammers Fiction

Hammer’s Slammers

The Hammer’s Slammers series of Military SF stories and novels focus on a mercenary armored regiment in the 30th century. I based the fiction on my experience in 1970 with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Viet-Nam and Cambodia.

For information about the stories and novels, see Hammer’s Slammers Fiction

The series has been adapted to various forms of gaming.  See Hammer’s Slammers Games

CROSS THE STARS (Connected to Hammer Series) (Tor/1984)
AT ANY PRICE (Baen/1985)
ROLLING HOT (Baen/1989)
THE WARRIOR (Baen/1991)
THE SHARP END (Baen/1993)
THE VOYAGE (Connected to Hammer Series) (Tor/1994)
THE TANK LORDS (Baen/1997)
PAYING THE PIPER (three Hammer novellas) (Baen/2002)
THE COMPLETE HAMMER’S SLAMMERS vol.1 (Night Shade Books/2006; pb edition Baen/2008)
THE COMPLETE HAMMER’S SLAMMERS vol.2 (Night Shade Books/2006; pb edition Baen/2010)
THE COMPLETE HAMMER’S SLAMMERS vol.3 (Night Shade Books/2007; pb edition Baen/2010)

Hammer's Slammers

HAMMER’S SLAMMERS is a short story collection, not a novel, and my first book. It made it possible for me to become a full-time writer, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

I’d sold a story as an undergraduate, another story after I started law school, and even one while I was in Nam. After I came back I continued writing at a faster rate, in part because I became friends with two writers in the Triangle area: Manly Wade Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner. Manly and Karl suggested that I use Southeast Asian settings instead of writing historical fantasies. I wrote a fantasy, Arclight, and an SF story, Contact! and both sold. These were set in Nam (come to think, both were based on things that happened in Cambodia), but there was no military theme to the stories. continue reading…

Cross the Stars


If you decide to write about far-famed Achilles, make him active, hot-tempered, inexorable, and fierce; let him deny that laws were made for him, let him think his sword rules all. –Horace, The Art of Poetry (lines 120-2)

My undergraduate double major was history and Latin, and I continued to take Latin courses while I was in law school in a laughable attempt to stay sane.  Reading Latin centers me. (Note “laughable” in the previous sentence.) continue reading…

At Any Price

At Any Price

1985, Riverdale, NY: Baen. 0-671-55978-8
——- with Rolling Hot (audiobook),  Audible.com, 2011

Contains three short pieces:

“At Any Price” also available in:
————– The Butcher’s Bill. 1998, Riverdale, NY: Baen.
————– The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, v.2.
2006, San Francisco, CA: Night Shade Books.
————– The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, v.2. 2010, Riverdale, NY: Baen.

continue reading…

Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost. Hammer’s Slammers Series. 1987, Riverdale, NY: Baen. 267 p. 0671653555. $3.50.

Also available in:
————– Caught in the Crossfire.
1998, Riverdale, NY: Baen.
————– The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, v.2.
2006, San Francisco, CA: Night Shade Books.
————– The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, v.2. 2010, Riverdale, NY: Baen.
————– with The Warrior (audiobook), Audible.com, 2011.

Rolling Hot

Rolling HotROLLING HOT–the title is from military aviation, meaning the aircraft is moving to the attack with ordnance ready to fire–is based very loosely on Tet of ’68. That’s an event I’m glad to have missed, but a number of the folks I served with in 1970 had stories and even photographs of what the Blackhorse had been doing then.

For those of you who weren’t around at the time, the Viet Cong made a massive win-the-war attack on US and South Vietnamese forces during the truce declared for the Lunar New Year holiday, Tet. Politically, it won them the war: Tet proved that President Johnson and the US generals had been lying when they claimed the VC was nearly finished as a fighting force. Such public support for the war as had previously existed vanished abruptly. continue reading…

The Warrior

The WarriorThe Warrior. Hammer’s Slammers Series. 1991, Riverdale, NY: Baen. 275 p. 0671720589 (pb). $4.95
——— with Counting the Cost (audiobook), Audible.com, 2011

includes two pieces:

“The Warrior” also available in:
————– Caught in the Crossfire. 1998, Riverdale, NY: Baen
————– “The Warrior (Extract)” Power, S. M. Stirling, Editor. 1991, Riverdale, NY: Baen. (Part 1 of a 3 part novel.)
————– The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, v.2. 2006, San Francisco, CA: Night Shade Books.
————– The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, v.2. 2010, Riverdale, NY: Baen.

and continue reading…

The Sharp End

The Sharp EndTHE SHARP END is a book many people tell me is one of their favorites; they’re generally surprised to learn I don’t have a high opinion of it myself. I’ve given various reasons for my ill feelings, all of them true to a degree; but now, forcing myself to look at the situation from the safe distance of a decade, I’m ready to be honest.

The early ’90s were a difficult period for me. I’d been a full-time freelance writer since 1981. I’d done all right financially from the beginning and from the mid-’80s on had done very well indeed. We’d bought a tract of land in the country and my wife was becoming increasingly demanding that we should start to build a (much larger) house on it. She was quite right: it was time. We arranged with an excellent and utterly trustworthy architect and contractor to begin work. continue reading…

The Voyage

The VoyageTHE VOYAGE is space opera based on the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, with embellishments from other classical writers who touched on legends of Jason and the Argonauts. It’s a sequel of sorts to Cross the Stars–a minor character from the earlier novel is the hero of this one–and was a direct attempt to use the lessons I’d learned in a decade of writing to do the same sort of book, only better.

I think I did what I set out to do, but I learned some new lessons besides. The most important was that not all epics are equal.

The Odyssey, my model for Cross the Stars, was composed in the Early Iron Age, a savage time whose bones stick out through the story’s fabric in many places. I changed a number of situations in order to soften them. continue reading…