"Brink" and "doomsday" novels can be considered part of a larger group of stories, all dominated by a theme that might be termed "the machine in the military," that is, the technological involvement of the armed forces. The party interacting with the machines is individual man and this chapter looks at some military novels with post- Korean settings that use this relationship, both as a recurring motif and as thematic basis for entire works.
The two most technologically oriented services of the U.S. military forces are the Air Force and the Navy, especially its submarine branch. The season for narratives about military underwater technology was yet to come; most such novels have settings in the late sixties and early seventies. But the Air Force inspired many treatments from the early sixties, especially of the pilot-airplane relationship. There is even a forerunner, Look of the Eagle ( 1955), a conventional adventure yarn by retired Air Force General Robert L. Scott, Jr., who once (in 1943) flew with General Chennault in China and wrote a best-seller about his experiences, God Is My Co-Pilot. The story of Look of the Eagle is impossible and the characters little better but the novel does express the pilot's special feeling of kinship with his airplane and the deep satisfaction with the task of flying jet planes that were to characterize many later Air Force stories.
Another forerunner heralded the space race as subject matter, Robert Buckner Starfire ( 1960), an example of the kind of whimsical reaction sometimes produced by the rapid development in the first