Look at that cover—yes, look at it. I feel like a high school graphic design student could have done better. But don't let it fool you. Look at the editor's name. Where so many of his contemporaries are unable to get variety from their commissioned authors, Ian Whates is consistently able to deliver themed anthologies with enough material that strays beyond the core to make things interesting. Such is 2015's Total Conflict.
But the anthology does not open without giving readers what they expect based on the spacetroop—ahem, space marine “gracing” the cover. When a valued space marine falls in combat, his comrades hold an appropriate wake, complete with whiskey in “The Wake” by Dan Abnett. Abnett capturing grunt vernacular very nicely, the story still pans average—classic/generic sf, depending on your perspective. Largely the same as Abnett’s story (space marines wielding futuristic guns, engaging in bro talk while shooting at alien stuff), but without the style, “Psi.Copath” by Andy Remic ensures the cover image has been thoroughly dealt with.