IT'S COLD IN PONGO-NI by Edward Franklin


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This novella could be called ""The Cowardly Marines on Night Patrol."" A squad of Marines is sent out on a night mission near Panmunjon and is promised a case of bourbon and ten days R&R in Tokyo if they bring back a living prisoner (or ""nice, warm goonie""). They suspect that this is a patent lie but they have to go anyway. They are led by Lt. Richard Bowman, who plays with the idea of having the squad just camp out rather than go off prisoner-hunting and distributing leaflets in enemy territory (Goonyland). His squad members, almost to a man, are a thoroughly demoralized crew and sense the outrageous stupidity of their mission. Nonetheless, each man, including the lieutenant, has just enough ingenuousness to do what he is told. As the men crawl up toward an enemy position called The Claw, they find they have apparently bumbled themselves behind the enemy line. As they fight their way back home to Pongo-Ni, several are wounded or killed. Three men return safely, one of whom immediately runs off to play in the divisional football tournament. No heroics, the story is exciting and ironic, while the sophisticated author watches his characters bleed and die naively.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1965
Publisher: Vanguard