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Literature / The Chronicles Of Old Guy

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Don't call me "Carl".
The Chronicles of Old Guy is the first book in the Cybertank Adventure series, featuring the titular Old Guy. Officially an "Odin-Class Ground-Based Cyber Defensive Unit", Old Guy as he's called by other Ground-Based Cyber Defensive Units, are known as Cybertanks for their passing resemblance to classical armored fighting vehicles. The story is set after humanity has disappeared, and the Cybertanks have formed a society for themselves.

The books in the Cybertank Adventure series:

  • The Chronicles of Old Guy: In the distant future mankind creates sentient cybertanks patterned on the human brain to help fight their alien enemies. Then, inexplicably, the humans vanished. They just went away. All that is left of the human empire are the cybertanks who, in their own way, keep the human civilization alive. With an intelligence based on the human psyche, the cybertanks continue to defend human space, but also perform scientific research, create art, form committees and ponder the universe.
  • Space Battleship Scharnhorst And The Library Of Doom: It is the distant future and the human race has gone. Whether extinct or moved on to a higher level of existence, nobody knows. Their civilization has been inherited by the cybertanks: massive atomic powered war machines with mentalities modeled on the human psyche. Theirs is an idyllic existence: throwing parties, killing aliens, creating works of art, shooting skeet with hypersonic missiles. But now an ancient evil from the darkest nightmares of humanity threatens to resurface and destroy them all. Are the cybertanks up to the challenge?
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  • Neo Liberal Economists Must Die!: Details the origin of the Cybertanks in a prequel novel.
  • Confessions of a Sentient War Engine: Another collection of stories similar to the first two books.
  • Splendid Apocalypse: The Fall of Old Earth: A side story where Old Guy gets instantiated into a "clone" of his main hull from Alpha Centauri Prime to Earth. Also gets a religion started for him.
  • Old Guy and the Planet of Eternal Night: Another side story which details a colony of biological humans on an incredibly dark, hostile rogue planet and Old Guy's interactions with them thereof.
  • Full Frontal Cybertank:


The Chronicles of Old Guy provides examples of:

  • Artificial Intelligence: It's a full society of intelligent supertanks. Early on, Old Guy says he's dumbstruck for 145.6 milliseconds, "the human-equivalent of hours".
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Most of the Cybertanks themselves. They are mostly descriptive, such as "Old Guy" himself, or "Too Clever". Other early examples are "Stochastic", "Double-Wide" and "Prophet of Doom" and "Bob".
    • The names of the Amok subspecies are pretty great. "Assassin Clones", "Doll Swarm", "Fuzzy Moose", "Blade Fetish", "Ghost Monster", "Battle Spam" and "Happy Leeches"
    • Also applies to the books themselves. I mean, come on, "Space Battleship Scharnhorst and the Library of Doom"? Or "Neoliberal Economists Must Die".
  • Benevolent A.I.: The Cybertanks are definitely this. They were unfailing loyal to humans, and were not the cause of their disappearance. And if it turns out that humans were wiped out by hostile action, they will avenge them.
  • BFG: The primary armament of Cybertanks, given that Old Guy himself is middling in terms of size and is thirty meters wide, sixty meters long. His main gun has a meter bore. He says he can blow the top off a mountain.
    • Then you have the Magma-class who's secondary armament is bigger than his main gun. Its main gun can ignore the mountain and shoot through it. Rather than hover and shoot over the curvature of a planet, Magma-class Cybertanks shoot through the crust of a planet to enemies not in line of sight.
  • The Big Guy: As mentioned above, the Magma-class Cybertanks are notably powerful in the weapons department. Old Guy's friend and mate, "Double-Wide" is sixty meters wide and a hundred forty meters long. They don't have anti-gravity suspensors to lessen the impact of planetfall and consequently are difficult to extract. They need their own specialized landing module which is destroyed on landing, and there's an old joke that says rather than get them off, the Magma-class can destroy the planet below itself to solve the problem of getting them to space.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Cybertanks themselves are pretty much Bolos in everything except name. They are massive, highly intelligent, have human personalities, bristling with weapons and also control and can manufacture a small army of ground and air based drones as well as remotes. The difference being drones are non-sentient and remotes are.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Old Guy's designation, CRL345BY-44, led to some humans for a time to turn it into "Carl".
    Old Guy: If you try and address me as "Carl" I will politely pretend that you are talking to someone else, until you call me by my proper name.
  • Expy: The first chapter features a hundred meter tall lizard, very radioactive and spews deadly plasma from its mouth. Also it's termed Megazillus.
  • Inscrutable Aliens: How basically all the aliens are portrayed in the books. As Old Guy says, "Bloody fucking inscrutable aliens." It's reiterated multiple times that aliens by their nature will be, well, alien. The narration makes a point that military secrets are moot, but a species's culture should be fiercely guarded. If a hostile alien species understands how you think, they've already won. Aliens are usually encountered as their robotic constructs, and diplomacy is achieved through robotic/automated means.
  • Meaningful Name: Most of the names encountered are pretty filled with meaning. Old Guy is an older model, and was alive when humans were still around. There's mention of a Magma-class, "Rock Dancer" who has taken up residence in an asteroid belt and drives off ramps where the escape velocity is less than 100 kph.
    "Like a terrestrial hippopotamus whose bloated frame is suddenly rendered graceful when it walks the bottom of a river."
  • Running Gag: Old Guy, and possibly the author, really have it in for Neo-Liberal Economists (maybe not as classically defined, but specifically the super rich elite, and how they screw over the general population).
  • Sapient Tank: The Cybertanks. They're psychologically human, but massively multiprocessing, in effect, acting as if they were a thousand (or more) identical people. They can think incredibly fast, and also control remotes, sub-minds which are self-aware, but lack self-preservation, reserved for their main hulls.
  • Zerg Rush: Happens in the first two chapters. First was less conventional, in that it was a brute force hack, and the second was more classical in overwhelming numbers of inferior forces that would eventually overwhelm with firepower.

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