Interstellar Patrol is a collection of stories in the Colonization universe, including the early tales of Roberts, Hammell and Morrisey. This volume also includes several other tales related to Federation agencies other than the IP.
The Paradise tales describe how the captain and crew of the Orion, an Interstellar Rapid Transport ship, found themselves stranded off the planet Boschock III, misnamed Paradise. The Captain Vaughn Roberts, the cargomaster Hammell, and the comtech Morrissey brought the worst injured down to the planet in their tender, but crashed in the jungle outside the only city. Nearby settlers took the injured back to their village for treatment in return for some weapons and ammo, but the city officials, under the overall command of the central computer, were less than helpful.
After escaping from the city, Roberts and Hammel returned to the tender to discover that Morrissey, having time on his hands, had stumbled across an unusual application of their communications system; it generated a field that induced various emotions in anyone within range of the equipment. Experimenting with the effect, they learned how to project and overlap several fields as desired. Using this want-generator to control the emotions of the various factions on the planet, they created sufficient chaos that the central computer of the city decided to provide repairs to their ship and equipment just to get them offworld.
In subsequent visits to the planet, the trio found themselves somehow becoming responsible for the whole planet under the guise of Dukes of the Empire. Then they found that the Interstellar Patrol had been observing their progress with interest and was offering them a chance to become recruits in that organization.
The Boot Camp tales introduce Dan Bergen, another IP recruit, as well as Colonel Valentine Sanders, who becomes their commanding officer. In these stories, the IP submits the recruits to various tests, both to evaluate their capabilities and to induce the proper attitudes. Some of the tests are live and others are simulated, although it is hard to tell the difference. However, it is better to be eaten alive by carnivorous fish in a simulation than in the real world, although the sensations are much the same.
The Others tales present a broader view of the Federation and various unaligned worlds. A major theme in all these stories is interservice rivalry, particularly between the PDA and the Space Force. Another ongoing theme in some of these stories, particularly the Stellar Scouts tales, is the failure of new and improved equipment under field conditions; while some improved devices work as expected, others display quirky and sometimes harmful behavior in the real world.
All these stories say something about the foolishness of human beings. The author has specialized in writing Murphy's Law yarns, where things go wrong in ways none had realized were possible. The author has a rare insight and ability to illustrate the SNAFUs and FUBARs that haunt all human activities, particular in bureaucratic environments. Although such stories are probably not as popular today, there are still enough readers with military, or corporate, experience to relate to these situations.
Only the first three stories have been previously published in book form, so this is a rare opportunity for those who don't have the original magazine versions. However, there are many more out there slowly rotting in attics and basements. The editor has promised that some of those will be appearing in the sequel volume(s).
Highly recommended for Anvil fans and for anyone else who enjoys seeing other people make foolish mistakes much like the ones we ourselves have made.