“Down Among the Dead Men,” William Tenn, 1954 – Soldiers are grown or fitted together from human parts to feed the war machine of a desperate, reproduction-obsessed society. A military commander must lead a troupe of new recruits, all replicated from the DNA of a few long-dead heroes. However, despite the fact that the manufactured men are given the appearance of heroes, they’re psychologically beaten down by the inherent brutality of military society. Their team leader must deal with their inferiority complexes before they will be able to function as a unit.
Comments: Themes of reproduction, war, the “hero,” propaganda, emotions, psychology. Also a story of “male reproduction” through technology. Wikipedia: “Down Among the Dead Men is a traditional song, attributed to John Dyer (1700–1758).”
Author: Wikipedia: “William Tenn was the pseudonym of Philip Klass (May 9, 1920 – February 7, 2010), a British-born American science fiction author, notable for many stories with satirical elements.” See Matthew Cheney’s review of Tenn’s fiction.