Confession time: I've always enjoyed Keith Laumer's Retief/BOLO universe. My thoughts on Jame Retief versus the (stereo)typical member of the lace panty brigade should come as no surprise. Bolos struck a chord with me early on (Honor of the Regiment) and the idea of someone (something) striving to do the job no matter what (and the incompetents) with honor and integrity was comforting (particularly in the Carter era).
For all that, there were some things about that universe that bugged me. Nevermind that it would take thousands of Retiefs to keep things above water and moving along. Never mind that the incompetents won way too often and no one ever, EVER, followed up on the example of the heroic BOLO. There was something more to it that bugged the bleep out of me deep down.
Thanks to Tom Kratman, I now have a better idea of why that is and you have a great story to go read. Big Boys Don't Cry is a novella, and for me a quick read -- but keep in mind that I can even polish off something of Weberian size rather quickly. For all that it is a novella, and a good read, it is not necessarily an easy read and Tom gleefully uses a flamethrower (and I imagine was laughing maniacly as he did so) to remove the curtains and expose what has been bugging me about the Bolo universe.
who reminds you that you still have time to go order the Freehold Signed Limited Edition by Michael Z. Williamson. Trust me, you want to and you need to.