Posted on | April 21, 2014 | 5 Comments
— by Wombat-socho
I did manage to sneak in some reading before getting buried under the deluge of work that is the Death March to April 15, and they’re very different kinds of books. Leaving aside all the various subgenres of science fiction, it strikes me that there are two basic attitudes expressed in SF: the view advocated by John W. Campbell Jr., who echoed Protagoras’ claim that “Man is the measure of all things”. In this view, humanity can and will overcome whatever a hostile universe throws at it, or die trying, because we’re clever monkey boys and girls who always come up with new tricks with which to befuddle the old dogs of Galactic civilization, if there is one. The other view stems from the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, which was rooted in the opinion that the universe is just too big for us to get our heads around, much less dominate, and there’s stuff out there that could wipe us all out if it could be bothered to notice that we even exist. Christopher Nuttall’s The Nelson Touch, sequel to his rather decent Ark Royal, is firmly in the first camp. Once again, the seemingly obsolete armored carrier goes to war against Earth’s alien enemies, leading a multinational force of newer ships along with transports full of Marines to land on an alien colony world. Admiral Ted Smith gets kicked upstairs to fleet command and the headaches of making his little fleet work together, while his former flag captain Fitzwilliam takes command of the Ark Royal. Lots of action, some VERY interesting subplots, and lots of loose plot threads that seem to promise a sequel. Recommended.
And on the other hand, you have Dennis Detwiller’s Delta Green novel Denied to the Enemy, a grim tale of Nazi experiments with the occult, contacts with Things That Should Not Be, and worse, all set against the backdrop of World War II. If you’re unfamiliar with the Delta Green RPG rules, which began as an offshoot of the Call of Cthulhu system, you should probably read this for a little background; to describe it as The X-Files“> meets the Cthulhu Mythos is more than a little misleading. Suffice it to say that the world of Delta Green is a dark and lonely place which makes Charles’ Stross Laundry novels read like Winnie the Pooh in their cheerful optimism. Detwiller has also written a second Delta Green novel, Through a Glass, Darkly, which is somewhat less depressing but no less dark and bloody than its World War II predecessor. If you like your horror in smaller doses, the anthologies Alien Intelligence and Dark Theatres may be more to your liking. I recommend all of these to those folks who are interested in the Mythos, the Laundry novels, or the X-Files; well worth your time.
In other news, for those of you still interested in the Hugo Awards, Larry Correia announces that a blow has been struck against Puppy Related Sadness.