The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Weekend Reading

Posted on | November 26, 2014 | 13 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

I am heading off into the Shenandoah Valley this weekend to spend Thanksgiving Day weekend with the family of an old friend, but before I grab my bags and head out into the rain, I need to stuff a few books into my range bag since I’ll be avoiding the Internet this weekend. I’m in the middle of re-reading Larry Correia’s Hard Magic, so that’s going, and from the library I have Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising, the first in a series of novels set in the Warhammer 40K universe.* Abnett comes highly recommended by my friends who are into WH40K, and I did like the hilarious (and horrifying) Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell, so we’ll see how this first novel in the Horus Heresy cycle sits with me. Also recommended was Peter Grant’s War To The Knife, the first volume of a trilogy; it is free through the Amazon Prime Lending Library, if you’re hooked up with that.

I’m also finally getting around to David Drake and Eric Flint’s Belisarius I: Thunder at Dawn, which combines the first two novels of the Belisarius series (An Oblique Approach and In The Heart Of Darkness) in one volume. This is essentially an alternate history series with a similar premise to Drake & Stirling’s Raj Whitehall novels (see Hope Reborn) but unlike Center in the Raj Whitehall novels, the entity aiding Belisarius has opposition from a parallel world, which has its own plans for humanity. It looks interesting, and I think I may actually have read the second novel before after mistaking it for Drake’s horror collection From the Heart of Darkness** so we’ll see how I feel about the rest of it.

Also on the Kindle is some non-fiction, Virginia Postrel’s The Substance of Style, currently on sale for the insanely cheap price of $1.99 (normal list price is $13.99). Postrel argues in this book that appearance counts and esthetic value is real. Postrel is an entertaining writer; her 1998 book The Future and Its Enemies is an excellent examination of the social and political tensions between “dynamists” and “stasists” that cuts across party lines.

For your amusement: a very short story wherein a Delta Green operative considers some relevant literature. 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving! See you Sunday for the FMJRA!

*Since I’m still pissed at Games Workshop over the way they treated Maggie Hogarth over Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler, here’s an unsolicited plug for that book, which unusually for combat SF can actually be read by your children.
**Has Cthulhu Mythos content and other creepiness.

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  • richard mcenroe

    Isn’t it “Caiaphas Cain”? “Ciaphas Cain” you have to stop reading after four hours or consult your physician…

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    You be safe and have fun Wombat!

  • rustypaladin

    Dan Abnett is the only Warhammer 40K author authorized to write a happy ending in his books. I did enjoy the Guant’s Ghosts series from him. The Horus Heresy series is a mixed bag though.

  • Ruy Diaz

    You probably read the second book of the ‘Belisarius’ series already. I did when I first found the series. Seems that Baen, for whatever reason, decided to offer the second book of the series for free in Kindle, so I grabbed that and began to read it. When I enjoyed the book, I went back to buy the first book, then the Omnibus editions of the other four stand-alone books.

    Seriously, though, who the hell offers the SECOND book of series as bait, instead of the first one?

  • richard mcenroe

    I know a lot of folks who recommend starting Patrick O’Brian with HMS Surprise, and not the first two books in the series. In my opinion, that’s a mistake; I love watching the author discover his characters as he goes along in the first two, but HMS Surprise is where he begins to really build on his groundwork.

  • richard mcenroe

    Partway through the first “Quarter Share” book. I think readers of A. Bertram Chandler would enjoy it.

  • Wombat_socho

    Nope, It’s Ciaphas. Either that or the author, publisher, and Amazon all have it wrong.

  • Wombat_socho

    Thank you! I did!

  • Wombat_socho

    Sandy Mitchell has plenty of happy endings in his Ciaphas Cain books, IYKWIMAITYD. Also the more conventional kind. 😉

  • Wombat_socho

    I did, but not because it was free on the Kindle – I borrowed it from the Minneapolis Library some years ago because I’d misplaced my copy of Drake’s horror anthology.

  • Wombat_socho

    In that case I’ll have to borrow it tomorrow when I return War to the Knife.

  • richard mcenroe

    I’ll go with that one.

  • rustypaladin

    Good point and, er, yeah… 🙂 I especially liked the ending of Double Eagle. The epilogue is reading the report of one of the character’s deaths. You’d have to read the book to know why this is a happy ending :). In contrast, the Horus Heresy is one missed opportunity to stop the problems after another. It gets depressing. The only character I have any sympathy for is Angron. His beef with the Emperor has real grounds (He was rescued by the Emperor during an Alamo like last stand. The Emperor didn’t rescue any of his men.)