The Other McCain

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

Meanwhile, Elsewhere In The Culture War…

Posted on | February 7, 2014 | 21 Comments

— compiled by Wombat-socho

While Stacy is off trying to pound sense into the thick skulls of young Marxist wannabees, I feel compelled to help fill the content gap, and since I’ve actually been able to get some reading in between stints in the tax mines, I have a few things I’d like to recommend.

First off, Casey Neumiller (who wrote the action-packed Dead Man’s Fugue) sent me a review copy of his fantasy novel Destiny’s Heir, a nice coming-of-age story involving a young magician’s apprentice, the best thief in the local guild, and the epic theft that brings them together only to realize they’ve opened an ENORMOUS can of worms. Not just your average derivative elf & dwarf crap; this is an original combination of picaresque tale and Bildungsroman. Worth your time.

Also worth your time is Brian McClellan’s Promise of Blood, recommended by Schlock Mercenary creator Howard Tayler in his blog. Gunpowder weapons don’t usually mix well with classic high fantasy, since they sort of clash with the medieval aesthetic and all that, but McClellan makes it work in this bloody tale of magic, revolution, regicide and mystery whose style reminds me somewhat of Paula Volsky’s The Gates of Twilight. Mr. Tayler is right – McClellan’s writing chops are excellent, and the story is compelling. Also, it’s only $1.99 on the Kindle.

Marko Kloos has a sequel out to Terms of Enlistment, and there’s a reason Lines of Departure is currently #2 on the Kindle War & Military Fiction list. Our hero Andrew Grayson is back, having moved from shipboard neural net manager to forward observer for the drop teams the North American Confederacy is sending to hit back at the implacable Lankies – the aliens that have so far wrecked every human colony outside the “30 line” without a still-divided humanity being able to even slow them up. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Grayson finds out during an all-too-brief shore leave on Earth that things dirtside are exponentially worse than they were when he enlisted, with many cities so close to rebellion as makes no difference. The real meat of the novel begins when Grayson’s leave ends and he finds himself assigned to a task force constituted mostly of old starships seconds away from the scrapyard and staffed with a brigade of mutinous Homeland Defense (was Territorial Army) troops. Some of the Amazon reviewers think this may be a better and tighter novel than Terms of Enlistment, and I’m not sure they’re wrong. Got this for free through the Kindle Lending Library program, but I think I’ll be shelling out my $4.99 next month when the loan expires. Very much worth it.

Speaking of sequels, knowing librarians has its privileges, and one of those is occasionally getting ARCs of books I wanted to buy anyway. For example, John Ringo’s To Sail a Darkling Sea, which I’d been agonizing over buying when a friend dropped the ARC in my lap. This is, of course, the sequel to Under a Graveyard Sky, which shows you the end of the world up close and personal as a virulent genengineered flu converts most of humanity into highly-infectious zombies. Among the few survivors are Steven Smith, a/k/a “Commodore Wolf”, who sets out with his family to rescue as many people from boats and ships adrift in the Atlantic as they can, rebuilding civilization one life raft at a time. The sequel mainly continues the story, with the added amusement of surviving Marines, sailors and Coast Guardsmen trying to help make Smith’s teenage daughters Faith and Sophia (Shewolf and Seawolf, respectively) into leaders de jure as well as de facto. As you may recall, the zombie horror subgenre bores me to tears – but for some reason, Ringo manages to hold my interest while dancing from greasy organizational stuff to a bit of the old ultra-violence to turning none-too-bright security guards and support staff into zombie killers to slams at chairborne officers who know a lot about management but damn little about leadership. A fun read, and highly recommended.

So…what have you been reading?


21 Responses to “Meanwhile, Elsewhere In The Culture War…”

  1. M. Thompson
    February 7th, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

    Nice ideas for reads, but I picked put Frank Chadwick’s Space: 1889 novel “The Forever Engine” this week at my local B&N. Next up will be the next Safehold book from the Mad Wizard.

    Link for Chadwick:

  2. richard mcenroe
    February 7th, 2014 @ 11:16 pm

    right now bouncing back and forth between David Webber’s Armgeddon Reef series and Monuments Men: go see the latter movie BTW.

    Have decided Brad Taylor will not be the next Vince Flynn.

  3. Gahrie
    February 8th, 2014 @ 1:41 am

    If you read the works of W.E.B. Griffin, and have not yet read the latest in the Presidental Agent series, save your money. It is beyond disappointing, and positively reeks of a desperate attempt to satisfy a contract.

  4. Eric Ashley
    February 8th, 2014 @ 2:46 am

    Read ‘God Touched’ which is kinda blue pill, but enjoyable enough for its free or .99 status. Hero is a guy with special demon banishing powers. Meets lots of other people. Not really that focused on initial premise.
    Am reading ‘Kill Them Where You Find Them’ which is Zionist/Mormon Neocon Time Travel/Pandemic Terrorism. One nice thing about Kindle is the potential for such weirdness. There is a bit too much lecturing by the guy in charge of meetings, and by the author, but its such an odd viewpoint that I find its not so bad as it helps to clarify things quickly. And its free.

  5. rustypaladin
    February 8th, 2014 @ 4:03 am

    I’m finally getting around to reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Dance with Dragons” after which I fully intend to read “Promise of Blood”. I’m not as big into fantasy as I once was but this seems to combine it with Napoleonics which I am.

  6. John Farrier
    February 8th, 2014 @ 9:05 am

    Marko Kloos’s novella Measures of Absolution is also good. It’s set within the same universe as his two novels.

    Every now and then, I pick up a heavy classic. Right now, I’m reading Moby Dick.

  7. Meanwhile, Elsewhere In The Culture War… : The Other McCain | Dead Citizen's Rights Society
    February 8th, 2014 @ 9:42 am

    […] Meanwhile, Elsewhere In The Culture War… : The Other McCain. […]

  8. rmnixondeceased
    February 8th, 2014 @ 9:47 am

    I thought so as well. not up to snuff. The younger partner (Butterworth) in the author ‘duo’ is not as adept a writer as the senior member W. E. B. Griffin (Bill Butterworth III) who is 84 and in need of some well deserved time off.

  9. Gahrie
    February 8th, 2014 @ 10:01 am

    The same thing happended with Anne McCaffrey……her son tried to take over the PERN franchise with limited success.

  10. richard mcenroe
    February 8th, 2014 @ 11:19 am

    Heavy as in the sense of the critic who reviewed Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall” with :”I have here before me a great book. It weighs all of four pounds.” ?

  11. Wombat_socho
    February 8th, 2014 @ 11:40 am

    I’ve been thinking about picking that novella up as well. Moby Dick, not so much.

  12. Wombat_socho
    February 8th, 2014 @ 11:42 am

    I haven’t actually read anything of his since his name was Butterworth and he was churning out farces masquerading as M*A*S*H sequels, but thanks for the warning.

  13. Quartermaster
    February 8th, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    Weber pushed the net Safehold novel’s release into spring for some reason. My wife and I are waiting on it as well.

  14. richard mcenroe
    February 8th, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    hey, at least Richard Hooker got a few bucks off those.

  15. richard mcenroe
    February 8th, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    Spoiler: The Romans lose.

  16. John Farrier
    February 8th, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

    That’s a great line!

  17. John Farrier
    February 8th, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

    Lately, I’ve read just classics and comic books. I’ve found that by reading a chapter or two of a classic, like Moby Dick, I can get through it without dreading it. I learn a lot, too.

    I got through Paradise Lost and Ninja High School: Hawaii this way.

    I usually reserve popular novels, like Kloos’s, for long trips and vacations.

    These reading threads are great, Wombat_socho. They’re my favorite part of The Other McCain.

  18. Wombat_socho
    February 8th, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    I’m not knocking them. They were fun reads when I was in high school.

  19. Wombat_socho
    February 8th, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

    Going to try and crank a few more of these out.

  20. Gahrie
    February 8th, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

    I’ve think someone should make a series of movies, or perhaps a cable mini series based on the Butterworth M*A*S*H* books. I’ve always imagined something like the Carry On comedies from England.

  21. Wombat_socho
    February 8th, 2014 @ 11:25 pm

    I don’t think you can make those any more even in England.