The Other McCain

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


Posted on | December 5, 2014 | 23 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

So, I packed a bunch of stuff off to the Shenandoah with me last week, and managed to get them all read – or at least enough so that I feel good about giving an informed opinion. First off, no love for Dan Abnett’s Horus Rising, a ponderous tome leaden with Warhammer 40K thud and blunder. I’m taking another stab at at, but I don’t think my second opinion’s going to be any better than the first.

Contrariwise, Drake & Flint’s Belisarius I: Thunder at Dawn is good stuff; Drake and Flint write well together (see The Reformer and The Tyrant from the Raj Whitehall series) and the books are full of swashes being buckled, derring-do in far-off lands, and skulduggery close to home. I’m looking forward to the other four books in the series.

Virginia Postrel’s The Substance of Style is a fascinating book about the importance of esthetics in modern American society and how it impacts not just our cars, appliances, houses, and other objects but our very concept of who we are and the kind of people we like to hang out with. She has convincing rebuttals to both Abraham Maslow and his pyramidal hierarchy of needs and the Frankfurt School with its “manufactured consent” and the argument that we’re all just puppets manipulated by advertising. Very, very solid work and worth having even though it’s no longer on sale.

Peter Grant’s War To The Knife was a good read, a cut above the average brain candy. It starts as a tale of guerrilla war against a repressive off-planet invader, but the unexpected success of the guerrillas’ desperate final attack forces a change in the invaders’ government even as the guerrillas get off-planet and begin to assemble a government in exile that might be able to carry the war to the enemy’s home. I’m going to be very interested in seeing where Grant goes with this story.

Considerably more fluffy, and nearly as violent (which is saying quite a bit) is The Many Deaths of Joe Buckley, an amusing collection of death scenes written by Larry Correia, David Weber, John Ringo, and other Baen authors, with some added poetry and songs by fans. Who is Joe Buckley, and why do so many Baen authors enjoy killing him off? Even if you already know the answer, you may still be amused, and the proceeds go to Operation Baen Bulk and ReadAssist, unquestioably worthy causes.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago K-Bob suggested in the comments that I should put up an index of the book posts. Anyone else think I should fire up a Blogger page and do this? – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices


23 Responses to “Leftovers”

  1. Political Rift » Leftovers
    December 5th, 2014 @ 11:20 pm

    […] Read more here: Leftovers […]

  2. M. Thompson
    December 5th, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

    I’m not surprised with the 40K book. Other than Commissar Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!) I found the sturm und drang to be overpowering and not terribly interesting.

  3. ChandlersGhost
    December 5th, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

    I second K-Bob’s motion.

  4. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 5th, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

    Hint: these make excellent gifts !

  5. Wombat_socho
    December 6th, 2014 @ 1:12 am

    I’ve had the Eisenhorn and Gaunt’s Ghosts books recommended to me, and I guess if I see them in the library I’ll take a stab at them. But I’m not going out of my way for them, much less buying them.

  6. Jon Camp
    December 6th, 2014 @ 2:23 am

    Loved the Belisarius series when I read it back in the day!

  7. Mike
    December 6th, 2014 @ 3:52 am

    Yes! A page that indexes all your book posts..

    I wish I read 1/10th the books you do. You reviews are appreciated.

  8. Wombat_socho
    December 6th, 2014 @ 11:02 am

    Thank you. I’ll try to have the index up later today, laundry, the FMJRA, and social obligations permitting

  9. Wombat_socho
    December 6th, 2014 @ 11:02 am

    Clicks that I have placed on high/Encourage you to buy, buy, buy! (apologies to Tom Lehrer)

  10. richard mcenroe
    December 6th, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

    Have to admit, my favorite Buckley scenes are still the original ones in “A Hymn Before Battle” and “Gust Front”… “Oh, shit. This is going to hurt….”

  11. richard mcenroe
    December 6th, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

    The English have decided that adolescents can’t have the slightest sex in their YA entertainments, but buckets of gore and nihilism are just peachy, as anyone who has ever read 2000 A.D. and its knock-offs knows…

  12. richard mcenroe
    December 6th, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

    Social obligations? But I thought you were a blogger and an accountant…?

  13. Ruy Diaz
    December 6th, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    David Weber had the first Buckley offing. But John Ringo sure has had his fun.

  14. Ruy Diaz
    December 6th, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    Read both the ‘Belisarius’ and ‘General’ series. Both involved alien intelligences and both were inspired by the career of Byzantine general Flavius Belisarius. Both are good reads.

    Still, I think the ‘General’ series is better. The prose in ‘Belisarius’ turns hack-like from time to time. (Reflections that sound like long explanations, stuff like that.) Better world-development (all the psudo-Spanish), and character development (Suzette is one ruthless female canine.)

  15. Wombat_socho
    December 6th, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

    I was greatly amused by the historically accurate (for Roman times) division of the Gubierno Civil‘s territory between the Latinos under the Governor and the blond, blue-eyed barbarians of the Brigade and Squadron. 🙂

  16. Wombat_socho
    December 6th, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

    Well played, sir, well played.

  17. Wombat_socho
    December 6th, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

    Agreed. Ringo certainly puts Buckley (and all his AI descendants) through the wringer in those books – and they’re still coming out. Can’t wait to see how the Jewish SS tank destroyer unit fares against the Hedren.

  18. FMJRA 2.0: Freedom Of Choice : The Other McCain
    December 6th, 2014 @ 9:23 pm

    […] Leftovers Political Rift Batshit Crazy News […]

  19. Warren Hall
    December 6th, 2014 @ 10:44 pm

    Went on Amazon to see if I could get some William Johnstone horror books that I lost after I got out of the military. Good god were some of them expensive Wolfsbane in new condition $400, Nursery $240, Baby Grand $90, Rockinghorse $100.

    Was happy to see Darkly the Thunder on Kindle. Hope some more come on there.

  20. richard mcenroe
    December 7th, 2014 @ 1:32 am

    Korporal Buckelstein?

  21. Quartermaster
    December 7th, 2014 @ 10:25 am

    I saw a list of professions with no social life. Law (an unmarried lady friend’s), Engineering (mine), and Accounting were on it.

  22. Wombat_socho
    December 7th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm


  23. Wombat_socho
    December 7th, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

    There’s a lot of out-of-print books that ought to be on Kindle.