The Other McCain

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

What I Read On My Christmas Vacation

Posted on | January 8, 2015 | 31 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

It’s been a few weeks since I did a book post, so I’ll try and make up for it by covering a decent variety of stuff. First, I want to talk about John Ringo’s Ghost and Kildar, which are more technothrillers than SF. To put it briefly and bluntly, if you liked Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six but thought it needed more explicit sex (especially of the BDSM variety) then these are the books for you. I liked the main plotline well enough, but I’m not gonna lie – much as I skimmed through the intensive math in Cryptonomicon, I skipped the more pornographic parts of these novels.

Also outside the usual run of reading was M.C.A. Hogarth’s A Rosary of Stones and Thorns, which has a most unusual Five Man (sic) Gang trying to avert Armageddon. Reminded me of the Christopher Walken movie The Prophecy in a way, but it’s a very different story. Worth your time, and would probably have gotten a nihil obstat if Hogarth had bothered.

I’ve remarked on David Drake’s habit of reforging historical events into SF novels, and he’s done it again with Into the Hinterlands, a quirky biography of a George Washington analog set in a future dominated by a decadent Terra and her first-generation colonies. Drake and British SF author John Lambshead do a good job of showing Allen Allenson’s life on the frontier, and anyone familiar with Washington’s youth can pick out the major events that shaped the man who would lead the Continental Army and later, the United States as its first president – but those events are for the sequels to this. Decent brain candy, especially if you like history.

Back in the days of the Cold War, Jerry Pournelle edited a series of anthologies called There Will Be War, which combined SF with non-fiction articles and occasional poetry. Vox Day and Tom Kratman have done much the same with Riding the Red Horse, a collection of SF and non-fiction that examines terrorism and the rise of Red China to superpower status in the same way Pournelle’s anthologies examined the Cold War with the old Soviet Union. I’m only partway through it so far, but I think I’ve read enough to say this is just as good as the Cold War version.

Still working on Paul Cornell*’s London Falling, which reminds me somewhat of Charles Stross’ Rule 34, except instead of post-modern SF what we have here is supernatural horror, and instead of the mildly annoying office politics in Stross’ novel, the Metropolitan Police in Cornell’s tale are out for blood. Also unfinished, but still recommended for those that like their urban fantasy dark and gritty.

*Not to be confused with Pat Condell, atheist notable for his YouTube rants against Islam.

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31 Responses to “What I Read On My Christmas Vacation”

  1. Political Rift » What I Read On My Christmas Vacation
    January 8th, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

    […] Wombat-socho – by Wombat-socho It’s been a few weeks since I did a book post, so I’ll try and make […]

  2. CruisingTroll
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:25 pm

    Regarding John Ringo: “oh John Ringo, nooooooooooo”

    I most enjoyed his Empire of Man / Prince Roger series. The above quote relates to a different series….

  3. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

    You are like Abe Lincoln when it comes to reading.

  4. What I Read On My Christmas Vacation : The Other McCain | That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:38 pm

    […] What I Read On My Christmas Vacation : The Other McCain. […]

  5. Wombat_socho
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

    And in fact Ghost is the book that inspired it. If you haven’t already read the book, you’ll know the cause when you get to it.

  6. Wombat_socho
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:56 pm

    I was ruined for life by learning to speed-read at an early age.

  7. joethefatman
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:57 pm

    I’m almost through Nemesis and have enjoyed these books a lot more than I thought I would. Still can’t say thanks enough…

  8. CruisingTroll
    January 8th, 2015 @ 9:59 pm

    I’ve read it, similar reaction. Like watching a train wreck…. In the subsequent books of that series, I just skipped over “those parts.”

  9. Wombat_socho
    January 8th, 2015 @ 10:03 pm

    Kinda weird reading one of the MHI novels where Franks is the good guy, isn’t it?

  10. joethefatman
    January 8th, 2015 @ 10:09 pm

    Yeah it is. I got the books on the 24th and have been deliberately pacing myself and I’m still running out of book .. dammit. Oh well maybe I can get the other series next month.

  11. neshobanakni
    January 8th, 2015 @ 11:23 pm

    Have read the Ringo books and just finished “Riding the Red Horse.” Which was free! I think it was Ringo who wrote a new “Bolo” novel, but it just bored me and I put it down. But it was free, too.

  12. KenPrescott
    January 9th, 2015 @ 12:02 am

    “much as I skimmed through the intensive math in Cryptonomicon”


  13. Wombat_socho
    January 9th, 2015 @ 12:24 am

    The Road To Damascus with Linda Evans, yeah. I vaguely remember reading that one; it wasn’t the best of the sequel novels, but I don’t think it was the worst.

  14. Wombat_socho
    January 9th, 2015 @ 12:24 am

    Man’s got to know his limitations.

  15. neshobanakni
    January 9th, 2015 @ 12:51 am

    Sorry, I had it confused with Tom Kratman’s “Big Boys Don’t Cry.” But they both kinda sucked.

  16. Critical Eye
    January 9th, 2015 @ 9:49 am

    Really enjoyed Riding the Red Horse. In fact, I’ve found three new authors to follow. That one book led to four more eBook sales.

  17. rustypaladin
    January 9th, 2015 @ 9:57 am

    C’mon, “Ghost” won a Predator award for Best Romance Novel. What’s not to like? 🙂

  18. Gahrie
    January 9th, 2015 @ 10:09 am

    Many people describe the Ghost books as Gorian, refering back to the old Gor books. There’s really nothing in the Ghost books more outrageous than what is printed in your average bodice ripper, it is just that it is unsettling to read it from a male perspective for many.

  19. Warren Hall
    January 9th, 2015 @ 10:29 am

    He co wrote another in the series, it’s suppose to come out this year. This co author is suppose to be much better than the last one.

    Say what you will about Ringo’s writing he’s a master at the gut punch, the scene with the teddy bear in the boat cabin, Faith clearing a cruise ship with said teddy bear,in the ghost series when the gunship goes back to base and give their dead door gunner back to her family and ask the village for another replacement and everyone steps forward.

  20. Dana
    January 9th, 2015 @ 10:45 am

    I’m surprised, given that all you have to live on is the gruel our esteemed host pays you, that you have the time or energy to read anything at all.

  21. Dana
    January 9th, 2015 @ 10:47 am

    My latest read have all been biographies of English kings: Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror, William II, and now Edward I.

  22. kilo6
    January 9th, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

    I really enjoy your book posts, but please tell me more about this redhead …

  23. Wombat_socho
    January 9th, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

    Haven’t gotten that far in the Ghost series, but I completely agree with you.

  24. Wombat_socho
    January 9th, 2015 @ 2:09 pm

    A lot of this stuff comes from the library, gets borrowed from friends or the Amazon Prime Lending Library, or picked up on sale. Also, it doesn’t take much energy to just lie there and prod the Kindle occasionally.

  25. Wombat_socho
    January 9th, 2015 @ 2:10 pm

    Sadly, I don’t know the young lady, but Cousin Frank seems to be enjoying her company. I think it’s Frank. Hard to tell since we all look so much alike.

  26. Wombat_socho
    January 9th, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

    You’re probably right, but that falls under the heading of Things I Don’t Want To Know.

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    January 9th, 2015 @ 5:32 pm

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  28. richard mcenroe
    January 9th, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

    Why can’t a terrorist-fighter be a raging prevert? Most of the polticians who send him and progs who criticize him are…

  29. richard mcenroe
    January 9th, 2015 @ 6:08 pm

    Many people don’t realize that The Boys’ Own Book of Knots” was originally written as a marital aid…

  30. richard mcenroe
    January 9th, 2015 @ 6:40 pm

    I never had the feeling Franks was ‘the bad guy’. I saw his place in the story as being more like Morgan in the Dresden novels.

  31. Wombat_socho
    January 10th, 2015 @ 10:42 am

    Not familiar with those, but I’ll take your word for it.