The Other McCain

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

Cincinnatus and the Giant

Posted on | May 17, 2015 | 12 Comments

— by Wombat-socho


Wrapping up the leftovers from last week…Charles Gannon’s Trial by Fire has plenty of action to suit combat SF readers, and a healthy helping of interstellar intrigue, diplomacy and skulduggery to boot. Don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, but Gannon’s humans do a good job of faking the aliens (and the reader) out on the way to a mostly-satisfying ending.


Michael Z. Williamson’s A Long Time Until Now is fundamentally a tale of what a dozen soldiers (okay, there’s one airman and an ex-squid in the squad) do when they and their pair of MRAPs are dumped a few hundred thousand years into the past. It’s partially a tale of physical and psychological survival, but it’s also a tale of how modern soldiers interact with primitives, Romans, and eventually, a pair of scouts from the future who prove to be the key to getting our stranded troops home…after a detour more disturbing than their sojourn in the past. Excellent book; it’s going on my short list of books to nominate for next year’s Hugos.


I somehow missed Orson Scott Card’s Shadows in Flight when it came out a few years ago. This picks up where Shadow of the Giant left off; Julian “Bean” Delphiki leaves Earth with three of his children that share “Anton’s Key”, a birth defect that combines faster development and higher intelligence with giantism that will kill them at an age when ordinary humans would be in their prime; they hope to exploit relativistic speed to accelerate their search for a cure. After centuries pass on Earth and no cure is found, the children begin to despair – until the sensors show an alien ship in orbit around a possibly habitable planet. Good story, though a bit hard on the emotions.


Joel Rosenberg is probably better known as a Second Amendment activist and fantasy writer than an SF author, but from the short story “Cincinnatus” comes the novel Not For Glory, a tale of Am Yisroel in exile on the barren planet Metzada, where as the protagonist Tetsuo Hanavi remarks, “If nobody hires us to fight, my children will have to learn to eat rock.” So it is that the Metzada Mercenary Corps goes forth to worlds like Rand, Alsace, and Neuva Terra to fight (and usually win) other peoples’ wars. Hero, the sequel (though chronologically taking place before the events in Not For Glory), is the story of Ari Hanavi, Tetsuo’s little brother, and it’s not a cheerful tale by any means. Well worth reading, but don’t just take my word for it: David Drake and S.M. Stirling both thought highly of the MMC novels.


C.J. Cherryh’s Tracker is the sixteenth novel in her series about relations between the humanoid atevi and humans, this time with the added complication of the barely understood kyo arriving at a time when the atevi civil war has barely been won and refugees from Reunion Station threaten to throw matters at the joint atevi/human orbital station into chaos. If you enjoyed Cherryh’s previous novels in the series, you’ll like this one as well; coming into this one without reading the fifteen previous books can be done, since Cherryh is very good at supplying context without doing massive infodumps, but I personally don’t recommend it.


I also spent some time browsing through David Drake’s The Complete Hammer’s Slammers: Volume 1 and its two sequels; this time, I actually stopped to read David Hartwell’s introduction to The Complete Hammer’s Slammers: Volume 2, which in retrospect I wish more SF fans who don’t normally read combat SF had bothered to read. Welp.


Off to Balticon next weekend; not sure yet if there’ll be a book post this week or not, since I expect to be busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.


Comments

12 Responses to “Cincinnatus and the Giant”

  1. Kyle Kiernan
    May 18th, 2015 @ 3:22 am

    I wish Joel Rosenberg had more time to write more of the MMC universe. There’s a lot there to see yet and I’ve worn out my copies of these two.

  2. Wombat_socho
    May 18th, 2015 @ 6:24 am

    They’re both available on Kindle, nudge nudge wink wink. 🙂

  3. StephanieSRe
    May 18th, 2015 @ 8:20 am
  4. Leo Hoban
    May 18th, 2015 @ 8:44 am

    Gannon’s first in the series, Fire with Fire, is currently $0.00 on the Kindle, so I’ve added that to try out the series.

  5. Rob Crawford
    May 18th, 2015 @ 10:44 am

    I wish he just had more time. I despise Minneapolis for the way he was treated.

  6. SPQR9
    May 18th, 2015 @ 2:53 pm

    I miss Joel.

  7. richard mcenroe
    May 18th, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

    I wish I’d know you were going to a convention, I’d have sold you a PRIVILEGED MICROAGGRESSOR t-shirt.

  8. Wombat_socho
    May 18th, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

    What I really need is a studded denim vest with #WRONGFAN and #WRONGFUN patches. >:)

  9. richard mcenroe
    May 18th, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

    Just don’t wear it in Waco.

  10. Wombat_socho
    May 19th, 2015 @ 5:38 am

    Not going anywhere near Waco.

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