The Other McCain

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

He’s Not Hunter S. Thompson, But He’ll Do Just Fine

Posted on | July 22, 2016 | 4 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

Don Surber was kind enough to send me a galley copy of his Trump The Press. thus demonstrating that in some cases, friendship does outweigh political differences. I have to say, while I am none too enthusiastic about Donald Trump, Don’s book is a marvelous thumb in the eye of the punditry and the press, most of whom treated the Republican nominee as a bad joke who couldn’t possibly win the nomination – until he did. Austin Bay beat me to the punch and said a lot of the things I was going to say; he is entirely correct that Don’s book is an outstanding first history of the campaign, and a wonderfully easy read to boot. The Kindle edition hits the airwaves on Monday, but you can pre-order (at $2.99, it’s a hell of a good deal) or you can get the dead tree edition right now. Either way, you ought to read it.

It took me longer than I thought it would, but I did manage to finish Jean Larteguy’s The Praetorians, which is every bit as depressing a book as you’d expect, considering that it’s about a group of French paratroop officers at the tail end of the Algerian War. Things I’d forgotten since I originally read the book in the 1980s: the entire novel is told in flashbacks, there’s a horrifying scene between Captains Mahmoudi and Esclavier toward the end which is almost too perfect a metaphor for the political subplot of the book, and at least one character dies after losing his faith. Depressing, but worth reading.

Jennifer Pournelle’s Outies is arguably a better book than its prequel by her dad and Larry Niven, despite some whining by marginally literate reviewers. There are references throughout the book to not only the previous two Motie novels, but also King David’s Spaceship, which is very pertinent to the plot. Ms. Pournelle’s storytelling style is different from her father’s, and the characters aren’t as fully developed as they might have been had Niven been involved, but this tale of political skulduggery and anthropology on the fringe of the Second Empire is an interesting one, and I think it’s worth the money.

The Year’s Best Military And Adventure SF 2015 is the second such anthology released by Baen edited by David Ashfarirad, and while I didn’t catch the first one, this one’s pretty good. Many of the stories are from the David Drake tribute anthology Onward, Drake!, including Hank Davis’ sinister yet amusing “The Trouble With Telepaths”, but the other stories are mostly good. I would rate this as being every bit as good as the There Will Be War anthologies, except without the nonfiction parts.

Finally (speaking of David Drake), there’s a new RCN novel out, Death’s Bright Day, in which the dashing young naval officer Daniel Leary gets married – and promptly gets ordered out to solve a problem for…the Alliance’s Fifth Bureau? Fortunately – as usual – he has the help of the Galaxy’s Most Lethal Librarian, Signals Officer Adele Mundy, to say nothing of the crew of the Princess Cecile, and we get some more first-class brain candy to enjoy. Fully in the traditions of the RCN series!


4 Responses to “He’s Not Hunter S. Thompson, But He’ll Do Just Fine”

  1. Eric Ashley
    July 22nd, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

    I was in the library talking to some friends when Adele Mundy looked at me with a glacier like stare and shushhed me. I lost my voice for a week.

    True story.

  2. JeffWeimer
    July 22nd, 2016 @ 2:21 pm

    Does Drake lay off the incessant depressing Mundy exposition, even a little bit?

  3. Wombat_socho
    July 22nd, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

    It’s more cheerful exposition in this one.

  4. Art Deco
    July 23rd, 2016 @ 2:16 pm

    I’m hoping a line editor excised Surber’s nonsense contention that Ted Cruz had spent ‘all but 5 of the last 20 years in Washington’.