The Other McCain

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

The Early Summer Book Post

Posted on | May 24, 2020 | Comments Off on The Early Summer Book Post

— by Wombat-socho

Since the end of tax season, I’ve been making up for lost time. I’m a little behind on my Kindle Lending Library borrows, but on the other hand, I had some spare cash this month after paying bills, and I spent it wisely. On books. For my Kindle, because I’m still not in my own space – yet. SOON.

Going to start with an oldie but a goodie – Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising, which used to be a technothriller but is now an alternate history thank to the Great Politics Mess-Up. On the off-chance you haven’t read this, it’s a great recounting of the Third World War that never was, sparked by a massive act of jihadi sabotage against a major Soviet oil refinery. While Larry Bond’s name isn’t on the cover, Clancy gave him (and Bond’s game Harpoon) a ton of credit in the foreword, and rightly so. Clancy manages to keep several plot lines on both sides moving all through the book, and foreshadows the great work he’d later do on the best books from the Ryanverse. Highly recommended.

Kurt Schlichter’s Kelly Turnbull novels remind me somewhat of Clancy’s tales of John Clark, if Clark had less empathy and more of a tendency to get shot up…anyhow, I binged Wildfire and Collapse last weekend, and they’re both good reads. Turnbull’s mission in the former is to stop a bunch of jihadis from releasing a particularly nasty variant of Ebola Marburg in the People’s Republic while pretending to be a PBI agent. Bonus points for the many humorous parts where Turnbull turns the genderfluid transracial & transsexual craziness of the PR against its bureaucrats. The latter reads uncomfortably like a near-future technothriller in which the corrupt rulers of the PR’s Pacific States are selling out to Red China to save their own hides from the starving masses; initially, Turnbull’s mission is to smuggle in an ace hacker to trash the control systems for the reactor aboard the former USS Theodore Roosevelt, but as so often happens, he and the very unwilling hacker find themselves headed for San Francisco along with a team of Rangers and a somewhat demented demo expert whose dream of blowing up the Golden Gate Bridge is about to come true.

Jerry Pournelle’s heirs are getting his last works finished up and on the market. The last third of the Heorot trilogy, Starborn & Godsons, co-written with Larry Niven & Steven Barnes, is out (and on my reading list), and the long-awaited Mamelukes  (finished by David Weber & Philip Pournelle) is due out next month. In the meantime, there is John Carr’s memorial anthology for Jerry, The Best Of Jerry Pournelle, which contains some of the best of Jerry’s short work, some of it in collaboration with Larry Niven (“Reflex” and “Spirals”) and some of it previously uncollected  – there’s a Wade Curtis story that somehow didn’t get picked up before, and Jerry’s contribution to The Last Dangerous Visions, which is still going to be published Real Soon Now. This is an excellent collection just on the basis of the stories, but there’s also a lot of tributes from Steven Barnes, Larry Niven, and others. Highly recommended.

I am unenthused about the release of Uncle Bob’s The Pursuit of the Pankera. I thought the original version (The Number of the Beast) was terrible and was glad I’d just borrowed it from the library. However, if someone wants to shell out the $10 (or loan me the book) so they can get my opinion, I’m willing to tackle it.

On a more positive note, a bunch of authors I respect are having a Memorial Day Weekend sale. I’ve reviewed a fair number of these books over the last few years, and you could easily pick up a lot of good reads for five bucks without even trying hard. Go forth and browse!

Amazon Warehouse Deals


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