The Other McCain

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The Centurion, Some Collections, & A Fistful Of Manga

Posted on | August 9, 2020 | Comments Off on The Centurion, Some Collections, & A Fistful Of Manga

— by Wombat-socho

Leonard Wibberley is best known for his hilarious Cold War comedy The Mouse That Roared, which was later made into a fine movie starring Peter Sellers, but today I want to talk about a more serious Wibberley novel, The Centurion. The novel is about the Roman centurion, Longinus, who appears at several points in the Gospel, most notably when he pleads with Jesus to save his dying servant, and again during the Passion when he bears witness to Christ’s divinity. Wibberley shows us the man behind the legend, a man with the thankless job of maintaining the peace in this troublesome province of the Roman Empire, filled with people who hate and fear the Romans only slightly less than they hate each other. Longinus has served Rome for decades, and when we meet him, he is a man without dreams or ambition, who just wants to do his job, but there’s this Jewish rabbi wandering around preaching and performing miracles…stirring up the people and making procurator Pontius Pilate worried. In addition to Longinus, we also meet Jesus and his disciples, the latter of which are a long way from being the saints and legends they’ll become. It is because Longinus seeks Jesus’ help that Pilate puts him in charge of the crucifixion detail, and ultimately, gives him charge of the detail watching the grave as well. It is not a cheerful novel; no account of the Passion could be, but it is nonetheless a novel full of hope, and one that will make you think. Recommended.

Give Me LibertyCon is an all-star anthology done as a benefit for the scholarship fund named for the late founder of LibertyCon, Tim Bolgeo. There’s a lot of Tuckerizing going on here, and I probably would have enjoyed the collection more if I knew who even half of these people were.

I’m not quite done with Noir Fatale, edited by Larry Correia and Kacey Ezell, because I can only read so much noir SF/fantasy at a time. If that’s your thing, you’ll really like Noir Fatale, and if not, you should look elsewhere. Maybe at SPOTREPS, a collection of near-future combat SF concerned with a low-intensity war between Red China and the U.S., with an expy for Antifa on the side of the Chinese and a motley crew of local police, sheriffs, and militia doing most of the fighting. Edited by Peter Nealen, SPOTREPS has stories by Larry Correia, Brad Torgerson, and my buddy Jonathan LaForce, who cleverly sneaks a romance into the middle of a militia forward observer team making the lives of the “assisting” Red Chinese miserable by reaching out and touching them with 155mm artillery. Recommended.

I’m still following Komi Can’t Communicate, whose eighth volume is due out next week, because it’s a really touching story about a girl who can’t talk to people except through her phone or by writing on her notepad. There is the usual assortment of weird high-school classmates to lighten things up, but the main plot is about her normal classmate Tadano helping Komi reach her goal of making 100 friends.

As you all know, I’m hopelessly addicted to the mobile game Fate/Grand Order. If mobile games aren’t your thing, and you don’t want to wade through the jungle of visual novels, anime, and whatnot that make up the Fate franchise, I recommend Fate/Grand Order – Mortalis: Stella, the first in a series of manga that explain how little old no-talent you and your confused kouhai got drafted to (literally) save the world.  Does a good job of pulling together some details that aren’t immediately clear in the game or are dealt with there in flashbacks. Recommended. On the other hand, Today’s Menu For The Emiya Family is a weird combination of manga and cookbook in which the many characters of Fate/Stay Night come by and help with dinner. If you like cookbooks with slice-of-life stories in between the recipes, this is the kind of manga you will like.

Next week, if all goes well, the final (maybe) novel in Tom Kratman’s Carreraverse and some other stuff.

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