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Monday, June 30, 2014

Book review: Monster Hunter Nemesis

I am not a Monster Hunter International fan. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I WAS NOT a Monster Hunter International fan before this, the fifth book in the Monster Hunter series. While I stand second-to-none in my respect for their intrepid best-selling author, I found the first four books in the series to be a little too vanilla urban fantasy for my tastes. Violent vanilla, to be sure, even XXXtreme vanilla, but vanilla nonetheless. Which isn't to say that they are not fun and entertaining; they are, in fact, exactly the sort of books that harbor great appeal to red-blooded men who like big guns and pretty women with big breasts, and who are willing to defend civilization and society as the hard men standing between the monsters and the innocent.

Translation: I liked Mack Bolan back in the day too. This doesn't mean I ever confused it with great literature. Or even interesting literature.

I found Correia's Grimnoir Chronicles to be of considerably more interest. Unlike most Western authors, Correia is able to write a respectful portrayal of the Japanese warrior culture without coming off as the sort of obsessed round-eye who puts on a red kimono to drink ocha every afternoon. (I am an East Asian Studies major who spent a semester abroad in Tokyo, and I still speak a smattering of Japanee. So I knew a few guys like that.) I also found that the Grimnoir characters, despite their superhuman abilities, were more fully developed and interesting than their MHI counterparts.

So, what was fascinating about reading Monster Hunter Nemesis was to see the way Correia upped his game and took the book to a higher level. The way in which he did so was rather remarkable, because he somehow managed to improve the depth and scope of his writing without sacrificing even one iota of the violence-fueled action of the previous books.

In the first four books, Agent Franks is little more than a superweapon and an repetitive joke: "Oh shit, it's Franks!" As with most street drugs and urban fantasy series, Correia finds it necessary to keep raising the oppositional ante in order to maintain the reader's interest, which might seem a little conceptually challenging considering that the big boss at the end of the third book was an extradimensional Elder God and the collateral damage involved a considerable portion of the city of Las Vegas.

And so he raises the ante, but not in any of the cheap and obvious ways so common to lesser authors. Instead, Correia provides a backstory to his take on Frankenstein's monster that is both more interesting and comprehensive than the customary one. This backstory, which is directly integral to the plot, is deftly revealed in vignettes as the current story plays out.

For the first time, Larry Correia draws upon his religious background, and in doing so he brings both intellectual depth and emotional poignancy to the world of Monster Hunter that it previously lacked. Franks is revealed to be far more than monstrous construct, he is shown to be a complex, noble being whose inhuman sociopathy is the logical consequence of his alien values, motivations, and restrictions.

Larry Correia may not win the Hugo Best Novel Award in 2014 for Warbound. But his Monster Hunter Nemesis is likely to be a contender for next year's award. This is a very good book by a best-selling author who is confident in his ability and is beginning to hit his stride.

Characters (9/10)  Correia fleshes out existing characters both major and minor; his use of Heather the red-headed werewolf as a reluctant government agent desperate to earn her PUFF exception is particularly adroit. One of the major antagonists is well-portrayed, the other remains more than a bit of a mystery, and is alarmingly convincing in his ruthlessly efficient use and abuse of the bureaucratic power struggles between the various federal agencies.

Prose (7/10) One doesn't read Correia for the stylistic pyrotechnics or the obscure literary allusions. It's akin to contemplating the fuel-efficiency of a Lamborghini. That being said, his prose is smooth and easy, regardless of whether he is describing the splattering of a reanimated collection of corpses by a large, fast-moving vehicle or lovingly detailing the chambering action of a Glock* pistol. As an adept storyteller, Correia's style serves as simple lubricant for the story, just as it should be. He does have a certain lamentable habit of throwing in the occasional conversational rimshot, all of which will no doubt one day appear verbatim in the television series. Hey, if it works for Richard Castle....

Plot (10/10)  A centuries-old contract between Franks and the U.S. government is being jeopardized by a grasping bureaucrat with a savior complex who rejects the idea that people in the past had legitimate reasons for doing as they did. Adroitly ties everything from Milton and Mary Shelley and Ben Franklin into the Monster Hunter mythos.

Ideas (8/10)  Correia is moving well beyond the usual werewolves and vampires of generic urban fantasy. He is drawing effectively upon history, his tactical training experience, and his religious background, to say nothing of his accountant's eye view of government bureaucracy. Monster Hunter Nemesis is more than a mere action novel, it is an intelligent and occasionally thought-provoking action novel.

Text Sample:  There was a commotion on the other side of the tent flap. Guards gave challenges, IDs were presented, and then there was a rush of apologies. The flap opened and several men entered the giant command tent. The first through were members of the MCB’s elite mobile strike team. They were hardened warriors who Franks had served with many times, and behind them was an innocuous looking, middle aged man in a cheap suit.

Franks’ arms were chained to the chair, so he dipped his head slightly. “Sir.”


“Why is my second in command tied up?” Dwayne Myers, Strike Team SAC, demanded. “What’s the meaning of this?”


Foster’s response was about as belligerent as could be expected. “Agent Franks is charged with disobeying direct orders, violating security protocols by taking a civilian witness into a monster containment area, and then breaking into the Nevada storage facility to steal seized evidence.”


“Is that true?” Myers asked.


Franks nodded. That sounded about right, but Myers already knew most of the details, since it had secretly been his idea to begin with. Franks had taken Owen Pitt to Dugway because he’d thought the Monster Hunter’s psychic powers could help their investigation. He’d taken three ancient arcane weapons from Area 51 in order to fight the Nachtmar; Lord Machado’s ax, the Attilius gladius, and the Black Heart of Suffering. That last one had done the trick, and destroyed the creature.


“When he was confronted about his actions, Franks attempted to kill MCB Director Douglas Stark.”


Franks snorted. The five men covering him with drawn weapons backed away nervously. They were only following orders, but all of them had worked with Franks at some point, so they were aware that shooting Franks might upset him.


“I’ve known Agent Franks for twenty years. He doesn’t attempt to kill anyone. Holster those side arms and unchain him. Franks is coming with me.” Myers had recently been demoted, but had been the Acting Director before that, and he was still probably the most respected senior agent in the Bureau.


“Hold on,” Foster demanded. “Franks is in STFU custody.” It was almost like Foster thought that invoking the name of the ultra-secret Special Task Force Unicorn would strike fear into the federal agent’s hearts.


Myers glanced around theatrically. “Really? Because these appear to be MCB men, and last I checked sworn MCB agents don’t take orders from an operation that doesn’t exist.” The MCB didn’t officially exist either, as it was just a line item on the Department of Homeland Security’s budget, but in this business there were levels of not existing.


“Director Stark is—”


“Hiding from this giant clusterfuck caused by his lack of leadership,” Myers said. “Our good Director must have forgotten that is against regulation 72 dash B to turn MCB handling of a level five containment to another entity, such as yours, without authorization from the President. So in the meantime I’m the highest ranking member of the MCB available, and I’m making the call. Cut Franks loose. I’m going back outside to try and contain the unholy mess you amateurs made out of one of America’s most popular tourist attractions, before every news agency in the world records video of a street full of ectoplasm and dragon parts. Is that understood, Mr. Foster?”


It was clearly understood, but not particularly liked. “We’re not done, Myers.”


“Oh, I believe that we are.” Myers glanced over and confirmed that the men had put their weapons away. “Remove Mr. Foster from my command tent.”


“I’ve got it,” Franks said. One of the men had been looking for the key to the padlock, but Franks simply took up the chain in his bare hands and twisted until a link snapped. By the time anyone realized what was happening, the chains had already hit the floor and Franks had caught Foster by the arm and effortlessly lifted him off the ground. Foster winced in pain as Franks carried him to the nearest flap, and hurled the Unicorn operative into the street.


*Let no one henceforth say Larry Correia is homophobic. No doubt the LGBT community appreciated the little shout-out.

Labels:

63 Comments:

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus June 30, 2014 9:12 AM  

Good review, very much agree with your take on it...though the conversational one-liners make me laugh out loud rather than lament.

Loved his take on Franks... A very pleasant surprise, and one that replaces Monster Hunter: Alpha as my favorite in the series.

*Vox, are you coming out of the closet as a Cooperate?

Anonymous Darth Toolpodicus June 30, 2014 9:13 AM  

Er..Cooper-ite

Out, damn autocomplete

Blogger Random June 30, 2014 9:49 AM  

Isn't Nemesis the fifth book in the series, with Legion (which I'm about to start) the fourth?

Blogger CarpeOro June 30, 2014 10:05 AM  

That is what I thought Random. Finished Legion recently myself and look forward to Nemesis.

Anonymous VD June 30, 2014 10:06 AM  

Isn't Nemesis the fifth book in the series, with Legion (which I'm about to start) the fourth?

Hey, I SAID I wasn't a fan. You're correct. NEMESIS is the fifth book. Corrected, thanks.

Anonymous jack June 30, 2014 10:20 AM  

Nice take and review. Would it not be the hoot should Correia win the Hugo for best
novel two years running? With his fan base it could happen, regardless the pinkies, pederast, whore mongering cross dressers there at SFWA.

Anonymous VD June 30, 2014 10:25 AM  

A hoot? I think "epic" would be the word indicated. Especially since his fan base is growing.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream June 30, 2014 10:34 AM  

Can this book be read alone, or do you really need to read the series first?

Blogger Nate June 30, 2014 10:38 AM  

I haven't read it... but my experience is the MHI books can be stand alone novels... but its way more fun to read from the beginning. There are tons of characters and tons of history between those characters and the group dynamics will be lost on you if you don't start at the start.

Anonymous Randy M June 30, 2014 10:39 AM  

Is this a suitable entry point for the series, or do we need to start at the first?

OT: Here's an examination of an economic argument I first saw raised here:
http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/06/29/invisible-women/

Blogger Nate June 30, 2014 10:39 AM  

also.. there is no reason to not start at the start. Note that while Vox points out he's not a fan... he went out of his way to avoid saying anything negative about the entertainment value.

Godzilla movies are not great movies. But they are damned sure entertaining.

MHI, especially the early ones... are like that. They are not literature. But damned if they aren't fun.

Anonymous RedJack June 30, 2014 10:44 AM  

Speaking of which, I just saw the newest Godzilla movie. Decent acting, huge holes in the plot, large monsters tearing up a city.. all you could ask for.

MHI is like that. It is pretty shallow, but man is it fun. Something about a large accountant beating a werewolf to death is just a good time.

It is candy. You can't live on it, but very enjoyable.

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 10:52 AM  

> Especially since his fan base is growing.

I just finished the first book. I think the appropriate word is "entertaining". I'd recommend starting with the first book. If you like it, it's almost certain that you'll love the others.

Anonymous VD June 30, 2014 11:04 AM  

Is this a suitable entry point for the series, or do we need to start at the first?

No, you need to start at the beginning.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream June 30, 2014 11:05 AM  

I read one of the earlier ones a while back and was pretty meh about it. Which is why I was wondering if I could see if this one really does take the series to a higher level without slogging through the prior 4 novels.

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 11:08 AM  

> I read one of the earlier ones a while back and was pretty meh about it.

Then even the improved version probably won't be your cup of tea. It's still Monster Hunters, after all.

Anonymous Vidad June 30, 2014 11:17 AM  

Is this a suitable entry point for the series, or do we need to start at the first?

No, you need to start at the beginning.

Seconded. The discovery of various intricacies of the characters and storylines requires a read from start to finish. This would be like picking up Return of the King without reading the first two books in the trilogy. Total ruination of the worldbuilding.

Don't do it. The series is excellent and worth buying.

Anonymous Vidad June 30, 2014 11:19 AM  

Emperor of Icecream: "without slogging through the prior 4 novels."

Slogging. My goodness. "Slogging" is for War and Peace, not MHI. "Clutching your chest while burning out your Kindle's 'advance' button" would be more apt.

Anonymous J June 30, 2014 11:20 AM  

"I read one of the earlier ones a while back and was pretty meh about it."

I have read books 1 through 4 and think he improved consistently over the course of the series.

Stick with it!

Anonymous u June 30, 2014 11:27 AM  

I liked Mack Bolan back in the day too.

Ah yes, the Executioner.

Remember The Destroyer? Good times, good times.

Anonymous Krul June 30, 2014 11:31 AM  

I put down MHI after the first novel. Good, like you said, but vanilla. Having read this review I'll probably go back to the Monster Hunter franchise after I finish the Grimnoir chronicles - which are far better than MHI, IMO.

But honestly, I wish Larry would forget this novel writing nonsense and focus on what he's really good at: cartoons. Now that's his best work, right there.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream June 30, 2014 11:44 AM  

OK, thanks for the advice. If I can get the first couple of books at the library or something, I'll give the series another try.

Anonymous Don June 30, 2014 11:45 AM  

At one time you could by the first three as an ebook for under $10 from Baen books. I don't know if that's true anymore but it was a bargain at twice the price. They are really good reads.

Anonymous Stilicho June 30, 2014 11:47 AM  

*Let no one henceforth say Larry Correia is homophobic. No doubt the LGBT community appreciated the little shout-out.

Awesome. Although they've been curiously quiet on this thread..

Blogger BigFire June 30, 2014 11:50 AM  

re: Emperor of Icecream

The first 3 books are available in an omnibus collection call The Monster Hunters. Bear in mind, the first book was explicitly written from the mindset of monster movie with his type of people populating it (gun enthusiasts, or Burt from the movie series Tremors). Expect lots of gun porn description.

Anonymous beerme June 30, 2014 12:00 PM  

At one time you could by the first three as an ebook for under $10 from Baen books.
The print version weighs in at 1191 pages. The ebook is a great value and buying directly from Baen gives it to you in a wide variety of formats without DRM.
The Monster Hunters

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 12:01 PM  

> The first 3 books are available in an omnibus collection call The Monster Hunters.

$9.99 Kindle edition on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunters-International-combo-volumes-ebook/dp/B00APA1GJE/

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 12:04 PM  

For those interested.

Book four in the series is $6.48 for the Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunter-Legion-Hunters-International-ebook/dp/B00APAEX3U/

And the book being discussed is $9.99 for the Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Monster-Hunter-Nemesis-Hunters-International-ebook/dp/B00L17ZHNQ/

Blogger Nate June 30, 2014 12:06 PM  

"OK, thanks for the advice. If I can get the first couple of books at the library or something, I'll give the series another try."

or you could just go back and read Things Fall Apart again and tell everyone how awesomely literate you are.

Whatever.

I'll take the gun porn.

Anonymous physics geek June 30, 2014 12:06 PM  

I have to admit that I thought Monster Hunter: Alpha was the best of the series before Nemesis. If Nemesis is even better? That would be a really good sign for the series going forward.

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 12:08 PM  

> The ebook is a great value and buying directly from Baen gives it to you in a wide variety of formats without DRM.

That is a major selling point, yes. I apologize for recommending the Kindle version instead. At the same price, the Baen option is the better deal. Unless you happen to be adept at de-drm'ing Kindle titles, of course.

Anonymous beerme June 30, 2014 12:17 PM  

I have to admit that I thought Monster Hunter: Alpha was the best of the series before Nemesis. If Nemesis is even better? That would be a really good sign for the series going forward.
If you liked Alpha, you will like Nemesis. Alpha is similar to Nemesis in that both give you the origin story of the character and shows why both loathe STFU.

Blogger Quadko June 30, 2014 12:31 PM  

I just finished MHI: Legion last night, and looking forward to Nemesis this week. What's not to like, they are pure popcorn with some obvious undercurrent of philosophy and thought. Heroes with guns! It's a nice bit of diversion, but they don't last long enough. ;)

I'm reading Tolkien's "The Monsters and The Critics: and Other Essays", and just finished his Fairy Tale essay. It was an interesting juxtaposition to MHI, especially considering how Urban Fantasy tends to be so intentionally disrespectful to the ideas of heroes and monsters in highly postmodern ways, and MHI is all about classic heroes facing real monsters for the benefit of the world. Very refreshing.

Blogger Ted N June 30, 2014 12:39 PM  

You could start here, but its always more fun to start at the beginning.

Blogger BigFire June 30, 2014 1:09 PM  

the MHI series seems to be in an alternating pattern, one first person pov book on Owen Pitt, one third person pov on a different starting with Vendetta.

MHI Owen Pitt (Mostly in Alabama)
MHV Owen Pitt (Mostly in Alabama and later somewhere else)
MHA Earl Harbinger (Mostly in Upper Peninsula Michigan with flashback in different places)
MHL Owen Pitt (Mostly in Las Vegas)
MHN Franks (Mostly in around DC, flashback from Germany and New Jersey)

The next book in the series is likely to be narrated by Pitt again, albeit, a different Pitt.

Anonymous physics geek June 30, 2014 1:16 PM  

Unless you happen to be adept at de-drm'ing Kindle titles, of course.

Funny you should mention that sort of thing.

Anonymous physics geek June 30, 2014 1:17 PM  

Having said that, I did buy it from Baen. Other titles? Well, Calibre and Apprentice Alf's tools have worked very well for me.

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 1:29 PM  

> Well, Calibre and Apprentice Alf's tools have worked very well for me.

Shh, We don't want to get our gracious host in trouble with the powers that be. :)

That's why I just recommend people use Google and follow directions.

Anonymous Kyle June 30, 2014 2:02 PM  

"Correia is able to write a respectful portrayal of the Japanese warrior culture without coming off as the sort of obsessed round-eye who puts on a red kimono to drink ocha every afternoon. (I am an East Asian Studies major who spent a semester abroad in Tokyo, and I still speak a smattering of Japanese. So I knew a few guys like that.)"

I lived in Japan for several years and I can't decide which is more irritating, the loudmouthed frat-douches who spend years in the country getting drunk every other day and never learn a word of the language, or the self-important cultural elites who think that their anime/video game/comic fandom and lip-service appreciation to "traditional Japanese culture" makes them "so superior." Unfortunately these two extremes seemed to outnumber the normal people in the middle.

Blogger Brad Andrews June 30, 2014 2:29 PM  

Minor typo: Japanee

Blogger Chris Mallory June 30, 2014 2:36 PM  

I would rank them 1)MHI
2)MHA
3)MHN
4)MHV
5)MHL
The first book was the most fun. Legion was a very weak book.

I didn't care for the Pagan Mormon theology in Nemesis. But I am a fan of Franks.

I quit the first Dead Six novel after one of the "heroes" started torturing people.

Anonymous 言葉 June 30, 2014 3:14 PM  

obsessed round-eye who puts on a red kimono to drink ocha every afternoon.

Noobs. Everyone knows the kimono is supposed to be green.

Anonymous roo_ster June 30, 2014 3:19 PM  

Gonna get MH:Franks in ebook format, sure enough. I am soon to complete some more meaty/challenging nonfiction and fantasy and will need to clean the literary palate with some literary BBQ beef and ice cold domestic beer.

I thought the weakest of the series was Vendetta.

Also, are there no fantasy authors writing _smaller_ stories these days? Think back to how Robert E Howard's Conan and Solomon Kane stories were not predicated on SAVING THE WORLD!!!!! Fritz Leiber's Fafrd & Grey Mouser stories are another example. If the heroes came through it all, lives intact and a nubile maiden on their hand, it was a win.

Not every story has to be a potential eschaton. Is the need to SAVE THE WORLD every book the influence of JRRT's LOTR? If so, I want more Hobbit-like, REH-like stories.

Anonymous 言葉 June 30, 2014 3:30 PM  

I lived in Japan for several years and I can't decide which is more irritating, the loudmouthed frat-douches who spend years in the country getting drunk every other day and never learn a word of the language, or the self-important cultural elites who think that their anime/video game/comic fandom and lip-service appreciation to "traditional Japanese culture" makes them "so superior."

The weebs are the worst. The "frat-douches", at least, have no pretense of being anything other than what they are.

Anonymous VD June 30, 2014 3:33 PM  

Also, are there no fantasy authors writing _smaller_ stories these days?

One of my pet peeves too.

Anonymous Krul June 30, 2014 3:46 PM  

roo_ster - Also, are there no fantasy authors writing _smaller_ stories these days? Think back to how Robert E Howard's Conan and Solomon Kane stories were not predicated on SAVING THE WORLD!!!!!

I enjoy a good SAVE THE WORLD! story as much as the next guy, but I must agree with your point. It's annoying that authors seem to think that they absolutely must up the ante in that regard.

I'd add that there don't seem to be any good exploration stories these days. The characters in Skylark of Space weren't trying to SAVE THE WORLD! but they still had harrowing adventures. The excitement came from the danger to their own lives presented by the mysterious new frontier. The same is true for Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Lost World.

Blogger Russell June 30, 2014 3:57 PM  

"roo_ster: Also, are there no fantasy authors writing _smaller_ stories these days?

VD: One of my pet peeves too."

I laughed at that, and I'm grateful I wasn't drinking anything at the time.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream June 30, 2014 4:55 PM  

**or you could just go back and read Things Fall Apart again and tell everyone how awesomely literate you are.

Whatever.

I'll take the gun porn.**

Touchy, touchy.

Reading the first book or two in a series from the library before you buy the rest is pretty reasonable, IMHO. Maybe in the elite circles you move in that's considered declasse, but I'll try to bear with your disapproval, somehow.

Blogger Jefferson Selvy June 30, 2014 5:29 PM  

If I was looking for a dense, symbolist time that was good for me, I'd read Melville. If I want a fun cordite fuelled romp I read Correia. It's that simple.

Blogger Crusader Corim June 30, 2014 5:33 PM  

I thought MH:N was actually the weakest MH except for the first, which was clearly a first novel (although still enjoyable).

The biggest reason is that I didn't like Franks as a character, and having a book entirely focused on him bored me. There was never any tension because Franks was just bigger and badder than everyone else. It would've been a lot better with just one Nemesis instead of thirteen.

And I despised the deus ex that made Franks suddenly change sides in the middle of the Revolution. There were a dozen better ways to make him American.

Otherwise, it was good to know more of his world's backstory, and if you're a big MH fan, it's still a MH novel, and therefore awesome gun porn.

Blogger Quadko June 30, 2014 6:33 PM  

Also, are there no fantasy authors writing _smaller_ stories these days?...SAVE THE WORLD

Hear, hear. I think in part it's the same problem with murder mystery/cop procedural - if it isn't a serious problem like murder most foul it just doesn't justify the effort the characters put into solving the issue. If the world isn't ending, it's not really worth walking the length and breadth of the land zapping people with your magic and delving into deep mysteries and risking waking the Balrog. Stay home, smoke some pipeweed by the fire, get the garden planted so there will be food come winter.

That's one of the things I enjoy about L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s books. It's more likely to be political or smaller power struggle than world ending issues - and even when the world is at stake, it's not a matter of "you are the chosen one and must quest for our salvation!"

Though I don't know that counting serials and sword and sorcery adventures as "Fantasy" in this case is quite correct. Certainly Tolkien's invention of the Fantasy genera was an issue of heroes and epoch-ending stories of high import, and modern fantasy books come from "more like LotR." Our subsequent retrofitting of sword and sorcery and planetary romances into the genera is fine, but it should be kept in mind that they are different.

Still, I'm not a boy any longer questing to save the world and make a difference, so I'm more interested in stories about changing my world and myself. "Young persons" still want to change the world just by existing or being given power - Harry Potter, superheroes. I want to read about the average person either becoming great or affecting the world just as a normal man, the fewer advantages the better.

I've thought that'd be a good way to handicap video games - on easy your genius olympic body builder character can basically play himself to victory, but if you want a challenge your character must start with an IQ of 75 and be a 90 pound weakling and you'll have to teach him how to walk straight.

Anonymous Mike M. June 30, 2014 6:39 PM  

I've got a Holmes-Ginsbook device with MH:N to be delivered tomorrow. MHI was OK - or rather, the 2nd half was excellent, the 1st half has way too much Mary Sue Shooter for me. The other three are great reads. Fun.

Though when they came out with a role-playing game, my first thought was that MHI would be fantastic for Steve Jackson Games' "Toon" RPG. Play a cartoon character making horrible monsters Fall Down! Save the World! Collect a paycheck!

Anonymous Big Bill June 30, 2014 7:29 PM  

Nice Mack Bolan reference. Bolan came to mind when I started reading Correia, so I went to the Wayback Machine recently and started re-reading The Executioner. They hold up pretty well. Of course they aren't diverse, but who cares.

Anonymous Codename:Duchess June 30, 2014 7:36 PM  

Re: the plot
Snerk.

Anonymous Eric Ashley June 30, 2014 7:41 PM  

I favor an extended discussion of Modestit.

While he does blow up a moon, many of his works seem like 'A Letter to a Young Bueraucrat'.

Anonymous Da Yoopers, Hey! June 30, 2014 7:46 PM  

MH: Upper Peninsula was a treat. It was strange mentally superimposing all the locations I know and love with zombie and demons. I will never visit the Quincy Mine, Delaware Mine or the other abandoned C&H mine locations without bending an ear and listening for strange noises far down below.

But what is Correia's connection with the Keweenaw? No one goes there.

Anonymous Hunsdon June 30, 2014 7:46 PM  

roo_ster said: If so, I want more Hobbit-like, REH-like stories.

Hunsdon said: this is the first time in mankind's history that the Hobbit and Robert E. Howard have been linked together.

Blogger ajw308 June 30, 2014 8:22 PM  

I will never visit the Quincy Mine, Delaware Mine or the other abandoned C&H mine locations without bending an ear and listening for strange noises far down below.
You should try exploring one of the Quincy out buildings after watching The Boogens. You don't even need to hear noises to get to the point where you just need to turn back.

I've also asked what the connection to The Sportsman's Paradise is, but never saw a response. I have a hunch it has something to do with a certain werewolf.

All along, Franks has reminded me of Bane, just the way he's perfectly comfortable using violence to get the job done.

Blogger James Dixon June 30, 2014 9:00 PM  

> One of my pet peeves too.

Says the author whose first book in his current series was 854 pages. :)

However, in general I agree.

Anonymous roo_ster June 30, 2014 9:19 PM  

VD wrote:
"One of my pet peeves too."

Russell wrote:
"I laughed at that, and I'm grateful I wasn't drinking anything at the time."

True, VD has put out some nice short-form & non-apocalyptic _small_ fantasy, so he is not the target of my reader's whinge. It was a freebie "The Last Witchking" that got me to buy ATOB, TWC, and Summa Elvetica(1). ATOB has "save the world" aspirations...or at least "save the civilization" designs so it is not a small fantasy story.

Read Summa Elvetica last because I thought I would like it least, but I was wrong. I think I liked it best. Longer story, but still smaller in scope than the usual fantasy fare with much more to chew and think on. And though smaller than an apocalypse, the internal ATOB-universe theological significance was considerable.

=========

Hunsdon wrote:
"this is the first time in mankind's history that the Hobbit and Robert E. Howard have been linked together."

I can see your point but think on it: Bilbo doesn't save Middle Earth, he just wins a small chest of gold & jewels. Conan would have also left with a half-dozen of Lake Town's comeliest wenches in tow or maybe had his way with an elf maiden. Last we would see of the Cimmeran would be his back as he headed south to seek another fortune with the Black Corsairs.



(1) Plus A Man Disrupted & Gravity Kills.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben June 30, 2014 10:24 PM  

As I suspected, Nemesis explores Frank's character.

Blogger Bies Podkrakowski July 01, 2014 6:23 AM  

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Númenor and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the sons of Isildur, there was an age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. Thither came Hobbit, a barrell rider, a reaver, a slayer, to tread on the jeweled thrones of the Middle-Earth beneath his furry feet." -- The Shire Chronicles

I would read this.

Blogger Quadko July 01, 2014 10:26 AM  

... Modestit. While he does blow up a moon, many of his works seem like 'A Letter to a Young Bueraucrat'.

Yes, it's an interesting difference to other authors, the politics and understanding of people. And at times he seems to be writing "engineering fantasy", which is fun. Duty, honor, personal growth, and problem solving - great themes. Gravity Dreams and Adamantite are two of my favorite SF books. And I love they way he expanded fantasy into Horse Cavalry settings.

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