Legionnaire (Galaxy’s Edge) (Volume 1) by Jason Anspach & Nick Cole – A Science Fiction Book Review

I read one of Nick Cole’s earlier books (CTRL ALT Revolt!) last year and liked it.  So, when I heard he was involved in a mil-sf series I figured I’d check it out.  It turns out it’s a dual authorship arrangement with Jason Anspach.  I ordered it (I like to read books on paper) and read it last week.

I like well-written mil-sf.  This is well-written.  The story chronicles an elite military unit involved in a supposedly routine diplomatic mission that devolves into a catastrophe.  It melds the feel of modern American military in the middle east (ala Black Hawk Down) with lineage going back to Rudyard Kipling’s India stories and translates it into a futuristic landscape of alien creatures, energy weapons and space cruisers.  But the technology is definitely beside the point.  The story is the camaraderie of men attempting to complete their mission and keep each other alive in an environment where bureaucratic amateur officers are just as dangerous as the enemy.

The protagonist (first person narrative for the most part) is an NCO in the “Legion.”  Through his eyes we see his comrades display various strengths and weaknesses and we observe the “regular army” that are combined with the legionnaires on this mission attempting to adapt to a combat role they are unprepared for.  And we observe non-combatants and the alien inhabitants of this planet at the “galaxy’s edge.”

If you like military science fiction you’ll probably like this book.  If you even just like war stories you might like this book.  It is volume one of a series but this book is sort of a stand-alone story.  The series chronicles the saga of the Galactic Republic through the eyes of the Legion as an elite force cleaning up the messes being perpetrated by an increasingly autocratic state over its subject worlds at the periphery of the galaxy.  Basically, it sounds like the Roman Republic devolving into the Roman Empire.  Or is it the American Republic?

As you can probably guess from my comparison with Black Hawk Down, it’s not a happily ever after kind of tale.  It’s a down beat story but if you like mil-sf then that’s probably no surprise.  If not be warned.

So, here’s my opinion.  This is a good stand-alone story.  The story develops and the action and the sub-plots unfold in natural way.  The characters are interesting and have enough development to allow you to cheer and boo the appropriate actors.  I can definitely recommend it.  For me the question is do I go forward with a longer series?  From what I understand the individual books are separated in time.  They document the history of this galactic civilization.  Implicitly this means none of the characters will carry over to the next book.  Can the authors generate enough new people to populate the series?  I think I’ll try the next book in the series and see how that works out.  I’ll report back on the next installment when I do.

Converged Comics

Vox Day has been called the most hated man in science fiction.  Well now he wants to be the most hated man in comics.  He’s publishing comics with a >$250K kickstarter and he’s pushing a right wing comic called Alt-Hero among other more mainstream fare.  A DC comic creator had an on-line discussion with Vox (see link).  I found it very interesting and includes Vox’s synopsis of his battles with sci-fi, game and comics SJWs.  Pretty interesting.

 

Where Can Trump Do the Most Good?

 

As the various pieces of the puzzle that make up the American Government System oscillate around and the calendar moves steadily toward the November reckoning that is the Mid-Terms I was thinking what positive actions President Trump can perform to improve our condition.  Surprisingly he already seems to be doing most of what I can think of.  Appointing good judges, fixing immigration and purging the bureaucracy of noxious rules and noxious employees is most of what I think he needs to do.  But one other priority occurred to me.  He needs to purge the military of those same poisons.  Every week during the Obama administration I can remember hearing about some officer forced to retire because of some failure to genuflect to the narrative of women or homosexuals or transsexuals being the bedrock of our military.  The destruction of morale implicit in the kind of environment that is being perpetrated by the SJWs in the military is one of the most serious problems this nation will face in the future.  Reversing this situation is critical.

What President Trump needs to do is first purge the military of the regulations that are causing these problems and then purge it of all the individuals who have been causing the problems.  Any officer and especially any JAG who is known to be an SJW should be transferred to some cordoned off department where he can be monitored like some kind of radioactive waste product and jettisoned from the service as soon as humanly possible.  And most importantly, any policies that have been put in place to allow physically or mentally unqualified individuals to serve and especially serve in elite units have to be eliminated.  And finally, the United States government must be prohibited from paying for idiots to sexually mutilate themselves.

With respect to the whole question of transsexuals in the military, I know the liberal judges are trying to keep them in.  If this becomes law then I suggest they be treated and addressed by the identity of their birth sex, required to wear the appropriate clothing of and use the bathrooms for that sex.  If their excretory equipment no longer allows them to do this normally then they should be discharged as physically unfit.  If any of these conditions make them unhappy they can leave.

In addition to the benefits to morale and competence implicit in removing these destructive rules and insane individuals there is another dimension that is possibly more important.  A military that eliminates normal men from the command structure is a military that would turn on the American people if a Leftist President declared martial law.  Considering the weaponry possessed by the American military arsenal, that is not a possibility I would want to contemplate.

So, President Trump, along with all the other good swamp-draining you are going about, don’t neglect the very important swamp-draining that needs to be done in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.  I’ll leave the Coast Guard up to your discretion.  They’ve always seemed a little ambiguous anyway.

Website Slowdown 1-13-2018 – 1-18-2018

The next six days are going to be very busy for me personally.  As a superhero with a secret identity I am sometimes called on to save the world or put together engineering reports (kinda the same thing).  Because of this you will (and probably already have) noticed a slowdown in my output here on OCF.  Never fear.  It’s very rare.  Usually I’m able to slough off the boring minutiae of every day life to pontificate and bloviate to my heart’s content here in the real world.  Persevere and I’ll try to link to good external content to tide you over until I can concentrate the full weight of my philosophical gravitas on the urgent priorities of the day.  Thank you for your patience.

The Art of the Deal

If there were any doubts about President Trump’s abilities as a negotiator, then the last couple of days have put them to rest.  As soon as the President announced his intention to negotiate a bipartisan agreement to extend the DACA status all the usual suspects started denouncing his seeming betrayal of his immigration promises.  But after seeing how artfully Trump has outmaneuvered both the Democrats and the spineless Republicans it should be obvious how competent he is at defending our interests against this duplicitous but sophomoric bunch.  Because of the uncertain nature of life, everything Trump hopes to accomplish during his term may yet be frustrated and undone.  But to me it is apparent that we have stumbled upon a competent man who may accomplish great things.  Is Trump the first leader for the Republicans since Reagan?  Well, he’s definitely the first one since Reagan who wasn’t a catspaw for the leftists.

Hopefully the imbeciles in Washington will understand what Trump has done even if they are too cowardly to openly agree with his reasons.  He is forcing the Democrats to reject the deal he is offering.  They can’t possibly accept the conditions he is imposing.  So now it allows him to put the blame on them.  And Congress is learning that there is a price to be paid for not playing ball.  And with the midterms sneaking up on them the Republicans realize that Trump is the key to making them look good.  And the Democrats realize that Trump isn’t going to let them buffalo him.  He’s not George Bush Senior or Junior.  With the economy roaring along the republicans have a very good chance of running on their record.  If they hold onto their majority in Congress (especially in the Senate) they can assist President Trump in dismantling the liberal apparatus in the judiciary and the executive agencies.  My hunch is that Justice Kennedy is hanging on to his seat on the bench this year to inflict one last betrayal of conservative principles in the gay wedding cake travesty.  Once he’s satisfied with selling out the First Amendment, he’ll retire.  Then Trump will replace him with a man who can help undo all the damage done in the last forty years of unconstitutional judicial tampering.  After that I’d say the biggest challenge for the administration is undoing the federal government’s excesses such as the Patriot Act and the various NSA and other bureaus’ programs that essentially spy on the American people for no apparent reason.  Maybe we can finally stop paying Google for spying on us.  That should keep President Trump busy until at least 2025.

And I’ve brought this up before but it really is an urgent concern.  Trump should hand pick his successor.  For the good of the country, he needs to either find or train someone in the “Art of the Deal.”  The odds of another billionaire Game Show Host being a conservative are just too minute to depend on.  At worst, maybe he can put the most likely five candidates through a sort of “Apprenticeship.”  Hopefully it will be televised and the ratings will be huge.  I have a feeling Pence won’t win.  But being Vice President should at least guarantee him a slot in the competition.  But my bet is it won’t be a career politician but an entrepreneur or military man instead.

What is the Meaning of President Trump?

What does it mean when Donald Trump is elected President?  It means we’re almost done.  When Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania vote Republican something is starting to happen.  Now maybe Trump will relieve some of the anger that’s building up.  He has re-ignited the economy and given people hope.  Maybe that will lower the pressure and allow things to return to a simmer.  But maybe not.  The full court press by the Democrats, The Media, Liberal Federal Judges, Corporate America, Hollywood, Blue State Governors and the Deep State to undo the results of the election is all encompassing.  The cowardly republicans, when they’re not actually working against the interests of their constituents, are almost entirely useless.  Trump has some good instincts and knows how to negotiate with bureaucrats and scoundrels.  But will it be enough?

Trump’s election is akin to the Hail Mary Pass.  America has been bamboozled for the last sixty years.  Our politicians are a combination of the inept, the corrupt and the just plain evil.  We’ve allowed these people to corrupt us and our children and now we’re hoping that a reality TV star and real estate entrepreneur is going to magically set the clock back to 1958.  That’s not going to happen.  To undo what has happened will take years, maybe decades.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m praying for the Hail Mary Pass to succeed.  And who knows?  It could.  But I’m daunted by the sheer number of things that have to go right.  The midterms have to go for the Republicans.  Justice Kennedy has to retire while we hold the Senate.  That idiot Mueller has to go away without causing damage.  The Congress has to wake up and grow a backbone.  Trump has to deport millions of illegal immigrants and build the wall.  Affirmative action has to be eliminated.  Religious liberty and decency need to be defended by a conservative Supreme Court.  The culture and traditions of this country need to be restored to what they were.

I think of Trump as a pressure relief valve.  Things are starting to boil and the pressure is in the danger zone.  Trump can relieve some of that pressure in the short term but if the situation doesn’t improve even that relief won’t be enough.  The whole thing is going to explode.  And that isn’t something I’m hoping for.  I’ve got kids and grandkids.  I’d like them to live in a happy and good place, not a war zone.  But honestly as time goes on I see less and less that reminds me of the country that I grew up in.

So that is how I read the meaning of President Trump.  He is the Hail Mary Pass from the 50-yard line with 1 second left on the clock and four defenders standing in the end zone waiting.  If he wins, I’ll live to see this country return to being a shining city on a hill.  If he fails I expect the alt-right will be proven correct in their premonitions.  We will see the fracture of this country into separate tribes, one against the other.

Science Fiction TV Series Review – Stranger Things – First Season

Full disclosure, I am the only one I know who still uses Netflix for DVDs and doesn’t stream.  Oh, the shame of it all!  So last month the first season of Stranger Things became available to rent on Netflix (or as it’s now known DVD.com) and they sent me the two discs.  I was busy with life and the holidays so I watched it after the Christmas during some time off from work.  For anyone who hasn’t seen it but is interested or for anyone who wants my opinion here are my thoughts.

Let me start with the strongest impression the show left.  Almost everyone in the show is not particularly likeable.  Let me expand.  Many of the characters are annoying or worse.  In particular, the character who should most attract our sympathy, the mother of the missing boy, played by Winona Ryder, is hands down in the top three of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen in a movie or tv.  Several times I was hoping the town sheriff would pull out his gun and shoot her or at least pistol whip her to make her shut up.  There was one character I liked.  He was a strong, caring, humorous, warm, responsible, regular guy who used good judgement and compassion to help a troubled runaway pre-teen.  He was shot in the head about six minutes after his first screen appearance.  After that it was annoying nerds, arrogant jocks, clueless suburban parents, alcoholic lawmen and nefarious government officials all the way down.  Eventually the hell-spawned creature makes some appearances, and interestingly, I found myself kind of rooting for him.  At least he didn’t blather on.

The season is eight episodes long and I finished them.  After reading what I just wrote, you may be wondering why I did finish them.  Well, surprisingly, I found myself sucked into the story.  Maybe this was an artifact of having all the episodes in front of me, time available to watch them and post-Christmas-Feast stupefaction.  But for some reason, at the end of each episode I wanted to see the next one.  And even after I knew how it would go I wanted to see it through to the end.

So, what’s my recommendation?  Well, guarded at best.  The plot is some kind of bastard spawn of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and the X-Files.  The tropes are hackneyed and the characters, as mentioned, are mostly stereotypes and annoying ones at that.  Two episodes in you know how it will go and who will do what.  Honestly if someone had told me this ahead of time, there is no way I would have watched it.  But now that I have watched it I’m wondering if I should wait the year and watch Season 2.  My gut tells me that there is no way to make the next season even as mildly interesting as this first season.  And the thought of listening to Winona Ryder screeching at her unfortunate neighbors again is hard to justify.

I was starting to like how the sheriff usually settled difficult negotiations by punching people in the face.  His timing was really good.  The sheriff, played by an actor named David Harbour, is a big guy who drinks too much and sleeps around with the various lonelier ladies of the small midwestern town where the story takes place.  I found him the only character that I actually believed might exist in the real world.  But is seeing Sheriff Hopper pummel various “men in black” enough of a reason to sit through this thing again?  I doubt it, but it’ll be a whole year before I have to make that decision and pickings are so slim, so who knows.  Anyway, consider yourself warned, if a review that’s a year behind the times can be considered a warning.