Monster Hunter Siege by Larry Correia – A Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review

Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series has been a fun experience for me.  His stories feature heroic monster hunters battling the unalloyed evil of the world’s varied monster population.  The Shacklefords and their associates have turned wholesale slaughter of the undead into a lucrative enterprise but one that has taken its toll on the family.  Included in this attrition are three recent victims who have been turned respectively, into a werewolf and two master vampires.  But what makes it a pleasure is that none of the monsters and none of the hunters ever seem tempted to wax poetic on the need to increase the world quotient of social justice.  The diversity of the characters is measured in species of monsters dispatched or the variety of allied supernatural creatures such as trailer-park dwelling elves, death-metal loving orcs and gangsta gnomes who get featured in a story.  Correia never once discusses the need to ascertain the correct gender fluid pronouns of any zombies before blowing their heads off with a rocket propelled grenade.  So, the books are very much action oriented.  Shooting monsters is their forte.

But I am happy to relate that Larry’s storytelling abilities are definitely becoming more nuanced.  In Siege one of the highlights of the book is a sustained dialog between the protagonist (Owen Pitt) and his nemesis.  In this scene Correia gives the devil his due.  In fact, I think his evil character may actually seal the show.  Of course, there is still plenty of combat and monsters being blown up.  And Larry further clarifies the mythology of his universe.  So never fear, there’s plenty of explosions to warm the heart of all Monster Hunter fans.  But Larry is definitely steering the series into a more complicated plot.  Larry has shown that he is not averse to killing off some of his characters.  And some of that goes on in Siege.  But what is also clarified is that he is braiding at least five separate strands of supernatural intervention and even some of the “good guys” may not get along together.  So, we shouldn’t expect any imminent resolution of the larger threat that has been growing in the background.  If anything, the details at the end of Siege further complicate the future for Owen and his family.  But that’s alright.  Larry seems in control of his material and expanding the scope of the story to epic proportions.

So, if you are already a Monster Hunter fan then the good news is that Siege is a very worthy successor to the series.  And if you are new to the series then rest assured that your investment will pay off with an already good number of sequels to satisfy your monster killing quota and with every indication that Larry will continue to expand the Monster Hunter saga into an urban fantasy franchise comparable in size and quality to Jim Butcher’s Dresden files.  The only shortcoming to the story is that the only mention of Agent Franks is retrospective to the previous book.  We’ll have to wait for the next book to see his smiling face.

11MAY2018 – Quote of the Day

Xenophon was a practical man.  That must have frustrated his mentor Socrates.  The thought of that pleases me immensely for some reason.  I guess it’s my hate for Plato.  Here’s more of an observation than a quote.

 

When the interests of mankind are at stake, they will obey with joy the man whom they believe to be wiser than themselves. You may prove this on all sides: you may see how the sick man will beg the doctor to tell him what he ought to do, how a whole ship’s company will listen to the pilot.

 

Xenophon

11MAY2018 – American Greatness Post of the Day

Chris Buskirk interviewed Michael Anton ( link ) about his tenure in the Trump Administration.  There are a number of interesting things in the interview.  But toward the end they talk a bit about Anton’s opinion of Donald Trump.  As opposed to the usual disillusionment we typically hear from former administration members Anton is extremely positive about his former boss.  Here are the more important ones I gleaned from the audio interview.

“He was just right about the issues that mattered right now and that’s why I supported him.”

“I knew him reasonably well … wasn’t having dinner with him … was a staff guy … but was around him a lot over the course of fifteen, sixteen months.”

“Liked him enormously, respected him enormously …  there is a patriotic core to him that burns very hot.”

“He’s in it for the right reason, is doing it for the right reason … he didn’t have to do any of this.”

“He’s governing as President almost purely out of love for this country.”

Both Buskirk and Anton were educated at Claremont-McKenna College and were pupils of Harry Jaffa who was associated with the Claremont Institute.  I have found the people associated with the Claremont Institute to be extremely aware of what is currently at stake in our political situation and perceptive about the actual value of the various players on the political landscape.

10MAY2018 – Quote of the Day

Ray Bradbury turned Americana into fantasy (and sometimes horror).  But Dandelion Wine is his love song to small town America circa 1928.  And one of the lessons he tries to teach is that progress doesn’t always mean improvement.  Too bad the family is one of the things that doesn’t look like it will survive 21st Century America.

You want to see the real happiness machine? The one they patented a couple thousand years ago. It still runs; not good all the time, no! but it runs. It’s been here all along.

Hesitantly, Grandfather, Douglas and Tom peered through the large windowpane.

And there in the small warm pools of lamplight, you could see what Leo Auffman wanted you to see.  There sat Saul and Marshall, playing chess at the coffee table.  In the dining room Rebecca was laying out the silver.  Naomi was cutting out paper-doll dresses.  Ruth was painting water colors.  Joseph was running his electric train.  Through the kitchen door, Lena Auffman was sliding a pot roast from the steaming oven.  Every hand, every head, every mouth made a big or little motion.  You could hear their far away voices under glass.  You could hear someone singing in a high sweet voice.  You could smell bread baking, too, and you knew it was real bread that would soon be covered with real butter.  Everything was there and it was working.

Ray Bradbury

Dandelion Wine (1957)

The New York Times Is Now Anointing the Leaders of the Dissident Right

In case you didn’t know Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson are the intellectual leaders of the Right-Wing. Or to use their terminology, they are “intellectual leaders of the dark web.”  I was sent this link and normally I wouldn’t click anything from the NYT but the description was so hilarious sounding I couldn’t resist.  After reading it I was full of conflicting feelings.  The overwhelming emotion was amazement at just how inaccurate the conclusions were.  Another was anger that the NYT was once again attempting to misdirect people to useful idiots who would do the Left’s bidding.  And finally was hilarity at just how ridiculous their choices were.  Jordan Peterson, the man whose 12 rules of living include standing up straight and taking your pills, was somehow a right-wing Machiavelli directing the revolution like a three dimensional chess master.

What is it with these people? I mean I know the republicans are the stupid party but come on!  In what alternate universe is NeverTrumper, Ben Shapiro on the cutting edge of dissident right wing thought?  Give us some credit.  We finally figured out the Bushes, the neo-conservatives, the Weekly Standard and the National Review were the controlled opposition.  Don’t turn around and send the same group right back at us again.  At least put fake moustaches on them and change their names to Jones and Smith.  While they’re at it they might as well claim that JEB! has seen the light and is ready to embrace Pepe the Frog as long as Pepe renounces White Supremacy.

Kevin Williamson just found out what happens when you embrace the Left. You get shanked for your trouble.  And if you can get along with your new insect overlords it means you have been bought and paid for.  You’ll discover (or if you don’t then anyone who reads you will discover) that you now think just like your employer.  I think folks on the right have had enough of playing nice with the left.  It won’t be necessary to install a skinhead in the White House but we can stop trying to please the New York Times.  Donald Trump has demonstrated that not compromising with leftists and pushing the limits works.  You hear about the Overton Window but actually seeing it pushed in our direction for once is inspirational.

So don’t be tempted. The right wing is infested with crazy people.  Half of the things they believe sound like gibberish.  Nobody knows whose ideas will turn out to be the ones that finally defeat the Left.  And maybe all of our problems go away under President Trump’s moderate administration and we never have to find out if the Alt-Right apocalypse would turn out the way they hope.  So use your judgement and keep your eyes and ears open and weigh everything carefully.

But don’t let the New York Times tell you who to follow. That will lead to Bill Kristol, John McCain, Justice Kennedy and some endless war in Podunkistan.

08MAY2018 – Quote of the Day

I grew up on this guy’s stuff.  We don’t see eye to eye on everything but he did get a lot of stuff right.  Plus he definitely was an American original.  In his novel “Friday” he represented the balkanization of North America.  I wonder whether he would be surprised by where we are today.  My guess, probably not.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

Robert A. Heinlein

07MAY2018 – American Greatness Post of the Day – Judge’s Warning in Manafort Case Could Spell Doom for Mueller By Julie Kelly

 

Federal Justice T S Ellis III is throwing serious sand into the gears of Mueller’s Manafort prosecution.  According to him Mueller is basically abusing his authority in a transparent ploy to leverage Trump’s associates as witnesses against him for basically any criminal activity regardless of relevancy to the Russian Collusion investigation.  Julie Kelly discusses how this could be the beginning of the end for Mueller’s “trumped up investigation.”  No pun intended?

https://amgreatness.com/2018/05/04/judges-warning-in-manafort-case-could-spell-doom-for-mueller/

 

07MAY2018 – Quote of the Day

Holmes again! Jeremy Brett starred in a BBC series which encompassed a large number of the Holmes canon.  The scene I highlight here was memorable so I decided to include this for today’s quote.

 

“When you combine the ideas of whistles at night, the presence of

a band of gipsies who are on intimate terms with this old doctor,

the fact that we have every reason to believe that the doctor has

an interest in preventing his stepdaughter’s marriage, the dying

allusion to a band, and, finally, the fact that Miss Helen Stoner

heard a metallic clang, which might have been caused by one of

those metal bars that secured the shutters falling back into its

place, I think that there is good ground to think that the

mystery may be cleared along those lines.”

 

“But what, then, did the gipsies do?”

 

“I cannot imagine.”

 

“I see many objections to any such theory.”

 

“And so do I. It is precisely for that reason that we are going

to Stoke Moran this day. I want to see whether the objections are

fatal, or if they may be explained away. But what in the name of

the devil!”

 

The ejaculation had been drawn from my companion by the fact that

our door had been suddenly dashed open, and that a huge man had

framed himself in the aperture. His costume was a peculiar

mixture of the professional and of the agricultural, having a

black top-hat, a long frock-coat, and a pair of high gaiters,

with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand. So tall was he that his

hat actually brushed the cross bar of the doorway, and his

breadth seemed to span it across from side to side. A large face,

seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun, and

marked with every evil passion, was turned from one to the other

of us, while his deep-set, bile-shot eyes, and his high, thin,

fleshless nose, gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old

bird of prey.

 

“Which of you is Holmes?” asked this apparition.

 

“My name, sir; but you have the advantage of me,” said my

companion quietly.

 

“I am Dr. Grimesby Roylott, of Stoke Moran.”

 

“Indeed, Doctor,” said Holmes blandly. “Pray take a seat.”

 

“I will do nothing of the kind. My stepdaughter has been here. I

have traced her. What has she been saying to you?”

 

“It is a little cold for the time of the year,” said Holmes.

 

“What has she been saying to you?” screamed the old man

furiously.

 

“But I have heard that the crocuses promise well,” continued my

companion imperturbably.

 

“Ha! You put me off, do you?” said our new visitor, taking a step

forward and shaking his hunting-crop. “I know you, you scoundrel!

I have heard of you before. You are Holmes, the meddler.”

 

My friend smiled.

 

“Holmes, the busybody!”

 

His smile broadened.

 

“Holmes, the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office!”

 

Holmes chuckled heartily. “Your conversation is most

entertaining,” said he. “When you go out close the door, for

there is a decided draught.”

 

“I will go when I have said my say. Don’t you dare to meddle with

my affairs. I know that Miss Stoner has been here. I traced her!

I am a dangerous man to fall foul of! See here.” He stepped

swiftly forward, seized the poker, and bent it into a curve with

his huge brown hands.

 

“See that you keep yourself out of my grip,” he snarled, and

hurling the twisted poker into the fireplace he strode out of the

room.

 

“He seems a very amiable person,” said Holmes, laughing. “I am

not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him

that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke

he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort,

straightened it out again.

 

“Fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official

detective force! This incident gives zest to our investigation,

however, and I only trust that our little friend will not suffer

from her imprudence in allowing this brute to trace her. And now,

Watson, we shall order breakfast, and afterwards I shall walk

down to Doctors’ Commons, where I hope to get some data which may

help us in this matter.”