15OCT2021 – OCF Update – This ‘N’ That

It’s funny.  It seems like even the Left is starting to admit that Biden has made a shambles of the country and maybe some of them are starting to sound kind of scared.  Still too early to say if it will effect the outcome of the congressional votes on the gazillion dollar reconciliation bill.  I assumed that all the skullduggery planned was a done deal.  Maybe I’m wrong.  We’ll have to see.

But we will be going through some extended bad times as I mentioned in my last post.  I’m starting to look at my own finances to see what cutbacks I should make.

I was listening to the ZMan’s Friday podcast.  It was on organizing and near the end he was talking about negativity.  And that clicked for me.  What we do has to be building things and living.  Just fighting our enemies isn’t enough.  It’s too long a battle to just hold your breath till the end.  We need to make our thing about living and enjoying our lives.

I’ve been writing this story about a sniper who is taking revenge against the FBI.  I have to admit it’s a lot of fun writing about revenge.  But I want the story to be embedded in a larger frame about building something bigger than revenge.  I want to have it about building a community that’s hidden within the current United States.  So this fictional story corresponds to how I think about the world I’m living in.  And that is helpful when thinking about real life.  The things I write about are larger than life.  We can talk about underground bases and new technologies and secret organizations but even the little things we do on-line can be positive and enrich our lives.  We talk to people and we share ideas and maybe we help each other solve some problems.  And if nothing else we act as sounding boards for people who don’t have one.

So today I am doing some story plotting and re-writing.  It wasn’t strong enough or tight enough.  I punched it up and cut it down and I like it a lot better.  It’s another beautiful day and I intend to go out and take some photos of the fall.  A couple of days ago one of the dogs found a big old Northern Water Snake sunning itself near one of the gardens.  I got some good shots of it and I will probably put it up later as a post.

Fridays are usually pretty quiet on the site.  I’ll put up a post later.  Maybe I’ll review another season three trek episode.  I’m getting impatient with them but considering Shatner’s recent trek into almost-space I guess I should do my part.

Camera Girl is an inveterate crime drama reader.  She reads about fictional crime fighters like Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch and Jesse Stone.  Well, we recently started watching a tv series about Harry Bosch and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well it’s made.  Not everything is to my taste but it’s a quality series.  So at some point I’ll be reviewing it too but I must keep my nose to the Star Trek grindstone.  Duty is duty.

I’ve been listening to Larry Correia’s podcasts on fiction writing, “The Writer’s Dojo.”  and even though not all of the information is specific to what I do I find the experience of listening to these two writers talking about their mindset when they’re writing to be energizing.  For instance, they were talking about villains recently and it occurred to me I was wasting an opportunity by not beefing up the character of one of my villains.  After all good villains are sometimes even better than the hero.  Look at the Joker in Batman.

And this weekend we’ll have some grandkids coming around and that’s always fun.

So bear with me.  I’ll have some good stuff soon.

For Any of You Aspiring Writers, Larry Correia Has a Podcast on Writing

Larry Correia, author of the Monster Hunters International series and several other popular sf&f franchises, has started a weekly podcast on how to write fiction and get paid for it.  I just listened to the first episode and it’s just the intro to the series but I hope for good things.

 

 

 

Larry Correia’s Got a Book Up for a Dragon Award

Larry’s got a mil-sf book in the running for a Dragon Award and he talks a little about the nominees that he’s familiar with.  If you’re voting in the Dragon Awards take a look at his comments.  And Larry’s a good guy so if you’re looking for good sf&f books I’d give authors he likes a look see.

 

 

 

Larry Correia Teases a TV Deal

Larry posted about a convention he was Guest of Honor for (FantaSci in Raleigh-Durham).  And then he teased a TV deal he has.

“Also during that I asked Toni if I could talk about something else really cool, she gave me permission and I mentioned a new TV deal (contracts are in the mail!). Except I just realized before I blab about that on the internet, I should probably wait for her official announcement before posting more. But stay tuned, it’s really awesome news.”

Can I imagine a Monster Hunters International tv show?  Well yeah!  And of course I already have Adam Baldwin as Agent Franks.

Be still my defibrillating heart!

Well, to be continued when Larry lets the other shoe drop.  But this sounds like fun.

Larry Correia Has an Interesting Post on Self Defense Training

Larry is an urban fantasy author who isn’t woke.  That by itself is a rarity enough.  And he’s an interesting guy who has an abiding interest in guns.  He has a post about a training he took.in Extreme Close Quarter Fighting with guns and knives.  The company he trained with is called SHIVWORKS and they have various trainings for real world desperate situations.  Here is their site. I have about zero training in any self defense or weapons systems.  But my all around awesomeness will probably make up for that deficit.  But I do find these training programs very interesting.  Thought I’d pass it along for general interest.

Some Perspective on Auditing Elections

Larry Correia is one of my favorite sf&f authors, being the creator of the Monster Hunter and Grimnoir urban fantasy series.  But in an earlier life he was an accountant who had frequent involvement in government audits of various sorts.  His cranky opinion on the hypocritical double standard that the Democrats are maintaining concerning auditing the elections seemed very apt.  If you’ve already had enough of the election stuff you can skip this.

One of these things is not like the other

Warbound – Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles – by Larry Correia – A Science Fiction-Fantasy Book Review

Warbound is the third and the (currently) final volume of Larry Correia’s Grimnoir series.  And as such it ties together the threads from the earlier volumes, Hard Magic and Spellbound and provides the resolution of the story lines for the main characters Jake Sullivan and Faye Vierra.  These two are powerful “actives,” possessors of magic abilities in one or several categories working for the Grimnoir Society.  Jake is a Gravity Spiker with the ability to alter gravity at will while Faye is a Traveler, someone who can teleport from one location to another.  Both have been tested during the crises in the earlier books when they faced off first against the Iron Guard actives of the Japanese Imperium and afterward against rogue actives in the US intelligence agencies that were attempting to blame the Grimnoir Society for magical attacks by other forces.

But now the whole planet is threatened by an alien creature that preys on the entity that produces the magic.  The knowledge of what is at stake produces some strange alliances that alter the dynamic that the earlier books portrayed.  And despite the war footing that the book details Correia is able to mix just enough humor and other character driven interest to allow the pleasant juggling of a large number of characters.  One of the features of this historical fantasy world is the introduction of historical figures often possessing magic themselves.  Blackjack Pershing, J. Edgar Hoover, Buckminster Fuller, even FDR make longer or shorter appearances in the books.

I won’t go into a detailed plot summary because I don’t want to spoil the story.  Suffice it to say I’m giving it a very good rating.  And I’ll finish off by saying a few things about Correia’s story writing.  Without a doubt Correia is one of the best sf&f authors around today.  Going beyond that I’ll say he compares well with the older authors back in the heyday of the genres.  He writes good heroes and good villains.  He has a good ear for dialog and he can even inject humor into the story in a natural way.  One of his favorite types is a variant of the competent man but instead of Heinlein’s omnicompetent type Correia’s hero is usually a working- or middle-class guy who is good with his fists and guns and adheres to a code of conventional morality.  And as an added bonus his heroes are actually likable.  Even his villains are interesting.

And there’s one final bonus with Correia that is refreshing to see in today’s social justice infused entertainment industry.  There won’t be a single character thrown in just to earn intersectional social justice brownie points from the pink science fiction crowd.  Just regular people with super powers fighting super villains without having to worry if any of them is being oppressed by the really evil cis-het white man.

So far, I’ve read all Correia’s Monster Hunter books and now the Grimmoir books.  I’ve also enjoyed his comical Tom Stranger audiobooks and I follow his website for his take on the latest outrages by the pink science fiction scolds.  Next, I’ll start his epic fantasy series “Saga of the Forgotten Warrior” without bothering to check reviews because I’m already sure it’ll be excellent.  And in today’s science fiction and fantasy environment that’s pretty rare.

Spellbound – Book II of the Grimnoir Chronicles – by Larry Correia – A Science Fiction-Fantasy Book Review

“Spellbound” is the second book in this series.  Obviously since I am reviewing this second volume, I enjoyed the first installment “Hard Magic” (see my review of it here).

In this story the main characters Jake Sullivan and Faye Vierra are once again swept along in the cataclysmic ricochets of real magic altering the world of the early 20th century.  It’s 1933 and FDR is coming into office and one of his priorities is dealing with the ‘Actives.”  This is the term for humans that have major magical powers.  This includes “Brutes” who are inhumanly strong, “Travelers” who can teleport, “Healers” who can cure almost any disease or injury and numerous other special types.  In the first book we learned how the Japanese had harnessed Actives as a spearpoint for their war machine in Asia.  And we met Jake and Faye.  Now they are veteran “knights” in the Grimnoir Society, sworn to use their powers to protect the innocent and destroy those using magic for evil.

But forces within the United States government are conspiring to discredit the Grimnoir and turn the American public against the Actives through a series of false flag operations.  This book is the story of the Grimnoir fighting against that operation.  But it also builds on the conflict with the Japanese Iron Guard, (enhanced military Actives) from the first book and then clarifies the nature of the forces that had originally unleashed magic into the world and how that will threaten the whole world in the very near future.

Okay, so that’s the setup.  Larry Correia is a very good story teller.  He paints a very rich picture with his characters and the action of the plot.  Even the villains are well written and the story is peppered with historical personages like J Edgar Hoover and Buckminster Fuller who are adapted to fill their roles in this alternate universe.  Each chapter begins with a quote from some person, mostly historical, saying something that illustrates how real magic has impacted the alternate universe of the story.

I find this alternate world very entertaining.  The Jake Sullivan character is one of Correia’s competent man heroes.  He is a brawler who has been treated badly by the world but refuses to abandon the good.  Even his enemies have learned to respect his abilities and this allows him to form alliances that otherwise would be impossible.  Faye is a powerfully gifted “Traveler” who possess abilities that far exceed what other Actives can do.  She is also a very young woman from a sheltered small-town environment who is still trying to figure out how she fits into this strange world she finds herself in.

These two characters are the twin focuses around which the other characters and the plot revolve.  The whole story is a straight forward action adventure.  There are plenty of good guys, bad guys and even some good bad guys and bad good guys.  It’s a combination of Buck Rodgers, The Untouchables and H. P. Lovecraft with some film noir thrown in for good measure.  If that sounds like something you might like then pick up the first book Hard Magic and start at the beginning.  If you’ve already read it then know that the series is still getting better in book two, Spellbound.

Hard Magic – by Larry Correia – A Fantasy Book Review

Larry Correia is the author of the Monster Hunter urban fantasy book series.  I’ve enjoyed these books for years and also enjoy his comical Tom Stranger audiobook series.  So recently I looked around and decided I should check out some of his other writing.

Back in 2011 Correia wrote an urban fantasy, alternate history book called Hard Magic – Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles.  In this alternate reality magic starts appearing on Earth in the 19th century and by the time of the story, the 1930s, there are various magical powers that have become part of everyday life and corporate policy.  For instance, dirigibles and blimps do not disappear from the airs because magical practitioners called “Torches” have the ability to prevent fires from destroying the explosive hydrogen filled balloons with their powers.

There are humans called “Healers” with the power to heal disease and injury by a laying on of hands.  And alternatively, there can be an individual called a “Pale Horse” who has the power to cause disease and even horribly painful death with just a touch of his hand.  And there are dozens of other powers out there.  “Brutes” are able to increase their strength tremendously and toughen themselves to withstand enormous punishment.  Some can walk through walls, some teleport from place to place and some can control gravity and density and even the weather.

The outlines of history are similar to the actual history.  World War One occurred and the rise of the Japanese Empire is happening but each of these things included large-scale use of magical power.  Historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt and Black Jack Pershing exist but they are involved in the magical events.  Nikola Tesla is a “Cog” which is an individual whose intellect has a magical quality to it and in this world, he invents magical doomsday devices such as the Geo-Tel which can destroy everything within a thousand-mile radius at the push of a button.

The book has a couple of main characters.  Faye Vierra is a teenager living on her adoptive grandfather’s dairy ranch.  She is a “Traveller.”  Grandpa was able to teach her how to safely use her power because he also is a “Traveller.”  What she doesn’t know is that he is a retired member of the Grimnoir Society, an order of magically gifted individuals who pledge to use their power to protect society from the misuse of magic.  When evil men show up Grandpa sends Faye off with a dangerous device that he tells her to give to Black Jack Pershing.

The other main character is Jake Sullivan.  Jake is a Gravity Spiker.  He can change the force of gravity.  He can make it stronger of weaker and even change its direction.  Jake is getting out of prison for a justifiable homicide that was declared murder.  Jake has agreed to a parole condition under which he will assist the FBI and local law enforcement with super strong magical individuals like brutes in exchange for a shortened sentence.  But during one of these operations he finds out that there are magical agents working outside the law but not against it.  And it leads back to Pershing.

The story knits together a cast of characters inside the Grimnoir Society that are working to prevent the capture by the Japanese Imperium of a Geo-Tel device.  A shadowy leader, the Chairman, is a powerful, almost godlike leader whose forces are bent on world domination and the destruction of the United States.

Correia crafts an enjoyable narrative with a full range of engaging characters moving across the country and the world pursuing their varying interests and racing against time to retrieve the pieces of the Geo-Tel before the Imperium can unleash Armageddon.  I highly recommend the book and am looking forward to the arrival of the sequel Spellbound.