Oh my gosh, somebody actually reviewed my novel that's up for a Hugo?!? Or Writing Strategy.

I can honestly say that with all of the nonsense and assorted lunacy since the Hugo finalists were announced, I do believe this is the first time somebody has actually read and reviewed the book! (I’m talking about post-Hugo, because I got all the normal reviews, and hundreds of fan reviews when it came out). Overall it is a pretty fair review, and he didn’t like some of it, but I’ve got to give mad props for somebody actually reading the book and posting an honest review! 😀 

SF/F Review – Warbound

Normally an author isn’t supposed to respond to individual reviews, but I’m just happy to have a Post-Hugo review where somebody read more than just the back cover before saying what a racist, sexist, homophobic, fount of evil hatemongery I am.  That’s a pretty fair and honest review there, but as I was reading it, I found that I kept disagreeing, not on his taste, because every individual has one and taste can’t really be wrong, but rather his interpretation of what I was trying to do, so I thought this might make an interesting blog posts about the decisions a writer makes when writing a novel.

One point of order before continuing, I’ve never told people not to write message fic. I said they needed to put entertainment first, and then message second, so that’s not exactly a gotcha there. Since even his intro admits that it was a very entertaining page turner that repeatedly made him laugh out loud. Yup. Entertainment first, message second. And I’ve also warned that message fiction might turn off readers, which in this particular case is a perfect example, because my/Francis’ politics offended this particular reviewer.

So if you’re going to do it, know the risk. I knew that was going to happen to somebody when I had beloved icon FDR being the control freak, concentration camp loving, antagonist that he was in real life. Flip this coin, and writers should also not be shocked when their preaching about the evils of capitalism/Christianity/binary gender, turns off other readers.

As for what Roosevelt sounded like, nope, he really was that much of a douchebag. Before I write a historical character I try to read a bunch of their speeches, and if possible, some of their personal correspondence. There is plenty to choose from with FDR. The major from Hogan’s Heroes? Hardly. In reality he was more like Danny DeVito’s version of the Penguin.

He didn’t think that subplot with the politics was necessary, but on the contrary, nuts and bolts, story outline purposes SPOILER I needed to be able to show the Pathfinder’s methods to set up the finale, I needed to break away from main PoV characters to show what was going on in the rest of the world, and it was the continuation of the conspiracy in book 2. (I’m an outliner, so I think these things through from the beginning. Need to show X? Then how?)

One brief mention of the gold standard?And that coming from a Shanghai crime lord who didn’t trust paper money? Well, in actual history, that is about when that really happened, and it was controversial, and people didn’t trust it. Especially people who have reason not to trust authority, like say, crime bosses or members of a subversive secret society.

Plus, alternate history? If you are writing historical fiction, alternate or otherwise, you’re going to shove your book full of little flavor things like that, and the opinion on whatever the topic is really should match that of the PoV narrator for the scene. I’ve also got characters with opinions on contemporary sports, music, fashion, firearms, laws, cars, industry, technology, and magical samurai power armor.

As for men of the 1930s acting like men of the 1930s, instead of what an enlightened feminist of today would supposedly do… Duh. 🙂  Here’s some writing advice, your characters are people, and people do things for reasons, and sometimes their reasoning is sound, and sometimes it is emotionally flawed. Let’s break this down into the psychology of the PoV character. SPOILER: Sullivan had feelings for Hammer. He was embarking on a suicide mission. The last woman he loved died horribly doing exactly this sort of thing, and he’s spent the last year suffering from depression because of it. He cared about Faye, knew she was a freaking powerhouse killing machine, and also thought she was dead. So he knew that Hammer’s skills would be useful, and he kicked himself logically for not taking her, but at the same time he just couldn’t do it. This isn’t a 2014 gender studies class about equality, this is the thought process of a broken down warrior with a strong personal code of chivalry tired of losing people he cares about.

Yet, that strategic decision also allowed me as the author to do more with a character who I introduced in book 1, who I loved, who I wanted to do a lot more with. And the fact that Lady Origami was a vital part of Southunder’s crew, who was going no matter what because the Captain needed her and knew she was the best at what she did (because Southunder is a more experienced leader and could make a more logical decision in this case than Sullivan was capable of).

Plus, I needed Akane in the picture because I was already planning the 1950s Grimnoir trilogy, and she is Joe Sullivan’s mom. 🙂  Oh yes, I’m a freaking chess master. The stuff that someone sees as superfluous because Francis is getting involved in politics? That’s because in Spellbound when Raymond Chandler talked about Francis running for president, I decided that was too awesome not to do. Because then guess who is the First Lady. (I totally love my job)

An older man “regulated” Lady Origami’s sexuality? Ha! Wait… So a man born in the 1870s, who literally freed this woman from slavery, and who thinks of this woman as a daughter, warns a man  she’s in love with not to mistreat her, and that’s “regulating her sexuality”? Obviously this PIRATE CAPTAIN skipped Mandatory Sensitivity Training.  Hell, on that note, Lance also threatens to kill Francis in an earlier book if he mistreats Faye. Threatening to kill the suitors of the ladies we care about, should any harm come to said ladies, is still how we do it out here in flyover country.

Old fashioned? Perhaps, but it wasn’t exactly old then. I have teenage daughters. For some strange reason the idea of Southunder being protective of Akane doesn’t strike me as odd. I don’t find protecting those we love sexist in 2014, I’m damn sure he wouldn’t in 1933.

Why didn’t all the good guys have healing kanji? Well, that was specifically addressed in the book, and there was a big scene about it in book 2. The Grimnoir weren’t nearly as good at it as the Imperium. It was very dangerous and the process could easily kill the subject. It nearly killed Sullivan, who is a freaking tank. (if we were playing D&D he rolled triple sixes on his Constitution at character creation) There was a scene about this in Spellbound where Jane yelled at Sullivan for doing dangerous experiments (which he was driven to do because of guilt about what happened to Delilah). And after that here were two other Grimnoir hard core enough to go for it.

From a purely practical, nuts and bolts, behind the scenes writing perspective, I’m an action writer. I’m widely considered one of the best action scene writers in the business, even by people who hate my guts. Why did I introduce magical healing? Because it enables my characters to survive violent fight scenes and bounce back in time for another fight scene to keep the readers glued to the pages, when in real life they’d get into the first fight scene, and then recuperate for the rest of the novel. Why doesn’t everybody have magical healing? Because as the Incredibles taught us, if everybody is special, then no one is.

On super man syndrome… I wrote a book about super heroes. Heck, I managed to get a straight up Superman reference into book 3, a Batman in book 1, book 2 had my homage to King Kong (it takes place in ’33 same year as the movie), and there is a novella coming out that is my salute to Godzilla (set in 1954 same year as the movie).

Seriously though, this is a fine line, and if you’re going to write action, and you’re not going to kill off every single character, then as a writer you’re going to have to cheat. All action stuff cheats to some measure, having been an actual instructor on how to shoot people, trust me, every single action hero on every movie and TV show would be totally deaf by now from all the gun fights and explosions if they were even sort of realistic.

As for characters having just enough magic to survive, that’s a challenge with anything that has a magic system, but I can’t take this too seriously, since I’m still getting angry emails about various characters who did die. 🙂  The key to getting away with this, which I apparently have with the vast majority of readers, is to establish the rules earlier of what the magic can do, then when the problem arises that needs to be solved, have them solve it within the rules you’ve set. Where you get into trouble is when you break your own rules.

SPOILER: Jake vs. Madi in Hard Magic is a good example. Madi’s magic was stronger. Jake used his smarter and won. Also, I subverted this trope on purpose with Faye. I got a negative review years ago for Hard Magic about how they didn’t like how Faye’s power seemed to grow to meet the challenges of the books. SPOILER: when in reality, Faye’s power didn’t climb to meet the challenges, her power climbed as people died around her and she absorbed their power, because she was the Spellbound. Which was kind of the point of the whole series.


As for the creepily joyful use of violence, I don’t write for pussies. For the people who say violence never solved anything, all of recorded history would like to disagree with you.  As for the character being sad violence didn’t happen, you may not have caught this over 3 books of run on sentences and jittery rapid fire observations, but Faye is a little crazy. Not to mention a giant plot point of the series is that she’s cursed with a vampiric super spell that wants her to murder everybody.

A love or dislike of violence (or any other topic) should reflect the morals of the particular character in question and how they are wired. Keeping in mind that I’m writing about a group of violent people in a violent time, Faye will kill a person as casually as she’d wring a chicken’s neck for dinner. Sullivan actually avoids conflict where possible, but when conflict is the best answer he comes down on them like the hammer of god. Francis avoids fighting. Heinrich will avoid fighting then come back later and slit your throat while you are asleep. Hell, villain turned sorta hero Toru’s character arc was about him refining his personal warrior’s code into something that he was morally comfortable with.

Real life is the same way. There are plenty of stupid stereotypes out there about how people are supposed to react to violence, but having spent years working with certified bad asses, some love it, some hate it, some are flippant about it, some turn into basket cases, and some do it as casually as you’d make a sandwich. There’s this idea that people who’ve Been There Done That don’t like to talk about it… Maybe to you, but some of them you can’t get to shut up about it.

An illustration. I used to work with a bunch of SF guys. Most of them were combat vets with lots of deployments and lots of training. One day they were arguing about bullets, which is a typical thing for gun nuts to fight about. One guy didn’t like 5.56. Another guy did. It got heated. They started telling stories about people they’d shot and their reactions. And these aren’t posers, because this is an industry where they all know each other and their bonafides. Finally the pro-5.56 guy pulled out his phone and showed us pictures of some of the people he’d shot to demonstrate  what the wounds looked like.

Now to be fair, this guy wasn’t a psycho. He was a professional. He didn’t get off on this. Part of his job was documenting events. Something that would be horrific to one person is what this guy did for a living, and he was extremely good at it. Him talking about killing would be like a baker talking about cakes.

Another illustration. Two of my best friends were in different units, but had the same MOS (job). They both went to Afghanistan. They both did some extremely dangerous stuff. Both got shot at and attempts were made to blow them up, but only one of them ended up in a position where he could actually shoot back. Both of them were at my place, eating tacos, and telling stories after they got home, the one who didn’t get to shoot anybody was pissed off about it, and the one who did, rubbed it in the other one’s face. Why? Because it would be like being on the football team, going to practice every day, but sitting on the bench and not ever getting to play in the game.

These are just a few of the people I know in real life, so why, pray tell, would it be so extremely far fetched to have a character intimately acquainted with violence be sad they didn’t get the chance to hurt somebody they thought deserved it?

As for harming the other? That may seem alien to some, but to those that keep us all safe, that’s just life.

Everybody is different, and just like real life, every character is different. Different series, but that’s one reason I introduced Trip into Monster Hunter, because that group needed a moral compass.

In this series one of the main recurring villains is Imperial Japan, and because of some very strong leadership (the Chairman) it is even more violent than the real life version. Unit 731? I didn’t make them up. In fact, I toned them down a notch. On the world stage the 1930s were the era when mankind looked up from the chaos of the Great War, and said, hell, I bet we could mechanize and kill people on an industrial scale!

So yes, there is violence, and to some people it is extremely casual. Complaining about that would be like watching The Wire and not liking how the drug dealers of the Baltimore projects are portrayed as being casually violent… Except having lived in North Birmingham, either the Baltimore projects are super refined and civilized in comparison, or the writers actually took it down a notch. My money is on taking it down a notch (Why am I currently watching the Wire? Because Idris Elba is my favorite actor is why).

As a writer, you’ve got an adjustment knob for how violent you want to make your story. Feel free to turn it up and down depending on the target audience. You can also make adjustments for sex, profanity, realism, or anything else that might be offensive. The important thing is that you tune it to your target audience, and my target audience laughs through Tarantino movies.

One note about the quote, where the reviewer thought that I was trying to imply some weird sociological thing where if everybody was like Sullivan, the world would be a better place, here is the actual quote.

But down these mean streets must go a man who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it and certainly without saying it….I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would never spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing he is that in all things.

He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character or he would not know his job. He will take no man’s money dishonestly and no man’s insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as a man of his age talks—that is, with rude with, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham. And a contempt for pettiness.

The story is this man’s adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure….If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.

Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder

Unlike most of the chapter bump historical quotes in this series, this one was not fabricated. Raymond Chandler, one of the greatest authors of all time, wrote this explaining what made his genre, that of the hard boiled hero, so appealing.

Grimnoir is a my love song to Chandler, Hammet, and L’amour. I read this quote a long time ago, and when I created Jake Sullivan, it was because I wanted to write THAT MAN.

But yes, the world would be a far better place if there was more Jake Sullivans in it.

But,here is the other quote from the same book that I in no way altered, and this quote was for the other main character, Sally Faye Vierra:

Take the case of courage. No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice. He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908

And that’s Faye in a nutshell.

Basically, you make your characters what they are, and you stay true to them, then they become real to your fans, and that’s what counts.

So there you go, a look behind the scenes into an author’s thought process.

HOLSTER BOMB! Like a Book Bomb, but for Holsters. 🙂
By popular demand, CorreiaTech swag, Powered By Hate!

201 thoughts on “Oh my gosh, somebody actually reviewed my novel that's up for a Hugo?!? Or Writing Strategy.”

  1. Yeah, a lot of your reviews lately have been focused almost entirely on your politics, and not the actual story you’re telling. Lots of them seem to be trying find racism and sexism where none exists, like this one:


    I find it amusing that so many people object to your characterization of FDR. We’re not allowed to forget that the internment of the Japanese happened (fair enough). But the man who ordered it? Blameless.

    On a happier note, here’s a review of Monster Hunter Nemesis:


    1. Thank you for mentioning the review–I truly did LOVE the book! Larry Correia’s books have gotten better with every new book, so I look forward to the next. I was wildly happy to read and review this book. I know everyone will enjoy it. Sincerely, Sharon. From Sharon’s Love of Books.

  2. “Next trilogy”!?! “Joe Sullivan”?!?

    WANT!!!! MUCH WANT!!!! When is this coming, O Great International Lord of Cismale-y Hateness?

    1. A Grimnoir trilogy set in the 1950s? Sounds awesome. Provided there aren’t any nuked fridges in it.


    2. Hey, it works for George R R Martin. Never let a popular pot-boiler go to waste. It’s part of the Tao of Gettin’ Paid.

      1. Not just “these days”. Rick Cook referred to this tendency as early as 1991 in _The Wizardry Cursed_ when setting up one of his characters to be hit by a truck.

        “‘Can I do it in two trilogies?’ she wondered as she stepped off the curb. ‘Or will I need to stretch it to three?'”

        “If Judith was lost in thought, the truck driver was just plain lost[…]”

    1. After.

      EDIT: to clarify, there will be a novellete coming out later in the Baen Big Book of Monsters and on Audible.com with Joe Sullivan in it.

  3. Larry,I really need you to get the next Grimnoir trilogy out. The first is quite possibly my favorite series ever. This is from a 45 year old fat white dude that grew up reading ER Burroughs, Tolkien, Lewis, Asimov, Piers Anthony, Bradbury and the more modern authors like Jordan, Sanderson, and Martin…but I think I’ll be done with GRRM until he’s actual completed that series.

    Keep doing what you’ve done already. Don’t change your style ever. Just make it better.

  4. I agree, it’s nice to see a reviewer actually read the story before criticizing it…even if he did sort of miss the forest for the trees in a couple of places (the whole FDR thing, for example).

    Politics aside, I wonder if Warbound’s position as the last book of a trilogy might otherwise hurt it with Hugo voters that might otherwise be willing to give it a chance, as to really understand where the plot and some of the characters are coming from one really has to read the whole series. That was the justification, IIRC, for Tor’s making the award for the last Wheel of Time novel cover the entire series, and making all fourteen books available to the voters.

    And after struggling through fourteen 600-page novels’ worth of WoT, will the Hugo readers have the time or energy to spare to read all of Grimnoir? 😉

  5. I was expecting a simple commentary about a book review, and instead, I got a wonderful, introspective treatise on the place of violence and courage in society. And it sounds like you weren’t even trying to do that.

    How can so many people underestimate you, I wonder.

    1. Like Larry said, an author isn’t supposed to respond to a review. So he didn’t. He just used it to provide talking points so he could explain some of his writing philosophy.

        1. Larry Correia is actually just one of Brad Torgersen’s many pen names, and the big man you keep seeing pictures of is really just an out of work James Gandolfini impersonator.

      1. I believe “nuance” is French for “clubbing you over the head with a Left wing message”.

  6. I just had a mental nova. “What if Larry Correia had been invited to write for the ‘Wild Card’ series.” It’s one series I’d love to see Baen republish and Reboot again.

    1. Not really, but if it helps you think that I’m way more profound than I actually am, groovy.

      Jake Sullivan is a Catholic, son of Irish immigrants. His brothers were named James and Matthew. Biblical names are kind of the norm in that kind of family. (says the Portuguese guy with the weird anglo first name, whose childhood friends were Michaels, Pauls, and Marks) But for the record, both Jake and Joe Sullivan got their names because of two real people who probably don’t want me to identify them, but if you look at the dedications of my novels, you’ll see that Warbound is dedicated to a Joe and Nemesis is dedicated to a Jake. That’s where the names come from. 🙂

      1. “Biblical names are kind of the norm in that kind of family…”

        No lie, bwana. My father came form a similar background (though Italian, not Portuguese) and got a great deal of crap growing up because “Walter” wasn’t a Biblical name.

        1. My dad is named Lawrence (I’m a Junior). There aren’t a lot of Portuguese Lawrences. Seriously, looking back at my youth almost everyone I grew up with had a biblical name, but to be fair, half the Portuguese men in the world are named Joe.

          EDIT: And as far as I know, the Lawrence was from Saint Lawrence.

          Also, to go along with half the men being named Joe, half the women are Mary or Maria. There are so many Maria Correias (it rimes!) out there it is ridiculous.

          Ironically, even though I’m no longer Catholic, all of my sons have biblical names. Though I didn’t intend it that way, they just fit. 😀

  7. I give the reviewer props for realizing that both sides of the political spectrum have flaws, including his own, and for realizing that while he had problems with some parts other people would love them.

    It’s nice to see that there are some people out there that can actually read a book before reviewing it, and that are able to give a fair assessment of things, recognizing their own biases.

    1. I will add that he did seem to really miss the point in some areas, gives me the idea that he may be a tad on the nutty feminist side who can’t see chivalry and caring towards women as anything but mistreatment, but that might just be me.

  8. Hehe. I’m glad I’m not the only one that read through the post, and mainly came away with: There’s going to be another trilogy? Let me know when to send money for story.

  9. Next Grimnoir trilogy? I’ll take the hard covers sight unseen, Larry.

    By the way, your ongoing epic ass-kicking of the Literary Left has been very cathartic for me. I’ve long been disgusted by the output of guys like Charles Stross, and I’ve never understood how they continuously get books published that are such boring crap. (I mean, not every single thing Charlie has written is crap, I liked “Iron Sunrise”, but lately? OMG snap!)

    Also educational. I did not know that Marion Zimmer Bradley was even dead, much less an insane serial child molester. I did know her books read really strange, and could never figure why. Well now I know. She was a whack-job.

    Currently, big publishing’s Cool Kids are promoting Whack-Job literature as High Art, and Whack-Job lifestyle as what we should all aspire to.

    I look forward to Sad Puppies III, The Manatee-ening, and the universal head explosion that will follow a Hugo win by the International Lord of Hate. If you have time, anyway. No pressure.

    I’m also buying your swag and sticking an International Minion of Hate sticker on my toy hauler.

    Because there can never be too much International Hate. Or too much bacon.

          1. I just figure his proficiency with knives would translate to sticks pretty seamlessly:-).

          2. Remember, all the orks have that one thing the excel at.

            One who is a kick ass heavy metal drummer? Yeah…I can see it. 😀

            (Larry, are you taking notes? [Like you’d need to])

      1. You can also have a murder of ravens (technically different than crows). And I think they’re called that because of the raven’s (and crows) symbolism for death and destruction. What else would you call Wendell and his friends? A Massacre?

      2. @Peavybob, I believe it’s an “unkindness of ravens” much like a “parliment of rooks” to go with your murder of crows. Personally, I think that the collective noun for tourists should be the dollar, but that’s neither here nor there.

      3. I’d imagine that an Ork whose special talent was being a kick-ass heavy metal drummer would immediately replace Skippy as chief and/or be worshiped as a god.

  10. I want to thank you for including all 3 books in the hugo packet. When I looked at the book up for nomination, I got the impression that I needed to read the first 2 to enjoy the third. I figured if I didn’t really like the first, I’d stop and skip ahead. Just started it. Pretty good so far. To be fair, the history period you are writing isn’t a period I am interested in so though I like your monster hunter books, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up. That being said, it won’t affect my vote. Thats more of a personal taste thing and not something I should vote on.

    and in full disclosure… dude I’m a slobering wheel of time fan boy who started reading Robert Jordan 20 years ago when I was 16 so its going to be hard for me to vote against him. Yeah I saw your post about remembering from when I was 16… read them multiple times, listened to the audios.

    Also want to add that it appears that this is a strong year. Mira Grant has been nominated before, Ancillary Justice is being raved about (including by Elitist Book Reviews) and Charles Stross is the only English author nominated (Worldcon is in London this year… ) so he may have a hometown advantage.

    Do like the book so far though. Contrary to populate belief it is possible for people who don’t agree with your politics to support your work…

    1. “Contrary to populate belief it is possible for people who don’t agree with your politics to support your work…”

      Good attitude. Pass that on.

    2. Thank you, and I’ve got no problem losing, and in fact don’t expect to win. With Australia rules and the way the demographics shake out, I’ll more than likely be last.

      Honestly, I figure WoT wins it. That’s a 14 book epic by 2 fantastic authors over 20 years. It is 4 million works. That’s like playing a one on one basketball game against the entire 1990s roster of the Chicago Bulls. I’m honored to get my ass kicked by that. 🙂

      1. Larry, I came here because I love your stories and stay because you have your head on straight and are so gracious. Loved the Grimnoir Trilogy and really glad to hear you’ll be writing more in that world.

  11. As I read the review I was really taken aback by the criticism of an author portraying how people act in an alt-Hist novel exactly as they historically would have. ::blink::

    It reminds me of all the flak Turtledove got because he didn’t portray every Southerner as a callous,slave keeping,racist death merchant.

    Exactly like the crap some people flung at Dave Freer for showing how one of his protagonists, a young Black man, was treated by some Australians. Never mind it’s historically on the dime.

    But that’s why Sad Puppies!

  12. Then sometimes as you write the character is standing next to you saying “Are ye daft Lad! I’d never do such as that.” and you delete what was just written and the story goes in another direction. Your job as writer is to play the character as they are. The knight is a knight, he has to move as a knight. The bishop has to move as a bishop.

  13. Just read the last two chapters last night of WARBOUND, and by thunder the whole book was great. I hope to write a flattering review in the near future for my blog.

    Concerning the opening arguments of the chapter headings, there was thrill I got reading about the nature of courage, and recognizing the quote, and saying to myself ‘Isn’t that my old friend (and previous incarnation) Gilbert Chesterton?’ Imagine my delight when I turned the page and saw his name, nicely tucked in among all the imaginary and half-imaginary quotes from the parallel world.

    Well done, sir. Very well done.

    1. I love Chesterton. You actually write like Chesterton. The best I can do is quote him.

      I’ve been swamped with work lately, so my reading time has been severely limited, but I’ve been reading Count to a Trillion. Holy moly, I can’t write like that, but I can certainly appreciate the word smithing. Last night I read the scene where Montrose wakes up, and in describing the occupants of the room as types of birds, and the guards, hawks… I stopped, read that line out loud to my wife and said, damn that’s good description. 🙂

      1. And Chesterton RULES. I went to Christendom College, which introduced me to Chesterton. I now quote him all the time. I’m also an editor at Chesterton Press, which is named after him because Chesterton is awesome.

        1. Chesterton was awesome.

          Though my favorite Chesterton quote wasn’t by him, but about him, as a fellow Extra Large Casual Male. Can’t remember who said it, but one of his friends heard a very loud crash of thunder and said something to the effect that it was either thunder or perhaps Chesterton had fallen on a sheet of tin. 🙂

      2. I hadn’t heard that one. I like it. 🙂

        One time he was walking down the street during the Great War, and a lady stopped him to demand why he wasn’t out at the front. He replied “Madam, if you step around to my side, you will see I already am.”

        By the way, for the sake of historical trivia and obscure nerdery, tomorrow is the anniversary of the day he died. His wife wrote that day that “The lights went out at 10:15am.”

      3. Thank you for the compliment, but I have a far piece to trudge before I can write like Chesterton. At the moment, I only weigh like him.

        I am glad you like my book.

  14. “Next Grimnoir trilogy? I’ll take the hard covers sight unseen, Larry. ”

    Seconded. Albeit, what happens to the Power and the Predator between 1930 and 1950, and how does the alternate world change in a world where there was no Second World War? The Soviet combine with Imperial Japanese against Europe? No Cold War? Instead of a space race to the moon, a race to open the dimensional portals to the purgatories where all the remnants of alien races wiped out by the previous landfalls of the Power reside? The Power reproduces by fission, producing two competing zones of magic?

    1. Oooh, John C Wright is very good. Some interesting ideas there, sir.

      All I can say is that I wouldn’t have introduced a certain Boffin/Cog if there wouldn’t be a need later to build a giant space-going Habakkuk. 🙂

      1. Good God, Larry, enough with the teasing! You’re going to drive us all insane with anticipation before we’ve even got a chance to read the first book!


        (Wait — what is a Habakkuk? I thought he was one of the Minor Prophets?)

        You have my admiration, sir, for your casual trampling of genre boundaries like a cyclopes trampling the annoying crewmen of Odysseus. You go from from an X-Man-ish film Noir alternative history fantasy to space operatic to soft SF to hard sf without blinking an eye.

        I just showed my kids THE BIG SLEEP. I am trying to envision Babes Becall as a Brute.

        Did you ever see the HBO movie Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) starring Fred Ward? If it was not one of your inspirations, you should be amused by it. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101550/)

        1. I haven’t seen that, and I like Fred Ward.

          The Habakkuk was an interesting oddball experimental idea from WW2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk To build a giant super aircraft carrier out of Pykrete. Geoffrey Pyke was identified in one of the chapter bumps as a Boffin (British Cog). Now throw in a bunch of people who can mess with the laws of physics, I figured I could have some fun with that.

        2. Maybe this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Habakkuk
          “Project Habakkuk or Habbakuk (spelling varies; see below) was a plan by the British in World War II to construct an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of wood pulp and ice), for use against German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic, which were beyond the flight range of land-based planes at that time.”

          I loved ‘Cast a Deadly Spell’! Terrific movie, very ‘noir’!

      3. I’ll throw in another recommendation for Cast a Deadly Spell. Main character is a PI Named Phill Lovecraft….

        Is it good HPL, no; is it fun, oh ya, and the rather particular way that the final sacrifice was thwarted s great ; )

      4. A major problem with watching Cast A Deadly Spell is that HBO have never release this movie on DVD. So you’ll have to look very hard for it. But it’s a very fun movie.

    2. A Space Race in a world with people who can control gravity would be interesting. It would also raise the question of the Power’s range. If Jake Sullivan lightens the load on a Buckminster Fuller Spacemaxion, can he ride it to the Moon, or will his power disappear somewhere in between, leaving him stranded on a one-way trip to nowhere, or an orbit that intersects the Earth (though I’m sure he could survive that)?

      1. And does The Power have a range? The critter is somewhere on the Earth, which implies that after a certain number of miles away from the Earth, the Power cannot reach you.

    3. Hm. You might have still had a European War (and a Cold War following it) if the Sovs had invaded Europe, as some authors said Stalin was about to do when Barbarossa hit. Of course, that military would have been the ’30s Red Army, I.e. Endless Cycle o’ Purges, and not the one that chased the Germans back home.
      No rise of the NSDAP, but there were French nationalist groups about as nasty. Alternatively, you still do get a NSDAP- but based in Bonn or Munich, and with a different character.
      Spanish Civil War? Absent German intervention, the Republicans probably win… but don’t underestimate Franco, one of the most successful of the strongmen (and the dude who swindled Hitler out of his jockey shorts!).
      China probably either degenerates into communism or becomes Vietnam a generation earlier, as Roosevelt and the China Lobby send money and eventually troops to try to keep Chiang in office.
      No Marshall Plan means most of the world industrializes much more slowly than was the fact, and the humongous post-WW2 economic boom never happens. Hell, the Baby Boom never happens.

      1. Oh yeah- and the American South remains mostly agrarian and much behind the times, as the WW2 military and industrial boom never comes around.

      2. Also, keep in mind that the Imperium is far bigger than just Japan. In 1934 they control much of south east Asia, the pacific, and a great big chunk of Siberia. Stalin is Stalin, but he’s got the most effective army in history parked to his east.

      3. My first impulse about the Imperium is that while they’ve got territory, they don’t have numbers. However, with The Chairman’s views on race, that might not be true. You might get an Imperial Japan that has the cultural ability to integrate outsiders, mitigating one of Japan’s traditional cultural weaknesses.

        1. Yep. That was one of the Chairman’s struggles was getting his military to integrate outsiders. If you remember, Madi was pretty controversial, but was also incredibly awesome. So the question is, how well can his successor continue this trend? Oh shit. It’s Toru. Never mind. We’re screwed. 😀

      4. One minor nit, DaveP.
        While The Marshall Plan jump started the re-industrialization of the first tier Allied countries, it also resulted in ( and in some cases was also used to) the death of certain industries in second and third tier allied nations (like Turkish aircraft production, Greek artillery/cannon production) which resulted in these nations loosing the institutional knowledge on these fields.
        This particular mindset can be seen openly in the death of the Canadian Arrow program ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_CF-105_Arrow ).

        All in all, I think that the absence of a tool as invasive as the Marshall can be used to create a lot more diverse and colourful 1950s in the GrimNoirVerse

      5. Nomad: Most of those defense-based industries weren’t brought down by Marshall but by the fact that there were unlimited supplies of barely-used military surplus sitting around begging to be sold- and no way in creation that local industries could compete on price. The Israelis used Czech-built Me-109’s, the Egyptians used Mausers and even some Panzer 4’s, we shipped M1 carbines all over the world … because it was much cheaper to buy stuff produced in ’44 than it would have been to make your own factory. That wasn’t anything to do with Marshall.
        The Canadian aerospace program was slightly different, in that it was killed by post-Marshall economics and competition. In fact, If you follow your own link Marshall isn’t mentioned (and shouldn’t be, as the Marshall Plan ended in ’53, six years before the cancellation of the Arrow) : the cause given is that the Canadian Government didn’t think it was economical to design and manufacture their own interceptor when the USAF was already producing similar offerings, and there would be no export market. The rest is straight-up bureaucratic incompetence, of which I haven’t noticed a lack anywhere in the world.

    4. First, a caveat: I’ve only read “Hard Magic” and “Monster Hunter International”, and I only read both in the last month. But I couldn’t help but imagine all sorts of things.

      This idea wouldn’t help with trying to reproduce the 50’s atmosphere, but you might find it entertaining, perhaps even useful, nonetheless: A group of Monster Hunters decided to get to the bottom of what happened in Siberia circa 1908; they determine that it was trans-dimensional, and the energy residue, even today, is just strong enough that they could follow it to the Reality where it originated, and so they do: they want to make sure that such a thing doesn’t happen again, if it can be arranged.

      Naturally, they won’t go to the exact source of the explosion (they don’t want to die)…combined with imprecision in determining the exact time plops them in the 1950’s, right in the middle of some sort of Cold War (or not, as the case may be)…

      Perhaps things can be taken a step further: put these Monster Hunters in the near future, so that they have some of the same types of “powers” as Actives via physics devices and computer trickery, and are powered by portable energy source that just happens to be (somewhat) compatible with the Power….

  15. Ahistorical views/behavior is what put me off the Temeraire books. The use of the dragon to put forth all of the author’s views as if they were self-evident truths ruined the series.

    1. And Laurence just sort of goes along with it because those crazy dragons. Still like the books but they’re surely not alt-history with dragons so much as cuddly feminist fun-time with dragons.

  16. Very interesting Larry. I’ve always thought you do some of the best characterization on the genre and its cool to hear your thought process.

    I’m also really looking forward to MHI Legion. Franks is a tough guy to characterize and a whole book from his perspective is going to be interesting.

    1. As they said of Shaft, Franks is a complicated man. He’s a mean son of a “Shut Your Mouth”.

          1. Yeah, but Franks needs something unique to him…

            …mostly because he could beat Shaft and Darth Vader into a red smear. At the same time.

            It’s why I can’t wait for Nemesis. LOVE Franks as a character.

      1. I dunno. Franks reminds me a bit of the Six Million Dollar Man.

        “Gentlemen, we can rebuild him . . .”

      2. What Franks need is a heavy metal orchestra. (Think Trans-Siberian as a starting point.) Then a theme composed specifically for him.

      3. Franks theme music should be Viking Death Metal, some of the bands out there would write the song for free.

      4. As an Agent Franks Theme, I think this works pretty well:


        Always visualize Franks getting dropped into some infected city and kicking ass while the rest of his team slowly gets picked off. Song ends with Franks climbing into a chopper and flying off into the sunset. At least, in my head.

  17. Great post, Larry! I love seeing behind the scenes and using that review as a jumping off point was inspired. But I have to admit, I nearly stopped reading to dance for days when I read, “Joe Sullivan”, “1950’s Grimnoir”.

    You have made my weekend. 🙂

  18. You may or may not know this, but FDR, as governor on New York State, asked his citizens to give the Sullivan law a chance to work. Later, as President, he tried to include handguns in the National Firearms Act for a one dollar fee. Hatred of the ordinary citizen’s Right of Arms goes back a ways in the Democratic party.

  19. I commented on the critique. Particularly, I laughed at his statement of treating Origami like property. A Captain is SUPPOSED to be advocate for his crew. Regardless of gender. But I do agree, it was overall fair, if seemingly grudgingly so. He couldn’t get past the dig of thinking you ‘shrunk your market’ while sitting on a dragon’s hoard.

  20. FWIW – a group of Manatees is called an aggregation. Love to see one, but I don’t think SJW-Dom (or is that SJW-DUMB”?) could take that much destructive force. And I don’t think I can take that much awesome.

    1. I was once driving near Lake Washington, and the sky was filled with crows, hundreds and hundreds of them. I said, “That’s not a Murder of Crows, that’s a Genocide!”

  21. I shared this post with my brothers and we we shared a moment of “squee” in anticipation of another series in this world.

  22. What can I say that hasn’t been said above and more eloquently than I? Love the behind the scenes peek at the characters’ growth and momentum.
    Will be picking up the Grimnoir series for my husband. He loves the idea that the trilogy is actually a trilogy and not 7 books. He wasn’t interested in MHI (why not?) but agrees with you about FDR being a douche (so was Wilson), which is why the US is in this mess…..anyway…one of my favorite posts by you.

  23. Let me just say that you’ve managed to get me to move a reread of the Grimnoir Chronicles into next in my “to be read” queue. And considering the size of my elibrary alone, that’s saying something.

      1. If my workplace were a giant bag of hydrogen I’d probably want to avoid infringing on her free will.

    1. Not even shoot fire. She was good enough to cause small moving objects that weren’t even in her line of sight to spontaneously combust. 🙂

      1. She’s going to be a joy to be around when she hits menopause. “Hot flash” gets a whole new meaning:-).

      2. Too bad Jake is only partially Massive due to his creative abuse of game mechanics, thus not entirely fireproof, unlike Hellboy who is 100% fireproof thus is the only safe boyfriend of Liz Sherman..

    2. You don’t. You just make sure idiot guys don’t give her reason to “fry” them. [Wink]

      1. So it’s really regulating the men’s sexuality… to keep them from getting set on fire. 😉

  24. BTW–I tried to read Ancillary Justice. I really did…but 30 or so pages into it, I gave up. The gender thing was just confusing….to the point where the writing wasn’t good enough to have me figure it out.

    1. This. I haven’t had such a migraine since the last time I tried wading through Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” albeit for a different reason…

      1. I read through what they included of Ancillary Justice in the packet.

        The A story (present time) is at times interesting, though it is very hard to tell characters apart (or at times who is being referenced) with the deletion of the male pronouns combined with sub-par characterization. As someone who has stories about shapeshifters whose gender is completely arbitrary I can sympathize, but her solution does not work as used, and there isn’t enough other information about the characters to compensate. Since, unlike my shapeshifters, the characters do actually have gender, but everyone pretends they don’t it falls even more flat. My brother actually got to the point of writing down a character’s name and gender whenever he figured it out, just so he had a slim chance of keeping them straight.

        The B story (past) was so message laden that I couldn’t stand it. (and it is too heavy handed in even A) I get it, she hates the military and clearly thinks anyone who volunteered for service is an amoral baby killing machine, even more so than the *actual* amoral baby killing organic-machines. Even worse, the B story is boring and goes nowhere. I mean, it might, eventually, but that’s like saying “Final Fantasy XIII gets good 20 hours in.” I don’t care if its the best gorram game ever even ten hours in. I want my ten hours back.

        After reading through the selection it really feels like these were two short stories in the same setting smashed together to get something novel length, and is really uneven.

        As creepy as I find Stross’ stuff, I hope he wins if Brandon and Larry don’t. At least he can tell a story. (I have not read anything of the last nominee, so no comment on it either way yet)

        Putting it in simple terms – if you want to take the emphasis away from gender, ethnicity, etc. do what Jack Campbell does. Ten books into the Lost Fleet series I can tell you the hair color of one character. ONE. And it’s (naturally) green, which is a plot point when they want to see the reaction of an alien species to it. Yet despite that each of the important supporting characters is a well rounded individual, with personality and presence on the page, if not much in the way of appearance.

    2. Ancillary Justice was a mildly interesting take on how a corporated AI deals with a second multi-parallel AI experiencing a personality split. With some purely arbitrary gender crap badly tacked on.

      There was a decent novel in there trying to get out, but the author should have stuck to the AI having issues dealing with having a gender rather that sticking all the ‘culture without gender’ on top (which didn’t work, especially since the characterization of every non-AI from that culture was very explicitly gendered).

      An OK read, but hardly worthy of a Hugo nomination. Easily in the bottom third of my reads for the year.

  25. ” The important thing is that you tune it to your target audience, and my target audience laughs through Tarantino movies.”

    Since I prefer not even watch trailers for Tarantino movies, I can only conclude that I am seriously outside your target audience. Of course, violence in print doesn’t disturb me the way violence in films does.

    That said, I really enjoy both MHI and Grimnoir although Grimnoir is my favorite so far. I look forward to the next trilogy. And Francis as president. Woohoo!

    1. I’m on the same page as you with Tarentino – for me at least it comes down to the senseless violence as opposed to justified violence. A lot of what happens in Tarentino films is unnecessary and over the top, while the majority of what happens in Grimnoir is either instigated by the villains or instances of the heroes trying to protect each other and their society.

      1. Count me in on Tarantino. I’d add that even the plot-essential violence in Tarantino films winds up being gratuitously grand guignol in depiction. HBO is the same way with the sex /and/ the violence, as anyone who’s read the GoT books can attest. I don’t have a problem with violence being depicted as, well, violent, but there’s a difference between ‘not sugarcoating’ and ‘wallowing in.’

  26. “a straight up Superman reference into book 3, a Batman in book 1”

    Where? I must have missed them, and I love little shout outs in books.

    1. Spoilers: Hard Magic, toward the end when Francis is talking with Chandler about being a billionaire playboy, but still trying to fulfill his Grimnoir duties. Warbound, when Sullivan drops into Shanghai and the Japanese officers see him falling through the sky.

    2. They’re kind of subtle.

      The Batman reference was something along the lines of Francis, a billionaire, donning a disguise to fight evil.

      The Superman reference is when Jake is falling out of the airship. It’s a bird? It’s a plane? That kind of thing.

  27. I got a one star review that contained this tidbit. “Too much insane killing”.

    I almost left a comment. “Um…thanks!”

    Violence in print isn’t something for everyone, but there is a market for it. There are a lot of us who study violence in various forms, have been part of it to various extents, and enjoy violence portrayed in our entertainment.

    As for your reviewer who thinks people who commit violence for a living shun it outside of work, they should probably contact some active duty military, preferably “tip of the spear” types, and ask them what kind of entertainment they enjoy. I’ll give you a hint though. They’re not reading Nicholas Sparks and they’re not watching the latest chick flick.

    For the record, it’s not because the action sequences are so much of a fantasy that they’re not reminded of their horrible experiences. They bitch about stupid action scenes with no basis in reality. Oh, they appreciate the Rule of Cool, but they want there to be something remotely realistic there.

    That’s probably why so many military guys love Larry’s stuff. 🙂

      1. I’ve seriously considered it.

        That’s for a novelette. The sequel is a full length novel. I’ve thought about marketing it as “Even more insane killing!”

        Hey, for the people I’m writing it for, that’s what they’ll want to hear. Let me know if you want a free copy. 😀

      2. NOW! 40% More Insane Killing At Half the Price!!! “Highly recommended” – Timurlane the Great “Ditches of Gore” – Julius Caesar “A phalanx of hi-jinx” – Alexander the Great “Terrific!” – Ivan the Terrific

      3. “Too much insane killing”?

        Would they prefer “sane killing”? [Very Big Evil Grin]

        1. A fair question.

          Of course, I’m trying to figure out how the hell he was supposed to rescue someone from a ruthless warlord in a post apocalyptic setting without “insane killing”. I guess he was supposed to initiate a meaningful dialog or something?

      4. Joss Whedon and George RR Martin go through major characters like toilet paper. Just a trail of blood through their work. Not exactly a deal breaker there.

    1. I think I mentioned, I have a 3-star review that practically endorses what the story is about, one of those “It’s full of that kind of thing, if you’re into that kind of thing.” things.

          1. Hell…I wish Amazon would put that in as a category.

            I know where most of my purchases would come from, and where most of my stuff would be posted for sale. 🙂

    2. I’m of two minds on the marking-a-book-down-for-elements-one-doesn’t-like thing. On the one hand, as long as the writing is technically competent, it deserves at least more than one star. On the other, I’m not going to give something I didn’t enjoy the same rating I’d give something I did, even if the writing for both is on the same level.

      1. The funny thing is, I’ve got no two-stars on this story.

        I have some one-stars (including one jackass who didn’t even read the story, but complained because it wasn’t an actual book), and a pile of four and five star reviews.

        The only one that really got under my skin was the guy who was just complaining about the length, but hadn’t purchased the book. It’s exclusive to Amazon, and no verified purchase, so it’s easy to tell he didn’t read it. So, it pissed me off.

        Other than that, they kind of tickle me when one review applauds an aspect of the story that a negative comment decries. It’s just how it goes. Some people like tons of description, while other don’t. You’re not going to make everyone happy, and it’s actually a really good lesson on that front.

  28. Nice to read of someone who accepts criticism of their work, even if they disagree with said criticism, when the critic articulates their arguments.

  29. I don’t get where the reviewer comes from.

    He couldn’t put it down, page turner, enjoyed it, but the message fic wasn’t shoved quite into his face and wasn’t strong enough for the people in his book group to discuss it’s profundities ad nauseam, so he won’t recommend it.

    Even though he couldn’t put it down and sounds like he enjoyed it.

    I tell you, some people are reading for the wrong reasons. The Faux-cerebral movement in some parts of this country are seriously getting out of hand, and getting in the way of enjoying life.

    1. Larry IS the International Lord of Hate. He has to find something bad, or we will get kicked out of the Eloi club.

    2. SF has had a bad case of faux-cerebral since at least the 80s… possibly longer. I think it’s a reaction to trauma for having adults make fun of your space adventure book when you were 13 years old… in 1958.

  30. I got about a third of the way into Warbound before I gave it up. Looking at Larry’s article, I see why I had some of the problems I did.

    First, looking at FDR’s speeches as a guide to how the man talked leads to stilted conversations. FDR’s speeches were delivered at the dawn of amplification by a man who’d learned public speaking before such aids were available. In short, FDR’s public speaking style, even in his “fireside chats,” was stilted and artificial – aimed at allowing the crude equipment of his day to catch his words.

    Second, the trilogy was not nominated. Telling me “if you’d read books 1 and 2 X would make sense” is cheating. If I need to have read all three books, nominate all three books. (See Connie Willis with Blackout / All Clear.)

    Third is the internment camps. FDR didn’t want to inter the Japanese. He was pushed into it by Californian politicians and the US military. We know exactly what FDR’s views on race were – he vigorously pushed against segregation, going as far as he felt he could without wrecking his party.

    Fourth, and this is my personal view, I couldn’t figure out who I was supposed to care for. Sullivan seemed a cardboard figure to me, and the rich industrialist Whats-His-Name came off as a whiny kid.

    1. Nice try, Chris. I appreciate that you are still looking out for the virginal purity of the Hugos.

      1. Not just speeches, but also personal correspondence and recollections from both friends and enemies. Buy hey, that’s spread over six whole pages in chapter 2 of 25, so I can see how that would be simply unbearable for your delicate lilac scented feelings. Obviously this would cause you to develop a case of the vapors and retire to your fainting couch, which would render you incapable of reading the remainder of this ghastly novel. 🙂

      2. I didn’t get to nominate the entire trilogy. WoT had an organized push to nominate the whole thing rather than just one book. Sadly, I’m not Tor.Com, whose organized push was awesome, while my organized push was uncouth awfulness (as luck would have it, you’ve pointed out before). So my Wrong Kind Of Fans just nominated the one book that was actually written that year. In fact, since most of my fans have never gone to WorldCon, that’s not the sort of rule oddity any of us even thought of while I was formulating my nefarious schemes. When I saw WoT on there, I asked the committee about allowing the entire trilogy and I was denied. (but hey, unlike Orbit, I threw in all three books to the packet if anybody wanted to read them)

      3. Bullshit. Nobody, and I mean nobody pushed FDR into anything. That includes the US military which he was CinC of. He was an absolute master of political manipulation and intimidation. The most famous generals operating with massive autonomy in far off war zones were scared of FDR. California politicians and friends benefited from his actions, but they didn’t manipulate him into anything. He signed the order and threw 140,000 people into concentration camps in some of the most godforsaken pieces shit real estate in the continental US, and while those American citizens froze in shacks all of their land and property was given to his democrat cronies.

      And I’m sure this beloved icon must have realized the error of his ways once he saw the travesty of justice that this executive order of his turned out to be, and he immediately repealed it… Oh wait… No, he actually fought it in court when the republicans tried to get it thrown out.

      By “vigorously pushing”, you must mean he paid lip service to ending segregation to appease northern liberals, while doing very little so he could keep the KKK and racists reliably voting democrat. Because strangely enough, a dude who managed to whoop his political opposition for 12 years, passing all manner of extremely powerful and controversial laws, and going so far as to attempt to pack the SCOTUS (so that pesky little checks and balances thing wouldn’t get in his way) somehow never managed to get around to passing any meaningful civil rights legislation. Go figure.

      4. Judging by the series sales, continued popularity, average review ratings, and making #19 on the Audible Essentials best ever list, I’d say that is certainly your personal view about cardboard. So duly noted, and then immediately disregarded. 🙂

      You are correct on one point however. Francis was a whiny rich kid, spawned by morally bankrupt scum, who started to grow up and become a leader during the series. You might think that is super perceptive of you (being a book reviewer and all) except for the 4 characters I had who explicitly stated that exact thing (Jake, Dan, Heinrich, and Chandler) in the course of the series. But since Francis was only in one subplot of the book, I’m curious why you’d think he was the main character (the correct answer is Faye), but that’s right, you got the vapors in chapter 2.

      So thanks, Chris. I for one look forward to your next attempt to preserve the sacred Hugos from the barbaric outsiders. 🙂

      1. Well, you know that people like Chris aren’t going to let facts get in the way of a perfectly abysmal argument.

        But hey, if believing that a man who expanded the power of the executive branch of government in ways no other president ever had was “pushed” to do a damn thing helps him sleep at night, nothing you or I will say will dissuade him from his ignorance.

        After all, to some morons, FDR is a shining example of all that could be accomplished if the “right people” were in charged. Who cares if he extended the Great Depression with asinine policies?

      2. Which isn’t? The Great Depression thing? Or his over-expansion of the executive?

        If it’s about the Great Depression, I’m not surprised either. I didn’t learn it in any history class either. Instead, I actually learned it while doing a term paper for an English class of all things.

        Luckily, the professor was satisfied with it and gave me an “A” 🙂

      3. Yeah, that’s unfortunate. I remember hearing about how great FDR was and how he saved the nation during the Great Depression all through school. It wasn’t until high school when that started to change a bit. I went to a private school (small one for working class families). That’s when I learned about FDR packing the courts.

        It was much, much later in College that I did some digging and learned a lot more about how badly he screwed this country over.

      4. The fact that Larry didn’t make FDR a bigger villain is a miracle of restraint. He was personally arrogant, an idiot when dealing with foreign policy, and was responsible for numerous violations of the law. His war department forced relocation of AK natives on the Aleutian chain. He totally ignored warning about the fact that he was surrounded by communist agents. His total disregard for the Constitution, and his near total indifference to a communist takeover of Europe and those are some of his better points. Bottom line the guy was stopped from becoming a dictator only by his health and the need to win the war.

        Don’t start with Return of the King and start complaining that that Frodo character is boring, and you can’t see what the big deal about him is anyway.

        Since worldcon is in Spokane next year, lots of us Larry reading, bible thumpin, gun toting rednecks will be able to attend in person. Does that mean there will be an asterisk next to next years results?

        Lastly, like a book, or don’t. I’m fairly certain most people have learned to ignore Chris G. by now. What you don’t get to do without being called out on it is storm in people’s digital living rooms, call them liars, racists, and get offended that we won’t let you get away with it. Fandom was dominated by you leftist losers for so long that you think your excreta doesn’t smell. Well sonny, it does. Stop whining about how normal people don’t understand and act like an adult. The whiny teenager SMOF act is getting old.

      5. This was how Chris tried to demonstrate his opposition to racism:

        “Chris Gerrib:
        I’ll give you the “self-described” and we’ll have to agree to disagree on definitions. But if you run around in warpaint with feathers in your hair and carry a tomahawk, don’t be surprised if people call you an Indian.”

        Nope. No ridiculous, false stereotypes there.

      6. And actually, it was Eleanor who was the civil rights champion. Defying her husband by openly calling for the inclusion of minorities in the combat forces.

        Roosevelt didn’t have much choice, despite the FBI determination there was no threat, because he had issued Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527 issued on December 7th, 1941.

      7. Aw geez. He’s here too?! That guy CONSTANTLY got trounced in the blog discussions over at jordan179’s LJ. Talk about concern trolling! He was a master, and any facts were entirely disregarded. At some point the only people really agreeing with him were someone who hated America, and Clamps.

        The most hilarious thing is he gives up in an early part of a book that’s the third in a series, and then complains that he doesn’t understand the plot or what’s going on… Then behaves as if his opinion should be treated like a valid one. That’s like someone who fell asleep at the first third of the Desolation of Smaug, then complains that the movie was lame.

      8. I hadn’t ever heard of Messer Gerrib – he is a USNA grad, class of ’89. Went SWO – judging from the picture in uniform he provides on his page, he made liberal use of the auto-dog which can be found in most afloat wardrooms. Nothing in his self published bio suggests why he couldn’t get through the novel and then muster a coherent critique.

        I do think that his defense of FRD’s internment camps is a hoot, though. “But he didn’t WANT to do it! Bad men FORCED the president to do it.”


      9. Actually, I think I sort of agree with the original reviewer’s assessment of the scene with FDR, to some extent at least. (Not Chris’ assessment, mind you. That’s just BS.) Not because you made him too much of an asshole; FDR certainly WAS an asshole, and if anything I’m surprised you showed as much restraint with him as you did. But there was just something about his dialogue that seemed… off. A little stilted and unnatural. I can’t quite put my finger on it. If I were a better writer I might be able to, but if I were a better writer I’d probably be competing with you, and wouldn’t want to. :op

        One thing I did want to point out, though, is that I don’t think the problem was the way that, like the reviewer said, he was talking like a trumped-up mayor of a small town rather than a mover and shaker of world politics. That was a particularly silly criticism. I don’t think he understands that, when it comes down to it, major politicians on the national level really DO just sound like trumped-up mayors of small towns. There’s no special magic in Washington that somehow transforms politicians into a higher class of person than their lowly local counterparts. (Well, unless you count being manipulated by the Predator/Pathfinder…)

        I wonder if that’s why that scene read weird to me? The whole time I was expecting FDR to turn out to be controlled by an alien, so I was sort of reading his lines in an alien, unnatural way? I dunno.

        It’s kind of irrelevent, though, because you pretty much provided the best answer to that assertion in this comment, when you said “but hey, that’s spread over six whole pages in chapter 2 of 25.” If it had been, say, Browning, Pershing, Fuller, or one of the other actual historical figures who played a major role in the plot whose dialogue came off as stilted and unnatural it would be an issue, but theirs didn’t. They came off as fully realized, interesting, and fun to read characters. Fuller is probably the best example. It seems likely that he held some political views that you’re pretty thoroughly opposed to, but despite occasionally poking fun at his ridiculous imaginowordisms and personaliquirks, you treated him as a very sympathetic character. More to the point, all of the chapter headers were SO well done, simultaneously feeling exactly like something the person “quoted” would have said and also helping to give the world its own unique feel, that I don’t think it’s fair to call Grimnoir anything other than an excellent example of historical fiction. FDR felt like a plot device rather than a character, not because you can’t do historical fiction right, but because he WAS a plot device rather than a character.

        Still, I’d say that one bit of the review was a valid nit, and as long as you’re picking those, it’s one that is worthy of picking.

      10. Not just speeches, but also personal correspondence and recollections from both friends and enemies.

        Chris may not get the degree to which affecting a stilted speaking style, even in private, was very popular among Northeastern aristocrats of the early 20th century. And FDR was upper-upper-class.

        Bullshit. Nobody, and I mean nobody pushed FDR into anything. That includes the US military which he was CinC of. He was an absolute master of political manipulation and intimidation.

        I love the way that people are so gullible when it comes to Presidential claims of helplessness. (In this case, claims made after the fact, as FDR never made any such claims). The President may be helpless if checked by the other branches of government, but with regards to his own Executive Branch, the President is virtually an autocrat. Presidents claim to be helpless for one reason alone — to deny their own responsibility for crimes and errors.

        He signed the order and threw 140,000 people into concentration camps in some of the most godforsaken pieces shit real estate in the continental US, and while those American citizens froze in shacks all of their land and property was given to his democrat cronies.

        The part that I bolded is the part which shows how horribly unconstitutional a thing he was doing.

        He might have had a legitimate argument for interning the individual Japanese-Americans, and for applying this argument to every single Japanese-American, given the demonstrable way that Japanese culture worked at the time (with intense loyalty to the Emperor and Japanese identity supposedly not transcended by a change of citizenship). It’s a bad argument, but it might have been covered by the Executive Branch’s Constitutional responsiblity for national security.

        But on what logical, Constitutional basis did he presume to loot their holdings? They were not “enemy aliens,” they were in fact not aliens at all, but citizens. What should have been done, assuming he had to intern the owners for national security reasons, would have been to appoint trustees to manage the properties for the duration of the war. Instead, he simply plundered them.

    2. If FDR had any real problem with segregation, if he minded murdering people along ethnic lines for political expedience, he would have joined the Republican party, and not the Democratic Party.

      If an ancestor of mine had narrowly escaped being murdered by an Italian police chief, a Fascist, I would feel free to apportion some of the blame to Benito. If it had been a registered member of the NSDAP, few would object to me saying Hitler was at fault.

      I decline to let a Democrat apologist for the Democratic Party peddle me his revisionist history. I decline to let such tell me what I can and cannot hold grudges over.

      Given FDR’s electoral votes, and where they came from, he directly benefited from those murders. He would have lost at least one election if it weren’t for states where it is known that ethnic terrorism and electoral fraud occurred.

      Try and convince me that Wilson integrated the military, or that Davis sought to end slavery.

    3. I’d add something, but I think Larry covered everything quite well.

      Seriously though, open some books written by someone not trying to resurrect FDR by suck starting him. He was not a good person.

          1. IIRC the difference between the German internments and the Japanese internments is that the Germans interned were German “nationals” while the Japanese interned were (in general) American citizens.

            Internments of citizens of a country that you’re at war with was common practice in that time.

            American citizens were interned in Germany when Germany declared war against the US and nobody saw a problem with that.

      1. Internments of citizens of a country that you’re at war with was common practice in that time.

        In fact… that is what a sane country does when it is at war.

    4. Your defense of FDR is utter BS, as Larry correctly notes. To add to Larry’s points, FDR ran in 1920 as vice president nominee for Democrats and helped run the most racist presidential campaign in US history. Thankfully, the US electorate – already sickened by the corrupt use of power and racism of the Wilson administration – voted for the GOP.

      FDR was a vile, cynical, ugly man whose word was untrusted, who told everyone what they wanted to hear, and was continually manipulating his allies more than his enemies. He degraded American politics permanently.

      Try Thomas Fleming’s “The New Dealers War” for a sampling.

    5. If anyone’s interested in another not-so-warm-and-fuzzy look at FDR, J. Evetts Haley, the historian/rancher, wrote an article for the December 8, 1934 “Saturday Evening Post” about what FDR’s AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Act) did to ranchers. It’s entitled “Cow Business and Monkey Business”, and seems to be available a couple places on the net.

    6. Chris I vow to read 57.76% more stories with “historically marginalized points of view.” If you know of any Bolivian Ameridian SF novelists who write a swell space opera, I will read it sight unseen, because of the vibrant and other stuff.

      Last year I kept a detailed journal of all the stories I read by people who were not boring ethnically European or lamebrain men and depraved non-fluid heterosexuals because literature. On New Year’s Eve I baked a pie-chart cake and wrote a poem to Joanna Russ. Sometimes I ride cows cuz why should cars hog all of transportation?

  31. 1950s Grimnoir trilogy? Larry, you just made my day. And week. And month. One question, though: Will sad puppies make an appearance?

  32. There’s some great stuff in the comments here, but I think everyone has missed the big news about the sequel stories: Faye as First Lady!

  33. Plus, I needed Akane in the picture because I was already planning the 1950s Grimnoir trilogy-


  34. Saying that FDR was pushed into doing something he didn’t want to do doesn’t seem to be supported by facts. That being said, it isn’t realistic to sugarcoat the past and act so shocked that this happened. As far as I can tell, there was a tremendous amount of political and public support for internment.

    1. That’s my impression from reading stuff dating from that time.

      Mind you, I think FDR prevented somebody worse from coming into power in the US.

      IMO there were plenty of potential assh*les in the US (both more left than him and from the right) that could have used the Great Depression to take power.

      Mind you, I suspect he’d be shocked about the idiocies of the Modern Left.

    2. I think that whole thing is really, really tough to look back at with 20/20 hindsight. Imagine you’re in charge of the nation and German subs are having their way with shipping, the Japanese were having their way in the Pacific, and there was every expectation the Germans would renew themselves in the Spring of 42 and the Soviet Union possibly collapse. Italy was intact, Half of France occupied. People were freaking out and there wasn’t any good news anywhere. When national survival is thought to be at stake, well… I wasn’t in their shoes.

      1. I agree with you there. It’s the giving away of their property to cronies that pushes it to evil. Sending them places that were inhospitable and deadly to some with not the slightest care to their comfort or health. Not even trying to figure out who wasn’t a threat and letting them go as soon as possible so they could get back to their lives. There’s just a lot there that’s corrupt piggybacking on a national tragedy.

    3. I asked my mother, who’s 88 and grew up in California, what she remembers of the time. She was young, but said there was a lot of fear. Many people thought there were Japanese submarines lurking off the coast ready to shell it the moment they got the signal from Japanese spies on shore. The government (especially FDR, who even if you didn’t get the paper you heard on the radio) played upon that fear. How much of that manipulation was cynical political calculation and how much genuine reaction to a perceived threat is impossible to say at this point, but there’s no question political cronies made out like (literal) bandits and that conditions in the camps were needlessly appalling.

      1. The military however confidently knew that the Japanese had no ability to actually operate on the California coast with anything more than the trivial, harmless submarine harassment.

    1. Because it’s too scary to contemplate. And too awesome as well. Please add other hyperbole to this statement.

    2. There had better be at least one scene where First Lady Faye berates someone for being a busybody trying to tell people what they can and can’t eat, and that they should just keep their nose in their own business.

  35. I’m usually just a lurker, enjoying the tiffs between you and insane ideological… misfits.

    Just wanted to let you know that your response to this review was what made me decide to buy Hard Magic, where until now I’ve only read the first three monster hunters.

    Keep fighting. Men always enjoy victory, and reading it here on the blog and in your novels is what draws me to them.

  36. I actually got irrationally excited by the mention of Unit 731 in Hard Magic because germ warfare is one of those things that I compulsively study. And yes, they were vastly worse in real life, even if the Grimnoir portrayal is incredibly creepy.

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