• Category Archives Books
  • Word of the Day: Techniguess

    Was attending Powerpoint briefings all day today, and was presented with your next Word of the Day (misspelling of the plural of “technique”):

    techniguess

    [tek-ne-ges]

    An highly technical opinion presented by a Subject Matter Expert. Ranges in accuracy somewhere between a Wild-Ass Guess (WAG) and a Shitty Wild-Ass Guess (SWAG)
    OTOH, life has been busy, between working on the house, the car, the Zombie truck, the RV, and work in general. Am healthy and reasonably happy. Just can’t wait till after Election Day, to see which way our Country shifts politically.
    And Fool on the Hill is slowly healing after getting triple-bypass surgery.
    Also, Appleseed training was a real blast. Highly recommended. I didn’t do great, what with an unproven rifle and scope. Planning on doing again in the near future. Do it! (Appleseed Info). No, I’m not getting compensation for this…
    Finally, I’m overdue on book reviews, though book reading time has been cut considerably, I hope to take care of that this weekend.

  • Peace in the Kingdom

    Been busy at the hacienda lately, between work at work along with work at home. Vehicles, kitchen, etc. But peace has settled at the hacienda, the Wife is OOT for a week for work. Time for me to get stuff done, like revenge on the cats.

    And peace in the kingdom means time to read. I just got and consumed OldNFO’s science fiction short story Rimworld:Stranded. Short but fun read! For those involved in the military or police, it’s the folks behind the scenes that keep things working for those on the pointy end of the spear. Rarely celebrated, often maligned. And usually kept at a great distance from polite company. Jim’s main character is just such an individual: making poor decisions left and right, but because of his make-do skills and the tools he’s trained and familiar with, becomes a hero. The hero is not a bumbling idiot or made to be a comedic centerpiece, but is just like the low-rank folks that maintain the aircraft, weapons, and ship’s systems in any military. Kind of like Bill the Galactic Hero, but not meant as comedy. And a nice interlude from Jim’s already popular Grey Man series. MOAR!

    Now to read some new books by Peter Grant...


  • Tennessee State Weapon

    Must laugh. I grew up in Middle Tennessee and love the area. Very cosmopolitan, lots of things to do there. Great schools, museums, lots of history, beautiful scenery, and fantastic growth potential. Several auto manufacturers have moved into the state in the last 20 years, Dell Computer is now there, and Beretta is moving to the state.

    But one weapons company has them beat: Barrett. Barrett started in Murfreesboro, just a few miles outside of Nashville. Been there years, started with their .50 BMG rifle and progressed from there. Now reviled by leftists and the Media (yeah, I know, one and the same). I’ve shot one round from one at one of Lagniappe’s Lair‘s blogshoots, and it was a “blast”. Huge weapon, not something someone would easily carry around. Also, one can see an early Barrett M82 in the original Robocop movie, dolled up as the Cobra Assault Cannon. In 1987. That’s at least how long the .50 has been around.

    So now, the Washington Post/Bird Cage Paper is breathless and beside itself now that the Barrett .50 is now the Official State Rifle. Found the note on Instapundit who linked to the paywalled WPO story. Congrats to the State of Tennessee for poking the eye of the anti-gun crowd!!!

    Also from Glenn’s post, the WPo notes that “it can destroy an airplane”. As Glenn notes, just about any rifle can do it when hitting the right location. But of more fun, LL of Virtual Mirage, in his book Bloody Mexico: A Novel of Cartel Wars (reviewed here), LL posits doing just so: Taking down an airliner with a .50. Who’da thunk it? Prescient or prior planning… I don’t want to know the answer to that.


  • Book Review (s): Tales of the Minivandians and Via Serica

    Just finished yet another book while in recovery. I have to admit, I met the author, Tom Rogneby, in Nashville earlier this year at the NRA Annual Meeting, and had a great time visiting with him. Seeing him walk around the show floor and to dinner afterwards with a plastic Roman spatha slung over his shoulder was a real hoot.

    Several weeks ago I finished his first book, Tales of the Minivandians. This book, Tom’s first, was a good read, very fun, and an interesting contrast between his modern life and times, and how they translate to a more Medieval time. I really enjoyed trying to decipher the names and places that Tom referenced, and comparing that info with his blog. At the same time, the book was a good treatise on the importance of family, honor, and duty.

    Tom’s second book is a much more majestic effort. Starting in the Roman era, it meanders to Egypt and thence towards the Arabian peninsula. The book brings realistic life into some mysticism of that era, which makes for a good read. There is a broad variety of characters, from the (very real) daughter of Caesar Augustus, to the main characters, a Roman senator, the leader of a Roman legion of Thracian cavalry, and the slaves that support the characters. All are very well developed and interact on many levels equally well.

    So good, I’d have to say that this book very nearly equals the works of David Drake and Eric Flint in their Belisarius Series of stories: the build of the characters, the period of time, the detailed settings, the same esprit de corps, bravery, honor. But not a copy, an entirely different premise and point of view.

    Hat’s off to Tom for a very well written story, and I’m anxious to see how the tale progresses!


  • Book Review: The Grey Man – Changes

    I realize that in giving a full post to the this review I’m not giving due diligence to Marty Wilsey and his first book, Still Falling, posted here. Marty’s book is an excellent read, especially for hard sci-fi fans (hard=technical, soft=mushy, sparkly vampires).

    So…

    Just finished reading the third book in Jim Curtis’ series about the Grey Man. Amazon.com has the book in both dead-tree and Kindle, and the summary covers the story very well, so no spoilers here.

    The book is a great read. Very few books bring me both tears and laughter, usually it’s one or another. One big trend through all three of his books is the sense of community, mutual support and recognition between the characters (I may cover this in a non-Book post later). Jim shows that he’s got huge insight into a number of DoD, Intel, and LE communities through the series, and the sense of “family” strengthens the stories and the characters. Readers from any of these communities will enjoy the interrelationships that develop and grow. The characters get better and better all of the time, so now there’s a small universe of organizations and people involved. And payback can be a real b!tch…

    Which leads me to something that OldNFO himself blogged about recently: Where to go with the series? My thoughts: do like Larry Corriea did for the Monster Hunter series and Orson Scott Card with Ender’s Game – break out secondary characters in detail with separate, intense stories that build upon the whole universe. Duck looks like a good candidate for that, Billy would be even better. Or focus on one of Cronin’s back-stories that are always popping up in his training sessions with INTERPOL and the FBI.

    All in all, a very good read with lots of research and fun. Get all three and get to reading!


  • Book Bash

    So, The Miller, a.k.a. Martin C. Wilsey, had a book signing yesterday! His first novel, Still Falling, has been a hit in the hard sci-fi community. Now at #210 on Kindle and #316 in dead tree version, Still Falling is a fast, entertaining, and technically challenging read. As his first novel, it’s a fantastic effort. Even better, this is the first of three of this series, one more this year, one next year. Can’t wait.

    But back to the book signing! Prospero’s Books in Manassas, VA, hosted Martin’s signing. Four hours on the sidewalk in front of the business. Weather was nice, and the store front was well shaded. Jay G. was there the whole time, I was only 30 minutes late for the opening. Several other bloggers made it to the signing (someone help me out with links and names please!), along with a bunch of Martin’s family members. Everyone had a great time visiting with each other, ogling cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians. And the author made a number of sales! Not just Still Falling, but also Uncommon Threads, a collection of short stores, that includes Martin’s contribution “Doctor Clark Loves Pizza”.

    A good time was had by all, especially the subject (not object) of our story:

    The Miller's Book Signing


  • Stardate 050720152117

    The RV from Heck has now made a successful journey with no repairs or interventions required. Wife and I spent a nice four-day weekend in north central Pennsylvania, great KOA campground there. I’d done a lot of prep on the RV, so I was very happy that it performed so well. I even gave it a bath with the power washer when we got home. There’s still stuff that needs help, like some canopies that need replacing, but nothing major at this point. Hooray!

    Weather was humid, and rained nearly all day of the Fourth, so we spent more time inside than outside. Which meant that I could spend more time relaxing, catching up on my reading.

    Finished re-reading Monster Hunter International by Larry Corriea. I’ve read the whole series, his Hard Magic series, and several other of his works. I read quickly but have to re-read to cach many of the nuances that I miss the first pass. So it was fun to see just how warped Larry’s writing really is. Highly recommended all of his books.

    Read a good sci-fi story by a new aspiring author, Martin Wilsey: Still Falling. A fun read, starts in the middle of the action, neat blend of ancient and futuristic technologies and politics. Even better, there’s two more books scheduled, one later this year, the third next year. Can’t wait. Even better, the author is having a book signing this weekend in Manassas, VA: Martin Wisley’s book signing. I’ve already made a deal with the Wife: I get to visit the author while she shops at the local stores.

    Two things have been bothering me the last few days. I know and see how news is slanted and distorted. But I’ve been seeing an egregious example this last week and want to point it out. There’s been an increasing amount of fighting in “North Sinai”, where ISIS/ISIL/IS and the Muslim Brotherhood have been taking on the Egyptian military. I just love how the news reporters use “North Sinai” and the specific cities that are being attacked. Of  interest is the recent attack on several police stations in “North Sinai” that killed 17 soldiers and 100 militants. The thing that ISN’T noted is the proximity of “North Sinai” to the Gaza Strip. As a matter of fact, all of the attacks have occurred within a five mile distance of the Rafah crossing into Gaza. While every liberal worth their salt readily condemn Israel for their control of the checkpoints into the Gaza Strip, none seem to raise an eyebrow or pencil about Egypt’s entry points into the Strip. Egypt is much more controlling of their entry points, making life much harder for those intent on smuggling bad things into Gaza. Kudos to the Egyptians for keeping HAMAS under control from their end, and I’m sorry to see that their military, which has a history of working with the US, has suffered this tragedy. Just remember, an open uncontrolled border into Gaza is a major threat to Israeli security. Just wait till the Palestinians get a State of their own and start bombing Israel. That’ll be interesting…

    Second thing that bugs me is the sudden public shunning of the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia. Media blame goes to the recent church shooting in South Carolina by a deranged “yout”. But not mentioned is that the perp also burned a US flag, and was known to wear the flags of several “less sociable” nations. Just because the Battle Flag was portrayed publicly, the Flag was thrown under the bus, in hopes that its image would assuage somebodies guilt complex. Not like that’ll really happen. Uglier is that even more racial and political memorabilia can still be purchase: Che shirts, tons of stuff with the Nazi logo (note, the swastika has a history that long predates it’s use by the Third Reich), who knows what else that inspires true racial and political motives. Dumb move. Even NASCAR has jumped the shark, asking fans to remove the flag during their events. Not like NASCAR needs even more negative publicity.

    Here’s hoping that this week gets better…