Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monster Hunter International

A while back, I did a sort-of preview post for a novel called Monster Hunter International, written by a gentleman named Larry Correia. At that time, Baen Books, had released the first seven chapters of the book free online. I liked what I read back then, and was eagerly anticipating the book's full release. Well, it hit shelves this past weekend, and I purchased a copy on Monday night. Finished it very early (read: 2:00 AM) this morning, and figured I'd write a brief review.

First of all, MHI is something of an action thriller. I am not easily impressed by action thrillers, having read multiple works by authors considered to be tops in that field; Clancy, Hunter, Flynn, Ludlum, and Cussler to name a few, along with countless wannabees whose books barely deserved to be on store shelves

Second, MHI delves deeply into the fantasy-horror genre. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, orcs, elves, that sort of thing. With the exception of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, I'm not that into fantasy. And I extremely dislike the horror genre. That just doesn't float my boat at all. I've no interest in having the crap scared of me at all.

So, in light of all that, I can only come up with one word to describe Monster Hunter International: Excellent.

Actually, Excellent doesn't really cut it. Truth be told, I can't really come up with words to describe what I think about Correia's work, at least not without sounding like a raving, foaming-at-the-mouth fanboy. Which, truth be told, I kind of am.

Correia is, in my opinion, an excellent writer, especially considering that this is the first novel he has ever written. (I think; Larry, if you're reading this and I'm wrong, please let me know. At any rate, it's his first published work.) He does an excellent job at writing the requisite action scenes, but even more so at creating the multitude of unique - and quirky - characters in the book. Each central character, and even most of the secondaries, has a fully fleshed-out background and history; it's obvious that Correia didn't just say "oh, I need a new character for this bit," and whip one up and five minutes like so many other authors - even the big names - are prone to doing.

The story is also excellent, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and surprised throughout the entire 710 pages. Granted, there are a handful cliches and worn plot devices (none of which I will mention lest I ruin the plot), but those are few, far-between, and forgivable considering the otherwise-unpredictable nature of the plot. It is also a highly-engaging plot. Actually, maddeningly addictive might be a better description; I had to physically force myself to put the book down during the wee hours of the morning so that I could get a few hours of sleep before picking it up again.

Oh, and I before I forget, MHI is funny! Again, can't really give specifics lest I ruin it for you, but suffice to say that Correia's dry, deadpan wit had me almost fall out off my chair at more than a few points.

In summary, I can say with certainty that Larry Correia's Monster Hunter Intentional is without a doubt the best book I have read this year. You can find it on both and at Barnes & Noble's website, as well as at your local bookstore. However, I recommend buying online, as many stores are selling out of copies as soon as they order them. (no lie: the clerk at the B&N where I bought mine had to dig through the storage room to find a copy!) Also, I recommend buying a second copy to loan to your friends, as they won't want to give it back!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to start re-reading my copy. Yes, I know I just finished reading it the first time: it is just that damn good.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HOLY $#!^ !!!!!

Train vs. Tornado. Guess who wins?

Friday, July 17, 2009

MC Vader

Courtesy of Today's Big Thing. Actually, it's Yesterday's Big Thing, but whatever.

Dunno if I'm ever gonna be able to watch Star Wars again and keep a straight face.

Thanks to nerdjedi for showing me the video.

Out With The Old, In With The New. Sorta.

You know my novel I'm writing that I'm always blabbing on here, Save Grace? Well, it's being put on hold. Truth be told, I'd become too emotionally invested in the characters, and as a result was taking the story in a direction that I really didn't like. So I'm suspending work on it for a while. Still plan to have it done before I graduate, but that's a ways away, so I don't worry.

In the meantime, I've started work on a new story, called Ten Millimeter. It's based on the series of oneshots I wrote a few years back for The Hitman Chronicles. I don't have any serious plans to have this published, so I'm posting it up on WeTheArmed. The first two "installments" (for lack of a better word) are already up: you can read them here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

233 years ago today, the 56 members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, formally signifying our secession from the British Empire. These 56 men did not see themselves as extraordinary, nor did they expect to be hailed for their actions. They were ordinary men; farmers, businessmen, even smugglers. They were brothers, husbands, fathers. Men just like you and me. Yet they knew their action would be considered high treason, and that should their efforts fail, they would most likely be executed for their crimes. And yet they believed so strongly in the idea of a free nation, that they were willing to risk death to preserve that idea.

Those men are long gone, but their spirits live on. They live on in the hearts of the thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and are serving in our armed forces. These are not heroes, nor do they consider themselves to be heroes. They are ordinary men and women, from all walks of life. They are farmers, mechanics, office workers, salesmen, students. They are husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers. They do not see themselves as heroes. But they believe so strongly in what our great nation stands for that they are ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure that you and I remain a free people.

All Gave Some, but Some Gave All.

Never forget their sacrifice.

To all active and veteran military personnel, than you for your service and your sacrifice.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crusader Weaponry

Yeah, I've been ignoring the blog again, I know. Life's been busy, though not crazy, thank God. The programs I signed up to volunteer at at the library started last week, and I'm spending lots of time practicing German for when the tutor comes. And when I'm not doing that, I'm either reading one of the 2-dozen or so books that I bought at a used book sale last month or else working on writing my own.

So, yeah, I know that not many of you are into guns, but I figured I'd put the word out about this anyway.

I'm a member of this internet forum called WeTheArmed.Com. For the past few months, a couple of the guys over there have been working to start up a company called Crusader Arms (now Crusader Weaponry) to produce high-end AR-15 rifles. Well, their efforts are now coming to fruition. They're still not able to sell completed weapons (.gov is being a PITA, apparently), but they are going to be selling upper recievers very soon. They've got 4 different models, which are going to be retailing from $800* (base model) to $1600* (top-of-the-line models). They'll initually only be offering rifles in 5.56mm/.223 Remington, but plan on introducing models in 6.8mm SPC and 7.62mm/.308 Winchester (and possibly 6.5mm Grendell) down the road.

Knowing what I do about guns, Crusader Weaponry is using some of the best components in the industry in their rifles, and for the prices they're asking, it looks to be a real bargin. If you're in the market for an AR (or any type of EBR for that matter), look these guys up. Their website isn't up yet, but you can find updates at Crusader News,, and/or WeTheArmed.Com.

*UPDATE* Scratch that. The website is up. It's still a Work In Progress, though. Here's the link.

Guys from Crusader, if you're reading this, once I get back from Europe and find my own apartment, I'll almost certainly be getting a Partisan of my own.

*Note: Prices are for Uppers only. Complete rifles will be more expensive.