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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Massad Ayoob


Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I’m one of those people who could probably complete his entire Christmas gift buying in a single well-stocked bookstore, and with That Time of Year coming up, expect to see more book reviews in this space. A gun person who likes science fiction – or, heck, anyone who likes science fiction – will enjoy “Monster Hunter International” and its new sequel, “Monster Hunter Vendetta.” The protagonist is young Owen Zastava Pitt.  Like many of us, Owen once had a werewolf for a boss. Unfortunately, his was the kind that got all furry. He tried to kill Owen; Owen killed him in self-defense; and, in an alternate world where bogeymen exist but the Government keeps it quiet, Owen is thus recruited into Monster Hunter International.

The author, Larry Correia, is One of Us. He’s a firearms industry professional, a former prime mover at the wonderfully named Fuzzy Bunny gun shop. He’s an avid three-gun action shooting competitor, and the hero he created wields cool guns like custom STI .45s and a Saiga 12-gauge shotgun with a full auto selector switch and mounting a grenade launcher for good measure. Known for his sense of humor both in the industry and on the ‘net – MHI was first glimpsed at, a very cool Internet gun forum –  Correia brings all these elements of his life to his fiction.

In “Vendetta,” for example, the Hunters encounter a giant green troll … which turns out to make its living as an Internet spammer.  Attempting escape, the troll head-butts a Hunter. “Ha ha! You got pwned, bitches,” it screeches as it hops away. “Witness my perfection, Newbs!”

Yes, I admit it, I laughed out loud.

The plotting is excellent, and Correia makes you care about the characters. I’m not a frequent sci-fi reader, but I read both books without putting them down except for work. Word is that the latest Correia volume has made it to the New York Times bestseller list.  Now, whatever you may think of the NYT, Correia and Stephen Hunter are the only Gun People since Robert Ruark half a century ago to make it big in mainstream bookstore fare. One reason is, quite simply, that their stuff is good.

But it would also be nice for all of us to buy these books to keep Our Own Kind in the public eye and on the bestseller list…and, yes, self-defense is obviously a value much celebrated in Correia’s works, as in Hunter’s.  I bought the first one from Amazon and the second a week ago in Borders.  So, whaddaya waitin’ for? Go out and buy some … for yourselves, and for stocking stuffers.

And of course, feel free to make other gift book suggestions here in the Comments section.

Monster Hunter Vendetta

37 Responses to “MONSTER HUNTERS”

  1. Tom Says:

    I bought both last week at a local Barnes and Noble. Finished one and halfway through the second. Looking forward to #3 down the road.

  2. Timothy Covington Says:

    I can recommend any of Michael Williamson’s books. He is yet another firearms enthusiast who has turned into an author.

  3. Brian Heyer Says:

    Excellent recommendation. I read some of the MHI online, and I’ve already put it on the Christmas wish list.

    World War Z by Max Brooks is also on the list. Dystopian sy-fi? Yes. But it has enough historical shadows to maintain intrigue.

  4. Marc-Wi Says:

    I some times stop at Barnes & Noble but I really like to buy from the local mom and pop places, espiecally during these times.

  5. Mitch Gurowitz Says:

    I agree Mas, Larry writes great books that are really fun to read, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the new Monster Hunter. It is also a great deal of fun to come to a point in a book where a gun reference is being made and it “actually makes sense” who would have ever known it was possible. (especially in a genre book).

    I recommend these to every shooter, even if the genre doesn’t initially appear to you, it is a very enjoyable read.

  6. Miguel Says:

    Here is a most effusive ditto for both books. I am not into SiciFi or imaginary Monsters, but Larry’s books are just too much fun not to read. The guns are real, their usage is also real (no snubbies bringing down 747s) and that makes you wonder if what comes out of Larry’s mind might be real after all.

  7. Rick Says:

    and don’t forget to visit Larry’s blog and web store and order a MHI patch for your shooting vest or jacket.

  8. Bruce W. Krafft Says:

    Also in SF is David Weber (who, my wife loves to tell people, talked me under the table, and about *guns*). Definitely a gunnie, and his (in-progress) Honor Harrington and Armageddon Reef series are excellent, both obviously written by someone who is knowlegeable in both strategy and tactics. One has fighting spaceships, the other fighting wet-navies.

  9. Guy Wheelock Says:

    Also try John Ringo’s “Ghost” series (“Ghost”, “Kildar”,
    “Choosers of the Slain”, “Unto the Breech” & “A Deeper Blue”)

    Lots of heavy gun action.
    Take a look at – many of the authors are into military SF.

  10. Long Island Mike Says:

    “in an alternate world where bogeymen exist but the Government keeps it quiet..”

    alternate world? I think NOT Mr. Ayoob….I KNOW that bogeymen exist ! I hunted them as a small child, and NOT once were my adventures covered by local TV reporters ! Who do YOU think suppressed this information? The government of course !

  11. Renwick Says:

    I’m sure this is well on the radar, but C.J. Chivers “The Gun”, about the ak47 is interesting read. Tidbits like the English inventor who wanted to make a musket to fire two types of bullets, round ones for attacking Christians, and square ones for use against Muslims.

  12. Massad Ayoob also hunts monsters « Monster Hunter Nation Says:

    […] […]

  13. hecate Says:

    I have both of Larry’s books in dead-tree and ebook formats. Each time I reread them, I pick out neat new details.

    James Tarr’s “Failure Drill” is also full of win. Mr. Tarr is a master-level 3-gun shooter with law enforcement background.

  14. pax Says:

    Great review, Mas. You know I’m an unabashed Larry Correia fan too! 🙂

  15. perlhaqr Says:

    Of course… Pitt *still* has a werewolf for a boss.

  16. bimbeck Says:

    great books, and as its baen (love em to bits)
    you can read a few chapters to see if you like it

    Monster Hunter Vendetta

    Monster Hunter International

    the honor harrington series is a great read
    you can read quite a few of the baen books for free
    then theres the baen cds
    (filled with books that you can download legitimately)
    (freebies… to you get hooked lol)

    lots of the honor harrington books are in the cds
    so are the ghost series
    plenty of other military sci fi type stuff aswell

    hmm posted a bit of an essay to a website ive never been to
    lol im a baen fanboy

  17. Eric Says:

    Larry’s got another book coming out next year that has some pretty sweet guns in it: The Grimnoir Chronicles.

  18. Diamondback from EOTAC/THR Says:

    Even if only via the Net or once removed, I gotta say Mas and Larry are just about the only contacts I have online that I consider “friends”. Some of the guys over at Larry’s blog are already trying to pitch a scene with Mas adjunct lecturing on “Administration of Justice to Monsters”…

    Speaking of MHI: Hey Mas, what do you think about a de-NFA’ed version of Abomination for home-defense?

  19. Randolph Ray Says:

    Although out of print many years, If you can find: LINE OF FIRE by Donald Hamilton you won’t be disappointed. The protagonist becomes involved with a mob boss after they met on a disastrous hunt for Russian Boar. The hero becomes part owner of a gun shop and is asked by the mob boss to put together a fake plan to assassinate the states governor. This was to throw off the media’s attention of ties between the mob boss and the governor.

    The hero takes on the job as a ballistics problem. At the moment the hero sends a bullet downrange about a foot over the governor’s head, the governor gestures with his hands by throwing them up in the air and he catches the bullet.(The governor was in on the plan.) Cross and double cross occurs and our hero has to save an innocent bystander. I first read this as a teen and wore out my copy.The references to the firearms used and even the load he had worked up really wet my appetite.

    P.S. Donald Hamilton died several years ago and yes he was the creator of the Matt Helm series. Don’t be put off by the crummy movies with Dean Martin

  20. Mas Says:

    Thanks for all the good leads, folks! Keep ’em comin’.

    perlhaqr: Pitt’s current boss seems to be something between a “recovering werewolf” and a “functioning werewolf”…he can’t exactly “quit any time he wants,” but he manages to “keep it under control.”

    bimbeck: Particular thanks for the “baen” links!

    Diamondback: The impact on the jury of you shooting the home-invading monster with a gun called “Abomination” may be softened somewhat if you leave the sales tag from “Fuzzy Bunny Gun Shop” hanging from the trigger guard when it goes into evidence…

    best to all,

  21. James Robertson Says:

    For some good solid sci-fi, Mas, I think you would also enjoy the works of David Drake, especially his Hammer’s Slammers series (which is incredibly gritty, and which he wrote in part to help himself deal with his experiences in the Black Horse in Vietnam), and his more recent RCN Series (think Horatio Hornblower + Don Juan in the future…. and written WELL). VERY enjoyable series both, and for very different reasons.

    And David Weber with his Honor Harrington series and Safehold series is definitely worth reading too. A genuinely good craftsman.

  22. Eric T Says:

    I’ll DISagree with the ‘Ghost’ series recommendation above – but most of the rest of Ringo’s stuff is enjoyable. His new series, ‘Troy Rising’ (first novel ‘Live Free Or Die’ out now, next one ‘Citadel’ sceduled for release in January), is IMO much more fun than the ‘Ghost’ series, and his mainline Posleen-War books in the ‘Legacy of the Aldenata’ series are similarly good. His ‘Prince Roger’ series (aka the ‘March’ books), co-written with David Weber, was better – but then, I like Weber even more than Ringo. I’ll read anything by Weber, and haven’t regretted any of it so far. Both of them have written Bolo stories (based on Keith Laumer’s AI tanks) which are quite good – ‘Old Soldiers’ is one of Weber’s entries there, and Ringo’s is (IIRC) ‘Road To Damascus’. I’m a HUGE fan of Weber’s Honor Harrington series, both mainline Honor books and the spinoff ‘Saganami’ series (‘The Shadow of Saganami’ and ‘Storm From The Shadows’, as well as the Dahak books, The War God fantasy series, and the Safehold books – but NONE of his work is bad.

    Eric Flint’s ‘1632’ universe (several books plus multiple anthologies by various authors), which is set in and around a West Virginian coal-mining town somehow transported to Europe in 1632, in the middle of the Thirty Years’ War, is quite interesting.

    John Scalzi’s ‘Old Man’s War’ was excellent, if not quite so explicitly-pro-RKBA – I’ve not yet read the sequels, IIRC there are at least 2.

    Oh, and I own both ‘Monster Hunter’ books in ebook, have a signed independently-published version of MHI (and a patch, somewhere), and intend to get the Baen editions of both books soon. Good stuff, no question.

    I grinned hard over the notion of a home-defense version of Abomination with a Fuzzy Bunny Gun Shop tag hanging off of it. The grenade launcher and spring-loaded bayonet would be a tough sell to the jury, though…

  23. Phil Wong Says:

    Ditto the recommendations for Correia, Weber, Williamson, Ringo et al. Other Baen authors I would recommend(but have not yet seen mentioned) include Eric Flint and Tom Kratman, although Kratman’s writing is so heavily influenced by his personal political views that at times his stuff borders on polemical.

    Worth seeking out at used-book stores are the three books written by Marcus Wynne, former Federal Air Marshal and friend of Dave Spaulding: “No Other Option,” “Warrior in the Shadows,” and “Brothers in Arms.”

    Also worth seeking out is anything written by Steve Perry(the sci-fi author, NOT the lead singer of Journey).

    A modern classic of gun-centric sci-fi is Harry Turtledove’s “Guns of the South,” wherein the Civil War is turned topsy-turvy by the introduction of the AK-47 to the Confederate forces.

    Finally, with Halloween coming up, I would particularly recommend Jonathan Maberry’s “Patient Zero” – Maberry is an 8th-degree jiu-jitsu black belt and published martial-arts author, but he obviously has either good experience or good advisors with gun info. If you want to mess with your head REAL good, read “Patient Zero” alone in a darkened house on Halloween – it’s a gripping, thrillingly-creepy melange of “X-Files,” “The Unit,” two sets of James Bond-ian supervillians, and Al-Qaeda zombies.

  24. Doc Barber Says:

    Baen Rocks! Huge fan of Correia, Ringo, Weber, Williamson, and not mentioned yet- Tom Kratman. Most of their collaborations are the only things better than what they can individually churn out from their blessedly violent minds.

  25. Mopar Says:

    Matt Bracken and “Enemies” series. Matt is also “one of us” like Larry is, but the monsters in his books live right here in our own universe. If you go to his website you can read lairly long exerpts from the books. More then enough to get you hooked into buying them!

    Hey, I LOVE the idea about Mas having a cameo instructing newbies in a MH book.

  26. Wade Voltz Says:

    For a great series of books I cannot recommend Andrew Vachss highly enough. Not only a writer he is also a lawyer who concentrates on abused children and putting the monsters who harm them in jail. He is also very active in dog rescue, particularly Neapolitan Mastiffs.

    His Burke series have a dark hero who like Vachss himself has a real problem with child molesters. Imagine Travis Mcgee growing up in the seedier sides of NY. Vachss’s version of Batman is a great stand alone book as well. I will warn you however, if you read one you will end up wanting to reading them all.

  27. Tom Stone Says:

    I ended up buying five copies of MHI, I would loan them out and they would keep going…I need to pick up a sixth copy. The good news on MHV is that I bought 2 copies immediately and am keeping one in the safe,the other is back fro the first person I loaned it to and on the way to the second today. Thanks for the Tarr recommendation,I have read the others…

  28. Pirate Bob Says:

    Been a Mas fan since buying and digesting Gravest Extreme, Stressfire, and Truth About Self Protection.
    Been a Correia fan since meeting him shooting in the desert.
    Larry’s true greatness lies ahead when Hollywood discovers him and finally puts to rest the “sparkly vampire” nonsense.
    +1 to anticipating the May 2011 release of The Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic.

  29. James Robertson Says:

    Eric, looks like both of us are fans of Weber. I really do like the guy’s writing quite a bit and appreciate how he keeps it clean without being a prude.

    I also read Turtledove and something I’ve noticed in EVERY one of his novels is that he’ll have at least one or two explicitly described sex scenes. I like his alternate history storytelling, but I really could do without the sprinkling of x-rated scenes. Weber proves you can still have the same events happen but keep the description tasteful or simply implied and not lose any of the impact.

  30. j dale Says:

    Go over the Larry’s blog and search for ‘The Christmas Noun’. Might not want to eat or drink while reading… your computer will thank you.
    Enjoy! 🙂

  31. Marc-Wi Says:

    Long Island Mike- The government is the boogyman!

  32. Will Cushman Says:

    If only the Monster Hunter books were epublished for the Kindle!
    With very few exceptions, I only buy books that are available for the Kindle book reader. I’ve been reading the Stephen Hunter series about the sniper Bob Lee Swagger and his father. He has recently written for the American Rifleman, too.

  33. Thomas Says:

    WillCushman, they ARE epublished in Kindle format, and just about every other ebook format, all for one low price of $6 per book without any nasty DRM!

    Baen has doing DRM-free ebooks of every book they put out since December 1999 via for very reasonable prices.

    You can find Larry’s books at


  34. Amber J Eidson Says:

    Monster Hunter International and any other ebooks published by Baen can be read on Kindle after finding Baen’s free library I started buying their ebooks at

    They have the options to read online, email to Kindle and download zipped or unzipped files in:
    EBookWise/REB1100/Rocket Format, Mobi/Palm/Kindle Format, EPUB/Nook/Stanza Reader Format, Microsoft Reader Format, Sony Digital Reader Format, RTF Format

    Really enjoyed MHI and thank you for the excellent review.

  35. rpm64 Says:

    I always learn something when I read your stuff. I’ll be looking for the recommended books and checking out the body language website.
    Thanks for all that you do.

  36. Monster Hunter Says:

    Can’t wait to see this in the uk Whats the chance mh will be out before christmas here?

  37. Steve Says:

    The wife loved both books, I just got started, but I am already enjoying the first book.

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