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 TheHighRoad.org, 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.