Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monster Hunters International

I'm not particularly interested in some literary genres except to mock them. After reading one such example I was tempted to write a story wherein a bunch of good ole boys from the Nazarene Church link up with a gang that cooks Meth and a Vietnam vet with a metal plate in his head to light into cthulhu with guns, lots of guns. I planned to end the story with someone asking if cthulhu tastes like chicken. (No, more like lobster.)

Trouble is that Larry Correia beat me to it. He didn't write this story, he wrote a much better one.


This weekend I picked up Monster Hunters International (MHI) and I had a ball. The author, Larry Correia, is a certified gun nut. He knows his AK-47 from his M1911 (wish I did). The premise of MHI is that werewolves and vampires and all the rest are kept secret by the government and various companies like MHI go fight evil on commission.

I never got into the creepy H.P. Lovecraft thing, either. Particularly, where the protagonists of these tales are powerless in the face of Ancient Evil. The pattern of such supernatural stories was boringly similar: bad guy is unfazed anything else except some gimmick--a silver cross or a wolfsbane garland or something. Most traditional stories have the protagonist wasting a lot of time figuring out what that gimmick is--then using it in the last reel of the movie.


Mr. Correia breaks this pattern. His evil monsters can be hurt by the gimmicky things, but they are also susceptible to high powered weaponry, explosives, and the physics of a desk pushed out a 15-story window.



Did you notice that I said evil. It's rare these days to read something where the antagonist is actually characterized as evil. (C. S. Lewis wrote about this in The Abolition of Man.) And it's rare nowadays to read where a religious character isn't canon fodder (if he's a fool) or the antagonist (if he's not). Mr. Correia violates both contemporary shibboleths. (Two of the protagonist's friends are a Las Vegas stripper turned hunter named Holly and a Baptist named Trip who's still a virgin. I just know those two will be hooking up.)

MHI is delightfully un-PC. At one point the hero channels Reagan cabinet member James Watt's most infamous line. But in a good way. The Government in this novel never shows up until it's too late, never acts sympathetically, and never intentionally does the right thing. In this novel, the Gipper's words ring loud "Government isn't the solution. It's the problem." That said, this is a ripping good yarn, not a political tract.

This book reads like military SF. I was often reminded of Into the Looking Glass and the rest of the Looking Glass series by John Ringo, and Travis S. Taylor. In fact, all you'd have to do is switch around the details a bit, and the Looking Glass enemy is a lot like the Elder Gods evil here. And I think that's on purpose.

Is MHI an awesome novel? Yes.

Could it be more awesome? It would take a nuclear zeppelin bristling with Gatling guns.

But that's another story.

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