Review: Monster Hunter Files

If you don’t know Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series, this would be a place to start.Monster Hunter Files is an anthology written (mostly) by the best fantasy authors in the business

“Thistle” by Larry Correia
Owen and his team take on a new kind of monster in Arizona — It starts as your average, straightforward, monster-killing story. Then Larry does a twist at the end of this one that makes Rod Serling proud. I didn’t see it coming, but I should have.  5/5

“Small Problems” by Jim Butcher
MHI’s new janitor has to deal with some small problems — It’s Jim Butcher. Do I have to say this one was awesome?  It’s like he hasn’t recovered from all of his Roman legion research from Codex Alera … while watching The Secret of NIMH.  6/5

“Darkness Under The Mountain” by Mike Kupari
Cooper takes a freelance job in Afghanistan– The Chinese have dug too greedily and too deep… and that’s a line in the story. It’s almost a Monster Hunter procedural novel, with a soupcon of MCB BS.  4/5

“A Knight Of The Enchanted Forest” by Jessica Day George
(Trailer park elves versus gnomes TURF WAR!)– A straight up comedy from the first page, with the redneck elves, meets hippies.  4/5

“The Manticore Sanction” by John C. Wright
(Cold War era British espionage with monsters) — This one was dark. Very British. Also very Universal monster movie… the black and white version, not the new crap with Tom Cruise. This one was … surprisingly powerful. It left a mark.  6/5.

“The Dead Yard” by Maurice Broaddus
Trip goes to Jamaica on some family business— It was okay. It needed more meat to it. It was awkwardly paced, and over suddenly. I think it needed more room to work. 3/5

“The Bride” by Brad R. Torgersen
Franks wasn’t the only thing Benjamin Franklin cut deals with– BWAHAHAHAHAHAAH.  This one was awesome.  Brad writes Ben Franklin perfectly. I can hear the actor from 1776 when I read the story. Also, Franklin’s a badass. Though this one pissed me off … I wanted it to run another ten pages. Dear Larry: Can Brad write the novel on the Revolutionary War history of monster hunting? Please? 5/5

“She Bitch, Killer of Kits” (a Skinwalker Crossover Tale) by Faith Hunter
Jane Yellowrock teams up with MHI — This was okay. I honestly think that the author is more interesting than the story she wrote. Which is odd, because the inverse is usually the case. It just didn’t grab me. 3/5.

“Mr. Natural” by Jody Lynn Nye
an STFU mission in the 70s has to deal with plant monsters and hippies! — Hilarious. Fun as heck.  I deduct half a point for the bunny ex machina ending…. you’ll see. 4.5/5

“Sons Of The Father” by Quincy J. Allen
Two young brothers discover monsters are real, and kill a mess of them — Quincy is apparently a newb author, but I couldn’t tell from the story. It was very Supernatural, if they focused more on being badass than angst.  4/5

“The Troll Factory” by Alex Shvartsman
Heather gets some help from MHI for an STFU mission into Russia — Yeah, this was fun. A post-Siege story. It has a nice setup of a newbie hunter, and it has an awesome, awesome punchline. 5/5

“Keep Kaiju Weird” by Kim May 
A Kitsune may have already earned her PUFF exemption, but she’s not going to let some monster squish Portland — I really enjoyed this one. I was having flashbacks to the better episodes of Grimm, though. Heh. 5/5

“The Gift” by Steve Diamond
Two of the Vatican’s Hunters from the Blessed Order of Saint Hubert the Protector on a mission in Mexico — I wanted to like this one more. It felt like someone condensed a novel with a lot of backgroundinformation left out. Perhaps this would work betters as the first five chapters of a full novel.  4/5 stars… maybe 3.

“The Case of the Ghastly Specter” by John Ringo
while studying at Oxford, Chad takes a case — Was Ringo watching old Sherlock Holmes movies? There were moments when Chad sounds like Basil Rathbone. I might like this one better in the full novel of Sinners, as downtime in an action packed novel. But here, in this anthology, it just feels like the slow bit. The difference is jarring. It’s still good, so I mark it a 4/5

“Huffman Strikes Back” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie Frost
Owen’s vacation gets interrupted for some monster revenge– This was part comedy, park action scene. Either way, it was awesome. 5/5

“Hitler’s Dog” by Jonathan Maberry
(It is WW2 and Agent Franks really hates Nazis)– Do I even have to make comments? It’s Franks versus Nazis. But I think it needed a little more fleshing out. 4/5

 “Hunter Born” by Sarah A. Hoyt 
Julie didn’t get to go to her prom because of monster problems — This is narrated by a 16-year-old Jule Shackleford …. who sounds more like she’s 12 here. Maybe younger. Mercifully, this one is short, but poorly written. You can say “It’s narrated by a teenager” all you like, but so was Knight of the Enchanted Forest. Things that should be funny, aren’t. (Julie writes a summer vacation essay about killing vampires … how was this not funny?). The best lines in this story were, I’m certain, cribbed from novels by Larry. Poorly written. Amateurish narration. Heck, this has substandard prose compared to other short stories BY THE SAME AUTHOR. (Compare this to any of her Chicks in Chainmail shorts.) It’s even poorly placed in the anthology, coming near the end of the book, but it opens with exposition about MHI… in a book fully dedicated to MHI. It was so bare-bones basic, I saw what was coming a mile away. It is the Scalzi of this collection. 2/5

16 great stories, at a little over a dollar a story. You can’t beat this deal.

Signal Boost: Monster Hunter Files

Monster Hunter Files

For well over a century, Monster Hunter International has kept the world safe from supernatural threats small and large—and in some cases very, very large. Now, join us as MHI opens their archives for the first time. From experienced Hunters on their toughest cases, to total newbies’ initial encounters with the supernatural, The Monster Hunter Files reveals the secret history of the world’s most elite monster fighting force.

Discover what happened when Agent Franks took on the Nazis in World War Two. Uncover how the Vatican’s Combat Exorcists deal with Old Ones in Mexico. And find out exactly what takes place in a turf war between trailer park elves and gnomes. From the most powerful of mystical beings to MHI’s humble janitor, see the world of professional monster hunting like never before.

Featuring seventeen all new tales based on Larry Correia’s bestselling series, from New York Times best-selling authors Jim Butcher, John Ringo, Jessica Day George, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, and many more.

Contributors:

Larry Correia
Jim Butcher
Mike Kupari
Jessica Day George
John C. Wright
Maurice Broaddus
Brad R. Torgersen
Faith Hunter
Jody Lynn Nye
Quincy J. Allen
Alex Shvartsman
Kim May
Steve Diamond
John Ringo
Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie C. Frost
Sarah A. Hoyt
Jonathan Maberry

At the publisher’s request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

About Larry Correia and the Monster Hunter International series:

“[E]verything I like in fantasy: intense action scenes, evil in horrifying array, good struggling against the darkness, and most of all people—gorgeously flawed human beings faced with horrible moral choices that force them to question and change and grow.”—Jim Butcher

“[A] no-holds-barred all-out page turner that is part science fiction, part horror, and an absolute blast to read.”—Bookreporter.com

“If you love monsters and action, you’ll love this book. If you love guns, you’ll love this book. If you love fantasy, and especially horror fantasy, you’ll love this book.”—Knotclan.com

“A gun person who likes science fiction—or, heck, anyone who likes science fiction—will enjoy [these books] . . . The plotting is excellent, and Correia makes you care about the characters . . . I read both books without putting them down except for work . . . so whaddaya waitin’ for? Go and buy some . . . for yourself and for stocking stuffers.”—Massad Ayoob

“This lighthearted, testosterone-soaked sequel to 2009’s Monster Hunter International will delight fans of action horror with elaborate weaponry, hand-to-hand combat, disgusting monsters, and an endless stream of blood and body parts.”—Publishers Weekly on Monster Hunter Vendetta

About Mission: Tomorrow, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt:
“This themed anthology . . . will appeal to a wide range of readers, who will appreciate the diversity of stories . . . a solid introduction to a classic genre.”—Kirkus

“Editor Schmidt adds grandmasters to a mix of newer established names and balances the tragic with the humorous.”—Publishers Weekly

About Shattered Shields, edited by Jennifer Brozek and Bryan Thomas Schmidt:
“In this well-built anthology, seventeen original stories cut to the heart of military fantasy, diving directly into the most exciting moments of dramatic bravery, grand battles, and life-changing heroism. . . . Readers who prefer to cut straight to the action, but want more depth than pure hack-and-slash, will find these offerings appealing.”—Publishers Weekly

“An inventive and thought-provoking set of tales that capture the bravery and terrors of battle. Carries the banner of military fantasy proudly.”—John Marco, author of The Bronze Knight Series

About The Raygun Chronicles, edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt:
“Fans of sf should enjoy this stylistically varied homage to a genre as old as the fiction . . . ”—Library Journal

See on Amazon

The Catholic Geek: DragonCon 2017 Report

The Catholic Geek: DragonCon Report 09/17 by We Built That Network | Books Podcasts:

Declan Finn (Love at First Bite) reports on the Dragon Awards, and the latest news about Monster Hunter International, Harry Dresden spin-offs, Jim Butcher tales, and some words from the late, great Jerry Pournelle.

amzn.to/2wF41P2

DragonCon 2017: Monster Hunter Files

Focused on the upcoming anthology of stories set in the world of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International! Panelists: Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Faith Hunter, Jonathan Maberry, Jody Lynn Nye.

This is one panel I actually got to see, unlike many of the videos I’ll be posting. However, as I noted before, the video is not mine. How can you tell? It’s got film quality.

One of the authors was a last minute addition, since Kelly Lockhart had not written for this anthology, so Larry acted as moderator, and they slipped in … Quincy? I think that’s his name.
Anyway, if you’re waiting for the next Monster Hunter Book after the Anthology, may I suggest…
amzn.to/2wF41P2

Signal Boost: Larry Correia Book Bomb — The Lawdog Files

From Monster Hunter Nation

 

I’ve known the Lawdog for about twenty years now. He was one of the original alpha readers for my first book because we were both moderators on the same gun forum. Ian is a great guy.

As a small town Texas cop he used to post these funny true life stories, and they were hilarious. Seriously, the guy has a gift. Some of these stories have become internet legend, like the amorous armadillo, the pink gorilla suit, and the shootout with Santa.

After nearly two decades of us bugging him, Lawdog has finally written a book!

It was another mutual friend, Peter Grant’s idea that I write a forward. I was happy to do so, because Lawdog is funny, talented, and has a way with words that can be making you laugh one minute, and punching you in the feels the next. I’m so glad he finally put together a book.

It is only in eBook now, but a physical book is coming later. Also, there is another book planned about his childhood in Africa, and then I’ve heard rumors that he is actually going to try and write some fiction. And that I’ve got to see.

##

The purpose of a BOOK BOMB is to get as many people as possible to buy the same book on the same day. That gets it to go up in the sales rankings on Amazon as much as possible. The higher it gets, the more eyes see it, the more new readers check it out. Success breeds success, and the most important thing is that the author GETS PAID. So please check it out, and if you like it, tell your friends and spread the word.

I use Amazon for this because it has an hourly updating sales rank and half the fun is seeing how high we can make it go, but if you want to buy it from your local store, or Barnes and Noble, or whatever, that’s great because the author still GETS PAID. And the whole point is to get a deserving author with a quality book new fans.

In this case, today is the official release, but word leaked out last week, and people went nuts on this book. It is already a bestseller. Which is great, because Ian is funny as hell, and deserves as many readers as possible. So now we are going to pile on.

Read more to see how the Book Bomb is going…

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners, a review

Image

John Ringo’s second book in the Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners, is both better and worse than Grunge.Our hero from the last book, Chad, is continuing his mission to be a Monster Hunting killing machine. Due to circumstances beyond his control, he has to leave Seattle, his home base in Grunge. After complaining — a lot — about never wanting to be in the heat ever again, MHI headquarters has the perfect gig for him: New Orleans. The Big Easy has got a lot of problems, and it needs all the help it can get.

Sinners does a great job of capturing the flavor of New Orleans, especially when you consider that standard policy can boil down to “Don’t scare the tourists.” Every local either believes in the dark arts, or practices the dark arts. Of course, we have at least one team member who really wants to turn every other beastie into jambalaya, shootouts in cities of the dead, and one massive shootout at marti gras.

Oh, yes, and for the record, Mr. Ringo, I saw what you did there with those chapter titles.

Another thing Ringo did better here than in Grungeis build an emotional connection to his teammates. At the end of Grunge, one of Chad’s teammates dies.  Listening to John Ringo at DragonCon, we were supposed to feel the emotional impact of the character death. I didn’t then. Here? Oh yes. Characters were much better established, and for the most part, when characters died, I felt it.

Chad also has had a interesting, as well as a deep and abiding faith. This comes very apparent at the end, with a conclusion that’s uplifting enough that it deserves the label of Superversive.

Critics of Grungewill be happy to know that Chad spends less time getting lucky and more time being pummeled. There is even less sex in this book than in Grunge, and seriously, people, he spent more time on politics than sex. And for some reason, people claimed he was a Mary Sue …. to which I will soon reply with a blog post explaining what a Mary Sue looks like, because obviously, people have little to no experience with the phenomenon. Yes, he’s a super genius who’s good at shooting people, but he’s also hospitalized every few chapters.

The only thing that’s really off-putting about this novel is the marked shift from “looking backwards.”  In Grunge, there is a lot of time spend on his family, and Ringo outright states that the larger evil behind everything Chad is fighting is Chad’s brother. This book? Nope. Barely a whisper of Chad’s family, and not a whisper about what’s the ultimate evil of the trilogy. I’m wondering how much of that is editorial, or how much was in the process of the novel. These books are thinner than Ringo’s usual fair, so if you told me he wrote them as one continuous novel, broken up into a trilogy, that would explain certain things.

Also, in Grunge, time was spent on the moral of the story: “Chad” wrote each chapter to illustrate a point. Here, there’s no such clear lesson plan; “Chad” does have “pro-tips” scattered throughout, but the concept seems strangely abandoned. Perhaps this is due to the chaotic nature of New Orleans, where every night is insane, and the full moon is like Arkham asylum let everyone out on a day pass, so Chad is merely fitting in tips where he can.

Heh, it’s a coin toss.

Final verdict is still the same: Sinnersis even better than Grunge

Anyway, if you like this review, you might want to consider one of the following books for your reading pleasure.

 

First Thoughts on FORBIDDEN THOUGHTS

Others will no doubt post about more coherent thoughts about Superversive Press’s new anthology, FORBIDDEN THOUGHTS, but…here are mine:

Wow…it is so exciting to see something go from a glimmer of an idea to reality! And then see it fly off the shelves (electronically). Here’s how it happened:

About two years ago, a friend of mine wanted to put together a charity anthology for the Charlie Hebdo artists. She said, “Send me the most controversial thing you’ve ever written!”

Well, I don’t normally do controversial per se. But I sat down and prayed a bit to see what would come to me. I had just read Face-to-Face with Jesus by Samaa Habib, one of the best books I’ve ever read, and my mind was full of thoughts about her experience. So, I sat down and wrote the. most. controversial. story I was capable of conceiving.

The story is called “The Test of the Prophet”.

At first, I thought I’d done quite well. My mom immediately worried that it would get my shot, and my atheist Liberal friend called it hateful. But, my Muslim friend loved it and took it home to Pakistan to show her parents. (Life can be strange sometimes!)

By this time, however, I realized that the first anthology wasn’t going to fly. But I REALLY wanted to do something with my story. It was the best thing I had ever written.

But what can you do with a super controversial story in this age of safe spaces and trigger warnings?

Then, in the midst of the Sad Puppy fervor, I caught a glimmer of an answer. Jason Rennie, editor of Sci Phi Journal and the brilliant mind behind SuperverisveSF, suggested in the midst of a flurry of Sad Puppy emails, that the authors involved get together and do an anthology of anti-PC stories, kind of a modern Dangerous Visions–putting into story form all those thoughts that the SJWs don’t want people to think. Basically, doing what SF is supposed to do, posing difficult questions.

Those of us on the email chain decided on the title: Forbidden Thoughts.

I LOVED this idea. Here was my answer to what to do with my controversial story.

So, I kept on Jason about this, and I kept on the other authors. When a few were too busy to be able to fit writing a new short story into their schedule, I convinced them to submit incendiary blog posts.

So we now had a volume with stories by, among others, John, Nick Cole, Brian Niemeier, Josh Young, Brad Torgersen, Sarah Hoyt, and, a particularly delightful surprise for me, our young Marine fan friend, Pierce Oka. Plus, non fiction by Tom Kratman and Larry Correia submitted some of his original Sad Puppy posts–the thing that started it all!

But we still needed a Foreword.

Last winter, during one of our SuperversiveSF chats, we had invited the one reporter who reported truthfully on Sad Puppies, an amusing and irreverent fellow named Milo Yiannopoulos. Just as the chat was scheduled to begin, Milo was informed that he had been deverified on Twitter. This made it so that he was never able to attend our chat. He made it clear that he regretted this and kind of owed us.

So, I asked Jason to see if Milo would let us cash in our favor in the form of him writing the Foreword.

He did!

Milo wrote an excellent Foreword. We put the stories in order and voila! A delightfully thought-provoking volume that reminds me of the daring stories one found the pages of Science Fiction volumes in my youth.

There is one other delightful story that goes with this volume. Last summer, as we often do, we spent a week in Chincoteague. Our teen writer fan (some of you may have seen the victory dance she did when John won Dragon Award), asked if she and her family could join us, so we and the Freeman family spent a wonderful week together.

As I arrived on Chincoteague, I got an email from Jason informing me that he had read a submission by April, and it was really chilling. He thought it would work for Forbidden Thoughts. So, when April walked into the house we were renting for the week, I got to inform her that her first published piece would be in an anthology with John and I!

She was so stunned that she had to call me the next morning and ask me to explain it all again. Lol It was a delightful moment.

Now Forbidden thoughts is live! There will be an official Launch party with a live chat on Inauguration Day.

So, Politically-Correct friends, you might want to avoid this, but the rest of you, come join in the fun!!!

You are not supposed to read this book.
You are not supposed to think about reading this book.
In fact, just plain thinking at all is unacceptable.
You have been warned….

On Amazon!

(Print version coming. Probably by next week.)

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