Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Books I Am Reading

Since I am a cheapskate, I look for free books for the Kindle--or at least, very cheap.  

One that was free as a Kindle edition is now $4.95: Charles Sheehan-Miles, Republic: A Novel of America's Future.  The first several chapters did not impress me as particularly strong writing--a bit clumsy in trying to tell us about the characters, instead of showing us about them.  It did improve pretty impressively by the time I reached the 1/3 point, and it was very easy to start to care about these characters and their lives.

In some respects, Republic would appeal to many conservatives concerned about a government gone mad with power, but there is also a subplot that suggests that the author is very sympathetic to the welfare state model, and regards the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with considerable contempt.  Still, it was not so overpoweringly strident as to be a problem.

In other respects, Republic is something of a warning, of the sort that I have sometimes written about: the delusion that if a Second Amendment correction to the problems of our government comes about, that it will all be grand and glorious.  It will not be.  It will be at best incredibly ugly, and this novel does a good job of delivering a sobering reminder of this.  I will say, however, that it may be too dark: if the scenario depicted were to come about, it would not be one state taking these actions alone, which renders the dark ending actually a little unrealistic.

It is awash in detail that suggests that the author has substantial knowledge of armored combat--or at least, it does a fine job of giving that impressive.  (Versimilitude is usually sufficient when writing a novel; actual accuracy is usually above 95% of the readers.)

One disappointment with Republic was the astonishing number of typos: capitalization errors; homonym errors; even spelling errors.  I expect a few to appear in any book, but considering that this was originally a dead trees publisher, it was far more than should have been there.  It gave a somewhat amateurish feel to what was otherwise a pretty decently written book (once past the first several chapters).

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