View Full Version : Fiction books

03-23-2007, 01:35 PM
So I just finished a good sci-fi book (Footfall, by Niven and Pournelle).
Earth is invaded by small elephant-like aliens who, after being nuked out of Kansas, land in Africa.
At some point, the U.S. President has a talk with a (drunk) sci-fi writer who works in a "Threat Team" and it goes like:

"There's plenty we can do./ ...... / Who makes elephant guns?"
"There are people I can ask," said the President. "The British? They made a big double-barreled rifle, a 'Nitro Express'-"
"Round up all you can find," Reynolds said. "Send 'em to Africa. Somebody there can use them," he laughed. "It worries me to excess, there may be a young Zulu warrior somewhere who doesn't have an elephant gun."

[Yeah, call Chapuis, Purdey and Rigby and have 50000 guns shipped with a million rounds to the guerrilla... ] (That's me grumbling...)

It turns out that the Zulu kill the aliens very dead with spears, and the aliens can't manage to throw the spears themselves, without propulsion or guidance system, "with that little shovel like device at the front..." :mrgreen:.

I also remember choking in one of the otherwise excellent 'March' book series, by Weber and Ringo.
The heroes have to equip natives of a less advanced planet with blackpowder guns. As brass extrusion would take too much development time, they settle for paper cartridges.
They come up with a cap-n-ball cavalry revolver, 'Dragoon like but with a swing out cylinder for faster reload', and an infantry rifle whose cartridge incorporates a thick gasket wad at the back , 'the next bullet pushing the wad out of the barrel upon firing' :-? .


03-23-2007, 03:35 PM
Larry Niven was a protégé of the late great Robert A Heinlein, "The Dean of American Science Fiction", Naval Academy graduate and staunch defender of the Second Amendment. It was his quote that is often repeated: "An armed society is a polite society." Robert and his wife Ginny were cameoed in the novel as the Anson's (Bob's middle name), part of the "Threat Team". I think you will find that, in general, sci-fi writers tend to be a lot more supportive of our gun rights due the the enormous amount of historical research necessary as background for their stories. (I certainly am, and I can say the same of most of my contemporaries that I know personally.) Many plots are based in times of war, revolution, insurrection, and many directly parallel actual historical events. Both of the above mentioned authors realistically portray the carry and use of weapons for personal defense, and Stephen Barnes, who often collaborates with Larry and other writers, also writes for Jane's and is an expert on current military technology. Others you might enjoy particularly are Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (and the series of six more novels that followed it) and Uller Uprising by H. Beam Piper (though you'll have to prowl the used market for it, it is well worth reading). Piper was especially knowledgeable about small arms and cartridge design - you'll enjoy anything of his that you can find, when you can find it - he died in the 60's just as he was becoming well known.

03-24-2007, 01:01 AM
And I usually avoid talking about these in gun circles.....

Parallels, yes. Have you read The road to Damascus (Ringo and Evans)? The whole 9 yards of 'civilization'.

I love Niven (gosh, I mis-spelled him above...), loved Ender's Game, and thankfully read Starship Trooper despite the movie... (I hope Heinlein passed away before the movie was made...).

John Ringo, who's been venting a lot recently, featured Sci-fi writers in one of his recent novels, Princess of Wands, quite funny... I think some of them don't like each others :mrgreen:.

Sci-fi writers tend to be better overall than the 'alternate history' writers I tried, yes. But their blunders consequently stick higher :).

Someone told me Ender's was a series but I dismissed it as the book stood alone very well... how are the others?

A few years ago, on an other board, a member told about a Sci-fi writer who used names of gunwriters, spelled backward, for his aliens characters (and clearly showing his liking through that).
Does that ring a bell? I lost the reference and would like to give him a try.

03-24-2007, 02:12 AM
I agree wholeheartedly about Starship Troopers. For someone who had never read it and realized how much better the book was and how thoroughly they ignored it, it wasn't a bad movie, but it sure pissed me off.
The others in the Ender series were pretty good, and Card did something with them I've never seen before - he went in two different directions as the stories diverged. One (the first) followed Ender, the other followed the character Bean.
I don't know anything about the author who spelled gunwriters' names backwards, but for my money, most of them are aliens anyway. :-D
Haven't read the Ringo & Evans series, it's on the "to read" list. You might also enjoy The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, still in print and the best new novel in many years.
There aren't too many places where my occupation touches my hobby, but it is interesting to be able to discuss it on the forum. I have been writing fact, fiction, and poetry for most of my adult life, along with shooting, loading, and hunting. I am the only person in the history of either organization to be a member of both the NH Poets Society and a NH Hunter Ed/Bowhunter Ed Instructor. Mostly they're two different worlds, but wearing the old skunkskin hat and reading pieces about deer hunting sure makes the limp-wristed liberals squirm. :mrgreen: The hard core good old boys do give me some strange looks from time to time, too, until they read my work, then they're glad to have a voice in the "other world".

03-27-2007, 12:08 AM
Yes, it's interesting to see people's reaction when they learn you've got a life outside of their little world, and that they might not know that much about anything after all..... or not... I'm a bit sick about it as I can see the consequences of having so many narrow minded people around.

Piper has a story in The world turned upside down at Baen books, a kind of Sci Fi 'Best Of' .
Jim Baen published Pandora's Legions and Interstellar Patrol (2 volumes...) by Chris. Anvil. He and his gang seem to be quite knowledgeable and eager to keep the good ones alive, and I think that if some fellow writer talked to him about reprinting Piper he would be glad to oblige :mrgreen:.

Talking about Baen, he's the one printing Ringo and has quite a few free books on line.

MT Gianni
04-04-2007, 01:58 PM
versifier, Great post, it reminded me of Rob't Burns "My hearts in the Highlands" where he goes to the lowlands to rule but will always be "a chasing the deer" in his heart. Gianni.