Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by modelcitizen, Aug 18, 2019.
Or to make up for:
Mind you, he was writing for Baen Books so I suppose it’s not that surprising....
So it looks like Stirling's outgrowing his editors because of the Emberverse has come back to bite him from the sound of it?
It won the Dragon Award for AH, but for both the Dragons and the Hugos, AH was a pretty weak category this year. I think we only have two novels even nominated for the Sideways Awards in October.
What's wrong with Baen Books?
Off-topic so I won’t go too into it, but they do have a reputation for a lot of their writers being fairly hard-right, and the company’s ethos seems to be the same - certainly, the only LGBT characters I remember in Baen books were depraved villains and a psychopath.
Not the case in my experience on either front.
Among the writers, yes, you have John Ringo, Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia, but politically, Baen has some shocking diversity among its A-listers - to name a few, Eric Flint is a self-described socialist and proud supporter of several trade unions, Mercedes Lackey is a vocal feminist, Lois McMaster Bujold is a self-described "college lefty", Timothy Zahn and Charles Gannon are Democrats, Dave Butler is a registered libertarian, and David Weber admitted he left the GOP when they nominated Trump.
The company as a whole seems to care more about an author's book sales than their politics, like most publishing companies I wager. They're no more hard-right wing for publishing Ringo, Torgersen and Correia than Tor is for publishing Brandon Sanderson, Orson Scott Card and Terry Goodkind.
Plus, they've dependably put out some of the best AH novels on the market as long as I've been alive, and on a personal note, allow disabled veterans like myself to download books for free from the Baen digital library.
Oh, and if you want a Baen series that does well with LGBT characters - Charles Gannon's Terran Republic series. Several high profile LGBT characters across multiple species - one of the things the series explores brilliantly is how biological and sexual mores are anything but simple and uniform, even among the same species.
Baen's biggest sin, as far as I can tell, is that they really dislike timid or half-way. They are extremely action focused. As noted Eric Flint is a self avowed socialist who actually worked for the Socialist Workers Party. You don't much further Left in the U.S. political spectrum than that.
They also REALLY like prolific authors, Flint being one, Sarah Holt and John Ringo being a couple others (although Ringo seems to be off his feed of late, mostly doing outlines/collaborations with other authors rather than his previous insane output and 'Verse creation).
Baen isn't really right-wing so much as they want action-heavy books and don't care about the politics. Baen does action, Tor typically does more philosophical stuff. Now, Jim Baen, personally, was a bit of an old-school right-libertarian (it's rumored that Tom Kratman's legendarily bad Evil Hillary fanfic State of Disobedience was JB's price for hiring on Kratman long-term), but he still published a lot of Eric Flint stuff, ranging from the Belisarius saga (which goes into great detail about how preposterously masculine and badass the Indian and African protagonists are (particularly the Rajput warlord who is essentially a Dwayne Johnson character minus the quips, and the East African hunter/philosopher/teacher who is simultaneously strong enough to throw a spear through two dudes to injure the guy behind them, and smart enough to argue at par with the era's most celebrated philosophers), well above and beyond the Greek protagonists, and is essentially an extended author tract on why racism is bad, and feudalism, and totalitarianism, etc. etc....), to 1632's "socialist revolutionaries rally the People to defeat the treacherous reactionary rebellion while MANLY AMERICAN UNION MEN fight for FREEDOM AND LABOR across Europe and humiliate the greatest military minds of the era with their courage, tenacity, and tactical brilliance" plotline (and keep in mind, this is toned down from the first draft of 1632, where Flint wanted to guillotine basically all of Europe's royalty and most of the nobility and replace them with a socialist revolutionary society built by Gretchen "Communist McDonald's" Richter), to the later Honor Harrington books, where Flint's Mary Sue self-insert runs around humiliating the evil slaver empire in the name of leftist principles.
The general principle of Baen seems to be: You do your politics, we don't give a crap so long as it sells. And frankly, I can tolerate them publishing scum like Kratman if it means they keep that free library thing going. That free library is a great thing, and Tor's ebook of the month thing just doesn't compare.
Just skip anything with Kratman's name on it, or Correia's for that matter. Kratman's a Nazi symapthizer and Correia's just a prick. Might want to avoid Michael Z Williamson, too, Freehold is like if Atlas Shrugged were also Atlanta Nights.
I stand corrected Thanks guys!
I knew about Eric Flint, but I hadn't realised they were so diverse besides him. I was going off Jim Baen himself plus Ringo, Williamson, Kratman, early Stirling etc.
Also...I did not realise that that was what the first draft of 1632 had. Wow...
You remember how in book 1 Admiral Simpson palled around with the racist biker gang and was basically a cardboard cutout of an evil posh xenophobe? Yeah. Weber had to come in and turn the guy into an actual character in 1633 to keep Flint from overindulging himself in ideological fantasies, and I say that as someone who may be to the left of Flint himself.
Oh, I do remember that. Definitely.
Those two are really good for one another as writers...
I think Stirling is capable of writing good books it's just that he needs to be paired with other authors to keep him from delving to far into his political views.
Was with you right to the end. Correia's Monster Hunter's International books are a hoot.
The thing with Correia? Personality aside he is one of the best spec fiction writers working today. His fantasy series, The Forgotten Warrior Saga, is only two books in and its already the second best fantasy series of the decade in my opinion, behind only Sanderson's Stormlight Archive. I am literally counting down the days until book three comes out next year, and book 2, House of Assassins, quite frankly kicks the s*** out of anything that was up for a Hugo this year.
Wouldn't be the first time we got great work from an asshole.
They are SUCH a guilty pleasure - in a just world there would be a series of B movies spilling buckets of blood and bullets.
You read the new one? I still cant get the image of a squeaky voiced Shoggoth gleefully shouting "Consume!" out of my head.
I genuinely can't stand Correia's work, though I agree with @thekingsguard on Sanderson. I have no idea how Sanderson simultaneously puts out so much work and keeps such a consistently high quality, even his weakest stuff like Elantris is still mind-blowing.
The man is a living, breathing counterargument to lazy bums like Martin and Rothfuss taking decades to crank out one book, but yeah the pace and quality of Sanderson's work is incredible.
Looking at sales numbers, Sanderson and the company back catalog are what's keeping Tor in the black these days.
Yeah, Sanderson and Jordan are basically their cash cows, and you can tell by how much of their website is dedicated to constant analysis, meta-analysis, and hype of their work. It's a shame that so many of the other books they come out with don't sell so well, they're clearly trying to recruit from lots of places but something isn't clicking for them most of the time. I can count on one hand the Tor authors I actually like; Scalzi, Sanderson, McGuire, Jordan sometimes. It's weird, but a lot of their product seems to fizzle, at least for me.
I wouldn't call Martin a lazy bum, though, just a pantser who's written himself into a corner.
That may be my favorite bit in the series so far.
What I love about them is that you can almost see that it would work in the real world. Most fantasy series have to change things so folks know about at least some of the things that go bump in the night. This one goes the other way. MCB is how Men in Black would be if Agent K didn't have a heart of gold and X-Files if the whole FBI division where Mulder works in in the know.
The fact that it is excessively shooty and feeds my "ooooh, big noisy gun" habit is just a bonus.
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