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The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman, Robert K. Massie
Thirteen (Th1rte3n) - Richard K. Morgan 2 stars for me, despite what I admit is some good writing in places. The premise of this book is that we have killed off all the disruptive, aggressive “hunters” in society since we invented agriculture and became civilized. The “thirteens” are the results of the effort to reinvigorate our gene pool through genetic modification, developing a strain of feral soldiers and law enforcement not found in the societies of the near future. What a bunch of crap! Ya think UBL thought in those last few seconds left to him that those warriors storming up the stairs are just a bunch of “cudlips”, Morgan’s derogatory term for regular folks. Nothing about Thirteen stood out as surprising or earth-shattering, no moments when you could say that is a really cool concept. As others have pointed out, all the action takes place in the last 50 pages, everything before that is wandering around the globe almost aimlessly. None of the characters are remotely sympathetic or even interesting. And get real, the UN is a globally effective policing organization among the nations? Right.
There is one area where Morgan has his writing down to a sharp focus. One group is singled out for special attention. If you are a member of this group or even sympathetic with it, this book will not be an enjoyable reading experience. Like few I have ever run across, Morgan brings contempt dripping with disdain, condescension beyond scorn, hatred suffused with poison for this group. If you live in “flyover country” between the east and west coasts of the US, if you have any religious affinity but especially if you are Christian, if you are Republican or conservative, this author sneers at you. Everyone in “Jesusland” is stupid, irrational, gullible and/or criminal. Everyone outside “Jesusland” is wise, intelligent, etc. I don’t mind if someone lets current political views creep into the story line if it supports the plot. Both conservative and liberal authors do it but this guy Morgan has a special hatred for Americans in his targeted group. It didn’t support the story much because little action occurred there. But at every turn, he found a way to insult this targeted group just because he could.