The books I won from Baen thanks to being runner up in the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Competition have been varied and of different genres, but the one common thread that seems to run through them is that they are meant to be entertainment first. This isn’t to say that they don’t have deep moral and political currents running through them, but those are secondary to telling a good story.
So, literature as it’s meant to be, by good writers who know how to reach readers.
But every once in a while, one will be so fun to read it just goes over the top. A recent example was Freehold: Resistance, and another is today’s subject, Larry Correia’s Target Rich Environment – Volume 2.
Despite his NYT bestselling credentials, Correia is a relatively new writer to me. I was looking forward to this collection mainly on the strength of his story in Freehold: Resistance, but I didn’t really know what to expect. That story, which I enjoyed, could very easily have been an outlier, and the rest of his work unenjoyable.
Fortunately, that isn’t the case. Target Rich Environment is a collection of Correia’s short fiction set in several different settings. All of the ones in this book (as you can probably guess from the title) focus on combat, and they’re all high-powered weapon-focused romps. Pure energy, but well-written and with characters who are truly three-dimensional.
I went through them quickly, enjoying the ass-kicking. When I reached the final novella, I thought I had a pretty good grip on Correia’s style, and an understanding about why he sells so many books.
And that novella, “A Murder of Manatees”, was very different from the rest. Building on the action story style already expressed in the rest of the book, this one is a comic romp (with violence, lots and lots of violence). It actually reminded me a bit of Robert Asprin’s Phule series, but with over-the-top violence. It’s a great combo, and I laughed a lot.
So a very good book with a twist at the end, and one I would recommend without hesitation. Fun, fun stuff.
Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer whose latest novel is entitled Lost Island Rampage and, once you know that there are monsters and criminals in it, you’re probably smart enough to figure out what it’s like. It’s also fun, and you can check it out here.