Jan. 11th, 2017

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I purchased and read Forbidden Thoughts, the much-hyped book from Sad Puppies Central Command. For the most part, I found it neither forbidden nor thoughtful. Rather, it was heavy-handed to the point of immobility, (mostly) poorly-written and consistently poorly edited. A couple of stories saved this book from the shame of a one-star review, but only barely.

There were several non-fiction articles in the book, all but the introduction being recycled blog postings from the Big Three of Sad Puppydom, Tom Kratman, Larry Correia and Brad R. Torgersen. The postings were heavy-handed diatribes when written, and age has done them no favors. Yiannopoulos phoned in a semi-original introduction, but his idea that Science Fiction is under attack by the Evil Left is unoriginal and remains unsupported by such trifles as fact.

On the fiction side, most of the short stories take a favorite right-wing strawman, dial it to 15, then use it to beat the reader vigorously about the head and shoulders. Chief offender was “At the Edge of Detachment” by A. M. Freeman. There, a parent can have their child killed up to the age of 13 – an “allegory” of abortion. Other stories were similarly ham-fisted, and most were unreadable.

Having said that, there were a couple of readable short stories. If that sounds like damning with faint praise, so be it. Notable shorts:

World Ablaze by Jane Lebak – for some reason, Catholics are being persecuted and arrested by the State. If you can swallow that, the story works fairly nicely.

Amazon Gambit by Vox Day – here, the author sets up an all-female military unit that, For Reasons, must fight a primitive enemy hand-to-hand. They win, although it takes a male officer to show the Poor Girls what is needed.

Test of the Prophet by L. Jagi Lamplighter – This story, if given a decent editor, would be commercially viable in any market. A woman born and raised in Pakistan, who moved to America and became a US Marine, needs to go back to Pakistan because her beloved cousin has gotten himself mixed up in the Taliban. We learn (almost too late – a good editor would have frontloaded this) that the woman can see ghosts. We learn (in an entertaining but 10% too long and talky) section that one of the things said ghosts have been up to is inserting errors into every religion’s doctrine. Again, not bad at all.

So, no, I really don’t recommend Forbidden Thoughts, especially if one wants, you know, actually forbidden thoughts.

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