A Desert Called Peace - If I Did It: War on Terror Edition

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
kiwifarms.net
So, while @Tranhuviya is writing a review of Lind's version of the Turner Diaries, I thought I'd do him a favor by covering this one because nobody and I mean nobody should have to read more than one far right political commentary/militarist wank at a time. Luckily for us, the entire book of "A Desert Called Peace" is available on Baen's website to read for free - so you don't have to pay money for this trash.

I'll start this off with a commentary on the title. It's obviously a take on a very famous quote by Tacitus, a Roman historian, orator, lawyer, and senator. Tacitus probably is most famous for his quote, 'They make a desert, and call it peace' from his book Agricola. I'll spare you the details but basically Tacitus said this: Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. That last section is where the desert bit comes in (though it's alternately translates as solitude, or isolation) but it's the first section that everyone forgets about, that I think really matters when it comes to what Tacitus is writing and the general theme of Agricola as a whole. As a whole, the translation I like the most and find the most appropriate in context is the Oxford translation: "To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus' Agricola is full of condemnations like this, but it's not towards who you think it might be. Tacitus is calling out the Romans, his people, for their brutality and loss of virtue, and calling the exploits of his own father-in-law little more than rape and murder for no purpose aside from personal gain under the guise of bringing 'civilization' to the Britons. His comments on the conduct of Rome throughout Agricola repeat this, and throughout even his other works, Tacitus calls into question the morality of Roman conquest, of Roman action, and states that Romans have lost the virtues they once held dear for little more than personal satisfaction, petty vendettas, and pure greed.

To make a desert and call it peace, is not to be interpreted as a good thing for either side, and that the one who makes the desert is himself condemned to that wasteland. I know that some of you have tuned out already, but understanding the lack of understanding Kratman has in even selecting his title, helps a lot. He doesn't understand much.

With that out of the way, here's the blurb from the Baen back cover.

A Desert Called Peace said:
They should have picked their enemies more carefully.

Five centuries from now, on a remarkably Earthlike planet that is mankind's sole colony in space, religious fanatics called the "Salafi Ikhwan" have murdered the uncle of former colonel Patrick Hennessey. That was their first mistake, because uncle was rich and Hennessey was rather a good colonel. But they also murdered Hennessey's wife, Linda, and their three small children, and that was their worst mistake for she was the only restraint Hennessey had ever accepted.

From the pile of rubble and the pillar of fire that mark the last resting place of Linda Hennessey and her children arises a new warrior—Carrera, scourge of the Salafis. He will forge an army of ruthless fanatics from the decrepit remains of failed state's military. He will wage war across half a world. He will find those who killed his family. He will destroy them, and those who support them, utterly, completely, without restraint or remorse.

Only when he is finished will there be peace: the peace of an empty wind as it blows across a desert strewn with the bones of Carrera's enemies.
Yep. Totally misses the point Tacitus made. This won't be the end of the Roman references by the way, I'll keep a running drink counter for each one that pops up so the folks at home can play along with me.

:drink:'s: 1

Moving on into the work itself, It was first published in 2007, which I'm only stating here so you can get the context of his actual preface.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Dear Reader:
You can take this book as a commentary on the somewhat cyclic nature of history, if you want. ("History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.") You can take it as a commentary on the endless war between the Christian or secular West and Islam, if you want. You can take it as a critique of the phenomenon of monocultural planets that dominate science fiction, if you want.

If it pleases you, you can look at it as a cautionary tale on choosing one's enemies well . . . because you are going to become much like them or because they're going to become much like you. If you're of a legalistic mindset, you can think of it as a lengthy commentary on the law of war. If you loath transnational progressivism, surely there is something here for you.

The one thing you must never do, though, it to think of it as a commentary on the current war or the leadership thereof.

Unless, that is, you want to.

Tom Kratman
Oh boy, it's a thinly veiled statement on the Iraq War, and how a former Lieutenant Colonel who never commanded an actual battalion or held an equivalent position thinks it should have been done. The same Lt. Colonel who as a junior officer studied swordfighting because he thought that WWIII would descend into trench warfare, and he'd have to lead trench raids. With a sword.

I am going to enjoy the fuck out of this I already know it.

The prologue begins.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Solitudinum faciunt; pacem appellant

(They made a desert and called it peace)

—Tacitus
:drink:'s: 2

Prologue said:
They called him "the Blue Jinn." He took a small and perverse pride in the title. Blue jinni were evil jinni. That his enemies thought him evil was . . . pleasant. Even more pleasant was the sight of his enemies, beaten and bleeding, captive and bound.

The Jinn looked over those enemies in the late afternoon sun. Sinking in the west, the sun's light was carved by the mountains to cast long, sharp shadows across the ground. Much of that ground was covered with the head-bowed, broken prisoners.

One of those captives, Abdul Aziz ibn Kalb, held his bleeding head upright. Abdul Aziz glared hate at his captors. These were a mix of Pashtun mercenaries—tall and light eyed; light skinned they would have been, too, had the sun not burned them red-brown—and shorter, darker men. All were heavily armed. All sneered back the hate Abdul Aziz felt, mixing with that hate a full measure of disgust and contempt.

Aziz's hate mixed with and fed on fear. Along with several hundred other male prisoners, and nearly a thousand women and children, Aziz waited to hear his fate. The male prisoners' hands and legs were taped together. Not far away, the women and children waited unbound. The two groups were close enough together that Abdul Aziz could see the noncombatants as well as a small group of his enemies ascending a low hill to his front.

Leading that group, Abdul Aziz saw, was a uniformed man, medium in height, and with his face and head wrapped with a keffiyah. Another looked oriental. Three more were dressed much as any mullahs would be. A sixth wore the white dress of the emirate of Doha. The last was another man in uniform, bearing the rank badges of a subadar. Trimly bearded, tall and slender, with bright gray eyes, the subadar looked Pashtun to Abdul Aziz.

That man in the lead partially unwrapped the keffiyah from around his head. Aziz had never seen him before, but had heard enough descriptions to recognize the "Blue Jinn." The Jinn paused and lit a cigarette. He puffed it contemplatively for a few moments. Then he sat back easily in a chair, almost a throne, that had been prepared for him by his followers out of hastily felled and trimmed trees. Even at this distance Abdul Aziz saw the eyes that gave the Jinn his name. Though it was just a trick of the sun, the eyes seemed to glow from the inside like malevolent coals.
So we get our introduction to this ominous figure, "The Blue Jinn", a man with striking blue eyes, and totally not Muad'Dib, Paul Atrides. I need to stop reminding myself of far better books I could be reading right now instead of this.

Prologue said:
"Your young children shall be taken back to your enemy's country," the mullah continued. "Your women, and the girls over twelve, are awarded to his Pashtun Scouts as prizes. Mr. Yamaguchi," and the mullah's head nodded to indicate the oriental man who had accompanied the party, "and Mr. al Ajami," another head nod, "represent certain interests in Yamato and Doha that might wish to buy some of these women and girls from the Scouts. Having consulted with the Jinn I have informed him that there is no religious prohibition to this, that you are all apostates and your women may properly be enslaved. For his part, he says he could care less what happens to them so long as it is within the law."
We get a little more about the Blue Jinn. Not a nice guy.
The Jinn's face twitched in the smallest of smiles. "Ah, I see. What does the Holy Koran say about those who bring disorder to the world?

"It says, O Jinn, in Surah Five, the Table, that those who fight against God or his Apostle, bringing disorder to the world, should be killed, or have the hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be exiled, or be crucified."

"I see," said the uniformed man. "Do those who kill infant girls fight against God? Have these men brought disorder to the world?"

"They have. They do," answered the mullah, "for this is expressly forbidden under Islam."

The Jinn turned back to his captives. "I loved my family, even as— one supposes—you love your own. I swore, when they were murdered, to avenge myself on all who had contributed, even passively, to my loss. Thus you shall die. I am, though, as Mullah Hassim told you, very solicitous of your fate in the hereafter. So before you die, you will be thoroughly Christianized."

Then the Jinn smiled, nastily, and turned to his subadar.

"Crucify them."
Wait. Wait shit.

The Blue Jinn is the main character. He's Carerra/Hennessy. The guy who we're supposed to see as the protagonist basically just tacitly approved of rape and slavery, and is totally fine with crucifying people.

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.


There's also a picture of the world here that they're on Terra, which is basically just the earth upside down. Not shitting you. Go see for yourself.
 

Cheap Sandals

REEEEEEEE
kiwifarms.net
Well keep going. I've read the Turner Diaries and they were the hottest garbage I've ever feasted my eyeballs on. I 'need' to read this pile.
 

Dynastia

woman respecter
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
So, while @Tranhuviya is writing a review of Lind's version of the Turner Diaries, I thought I'd do him a favor by covering this one because nobody and I mean nobody should have to read more than one far right political commentary/militarist wank at a time. Luckily for us, the entire book of "A Desert Called Peace" is available on Baen's website to read for free - so you don't have to pay money for this trash.

I'll start this off with a commentary on the title. It's obviously a take on a very famous quote by Tacitus, a Roman historian, orator, lawyer, and senator. Tacitus probably is most famous for his quote, 'They make a desert, and call it peace' from his book Agricola. I'll spare you the details but basically Tacitus said this: Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. That last section is where the desert bit comes in (though it's alternately translates as solitude, or isolation) but it's the first section that everyone forgets about, that I think really matters when it comes to what Tacitus is writing and the general theme of Agricola as a whole. As a whole, the translation I like the most and find the most appropriate in context is the Oxford translation: "To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus' Agricola is full of condemnations like this, but it's not towards who you think it might be. Tacitus is calling out the Romans, his people, for their brutality and loss of virtue, and calling the exploits of his own father-in-law little more than rape and murder for no purpose aside from personal gain under the guise of bringing 'civilization' to the Britons. His comments on the conduct of Rome throughout Agricola repeat this, and throughout even his other works, Tacitus calls into question the morality of Roman conquest, of Roman action, and states that Romans have lost the virtues they once held dear for little more than personal satisfaction, petty vendettas, and pure greed.

To make a desert and call it peace, is not to be interpreted as a good thing for either side, and that the one who makes the desert is himself condemned to that wasteland. I know that some of you have tuned out already, but understanding the lack of understanding Kratman has in even selecting his title, helps a lot. He doesn't understand much.

With that out of the way, here's the blurb from the Baen back cover.



Yep. Totally misses the point Tacitus made. This won't be the end of the Roman references by the way, I'll keep a running drink counter for each one that pops up so the folks at home can play along with me.

:drink:'s: 1

Moving on into the work itself, It was first published in 2007, which I'm only stating here so you can get the context of his actual preface.



Oh boy, it's a thinly veiled statement on the Iraq War, and how a former Lieutenant Colonel who never commanded an actual battalion or held an equivalent position thinks it should have been done. The same Lt. Colonel who as a junior officer studied swordfighting because he thought that WWIII would descend into trench warfare, and he'd have to lead trench raids. With a sword.

I am going to enjoy the fuck out of this I already know it.

The prologue begins.


:drink:'s: 2



So we get our introduction to this ominous figure, "The Blue Jinn", a man with striking blue eyes, and totally not Muad'Dib, Paul Atrides. I need to stop reminding myself of far better books I could be reading right now instead of this.


We get a little more about the Blue Jinn. Not a nice guy.

Wait. Wait shit.

The Blue Jinn is the main character. He's Carerra/Hennessy. The guy who we're supposed to see as the protagonist basically just tacitly approved of rape and slavery, and is totally fine with crucifying people.

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen.


There's also a picture of the world here that they're on Terra, which is basically just the earth upside down. Not shitting you. Go see for yourself.
EAT THE HAT
 

Broseph Stalin

Hijabi Raping Bitch Breaker
kiwifarms.net
I thought this was gonna be some John Ringo military sci-fi type shit where teh Republicunz are hard working, don't need no stinkin' college, and are always right, teh Demuhkratz are bleeding heart college educated hippies who are misguided, and the aliens are pretty much space Muslims.


By the end I'm getting more of a John Ringo's "Paladin of the Shadows" kind of vibe.
 

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
kiwifarms.net
I thought this was gonna be some John Ringo military sci-fi type shit where teh Republicunz are hard working, don't need no stinkin' college, and are always right, teh Demuhkratz are bleeding heart college educated hippies who are misguided, and the aliens are pretty much space Muslims.


By the end I'm getting more of a John Ringo's "Paladin of the Shadows" kind of vibe.
No, the space muslims are space muslims. It's really not the political shit that pisses me off and more Krautman's ham handedness with his references and general smug attitude about it. That and the man is legitimately trying to portray himself as a military genius with his self insert - which is why he bought T-80's and performs live fire blue on blue training! I'll get to that sort of shit over time, I've sort of been busy since I started this with finals, and then vacation brought its own set of things more interesting than this to read (Including a very well researched and done book on the Fourth Crusade, by Jonathan Phillips) but I'll try to get the drafts for the next couple of chapters written out.
 

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
kiwifarms.net
A Desert Called Peace said:
PART I
Chapter One
To reap the harvest of perpetual peace . . .

—William Shakespeare, King Richard III
I'd have you take a drink any time Tom "Absolutely Haram" Kratman uses a quote out of context but since that happens every chapter, I'll spare you. Basically originally it's part of a speech by the commander fighting Richard the III about just how fucking much he hates him and how killing him will bring an end to everything, and how they've finally tracked him down.

A Desert Called Peace said:
UEPF Spirit of Peace, Earth Date 25 November, 2510

Klaxons sounded piercingly throughout the ship as black- uniformed crewmen and women hurried through the cramped metal corridors to this or that necessary duty. Despite the soft, gripping soles of the crew's footwear, needed in the reduced gravity aboard ship, their feet made a rumbling sound that passed through the air and hull. Not a few of the crew's pale faces looked mildly nauseated. Transition through the rift, jumping thousands of light- years in an instant, affected some people like that. Others it seemed not to bother. Nor was there any predicting in advance; the only way to find out was to endure the transition.

A voice followed the klaxons, emanating from someone on the ship's bridge. "All hands, all hands, secure from transition. Rotating ship in five minutes. Sail crew, stand by to deploy the sail for braking. Captain to the admiral's quarters."

High Admiral Martin Robinson, United Earth Peace Fleet, was one of those affected badly by the passage. He'd hoped it would not prove so and had his hopes dashed moments after the bridge had announced, "Transition in . . ."
Oh, right, he also has this fucking bizarre sense of prose. I should also note that 'soft gripping soles' seems kind of useless. It'd probably be better to have slightly magnetic shoes, or just go without gravity. It's not like you're traveling for long periods of time - zero G atrophy shouldn't really be an issue. Also solar sails instead of nuclear thermal rockets, what the fuck is this bullshit future, did he do no research at all?

Spoiler: He didn't. The rift is a plot device so he can do Iraq War II: Space Krautman Boogaloo without referring to it as well, the second Iraq War.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Robinson's looks belied his age. Despite being two centuries old, his face remained unlined, his back unstooped, his blue-gray eyes clear and bright. His heart and lungs and all the other organs worked as if they inhabited a twenty-one-year-old body and were no older than that themselves. Even his hair was blond, without a trace of silver or gray, and his hairline unreceded.

Anti-Decay Accelerating Factor, or ADAF, drugs had been available, at least to Earth's elite, for centuries. As a Class One, the highest of Earth's six castes, the high admiral was very elite indeed.

Yet neither the apparent age nor the real age had helped one whit to spare Robinson the misery of transition. One moment he had been fine, if a bit nervous. The next had seen his mind temporarily erased as his body disassembled and reassembled in an imperceptible instant. With the next he was on all fours on the deck of his cabin, projectile vomiting, moaning, and cursing.
I'm not going to bore you with this shit but basically Krautman is one of those crazy people who thinks that the UN will take over everything and liberals will cause us to degrade into a rigid caste society with little to no social mobility.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Younger than the admiral by some fifty years, Wallenstein looked to be the same age. A leggy, slender and svelte Scandinavian, she was a Class Two, ranking just below the admiral in the hereditary order of United Earth. Like him, she received full benefit of all the ADAF therapy and might, with luck, live to see five hundred. Not precisely beautiful—nose a bit too large and eyes a bit too small, she still exuded much of the earthy sexuality the application of which had seen her through difficult times in her rise within the hierarchy of the UEPF. What low shipboard gravity did for her breasts didn't hurt, either.

A competent officer, Wallenstein had ambitions. Chief among these was to be raised to class one, followed by promotion to admiral, even high admiral, and then to take what she considered her rightful place among the ruling caste. It would be a rare honor and achievement. She also knew that without a powerful sponsor it would never come to pass.

The proles finished their odiferous task and, bowing deeply and respectfully to the captain and the admiral, made a quiet exit from the suite. Neither of the upper-caste officers bothered to return the bows, even symbolically. They forgot about the proles as soon as they, and the smell of vomit, had left. Who knew or cared what proles thought, after all?

"You should have waited in freeze, Martin," Wallenstein said reproachfully, once they were alone.

The admiral shrugged, already half recovered. "It seems to pass quickly. And I did want to experience the transition, once anyway. Speaking of freeze, though, what of our passengers?"

"No malfunctions, if that's what you mean," Wallenstein answered. "They'll stay in freeze until a few days before we assume orbit. We haven't the stores to feed and water them without recourse to Atlantis Base, anyway."

Robinson nodded his understanding and agreement. Moreover, it would be months before the ship would be able to take orbit around the target world. He had great respect for the position—or at least for the power—of the clergy of Earth, but really didn't want them for company for all that time. The representative of the caliph of Rome, in particular, grew tiresome very quickly, despite the body she would share gleefully and for the asking.

And on that not entirely happy thought, Robinson considered inviting the captain, once again, to his bed.

It would be a long braking maneuver before the ship assumed orbit and, while he could, by right and tradition, bed any female of the crew he wished, he had found the captain's technique most agreeable, especially in low gravity. Wallenstein would make Peace's long descent to the planet something other than a trial.
Also the first female character we meet is a captain that slept her way into her position. Not even implied, flat out stated. He's also one of those Eurabia people, because of course he is. This really isn't surprising considering he wrote Caliphate before this, another book of his I'm considering reading and giving at least a summary of because god damn bad future thrillers are much less annoying than bad near future thrillers pretending to be deep science fiction.

A Desert Called Peace said:
In Orbit Above Terra Nova, 19 April, 2511
The blue-green planet turned slowly and majestically below, its day-side pastels interrupted only by concentrations of white clouds. The right quarter of the planet was plunged in night. Cities came into view as bright sparks and thick lines, especially along the planet's southern hemisphere.

Watching the scene on the wall-mounted view screen that hung in his sleeping cabin, High Admiral Robinson shook his head in something between dismay and disgust. So many people, twelve times or more what we have on Old Earth. And so uncivilized. Before I left home I was briefed that they were a potential threat, but only when you see the size of their cities, so much brighter than our own now, do you realize just how many of the barbarians there are, just how much potential for violence they have.

The picture on the sleeping cabin view screen was better than the one in his main cabin. For all that, it was still flawed. Multicolored lines flickered across it from right to left. Sometimes they were wide, sometimes quite narrow. They were always an annoyance and they never went completely away.

It had been a long braking before Spirit of Peace assumed orbit over the new world. Give Wallenstein her due, she's as competent a skipper as she is a bedmate. She's brought her command in flawlessly. Now if she would only stop hinting that she wants me to back her for a rise in caste.

The Spirits—Spirit of Peace, Spirit of Unity, Spirit of Harmony and Spirit of Brotherhood—were the newest ships in the fleet, the most recent having been launched just over one hundred and twenty Earth years ago. The others were much older. One of the others, the UEPF Kofi Annan, was nearly four centuries old. Earth could not build another. Even the ancient Annan was beyond her ability to recreate.

And that was the problem. The new world, Terra Nova, could not build them or their like either, yet. Yet was the operative word. The day was soon coming when the natives could build starships. The day was coming when the natives could come up looking. Worse, the day was probably coming when they would.

And Earth couldn't resist them now, thought the still youthful high admiral of the fleet, watching the screen and lying in his extra wide bunk next to the peacefully snoring Wallenstein, not if they manage to get off-planet and out of the system. Barbarians.
Also because they're liberals, they're simultaneously incredibly smart and sciencey yet hopelessly backwards and can't recreate something 400 years old. I think he's trying to make another reference to Rome here, so I'll add another drink to the counter just to be safe.

:drink:'s: 3

The Kofi Annan reference is a bit of a head scratcher though, and I'm not sure if it's meant to be a dig at him (Kratman has put critics and people he personally dislikes in his books to horribly die and be shamed) or some kind of nod at him. Hey Tom, if you're reading this, I wouldn't mind you giving me an answer to this because as far as I can tell, Kofi's a pretty great guy.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Buying from the Terra Novans had its problems. For one thing, the fleet had little to offer in exchange. Food was impractical to export over interstellar distances despite the rift, which made personal travel in cryogenic suspension reasonable. Besides, the Novans who could pay for food didn't need to. Indeed, the fleet purchased all its food locally, along with the petrochemical fuel for the shuttles. This was explained to the Novans as simple economics; cheaper to buy locally than to import. This wouldn't have hurt Robinson so deeply if it had been the only reason. The fact was that Earth could not send food or petrochemicals even if the Consensus wanted to.

There were only four worthwhile and practical things to trade to the Novans to keep the fleet running. Technology was one, but it was under ban by the Council and had been for centuries. Besides, what Earth had wasn't all that far ahead of what the Novans were capable of making for themselves now. Gold? Half the gold of Earth was already on Terra Nova; same for the silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium. There were plenty of proles to trade as slaves, but the Novans, most of them, had little use for slaves. And the Moslems, and especially the Salafis, who did have use for slaves, only wanted pretty young girls and boys. Since there was a strong market for those on Earth as well, saleable slaves were a tight commodity. Moreover, you never really could tell what the proles knew. If they were questioned, and the Novans realized what Earth had become, it could be a disaster for the fleet as well as the Earth.
The bolded bit makes absolutely no goddamn sense. We've already demonstrated and stated that personal travel is reasonable, and seen warships sent here. Petrochemicals I can see a reason to buy locally - shipping fuel is going to burn more than you already have, but this is where the magic of such concepts as nuclear thermal rockets and Orion Drives really kicks in - all you need is hydrogen and nukes respectively (And there's a fuck ton of hydrogen out there to be used), not to mention that both these methods are considerably faster than any type of solar sale or ion drive if less efficient. Personal travel already dictates you're sending things at a relatively low cost there, and especially when it comes to slaves, considering they're no value to you dead. Sending bulk shipments of dried food every couple of months and stockpiling it is a serious option, and then you can supplement your diets and food supplies by buying locally when convenient. If the technology for fucking beef jerky is no longer in possession of Earth, yet we have interstellar travel, something is fucking messed up. Earth's population has also earlier been stated to be roughly around 600 million meaning that even if they have gone all hyper environmental and sustainable, we should be able to spare fucking millions of tons of the stuff, especially when you consider sustainable farming through hydroponics, genetic engineering, etc. etc. A space farm around the Lagrange points would help solve the issue of the cost of getting into orbit, while also delivering supplies to the fleet. Fuck, they have the ships, they could build it themselves around Terra Nova.

This is just really terrible bullshit science fiction that was obviously thrown in there at the last minute to explain why Tom 'Another Crusade' Kratman, I mean the Blue Djinn is able to do his shit on space earth and make a commentary about the Iraq War.

Most of the rest of the stuff is just boring Eurabia world building (Including a Caliph of Rome, so that's another :drink:) about the admiral moaning because he can't replace his shuttles because their composite hulls can't be replaced or some shit because the composite isn't manufactured anymore (In which case you just make do with something slightly less effective or do a lower tech solution.

Oh right and the muslims want to nuke the Space United States on Space Earth. Because... reasons, and the Space EU is also into that shit. It's really dumb, boring, and not worth the space to even quote when I can tear into this instead.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Interlude
21 January, 2037, 51.716 AUs Out From Sol
To give you a bit of perspective, that's about as far out as Pluto.

A Desert Called Peace said:
The trickiest part had been the sail. It had to resist tearing, or be self-repairing, or be otherwise repairable, while also avoiding becoming overly charged, electrically. It had also to be very lightweight and highly reflective; the amount of propulsion provided by photons from the Sun and other sources striking the sail being very low except in the aggregate.

In the end, and after frightful expenditures, it was decided that self-repairing was too hard. The nanites that did effect repairs on the sail were not, strictly speaking, a part of it. They worked though, even in the vacuum of space and even while under bombardment by the sun's unfiltered rays. The sail was quite porous, the diameter of the pores being less than the wavelength of the light that forced the sails forward.
What is his obsession with solar sails seriously, they're absolutely useless beyond a certain point and have the problem of needing to be both massive and requiring lasers to really even propel themselves with any decent speed. They're also incredibly, INCREDIBLY inefficient when you are dealing with beam propelled ones.

A Desert Called Peace said:
The ship, if one could call a robot a ship, was named the Cristobal Colon. Many had held out for a different, generally more culturally sensitive and less eurocentric, name. These ranged from Saint Brendan and Leif Eriksson (obvious nonstarters) to Sinbad to Cheng Ho. Since the Americans were footing the bill, however, they got to choose. Moreover, they were, at the time, going through one of their periodic bouts of extreme nationalism. "Cristobal Colon" seemed good to them and the rest of the world could lump it.
Or you know, we'd follow our usual naming pattern for ships like this and call it either Enterprise, Explorer, Voyager III, Curiosity, Discovery, Traveller... you know, something without connections to genocide, large scale enslavement, horrific violence and failure. Usually that's a plus when considering a ship name.

A Desert Called Peace said:
The robot, or ship, was just under two meters in diameter and approximately nine long. Various projections—a radio telescope here, an antenna there—were attached to the outside. The computer that controlled it was deep inside, or as deep inside as one can get with a cylinder two meters across. The sail dwarfed the robot ship, though the sail massed very little and the ship several tons.

The ship was very fast, as men reckoned such things. Boosted by lasers fixed to the moon and floating in space, by the time the ship reached the point it was at it was going a very appreciable fraction of c. Everything was operating normally, though there was a bit of trouble in the Number Thirty-three vent. There were nearly a hundred such, however, which allowed Mission Control or the robot to steer the thing a bit. Even with one such operating at suboptimal efficiency, there was no danger.

Imagine the consternation at Mission Control, then, when the robot and sail seemed to wink out of existence completely. . . .
For all you non-autistics out there, basically what he's saying is propelling this spacecraft is the lasers. This isn't a new concept or anything, the problem with it (and with solar sails in general) is in efficiency, especially over distances. Like, holy shit, you need to understand just how ludicrously expensive and inefficient relying entirely on solar sails like this actually is. A gigawatt laser (which requires basically a dedicated, very large nuclear power plant) pumping full blast onto a solar sail produces a whopping total of a newton or two. If you payed attention in high school science classes, you should remember a newton is roughly the energy required a to move a single kilogram in a direction at about a meter per second. This ship weighs several tons, and is going an appreciable fraction of light speed. This isn't even getting into things like beam dispersion which would mean that the further the spacecraft moves away, the more powerful the laser required to increase speed even further, and a few other issues like just how long travel will take for the beam rider.

It's dumb. Very very dumb. Extremely fucking dumb. Especially when again, a nuclear thermal rocket will get you there twice as fast at half the energy cost and even less to your wallet from maintaining those lasers and building the power supplies for them. Solar sails also have the issue of trajectories even more complex than normal rocket science, and beyond about 100 AU can't rely on the Heliosphere as much for propulsion. Solar Sails however, are pretty useful for in system travel, if you're willing to wait around.

Total :drink:'s: 4

This should be named 'A Desert Called Exposition', because so far that's all I've been getting.
 

Techpriest

Praise the Machine Spirits
kiwifarms.net
CHAPTER 2: IN WHICH WE MEET TOM KRATMAN OUR PROTAGONIST

So just so you can get an idea of the world, I'm going to put the images for it in a spoiler. Technically this should belong in the prologue but fuck you it's been three years since I touched this garbage, so I'm putting it here.


Earth, but upside down. The Warhammer world map is better done than this.


He put as much effort into it as he did into this book.



This chapter starts out with a nice, fun and absolutely pretentious quote like the last one. I'm not going to copy paste it because again, as I've said before, the book is available in its entirety online. I encourage you to read along, because it's about to get crazy from here.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Cochea,
Provincia del Valle de las Lunas, Republica de Balboa,
Terra Nova, 10/7/459 AC


Art, precious metals and the occasional young slave were not the only in-demand product of Earth. Music, too, was popular, in particular the wild and violent sounds of the twentieth century. Earth literature also had its place on the new world. Both had been brought by the original immigrants in the form of computer discs. Much had been lost, of course, but much had survived the days from when the old computers wore out. Indeed, developing new machines capable of reading the old discs had given Terra Nova a leg up in artificial intelligence, generally.



As with many immigrant tongues on Old Earth—American English, Quebecois French and South African Dutch, for example— many of the languages of Terra Nova retained many features that had been lost to their mother tongues. Indeed, a man or woman of the twentieth century would likely have found the English of the Federated States more comprehensible than that commonly used by the Anglic-speaking proles of Old Earth. In any case, this made much of the older music of Old Earth quite in tune with Terra Novan listeners.

Of course, Latin hadn't changed in millennia. It was Latin— Satanic flavored Latin at that—which flowed from the speakers in the book-stuffed library:

O Fortuna
Velut Luna . . .
So it's the song based on this poem. And we're listening to this song, in specific. I have to admit that Kratman doesn't have the worst taste in music; even if he inaccurately describes it as 'satanic flavored' latin.

Take a :drink: everyone!
Drink Counter: 5

A Desert Called Peace said:
High on one wall of the library hung an ornate, embossed certificate, in Spanish, signifying a high decoration for valor from the Republic of San Vicente. The gilt name emblazoned on the award was Patricio Hennessey de Carrera. Posted beneath the certificate, framed with obvious pride, hung a letter of reprimand—in English—from a general officer of the Army of the Federated States of Columbia. It was addressed merely to "CPT Patrick Hennessey." Both certificates—dated fifteen years prior, long before Hennessey's promotion to his terminal rank—described the same series of events, though in rather different terms.

The library was large, with bookcases covering three of the substantial room's four walls. Against the fourth, under the certificate and the letter of reprimand, stood a desk and chair, each made in the main of dark-finished Lempiran mahogany, hand crafted and richly carved. A man approaching middle age, just beginning to go gray at the temples and with a face weathered beyond its years with the wear of sun and rain, sat at the desk, eyes fixed on a book.
Gee, who could this dashing, blue eyed military man who feels slighted by the military establishment be, I wonder?


The book was one of many. Reaching floor to ceiling, the volume- packed shelves of the library held the essence of a lifetime's interest and study, more than seven thousand volumes in all. Even over the broad, deep desk more bookshelf space was stacked and—like the other shelves—filled to overflowing. Still more reference material resided on computer micro-discs inside cases stuffed to the brim.

Despite appearances, there was an order and a theme to the volumes. The library was, in the main, about war. If there was a book on the plastic arts—and there were several—the owner had studied them because he knew that art had propaganda value in war. If there was a book on music—and there were dozens—that was because music, too, was both a weapon of war and a remarkably subtle yet powerful tool for training for war. If there were books on the Marxism that had made its reappearance under the Volgan tsar during the Great Global War—and there were some few—it was because the reader believed in knowing one's enemy.
So he studies war. What a surprise.

There was even a copy of the Koran.
Note that he doesn't mention any other holy book here in this chapter.

However, most of the library was more obviously military. The collection covered, as nearly and completely as possible on Terra Nova, every human age and culture as it pertained to armed conflict. An English translation of Vegetius rested next to another copy in the original Latin. Apparently not as confident in his Greek as in his Latin, the reader kept most of Xenophon in bilingual texts—Greek and English alternating pages. Plato, Rousseau, Machiavelli, Aristotle, Hitler, Lenin, Mao, Annan, Nussbaum, Harris, Steyn, Fallacci, Yen, Peng and Rostov . . . war was about philosophy and politics, too, and so the reader studied those as well.

Eyes fixing upon the Nussbaum work, a gift from his parents many years prior, the reader thought, Amazing that that line of thought should have succeeded in contaminating not one but two worlds. What utter nonsense!
So, Nussbaum is an interesting philosopher with a focus on sexuality, the feelings of shame and disgust and how they affect our behavior and legal morals, and ethical dilemmas regarding the purity of justice and platonic idealism vs Aristotle's take on the vulnerabilities of man's decisions. I highly doubt Kratman has ever even cracked open one of her books.

A stranger, given time to realize the single-minded purposefulness of the library, might eventually have concluded that the reader considered war his art; perhaps all he cared about.
Well, yes, dear narrator, everything you've shown us has told the reader that he indeed seems to care mostly for war and war related accessories.

The stranger would have been wrong. War was not all the reader cared about, nor even what he cared most about. It had been a job and was still a hobby; it was not a life.
:story:
"It's not a life guys, even though I write only about war and read things only about war!"

Everything about Kratman Hennessey to me reads 'Vet who never fully and successfully adjusted to civilian life.'

The reader, one Patrick Hennessey, late of the Army of the Federated States of Columbia, put down the book he had been studying and closed his eyes, deep in thought.

Decision Cycle Theory, the Observation-Orientation-Decision- Action loop, plainly was working against Nagumo at Midway on Old Earth. How and why is combat on the ground different? Friction? Scale and scope? The vulnerability of large single targets like aircraft and aircraft carriers compared with the endurance and ability to soak up punishment of ground forces composed of many small units and separate individuals? Nagumo's pure frigging bad luck?

Hennessey's aquiline face frowned in concentration. Pale blue eyes, normally slightly too large for the size of that face, narrowed. A viewer would not have been able to see the darker circles around the irises that typically gave those eyes their frighteningly penetrating quality. "The eyes of a madman," said some, not always jokingly.

Have to think on this one. Hennessey resumed his reading.

The satanic sounding Latin piece ended, to be replaced by:

Our hero pretentiously attempts to confuse the reader by discussing the OODA loop and Midway and tries to connect tactical naval and land warfare together (which is pretty much impossible since tactically the missile age has totally ended the 'line of battle' concept that dominated ships since cannons, if it ever was possible), to create some kind of unified milsperg theory of true and total victory. Only our hero, Kratman Hennessey is capable of asking all these deep questions.

We're dealing with an actual author self insert, in a book published professionally. I'm going to count all those rome/latin references as a single :drink: so we're up to six.

A Desert Called Peace said:
The cigarette was interesting, or, rather, the tobacco in it was. Despite many disapproving clucks from progressives back on Old Earth, a number of the early colonists had made sure to bring tobacco seeds. Once planted on Terra Nova, the tobacco had come under attack from a virus unknown on Old Earth. Whether this virus was native to Terra Nova, or a mutation from the earlier transplanting by the Noahs, or something unmodified and native to Old Earth that had either died out or never been identified; no one knew. The subject was hotly debated.

The effect of the virus, though, was to remove nearly all of the carcinogens from the tobacco. It remained addictive and was still rather unhealthy. It remained highly profitable to sell, the more so as it was considerably safer than Old Earth tobacco.

Of course, the sale and use of tobacco had come under even more virulent attack as Terra Nova developed its own brand of "progressive." Couching their arguments in terms of health, what these truly objected to was the profitability of the commodity. Progressives hated profit.

They hate profit, Hennessey thought, unless it's their own.

Hennessey knew about progressives. Especially did he know about cosmopolitan progressives, or Kosmos. He should have; he'd been raised to be one. The lessons had never quite taken.
And thus starts the main thrust of every Kratman work, the damn dirty progressives ruining his fun even when they have a point. Tobacco isn't healthy; at least not when smoked. The nicotine is addictive, but it is a drug with some use despite it's addictive qualities. I'm pretty sure that Kratman views weed as the devil's lettuce.

Krautman Hennessey then reflects on his peaceful life with his TOTALLY 18 WHEN HE MARRIED HER wife and children, their alien pet... thing, how the place he lives in, Panama Balboa is a tropical paradise

A Desert Called Peace said:
Balboa, being largely jungle and also somewhat sparsely settled, retained more than the usual amount of pre-settlement flora and fauna. Jinfeng was one example. But mixed in with the green of the jungle around the waterfall were some other species, bluegums and tranzitrees, the latter so named because their bright green-skinned fruit was intensely appetizing to look upon, and the mouthwatering red pulp inside intensely poisonous for man to eat.

Lower animals could eat tranzitree fruit without ill effect. It was conjectured in some circles that tranzitrees had been developed and placed on Terra Nova by the Noahs—the beings who had seeded the planet with life untold eons ago—expressly to prevent the rise of intelligence. Certainly the tranzitrees had been artificially created, as had bolshiberry bushes and progressivines. The latter two were, likewise, poisonous to intelligent life but harmless to lower forms. Their complex toxins did build up in some food animals, were they allowed to eat of them, rendering those animals equally toxic. This, too, would have tended to limit the development of civilization, even had early intelligent life managed to survive the tranzitrees, bolshiberries, and progressivines, by limiting the food supply.

The tranzitrees had no real use but aesthetics. The bluegums, on the other hand, were cultivated locally for their edible nuts, high grade lumber for cabinetry and furniture, and the refinable resin—a rubberlike compound—which gave them their name. All were blue, as were the trees' leaves. The leaves were used to make a rather good dye.
If you haven't picked up on it yet, this is Kratman's attempt at "subtle" social commentary. Anything left of God-President Reagan is pure irredeemable evil and must be destroyed. This whole book is about as subtle about it as the passage I just quoted above. Unlike Ringo, who usually puts his politics on his sleeve but (mostly) doesn't attempt to moralize about it and enjoys writing shlock and smut for the sake of schlock and smut, Kratman puts this stuff front and center in everything he writes, no matter how applicable or not applicable it might be.

Anyway, Kratman Hennessey is totally fine with exploiting the local corruption because he can, despite bemoaning it. His wife is part of a big political family he married into, and he uses those connections to do as he pleases in his retirement. He's got lunch guests of local military officials and the former military dictator of Panama Balboa, and he's also got a statue of his wife in the courtyard. Which is kind of creepy, when you think about it. Naturally his wife hates it, but Kratman Hennessey says it helps him out when she's gone from the house. FORESHADOWING!

A Desert Called Peace said:
First Landing,
Hudson,
Federated States of Columbia,
10/7/459 AC

There was a screeching of tires followed by curses and the tinkling of broken glass as Linda began to walk across the street to the restaurant where she was to meet with her husband's cousin, Annie. She scrunched her neck down, looking somehow guilty, and proceeded to cross.

For some women the word "breathtaking" was only bare justice. Linda Hennessey was one of them. Though she would never have claimed to be so, she was beautiful; simply beautiful, the kind of woman who can stop traffic on a busy downtown street just by being there. Hennessey had seen her do just that, more than once. It didn't usually cause a traffic accident, though. Still . . . that happened, too, sometimes.

On the other side there was a man leaving the restaurant in company with a woman. He walked into a lamppost. Linda tried not to notice.

She had to repeat herself three times to the maitre d' before he actually heard a word she said, and he was plainly gay. That wasn't caused by her accent. A wave of awed silence washed across the restaurant floor as she was led to the table where Annie awaited. Conversation didn't resume until she was seated and, for the most part, out of sight.

Dark complected, she had a high cheekboned, heart-shaped face set off by large, liquid brown eyes. She also had a classic 90-60-90 centimeter figure and though for modesty's sake she wore a bra, she didn't need one. Her breasts stood out and up on their own, as if she'd won the war with gravity and dictated her own terms. She had perfect teeth, even, straight and white like newly polished ivory. Her midnight black, wavy hair gathered light and cast it about her face like an angel's halo.
I had to laugh while reading this. It's dumb, really dumb, and out of place for the tone of the novel so far. Kratman's Hennessey's wife is so drop dead beautiful she causes traffic accidents, slapstick comedy, and gay men to reconsider their sexuality. She and Kratman's Hennessey's cousin Annie are having lunch together, discussing how our hero was pretty much disowned by his family (because he decided to enlist of all things, instead of going to a military academy), and how much the family dislikes Linda despite her being attractive, educated, perfect, etc. etc. Said family is only rich because they grafted themselves onto, to quote directly from the novel:

A Desert Called Peace said:
"After all, what is my family but a bunch of broken down farmers who grafted themselves onto some down and out families of WASPs? Well, and a few well-to-do Jews, too, of course."
Jews. Of course. Annie also mentions that Linda's family is rich, wealthy as fuck, from old money from Old Earth, and practically speaking nobility. It's no wonder that Kratman's Hennessey's family feels inadequate next to her. She's perfection, the author's ideal woman.

A Desert Called Peace said:
Zabol, Pashtia,
10/7/459 AC

Some miles from the center of the city of Zabol a bearded man hunched over a keyboard. Very slender and tall, as were most of his people, the man had to hunch deeply, uncomfortably, to perform his task. In the dim light the glow of the computer monitor illuminated his face to the semblance of a demon, though in daylight his face was quite decent and even handsome. Distantly, an electrical generator groaned, the sound traveling down damp, narrow hallways. The generator brought light and heat, and powered the fans that brought fresh air to this elaborate complex of caves and tunnels painstakingly carved and blasted from the living rock. The complex was one of several, not all of them in Pashtia.

Abdul Aziz Ibn Kalb brought up a free e-mail service, Firestarter, and then typed a sign-in name—"islandsrfrdude"—and a password. The screen changed to reveal an account with nothing but spam in the inbox, and no messages sent. He began to compose a meaningless message.

Composition completed, Aziz attached a photo as a jpeg file. The photo, properly processed, contained a message, simply, "CA39, Desperation Bay, Execute, 11/7."

Aziz saved the message to his draft folder, which was actually physically located on a server far, far away. He then closed the account. When it was opened later in the day, in Yithrab, it would be copied to a different account and saved into yet another draft folder and server. From there it would be opened in Lancaster in Anglia and copied yet again to a different account. Finally, when opened in the rebuilt city of Botulph, in the Federated States, it would never actually have been sent. There would be no easy trace to Zabol or to Abdul Aziz.

That task completed, Aziz typed into the computer, "Wahoo.sig."



Botulph, Federated States,
10/7/459 AC

"The orders are received. We go tomorrow."

"Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar," the swarthy men congratulated each other, shaking hands and slapping backs in unconstrained joy. God is great; God is great. Now, finally, they were chosen to strike a great blow against their greatest enemy. Now, at last, they would bring home to the Great Demon the meaning of war. Could there be any doubt of their coming success, their cause being just and the Most High being on their side?

"Shall we rehearse again?" asked the youngest member of the team.

The leader smiled indulgently and answered, "No need, Samadi. We have rehearsed so many times any one of us could cut a throat in our sleep. Go out. Have a good time. Just be asleep before midnight and remember that tomorrow night you will be feasting among the houris of Paradise."

Samadi simply shook his head in the negative and went to his room to study his flight manuals.

Yusef, the convert, likewise didn't go out. Instead he pulled out the guitar that he loved and began to play and sing something of his own composition:

"I've been dreamin' fait'f'ly
Dreamin' about the jihad to come . . ."
Yes. We're about to get Space 9/11 folks. Arranged by the Afganis Pakistanis Pashtians

The chapter ends with the standard interlude about the discovery of Terra Nova by the space probe after it goes through a portal, and Kratman vaguely attempting to make this entire work science fiction rather than a poorly disguised rant about the US military, society, and how much he loathes muslims. It's not even a super bad attempt at sci-fi either, though it contains this gem -
A Desert Called Peace said:
It was touch and go for a while but—to give NASA's executives their due; when they take a bribe to buy a Japanese-built gliding drone for interstellar exploration work, they at least make sure the drone can do the work before cashing the check—the glider skipped along, its microminiaturized camera and radar mapping the surface.
Which tells me that Tom Kratman most certainly does NOT like anime. Glider-chan did better than it's full blooded AMERICAN BOOTS ON THE GROUND counterpart, which was crushed by a large, hairy, and tusked animal.

DRINK :drink: TOTAL: 6

Overall, despite almost three years since I touched this pile of garbage, it's just as shit as I remember it. May whatever god there is out there have mercy on my soul and liver, because if you thought this was preachy, we're not even getting started yet.
 

3119967d0c

Sharif
kiwifarms.net
I recommend that everyone read Kratman's books (pirated).

I've paid for every single one, and as much as I hate neocons, they're still very entertaining. He really does his best to upsell his Mary Sue's wife as the best Central American whoar in the swingers club.

Anyone who enjoys them should read John Ringo's 'Paladin of Shadows' novels, they're like classic Cussler with more AMMURRICA worship (yes, it is possible) and S&M (sadly absent from 'Raise the Titanic'). And of course the best novel ever, the Kratman/Ringo collaboration 'Die Wacht am Rhein', where the Waffen SS are revived in the early 21st century to fight an alien invasion and reveal that they weren't wicked racists or socialists, and all they ever wanted to do was fight filthy Communists and fuck Jewish broads.
 
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Reactions: Randall Fragg

Capsaicin Addict

Just a fellow who loves spicy food.
kiwifarms.net
While Caliphate wasn't terrible, Kratman's Carrera series is just... wonky. The colonized 'New Terra' seems to have undergone the exact same goddamn rough arc of history that the original Earth did -- down to a quasi-WW2 where the Japanese colony got nuked by the USA colony. And then the UN nuked the USA colony, which pissed them off so bad they instituted a black project that culminated in developing good enough surface-to-space weapons that they could threaten the UN spaceships around the planet.

I don't blame people for pirating the books. But Michael Z. Williamson's stuff is a bit better.
 

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