I love a used book store.
What you’re going to find, you never know. The smell of old books, the sight of shelves of different titles; there’s just something about it.
Another thing I love is science fiction; my tastes have changed over the years, matured perhaps, but overall it’s been pretty consistent.
So t’ other day I went on a special outing, getting out of the house for a couple hours to go to one of the few remaining used book stores here in South Carolina and see what I could find.
In the second sweep through the F&SF section I came across a book called The Caliphate, by Tom Kratman. Picked it up, read the back.
“Slavery is a part of Islam . . . Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” —Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, author of the religious textbook At-Tawhid (“Monotheism”) and senior Saudi cleric.
Demography is destiny. In the 22nd century European deathbed demographics have turned the continent over to the more fertile Moslems. Atheism in Europe has been exterminated. Homosexuals are hanged, stoned or crucified. Such Christians as remain are relegated to dhimmitude, a form of second class citizenship. They are denied arms, denied civil rights, denied a voice, and specially taxed via the Koranic yizya. Their sons are taken as conscripted soldiers while their daughters are subject to the depredations of the continent’s new masters.
In that world, Petra, a German girl sold into prostitution as a slave at the age of nine to pay her family’s yizya, dreams of escape. Unlike most girls of the day, Petra can read. And in her only real possession, her grandmother’s diary, a diary detailing the fall of European civilization, Petra has learned of a magic place across the sea: America. But it will take more than magic to free Petra and Europe from their bonds; it will take guns, superior technology, and a reborn spirit of freedom.
Yeesh. It’s like the wet dreams of the Pamela Gellar crowd – Decadent irrational politically correct Europe falls under the iron heel of
Nazism Islam, incidentally destroying the liberal atheists and gays who foolishly defended Muslims (HA SUCK IT LIBTARDS) but *A*M*E*R*I*C*A* stays free, bastion of proper Christian conservativism and gun ownership! Guns and technology and freedom! Whee!
Not my speed, so I stuck it back on the shelf. But then, I thought – just a lil’ look, see if it’s all that bad.
Prologue: An eagle eats a rabbit. Cruel vicious predator stoops on defenseless rabbit who only wants to live, tearing out its soft throat for its own cruel predatorial purposes ALLEGORY ALLEGORY DO YOU GET IT BING BING BING!
And with the first chapter I gave up, maybe six pages in or so, since apparently the whole damn book is written like that, subtle as a crowbar to the back of the head, and one of the very first characters we get to see is probably the laziest damn character trope possible, The Grinning Sadist.
Three Islamic Royals are out on a rabbit hunt (DID YOU READ THE PROLOGUE PEOPLE HELLO HELLO) and contemptuously contemplating the SLAVES they RULE OVER, the Nazrani (an Islamic term for “Christians”) and how they’re JUST LIKE HELPLESS RABBITS ARE YOU LISTENING RED FLAG WAVING HERE FOLKS and how THEY, the MASTERS, can buy GUNS GUNS GUNS and the infidels can’t, MOO HOO HAW HAW. And the TAXES they will collect, and the young girls they will seize as a BONUS! WE’RE SOOO EEEEVILLLLL!
Yeah. Bad. I haven’t seen something this ham-handed since The Apple. Or maybe Sax Rohmer. Put it back again, shuddered, went off to spend that $1 on a copy of John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up instead.
Oh, but it gets better. Then I took a look at the Amazon listing for the book.
The author’s bio says he “became a political refugee and defector from the PRM (People’s Republic of Massachusetts) by virtue of joining the Regular Army”, HO HO HO People’s Republic of Massachusetts HOW WITTY, WILDE even though he left the authoritarianism of Massachusetts and its Republican governor for, um, the authoritarianism of the United States Government Army. (Brilliant! *sigh*) Then after fleeing collectivism in favor of collectivism, he went back “as an unofficial dissident”, JUST LIKE THE SOVIET UNION except with less oppression and gulags and more clam chowder, presumably smuggling his manuscripts out of Taxachusetts in the dead of night so roaming gangs of progressive thugs don’t intercept them.
Blah blah books he’s churned out and “three collaborations with John Ringo”, oh joy look, it’s Jingo Ringo, how I just love his books, they’re just like everywhere! How nice I can’t find books on the backlist for Ken MacLeod or Alstair Reynolds because the entire SF section in every bookstore I enter is clogged up with John Ringo books like cholesterol in a Teabagger’s carotid. (And David Weber, and S. M. Stirling, and all the other MilSkiffy bloviators. Whee.)
The reviews are a joy to behold; typical five-star “OMFG JUST LIKE IT WILL BE IN THE FUTURE OR MAYBE EVEN RIGHT NOW” argle bargle from the greenbaiting crowd who’ve been watching too much FAUX. Samples from just the first page:
This book (written a few years ago) is both entertaining and informative. I highly recommend reading the afterword for some good information from a knowledgeable man.
Want to see the possible future? Read this book. LTC Kratman knows the enemy and tells it like it could be if allowed to continue.
Should be mandatory reading for college students.
A very timely book with a clear warning of the posable future of the world though I think that America’s might be much darker than portrayed and very likely more balkanized.I really enjoyed the book. A truly modern look at a real life issue in a science fiction framework. The characters were life like and believes.
And that last one (grammar fail aside) is the real crux of the matter – we’re not talking alien invasion, we’re dealing with the “real world” or at least some twisted view of it. It’s Third World War THE ROOSKIES IS COMIN’ TO GIT US flabble updated for the War on Terror world.
And the Right People liked it – viz:
“Kratman’s dystopia is a brisk page turner full of startling twists … [Kratman is] a professional military man … up to speed on military and geopolitical conceits.” –best-selling author of America Alone Mark Steyn on Tom Kratman’s uncompromising military SF thriller, Califate
That would be this geopolitical whiz Mark Steyn:
On December 30, 2003, Steyn went so far as to explicitly mock “those wise old foreign policy birds who get everything wrong but never seem to notice.” The naysayers “acknowledge that America has won swift victories in Afghanistan and Iraq,” but warn that the United States is “meddling with ancient, complex cultural forces that will come back to bite them in the butt,” he scoffed. “Whatever gets you through the night, boys.” In the same column, he went on to observe that “despite innumerable warnings from these Western defeatists about the folly of provoking the incendiary ‘Arab street,’ that same street is now in the third year of its deep slumber.”
What a wonderful endorsement from such a wise person!
I forget – how’d that meddling with cultural forces thing Steyn so airily dismisses thing work out?
So the point I’m making here is, yes, there’s an element of ISIS—I don’t know how dominant it is within the group—that is, you know, trying to establish the caliphate. And they are beheading people. And they are imposing a very strict interpretation of sharia law. But there are also—and I would suspect that they’re best military figures—there is also a large contingent of people that are fighting the same battle that they were fighting when the United States originally invaded. The fact is, there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before George W. Bush took—made the decision to invade it, except in the Kurdish region in the north of Iraq, which was not under Saddam Hussein’s control. In fact, it was under the control of U.S.-backed entities. And that was Ansar al-Islam. Saddam Hussein’s forces were fighting that group.
Of course, from the look of his other books, Mr. Tom would just say we didn’t use enough firepower, we weren’t harsh enough, we didn’t finish the job. Not enough bombs, not enough killing. Kind of like this guy.
But the real magic of Mr. Tom is his reaction to the one-star reviews, where he responds by kindly thanking the reviewer for being offended. Because that’s important – you gotta score points! You gotta offend the libtards! You gotta eat that spotted owl cheeseburger while wearing furs and watching NASCAR, because that’s going to make liberals SO MAD! OOOOOH! And, who knows, if we’re harsh enough and poke that hornet’s nest long enough maybe there’ll be another terror attack by the Islamonazistalinists so we can get another HE-MAN Republican in the White House who won’t worry about “international law” and “world opinion” and the commie UN and fight a REAL war and our team’ll WIN! Woo-hoo! THAT’LL score points! U-S-A! U-S-A! And then we can all go drink beer at Hooters!
Real mature, in other words. *shakes head*
So, yeah, not on my list to read, buy, browse, or even torrent. Or to put it in more appropriate terms:
I will not read this awful book,
I will not read it on a Nook.
I will not read it on a train,
Will not read it on a plane.
I will not read it in a bar,
Nor on a CD in car.
Not even were it free
For this is not a book for me.
So goodbye, goodbye, Mr. K,
From your books I’ll stay away.