Being the Bad Guy for a Good Cause

 

Larry Correia is best known for hard-edged urban fantasy. His Monster Hunter and Hard Magic series involve lots of firearms and fantastic creatures.

“Gun Runner,” by Larry Correia and John Brown is hard science fiction, set in a distant future that has interstellar travel. Yet Correia stays true to form. It is hard-edged and involves lots of firearms and fantastic creatures.

Captain Nicholas Holloway owns Multipurpose Supply VehicleTar Heel, an interstellar cargo ship. He is a gun runner. He and his crew are not in it just for the money. They provide banned weapons to societies who need them to fight animals on their home planets or to battle crazies with better political connections to Earth Bloc bureaucrats.

Jason Rook is a member of Holloway’s crew. He piloted an exosuit mech in the Gloss rebellion against the Collectivists. Then the Collectivists enslaved him through illegal brain control – which Earth Bloc did nothing to stop. Holloway rescued as Rook just as the rebellion was collapsing. Rook has been with Holloway ever since.

Now Rook and Holloway are on a new mission: steal a Citadel, the latest, greatest top-of-the-line mech available. They are going to deliver it to Swindle, a world with a corrosive atmosphere and apex predators that make Tyrannosaurus Rexes look wimpy. Swindle’s citizens need military-grade hardware to survive, but those weapons are under an Earth Bloc ban. They claim Swindle’s ruler is a tyrant.

Even a broken clock is right occasionally, and it turns out this time the Earth Bloc is right. Swindle’s ruler is Idi Amin-level crazy and cruel. What do you do when you discover you are not on the side of the angels this time?

You fix it.

Jason Rook plans to do just that. Despite the odds, and even when his allies are as much of a hindrance as his enemies. Even if it means he has to confront his fear of becoming mentally enslaved again.

Correia and Brown have put together an action-packed adventure filled with giant robots, bandits, and murderers. They have thrown in dinosaurs (or rather extraterrestrial equivalents) as a bonus. There are good guys and bad guys, and enough ambiguity to make it unclear at first which are which. Add a touch of libertarian politics to fight overweening bureaucracy and you have the story.

“Gun Runner” is space opera at its best. Fun and fast-paced, it is an entertaining read.

“Gun Runner,” by Larry Correia and John Brown , Baen Books, 2021, 384 pages, $25.00 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Ebook)

This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.

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  1. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Sounds like a fun read. Need to add it to my ever growing stack of books to read.

    • #1
  2. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Bought.  Downloaded.  Ready to go on the Kindle.  Thank you, Seawriter.

    • #2
  3. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    It’s on my list, thanks to Larry’s plugs over at Monster Hunter Nation. Thanks for promoting it here. 

    • #3
  4. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    OK, I’m adding it to my list.  Thanks for the review, Seawriter.

    • #4
  5. HankMorgan Coolidge
    HankMorgan
    @HankMorgan

    It was good, not particularly great. Doesn’t hold up to The Forgotten Warrior or MHI.

    It’s a fun time with some interesting background worldbuilding that could be the basis for a great universe. That said, it isn’t breaking any new ground or executing so well that it breaks any molds.

    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    • #5
  6. mildlyo Member
    mildlyo
    @mildlyo

    Bought it!

    • #6
  7. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    • #7
  8. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    Yer back.  How’s Jack?

    • #8
  9. HankMorgan Coolidge
    HankMorgan
    @HankMorgan

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    I’d call it a lukewarm review, suffering from my high expectations. It doesn’t rise above the usual sci-fi stuff when I had been hoping for more given that it’s Larry Correia.

    I enjoyed it and will read any sequels, but I’m not marking the days until the next one like Forgotten Warrior. If it had been from a no name author I’d say it was pretty good and would think of it as a promising start.

    • #9
  10. Jim Wright Member
    Jim Wright
    @JimW

    I’m reading it now and enjoying it – not Peak Larry, but it keeps me reading.

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    Yer back. How’s Jack?

    Still writing the fourth book. At 92,455 words on that at the moment. Not really back. Just taking a break.

    • #11
  12. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Still writing the fourth book. At 92,455 words on that at the moment. Not really back. Just taking a break.

    Umm . . . 92,000 words.  When are you done?

    • #12
  13. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Still writing the fourth book. At 92,455 words on that at the moment. Not really back. Just taking a break.

    Umm . . . 92,000 words. When are you done?

    Some point over 100,000. Sweet spot of 100-130,000 words. Series is like this so far:

    Story Words Parts
    A Day in the Life of Jack the Magicless 2781 1
    Mystery of the Missing Mermaid 17155 6
    The Case of His Majesty’s Ghost 8814 3
    The Spreading of the Sanctification Spell 12378 5
    The Case of the Mad Dog 26948 9
    The Case of the Concealed Conjurer and the Catalog 18785 7
    The Case of the Magical Curse 15646 5
      102507 36
         
    The Case of the Unpuzzled Detective 17145 6
    The Case of Peace in our Time 17701 6
    The Case of the Duplicate Prince 17664 6
    The Mystery of the Stolen Crown 18871 7
    The Case of the Long-Dead Fence 25501 9
    The Mystery of Zodiac 22536 8
      119418 42
         
    The Story of the Rising Men 14865 5
    The Case of Authority’s Coin 15142 6
    The Baffler of the Bannerman Box 7968 3
    The Case of the Occupied Caterer 11450 4
    The Case of the Hereditary Office 24921 9
    The Reformation of Zodiac’s Bull 40251 15
      114597 42
         
    The Case of the Captainless Ship 20759 8
    The Adoption of a Dwerrow Prince 11162 4
    The Case of the Magical Baby 10658 4
    The Case of the Kingdom of Christ 11715 4
    The Case of the Duplicate Jacks 17447 6
    The Mystery of the Four Halls 15629 6
    • #13
  14. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Still writing the fourth book. At 92,455 words on that at the moment. Not really back. Just taking a break.

    Umm . . . 92,000 words. When are you done?

    They’re novels, not cool non-fiction books with pictures. 😁

    • #14
  15. Weeping Member
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    I’d call it a lukewarm review, suffering from my high expectations. It doesn’t rise above the usual sci-fi stuff when I had been hoping for more given that it’s Larry Correia.

    I enjoyed it and will read any sequels, but I’m not marking the days until the next one like Forgotten Warrior. If it had been from a no name author I’d say it was pretty good and would think of it as a promising start.

    Except it’s not just Correia. It was a collaboration – one in which both of the authors did the writing. Correia talks about it here: Using a Goofy Review to Give a Peek Behind the Curtain of How Collaborations Work  – an interesting look at how the process worked.

     

    • #15
  16. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Still writing the fourth book. At 92,455 words on that at the moment. Not really back. Just taking a break.

    Umm . . . 92,000 words. When are you done?

    They’re novels, not cool non-fiction books with pictures. 😁

    Yeah, but most novels are 100K or so, unless we are talking Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, or maybe Ken Follett. Dumas doesn’t really count since all of his books were newspaper serializations.

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Yeah, but most novels are 100K or so, unless we are talking Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, or maybe Ken Follett. Dumas doesn’t really count since all of his books were newspaper serializations.

    Right. Actually, I am treating these as if they were serializations, too. That’s why I am managing to write so quickly.

    • #17
  18. HankMorgan Coolidge
    HankMorgan
    @HankMorgan

    Weeping (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    I’d call it a lukewarm review, suffering from my high expectations. It doesn’t rise above the usual sci-fi stuff when I had been hoping for more given that it’s Larry Correia.

    I enjoyed it and will read any sequels, but I’m not marking the days until the next one like Forgotten Warrior. If it had been from a no name author I’d say it was pretty good and would think of it as a promising start.

    Except it’s not just Correia. It was a collaboration – one in which both of the authors did the writing. Correia talks about it here: Using a Goofy Review to Give a Peek Behind the Curtain of How Collaborations Work – an interesting look at how the process worked.

    Well, my favorite MHI books are the ones he wrote with John Ringo. I expect the awesomeness to maintain during collabs. Plus Larry was raving about how great it went.

    • #18
  19. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    Well, my favorite MHI books are the ones he wrote with John Ringo. I expect the awesomeness to maintain during collabs. Plus Larry was raving about how great it went.

    That may be a one-off. Those collaborations were almost fanfic by Ringo. He got so excited about the Monster Hunter universe he wrote the three books without consulting Correia. Then he decided they might be worth publishing. Only then did he contact Correia and essentially say, “Hey, Larry, buddy. Look at these and tell me if I can play in your sandbox for real.” Ringo may have worked it out of his system.

    Not to say there won’t be occasional guest appearances by one of the two in the other’s universes, but I don’t know if you will see another three book collaboration. 

    • #19
  20. Weeping Member
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Weeping (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    I’d call it a lukewarm review, suffering from my high expectations. It doesn’t rise above the usual sci-fi stuff when I had been hoping for more given that it’s Larry Correia.

    I enjoyed it and will read any sequels, but I’m not marking the days until the next one like Forgotten Warrior. If it had been from a no name author I’d say it was pretty good and would think of it as a promising start.

    Except it’s not just Correia. It was a collaboration – one in which both of the authors did the writing. Correia talks about it here: Using a Goofy Review to Give a Peek Behind the Curtain of How Collaborations Work – an interesting look at how the process worked.

    Well, my favorite MHI books are the ones he wrote with John Ringo. I expect the awesomeness to maintain during collabs. Plus Larry was raving about how great it went.

    I’ve only read the first book in that series. I thought it was ok. Considering the fact that that genre isn’t one I usually read or enjoy, me thinking the book was ok is probably pretty high praise for Correia’s writing.

    • #20
  21. HankMorgan Coolidge
    HankMorgan
    @HankMorgan

    Weeping (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Weeping (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    If you like standard sci-fi actiony stories with a fair bit a humor done reasonably well then this is perfect for you.

    Ya see, that’s not a negative review. 😁

    I’d call it a lukewarm review, suffering from my high expectations. It doesn’t rise above the usual sci-fi stuff when I had been hoping for more given that it’s Larry Correia.

    I enjoyed it and will read any sequels, but I’m not marking the days until the next one like Forgotten Warrior. If it had been from a no name author I’d say it was pretty good and would think of it as a promising start.

    Except it’s not just Correia. It was a collaboration – one in which both of the authors did the writing. Correia talks about it here: Using a Goofy Review to Give a Peek Behind the Curtain of How Collaborations Work – an interesting look at how the process worked.

    Well, my favorite MHI books are the ones he wrote with John Ringo. I expect the awesomeness to maintain during collabs. Plus Larry was raving about how great it went.

    I’ve only read the first book in that series. I thought it was ok. Considering the fact that that genre isn’t one I usually read or enjoy, me thinking the book was ok is probably pretty high praise for Correia’s writing.

    The first book is the worst in the series for sure. Honestly, I only “like” the books where Owen is the main character. I’ll rank every non-Owen book over the main Owen books, because the non-Owen books are great.

    Funny thing is that I kinda like Owen as a character. It’s probably because I’m not big on the whole “chosen one” trope…it feels too pre-destination and mary-sue-ish to me.

    • #21
  22. HankMorgan Coolidge
    HankMorgan
    @HankMorgan

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    HankMorgan (View Comment):
    Well, my favorite MHI books are the ones he wrote with John Ringo. I expect the awesomeness to maintain during collabs. Plus Larry was raving about how great it went.

    That may be a one-off. Those collaborations were almost fanfic by Ringo. He got so excited about the Monster Hunter universe he wrote the three books without consulting Correia. Then he decided they might be worth publishing. Only then did he contact Correia and essentially say, “Hey, Larry, buddy. Look at these and tell me if I can play in your sandbox for real.” Ringo may have worked it out of his system.

    Not to say there won’t be occasional guest appearances by one of the two in the other’s universes, but I don’t know if you will see another three book collaboration.

    Honestly, I think John Ringo is probably my favorite writer on a book to book basis (eh, probably tied with Jim Butcher), certainly my favorite first-book-of-a-series-writer of all time. If he could just finish out series instead of writing himself into corners (or out of motivation) and moving on…..

    The beauty of Ringo writing a full and complete series in the MHI world (which is an absolutely top tier world) can’t really be overstated.

    • #22