The proggies just don’t get it

and neither do the enemies of the United States, but that’s always been the case.

What prompted the current iteration of this observation was an Amazon review that is currently the first review you see for the first volume of Richard Fox’s Ember War series, entitled naturally, The Ember War.  It’s by a reviewer yclept “Hazelcatada”, and it’s entitled “Mediocre Writing and Offensive Racism“, which should tell you all you need to know about this person.  Because I like to ensure that such things remain visible even if the person decides later to disappear their ravings, here is the entire review:

I was aware, from the reviews, when I purchased this book that it would be a mediocre read and it lived up to that expectation. Fairly Buck Rogers type action and wooden dialogue. I was even willing to accept the eye-roll inducing characterization of the Chinese as bad guys. What finally pushed me over the line was the islamophobic characterizations of Muslims and the, quite literal, descriptions of American soldiers as knights in shining armor. It’s obvious this author is stuck in a dated mind set and attempted to make up for his lack of talent as a science fiction writer with a 50’s era machismo and a troubling modern era racism. My biggest regret is that, by my purchase, I helped financially support this book.

Christ, do you even science fiction?

OK, so…privileged, woke snowflake knows book is going to be “mediocre” before she buys it (and yes, with that handle, I’m presuming her gender, so fuck off).  I don’t know about her, but if I “know” a book is going to be mediocre before I buy it, I’m really unlikely to buy it (and it’s not hard to figure out that a book is mediocre — there are a lot of “tells” you can pick up from an Amazon listing without even doing a “Look Inside” for books that have that feature — but she flat out admits she read other reviews and formed that prejudicial opinion from them).  So why did she buy it in the first place?  Because she wanted to give it a one-star review, and wanted to be sure she had that “verified purchaser” tag on her review?

Well, I borrowed the book on Kindle Unlimited last night and read the whole thing before I turned out the light and went to sleep.  FYI, minor spoilers ahead, but nothing that should really ruin anyone’s read of the book; I tried not to be terribly specific.

In my opinion, the author wrote a pretty rippingly-good tale about a bot swarm invasion and what one human was able to put into motion, thanks to help from an alliance of the swarm’s past victims, to prevent it from being a total wipeout of humanity.  To get to that point, he had to explain why the Chinese were put into the position of being bad guys, and he did, and there was nothing “eye-roll inducing” about it.  Frankly he wasn’t saying anything a lot of folks aren’t already saying about the Chinese hegemonic push into the South China Sea.

And “islamophobic characterizations of Muslims”, well, to be honest, he discusses this in any kind of detail exactly once and it’s in the context of something anyone who has half a brain figures is going to happen within the next couple of decades at the latest.  I did think the description of American armored soldiers that mentioned a particular feature of their “shining armor” decoration was a little over the top, but so far as I recall (and as noted, I read it last night), the book is not “islamophobic”, nor is it racist, while it does paint a pretty good picture of what a lot of folks think needs to happen to Islamics who can’t assimilate into the larger world order.*

So far as a “dated mind set” goes, no, it’s not a dated mindset at all.  It’s quite current among a very large number of Americans, most of whom voted for Donald Trump, which I assume Hazelcatada did not — she sounds like a Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders supporter to me.  Mr. Fox actually does have writing talent, regardless of her ad hominem attack on him, and he’s hardly got “50’s era machismo” — for what it’s worth, any real man has got plain old everyday machismo in any era — or “a troubling modern era racism” — none of his characters ever approach anything from a truly racist standpoint; one pilot becomes violent about three Chinese prisoners because of circumstances, not because she is racist, and then turns right around and asks those three Chinese prisoners to join in the next attack because they need all the pilots they can find.  And again, as I already stated before, Fox (through his MacGuffin) explains why it was necessary for the Chinese to be the great enemy, and does so convincingly enough for me to suspend disbelief.

A true reading of history (and as my reader is hopefully aware, I have a degree in history) tells us a couple of things that make The Ember War simply a logical extension of both historical and current events.

First, the Second Islamic Invasion of Europe is already underway and its agents are deeply imbedded into most of Europe’s polities, other than those countries that have specifically said they will not allow their borders to be violated willy-nilly by so-called refugees from the Middle East.  The latter countries are Hungary, and to a lesser extent, Poland.  The Germans, fully aware of their dwindling birthrate and unable to come up with a better way to support their cradle-to-grave welfare state, hit some years back on the idea of letting Islamics immigrate to make up the difference; and this idea spread to much of the rest of the EU.  The result is a huge and growing crime rate, young women being raped on the streets by gangs of Islamic men, calls for the use of Sharia law in the courts and in the ghettos where Islamic immigrants congregate (which are often, in Paris in particular, no-go zones for the police), and will eventually result in the Islamification of Europe if the Europeans don’t do something about it — soon.  Normally I couldn’t care less about Europe, but the fact is that when Europe gets the flu, the US generally starts coughing, and twice in the last century we sent millions of antibodies (er, troops) over to Europe to snuff out the European Stupid Disease.  That we might have to do it again in this century because of the current and continuing “soft” Islamic invasion — the result of another manifestation of European Stupid Disease — would not surprise me.  Naturally it would surprise progressives, who cannot imagine Islam to be anything but a fuzzy-bunny religion of peace, when it is both demonstrably and textually nothing of the sort.

Second, the Chinese drive for hegemony is also already underway, not just in the South China Sea, but anywhere in the world where the “Belt and Road Initiative” has taken root, and is nothing less than a continuation of the historical Chinese conceit that they are the center of the universe** and should rule all of it.  The Chinese are a proud people (at least their elites are) and remember a day when the Emperor of China was the supreme ruler of half of Asia.  That they are today calling themselves Communists is immaterial; their current Supreme Leader is nothing less than the Son of Heaven wearing a Western business suit.  But the Chinese have internal problems at least partly due to liberalizations and faux capitalism introduced by previous Supreme Leaders, and partly due to the Islamic awakening that has taken place in the distant province of Xinjiang, which is more like a -stan than it is Chinese.  It has proven difficult for the Chinese to put down dissent and unrest in Xinjiang, so naturally it is going about doing so in its patented heavy-handed way.  Nothing really new there that a Chinese peasant couldn’t have told you a thousand years ago.  Then of course there is the Tibetan adventure which takes up a good deal of Chinese blood and treasure, the North Korean client who has got to be quite the headache for Chairman Xi.  So what do you do when you’ve got problems at home?  Of course, you export the revolution, and that’s precisely what China has done by attempting to (and doing a pretty good job of) exerting its hegemony over parts of the South China Sea that are in dispute with other countries, like Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc.  This is something the Obama Administration cowardly let happen and on which the Trump Administration reversed course, by sending show-the-flag, freedom of navigation missions through the area on a regular basis to remind the Chinese that they’re not really the boss.

So in two areas, Mr. Fox (remember him?  This is about his book) has done his homework and has projected a future in which the Islamic Invasion of Europe has succeeded in at least one European country, and the Chinese have extended their hegemony as far south as Australia.  Comes now Mr. Fox’s MacGuffin, which provides the reason why, in his future history, Americans sent the Islamics packing back to the sandbox and why the subsequent Atlantic Union has found itself such bitter adversaries with the Chinese.  These are not inherently racist, Islamophobic, or macho themes — they simply proceed logically from the background both historical and fictional that Mr. Fox has set up, and they are 100% believable if one can successfully suspend disbelief for the MacGuffin.

The bottom line is there is really nothing in Hazelcatada’s “review” of The Ember War that bears any particular congruence with the actual plot of or characterizations found in that novel.  The review is a hit piece that is clearly intended to wound the sales of Mr. Fox’s book and series (in which it apparently has not succeeded).  Hazelcatada has written precisely four reviews for Amazon products since November 2011 — two of which are for books, and in neither case does she like the author, so apparently she comes only to bury authors, not to praise them — and apparently has never reviewed any science fiction book either before or after she reviewed The Ember War in November 2018.  It is impossible to say whether she actually reads science fiction on a regular basis or not; ditto on whether or not any of it is military science fiction, most of which uses a lot of the same tropes and which should not come as a surprise when she finds them used in The Ember War.  I submit that, based solely on this flip analysis, Hazelcatada is not actually a science fiction fan, nor does she regularly read military science fiction. Which calls into question why she bothered first of all to read the book, and then bothered further to write a negative review of it, unless there was some odd external impetus to do so.  Hazelcatada is of course welcome to log in and comment here and rebut any of this, but I doubt she can do so convincingly.

And I still don’t understand why a one-star review with five comments is the first review you see for this book.  There are at this moment 641 reviews of the book, and 12 are one-star.  90% of the reviews are 4 and 5 star.  The average review for the book is 4.4 stars.

So it would seem that this crap one-star review should be off the page somewhere and not front and center as it currently is.  The Ember War is a good read, and sets the stage well for the series, the second book of which I intend to purchase tonight.  And it certainly doesn’t deserve to be one-starred by some little triggered proggie cunt who probably should have followed her first instinct and not bothered with it to begin with.


* Hell, I’m writing stories where Islamics get a choice of leaving the planet for an isolated colony world, assimilating into human society as Reform Muslims with a properly-redacted Koran, or dying.  But that’s after radical Islamics, e.g., Al Qaeda or ISIS, set off a container nuke in a large port city in the US.  Appeasement doesn’t work, and in reality we’re lucky they haven’t actually managed to do something like that yet.

** There is a reason why the first character in the word “China” is the character for “center”.  The old “Middle Kingdom” moniker comes directly from that, and unfortunately obscures the true meaning of the name: 中国, “Zhongguó”, which means literally, “central country”.  When the name of your country literally means you are the center of everything, you get arrogant like the Persians, who also still think they are the destined rulers of mankind just because they had an empire 2,500 years ago.