10/15/2013 by syrbal-labrys
Ok, I promised to deal with my fall into my non-fiction addiction, right? And I will. But first, I must snark a bit about WHY I have a non-fiction addiction. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good fiction and ADORE a good science fiction book. So, getting a link telling me ‘what to read in sci-fi‘ this year should have made me smile, right? Not so bloody much. When I eliminate anything that is a series, (I HATE series! I refuse to read trilogies even until they are ALL out in a library…and with MY library, that takes an eternity), and what I call ‘cheapo’ fantasy….stuff that sounds more suited to comic book treatment; there isn’t much left of that list!
George Martin and Terry Brooks can fuck RIGHT off, for instance. Martin USED to write good books, now he writes TRIPE that only works in pictures. Brooks began as a plagarist and can kiss my ass before he gets one second of my time or one cent of my money. I also seriously dislike Gabaldon, I read three of her books TRYING to like her but only succeeded in getting more disgusted by the sadism she displays in her stories. I don’t really care for what they call “military sci fi” and a lot of what I saw seems derivative of older stuff even in the fantasy works. I don’t care much for Stephen King, so I have doubts I’d like something by his son, Joe Hill. I don’t like horror and graphic novels bore me to tears for the most part.
So out of the long list? I came up with maybe SIX that I would consider buying. Those would be: “Malice”, “Shaman”, “Ancillary Justice”, “Chosen” (maybe), “The Dead Run”, and “The Incrementalists”. And of the many trilogies? Maybe two I might look for at the library somewhere down the road….but maybe not. I didn’t see a whole lot of what I would even CALL “science fiction”…fantasy dominated the list.
Ok, now having pissed off fantasy lovers….onward to NON-fiction. Though some of it reads like a dire sort of fantasy to be honest. Books 42 and 43 of my year’s reading:
“The Gurkhas” by Byron Farwell and “The Gurkhas” by John Parker
Skip the first and read the second if you are reading only one, ok? Parker quotes so extensively from the first that had I known, I would have skipped the earlier publication!
The Gurkhas are Nepalese hill tribesmen who have been jointing the British military since the days of the East India Trading Company. They are exceptional people and exceptionally brave. They are Hindu and must have extensively studied the advice of Krishna to Arjuna in the epic Mahabharata…they act in such fearless manner as to astonish. The Gurkhas, in the 19th century, were rarely awarded the same medals as the British soldiers they seriously outclassed…when this deficit of acknowledgement was corrected, they began to amass Victoria Crosses at an astonishing rate.
It is reading of a thrilling, heart-stopping nature for anyone interested in military history. However, it also clenches the heart because it takes very little time for the reader to realize that Britain’s Ministry of War/Defense basically treats these amazing men like disposable mercenaries. They are recruited in limited numbers. They are paid a pittance of what a British soldier makes, and that includes their rather pitiful retirement pensions….which, by the way, even in extreme old age they are forced to walk for days to collect in PERSON at only one or two locations in the country. They used to be forbidden entirely to retire to the nation they bled for —England, and it is still very difficult for them to go there, even when they need life-long medical care due to their service-connected ailments.
In 1947, when the partition of India and Pakistan occurred, most of the Gurkha regiments were turned over to India, without any consultation with the men involved. This led to great bitterness, as one might expect. So many of these brave men as veterans, are virtually impoverished and the average British citizen is appalled and ashamed of their government’s inaction. There is now a Trust to aid Gurkha veterans…I intend, tho’ not British, to write and see how I can participate.
In case any of my readers would like to do the same, the address is:
The Gurkha Welfare Trust
88 Baker Street