Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monster Hunter Alpha (2011)

Monster Hunter Alpha by Larry Correia is a functional primer for small town defense.

Monster Hunter Alpha is the third in a series of books in the fantasy/horror genre.  Since the antagonists are mythical and souless, the author has no need dance around political correctness.

Sidebar: I wonder if the concept of were-wolves is an attempt to explain certain kinds of mental illness.  What did villages do before haloperidol, Abilify, riperdone, clonidine, Adderal, nicotine, cannabis,  alcohol...even chewing gum were readily available?  Did they banish the raving lunatic from the village for three days?  What did they think when he staggered back into camp, gaunt, naked, cut, bleeding, dazed?  One set of circumstances that would create a Monster Hunter Alpha scenario would be an interruption of the logistical supply chain that keeps modern were-wolves controllable.

The story line explores the necessity of having both a defensive and an offensive strategy,  On the defensive end it does an exemplary job illustrating defense-in-depth, passive defense
  • cinderblock walls are your friend 
  • fences and traffic impediments at YOUR optimum stand-off distance)  

On the offensive side there is a particularly graphic scene that illustrates the effectiveness of developing target-rich kill zones and then being able to exploit it from an unexpected axis of attack.  The reader who approaches this book as if it were a textbook will also see the importance of standardizing weapons, at least to the degree of standardizing on the ammo used. and of the importance of a command structure headed by focused, effective leaders.

It explores issues around communication within the group and with outside resources. The student will see that excessive reliance on cellular communication results in civilization collapsing back to the days of isolated fishing villages being picked off by Vikings if/when cellular service fails.

A serious book review must also point out a few "weaknesses".  A core constituency of The Monster Hunter series are weapons enthusiast.  The author gleefully trots out exotic, expensive and spectacularly powerful arms that are not available to the average guy.  That "weakness" is counterbalanced by two practical expositions where vehicles are used as weapons, a how-not-to guide on the deployment of Molotov cocktails, the use of fire and the simple fact that you will never run out of ammo for edged weapons.

Personally, I am tickled that the author chose to stage the story in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I do not know if Mr Correia was consciously writing a primer for the small town in defense or if it is merely a happy accident spawned by a masterful story teller weaving a compelling story.  But I am glad he wrote it.

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