Books -- why would anyone print this crap?

So I’ve been reading Baen e-book because they’re cheap.

Good thing they’re cheap, because there seems to be, at the rate of a book every other month of so, a piece of Political Sci-Fi. These well, kinda suck.

First Example: Freehold This book takes place in a future-libertarian society, and this society gets into a war with Earth, which has turned into a complete welfare nanny-state.

I read this book all the way – once you slog through the first half of the book, consisting of lots of “ain’t this libertarian society perfect!”, it gets into a fairly standard but rather brutal war story. Not too bad, not too good.

Today, I started trying to read A State of Disobedience, and gave up after about 15 pages. The plot of this book in the first 15 pages: “Democrats are baby killers and stupid and evil. Republicans are good. Hillary Clinton (in disguise) gets elected. Country goes to hell. Texans fight the evil federal government.”

I mean, shit. What a crappy book, and I really couldn’t force myself to read anymore. I mean, if you want to write books about hypothetical US civil wars, then it seems like you might at least try to read about the real US Civil War, and the vast tapestry of ideas and people that went into it.

Other books by Baen that I’ve read lately include books co-authored by the favorite of gamers everywhere, Colonel David Grossman. Yes, in the middle of these books, the heroes that have previously killed and maimed all in lots of gory details start lecturing other characters about the evils of violent computer games. I shit you not.

Now, because these were e-books, I’m not going “shit, I spend too much money on these”, because they’re about $3 each. But I read this stuff and I am hit with just how bad some of it is. I’ve read pulp science fiction before, growing on freaking Battletech novels, but very rarely have I run into poorly written books that also feel the need to bludgeon you on the head with ideology.

Does the publisher of these books print them just because they will appeal to a certain segment of the population, or what?

Honestly Baen is extremely old if I recall correctly so his taste in books may be quirky to say the least. About Grossman’s book, he may have been overly impressed by his writing ability and credentials and merely left it at that - remember that the publisher was originally geared towards military sci-fi and fantasy, so politics may not be straying that far afield (just look at the latest Honor Harrington books).

— Alan

Even then though, David Weber’s politicians are actually 2 dimensional people. The few irredeemable characters that he’s got are constantly portrayed as stupid and/or evil are corrupt hypocritical politicians that covertly support human slavery. He also appears to have shuffled most of those people off now in favor of newer, more complex characters that I suppose can lead to a better “poli-sci-fi” story.

Even the Havenites (the guys that the good guys have been fighting a war with) are pretty likable at this point, with several of their characters looking to take a bigger part in the books to come.

So its not all of Baen books – just some of the 2nd tier authors.

Other poor books that I’ve read include Michael DiMercurio latest books (Attack of the Seawolf, the Shark Mutiny)… Democrats are all evil, except for the strange exception of Ted Kennedy (who’s in one of the books by name!), and all Chinese are stupid.

So are these ebooks also in print? I hope Baen isn’t shoveling crap out via electronic copy simply because it costs him next to nothing to do so.

Oh yeah, they’re also in print.

The electronic stuff apparently makes more money for Baen and the authors though, and I think its a damn good thing that he’s distributing e-books with no ridiculous copy protection and without charging the same price as paper.

If what Alan says is true, he may be an old fogey, but he “gets it”. Many of the hardback Baen books are actually coming with a CD now that has all the previous books in the series on them.