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Old 01-27-2014, 10:08 AM   #16
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Then I envy you--because you have never been on the business end of a weapon in the hands of someone who is ether not trained or hated your very existent.

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Thankfully I have not.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:14 AM   #17
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Ah, so he's writing books for people who have been threatened at gunpoint by incompetent Middle Eastern soldiers?

Seems an oddly limiting marketing ploy.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:43 AM   #18
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It seems to me that a racial slur is a racial slur.

A separate issue is whether a given racial slur is "appropriate" in the context. In an ideal world, it never would be, but I can certainly see that for authors striving for realistic characters, depicting certain attitudes or using certain slurs would be appropriate in specific contexts (e.g. historical, sometimes - you likely wouldn't get a whole lot of characters in fiction set in the late 19th or early 20th century talk about African-Americans, for instance, but they'd use other words which are commonly considered offensive slurs now - even if they were relatively enlightened characters and not horrible bigots) or for specific characters in certain situations.

It's how those things are used that makes a difference, and I'd think a modern author needs to be very careful in choosing how to use them or which characters they're used by. It might be realistic for a character - it might even be realistic for the "hero" - but it's still a slur, and if it's obvious the "hero" thinks nothing of it, and is to be seen as a generally good person, then there will be readers who will naturally feel uncomfortable with this and may prefer to avoid the author's future work.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:10 AM   #19
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Ah, so Training for Warhe's writing books for people who have been threatened at gunpoint by incompetent Middle Eastern soldiers?

Seems an oddly limiting marketing ploy.
In my case the incompetent sailor was on my side, incompetency doesn't have or need to pick sides.


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Old 01-27-2014, 11:23 AM   #20
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It seems to me that a racial slur is a racial slur.

A separate issue is whether a given racial slur is "appropriate" in the context. In an ideal world, it never would be, but I can certainly see that for authors striving for realistic characters, depicting certain attitudes or using certain slurs would be appropriate in specific contexts (e.g. historical, sometimes - you likely wouldn't get a whole lot of characters in fiction set in theoa late 19th or early 20th century talk about African-Americans, for instance, but they'd use other words which are commonly considered offensive slurs now - even if they were relatively enlightened characters and not horrible bigots) or for specific characters in certain situations.

It's how those things are used that makes a difference, and I'd think a modern author needs to be very careful in choosing how to use them or which characters they're used by. It might be realistic for a character - it might even be realistic for the "hero" - but it's still a slur, and if it's obvious the "hero" thinks nothing of it, and is to be seen as a generally good person, then there will be readers who will naturally feel uncomfortable with this and may prefer to avoid the author's future work.
War is about doing things that one would not do nominally and are often very unpleasant. Using for example the term "Ragheads" is very much in context in a book about soldiers in battle or war.

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Old 01-27-2014, 01:54 PM   #21
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I wasn't disagreeing about the context, was I? Being realistic (I have absolutely no difficulty believing that people use plenty of offensive language about enemies in war situations, in addition to shooting them, and I'm not necessarily judging them for the language) doesn't make it any less of a racial/ethnic slur though.

Anyway, back to this book, I'm now finished with Under a Graveyard Sky and in spite of my various misgivings, the second part actually really grabbed me and I ended up enjoying it a great deal. Enough that I'll more than likely want to read the second book as well, anyway.

(I really wouldn't consider it YA, though. Suitable for mid-/older teens, certainly, like lots of action books, but not YA as a classification/targeting, even if one of the main characters is thirteen.)
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:06 PM   #22
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Young-adult fiction or young adult literature (often abbreviated as YA),[1] also juvenile fiction, is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, although recent studies show that 55% of young-adult fiction is purchased by readers over 18 years of age.[2] The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen. Authors and readers of young adult (YA) novels often define the genre as literature as traditionally written for ages ranging from sixteen years up to the age of twenty-five, while Teen Fiction is written for the ages of ten and to fifteen.[3] The terms young-adult novel, juvenile novel, young-adult book, etc. refer to the works in the YA category.[4]

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:31 PM   #23
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I read mostly YA, I know what it stands for. Why the quoted definition and in which ways does it apply specifically to these books?

It's not the kind of book that most publishers, in my experience, would market as YA these days, and apart from one main and one secondary protagonist being teenagers (in addition to multiple adult protagonists), there isn't anything particularly "young adult" about it. And Baen certainly didn't put either the first or the second book under Teen & YA on NetGalley - so it looks to me that they're not marketing it as YA.

It's a zombie book that is suitable for young adults, but I can't really see why it should be considered one that's specifically written for (and isn't targeted at / marketed to) teens or young adults.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:06 PM   #24
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In several of his books he has characters refer to Arabs as "ragheads". As someone who spends a lot of time in North Africa and the Middle East and had many Arab friends I find this extremely offensive. Perhaps it doesn't represent Mr Ringo's own views, but I don't think this kind of racial slur enhances his books.
To a great extent, it does enhance those specific books for his intended audience. Keep in mind that the books you refer to are in a specific genre and frankly boarders on spoofing the genre. It's an over the top version of movies such as Delta Force and Rambo. I don't care for them myself, but I do like a lot of Ringo's early works and the works he co-authored with Weber.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:23 PM   #25
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Well, it's not as if YA books have to carry a seal or something. Or that they didn't exist until some marketting drone started targetting everything at that demographic.

A common theme in YA SF&F is coming of age in strange worlds/times/cultures.
Well, this series fits there--in the second half of the first volume and more so the second.
The videogaming references aren't in there to appeal to baby boomers, after all, and the teenagers don't get the lion's share of the attention by accident; Ringo is working a classic blueprint for SF juveniles that dates back to the 50's.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:00 PM   #26
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To a great extent, it does enhance those specific books for his intended audience. Keep in mind that the books you refer to are in a specific genre and frankly boarders on spoofing the genre. It's an over the top version of movies such as Delta Force and Rambo. I don't care for them myself, but I do like a lot of Ringo's early works and the works he co-authored with Weber.
The Kildar is by intent and design meant to be distateful. (He is a self-described rapist-wannabe, after all.) He is neither polite nor politically correct; he is merely (cartoonishly) effective and useful in a world of terrorrists and rogue states.

Ringo is on the record as being surprised that the PALADIN OF SHADOWS stories proved popular as he was looking to push the anti-hero envelope beyond acceptable bounds. And discovered the bounds were far beyond where he thought they were. For every person offended by the character there are a dozen perfectly willing to go along for the ride to see despicable villains get their just desserts.

People unwilling to accept that the same person who writes despicable characters or offensive stories can write other, sympathetic characters are entitled to their pre-judgement, but they might be missing out on a lot of good stories. Like passing on Stirling's NANTUCKET TRILOGY because he also wrote Drakas, or most of Piers Anthony's works because he wrote the BARN, or Heinlein because of Farnham's Freehold, Bester because of Gully Foyle the rapist...

Me, I like that SF explores ideas--including distasteful, offensive ideas. Especially when explored by knowledgeable, competent writers familiar with cultures and subcultures beyond my normal world. I'm willing to face some discomfort just for the possibility of learning something new, dealing with new ideas. Or a fun, amusing ride.

So far, the DARK TIDE RISING series has delivered for me. If they do an eARC for volume 3, I probably will bite on it.
Others can make up their own minds.
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Old 01-28-2014, 01:32 AM   #27
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Well, it's not as if YA books have to carry a seal or something. Or that they didn't exist until some marketting drone started targetting everything at that demographic.
You might be better off calling it "juvenile" then because "YA" is, basically, a rather specific marketing category.

If Faith had been the only point-of-view protagonist, I'd be inclined to agree that it'd fit under the classification. As it is, this is a book with mostly adult protagonist POV (first part of book one is mostly Tom, the scientist, Steve, random cop; second part is mostly Steve, the US military) doing adult stuff - it's the sort of book that would both be suitable for and appeal to a lot of younger readers, but it's not a Young Adult book.

There is a difference.

I've read probably several hundred recent YA books in the last several years, and actually, I can't recall a single one that even had an adult POV at all. It's all teenager protagonists, and only, and I mean only, their POV. They can have several teen protagonists, some of them even have a few adult secondary characters, but books currently written and marketed as YA (and yes, the "marketing" is important here) aren't written primarily with adult protagonists doing adult stuff, with maybe a kid or two thrown in.

It's perhaps unfair, but it is a term that has come to have a rather specific meaning in practice in the last five years or so. Genres and classifications exist to give readers some idea what to expect - e.g. one can't really go around calling a book that has a lot of romance in it and an unhappy ending "romance", because as genres go, "romance" has a very different meaning than "love story". (Well, of course one can, but I wouldn't recommend a book like that as "romance" in a public board because some poor readers expecting a genre romance, with a happy ever after, will read it and be bitterly disappointed and angry.)

What's wrong with calling it "suitable for teens" anyway? There are a lot more books around that are both well suited for and appealing to teens that are not either primarily written for nor specifically targeted at teen readers than there are specifically YA books (i.e. books that are well suited for and appealing also to adults but that are primarily written for and marketed to teens).

And this book, to me, marketing aside, did not come off as one specifically and primarily written for teens. Written for adults and teens; written in a way, knowingly, that younger readers would also have a character and references to relate to, absolutely; written primarily for teens - no.

Anyway, I apologise if I inadvertently offended you by calling it YA-suitable, not YA as a classification. It was meant to be a throwaway comment, there to give potential readers who are looking for "strictly YA" stuff some idea that it doesn't actually fit neatly into that particular marketing category.

To switch the topic, I've already got the eARC of the second book, and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading it. In spite of some of my misgivings, I did end up enjoying it a great deal - it's not just over-the-top action but there was plenty of reasonable, well thought-out logic to it.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:58 AM   #28
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Apologies not needed.
Differences of opinion are acceptable.

I was just pointing out that the term "juvenile" is not generally used these days and most reviewers/commenters I've seen use YA instead. Also, I'm referring to the series, as it exists.

The adult viewpoints persist in the second volume but more as vignettes and filler between the Faith and Sophia segments. Where Sophia barely got much pov coverage in the first, she gets more airtime in the second. Indeed, a problem I see is how Stacey just disappears from the narrative early in volume 2.

Things may play out differently in volume 3 and later, and I hope at some point he picks up the thread of the corporate retreats, but so far I see the narrative sticking mostly with the girls because they're the ones with the mobility.

That said, the takeaway I hope people get is that the series is fun action-SF suitable for most audiences. Despite the authors reputation in some circles.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:39 PM   #29
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In my case the incompetent sailor was on my side, incompetency doesn't have or need to pick sides.
So you refer to him as a raghead, regardless of his ethnicity and religious beliefs?

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War is about doing things that one would not do nominally and are often very unpleasant. Using for example the term "Ragheads" is very much in context in a book about soldiers in battle or war.
Yes, I can see that, if the soldiers are in Middle East theaters of war, less so after they return home. Hopefully members of the US armed forces are no longer referring to people from Japan, Korea, and southeast Asia by the derogatory terms used during those wars.

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Old 01-31-2014, 12:44 PM   #30
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I thought the most interesting part of the second novel was the introduction of "Tom Walker", who sort of reminds me of Heinlein's wise and knowledgeable older guy who becomes the YA's mentor. He's clearly going to be a major player in the series, but I'm not sure what Ringo has planned for him.
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