Hugo novels: Warbound

First off, I’m not really sure why or how the complete Wheel of Time qualifies as a whole series when the Grimnoir Chronicles doesn’t – Warbound certainly reads like the last of a trilogy! The adventure is wrapped up in a grand finale like something out of a superhero tale – which is of course exactly what this is. I definitely enjoyed how the “magic” that would normally tag the series as a fantasy is actually due to an extradimensional space creature. Pretty sure by the standards of other works nominated for this year’s award, that means that Warbound is BOTH fantasy AND science fiction. /deeply amused

Of course, perhaps Correia simply isn’t willing to be definitively done with this universe – while the main conflict is over, there’s plenty of space left for additional storytelling. And of course, in comic book superhero stories, the bad guy is usually unkillable, so it would be true to genre for it to come back from (Almost) Certain Death. There’s even in-series precedent!

Additionally, althistory WWII hasn’t broken out yet, and I was kind of expecting that to happen. (I think Grimnoir!Hitler got assassinated already or something like that; but I was very much expecting a Pearl Harbor event.) The series is definitely entertainment first, second, and third – anything like “political” issues pertaining to modern controversies or “social engineering” are conspicuous by their absence, unless you’re willing to count “most powerful wizard in the world” being a woman as a strike for feminism against the patriarchy.

Faye’s power….

Also there are lots of guns!

Not even kidding.

‘Course, if the extradimensional evil doesn’t come back, I’m not sure where the series would go after this. I mean, what do you do after averting the Apocalypse?

(Oh, I forgot: this series is definitely a subversion of the patriarchy on behalf of feminism, because the protagonists manage to convince the sexist government bureaucracy to hire – gasp – A WOMAN! Ahahahaha.)

Subtlety is not exactly what you’re going to find here. Warbound in one trope: Godzilla Threshold.

I was a little disappointed with the zombies, though. I mean, they’re hardly creepy or scary when you have God-Mode Girl going into Zombie Berlin by herself, not even an escort mission to give it tension? And why the heck has no one firebombed the city to ash in order to release the dead yet?

Another nitpick I had with the series was the sheer frequency which certain magical talents are described as “rare.” We’ve got the Secret Society Justice League thing going on, so it’s not surprising from a story-logic standpoint that the main characters are running into legitimately rare talents, but it doesn’t seem like terribly useful information to keep beating the reader over the head with. 


Especially when one of the most valuable of these extremely rare talents dies off-screen and then despite redshirts dying right and left later on… the only member of the main cast that dies in the super-dangerous mission whom no one expects to survive is a secondary character. But I think that’s normal for the superhero genre too, so I don’t know that it’s a technically valid criticism. Kind of like complaining that water is wet, yeah?


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5 Responses to Hugo novels: Warbound

  1. Cat says:

    When FDR is a stereotypical villain and Chinese characters think paper money isn’t “real money” the message is definitely sticking out of the fiction here and there. It’s all a question of what politics a given reader doesn’t share, and thus notices.

    • pancakeloach says:

      Larry has explained that very well on his blog, and the truth is that those opinions are HISTORICALLY ACCURATE for the 1930s. If you’re okay with the kind of fiction that puts anachronistic 21st century feminist opinions in the mouths of Victorian debutantes, that’s fine, but some of us actually appreciate authors who Do The Research!

      • Cat says:

        Not for the Chinese in the 1930s they’re not. Chinese people had been using paper money since the 7th century (if you count bank drafts) or the 11th (if you count currency). Searching for images of Chinese money in the 1930s turns up a combination of coins and bills. I checked when I read it because it seemed so obviously weird. Speaking of doing the research…
        And I have read Larry’s blog. It is not a strong point for any argument that his politics do not enter his novels.

      • pancakeloach says:

        Hmm, I interpreted that passage rather differently than you did, it seems. Notice that the mob boss is actually quite happy to accept the paper money and the point of that dialog is that Du is mocking the Americans, not some kind of “dur, Chinese is stoopid, they don’t know that paper is money too” kind of thing. Consider also that this is Imperium-controlled Shanghai, and the Imperium is already well-established as using gold as their primary international bribe currency – it’s clear in context that the Grimnoir want to make sure that the new American currency is accepted as legitimate tender and not some kind of counterfeit they’re offering instead of legit payment.

        I didn’t interpret that passage as implying that the Chinese in the 1930s would consider “paper money” as “not real money” at all, considering that pretty much every country involved in international trade at the time would have been very familiar with paper currency and various financial instruments, especially since many European nations (and AU and NZ) went off the gold standard as well around this period. However, considering that previously American bills could have been exchanged for gold and the new bills (which are what is being offered as payment) are not exchangeable, it’s perfectly valid for a criminal overlord to mock the Americans by calling out their new currency as “fake” by comparison. Skepticism of, and snide comments about, the Gold Reserve Act are historically accurate. Whether or not a Chinese criminal boss would be the most likely candidate to zing Americans about that is arguable, definitely. But you’d need to find sources from the period, and from Shanghai in particular, in order to figure out what they thought about the new American currency: you can’t point to “the Chinese had their own paper money for ages already” as a reason why they would automatically trust somebody else’s paper money.

  2. CiaraCat says:

    I’m guessing Warbound is on the list as a single novel because Correia asked his followers to nominate it as a single novel, while Wheel of Time is on the list as the entire series because the Wheel of Time fan site suggested that it was possible that it could be considered eligible as an entire series, so the WoT fandom nominated the series. I’m sure it was just a numbers thing on the nominations ballot. It does look like Correia and his publisher would now like us to consider his entire series instead of the individual book since all of the series is included in he voter’s packet! 🙂

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