The SFFaudio Podcast #508 – TOPIC: Piracy

January 14, 2019 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #508 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe talk about PIRACY

Talked about on today’s show:
Paul as Simplicio, not just of the swashbuckling sea-kind, the music-kind, audiobook-kind, YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO THAT, stuff that the FBI Warnings on a VHS tape, forced DVD screens, forced threats, all the crimes I’m going to prison for, a deterrent, easier than ever, easier for some and harder for others, how podcasts work, subscriber only podcasts, Mr Jim Moon’s Hypnogoria podcast, the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, “please don’t share this with anyone else”, a bonus vs. a big stick, opposite of seeking profits, Econtalk, transaction costs, not monetary costs, the time it takes, easier than ever (but you have to know how it is), a torrent client, ThePirateBay proxy, “CONSUME” media, making PDFs, all about the sharing, a thread Paul was participating in (about pirated ebooks), pirate editions, a drain on the market?, losing, with academic books, the research library model, the Marxist history library, the academic model, publisher XYZ by author A, the end of author A’s career, changing names, data entry job for entry, The Hook by Donald Westlake, once you get in the system, a book about not being able to get a book published, the ratcheting effect, “I’m gonna screw the author so hard”, intent, the effect, that’s the world we live in, How Music Got Free: A Story Of Obsession And Invention by Stephen Witt, the collective nature of the theft, the RIAA targetting random individuals, history of copyright changes, Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the Twentieth by Alex Sayf Cummings, player pianos, machine based, sheet music, human readable, MP3s, a CD, a record, a magnetic tape, patent, loophole vs. rule, licensing any piece of music for a nominal fee, the transaction cost there is horrendous, the move to YouTube, full of piracy, YouTube ads, what percentage of creators on YouTube make a living off of YouTube, Jesse’s account was demonetized in 2018, exploiting creators, almost communism, ‘from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs’, library logic, curation, finding a massive archive of cultural history hidden from the mainstream, old television shows, never released on DVD, the actual principals, why is piracy a massively good thing? vs. massively a bad thing, the preservation of a cultural legacy, facts about The Beatles, did you know The Beatles’ had a racist version of Get Back, an anti-immigration song, racist?, how come that’s not on the official albums, the sanitized version, Apple Records, when iTunes got The Beatles, a big deal, they couldn’t make a deal with Columbia or Decca, a bootleg, fascinating, on December 17th 2013, an official bootleg release on iTunes, so they could secure their copyright, it’s about control, The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates, copyright is (for) kings, a printer’s license, playing cards, a license to print playing cards, copyright is a monopoly, why the White Album is called the White Album, a tribute to the bootlegging with white sleeves, a very famous Bob Dylan album GWW: Great White Wonder, under the cultural consciousness, the medium changes the way people act, most videos are 10 minutes, NETFLIX, HBO, what libraries are supposed to do, oink’s Pink Palace, the complete catalogue of music, preservation and scholarship, chat roulette, millions and millions of things in the public domain, trying to lock down everything forever, an arcane and very complicated copyright system (with ever extending terms), orphaned works, the 1968 and 1968 Marvel comics, this issue of Daredevil matches exactly the Netflix, when Foggy Nelson was running for D.A. (50 years ago), cultural value vs. monetary value, people forget everything, the importance of preservation, the proof is in the song, you can hear how they said it, you really need to have good access to everything if you want to understand the world, wanting to control the message and control the history, VPNs, moving to America, they don’t know what’s there, Youku (aka Chinese YouTube), making a mistake as a human species, a show with Wayne June, a Wayne June Patreon, the voice of Lovecraft, “do you happen to have…”, its all about preservation, the music industry is about screwing artists out of royalties, bootlegging vs. piracy, why people bought bootleg albums, Paul makes a confession, the way Paul rationalizes it to himself, especially with the Poul Anderson(s), now Karen is deceased, at some point it has to fall into the public domain, review copies of books, please do not sell, what are people doing?, smuggling out of CDs, the majority of piracy, “camming”, live concert recording, breaking the encryption, they’re doing it because they love it, a sense of accomplishment, 5,200 PDFs, its not about money, I love movies, Disney’s The Song Of The South, Brer Rabbit, white black folklore, Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, delightful stories, the perception is that they’re racist, a black main character, “problematic”, Archive.org, they can’t officially release it anymore, Taylor Swift’s Picture To Burn has been sanitized, a very Soviet thing to do, Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land, the lefty version, sharp social critique, oh my god this is so valuable, Jesse is happy to admit, Halmani a propaganda film about treating newcomers as human beings, excised from reality, Worldcat, pure goodness, that will be gone if I don’t preserve it, emulating what Napster did, RNS, from the invention of MP3 to how torrents work, a history story, Eli Whitney and the cotton gin, profits from the mechanism, the survival of American slavery due to the cotton gin, what a bastard!, the law of unintended consequences, predicting the automobile but not the traffic jam, another story from history, Doctor Who (classic), private collectors recording off of television, recording audio, to reconstruct episodes of a TV show that was absolutely beloved, KVOS in Bellingham, Washington, that activity of being a fan, cheating the BBC out of its massive profits, preservation of the good, Carl Sagan’s cosmos, Babylon 5 is a better radio drama than it is TV drama, The Prisoner, all 17 episodes, you evil pirate! you monster!, where Paul draws the line, Evan Lampe’s Philip K. Dick And The World We Live In, after Evan updates it we’ll find a narrator, the audiobook-man, lister Mike, review it in essence, give it, torrent site, the wrongness, would Paul have done something wrong, you’re hurting Evan by not following your better instinct Paul, libraries are pirates, don’t they hope 100s of people read it?, the YouTube model, you don’t put the genie back in the model, Justin Beiber was a YouTube star, making money from touring, “merch” is like totems, a totemic purchase, to acknowledge this artist has done great work, people wanna hear Philip K. Dick stuff, Mr Jim Moon’s Patreon, Luke Burrage just started a Patreon, his 2009 International Juggler video, a higher rez version, an amazing video to watch, Paul envies Luke a lot, Skyrim, Fallout, Origin and Steam, says the PUBG fan, Fallout ’76, Battlefield 1, a lot of it has to do with money, 2 floppy disc drives and a friend with a box of floppy discs, the low cost of Netflix, more television than you could ever watch, when they start deleting things from the Netflix Originals, is there a DVD version of Netflix’s Marvel shows, all about preservation, keeping the cultural history, not getting yourself photoshopped out of history, the Obama inauguration, Aaron Schwartz, JSTOR, transaction costs again, there’s no research done anywhere by professors that isn’t publicly funded, Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, The House On The Borderlands by William Hope Hodgson, control and power and knowledge, information is power, its not wrong in general, wouldn’t socialism just solve this, The Soul Of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde, that’s scary to a lot of people, charity, liberatory for an artist, the insurance companies are sucking off profits, there is no access to the stuff that you want, the alcohol bootlegging, a digital copy cannot be consumed, we are in a post-scarcity environment, this is what kings did, the Michelangelos and the Donatellos, or the church, the common good, Civilizations, an R-L thing, the complete works of Mozart, chamber music, religious music, court operas, on the dole of the king of Austria, catering to popular tastes, Japan, art for the masses, Monet, we don’t have Mozart’s stuff otherwise, everybody gets to be a king, I’m poorer than everybody, I’m helping, oh so sad somebody’s grandchild isn’t going to, a fucking waste of time, the Eli Whitney education fund, invention, the steam donkey, the whole patent system, a desire to maximize, a turbo charger on invention, patents are still relatively short, the most free-copyright state in the world, Dickens was mad about his losses, William Hope Hodgson, securing an American copyright, the great grandchildren of Robert E. Howard don’t exist, rent-seeking, who has the copyrights, Robert E. Howard holdings (Conan Properties International), Conan™ trademark, Red Sonja™, Marvel is reviving Conan in 2019, missing Philip K. Dick stories, a story published (maybe) in a Rogue 1963 issue, patents, in a conceptual bubble, a bottom up order, insisting, Lesson is the author of The Invisible Hook, working class people, collectors, invention and art, building off the collective knowledge of humanity, the ethics of this, science is a collective act, that’s the Royal Society’s whole shtick, what made it not alchemy, math is not science, Halley and Newton, science in action: two guys fighting about who is right, Newton and Leibniz, Euclid, remixing and adding, David Hume, basically we can only remix and reorganize, does the same thing apply artist, Everything Is A Remix, the wrinkles of observed phenomenon, new and better tools, people are in dialogue, Robert A. Heinlein leads back to Jerome K. Jerome and Rudyard Kipling, this is all public domain (morally), its all collective, the moral case for it, a value added tax that goes to a creator, pressures thanks to NAFTA renegotiation, you’re great great grandpa wrote something as a kid and now you get to reap the rewards (but you probably don’t), James Burke’s Connections, so fast, Avatar is actually a Poul Anderson story and also a couple other things, The Terminator, a Harlan Ellison, Alien, A.E. van Vogt, there’s nothing new under the sun (just stuff you don’t know about), Dan O’Bannon, its like sex, the critique of Malthus, what the copyright “industry”, trademark, patents, rentseeking, a quote from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, beware of he who deny you access to information, why Alex Jones should not be pulled down from anything, what you start locking down what people can say then you’re on the path to tyranny, the killer nail in the coffin for me: the Tolkien Library, the pirate edition of The Lord Of The Rings:

The infamous Ace Books “pirated edition” from 1965. The opening salvo of the “War over Middle- Earth”.
A very nice Near Fine matched set of this notorious edition.

This is the only paperback ‘Lord of the Rings’ to be printed based on later printings of the 1st Edition.
All others were based on the revised editions.

Houghton Mifflin, seemed to have been in technical violation of the law by having imported too many copies printed by Allen & Unwin.
Ace Books took notice of the sales and overseas production of the books, (which are marked, ‘Printed in Great Britain’), determined that LotR’s had fallen into the public domain in the United States, and launched their own edition in spring 1965. {Hammond and Anderson, pg 104} So to secure their American copyright, Tolkien was asked to submit new material to create a new Edition, and so secure their copyright beyond question.

Tolkien wouldn’t allow paperback editions, the reason Tolkien became popular in the 1960s, “I want you to read this story to me daddy.”, you could go to the library and lug around the hardcover around on the bus, a U.S. service edition (WWII pocket paperbacks), Arkham House put out a Lovecraft, sitting in the Ardennes waiting for the Battle Of The Bulge to begin, why Lovecraft is the name he is today, what makes something culturally relevant, why piracy is always a good thing, there are many schemes to help artists, you can’t sell this book in a used bookstore, Dan Carlin tells me all the time “you own this forever” you don’t own any of your Audible audiobooks, until we accept that fact we’re never going to agree, traditional pirates, navy’s were really mean, impress you, hazing, abuse, rape, bad pay, Herman Melville, William Hope Hodgson, should your son join the Merchant Marine, HELL NO!, the navy was pretty hellish, how democratic and egalitarian pirates were, he comes at it from a cultural bubble, rational actors who are self-interested, having the best sex, the individuals were not rational but the things that happened were, the quartermaster and captain were elected positions, Marcus Rediker, The Devil In The Deep Blue Sea, The Many Headed Hydra, the Chicago school influence, a pun on The Invisible Hand, music bootleggers, fans, obsessive collecting, gotta catch ’em all, where the rational part comes in, motivated by revenge, FUCK YOU ESTATE!, they had done copyfraud, literally whole sheets of fraud, photocopies of the hand written submissions, bring that truth out, if you became a pirate you were dead in two years, 2 years free as a pirate or 10 years a slave, anarchism is bottom up order, a revolution against your master, decades before the U.S. constitutions, Fred Heimbach’s pirate nation in The Devil’s Dictum, Edgar Allan Poe needed a Patreon, Charles Dickens had his own magazine called Once A Week, Madonna started her own label, you become the industry, Robert J. Sawyer, The Quintaglio Ascension, tidally locked, a retelling of Galileo and Copernicus, Wake, Watch, Wonder, neanderthal ones, one of these copyright maximalist guys, old material and new material to his patrons, like Greg Bear, extracting value from the old system, pulled down off of Gutenberg, the first half was not copyright renewed, writing books that aren’t for me Quantico, chasing after a different market, the bigger money, Tom Clancy name is a rubber stamp, that old system is going away, the original pirates were still in a scarcity economy, monopolies all over these stories, in Canada almost all the lands were controlled by the Hudson’s Bay Company, sugar and other commodities, mercantilism, exclusivity, they misunderstood what profits were, if anyone else benefits then it hurts me, the same kind of thinking, Spain’s wine and Scotland’s sheep, those sunny hills of Spain and Italy, reducing scarcity so everybody benefits, attention is the new scarcity, the wherewithal, Patreon seems easy compare to that, trying to make money from my awesome website, supermodel asses and cryptocurrency, 19th century poetry is not super-interesting for most people, being employed outside your job as an artist, what academia, a basic income show, a Mack Reynolds novel about guaranteed universal income and the problem is not enough satisfying work, we need stuff to do, the 8 hour work day, what we will, two weeks of holiday, no vacation since childhood, They Live (1988), marry and reproduce, two groups of people, the straight up bums and hobos, the Italians who go to work at 10 and go home at 2, what am I gonna do if I’m not working?, the end of work is not so worrisome, tracking hours spent with daughter-time, the DINS, no sex, where we’re all headed, rolling coal, The Quiet Earth (1985), Paul has read the book, we can lose our focus if we have nothing to do, salaries or points, in this capitalist world if we get a paycheck for it’s valuable, Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play by James C. Scott, the Hmong people, the Doukhobors, protesting by becoming nude, everybody flees to the west, a non-violent way of showing abasement, a way for Christians to preserve a simple stateless existence, nudism as a tool, The Year Of The Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein, the world is so big wide and varied, they’re all around us these people, you can’t flee from Japans culture by staying in it, they’re cultural strength is hurting them as a population, Korea recently committed to massive English learning, advice for Taiwan, learn English legalize gay marriage and let in immigrants, making English an official language, the Great Wall covers hundreds of thousands of bodies, regular industrial imperialists, the Great Firewall, deep down they’re really Chinese, a fun theory about why so many Anglican ministers are atheists, this is how you do it, labor protests in the south, worker power, what communists have been saying for a century,

Moral Pirates

Pirates' Planet from CAPTAIN FUTURE, Winter 1942

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #459 – READALONG: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

February 5, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #459 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Bryan Alexander, and Julie Davis talk about The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Talked about on today’s show:
1908, subverting expectations, thriller philosophical novel adventure fantasy, a book about anarchists (not really), hot topic, pre-WWI, bring down the system, everybody is a dynamiter, Michael Collins, if you don’t seem to be hiding nobody hunted you out, anarchy against anarchy, the Orson Welles adaption, easier to understand, one female character in the book and she shows up on the last page, Mercury Theater, Welles as Sunday, evil or good?, wine commercials, this old fat guy talking about wine, large people refracted through later media, Gilbert in The Sandman is G.K. Chesterton, confession, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, because it has detectives in it?, sudden reveals, that person is not an anarchist either, the same trick over and over, the Professor, the Marquis, the Father Brown mysteries, Miss Marpole, Reading Short and Deep, The Angry Street: A Bad Dream by G.K. Chesterton, like Scrooge, a very interesting guy, a very rare bird, a conservative intellectual, explaining a lot of what’s going on, The Tremendous Adventures Of Major Brown, The Game (1997), sympathetic to anarchism, the ISIS of its day, submitting to ISIS, its not a critique of anarchism at all, a caricature of anarchists as terrorists, non-violent anarchism, a classic problem, non-terroristic anarchism, fantastic turns of phrase, lampshaded, lighting a lamp against the darkness, a fun romp, the reality of police going after subversive groups, it’s about God, and your relationship to Him and yourself on Earth, Chesterton’s fence, an axiom, a principle, completely reasonable, why conservationism should be the default, he’s so persuasive and witty, these are the kinds of conservatives Jesse is afraid of, the Catholic in Julie, the wisdom of the ages, a noble ideal, Terry Pratchett, Mark Twain, Neil Gaiman, “a man who really knew what was going on”, he dresses kind of goth-y, carrying a sword-cane, the people he admired carried sword-canes, Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, a dog named Bounce, Dante’s Inferno, a great age of satire, turning things upside down, laughing, I love lists, a poet who loves lists, arch-humour, that young man, wild white hat, a cause of philosophy in others, a preview of the ending, Scott couldn’t stand this book, Julie was enchanted by it, its unfixed, there’s no grounding, the duel scene, removing parts of his body, he’s a robot, he’s disassembling himself, a little too far?, Scott is a writer, writers reviewing fiction books, how it was constructed, the subtitle: “A Nightmare”, this is a fantasy, this is a fantastic village, this isn’t real, Dante’s Paradisio, this is just allegorical, that’s hilarious, Scott was raised Catholic, Julie (like Chesterton) was a convert, going all the way, a different kind of reader, the cosmos had turned upside down, looking at everything from the back, where the book’s theme is made manifest, this is what I mean, The Everlasting Man, H.G. Wells, proof, a little dig on evolution, shaking the reader, you have no firm fixed ground, wherever you land you’ll find God, “They said my very walk was respectable, and that seen from behind I looked like the British Constitution”, ridiculous, the conservative view, not a poet who is a poet, the common working man, no peasant wants anarchy, every millionaire is at heart an anarchist, plutocrats as anarchists, WTO protests, agent provocateurs, during the Black Panther era, policeman in disguise: let’s blow stuff up, energetic FBI contributions, kind of Philip K. Dickian, a completely different reveal, A Scanner Darkly, Bob Arctor, Robert Downey, Jr., did Philip K. Dick read this book?, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?‘s fake police station, is Sunday Jesus Christ?, Sunday is God, dressed in the disguise that reveal them as who they really are, pantheists, when men wake up, beautiful nature, a garden, the unmasking, the garden may be Gethsemane, 33 pieces of paper of no value, the question of betrayal, of all days of the week, Rosamund, at the end of time, Heaven is somewhere in Normandy, the marchers, what’s going on?, they all admit they have one hope, the man in the Black Chamber, such a conservative fantasy, secret policeman, the trailer for the 2016 movie adaptation, Nazis and fascists, how could you do a straight up adaptation of this?, Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula: 1895: Seven Days In Mayhem, Dracula marries Queen Victoria, anarchists against Dracula and the vampire elite, a concentration camp holding Sherlock Holmes, Gilbert and Sullivan, a weird detective story about soap operas, the way Sunday is depicted, some of the ways that Sunday is described, he swooned, Sunday is both the Devil and God, looking at him from his hind-parts, kinda weird, the pure good thing, many out loud laughs, “He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else.”, his turns of phrase, why Chesterton is loved by Gaiman and Pratchett, the same kind of wry comedians, easy to get along with, shall we go out and have dinner together now?, isolation, twice two is 2,000 times one, George Bernard Shaw, ‘too see you’d think Britian was in a famine – to see you you’d think we’d know why’, fun and dangerous, WWI, a white feather, The Four Feathers, wearing their white feathers proudly, making another joke about being fat, “anarchists!”, what does that have to do with… Bryan?, Gavrilo Princip was not an anarchists (he was a Nationalist) but he was called one, anticipation of WWI, a glimpse of the desire for violence, Teddy Roosevelt, the older detective, detecting pessimists, discovering a crime in a book of sonnets, really funny, Charles Stross’ laundry series, surveillance and data analysis for pre-crime, chilling, why he’s a dangerous guy, defending the indefensible, he spells it out so clearly, do we all know what’s going on here, the book starts with a poem, looking at it in sentences,

“A cloud was on the mind of men
And wailing went the weather,
Yea, a sick cloud upon the soul
When we were boys together.
Science announced nonentity
And art admired decay;
The world was old and ended:
But you and I were gay;

he’s conflating nihilism and decadence and decay with anarchism, The Decline Of The West, The War Of The Worlds, a grim vitality, “what do you want? martyrs!”, written as a cure for melancholy, An Anatomy Of Melancholy, reading melancholic writers, lassitude, making you thoughtful, flashy, so light in its stated topic, if this was written today…, Britain’s who travel to the Middle East to join ISIS, a pacifist book, pro-life, imagining the bomb going off, the value of each human life, Isaac Asimov, violence as the last refuge of the incompetent, chances, who is the man in the black room?, he’s the Alpha and the Omega, in Syria the war is winding down, a 90% decrease in violence, why did the Vietnam War happen, big agents doing things, why does this anarchist council exist?, I can’t believe that any common man would support, a certain class of people thought it would be honourable or profitable, a different subject for the book, a secret agent style version of this book, Moriarty, Fu Manchu, the daughter of the Dragon, a boogeyman, Fu Manchu is trying to overthrow the British occupation of China, a sympathy argument for Fu Manchu, Pan-Asia, Genghis Khan, turnabout is fairplay, pot kettle black, Alan Moore’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, Captain Nemo, his mother was a hardcore Stalinist, she was convinced Stalin the great hero of the 20th century, Dorothy Day, attacking organized religion, Marx, neither god nor master, a coherent argument to make, James Dean or Marlon Brando, Kryten in Red Dwarf, mere willingness is the final test, a lengthy lecture on the history of anarchism, Mary Woolstencraft’s husband, Things As They Are; Or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, Parents And Children aka Fathers And Sons, what’s more useful a painting or a pair of shoes, a near contemporary, an active Russian thing, Dan Schwent, really different, almost not a novel, it is a dream, nightmare, The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, that moment, that vertiginous moment, deciding to go another way, setting up these moments, as participators or adaptors, a bunch of people who are wrong about everything, a council, there’s no predominant day of the week, I have to do a podcast on Sunday, it needs to be scheduled, the Club Of Queer Trades stories, how does the schedule happen?, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman was inspired by G.K. Chesterton’s The Napoleon Of Notting Hill,

“a novel written by G. K. Chesterton in 1904, set in a nearly unchanged London in 1984.

Although the novel is set in the future, it is, in effect, set in an alternative reality of Chesterton’s own period, with no advances in technology or changes in the class system or attitudes. It postulates an impersonal government, not described in any detail, but apparently content to operate through a figurehead king, randomly chosen.”

not really science fiction, radical!, not a fan of revolutions, loving Americans, one conservative to think about, The French Revolution, The Russian Revolution, The American Revolution, Queen Elizabeth II is on my money, Tories fled to Canada, Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts, the Tories (political party), Canada’s history as a defense against American radicalism, a distorted perspective, Jesse ruined it, not the first nor the last time, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, prime ministers are not that important, the Premier of British Columbia is John Horgan.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry

April 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Code Zero by Jonathan MaberryCode Zero (Joe Ledger #6)
By Jonathan Maberry; Read by Ray Porter
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 25 March 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 16 hours

Themes:  / Horror / Zombies / Terrorists / Covert Intelligence /

Publisher summary:

For years the Department of Military Sciences has fought to stop terrorists from using radical bioweapons—designer plagues, weaponized pathogens, genetically modified viruses, and even the zombie plague that first brought Ledger into the DMS. These terrible weapons have been locked away in the world’s most secure facility. Until now. Joe Ledger and Echo Team are scrambled when a highly elite team of killers breaks the unbreakable security and steals the world’s most dangerous weapons. Within days there are outbreaks of mass slaughter and murderous insanity across the American heartland. Can Joe Ledger stop a brilliant and devious master criminal from turning the Land of the Free into a land of the dead? 

Code Zero, a Joe Ledger novel from Jonathan Maberry, is the exciting direct sequel to Patient Zero.

This is the worthy sequel to Patient Zero.

At one point, Rudy Sanchez says that “this has done something fundamental to the American people.”

I’ll tell you this. It did something fundamental to me.

It was exciting, suspenseful, terrifying, and haunted me in my dreams and at random moments in my day.

And it was satisfying. Very satisfying.

I’m not sure Maberry can top this. Though I’m already looking forward to his next attempt to try.

It’s been six years since Joe Ledger was secretly recruited by the government to lead a combat team for the DMS,  a taskforce created to deal with problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. That story was told in Patient Zero. This was where we met a group of terrorists who had developed a bio-weapon that turned people into zombies.

Every year since then, like clockwork, Joe and Echo Team have returned to battle a variety of seemingly supernatural foes, all developed by villains who are somehow going to make boatloads of cash off of the terror.

The action-packed stories are full of evil super-villains, noble heroes, smart mouthed quips, a smattering of philosophy about “good guys and bad guys” and heart. Lots of heart. All this is told at a roller coaster pace that barely allows you to breathe until you get to the end.

I love them.

In many ways, this book is similar to the rest of the series. Mother Night, a villain you love to hate, is a super-genius anarchist who’s strewing chaos throughout the country over Labor Day weekend. She’s got the DMS’s computer tied up in knots and old evils that were defeated in previous books are now popping their heads up all over the country. Losses are high and the odds are very much against Ledger and his team. We know Joe will win. It’s watching it happen that makes it fun.

It is superior to the other books, I think, because the pacing is more measured and there is more character development. I also enjoyed the flashbacks into the DMS’s years before Joe joined them.

But in one very important way Code Zero was very different for me.

I felt a level of anxiety that was all out of proportion. Maberry is an expert at ratcheting up the stakes until you just can’t see how anyone decent is going to survive the maelstrom. I was used to that. But somehow this felt different. I got a bit jumpy. I couldn’t quit thinking about the horrific chaos during the day when I had to put the book down. Maberry has his finger on the pulse of the evil that Americans today know all too well … that lurks below the conscious level of our lives … violent chaos that can strike without a moment’s notice. Shootings at Fort Hood, restaurants, schools, and more have changed the mood of our country and made Mother Night’s chaos resonate more deeply than usual.

Along the way, he looks at why people choose good or evil. Code Zero is full of people choosing to save the world or burn it down. In most of the cases, the motivation comes down to something that Maberry does not name, but which I will make bold to label: love. We want to know we matter, that we make a difference, that someone “knows” us. Not for our accomplishments but simply because our “selves” matter.

Mother Night gives it a different name, and she may not tidily fall into this definition but, let’s face it, she’s super-villain crazy. I believe that her ultimate fate bears me out. It shows most in Maberry’s final scenario at the end of the book as the answer to Rudy’s statement that the chaos “has done something fundamental to the American people.

Truly this is a great book, especially for the shoot-em-up genre. It is also probably one that can be read as a stand alone without reading the others that came before.

I listened to the audiobook read by Ray Porter who was superb, as usual, at portraying Joe and every other character along the way. In this book Porter dialed his urgent, driving, delivery down some and thank goodness for that. The action was intense enough without being shoved over the edge of the cliff by a continually urgent tone. Porter also was more nuanced and thoughtful in his reading than I recall in previous Joe Ledger books. If this sounds odd when considering our heroes are fighting off zombies, it actually worked to make me consider the full horror being faced. Once again, kudos to Ray Porter. He’s the reason I always choose audio for the Joe Ledger books.

Posted by Julie D.