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Monday, April 27, 2015

The return of THERE WILL BE WAR

From The Year's Best Science Fiction to Thieves World, I have always been a fan of anthologies. I find it interesting to read the work of various authors as they address similar topics; in some ways, appearances in anthologies allows the reader to better distinguish the true masters from the journeymen, the stunt writers, the formulaists, and the one-trick ponies. It's also intriguing to see the difference between authors who are adept with the short form and novelists who really need more textual space within which to work. And of all the anthologies I ever read in my youth, my absolute favorite was THERE WILL BE WAR, created by none other than the science fiction great Dr. Jerry Pournelle himself.

To me, Jerry Pournelle was a near-mythic name that appeared on the shelves of B. Dalton's like an omnipresent demigod. I enjoyed his non-fiction essays even more than most of the fiction for which he was most famous, and looking back, he probably had as significant an impact on my intellectual development as Milton Friedman, Joseph Schumpeter, or Camille Paglia, not only as a writer, but as an editor. When I first read the first volume of THERE WILL BE WAR, with the unforgettable cover of a white-helmeted spotter calling in orbital artillery, I was deeply impressed by the way in which the essays informed the short stories as well as how the short stories tended to bring the essay subjects to life and make them more relevant to the reader.

And the names! Gordon R. Dickson. Philip K. Dick. Arthur C. Clarke. Poul Anderson. Joel Rosenberg. Robert Silverberg. Joe Haldeman. Niven and Pournelle. What was most impressive, however, was the way in which even the stories by the biggest names were occasionally trumped by then-unfamiliar names like Orson Scott Card, Edward P. Hughes, and above all, William F. Wu. THERE WILL BE WAR ran from 1982 to 1990, and finally came to an end around the same time as the Soviet Union, which had often served as a primary topic in the nine-volume series. It seemed apropos, after all. The Berlin Wall had fallen, an end to history had been reached, the long-warring nations of Europe were heading for monetary union, and, everyone assumed, peaceful political union as well, and many presumed that an end to war as we knew it was in sight as well. There would be no more war.

Being, as readers here know, somewhat of a pessimist when it comes to such utopian claims, reviving THERE WILL BE WAR was one of my first ideas when Castalia House was founded. I contacted Dr. Pournelle about it, but although he generally favored the idea, we never really got around to discussing it very seriously. I went with Plan B and created RIDING THE RED HORSE with LTC Tom Kratman instead. But I still wanted Dr. Pournelle to be involved, as I considered RED HORSE to be the spiritual successor of THERE WILL BE WAR. Upon being asked for a contribution, Dr. Pournelle graciously permitted me to include two of his pieces, a well-known short story set in the CoDominium universe called "His Truth Goes Marching On" and an article on wargame design that I found to be particularly interesting. Tom also obtained a contribution from John Carr, the associate editor on several volumes of THERE WILL BE WAR, including the first one. RIDING THE RED HORSE was published last December and it has been very well received. Five months after its release, it is still one of the top ten bestsellers in Military Strategy and more than one reviewer has even referred to it as a virtual "tenth volume" of THERE WILL BE WAR.

But the most significant response came from Dr. Pournelle, as after looking over the new anthology, he asked me if Castalia House might be interested in republishing his own out-of-print anthology series. I allowed that, yes, perhaps Castalia might have some modest interest in considering a discussion of the possibility, immediately put it on top of our priority list, and after a few months of hard work from the ad hoc THERE WILL BE WAR team, I am very, very, very pleased to be able to announce not only the republishing of THERE WILL BE WAR Volumes I and II, but also the revival of the THERE WILL BE WAR anthology series with an actual Volume X, edited by Jerry Pournelle, as well. Volume I and Volume II of THERE WILL BE WAR are now available in ebook at Amazon and Castalia House for $4.99 each, and as the following reviewer of Volume I noted, despite being 33 years old, they have a lot to offer the younger generations who never had a chance to read them before. It was very rewarding to read the first review of Volume I from a reader too young to have encountered the original paperbacks.
This book is astonishing. A collection of short military science-fiction and essays put together in the early 80s by Jerry Pournelle, the book is older than I am and yet somehow manages to avoid seeming dated at all. The book was extremely well-regarded when it came out, and spawned a nine volume series, but for years has languished in semi-obscurity. How good is it? It's got the original "Ender's Game" novella by Orson Scott Card, and that's not even the best story in the book!

If you're a younger reader, odds are you've never even heard of half of these writers. And they're all good. The stories are diverse, with everything from post-apocalyptic shootouts to huge sci-fi space battles. Sometimes the heroes win, and sometimes they don't. But every time I found myself rooting for them.

But the real prize of the book is the non-fiction essays, which give a window into how scary the world was back when the Soviet Union was still a threat. One of the essays, 'The Soviet Strategic Threat From Space", discusses the end of the world in a cold, scientific manner that's more chilling than any fiction could ever be.
 

"There Will Be War" introduced me to a ton of great new authors, and entire series that I had no clue even existed. For someone who's just getting into science fiction, it's a wonderful starting point. For veterans, it's a way to revisit some of the old greats.
I will post later today at Castalia House about some of my favorites from these first two volumes, but I can assure you that if you enjoyed RIDING THE RED HORSE in any way, shape, or form, you will be find Volume I and Volume II of THERE WILL BE WAR to be very well worth reading. I very highly recommend both volumes.

Amazon (Kindle format)
Castalia House (EPUB and Kindle formats)
FAQ
  •  Will these be released in print versions as well? Yes, in two-volume case laminated omnibus hardcovers. The first will probably appear in the July-August timeframe.
  • When will the next volumes be released? We expect to release Volumes III and IV in company with the VI+VII hardcover.
  • Does this mean the end of RIDING THE RED HORSE? No. RIDING THE RED HORSE Vol. 2 will focus on entirely new fiction. THERE WILL BE WAR Vol. X will consist primarily of Dr. Pournelle's selections from the best and most significant military fiction published between 1990 and 2015.
  • Who did the covers? Jartstar and Chris came up with the title layout and a new artist, Lars, did the updated 3D images that are homages to the original painted covers. He'll be doing the entire series. 
  • Can we review the books on Amazon if we bought them from Castalia or read them previously? By all means, please do.

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44 Comments:

Anonymous Luke April 27, 2015 8:24 AM  

Pournelle was good on future war, no question, especially on strategic-level and technology extrapolations. However, on what war is like from the POv of individuals, "All Quiet On The Western Front"-level war, he should give David Drake best.

Blogger Vox April 27, 2015 8:27 AM  

David Drake has contributions in both Volumes I and II: "Ranks of Bronze" and "Code-Name Feirefitz"

Anonymous The Original Hermit April 27, 2015 8:35 AM  

What's the expected price for the hard covers?

Blogger Nate April 27, 2015 8:40 AM  

"What's the expected price for the hard covers? "

Anything he wants.

Anonymous The Original Hermit April 27, 2015 8:47 AM  

I'll probably pay neat about anything for those. They'll sit nice and pretty next to awake in the night land on my shelf. Whether it comes out of my beer money or Christmas fund is the real question.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2015 8:53 AM  

Yeah we need to talk about the400 dollar 1 percenter edition. Ideally it would be bound in baby seal skin.

Anonymous The Original Hermit April 27, 2015 9:05 AM  

Printed in ink made from the blood of our enemies. .. Is that taking it too far?

Blogger Vox April 27, 2015 9:06 AM  

What's the expected price for the hard covers?

The normal going rate. Probably between 24.99 and 29.99.

Anonymous Mike Mike April 27, 2015 9:16 AM  

jizzed in my pants

Anonymous The Original Hermit April 27, 2015 9:23 AM  

That's about what I figured. I'm still holding out for the baby seal edition though.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2015 9:27 AM  

"Printed in ink made from the blood of our enemies. .. Is that taking it too far? "

You have to keep in mind who you're actually talking about. the blood of our enemies would likely make the book hiv+

Anonymous physics geek April 27, 2015 9:40 AM  

I was in the dealer's room at Ravencon this past weekend and spoke to one of the vendors about Jerry Pournelle's work. He said that he wouldn't be interested in selling works by one of scifi's Grand Masters due to his association with Theo Beale and his (Dread) ilk. I thanked him politely for his time and then bought something from the vendor next to him. He didn't seem bothered in the slightest to proudly display lots of titles by noted child molester Marion Zimmer Bradley. Maybe it was his way of signifying his NAMBLA membership. I should probably ask him that question next year. Loudly.

Anonymous The Original Hermit April 27, 2015 9:47 AM  

Our enemies are evolving. They have weaponized their blood.

Blogger CarpeOro April 27, 2015 9:56 AM  

Awesome. I bought them as they were printed back in the 1980s. Digital format will be nice to replace the ones that disappeared over the years.

Blogger JaimeInTexas April 27, 2015 10:13 AM  

It is good to read old books.

C.S. Lewis
On Reading Old Books
http://www.cslewisinstitute.org/On_Reading_Old_Books

"A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light. Often it cannot be fully understood with out the knowledge of a good many other modern books."

(snip)

"The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity (“mere Christianity” as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be acquired only from the old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.

Reading classic works is a good way to gain the perspective we need to guard our hearts and minds in this age of abundant nonsense and heresy."

Anonymous jack April 27, 2015 10:30 AM  

I finished Vol 1 yesterday, and, to say it was excellent gives no where near enough credit.
It built as you read in order, which I like to do in anthologies until, The Battle and the following four stories beginning with Ranks of Bronze.
Bronze may be the best description of a Roman cohort in the assault I've ever read. The details of Legionnaire spacing, use of weapons, iron discipline, were exceptional. Rolf's final battle in Stars came back was right up there too, though, I think Mr. Drake had the lead on him; but, not by much. And, the plot twist in Bronze that qualified it as SF was unexpected and appreciated.
I am Nothing was there and will try and tear your heart out. Call Him Lord is how we should choose our leaders. Much blood and suffering would be saved if so. Quiet Village as an extremely well written salute to the Boy Scouts, albeit in the far future. At least, such a theme I hope is in the far future.
By the way, The Battle was truly choice. I won't say a thing except that when you use robots for you total battle force interesting things can happen.
But, sometimes robots can be your saviors; see The Defenders.
Truth Goes Marching On. One written solely by Dr. P, How one man finds that the fine symbols of 'justified' war can turn gritty, dusty and cynical pretty quickly. [note the Viet Nam war, for instance]
I did read one of Vol. two, Time Lag by Pohl Anderson. This one is interesting and shows what time dilation can do for strategy and implications of really long distance war.
Enough. You should be buying the thing, not reading this!

Blogger Vox April 27, 2015 10:34 AM  

Jack, do post a review on Amazon too. And, by the way, I think Vol II is stronger across the board than Vol I.

Anonymous roo_ster April 27, 2015 10:49 AM  

1. Just bought TWBW I & II off Amazon. I have been in a book funk and these will perk me right up. Keep 'em coming. I have zero problem supporting JP and CH for their good works (for various meanings of "good works").

2. I loved the _Thieve's World_ anthologies. They were my favorite fantasy anthologies as a kid. Looking at amazon, they are not available in ebook format. This makes me sad since all my paperbacks (including TW) were destroyed by vermin a few years back.

3. _Thieve's World_ and Camille Paglia referenced in the same post? The intellectual currents required to make that work are improbable, but thereby proved not to be unique.

Anonymous Sensei April 27, 2015 10:58 AM  

Whether the Hugos are scoured somewhat cleaner or sink under the weight of their dark and corpulent masters, decades from now children ordered to "wait until they're older" will furtively sneak these anthologies out of the family library or their father's study and immerse themselves in a martial world whose roads we have tread before them. This is true victory beyond the ken of any autumn people.

Blogger Cataline Sergius April 27, 2015 11:05 AM  

I am more than a little fond of anthologies myself.

When I was going to college, I was also working full time so I really didn't have a lot of time to lose myself in novels. Lunch time reading was all I had time for and anthologies neatly filled the bill.

I got into them with the original Ace Books run of Destines. I got the entire series from a box of used books in 1985 for $5.00.

New Destines was good but honestly no where nears as good. Jim Baen was running his own publishing house by then and didn't have the time or the budget that he did for the original series.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream April 27, 2015 11:15 AM  

This is grand Bought them both, and very much looking forward to RRH 2 and There Will Be War X, and There Will Be War 3 and 4. Which volume is 'Kenyons to the Keep!' in? That story made me think, and feel, deeper than any quantity of litfic SF ever has.

When is Somewither slated to come out?

Castalia House is hitting the sweet spot of fictoin that I love. I'm pretty sure I've bought everything the house has sold. Is there any interest in a subscriber-type program, where we could enroll to automatically buy everything Castalia releases in return for a discount, something like that?

Anonymous Harsh April 27, 2015 11:38 AM  

This is great news. I'm going to try to be a patient man and wait for the hardcover editions to come out but it's going to be tough.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2015 12:06 PM  

I'm buyin' both.

Anonymous vales3 April 27, 2015 12:17 PM  

I have not owned these since the early '90's when I had to make a choice between getting rid of half of my book collection or find a new place to live - since there was no more room for me. When I think of the word anthology, the first thing that comes to mind is the cover of the first There Will Be War book. I just bought both, and I can't wait until the hardcovers start coming out. Today is a great day.

Anonymous jack April 27, 2015 1:07 PM  

@Vox think Vol II is stronger across the board than Vol I.

Yeah, if Time Lag is any indication you are dead on...My problem is restricting myself to one story a day or every two day. All too soon it will be over. Course, many of those are worth the second read even this soon.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2015 2:10 PM  

The cover of Volume II is damn amazing.

Blogger macengr April 27, 2015 2:11 PM  

I thoroughly enjoyed proofreading these. The essays are mainly targeted at the Cold War - although some are still relevant, but the stories have held up very well and are fun to read.

Blogger Vox April 27, 2015 2:14 PM  

The cover of Volume II is damn amazing.

Yeah, Lars did a bang-up job on that. He's very well suited for these covers. He had a ship that looked more like the bulbous one on the original, but we thought these would be cooler.

Blogger Poor Guy April 27, 2015 2:16 PM  

That is a very good-looking cover

Blogger Poor Guy April 27, 2015 2:41 PM  

This is also a great cover

http://www.castaliahouse.com/downloads/quantum-mortis-a-mind-programmed/

Blogger Hd Hammer April 27, 2015 3:13 PM  

Riding the Red Horse was the first anthology I have ever read. I really enjoyed it. I will buy There Will be War too.
Reading VP for years encouraged me to start reading books again for the first time in 25 years.
John C Wright's was also the first fantasy fiction I have ever read.
I thank Vox, Castalia House and SadPuppies.

Blogger Vox April 27, 2015 3:29 PM  

You're quite welcome. See, that's exactly how it works. They close ranks against us to try to shut us out. We grow the market. We win.

Anonymous Rolf April 27, 2015 9:44 PM  

I bought the whole series, one at a time as they came out, way back when. I loved them, and was highly annoyed when the series ended. Still on my shelf (top left corner, book case #3 (of 6)), the classic sci-fi shelf. I can't find TWBW Vol 2, but I did come across the Imperial Stars series, and others, looking for it. I'll dig a little more before I buy a replacement, but it's really good to know that it's finally available. They are GREAT books. Now I have to write a worthy successor for RTRH Vol 2.

Jack - thanks. Heck of a compliment you just paid me, there.

Blogger maniacprovost April 27, 2015 9:54 PM  

I'll wait for the hardbacks. I know supply and demand and all, but 29.99 is a bit steep.

Blogger Clint Johnson April 27, 2015 10:21 PM  

For some reason, 'There Will Be War Volume 1' isn't showing up at Amazon.ca. I did purchase volume 2, and will buy volume 1 when it is available here... despite having bought the paperbacks as they came out and them sitting on the shelf. I have gotten used to having my library in my shirt pocket for whenever the urge to read strikes.

Blogger Markku April 27, 2015 11:15 PM  

Amazon often fixes these things in a time window of a few days. Canada is selected as an allowed territory on our end, I just checked.

Blogger MidKnight April 27, 2015 11:58 PM  

@Vox

First - I may have said this elsewhere - but thanks. I've got most of these (IV - Day of the Tyrant - was my first), and they've stood the test of time in staying on my shelves through multiple military moves where 70% of my overall library didn't. But I am short a couple, and having backup copies is also going to be excellent.

The covers are overall excellent. I love how both evoke the spirit and feel of the originals they reference. The spaceships on yours for 2 are cooler (I wasn't a huge fan of the originals) and an awesome cover in its own right, but I think the texture work on the suit, helmet, and bottles on the V1 cover are a little off somehow. (Yes, I know it's non trivial dammit).

I'll await the next batch.

Blogger MidKnight April 28, 2015 12:01 AM  

@physics geek

You should ask that question next time.

Odd how it's only the "bad" houses that seem really interested in reprinting the old beloved stuff - as if they're the only ones who still appreciate and love it.

Anonymous Rolf April 28, 2015 12:18 AM  

Now, if you can get some of the other classics, like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago (complete and unabridged) back in print, you can put the "small, unliterary" label accusation to rest, while spreading real knowledge. I've got it, but it's a 12th-hand well-used edition with the covers falling off.

Anonymous VD April 28, 2015 3:50 AM  

I'll wait for the hardbacks. I know supply and demand and all, but 29.99 is a bit steep.

The ebooks are 4.99 each. The price of the omnibus hardbacks will be determined by the cost to us.

Blogger maniacprovost April 28, 2015 9:29 PM  

I suppose I should have separated those sentences into separate paragraphs. I'll get Volume I & II in hardback, but if they're all going to be 29.99... I may not buy future editions in hardback.

Two thoughts, if anyone happens to read this thread.
1) Can you give out e-books along with hardback orders in general, or can you give out e-books when someone pre-orders?
2) If you took pre-orders, could you get a better rate? Probably not, but you could reduce your economic risk.

Either of those may be beyond Castalia's current technology.

Blogger Markku April 29, 2015 4:50 AM  

I know it's a weird industry, but even with our pricing, we get more money per unit from a sale of an e-book than the sale of a hard copy. Hard copies are generally produced only for the prestige, and because authors like them to exist, especially on their shelf. Customers are used to a certain level of retail price depending on size and whether it is a soft- or hardcover. And that leaves an extremely tiny profit margin. The profits come from e-book sales.

So, there is no room to add any benefits to the sale of a hard copy. It would paradoxically make more sense to add them to the sale of an e-book.

Blogger maniacprovost April 29, 2015 6:01 PM  

Makes sense. I suppose you'd rather I buy 6 ebooks than one hardcover. I, on the other hand, want to have an extensive physical library for the coming Alien Years.

Blogger Markku April 29, 2015 7:27 PM  

Well, I'd rather you bought ONE ebook than one hardcover.

But, since we are, in fact, making them, I won't hold a hardcover purchase against you.

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