John Scalzi, a science fiction writer whom I admire and learned about via the blogs, is giving free copies of his books to servicemen and women in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, leaving aside what one thinks of either military campaign, I think this is a grand idea, and I hope and trust that authors, film-makers and musicians do the same. These armed forces personnel are risking their lives and deserve a bit of comfort and support, particularly now when so many people, even “moulting hawks” like me, are doubting the wisdom of military intervention in the Middle East. We put them there, God help us.
Scalzi’s first book, Old Man’s War, is definitely worth a read, and the successor, The Ghost Brigades, is also pretty good. If you like Robert Heinlein or Peter Hamilton, for example, you will like Scalzi. I hope he is around for a long time to come. He writes hard science fiction with characters you believe in, can like and admire, warts and all.
(Thanks to Alex Knapp for the tip).