Two books I didn’t finish: Drawing Boundaries, and There Will be War X

I’m in the last stages of finishing the pile of books that I acquired in 2016 (er, seven years ago) and ran into a couple that I just cannot finish.

Drawing Boundaries, eds John C. Courtney, Peter MacKinnon and David E. Smith

This is a collection of essays about the drawing of election boundaries in Canada, with particular reference to Saskatchewan.

This is one of a number of books that I got in late 2016 in preparation for a presentation on drawing constituency boundaries. To my immense frustration, I can’t find several of them now and am left with this and one other. And unfortunately this is awfully technical about Canadian specificities, which were not sufficiently relevant to my life for me to make it worth persevering with. So I have put it aside. If you want, you can get it here.

This was both the shortest unread book that I had acquired in 2016, and the non-fiction book that had been longest on my unread shelf and that I could still find. Next on both of those piles is Representatives of the People?: Parliamentarians and Constituents in Modern Democracies, edited by Vernon Bogdanor.

There Will be War X, edited by Jerry Pournelle

The third chapter is “The 4GW Counterforce”, by William S. Lind and Lt Col Gregory A. Thiele, USMC, and its second paragraph is:

The distinction between regular or line infantry and light infantry goes back to ancient Greece. At that time, the regular infantry was the phalanx, a linear formation that based its power on mass and shock. Their tactics consisted of evolutions performed by the phalanx as a whole, in which each warrior adhered to carefully executed drills.

This was one of the infamous Puppy submissions for the Hugo ballot in 2016, a collection of essays building on a previously successful series from the 1980s. I read the first four pieces and then gave up because there was really too much racism (and also the obsessions of the alt right in 2016 turn out not to be what actually happened in 2022). If you want, you can get it here, but please don’t feel you have to.

This was the most popular unread book that I had acquired in 2016, and the sf book that had lingered longest on my unread shelves. But I’ve now found my double copy of Collision Course, by Robert Silverberg / Nemesis from Terra, by Leigh Brackett which now goes onto both of those piles, probably as the last or second last book in my 2016 pile.