Monster Hunter Guardian e-Arc

It is available for buying now

The explanation from Synova in comments yesterday:

For those who don’t know what an eArc is, it is an unproofed (if that’s the right term) advance reader copy. This means that changes might be made to the final book. It also costs more. If you want the final version as well, that’s a separate purchase.
Plus side is that you can have the book now instead of waiting, and get get reviews put on Amazon. (This is a review of the eArc of this book that I bought from the publisher….”)

120 thoughts on “Monster Hunter Guardian e-Arc

  1. “It also costs more.”
    No joke. I’ve never been much for bleeding edge tech, or playing the “I got it first” game. I’ll wait for final version.

    1. I’ve had to explain to people that while I might at times have been foolish, I am not a damn fool. Now, *IF* you have the money *AND* can spare it, and desire the early look, that’s not foolish. But if you need to watch pennies, spending dollars must be thought over with great care.

      1. I cannot count the number of times, but it is extensive, when I have eagerly rushed to buy the hardbound edition and then had the exigencies of daily living prevent my reading a book until after the paperback was issued.

        Or worse: after I had seen it on the remainder table.

        1. Ouch. I admit to having had thoughts of “Hey, $CRAZY_IDEA might be a way to make a little money. No, wait, that’s CRAZY.” And then say someone (else) had gone and done it.. and so was supposedly making something on it… and then seeing such at dollar stores on the “get this crap OUT of here” tables/sections, so maybe ti wasn’t “like a fox” crazy after all. I can no longer recall examples, which is perhaps a kindness from Father Time.

        2. It has always seemed backward to me that the hardcover edition of a book comes out first. I only want to buy a hardcover after I’ve read the book and decided it’s so good that I want to have it around forever. The hardcover ought to come out later not only for that reason, but also so that things like corrections and supplements/appendices become premiums for paying the higher price, whereas today the hardcover buyer is the only reader who doesn’t get them.

          So having e-ARCs available is a great step in the right direction. And I’ll definitely buy a hardcover of Guardian if one becomes available.

          1. Yes, but you’re not the common reader. The common reader wants a book right away, and will thus purchase the hard cover when the paperback is not available, but if the paperback were available, it would seriously cut into the sales of the hardcover, which almost certainly is more profitable.

    2. It is my understanding* that eArcs came about when a bunch of Rabid Fans cornered Jim Baen at a con with a bad case of ‘we don’t care if it’s done we want it NOW’. He told them getting it early would be at least $15 (and this was quite a while ago.), be unedited, and they’d have to pay again for the final version. They said ‘done!’. I do know Larry mentioned earning out his advance eArcs alone for one book (don’t remember which) so there are apparently fans that eager.

      *Fifth hand out of Larry’s comment’s section so… could be completely off base.

      1. Back in the day, I heard something similar on the Bar. May actually be second hand or even first hand, I can’t remember.

      2. All publishers have long made advanced reader copies available to be sent out to professional reviewers in order to get reviews of books before the actual publishing dates. They were printed and bound and usually had a single color cover instead of artwork with a big banner on it that said something like advanced reader copy, not for sale. They were free and numbers were limited.

        Baen, for whatever reason, decided to just sell the ebook ARCs to whoever wanted to pay for them, because why not?

          1. Sorry about that. Yes you did. 🙂

            I just realized that maybe a very few people might not even know what an ARC was to begin with or why.

      3. From my memories (and I was on the Bar at that time), it got started when people were talking about paper ARCs being available on places like e-Bay.

        Jim Baen saw nothing wrong with people selling & buying the paper ARCs (even though such paper ARCs weren’t officially available for sale).

        Then talk got started about Baen offering electronic versions of the ARCs.

        While I don’t know if Bar-Flies “cornered Jim Baen at a con” about it, there was talk about it on the Bar itself.

        Oh, originally the eARCs “dropped in price” the longer they were up but “crazy Bar-Flies” didn’t wait for the price drop. 😀

        Oh, I was one of the “crazy Bar-Flies” who purchased them but finances have dictated that I stopped purchasing them.

        Not sure yet if I’ll be purchasing this one as an eARC.

        1. In discussions on the Bar Jim always liked to blame the Flies for forcing him to take their money in exchange for rough draft eARCs. I suspect it was too good a story to let slide whether true or not. But Jim was like that.

          1. Jim Baen (May he rest in Comfort) could have given dope peddlers lessons in how to move product.

  2. Those seeking a more effusive flogging of the e-Arc ought visit Larry’s site:
    … This is the next book in the regular MHI series and is about Julie Shackleford. It’s a collaboration between me and Sarah Hoyt, because I love the voice she came up with for Julie. It overlaps with Siege in the timeline.

    Here’s the back cover blurb:

    When Owen Pitt and the rest of the Monster Hunter International crew are called away to mount a month’s-long rescue mission in a monster-infested nightmare dimension, Julie Shackleford—Owen’s wife and descendant of MHI founder Bubba Shackelford—is left behind. Her task: hold down the fort and take care of her new baby son Ray. Julie’s devoted to the little guy, but the slow pace of office work and maternity leave are starting to get to her. But when a routine field call brings her face-to-face with an unspeakable evil calling itself Brother Death, she’ll get more excitement than she ever hoped for. …

    1. I know. It sounds great. But if I buy the e-arc now, I’ll have to read it dry. If I wait, I can pick up a 6 pack of Shiners to drink while reading it.

  3. Oh man… This morning was the first time I got to read the cover blurb for MHI Guardian, and I almost couldn’t resist. I never buy eArcs. I have been known to buy hardback, because I couldn’t wait for the paperback to come out (although since switching almost entirely over to e-books, this is a thing of the past), but so far I’ve resisted eArcs. Almost wasn’t able to pass on the eArc this time.

    Now pardon me while I let my co-workers know that squeeee sound wasn’t the fire alarm. I thing they are panicking.

    1. ” I have been known to buy hardback, because I couldn’t wait for the paperback to come out (although since switching almost entirely over to e-books, this is a thing of the past), but so far I’ve resisted eArcs.”

      100% switched to eBooks. My favorites are always with me.

      eArcs. It is hard enough for some actual releases to buy them immediately and not wait for a price drop, usually not until paperback release or if series, the next book. Not at >$10 at release. eArc prices are much worse.

  4. I didn’t make it sound very appealing. LOL. This is why I could never be a car salesman.

    Orvan is right. If you’re not pinching pennies, it’s a great way to get a book the soonest that you’re able to get it. And Larry’s description and back cover blurb are amazing.

    1. Julie Pitt’s voice is very well done. You can also tell that Larry’s homework studying long range shooting has born fruit in some of the little ways he has adjusted things.

      There is a free sample on the website. Anyone on the fence, check it out. It ends in a very difficult place for this penny pincher. Very well done on the authors, and on whoever picked that particular cut off.

      1. A few years ago I compulsively read each bit of a Civil Campaign as it came out. It was amazing. It also convinced me to never ever read something in installments ever again. I spent so much time analyzing every bit that I stole my own enjoyment.

        If a person isn’t sure they’ll like something and if it’s possible to “buy it now” I think that previews are great ideas. But not a third at a time and wait. Ick.

        1. The most gleeful moment of my literary life came when I found a paper ARC of “Paladin of Souls”. In a used bookstore. For $1.99. Two months before the publication date. I was cackling at random intervals the rest of the day…

      2. Oh, tangent!

        Recently found out that in my parents’ circle of acquaintances, there are not one but two professional-level sniper hunters, with a third who only isn’t because he’s not patient enough. In contrast, they know two career military, one of which was a medical type.

        None of the three know each other, it’s just a mildly odd hobby that isn’t that uncommon.

        Food for the next “the military would roll over the civilians” argument.

        1. But, but, fancy weapons systems. That spring forth from funding, like Athena or Venus, fully developed, and fully effective, do not need constant maintenance and adaptations to changing circumstances, hence are not dependent on specific people with rare skills for that, and totally obsolete infantry in every way. It’s totally a mechanism, purely obedient to the instructions whoever is officially in charge puts in, and not a mess of technological kludges encrusted on a human framework.

          More seriously, if I have a fanfic crossover mess where the bunnies are telling me I need to have John Cronin and company come in to school the anime snipers, I have been reminded that Grant Jefferson and Julie Pitt would also be necessary for true completion. (I like the original XCOM for a lot of things, but the newer ones with Snipers and squadsight have really forced their way in.)

          1. “do not need constant maintenance and adaptations to changing circumstances, hence are not dependent on specific people with rare skills for that,”

            And then there is just plain ol’ original sabotage.

          1. Its hunting, but with the SUPER expensive tactical sniper stuff. ~:D Which I wish I had, of course, but can’t justify moneywise.

          2. Came up because one of the guys got an elk– and gave them the meat, because he doesn’t actually like it. He is responsible, just doesn’t like the taste.

            It took me several minutes to figure out they were talking about hunting and not sniping, although I’m not calling up numbers at the moment— “shot from xyz hundred yards, the wind was X, Y elevation, used a PDQ rifle with ABC ammo,” etc.
            (I just shoot guns, I don’t talk them.)

            Would probably have better luck looking up “long range hunting” for decent information.

            1. Read part one and two of that article.

              Two things strike me. One is that I have recently heard some new information on causes of traumatic brain injury. Usual thought is skull hitting the brain causing damage. I have heard that they have now shown that shock and vibration propagating through brain tissue causes small distributed damage due to energy dissipation.

              Second is that the common qualities of a good long range rifle sound like mechanical engineering research topics. Which makes me wonder if there are any mechanical engineering graduate programs with publicly documented strengths in bolt action rifles.

              1. “…mechanical engineering graduate programs with publicly documented strengths in bolt action rifles.”

                None who will admit it, I’m sure. 😡

            2. One inch groups at 100 yards is 1 minute of angle. (You probably know that, but it isn’t common knowledge.) “Sniper” rifles generally come in around 1/2 to 1/4 minute of angle accuracy for the first shot out of a clean barrel. The trade-off for that level of precision is expense and weight. They’re big, fat, and expensive. And I want one. ~:D

              Hunting rifles, out of the box, are considered “good-enough” at 3 minutes of angle. That’s a 3 inch circle at 100 yards, which is why Elmer Fudd goes for the deer’s chest and not the head, and tries to get as close as possible. With a 1/4 minute of angle precision setup, head-shots at 200 yards are practical. Not easy, but doable for schmoes like myself.

              With a precision rifle and full-power cartridge (300 WinMag, 6.5×55 Swedish, 8mm Mauser, .30-06, .303, .308) you can chest-shot a deer at 600 yards. If you’re good, that is. After 300 yards its all reading the wind and bullet drop calculations. Personally, I’m not that good.

              1. See, folks, you just have to mention stuff and you get a fanboy going on about it. ^.^



                I’m more in the area of shooting *across* a basketball field, not along the *length* of a football field.

                1. I’m a gun nerd. ~:D I can bang on about it for hours.

                  Back in the 90’s I qualified NRA Marksman for Highpower Service Rifle competition. That means I kept it on the paper for 80 rounds at 200, 300 and 600 yards with the issue iron sights. Standing, sitting and prone, with a rifle “in national military service” somewhere in the world, at some time. Most guys had a Springfield or a Garrand, the odd M-14. I had my FN-FAL (Canadian service rifle), nobody had ever seen one before.

                  Not a match grade rifle by any means, but I came in around the middle of the pack whenever I went for the competitions. Not bad. I would have done better with an Enfield or a Mauser, but the FAL was soooo cool. ~:D

                  The really -good- guys though, they were keeping it all in the 10-ring at 600 yards, with most hits in the X-ring. 10-ring is 12″ across, X-ring is 6″, aka 1 minute of angle at 600 yards. This is with iron sights, no scopes. They all had super-duper heavy barrel race-guns, shooting super-duper match ammo, probably hand loaded to get the most out of the gun.

                  With a good scope and a good spotter backing him up, a proper military-grade marksman in decent weather should be able to hit a dollar bill at 600 yards, every single time.

                  1. Brings back memories of annual Marine Corps rifle requalification, one in particular. You’re always taught that if you’re in the highest scoring part of the target, and your shots and position feel good, no need to make a dope adjustment if your grouping isn’t quite center. This usually only applies at the 500 yard line, since anything in the black is max score.

                    I was always a fair shot with the M16A2 with iron sights, but one time (out of many) at the 500 yard line still sticks out, The first round of 10 felt great, but was a dead center head shot. That’s cool and all, but not when you’re aiming center mass. I didn’t feel like adjusting the elevation, since my position (prone) felt really solid, so I took another shot because I had plenty of points to drop by this point and still maintain my expert qualification. That next one felt great too and hit the same place – right in the face. So I put 8 more down range and landed them all in the head. That wasn’t the highest score I ever qualified with, but it was the most fun.

                    Now, I probably couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from 50 yards. And don’t even ask me to do wind calculations, or how much one click moves the strike of the round at 100 yards.

                    1. It is soooo cool when everything is clicking, isn’t it? I remember one day I spent hitting those little dime-sized stickers with the orange square in the middle with my Valmet M-76. It was a .223, a really sweet shooter. You wouldn’t expect that from a Kalashikov design, but Valmet had that thing shooting straight.

                      Bullseyed the stickers at 100 yards, all day long. All the elements came together into a beautiful symphony, making up for all the days when I can’t hit a barn from the inside. ~:D

              2. most decent off the shelf rifles are 2 MOA these days. A $300 Ruger American is less than 1 1/2 MOA.

              3. Ah, but is shooting a deer at 600 yards hunting, or assassination?

                Besides, those suppository guns are just a passing fad.

        2. Tangent to a tangent: The one thing I would have changed in the Monster Hunter series is that MHI would not have had an acronym it couldn’t explain. It would be publicly known but as a mercenary outfit like Blackwater, some (most) of whose top-secret missions are monster hunts. It’s the perfect cover business, and allows them to encounter civilians and even not-read-in police or military without being in trouble because they’re kitted up with weapons or even blood on their gear.

          1. There are a lot of companies with obtuse or arbitrary company letters these days. Or they could explain it as Military Helpers Inc.

            1. I figured it as Military Hardware Intl. — that allows them to show up to inspect and test equipment, replacing as necessary — which justifies the load through at airports.

        3. I know a couple myself. My wife’s cousin is a farmer with a sweet steel target setup out in his pasture and a 6.5 Creedmore. An uncle of mine who finally got to go sheep hunting up on a mountain not long ago. There’s a retired SF acquaintance where I used to work who teaches young men of good character how to land shots past 800 once a year. Him I need to look up again. My .308 needs an owner more worthy of its capabilities.

  5. With most Baen books you actually have three options. First, if they do an eARC that for $15 usually about three months before publication. Second, buy the monthly bundle for $18, get half, then 3/4, then the full eARC incrementally by month again starting about three months out. Then of course buy either hard copy or ebook upon publication.
    Note of caution, the bundle partials may only be offered in HTML, not the full range of formats Baen does for complete books.
    Full disclosure, I did a beta read of Guardian way back in November and sent back a few notes on minor details and technical issues. Anyone already a fan of MHI is going to really enjoy this, those fans of Julie Shackleford in particular.
    My curious side does wonder though. I did the beta as I said in November. It was a very readable story at that time. Larry submitted the final draft to Baen in December. So Baen essentially sat on the book for four months doing what I have no earthly idea, though I shall buy the finished product if only to see what “improvements” they made to the draft.

    1. I believe that when purchased as part of a Monthly Bundle, the full version available at the end is the final published version, not the eARC.

      At least that’s what I seem to have recieved when I purchase a bundle and download the full book. No mention of it being an eARC.

      1. You are correct. The partials are taken from the eARC but as you note the final release is the full e-book as published.
        Given that they release partials starting at least three months out that’s the only way they can give the reader junkies their early fix.

  6. Monster Hunger International: Supper looms. Cowboy up. Eat it. Get paid.

  7. Despite the disclaimers, I’ve found that Larry’s eARCs have very few – if not zero – things that need to be proofed. I found a few minor glitches in the first few chapters, but nothing nearly as bad as what you sometimes see in final versions.

    1. I dont usually find much wrong with eARCs, and John Ringo told me in the pre-FB days that he gets more from an eARC than a normal version, so i usually but then when finances permit.

  8. Have to pinch pennies these days, so I buy the monthly bundles. (same reason I mostly buy e-books these days).

    There’s usually at least a couple of books in which I’m interested in each bundle so usually a good savings over buying them individually. That also lets me read books I might not otherwise have purchased. Found some gems that way.

    MHI guardian is in the August Web Bundle:

    1. Oh, Witchy Kingdom has the same pub date? That means – yep, eARC for that out too! Awesome.

    1. So does Monster Hunter: Hunter.

      I used to be human.

      Now I’m not. People like me are hunted down because we’re different, we’re scary, and many of us have an uncontrollable need to eat freshly killed animal protein and aren’t too particular about the source. Doesn’t help that the U.S. Government has a secret bounty on us either. Which is where those murderous maniacs at MHI and others of their ilk make undeath a real hell for us.

      Did I ask to be changed? Heck no! We have an incurable disease inflicted on us, but do we get Medicare, Medicaid, or even Tricare help for it? Heck no! (Yes, I try to watch my language. Darn.) It’s not like I eat women or children, kill babies, or squash Tribbles. I reserve my meals to violent criminals and people who shoot at me. Consider it aggravated self-defense, or Castle Law as they refer to it nowadays.

      1. You know, that would be a hell of a good story. MHI from the monster’s POV.

        Although I suspect that a monster who retained enough intelligence to control it would wind up with STFU and a PUFF exemption.

        1. Larry wrote one.

          Twist ending.


          Look at the short story collections.

          1. Arguably, the Franks novel, Monster Hunter Nemesis, would qualify. As might Monster Hunter Alpha, given Earl’s nature.

            One about how MHI and the orcs came to their deal could qualify as that, if told from the orcs’ point of view.

            1. Earl is a monster who’s a hunter. But he, and MHI, still basically work for the government as contractors. I was thinking more along the line of a monster that basically minds its own business until some team decides to make a name for themselves or collect a PUFF. Then it goes hunting the hunters.

        1. Good heavens! I am most decidedly NOT into that ‘vore’ strangeness.

          Perhaps I should I have said, “Gee, can’t a fella enjoy a meal in peace?”

            1. There are those that try to shock me. They tend to fold when I simply tell them, “I have a FurAffinity account.” There are.. things… that are Just. Plain. Wrong. And I ain’t *NO* saint.

  9. OK, I’ll bite: how do I review a book on Amazon after not buying it from Amazon?

    1. Scroll down a ways to Review This Product. They will eventually release the lockout on it, but that might be tomorrow, and it might be the day before release day…

    1. I’m here to empty juice boxes and magazines…and I just ran out of juice boxes. 🙂

      1. Orc babies, or something else? Son of Edward, heir to the overpowered slice n’ dice?

        1. Little Ray. Who has discovered that PUFF will let him buy all the cookies he can sneak into the house. 🙂

            1. I’m sure a number of us have stories about That Kid, the fearless one, the escape artist, the one who climbed up everything and fell out of everything, or the one who was so accident prone that you’re surprised they made it out of infancy alive.

              ‘They call me the toddler… my goal: to kill myself!’

  10. there. done.

    really well written

    and spilerspoilerspoilerspoiler was funny, and spoilerspoiler was cute

  11. Ahhhh~! Completely forgot to leave a comment with the main purpose:

    Sarah, you and Larry have the honor of being the first ever e-ARC I’ve ever bought myself. Serendipity too; since I’d used my spare cash to buy an anniversary pressie for my hubby (15 years! Woohoo!)

    Then an appointment got re-shuffled and I had the 20+ AUD to spare ^_^v

    Buying the hardcover when it comes out, because I like hardcovers for my ‘frequent rereads’.

    1. Grats. Wife and I have 34 under our belts so far. I keep wondering when she’s going to smother me for my insurance money. LOL.

  12. I’m more-or-less ignorant about MHI, with the only major example read being Sarah’s fanfic. I want to work through the queue in the Kindle, then I’ll check it out. I’m awfully sure I’ll like it…

    So, no eARC, but money to be spent fairly soon.

        1. Additionally, if you liked your downloadable freebie you can buy The Monster Hunters and own the first three books in omnibus form. It saves you a couple bucks to do it that way.

          1. Warning: the omnibus edition is, at 1200 pages, a bloody thick book and awfully hard to put down.

            I note that Amazon does not have any “new” copies available, except from third parties (starting at $90) and that used copies pay the author nothing (unless you go on to collect the series, and I am confident Larry would not begrudge your buying the sample dose at lowest cost.) In Kindle it is a mere $7.99 if you’re okay with pixels.

          2. I’ll go with the pixies. Nooooo! Pixels! (Are the MHI pixies maneaters?*)

  13. I also noted a second Sarah Hoyt collaboration in the August Baen bundle, for which our hostess received a Dragon Award in 2018 with Kevin J. Anderson.

    Haven’t read that one yet. Baen will be getting my money, it seems.

  14. My take on eARCs is simple: I was a hardback reader before I went ebook. eARCs cost LESS than a just-out hardback (and I’m not patient). So I buy eARCs that I’m pretty sure I’d buy new.

    Aside; does anybody have any contact with the Robert Frezza who wrote A SMALL COLONIAL WAR (and sequels)? And if so, is there any way to convince him to self-publish ebooks? I corresponded with him onE exchange worth, back in the early 2000s, but that contact went dead before I got around to writing again.

    I’m getting close to the point of paying $30 per volume to have his five books scanned in by a service. I did it with Eric Frank Russell’s THE RABBLE ROUSERS and with THE BUTTERFLY KID. The process isn’t perfect, but the results are readable. But I’d rather the author get some of the money involved.

    1. I wish I knew. But he does not show up on obit sites.

      I know the Colonial War books are “better,” but his space vampire books are hilarious!!!

      1. I agree about the two Vamp books. I mean, how can you NOT like an SF/Fantasy satire that heads its first chapter ‘ill met in a dank bar’?

  15. Schofield? TXRed?

    I know that there is a literature of the history of science.

    What about scholarly work on history of spending on science and engineering, with examination of effectiveness?

    Survivor bias should taint the data somewhat, due to companies going bankrupt from R&D boondoggles. But there should be some use in mining the data.

    I’ve just noticed that I’ve thought more than once that it would be interesting to look at questions within that area. So, I would like to know more about if it is actually possible to find anything written in it at all.

    1. My late Father taught History of Science and Technology, but his area of speciality was the late 18th Century. His books include THE LUNAR SOCIETY OF BIRMINGHAM, MECHANISM AND MATERIALISM, and a two volume biography of Joseph Priestly.

      (The name is Robert Schofield, if any of that interests you)

      I know that one of his students was focused on the development of early programming as applied to looms. I also know Father kept pushing the man to publish, and I don’t remember the name in any case.

      If you start digging you might be surprised at what is out there, but a lot of it will be written in academese.

      1. Thanks.

        I’m going to need to think about those titles.

        I know there is quite a lot in History of Science. I am quite willing to slog through academese if it is chasing a fancy.

        My interest is in whether there is an established subfield within History of Science that looks into who paid for what, and what the results of that investment were.

        I’ve met many people with enthusiasms about the future of science, engineering, and business. I’ve tried to look at how this stuff actually works now, and my picture is very non systemic. There some very interesting periods during the 20th century when research was done, and it has occurred to me that a competent critical perspective on those would be very interesting. A lot of the stuff I have come across was from people directly involved, not outsiders.

        I looked at the faculty listing for the nearest History of Science program, and saw an awful lot of ‘with a focus on tedious and boring studies’. I’d feel very shy asking some of them about whether the military standard for Systems Engineering Management accomplished anything.

        (I’m also wondering if the anthropologists could tell me anything interesting about engineers, or if the anthropologist academic affinity would blind them. Lotta curiosity, perhaps I need to be sleeping better.)

  16. Why do I have this ridiculous* urge to ask Ms. J. S. Pitt if she went to Auburn with my Army buddy’s wife from Oxford?

    *(OK, I went to NC State, so stupid—-with a tablespoon of naive.)

  17. The only problem with this book is that it’s too short. And that I missed sleep.I buy Larry’s eARCs because I’m an addict. This was among my favorites, bc Sarah did such a great job exploring Julie’s character. Particularly the parental angle. I hope this one helps with the finances Sarah, you definitely earned it with this one.

  18. What A Read!!! 😀

    Yes, I broke down and got it. 😉

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