Larry Correia, a man whose fans have called him “The Mountain Who Writes” and “The International Lord of Hate” and about whom it was probably not said that he would “END WRITING FOREVER”. Writer of fast-paced action-filled fantasy and arguably Baen Book’s biggest star novelist to begin publishing there after the departure of Jim Baen in 2006.
As with earlier Dramatis Personae essays, this chapter uses two key sources
- Larry Correia’s Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Correia
- Larry Correia’s autobiographical page on his blog https://monsterhunternation.com/about/
Any unreferenced statement will be either my opinion or drawn from one of those links listed above.
The son of a Portuguese immigrant farmer, Larry Correia was born in the mid-1970s and grew up in rural California. This makes him the youngest of the people I’ve covered so far, although he is still within the same generation X demographic as Vox Day and John Scalzi.
While he was still in high school, his family moved to Utah. There, he converted to the Church of the Latter-Day Saints and spent two years as a Mormon missionary in Alabama. He’d considered joining the military but …
“However, Bill Clinton was our new president and was in the process of gutting everything. The recruiters were kind of ho-hum, and then they shot me right the heck down when we got to the part where I had severe allergies, asthma, and extremely flat feet.”https://monsterhunternation.com/about/
Instead, he took on an accounting degree. Before he finished his degree he was married and was hoping to start a career in law enforcement. Life sent him in a different direction and he ended up as an accountant in a large company’s Utah offices.
However, our story is getting ahead of itself. In the late 1990s while still at college, Larry Correia became active in gun forums. Firstly on a forum called The Firing Line, and later in the 2000s, a forum called The High Road. These forums included some people we will encounter later including Marko Kloos and Peter Grant but also Correia’s future writing collaborator Mike Kupari.
Gun politics is almost uniquely American. Certainly, other nations have had debates on appropriate levels of gun control and there’s no universal international consensus on civilian gun ownership. However, by the 1990s gun politics in the USA had become a key political issue with strong partisan ideological divides and high profile lobby groups.
The internet helped bring gun enthusiasts together in a way that paralleled the use of the internet by fan groups. Indeed, the inherent fannishness of these forums is hard to deny. Politics, specifically the “right to keep and bear arms” (usually shortened to RKBA) was only a fraction of the wider discussion among forum members, which covered makes of weapons, tips for uses, pointless arguments about types of guns and free-wheeling discussions of popular culture or a mix of guns and popular culture. At times the discussion would combine all these things.
“I was talking with a friend of mine today about what we thought it would take to get our country away from liberalism and socialism. We talked a little bit about the blue and red election map, wherein Gore only won urban areas.Larry Correia “Strange thought. The movie “Independence Day”: Best scenario ever for Gun Owners?” https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=477125&postcount=1 
Then I thought of the movie Independence Day. With Will Smith, remember the Aliens come and start to blow up the biggest cities on the planet. They start with LA, NY, and Washington and work their way down from there. After a couple of days mankind comes back and kicks their butts.But think about it. Aliens could come down and obliterate every Liberal mega center in the country. Afterwards we would be totally set! Think about it, are there any big urban areas in America that are Conservative. Even Salt Lake City gives Utah its only Democrat congressman!
Maybe I can get on one of those big SETI radio sets and start sending taunts out into space. We would kick butt in every election after that!”
The politics on the forums Correia followed was loosely libertarian, pro-police but sceptical and fearful of federal agencies in particular the FBI and the BATF. Looming large among forum members was two critical incidents in the 1990s. The siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993 and the shooting of Sammy and Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge in 1992. As President, Bill Clinton had also signed into law two notable pieces of gun control legislation, The Brady Bill which mandated background checks for gun purchases and the 1994 Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act commonly known as the Assault Weapons Ban.
So the gun discourse modulated between a fun collecting hobby, fears of tyrannical government and fears of home invasion. The line between the scenarios about governments confiscating guns or violent criminals breaking into a house, being genuine fears or anticipatory fantasies was hard to tell. However, the more practical enemy was the large gun control campaigns that were mobilising support in the wake of events like the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and the Los Angeles Jewish Community Center shooting.
Like most communities in America, the members of the Firing Line forums were traumatised by the events of 9-11 in 2001.
“… If we would have killed every last one of them the first time, destroyed their entire organizations, and ruined any country that dared to support them then today wouldn’t have happened. I’m not in favor of peacekeeping missions. I believe in what the military was originally intended to do, and that is protect us. If that means killing our enemies ruthlessly, razing their land, and salting the earth, then so be it. El Queda had already declared war on us. It is about time that we declare war on them.https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=687171&postcount=6 
Bill Clinton was looking for a legacy. In my opinion, this is it. He let evil people hurt us, over and over again, and we never destroyed them. They have just been getting bolder, until today. And in the next New York senetorial election, somebody needs to make a bunch of posters of the picture of Hillary kissing Yassir Arafat on the cheek, and distribute them around Manhattan…”
These forums were not all politics and guns. In 2002 on the High Road forum Larry Correia and another member called Nightcrawler (Mike Kupari) began a serial story written directly within a forum thread. Called “Welcome Back, Mr Nighcrawler” the story featured the imaginary adventures of the titular author in a secret counter-terrorism organisation. The story was popular in the forum and it led Correia to consider writing a novel in a more conventional way.
As well as accountancy, Larry Correia began running his own gun shop as well as providing gun training and in 2007 shifted to doing that full time . He had already written his first proper novel, Monster Hunter International. Inspired by B-movies but also by a desire for competent heroes and accurate description of guns. However, once the book was finished, he couldn’t find anybody willing to publish it. As a consequence, he took on the task of publishing the book himself as print-on-demand. It was finally released in 2008.
Correia remained active within gun-rights activism. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, in which 32 people were killed , multiple media outlets identified the wrong person as the killer . Among those who and falsely attributed the murders to an innocent man was Geraldo Rivera at Fox News. On The High Road forum, Correia called for action:
“Gentlemen, we’ve got a perfect opportunity right now for a coordinated assault. Geraldo Rivera’s program picked the first Asian, VT student, that owned guns that they found on the internet, and threw him under the bus.https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/keep-your-wits-about-you.270914/#post-3311945 
This guy is one of us. He’s an ARFcom member. It is time to ZUMBO Geraldo.”
Meanwhile, in early 2008 Monster Hunter International began to enjoy some success. Correia’s combination of well-paced action, gun combat and monsters was gaining readers. He used his presence of the gun forums to promote his book and serialised parts of it on his blog.
One of his readers was friends with the owner of the famous independent science-fiction bookshop Uncle Hugo’s. That led to the novel being passed on to a science fiction publisher who eventually agreed to publish it. Ironically, Correia’s announcement that the print-on-demand version would soon be withdrawn led to a massive boost in sales of the original version.
In 2009, Baen Books published a new version of Monster Hunter International. Larry Correia was now a Baen author.
Next Time: Time to catch up with politics up to 2008.
-  https://benzwycky.com/2016/04/23/meeting-up-with-the-mountain-who-writes/ and https://monsterhunternation.com/2014/04/15/larry-f-correia-international-lord-of-hate/
-  [spoilers] https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2018/05/20/faking-shared-history/
-  https://thefiringline.com
-  https://www.thehighroad.org
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=RKBA&redirect=no and https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=285001&postcount=5
-  Larry Correia discussing Scully’s choice of gun in the X Files: https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=288618&postcount=29 It’s an interesting comment in terms of the development of the Monster Hunter books.
-  I think in context, the hope of every “liberal mega centre” being destroyed was meant in jest.
-  “Lessons of Ruby Ridge” https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1149264&postcount=50
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_control_policy_of_the_Bill_Clinton_administration#Brady_Bill
-  https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=550455&postcount=1
-  https://thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=910761&postcount=40 a ‘Mozambique drill’ is when you shoot two shots at a person’s centre of mass and then one at their head https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozambique_Drill
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbine_High_School_massacre
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting
-  Larry Correia signed off with “Molon Labe”, the Spartan phrase that had become popular among gun groups https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molon_labe
-  https://larry-correia.fandom.com/wiki/Dead_Six
-  https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/welcome-back-mr-nightcrawler.207390/
-  https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/this-week-in-the-news-11-29-07/ “In local news, today is my second to last day as a corporate stooge. After five years of living in a cubicle crunching numbers for a mega-corporation, I’m about done. As of Friday afternoon, I’m on my own. Now I’m a full time Gun Monger. “
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Tech_shooting
-  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_coverage_of_the_Virginia_Tech_shooting#Inaccurate_media_reports
-  https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/keep-your-wits-about-you.270914/#post-3311945 “Zumbo” here refers to the firing of Jim Zumbo from Outdoor Magazine after he made critical remarks about people hunting with AR-15s and AK47s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Zumbo
-  https://monsterhunternation.com/2008/08/28/on-self-publishing/
-  https://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/monster-hunter-international-reviewed-by-don-blyly-of-uncle-hugos/