Professor Copper’s Tactical Primer
An illustrated guide to organized mayhem for heavily armed kids
Are you intent on raising an Antiracist Baby? Are you looking for the next Little Book of Little Activists? Are you shopping around for My First Book of Feminism (For Boys)? Do you want to ensure that your boys are well-versed in Seeing Gender?
What’s that? That’s exactly what you’re looking for? You are, in fact, gay?
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In that case, Professor Copper’s Tactical Primer is absolutely not for you.
Some months ago,of the Techno-Canton approached me to see if I’d be interested in helping to promote his latest project: an illustrated children’s sci-fi adventure aiming to bring children the wisdom of small-unit tactics, weapons handling, wilderness survival, operations planning, and every other element necessary to a successful light infantry campaign.
Of course I said yes. Children are a crucial element in any combined arms strategy.
Before going further, full disclosure: I’m not getting paid a single satoshi for this, although I may get a physical reviewer’s copy at some point. The finished product looks, you must admit, pretty sweet.
Professor Copper’s Tactical Primer is set on Mars, where a prosperous colony of freeholding Martian yeomen are periodically threatened by omnivorous alien bugs, thus necessitating the occasional defensive bughunt in which the militia ventures forth with directed energy weapons and gauss guns1 to fend off the relentless depredations of the hostile hive.
In a hostile environment where every citizen is an obligate soldier, it’s important for everyone to pull their weight in a fire squad, and that means training needs to start young. That’s why Professor Copper put together this handy 75-page manual. It’s never too early to cultivate a tight grouping.
Part of Elliott’s intent was to showcase an optimistic future, in which humans have become an interplanetary species, intelligent robots are a daily fact of life but remain servants rather than masters, and the basic republican virtues of autonomous self-governance have not only remained intact but become even more deeply embedded in our culture.
His main goal, however, was to provide a concise, readable, and comprehensive guide to modern military tactics that can be digested by your average irascible eight-year-old intent on upgrading his capability for organized mayhem to the next level.
The book is lavishly illustrated, with colour plates illustrating night ops
Helpful schematics demonstrating proper ambush techniques:
A illuminating cartoons emphasizing tactical principles such as violence of action:
The subject-matter covers an incredible breadth, considering the slim 75 pages: firearms safety, wilderness safety, mission planning, casualties, squad composition and specialities, marksmanship, fields of fire, principles of movement, cover and concealment, communications, hand signals, concentration of force, use of vehicles, use of terrain, urban warfare, movement to contact, assault, setting ambushes, escaping from ambushes, tactical retreats, exfiltration, and debriefing.
Obviously, no one thinks that kids should be running around doing live-fire exercises. They can, however, apply more or less all of these principles using paintball guns, nerf guns, water guns, airsoft guns or (if you grew up where I did) BB guns, cherry bombs, and roman candles.
Reading this, I couldn’t help but contrast it with the training manuals that I was provided with in the Army Cadet Corps – which, for non-Canadian readers (i.e. most of you) is a government-sponsored youth organization sort of like the Boy Scouts, except with a military rank structure. We were taught a certain degree of wilderness survival and navigation skills, a whole lot of parade drill, and (if you weren’t on the marksmanship team) absolutely nothing at all about firearms. We absolutely weren’t taught anything about small unit tactics, room-clearing, or how to respond to an ambush. A couple of years in I discovered that back in the day Army Cadets were allowed to play with machine-guns, whereas in my time we weren’t even allowed to so much as touch a C-72; when I asked my father why, he responded that it was probably because outraged parents would object to their children being handed weapons of war, to which my response was Why are they gay?
Something like Professor Copper’s Tactical Primer would have been vastly preferable to the unflavoured soypaste we were fed, particularly if combined with a recreational regimen that implemented the tactics described therein. I suspect something like that is Elliott’s high-level goal with this book: to inspire parents to help their kids organize completely unregulated but well-coached paintball militias in which they can develop into the high-speed, low-drag, casually lethal small-town samurai that we’ll need to carve out a space for free humanity in the cyberpunk future we’re barrelling towards.
You can find the author’s own reflections on the book here:
Andreviews the book here:
The book itself is available for purchase at Amazon or at the author’s own website Copper Jungle, where you can find previous titles such as The Wee Havamal, The Wee Tao Te Ching, and The Battle of Athens.
If you want to spread the word on Twixxor, here is the link to my Xeet for this review.
I had no idea gauss guns were even a thing until I read about them here. They’re nowhere near ready for prime time - the muzzle velocity is pretty pathetic - but their mere existence is cyberpunk af.
That being the Canadian variation of the M16, and a superior weapon all around: more accurate, equipped with a scope, and capable of full-auto.