ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 38 with Gene O'Neill

For the next 42 days we're going to be counting down to the release of SEAL Team 666. Why 42? Because it's the answer to the universal question.
Today we have Gene O'Neill. We've been friends since I started writing. Gene is a born storyteller, as eager to write it as he is to tell it. He's at once a modern day Mark Twain and a socially conscious, popular genre fiction writer like Sam Delaney and George R.R. Martin.  I'm very pleased to call him a friend. If you haven't read any of Gene's work, I highly recommend Taste of Tenderloin, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection in 2010.

1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

I love the movie Apocalypse Now because I admire Conrad's novella, HEART OF DARKNESS, which is the basis. I also think the movie *feels* right--the chaos, confusion, and a kind of crazy surreal humor. A good example of chaotic confusion is the surreal scene upriver with a pyrotechnic display going on, with two infantrymen manning a  machine gun firing off bursts into the night at what? The assassin asks them who's in charge? Neither knows. Does it make any difference at that moment?  Of course the cavalry charge in the attack helicopters with The Ride of the Valkyries blasting over loud speakers led by the lunatic Colonel is priceless. His classic: I love the smell of napalm in the morning... is really funny. This kind of strange humor during a very dangerous situation is something that happens but isn't often portrayed in books/movies.

2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.

I like the book MATTERHORN by Karl Malantes because it too has the right *feel.* The book about Marine ground pounders in Vietnam also shows two things not often mentioned about men in stressful situations. First, the superstitious behavior adopted, the odd rituals that squads go through--much like the odd behavior of baseball players going up to bat. Secondly, Malantes, who went to an Ivy league college and writes really well, points out something not often discussed. At some point a veteran squad can become desensitized to fear, stress, and death of comrades, and at some point actually look forward to conducting missions, engaging the enemy. An unexpected reaction, that civilians might consider kind of a group psychopathic response. maybe so.

Anyhow, this book and this movie presents, in my opinion,  a more realistic *feel* than others, like the acclaimed Full Metal Jacket--which gives a very skewed impression of not only combat but Marine Boot

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?

Of course the presentation of heroes and heroic action with patriotic background music in movies is really Hollywood fiction. Overdone. Bogus. Men overcome their fear and fight because they don't want to let down others in their squad, their buddies. I suspect all good outfits capitalize on this bonding. Ideology is rarely heard even from officers, never discussed by troops.

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Thanks Gene!

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