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 John Hornor Jacobs. I've known John for several years. Like a lot of my friends in the industry, we met a writers convention. Since then he's published two books, the latest titled This Dark Earth, which has one of the badd-assiest trailers. The first was Southern Gods, and perhaps one of the most original and impressive debuts I've seen in over a decade. John is the reason I wished I lived in Arkansas. I'd love to go over to his house and hash out ideas and talk about our favorite things. Sadly, we tried that and the governor said that one of us had to leave. Since he was there first, well, you know the rest of the story.
The following three questions were asked to everyone. These are John's responses:
1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?
My favorite military book is THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O'Brien. There's never been a more moving and personalized examination of the Vietnam War. As far as movies go, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, BAND OF BROTHERS and BATTLEGROUND are hard to beat, at least where the WWII European Theater is concerned. PATTON is amazing, too. There's a little known German author named Hans Hellmut Kirst who was a non-Nazi Wehrmacht officer and after the war, he wrote a deeply satirical novel called THE WOLVES. He also wrote some thrillers, the best known is THE NIGHT OF THE GENERALS and THE NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVES.
Going back further, there's Shelby Foote's multi-volume THE CIVIL WAR which is essential non-fiction reading. I'm a bit of a Roman and Greek history buff so I love anything set in the classical world, Pressfields GATES OF FIRE or McCullough's MASTERS OF ROME are a couple I've always enjoyed.
2. Why is it your favorite? Here’s where you can ramble a bit.
But of them all, I would have to say THE THINGS THEY CARRIED as an experience is irreplaceable and takes pre-eminence above all the others. It's a mosaic novel, the tissue of the narrative woven together through interconnected stories. And it contrasts the horrors of war against the conscience of youth. Intensely personal and brutal and moving.
In THIS DARK EARTH, I slipped in a small homage to O'Brien when describing my fictitious Army unit trying to survive after the apocalypse.
3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?
I don't think there are many themes about war that are overused. War is the greatest cipher of human civilization and we have to continually fret and worry at the conundrum it poses us - why must we kill others to assure our own safety? Our freedom? What causes mankind to make war? How does war change us as people, as a nation, as a species? If war is justified, how is it justified?
Those questions never go away as long as war is waged. And so, stories of war will always be relevant, whether writ large on a world map or told intimately from the grunt's eye view.
+ + +
Don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:
Powell's ~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ Indiebound ~ Overstock ~ WalMart ~ Books-a-Million ~ Mysterious Galaxy ~ Poisoned Pen ~ Dark Delicacies ~ Hastings Books and Music