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.
I love a lot of the same ones everybody else does... One of my favorite books in any genre is Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard, but my favorite military novel that nobody else seems to have read is Dream baby by Bruce McAllister.
So many war novels follow the format of the memoirs and do one soldier's experience, which loses the sheer, inconceivable scope of modern warfare. Dream Baby is a massive oral history with journals and debriefing transcripts and memos that crackle with authenticity and convey the reality of the war as this insane imbalanced stage for an equally insane mission. McAllister spent ten years researching this book and yet it never feels like a history dump. When he's done with you, it seems utterly plausible that our government tried to exploit soldiers with apparent psychic abilities to win the war in the dirtiest possible way.
It can be elevator-pitched as Apocalypse Now meets Scanners, but you'd lose a lot of what makes this book so damn great.
3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?
There's so many that do the audience and the military a disservice, but the one that bugs me is the Rambo stereotype. The tormented lone ex-Green Beret who shies from violence but becomes a cyclone of spontaneous defenestration when provoked. Audiences have to be sold on the moral rectitude of anything the protagonist does... a hero can be a hit man if he's forced out of retirement for one more job, etc... So the good guy has to go through a lot of redneck kabuki ("Hey John, they kidnaped your wife!") before we can get our gun porn on.
+ + +
And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store: