Weston Ochse is the author of twenty books, most recently SEAL Team 666 and its sequel Age of Blood, which the New York Post called 'required reading' and USA Today placed on their 'New and Notable Lists.' His first novel, Scarecrow Gods, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel and his short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared in comic books, and magazines such as Cemetery Dance and Soldier of Fortune. He lives in the Arizona desert within rock throwing distance of Mexico. He is a military veteran with 29 years of military service and currently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. Please contact him through this site.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 30 and My Favorite Military Movie

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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 you have me to talk about my favorite military movie.


You know, it could be argued that I have been forged by movies and television. From my earliest memory, I can see John Wayne as an American Cowboy or a Green Beret or a PT Boat driver. He always played the same sort of reluctant patriot, who is forced into a bad situation. 


Then I saw another movie, the Boys of Company C and it confused me. And a few years later, I saw Platoon, which confused me more. Weren't military movies supposed to be patriotic? They weren't supposed to openly be against the war or against fighting, were they? It took me a long time to figure this out, but in the end, I determined that yes they are okay. Patriotism is not a simple red, white and blue construct. Creating a movie that at once show the heroism of a soldier and argues against fighting is patriotic as anything John Wayne ever produced.

Many of my friends have mentioned movies such as Apocalypse Now, Kelly's Heroes, Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, etc. I agree with everything they've said. These are all magnificent movies. They cover the gamut of human feeling and notions about patriotism and what men and women will go to prove themselves.

But my favorite military movie is The Deer Hunter. Starring Robert Deniro, Christopher Walken, and Merryl Streep. It tells the awful tale of what war can do to a human soul and how impossibly unforgiving it can be. The Russian Roulette scenes have stayed with me since I first saw the movie  at a drive in in 1978. How could I have watched this and still wanted to become the hero I've tried to be ever since I joined the military in 1984? Did I somehow understand it on a cellular level, because I got to tell you, this movie has some deeply moving subplots.



This is a movie about the effects of war on people and a community. It has been argued that The Deer Hunter is not a way movie. Of course it is. War movies can be about people, especially when people are forced into wars.


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 31 with Sean O'Bannon

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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 Sean O'Bannon, screenwriter, actor, kilt-wearing pirate. I first met him back in 2003? I wrote about it in an essay that appears along with the novel Blaze of Glory. Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame had invited a bunch of us up to his place in the town of Crestline, California, near Lake Arrowhead. Myself, Reggie, Sean (a screenwriter), Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man), Doug Bradley (Pinhead), Robert Englund (Freddy), and a few others were present to promote a haunted house Reggie and his wife Gigi were running. That is until the Old Fire merged with the Grand Prix Fire and threatened to turn all of us to ashes. The cloud of smoke was the size of Nebraska. We literally escaped down the mountain with flames licking at our tires. By the time I got home to my apartment in San Pedro three hours and forty miles later, ashes were falling on my balcony. That was the year it felt like L.A. was surrounded by a ring of fire.

Back to Sean, he and I hit it off like we were old friends. We've maintained that friendship since then, sharing our works, commenting on each others life choices, and just being two great guys. And all this despite his fetish for wearing Zardoz Zed's pajamas and constantly speaking with a Scottish brogue... not just any brogue, mind you, but the brogue of non other than Sean Connory. Sean. I love this guy.


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


THE WILD GEESE. 

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

L-R: Brinke Stevens, Robert Evans, Sean O'Bannon (at a dinner at famous
movie producer Robert Evan's home in Southern California)
It stars Richard Burton and Richard Harris as hard-drinking mercenaries best friends.  (When you consider that both of whom played King Arthur, it makes one wonder if they both whipped out their “Excaliburs” backstage.)  Roger Moore as the womanizing antihero pilot who was the cause of the best line in the flick:  “Leftenant Finn, you are jumping from an aeroplane, not a whorehouse window.  Get up there and do it again.”  Loved the fact that each man has taken this suicide mission – rescuing a thinly-disguised Nelson Mandela from an African prison – for his own reasons.  Burton:  at first it’s for the money, but events change him from a cold-hearted bastard to a merely chilly-hearted bastard.  Harris:  he’s originally out of the game, but takes the job because of principles.  Moore:  for the challenge and the need to get out of London before the Mob blows his scoundrel head off.  Every soldier puts on the uniform for his own reasons and this flick shows that well, even with the secondary and tertiary characters. 


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

Written by Sean O'Bannon
The idea of “Brothers to the End” is used a lot.  Is it overused?  That’s up to the individual.  Personally, I dig it.  It illustrates the bond between soldiers, forged not only on the field but in the downtime between shit storms.  These are people with whom we share experiences that no one else will understand.  When films show this, they depict the warrior soul at its most eloquent and at its basic element.  Regardless of backgrounds, these soldiers are a family dedicated to a cause higher than themselves and are prepared to sacrifice everything if need be in its name.  Nothing wrong with repeated use – or overuse – when it shines light on the best that we can become.


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Here's the promo for the event I mentioned above.  I'm represented
by the Catfish... Catfish Gods was in production then.


Thanks, Sean!


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:


Friday, October 26, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 32 with Dani Kollin

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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 Dani Kollin. I first met Dani at COPPERCON in Phoenix a few years ago. Me and Steven R. Donaldson were the Guests of Honor and it was a treat to see Dani and his brother Eytan showing up with their uber-cool mass market science fiction book. They were like Penn and Teller, only they were both Penn and they were fabulous to watch. Since then I've come to know Dani better and count on him to keep me on the right track. If you haven't read any of his Unincorporated books, then I have to ask why not? They're truly fabulous and original, beginning with the Prometheus Award-winning The Unincorporated Man.





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

Favorite tv show is the Galactica reboot. Favorite movie is Das Boot and favorite book is Clancy's, Red Storm Rising.

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

Galactica because it's not specifically military. Because it has to struggle with the need to maintain order while acknowledging the importance of retaining freedom. Das Boot because short of smelling the sweat of the sailors themselves, it was one of the most visceral movie-going experiences of my life and Red Storm Rising because it grabbed me by the jugular and didn't let go.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?
 
The angry, disaffected soldier who goes rogue (for good or bad). And yes, it's overused. Disaffection? Sure. Change the world as a result? Not very realistic. Though I understand why it's so often used. No Protagonist, no story.


For more of Dani Kollin's work, check out his short story,  Day by Day.

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Thanks, Dani!


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:



Thursday, October 25, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 33 with Steven Spruill

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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 Steven Spruill. I first met Steve at NECON about ten years ago. I was in awe when I met him for sure. He's going to hate me for saying this, but I remember reading The Paradox Planet when I was a kid. Well, Steve has been on top of the heap since then and is one of my personal luminaries. His most recent novel-length work is one of my top five books on the Korean War, ICE MEN. Also, since his wife is of general officer rank (civilian equivalent), she's the only wife of a fellow writer that I think by regulation I have to salute.

Regardless, here are  Steve's answers.
 
1. What’s your favorite military movie, book or television show?

My favorite military movie is Gladiator.  While the entire movie is not, strictly-speaking, military it is all about fighting and combat and has a great opening battle scene.

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

Gladiator, with excellent cgi and great production values, starts off with some awesome fight scenes demonstrating the differences in military tactics between the Romans and their barbarian enemies.  General Maximus, having lost everything because of the betrayal of the emperor's son, embarks on a long road to revenge, always an involving trope, which in the movie serves the nobler purpose of saving Rome from a dangerous despot.  The movie features lots of great gladiatorial fight scenes.  An earlier big movie from roughly the same era, "Spartacus," points up the irony of Rome having trained gladiators who later used their military skills to organize a rebellion against Rome.  Spartacus was a stirring movie with a bitter ending, but I had more trouble getting into it than I did for Gladiator, perhaps because I've always been fascinated by Rome.  I view that era as a good one for the advance of civilization until near the end of the empire, at which point it deserved to fall.  This may explain why I liked the story line of Gladiator better.  It was purely fictional, whereas Spartacus was not, but hey, we're talking fiction, here.

3. What themes are overused? And is it overused, or just truthful observation?
 
In modern military movies, it has been my sense that the theme of the evil general who is leading his troops in some unconstitutional venture or the other has been overused.  It was handled well in the book and movie "Seven Days in May."  That story was probably inspired by General MacArthur, even though MacArthur accepted his exile by Truman and did not try the overthrow imagined for the character played by Burt Lancaster in the movie.  "Seven Days in May" may have been a rough prototype for later movies in which the military is portrayed as villainous in some way or other.  From the fifties through the seventies, a number of mediocre to good, dramatic movies were made on the Korean War and WWII, even as Vietnam began to change the way war movies were made, with Deer Hunter being the best example of a dysphoric war movie.  "The Battle of the Bulge," with Robert Shaw as the German tank corps commander, was stirring and excellent, as was "The Longest Day."  But more recent movies, it seems to me (with the exception of movies featuring "special forces") have mined the trope that the military could be easily corrupted and perverted from its constitutional mission.  It might be possible that a disaffected colonel, passed over for promotion to general, could cause some mischief if he were beloved enough by his men.  But men and women don't make it to the general staff by harboring disloyal impulses, and the main body of enlisted men and women would, I'm sure, balk at following any orders aimed at the overthrow of constitutional authority.  As the husband of a top Pentagon official, I've sat down to dinner with many generals and admirals and I've also had plenty of exposure to the excellent cadre of non-commissioned officers (sergeants and petty officers) who keep offices running in the Pentagon.  I have never met a general or a non-com yet who would not shrink in horror from any suggestion of violating the constitutional chain of command which puts the President at the top as commander-in-chief, and that goes for the rank-and-file soldier as well.  So movies about the evil American military leave me shaking my head.

This is in my top five books about the Korean War!

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Thanks, Steve!


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 34 with Joe McKinney

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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 Joe McKinney.I've known Joe since he rolled  rolled me up for soliciting back in the '90s. I was in a suit, he was in a dress, it was love at first sight until I discovered he was undercover. Who knew he'd look so good in polka dots.

 Just kidding. I count Joe one of my good friends in the industry. There's probably nothing I wouldn't do for him. We first met, when was it, 2004? 2006? Does time fly that quickly? Anyway, Joe's responsible for the Deadworld Series-- smart, procedural, character-driving zombie novels. He also wrote one hell of a ghost story in Inheritance, which I called 'an artful haunting with the gloomy quality of a Terrance Malick crime drama.' For those who don't get the Malick reference, I'm specifically referring to Badlands, the loosely based on the real life murder spree of Charles Starkweather. His book holds the same erstwhile gloom that frames the movie.


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

Narrowing down to one is almost impossible, especially when you open the field to books, movies and TV.  On the small screen I loved Pacific and the Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War.  I even have a soft spot for Hogan’s Heroes, which I used to watch everyday after school.  My favorite books would probably be Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Shelby Foote’s three volume masterpiece, The Civil War.  But since I have to pick a favorite I’m going to have to go with Alfred Hitchcock’s under-appreciated 1944 classic, Lifeboat.

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

Well, I could have named half a dozen war movies that are better than Lifeboat.  Saving Private Ryan, for instance.  Or The Great Escape.  Or Patton.  Or Full Metal Jacket.  Even some of the second tier war movies are better, like Breaker Morant and Victory and The Big Red One.  But none of them excited me the way Lifeboat did.  It was the first of Hitchcock’s closed space films, a style that he went on to perfect in Rope and Rear Window, and I think the sense of claustrophobia that limited setting created is a big part of the picture’s appeal for me.  It creates a natural pressure cooker for the characters as they slip into desperation and mutual distrust.  Lifeboat also benefits from a script by John Steinbeck (a good part of it, at any rate).  The characterization is strong, creating complex portraits of Germans that aren’t really all that bad and Allies that aren’t really all that good.  And of course the final production carries Hitchcock’s stylistic fingerprints all over it, which is never a bad thing.  Sure it’s not the grand scope of films like Saving Private Ryan or Toro Toro Toro, but it’s big drama on a small stage, and it’s a film I keep coming back to year after year.

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

Probably the whole “band of brothers” thing.  And I’m not just talking about our modern films like Saving Private Ryan and all the others.  Look at the Shakespeare play from which that phrase comes, Henry V.  On the surface the play reads like a patriotic pep rally, but it’s actually layered with irony condemning many of the big hero attributes we’ve heaped on Henry.  It was clear the “band of brothers” theme was tired even then, in the 1590s.  I don’t think it’s gotten any fresher since then. 


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Thanks, Joe!


And everyone please don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:




Another SEAL Team 666 Book Cometh

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Looky what I just saw on Publisher's Marketplace: 

'Weston Ochse's SEAL TEAM 666: AGE OF BLOOD, featuring the return of the elite team known as "Triple Six," who leap back into action when a Senator's daughter is kidnapped by a mysterious group, only to discover an occult conspiracy deep in the heart of Mexico to return the world to the Age of Blood, again to Brendan Deneen and Peter Joseph at Thomas Dunne Books, for publication in Fall 2013, by Robert Fleck at Professional Media Services (World). '

Big. Horking. Deal.

Love it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 35 with Lincoln Crisler

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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 Lincoln Crisler. I've known Lincoln since he exploded onto the scene at three years ago. He's gone from unknown to one of the rising names in the genre. Interestingly enough, he's still a soldier. Stationed in Georgia, he continues his service to the military.


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

I'm sure in 42 days you're going to hear this a few times, but if I had to pick just one, Full Metal Jacket would be it. Others include Top Gun, The Hunt for Red October and The Rock, for those who'd like some variety.

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

It's pretty visceral, especially when viewed by an 18-year old kid fresh out of boot camp in 2001, eight months before 9/11 even happened. Not only did Kubrick's movie show a vastly different basic training experience from the one I had just finished, I came of age in the 90s, when Vietnam and its aftermath was well past us. Full Metal Jacket portrayed an otherwordly realm to me as much as the science fiction and fantasy I grew up reading, to be completely honest. 

Having said that, my life has been a patchwork of visceral experiences, something I'd like to think is reflected in my choice of entertainment and, more importantly, my writing. I watch and read less military-related material than you might imagine, since I am a soldier and like my entertainment to provide an escape. For a similar reason, the military has yet to figure into my fiction work. I do, however, enjoy shows like Dexter, Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead and brutal books by guys like Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene and Wrath James White. 

I also produce what I hope is some pretty raw and entertaining reading material, most recently my CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY? anthology of dark superhero fiction (featuring Wes and a plethora of other fine wordsmiths, I should point out) and FOUR IN THE MORNING, featuring my mid-life crisis novella with a dark science fiction bent alongside novellas by Tim Marquitz, Ed Erdelac and Malon Edwards. I love wizards, ghosts, monsters and The Goddamn Batman, but give it to me raw and with as much logic and realism as can be applied to such creatures--just like Kubrick did--and I'll love you long time. Which is, of course, the same relationship I try to build with my readers. 

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

Speaking as a genre author as well as a soldier, the most overused military theme in genre fiction might be its frequent negative portrayal. I guess this is perhaps most prevalent in post-apocalyptic fiction. It might be because the stories are written by people unfamiliar with the service. Perhaps it's an extension of the mistrust of the government that also features prominently in those sort of stories (where a secret lab is typically believed to be responsible for the outbreak). I've read more than one horror story where the soldiers featured therein were rape-happy mercenaries, drunk on the last vestiges of real power available in a world gone to hell. The fairest portrayals in my memory have been written by servicemen--Wes' EMPIRE OF SALT and Bryon Morrigan's THE DESERT and ACHERON spring to mind, along with John Hornor Jacobs' THIS DARK EARTH, to which I lent my expertise as a consultant.

In reality, you'd probably end up with a lot of that--the military just might be America's most diverse workforce, and I've served with patriotic workhorses, college kids looking to pay off loans, wimps who've obviously bitten off more than they could chew, tiny lesbians who could still beat the brakes off some of the guys I've worked with and more than one redneck who ran his mouth about the wrong social topics until being threatened with a cigarette in the eye. So, in the kind of stories I enjoy reading, some soldiers would absolutely turn mercenary, use their talents for bad, etc. but many others would do the right thing. Similar to any other cross-section of humanity, I'd imagine.


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Thanks, Lincoln!

Don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:


Monday, October 22, 2012

42 Days of 666: Day 36 with Ray Garton

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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 Ray Garton. I've known Ray for as long as I've been writing. He's sort of been my big brother, even though he doesn't know it. But I follow his lead in things, I see what he does, I read his blog Preposterous Twaddlecock, and often, I try and emulate him, just as little brothers around the world try and emulate their big brothers. His phenomenal novel of Los Angeles, Sex and Violence in Hollywood was published in 2001. I still contend that this is perhaps his best work. At the time I rated it right along with Pulitzer Prize winning books like Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay. I still stand by that assertion.

Ray Garton is the author of over 60 novels, novellas, short story collections, movie novelizations and TV tie-ins.  His work spans the genres of horror, crime, and suspense.  His 1987 erotic vampire novel Live Girls was called "artful" by the New York Times and was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award.  In 2006, he received the Grand Master of Horror Award at the World Horror Convention.  His 2001 comedy thriller Sex and Violence in Hollywood is being developed for the screen.  His most recent novels, Meds (a thriller with deadly side effects) and Trailer Park Noir are available in paperback and as ebooks from E-Reads, and his seventh collection, Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, was recently published by Cemetery Dance Publications.  His short story "The Man in the Palace Theater" and his erotic noir novella Serpent Girl are available for Kindle and Nook.  You can see his bibliography and keep up with new releases at his website, RayGartonOnline.com.  He lives in northern California with his wife Dawn.


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

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.


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


First of all, it’s the funniest damned book I’ve ever read.  It still makes me laugh out loud.  I have a copy in the bedroom beside the bed.  The novel is rather episodic, so whenever I’m feeling a little blue and need a laugh, I can pick the book up and begin any chapter and before I reach the end of the first page, I’ll be laughing.

My father was a WWII veteran, and I grew up on the stories of his experiences in Germany.  I especially enjoyed his stories about the mysterious workings of the U.S. Army, most of which never made sense to him.  As an adult, I’ve had a number of friends who were veterans, particularly my late friend Paul Meredith, who had endless stories about the insanity of the Vietnam War.  The military stories that have always stayed with me seem to be those with a kind of anarchic craziness to them.  M*A*S*H would be my favorite TV show in this category, and that description certainly applies there.

The thing is, I know this is not a fully accurate depiction of the military, especially during wartime.  But to be honest, I don’t like those.  I still vividly remember watching the Vietnam War when I was a kid.  It was on the news every night.  Not sanitized footage, either, but really ugly, horrifying stuff.  My dad was a news junkie, and we watched every broadcast.  The news footage of the war gave me as many nightmares as the horror movies I watched back then, maybe more.  In fact, I wish I’d never watched any of it.  I got to the point where I left the room when coverage of the war began because I just couldn’t take it.  It scared me, depressed me.  It made me not want to grow up.  Ever.

Catch-22 does a great job, I think, of presenting both the craziest and even darkest aspects of the military along with the ugliness of war, and somehow, Heller manages to make me laugh while he accomplishes that.  I think it’s an enormously entertaining book.  It has a kind of Marx Brothers sensibility marbled with some very serious shit.


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

The book is about the insanity of war, so there’s a lot of that.  Insanity, cognitive dissonance, circular logic.  Because that’s the point of the book, I don’t think it’s overused.  However, it paints a pretty bleak picture of the military.  The officers are pretty despicable, and the GIs are either pretending to be crazy to get out of service, or they really are crazy.  I have to believe there are officers in all branches of our military who are there because they sincerely want to serve the country and who care about the men and women under them, just as I know that there are countless men and women who don’t want to run away from their jobs and who aren’t crazy.  Of course, I’ve never been in the military, so I really don’t know what I’m talking about.  I’m going by stories I’ve been told by veterans.  I think there’s a lot of truthful observation in Catch-22, and it accomplishes what it sets out to do.  I know it’s kind of narrow in its characterizations and in the things it focuses on, but that was the point.  It wasn’t a love letter to military service, and I probably wouldn’t have read it if it were.  And damn, it’s funny.

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Thanks, Ray!

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  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

42 Days of 666 - Day 37 with Sarah Pinborough

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 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 Sarah Pinborough. We first met sometime back in the last decade. We disagree on the actual time, but one thing we can agree on is it was in a bar and our faces were probably flushed.  She's an extraordinary writer, whose Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy just blew me out of the water. She lives in London, wears tinfoil hats in the evening, and bathes in a gold-plated vat of Chardonnay.

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

I never really think I like military drama, but when I look back at stuff I've read or watched - primarily watched when it comes to action drama - there's quite a lot of it. When I was a kid I was a proper daddy's girl and he introduced me to films such as; Where Eagles Dare, The Dirty Dozen, Battle of Britain, Bridge on the river Kwai (my dad was actually in that one!), Das Boot, the big red one and endless others. As I grew up, I still watched new military films - Saving Private Ryan, Platoon etc - but my natural leanings to Horror and SciFi mean that I tend to watch military with weird now. And, I have to say my favourite of all of recent years has to be Battlestar Galactica but that encompasses so much of society than just the military so I won't pick it. Now, call me cheesy but I loved Stargate SG:1. (I'm a girl)


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

I loved the blend of sci-fi and team work in it. Plus, although it's not as dark as the stuff I normally watch it was really imaginative and had lots of ongoing storylines. Plus, there was humour and some sentimental stuff too. Although it was family entertainment there were some difficult decision that had to be made. I'm a geek, what can I say?


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

I think in any military drama patriotism can be overplayed. People invariable don't die for their country. They die for a set of beliefs, and I think the reasons behind bravery can be more complex- and more interesting - than the love of one's country or the need to protect it. I love the dynamics of teams of very different people brought together by a uniform and suddenly in a life-threatening situation, but the presentation of these characters can quite often be stereotypical (one coward, one wisecracker, etc). But perhaps that's how it is.

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If you're stateside, Matter of Blood, the first of the Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy will be available in April. If you can't wait, like me, You can order your copies from overseas, or from booksellers who carry the overseas titles. I've read all three and they are some of my favorite books.

Thanks, Sarah!

Don't forget to Pre-order SEAL Team 666 from your favorite store:

   

Saturday, October 20, 2012

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

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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
Camp.

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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