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.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

First Look at FUBAR A Collection of War Stories

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This is my second collection. My first was Multiplex Fandango, which contained all of my best published and original work to date. The collection was a Bram Stoker Finalist and extremely popular. I think it's still for sale over at Dark Regions. I still get a lot of requests for autographs on Multiplex Fandango, and frankly, I thought it would be twenty years before I had enough material to publish a second collection.

Then came the idea of collecting war stories; not just fiction mind you, but non-fiction also. The editor of Cohesion Press, who you might remember from his SNAFU series of anthologies, and I spoke about the possibility and came up with a solid idea. You see, I'd recently been to Afghanistan on an all expenses paid vacation, so I had several essays which I felt were powerful enough to be included. I also had quite a few military-themed stories which I felt had something to say. Some you might have read before, some others are just now seeing the light of day.

FUBAR went on sale yesterday in a very reasonable paperback. To celebrate this, I'd like to share the introduction and the table of contents. I'll also be at Phoenix Comiccon this weekend and will have about 20 to hand sell if anyone is interested. For those who can't come to Phoenix, the link down and over to the right will take you to the promised land.



INTRODUCTION

Welcome to FUBAR. As most of you know, FUBAR stands for Fouled1 Up Beyond All Recognition and is one of those military terms which has invaded common speech. Like the acronyms SNAFU2 and REMF3, FUBAR finds the most use when bad things happen. And in the military, bad things are always happening. We’re ether doing bad things to other people or planning to do bad things to other people, or other people are doing and planning to do bad things to us. We often find that it’s our own kind. I can’t tell you how many times a drill sergeant or platoon sergeant has exclaimed that either me or my kit was FUBAR. There were times when the word was used so often I considered changing my name to FUBAR.
It certainly would have made things more interesting.
I can see it now.
“Who’s that over there?”
“That’s Private Fubar, sir.”
“Ah, finally a fitting name.”
You see, because although I was athletic, I was also prone to accidents. I didn’t pay attention to things and in the military, it’s all about paying attention. Just look at the claymore mine. It was architecturally engineered for people who don’t pay attention. It has the words FRONT TOWARD ENEMY emblazoned on the deadly side for a reason. If one were to ignore that specific guidance and place, arm, and fire their claymore, they’d be FUBAR’d for one brief magnificent second, right before seven hundred ball bearings flew through them at twenty-six hundred miles an hour.
Thus the idea of creating a collection of war stories called FUBAR was born.
As I searched for pieces to curate for this collection, I struggled to find a theme. I didn’t want the works placed randomly. I wanted them to mean something. My desire was for you the reader to experience this in a way that would give you the most benefit. For those of you with little or no military experience, it was to give you a little insight, a peephole, if I may, into the life of a warrior. For those of you with experience, I wanted to provide stories that I know will resonate. In a crazy trick of Schrödinger time, I can see you in the future, nodding and chuckling as you read, acknowledging and recognizing something I’ve written, while remembering in your own past, how it had been for you in a similar situation.
Then when I saw Welcome to the War Zone, I knew that it had to be the first story. I wrote that within hours of landing in Kabul, Afghanistan. I wrote it in such a way to get your adrenaline up, to demonstrate the immediacy of the danger, and to raise you pucker factor to eleven. The essay fittingly sets the stage for the rest of the book.
Then I set about trying to curate pieces that would represent me as a lifetime warrior. Long ago, I set out to determine what type of warrior I wanted to be and what kind I refused to be. Looking at my history, I can trace my warrior lineage in every American conflict and war dating back to the Revolutionary War where Captain Michael Motz of the Northumberland Militia attached his men to the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment, Continental Line in order to fight for the independence of a new nation.  We’ve had all sorts of warriors in my family. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, Indian scouts, Indian fighters, cavalry officers, WWI grunts who were mustard-gassed in the trenches, Civil War regulars who fought against each other, infantry men who fought island to island in the Pacific, and sailors aboard the USS Arizona, now resting beneath the azure waters of Pearl Harbor. As I learned of them, I also learned about what sort of persons they were. When I could, I sleuthed what they believed in.
The one continual theme I encountered as I searched my own past was that they were all humanists.
So what is humanism? Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical
thinking and evidence over established doctrine or faith (Wikipedia).
…the value and agency of human beings…
Yes, I sang cadence about nuking people until they glowed.
Yes, I dehumanized my country’s enemies by calling them names.
Yes, I played the Us vs Them game.
And of course I inculcated a hatred for those who would do despicable things to my fellow warriors.
But I never ceased realizing that these enemies of mine were once children with
their own dreams, born from mothers and fathers with their own dreams, and with families who had their own dreams.
I never ceased believing that these enemies of mine weren’t as deep and thoughtful and as intelligent as myself. In some cases this task was extraordinarily difficult, but I strained to be the humanist I was determined to be.
I felt the same way about the minority groups within my own military. Part of being from a family of humanists, I was raised to treat everyone with respect. Black, white, brown or yellow, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or Atheist, straight, gay, bisexual or transgender. Everyone. Respect. All the time.
So this idea of humanism and respect was front and center as I curated these stories, because I believe that a keen-eyed, blood-covered warrior can be a humanist at the same time they’re fighting for those guys and gals in the foxhole next to them. Not only are there blood, guts and bravado war stories in this collection, but we also have thoughtful pieces about PTSD. You’ll find works about gay soldiers and about spousal abuse. You’ll find stories about the ultimate cost of responsibility and the terrible toll of war. I included a broad spectrum of my works because if you’re going to read a collection about me, I want you to understand me. This collection you’re holding in your hands or listening to, for all intents and purposes, it is me.
I’ve even included a piece I originally created as performance art on the web.
Inspired by the inestimable Coeur D’Alene American Indian poet and story teller Sherman Alexie, I created a twenty minute piece that has never been in print until now, but has been viewed hundreds of times on military holidays. I wonder if those who saw it got that it is meant to be both patriotic and protest. Just as Welcome to the Warzone was meant to get your heart kicking and your blood pumping, Doctor Doom’s Guide to the Universe and Special Rules for the Burial of Christian Insects is meant to show you the complete immersion and indoctrination basic training can be.

Which is sort of what this collection is.
So welcome to FUBAR.
This is my journey.
And now it’s yours.

1 – Alternative word for Fucker
2 – Rear Echelon Mother Fucker
3 – Situation Normal All Fucked Up





FUBAR Table of Contents

Welcome to the Warzone ©2013 Living Dangerously
When I Knew Baseball ©2013 Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
Family Man © 1999 At the Brink of Madness
We All Wanted to Be Heroes When We Were Young © 2012 Soldier of Fortune Magazine
The Last Kobyashi Maru © 2010 Crossroads Press (Originally titled Butterfly Winter)
Fugue on the Sea of Cortez © 2010 Multiplex Fandango
Rhythm © 1997 Cochise College Literary Magazine
PTSD in Fiction ©2014 Living Dangerously
Righteous © 2012 Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane
Tarzan Doesn’t Live Here Anymore © 2010 Multiplex Fandango
My Daddy’s Private Things © 2015
Every War Has A Signature Sound © 2015
On Tranquility Tides I Ride © 2015
The Importance of Building Your Own Shadow © 2013 Living Dangerously
The Road to Painted Rock © 2015
Hiroshima Falling © 2007 A Dark and Deadly Valley
Doctor Doom © 2015
Finishing School © 2014 Living Dangerously

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