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, September 22, 2018

PK Dick, HP Lovecraft, Cosmic Horror, and Burning Sky

I've met David Agranoff, the reviewer, several times. In all honesty, when I asked him to review Burning Sky I was worried because David knows his shit. He's balls out into the genres and knows how to think and talk critically about all the best and worst books - Where I feel like a blithering idiot when I talk about others books. As it turns out, he loved the book. Fist pump!
him to

We conducted an interview, which you can see here on his podcast called Dickheads, while I was in Astoria convalescing after my return from Afghanistan. He brought up how I must have been heavily influenced by PK Dick because he could see the influences in my writing. Then I flummoxed him by stating that I hadn't read any PK Dick. None. Nada. Zip. I know, I know. My loss. I accept that. I've also never read any Lovecraft, unless you include his essay on the supernatural,  but that doesn't mean I don't understand cosmic horror. Lovecraft didn't invent cosmic horror in the same way that Dick didn't invent conflicting realities. 

Here's something David said about Burning Sky-  
 "This is also a fun novel at times, with entertaining action, monsters, ancient gods and Philip K Dick worthy time shifts and alternate realities that will remind readers in all the right ways of Jacob's Ladder. There is a What the hell is real twist that is so well executed I was shocked when Weston told me in a e-mail that he has not read much PKD. That is a round about way to say this is a mind expanding cross genre read that I can't recommend enough." 
Several reviews have said that Burning Sky is cosmic horror. I had to ask what cosmic horror was. Here are two comments from my FB page:

David Thomas Moore, Editor in Chief of Solaris says:  "It's the category of horror of which Lovecraft is the exemplar: horror in which the supernatural element is existentially threatening, supercontextual and largely - to mortal understanding - incomprehensible. "Cosmic" in scope, as it were."

Marc Weiner says: "Cosmic horror is another way I saying Lovecraftian...which Burning Skies surely was." 

Maybe according to DTM's definition it is.

But is Burning Sky Lovecraftian? I'm not so sure. I certainly never set out to write it that way. Do I have Elder Gods? Sort of. I do lean heavily on Zoroastrian mythology and real history. Are they Elder Gods? Well, they are older than any other mythology, I think, so that definitely makes them older. And being so old, they are also mysterious because we know the least about them.

Here's something else David says about Burning Sky-

"Much like his last Grunt trilogy Burning Sky is very much about PTSD, but Burning Sky takes that theme and goes beyond. This novel is about what drives war. It explores the deep trauma not just of the warriors but society. The book points to key moments covered by the news in the last few conflicts that lead to Trauma that we felt collectively. The theme is expressed so beautifully in some of this novel's most horrific moments. As a writer, reader and fan of Weston I honestly pumped my fist in the air at one of these moments."

Those key moments he's speaking of are the iconic images of the Falling Man, Napalm Girl, and the Burning Monk, which I talk about here
I urge you to read David's whole review.

Burning Sky will be available September 25th. Please pre-order so we can sell out the print run before publication. That will help guarantee more books in the series. You can click on one of the book links on the left, or go to the following links for your favorite stores.

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