Squad Sergeant Jules Ncube crossed himself as the dropship began its final braking maneuver, gee forces pressing his armored form deeper into his acceleration couch. He had not yet faced the M’tait in combat, and while the initial scans of the planetoid below had led Centurion Waylander to believe that there were no actual M’tait present, he had seen enough combat to know that the initial orbital reconnaissance was rarely to be relied upon entirely. There were always things below that the radar, lidar, and thermal and optic telescopes couldn’t quite see. The dropship began to shudder a little, and in the visual feed on the flatscreen in front of his face, Ncube could see the faintest trace of an orange nimbus start to flicker around the truncated, conical hull. It was nowhere near some of the fiery displays he’d seen on hot drops; the nameless planetoid known only as Trakan Target One had only barely enough of a trace atmosphere to warm the hull a little. Almost as soon as it had formed, the nimbus was gone, as the dropship’s drive accomplished more to slow its descent than any aerobraking could hope to. The horizon was a golden line
Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook that the Lord of the Rings movies did the character of Boromir dirty. I countered that those movies did every character dirty, with the possible exception of Sam and Gollum. The best parts of the movies are the visuals and the soundtrack. This is because Peter Jackson, Phillipa Boyens, and Fran Walsh don’t actually understand Tolkien’s work. They certainly lack his subtlety. (Yes, I’m going to go into some detail on what they got wrong. Some. Those who don’t like people trashing movies for screwing with the source material might want to stop reading now. Because I’m not going to stop, because it’s my blog.) And every character change they made watered down the character. First of all, Aragorn didn’t need an arc, where he agonizes and broods, worried that he shouldn’t be king because wanting power is bad. Because The Lord of the Rings isn’t the entirety of his story. It’s the culminating chapter of a long life of hardship, toil, and duty, that has led him to this point, where it is time to take up the mantle left to him. He’s got the experience, he’s got the hard-won wisdom, and he knows that
I originally wrote this as a newsletter draw for the separate The Unity Wars newsletter. Since I’m folding the series into my main author “brand,” I’m going to serialize it here. Trakan System Tyrus Cluster 4,400 hours since the fall of Oram Prime Seventy-five starships hung in the black, only the faint starlight reflecting off their hulls. Ahead, the star designated Trakan on most starmaps was little more than a slightly brighter pinpoint of light amid dazzling myriads. The largest formation of ships was made up of angular, chisel-nosed battlecruisers, painted a bright blue, with the wreathed Sigma emblem of the Sparatan Space Force only dimly visible in the star glow. Nearby floated two dozen broad, dumbbell-shaped star cruisers, their hulls a deep red that almost looked black in the dimness of deep space. The characters etched on their flanks were alien; tehud symbols spelled out each ship’s name and its place in the Vergsegeilith Task Fleet, out of Bilbissari. Two ships didn’t fit with either group. The three-sided, coppery arrowhead bore no markings whatsoever, but was immediately identifiable as belonging to the Order of Shufa, one of the most secretive and rarely seen of the galaxy’s Military Brotherhoods. The silvery
Not being an epidemiologist, I’ve generally tried to avoid talking about the Wuhan Coronavirus (go piss up a rope, Uncle Xi). And the current disruption has got me wondering just how I’m going to continue the Maelstrom Rising series after this, when it comes time to pick it up again. But that’s not what this post is about. There are far more knowledgeable people to talk about the Wuhan Coronavirus itself (and how incomplete and inconclusive much of the data is). I’m going to talk about the comprehensive Chinese Communist Information Operations campaign related to it. The Wuhan Coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China, sometime in December, 2019. It was not initially identified as such; there were inexplicable cases of pneumonia, and they were increasing rapidly. Communist countries being what they are, the initial response was more geared toward keeping word from getting out. After all, everything is always perfect in the Workers’ Paradise. So, on January 1st, the Wuhan Public Security Bureau summoned Dr. Li Wenliang and accused him of “spreading rumors.” Dr. Li publicly repented of his “misdemeanors” and promised not to commit further crimes, presumably after being worked over a little. He wasn’t the only one, either;
With the Maelstrom Rising anthology well in the works, Enemy of My Enemy also in the works, and several other projects in development (yes, including a possible new Jed Horn story), I’m preparing to re-launch The Unity Wars. Some of you are familiar with my first science fiction work, but a lot aren’t (which is why the re-launch). I published the following on theunitywars.com a couple years ago: What is The Unity Wars? Well, it’s an upcoming series of science fiction adventures. The best description so far is, “The Clone Wars crossed with The Horus Heresy, with influence from the Lensman series, Hammer’s Slammers, and Farscape.” Confused yet? Hopefully also curious and a little excited. I fiddled around with writing science fiction for several years before I became an action-adventure writer. It was mostly Star Wars and Wing Commander flavored at the time. I’ve always enjoyed science fiction, specifically what can often be described as “space opera,” adventures in deep space and on distant worlds. And I’ve also always wanted to go back to it. A few years ago (before Disney Star Wars, which we won’t go into), I got a wild hair and asked myself, “What if the Star Wars prequels were
That’s right. There’s going to be an anthology of stories set in the Maelstrom Rising series. And it’s going to have some pretty big names in it. I got the idea the first night at LTUE. Like I said, the interesting stuff there came from the discussions between panels. So, though it won’t be a numbered volume in the series, SPOTREPS – A Maelstrom Rising Anthology will be coming out on Kindle and in paperback. I will have at least one story in it, along with contributions from: Larry Correia Mike Kupari JL Curtis LawDog Brad Torgersen James Rosone Mike Massa Steven Hildreth, Jr. David Reeder Chris Hernandez and Jonathan LaForce It’s a fairly eclectic group: Larry’s a civvie gun guy and a hell of a storyteller; Mike’s been a security contractor and an AF EOD tech (and he and I have already written a story together); Jim Curtis is a retired Naval Aviator; Lawdog is a sheriff’s deputy who grew up in Africa; Brad is a National Guard WO; James Rosone is an Army veteran and a former contractor; Mike Massa was a SEAL (nobody’s perfect); Steven Hildreth is a former Army and NG infantryman; David Reeder is a former AF
Just got home from Life, The Universe, and Everything in Provo, Utah on Sunday. It was a great weekend; got to hang out with Larry Correia, Jim Curtis, and quite a few others. The panels might not have been that useful; it was the conversations around the panels that were enlightening. Several new projects came out of it, including a Maelstrom Rising project that I’ll keep under wraps for the moment, but it’s going to be cool. For today, this is a bit of a blast from the past. Since I mentioned in last week’s post that I’m delving into some Fantasy and Science Fiction again, I thought I’d put some of my short work up. This story appeared in an anthology by Superversive Press entitled Tales of the Once and Future King. Since Superversive folded recently, and the book is out of print, the story rights reverted to me, so here it is. Taliesin’s Riddle The spring rains had cleared away, and the morning of the tenth day after Pentecost was bright and green when Ercwlff, son of Cadwgan, rode out from his father’s holdings astride the horse he had received when he had taken arms at the Feast of the Resurrection.
Well, Crimson Star has been out for a little over a week and a half, and it’s doing pretty well. A few reviews are in, and some of you have said it’s actually your favorite of the series so far. Some of that seems to be because a lot of it is much more irregular warfare, more reminiscent of the American Praetorians series. To that, all I have to say is that as the war drags on, and more expensive (and irreplaceable) assets get taken off the board, the more irregular this next World War is going to get. I was planning for Hank and his section to head out into the Pacific after the Chinese following Crimson Star, but now that the first volume of his arc is done, it’s not looking quite so cut and dried. The state of affairs CONUS is bad enough that the response is going to take time. At any rate, we’ll be back to Matt’s Grex Luporum Team in the ETO with Strategic Assets later on this year. Before that comes Brannigan’s Blackhearts #8 – Enemy of My Enemy. That’s going to be fun (we may see a certain Russian mobster again from Fury in the Gulf). However,
I haven’t been promoting my own shop quite as much as I possibly should have. It’s there, though, with signed copies of all my books (as well as plenty of the American Praetorians patches from years ago), available. I’ve even just updated the inventory. The occasion for this announcement is, of course, the box with author copies of Crimson Star showing up on my front porch this morning. So, those are now available, along with everything else. Head over and give it a look. (Note: while they’re unlisted at the moment, I do still have copies of the older editions, with the old covers, of several of my books that have since been updated. If by chance you’re one of those kind of completionists, or just want what might, possibly, in a distant future, become a collectible, contact me and I can set up a temp listing.)
Just posting a quick link today. A couple months ago, Hank Garner, who runs the Author Stories podcast, contacted me to invite me on the show. He had picked up Escalation and was enjoying the series. So, a few days before Crimson Star came out, we sat down and had a chat. You can listen to it here. It was really great to be on the show. That somebody like Hank, who has interviewed far more high-profile authors than I, took an interest is gratifying. If you’re reading this, Hank, thanks again for having me on.