Yes, I’m pretty deep into the shooter genre mode right now, having just passed 75,000 words on the first draft of Lex Talionis, but I’m going to digress for a little, to explore a thought I had while sitting in the “Death Is The Least Of Your Worries: Writing Lovecraftian Fiction” panel at LTUE. The panelists agreed (and so would I) that the nature of Lovecraft’s horror lay in the confrontation of unfathomable powers which barely noticed human beings. You might get squished along the way, but it was hit or miss as to whether the monster actually noticed you in the process. A vital part of the Cthulhu Mythos is mankind’s insignificance, and helplessness, in the face of the chaotic forces that rule the cosmos. You can try to fight Cthulhu, but it won’t end well for you. Granted, this is not entirely a hard and fast rule even within the (admittedly broad) confines of the Mythos itself. Brian Lumley’s Titus Crow bests a few eldritch abominations, and no less towering a figure than Conan the Cimmerian (Howard was a regular correspondent with Lovecraft) banished a few to whatever weird dimension they’d come from with a powerful stroke of
This will be the last sample chapter. After this, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait for the book to come out. Don’t worry, though, the preorder (and thus the release date) is coming soon. *** We had just passed Franktown, north of Colorado Springs, when my phone buzzed. I cursed, since the phone was in my pocket and I was driving. Risking a little bit of swerving, I dug the phone out of my pocket and passed it to Jack. “Fuck,” he said flatly. “Tom just sent us ‘Extremis.’”
The 35th Life, The Universe, and Everything conference, my second, has come and gone, and it was a blast. I got to sit on a few panels, hang out with Larry Correia, Jim Curtis (OldNFO online), and a few others, chat briefly with James Minz (executive editor at Baen), and along the way let the gears turn, leading to several new ideas, refinements of old ones, and possibly get some new, or new-ish projects rolling. (There should be audio of Kill Yuan forthcoming in the next few months, for instance.) Most of the panels I was attending (as opposed to being a panelist), I was sort of half-listening, half letting the gears turn. That’s how the back-cover byline for Lex Talionis changed halfway through the “Hook” panel. Originally intended to be “The Hunters Have Become The Hunted,” which fits, but has been used before, it will now be “War And Politics Have Consequences.” There were a couple of weird parts. There was a member of the “Writing Action Scenes” panel, who will remain nameless, who asserted that video gaming provides the real experience of being in a fight. (I may or may not have seen Larry twitch toward a double-handed
By the time we hit the rally point, it was pretty obvious that things were threatening to spiral out of control. Gunfire was echoing through the night, more intense than anything we’d unleashed yet, except for maybe the mad minute into Fat Boy’s safe house. Red and blue flashing lights were clearly visible, as were the flames from something having been set on fire not far from them. The local PD was in the middle of one hell of a firefight. Given what I’d seen, I didn’t imagine it was a fight that they were remotely prepared for. Even though it had been a pretty successful night, we were all pretty subdued as we gathered around the vehicles in a field south of town. Granted, some of our silence was simply professional habit; once you’ve spent as long as we have running around hostile environments, outnumbered and generally outgunned, you don’t get loud and chatty very easily. Some of it was because of fatigue. There hadn’t been a lot of sleep since Jim’s death.
This post, while following on from the last one, will be addressing a bit more of a broad problem across genres. It’s gotten a lot more talk in the science fiction and fantasy genres (particularly fantasy) than it has in the thriller genre, but it still applies. The fantasy version of this has been most recently highlighted by the work of George R.R. Martin, though there are plenty of authors working along a similar vein, which has been coined “grimdark,” a term that became at first something of a joke, based on the tag-line for the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop sci-fantasy wargame: “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.” Taken to its extreme, it can become so ludicrous that it shades into “grimderp.”
A friend of mine just ran up against the fact that the research questions he was asking for an Unconventional Warfare story may or may not have run up against the brick wall labeled “Classified.” As in, “You’re not supposed to know the answers to those questions, let alone put them in a book. Stop asking.” This got me thinking about a few things I’ve run up against as an author over the last few years.
Twelve hours later, aching with fatigue and sleep-deprivation, we pulled off and headed to another one of the myriad abandoned houses that we’d picked out as safe houses elsewhere in the city. “Well, that’s interesting,” I said, looking around at the weary, grimy faces gathered in the shadowed living room. At least, I think it was supposed to have been a living room. It was just an empty space covered in dust and debris at that point. We were keeping well back from the broken front windows to avoid being easily spotted from the street. “Nobody saw any police response at all?” I looked at Derek. “I know you were monitoring their comm freqs. Even the IED wasn’t enough to stir ‘em?” He shook his head. “They were aware of it. Several calls came in, from locals and police units. But there was no response from dispatch except to say, ‘Yeah, we know.’” He shrugged. “They knew that the wild goose chases I had them on were probably connected to it, too, judging by a couple of the responses to the bots’ 911 calls. But they still didn’t lift a finger to go into the East Side.” “That is