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.
Some reflections on this subject have started, in part because of how long it’s taken me to get into Lex Talionis, in part because of a few of the reactions I’ve gotten to the announcement that the fifth book in the Praetorians series will also be the final one. After all, my primary audience seems to be focused on the Praetorians, so why not keep telling stories about Jeff and Co.? There are a few reasons. For one, when I started the Jed Horn series with A Silver Cross and a Winchester, I found that I just needed a break, a different outlet for my mind. That need hasn’t gone away, which is why I’ve been alternating between series and genres for the last couple of years. I’ve also made the statement that I’ve put Jeff and his boys through some pretty harrowing stuff over the last four books. I was starting to touch on how it was wearing on Jeff as a man (not a Mack Bolan superman) in The Devil You Don’t Know. That’s coming out in spades in Lex Talionis. Most real-world shooters only have so many years of running and gunning before they either go contract