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False Flag: #1 Bestseller

About this time last year, Hell and Gone climbed into Amazon’s Top 100 in the overall Kindle bestseller rankings.

That’s no easy task in the present-day book biz. This year the third novel in the series has followed suit. False Flag  reached #1 Bestseller in three categories as of Saturday afternoon, and threatened to take the top spot in a couple more–coming as close as #2 in post-apocalyptic fiction. (It’s actually more “apocalyptic” than “post-apocalyptic” anyway, but I’ll try to resist sperging about that.)

This dystopian thriller (ahem) is currently still on sale for 99 cents at the major E-Book vendors…

…And pretty much everywhere else that sells E-Books.

Hell and Gone was originally written as a one-off military thriller, with an old-school adventure flavor. Fans, however, suggested a sequel. I wrote one, shooting intentionally for more of a throwback men’s adventure/paramilitary fiction vibe, as the cover suggests. Tier Zero was what resulted. Fans thought the sequel was even better than Hell and Gone, and this time I intentionally built some springboards for yet another book.

FF#1bestsellermensadventure

With False Flag, I took the same characters and thrust them into a SHTF/apocalyptic scenario.

Unfortunately, politics are interwoven with every part of life these days. This book reflects that. As readers of my blog posts are no-doubt aware of, I don’t pull my punches that often anymore when sharing my observations. So even people who identify as “conservative” (whatever that means) find my outlook to be a little…raw.

Since I hate being sucker-punched with the obligatory left-wing political message in ostensibly apolitical books, I carefully worded everything from the title, “False Flag,” to its product description, so that nobody would be blind-sided when I call it like I see it. In fact, most drones from the SJW Hive Mind run squealing from my portfolio after little more than a couple seconds. Often, just a glimpse at my cover art is sufficient to reveal that I am alien to their echo chamber. For this book I heaped on overkill in the form of a Samuel Adams quote on the product page.

This was my way of ensuring that soy-consuming, rainbow tattoo-sporting, public transportation-advocating manginas and nancy-boys would not read my books…and therefore not be triggered.

But, just like Wikepedia, Goodreads, and…well…every platform on the Web, goose-stepping Commie Thought Police are patrolling 24/7, seeking to quarantine any heretical idea before it can bring The Narrative into question.  They don’t avoid material that “triggers” them–they purposefully seek it out, as part of their holy mission to protect others from exposure to unauthorized wrongthink. Such trolls, however, take my honest warnings as a weakness to exploit; and individuals of this moral caliber have no qualms about “reviewing” a book they haven’t read.

Here’s the one-star “review” one such hero left for False Flag, and my response to it:

Midwit Sage (AKA “Amazon Customer”): If you took out the extended political and poorly disguised racial ranting you would barely have a short story. Good enough for the preachers choir but hardly good story telling. It’s no wonder the author couldn’t get a real publisher to touch his work…Tom Clancy has nothing to fear!

Yours Truly: If you took out the vague, politically-butthurt insults of this “review” by a drive-by Thought Cop who probably didn’t even read the book, you would barely  have enough left over to classify it as a cyber-knee-jerk. But thanks for demonstrating how someone of your integrity and sophistication reacts to this not-really-published work.

Now why, I wonder, would they use the term “poorly disguised racial ranting?” Obviously they’re trying to scare potential readers off by implying  sinister racism. But why not just come out and accuse me of full-blown racism, then? SJWs are certainly not shy about crying “racist” for any and every (or no) reason. It might have something to do with the difference between slander and libel.

More Retreads novels are germinating in my mind, but there’s a couple other books I want to work on before I get back to this series.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t jumped into the series already, now’s a great time to start.

Of course there are paperback versions of all the Retreads novels, and the first two are also available in Audible Books (links below) for those who are on the go. I do want to put together an audiobook for that title, if I can find the time. Same deal with revamping our book section here on the site–it’s on the to-do list; just need to catch a break from Real Life Stuff to get ‘er done.

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Turn-Banner

Turn: Washington’s Spies – a Review

Not much cinematic effort has been put into the American Revolution, compared to other periods of history, and when it is, usually the effort is lackluster. This series, in some ways, was a pleasant surprise.

It’s loosely based on the book Washington’s Spies: the Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose. Rose is British which, ironically, is probably why the account is more fair to the American side than it would be if written by one of our own cucked revisionists. The Netflix mini-series starts out with at least a passing interest in historical accuracy. Every series degenerates eventually, though, and this one is no exception.

bluecoats

On the plus side, the acting is pretty solid with exceptions I’ll mention later. Not sure why pretty much all the Americans have a Scottish or Irish brogue, but the acting are believable. I’m also pleased with some of the directorial choices made–little stuff most people miss and I won’t bore you with. And the writing is not as horrendous as one would expect. Whereas most TV scripts would score a D- to F, this show averages a C+ to B- over three seasons.

It would rate higher than that if consistent, but some lazy contrivances and lame efforts to ramp up the tension really drag it down. One particular character who starts out on the British side, for instance, is built up to be invincible through a succession of episodes. But evidently a different villain probably became more popular with focus groups or something and so was elevated. When these two characters faced off, the formerly invincible character suddenly became incompetent in order for the new heavy to prevail handily. And no explanation was even hinted at how the new heavy became such a badass out of nowhere.

Another reason to watch the series--and she's almost scrawny enough for certain Manosphere denizens.
Another reason to watch the series–and she’s almost scrawny enough for certain Manosphere denizens.

Speaking of characters: Benadict Arnold is a little overdone, and George Washington seems more like a parody than a character. In the former’s case, the writer may be more at fault than the actor, and visa-versa in the latter case.

The OPSEC (operational security) of most characters on both sides (but especially on the American side) is a piss-poor joke. It’s hard to imagine any country winning any kind of war against anyone with breakdowns in OPSEC so flagrant as depicted in this series.

As the third season progressed, my willing suspension of disbelief seriously faltered. And the finale reached a new high of unbelievability.

For all its faults, I’m glad I watched Turn. There are few productions these days done as well as this.

 

RINO Congress is Complicit

Looks like Jeff Sessions is determined to let Clinton, Obama, and all their high-level minions skate free and escape justice. Is he just incompetent, or does it perfectly fit the pattern we’ve been seeing? The witch hunt against Trump continues despite lack of any evidence while the actual criminals are protected and their crimes covered up.

Mueller and Rosenstein were involved in the Uranium One deal along with Comey, Holder, and others, and yet Mueller is allowed to run the “investigation” on Russian collusion? This is far more blatant in-your-face a set up than the theatrical Ken Starr farce.

The majority of “Republicans” have no interest in undoing any of the damage done by the Democrats. An intelligent person has to wonder why.

Sessions is a fan of “civil asset forfeiture” which is the theft mentioned in the video. That alone should have disqualified him from serving as the ostensible leader of an organization ostensibly dedicated to justice. Trump has surrounded himself with enemies dedicated to his (and our) destruction.

Trump underestimated the spread of the Swamp, by orders of magnitude. He’s standing right in the middle of it while trusting enemy Swamp Creatures to help him drain it.

100th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution

Some suspect that the blatant Marxists among us have something planned starting November 4th. It certainly is possible, considering how deranged they are. Some or all of the recent media-circus tragedies  might even be a lead-up to overt actions. And, if the Globalist Deep State/Media Machine  had managed to install Hillary, these recent crises would certainly not “go to waste.” We would now be seeing even more draconian implementation of Orwellian surveillance, and civilian disarmament.

We dodged a bullet there, but that wasn’t the only round in the magazine, by a long shot. There are harbingers of more to come.

This meme has been circulating around non-cucked social media for a few weeks. It is allegedly an “Antifa” call to action. It certainly does characterize the sort of tactics these Blackshirts employ, but I suspect this might be a disinformation effort from our side, or a straw man ploy from theirs.

antifaflyer

Take note of the word “patriots” in the instructions. It is highly doubtful a drone from the radical Leftist Hive Mind would call patriots what we actually are. Their M.O. is to turn reality upside-down by using Newspeak to frame the debate–even in their own circles. Blathering Newspeak is not just a habit for them, it’s effectively a method of self-hypnosis that makes them actually believe some of the ludicrous statements they make. And it renders them oblivious to their own glaring hypocrisy. In their depraved Hive Mind, evil is good and good is evil.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, an actual Antifa propagandist would be compelled to call patriots “Nazis,” “racists” or at least “fascists.” (It helps their deceptive efforts that actual Nazis, racists and fascists from the #FakeRight consistently try to mix in with us and assassinate our character by association.)

Also, putting these instructions on a flyer is just piss-poor OPSEC. Soros’ braindead pawns would do this, but I suspect his officers and svengalis are too clever to show their hand like this, where it is so easily intercepted and made public.

Just a heads-up, for what it’s worth.

A Political Ad I’d Like to See

Looks like the Democrats are really getting desperate.  A political ad in Virginia produced for the “Latino Victory Project” depicts a Republican voter in a pickup truck trying to run down (and by implication, murder) some minority children. The propagandists who made this were careful to display Gadsen Flag plates (in place of both front and rear license plates because, y’know, police in any state would totally let you drive around like that), a bumper sticker for the political candidate this ad was meant to demonize, and a Confederate Flag.

Just as the pickup traps the children against a fence, we are shown one of them waking up from a nightmare.

Message: unless you elect more Communists Democrats, this nightmare will come true.

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Paid for by the Aryan Victory Project.

This is Joseph Goebbels level agitprop. Make the driver of the pickup truck a hook-nosed Jew and replace the minority kids with blond Aryan urchins, and this could have been played in theaters all across
National Socialist Germany.

More disgusting than the ad, perhaps, is the defense of it all across the Democrat/Media Machine.

With the bar now set so low, maybe it’s fair to say that anything goes. Plenty of concern trolls would object to the political ad scripted below, even though it is far more reality-based than the Virginia ad.

FADE IN:

EXT – POLLING LOCATION, DAY:

A pickup truck pulls into the parking lot, passing ACTIVISTS with multicolored hair and facial piercings holding up signs with slogans like “Trump is Hitler!” “If you vote Republican, you’re a Nazi!” and “Death to all Nazis!”

INT – INSIDE THE TRUCK CAB, DAY:

DAD looks worried by what he sees. His young SON sees the activists outside, and turns toward Dad.

SON

Who are they? Why are they yelling at us?

Dad forces a smile of reassurance for Son, and parks the pickup.

EXT - POLLING LOCATION, DAY:

Both truck doors open. Dad gets out on one side, and Son gets out on the other.

SON

Dad, why did you take a day off work just so you could stand in line here?

DAD

You remember when I said the law was originally written to protect Americans, right? Well, we have to try to elect honest folks who will obey the law and protect our rights.

ANGLE:

On the front door of the polling place, where three BLM THUGS with axe handles patrol back and forth in front of it.

Worried, Dad meets son in front of the truck and grabs his hand.

DAD

Stay close, Son.

A LOUD NOISE distracts both of them. The noise consists of horn-heavy MUSIC and lots of YELLING IN SPANISH. Dad and Son turn toward the source of the noise.

ANGLE:

On a bus pulling into the parking lot. A Mexican Flag flies from the antenna. The bus stops, and 20 MEXICANS poor out, still yelling in Spanish and laughing. They wear bandanas, gold chains, and La Raza T-shirts. The DRIVER gets out, notices Dad and Son staring, and marches up to them.

DRIVER

What’s your problemo, mamon? What you looking at?

Dad tightens his grip on Son’s hand, stepping in front of the boy to shield him. He says nothing, but notices the Mexican flags on the bus and tatooed on several of the Mexicans strutting up to the polling place.

DRIVER

(mocking) Uh-oh. We just canceled out your vote, pendejo. What you gonna do about it?

Dad scowls, but remains silent. Son peeks out from behind his human shield and Driver leers at him.

DRIVER

Hey, Gringo-Boy. Your daddy can’t protect you. Tell him he needs to make way–this ain’t your country anymore.

Dad pulls Son behind him, away from Driver, past the BLM Thugs, into the polling station.

INT – POLLING STATION, DAY:

Dad and Son enter. Dad sees the Mexicans signing random names on the voter rolls and receiving ballots from the POLL WORKER, a middle-aged buzz-cut woman wearing a shirt that says “I get drunk on the tears of white cis-gendered males.”

DAD

Aren’t you supposed to check IDs?

POLL WORKER

What are you–a racist?

FADE OUT

TITLE:

“Who’s country is this?”

“Who’s do you want it to be?”

“Vote ____________________ for Congress…while your vote still counts.”

althero

Keep Watch for Alt★Hero!

We’ve blogged at length here about the culture war, and we’ve worked (as time and opportunity have permitted) to provide alternatives to The Narrative being rammed down our throats in every medium of pop culture. Comic books have been so blatantly cultural Marxist for so long, many people have given up on them completely, in disgust.

An alternative to the Leftist Hive Mind’s monopoly is long overdue. Maybe, just maybe, it is almost here.

 After reaching its initial funding goal in only four hours, a new right-wing comics series, Alt★Hero, concluded its historic crowdfunding campaign by reaching the $245,000 mark. 2,190 backers signed on to help the alternative superhero series wage cultural war on the social justice-converged comic duopoly of Marvel and DC Comics.

Alt★Hero is being written by prolific Marvel and DC Comics veteran writer Chuck Dixon and six-time Hugo Award Finalist Vox Day. It will be published by Castalia House, Finland’s leading independent publisher.

The series is the creation of game designer Day, who is best known for being a member of GamerGate and publishing the political philosophy bestsellers SJWs Always Lie and SJWs Always Double Down. Alt★Hero features unconventional villains such as Captain Europa of the Global Justice Initiative and controversial heroes such as Michael Martel, a vigilante who drops off criminal undocumented immigrants at the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, and Rebel, a Southern girl whose superhero outfit incorporates the Confederate battle flag.

The breakout star of the campaign, however, has been Dynamique, a chain-smoking French model whose indifference to current events is only surpassed by her pragmatism.

“This is only the beginning,” said Alt★Hero creator Vox Day, who is writing six volumes of the series as well as co-designing the role-playing game. “Fans and retailers alike despise how Marvel and DC are trashing characters they have cherished for generations. That is why it’s not going to be too long before you’re going to start seeing Alt★Hero games, and eventually, movies.”

“I have an entire year’s worth of continuity funded to build a cast of characters in a brand new universe. Very inspiring, Very exciting,” said industry legend Chuck Dixon, the longtime Batman writer and co-creator of Bane, who is writing the first six volumes of the Alt★Hero series Avalon as well as a standalone novel entitled Avalon: Vendetta. “The city of Avalon is already a very real place in my mind. I think readers are going to enjoy visiting.”

“Astonishing demand,” added journalist Mike Cernovich on Twitter in response to the news that Alt★Hero had shattered the previous record for a new comic being crowdfunded.

In reaching 978 percent of its original $25,000 goal, the Alt★Hero crowdfunding campaign was the most successful in history for a new comics launch, and is the 22nd most-funded of the 10,553 historic comics-related crowdfunding campaigns.

What I hope is that Alt★Hero doesn’t descend into the poo-slinging, purity signaling “muh white nationalism” circlejerk that consumes so much of the “Alt-Right.” With writer Chuck Dixon involved at such a high level, I tend to doubt it, but we’ll see. I’m at least going to give Alt★Hero a chance. I continued to waste my hard-earned cash on irritating drivel from Marvel and DC  even after being sucker-punched multiple times, so it’s only fair I give Alt★Hero the same chance(s). I’m a backer of the Alt★Hero crowd sourcing campaign, so I should get to see the first several comics, digitally, once they’re released.

I hope it is a truly right-wing comic, but actually, I’d be happy with an apolitical endeavor that just concentrates on good storytelling, without contriving all the obligatory sodomiphilia and Grrrrrl Power tropes tripe which usually causes me to stop reading /watching something, never to finish.

libertydown

The Idealist’s Dilemma

Unless drastic course corrections are made, the republic known as the United States of America will cease to exist in the near future. There might still be a country with that name; it might still have a red, white, and blue flag and a bald eagle for its symbol; and certainly politicians will pay lip service  to ideals like freedom. But living here will be an entirely different experience than what our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents enjoyed.

I offer the following parable as an analogy, to help get across the point I want to make:

Ike the Idealist learned about fighting in kindergarten.  Not only did he learn how to do it, he learned about how not to do it. Basically, he learned that the only honorable way to fight was by Marquis de Queensbury rules.  Kicking was cheating. Biting, scratching, and pulling hair were how girls did it, which was out-of-bounds. Eye-gouging was unheard of. And, of course, using a weapon was cowardly.

Through elementary, middle and high school, these rules were reinforced. Any time Ike had to fight, he did so honorably according to these mores. He considered any departure from this combat etiquette to be despicable.

Then one day, as an adult, Ike surprises some dirtbag in the process of stealing his car. Ike asks what’s going on, and the car thief replies by throwing his dent-puller, hitting Ike in the face, breaking his nose. Then the thief closes the distance between them. Ignoring Ike’s attempts at civilized discourse, he proceeds to beat Ike about the head. Eventually, Ike realizes that the thief can’t be reasoned with, and violence is in order. He assumes the classic pugilist’s pose and punches back.

The dirtbag knees him in the crotch, stomps on his foot, and pulls a knife. While Ike reels from the pain, and shock from such heinous disregard of the rules, the dirtbag stabs him repeatedly. Ike could have kicked the knife out of his hands, but kicking would violate his principles, so that was unthinkable. He peppers the dirtbag with jabs, hooks, and the occasional right cross.

Ike thought the fight should have been more like this.
Ike thought the fight should have been more like this.

The dirtbag tackles him and they both go down. Ike grabs the wrist of the hand gripping the knife, so he won’t be stabbed again. At one point that hand is right in front of his mouth, but Ike just can’t bring himself to violate his principles and bite it. Meanwhile, the dirtbag gouges out an eye with his thumb. Ike doesn’t know what to do, because grappling around like this is most undignified, and he just doesn’t want to engage in such distasteful behavior.

With sober, reasoned dialectic, he protests the dirtbag’s flagrant violation of Ike’s ideals.  The thief slips on a pair of brass knuckles with his free hand and, between those and his elbow, breaks Ike’s jaw and knocks him out. He drives away in the car with barely a minor bruise or two, leaving Ike bleeding out in the street, half blind, with multiple injuries. Most likely, Ike will die right where he lays.

But at least Ike the Idealist can take comfort in the fact that he never sank to the enemy’s level.

wearenotok

I started confronting this dilemma after the election of President Trump when he promised to use Executive Orders to undo some of Obama’s damage. The Executive Order has been abused, beginning in earnest with the Clinton Administration. Obama used it to the point that the USA became a de facto monarchy. All legislation is supposed to originate in the House of Representatives. That is part of the law that all elected officials swear to uphold and abide by. By principle, Trump should not use this dictatorial outflanking tactic to reverse Obama’s illegal actions against our country.

It’s the job of Congress to chop down these treasonous hedgerows. But of course Congress has proven repeatedly that it will not do its job. Make themselves rich at our expense? Yes.  Help unelected bureaucrats destroy our country while arranging golden parachutes for themselves? Yes. Do their job? You must be a crackpot for even asking.

That’s why I didn’t protest Trump’s use of Executive Orders to bypass the obstruction of the Deep State and plug some of the holes the last four Administrations drilled through the bottom of the boat.

In America of the current year, the full half of the glass is that the left’s stranglehold on the flow of information is slipping. Millions of people are aware of the globalist Deep State actively working to destroy the republic. They are aware of the utter corruption of the lapdog (“mainstream”) media, Hollywood, the music industry, etc. And a significant portion of those people are not happy about the betrayals and deception we’ve suffered for generations at the hands of those whores and traitors.

But instead of embracing the fundamentals that made our republic the most prosperous country in history, with unprecedented individual liberty, the wakening masses are instead seeking the answer by fetishizing “muh Westurn Civilizayshun,” and embracing identity politics. It’s truly disturbing how fast middle America seems to be becoming as race-obsessed as the minority subcultures have been since the 1960s.

obomunistflagpoopers

If our public servants in government would just do what we pay them for, most of our problems would rapidly fade. But, as a rule, they’re not going to do anything that will  slow our descent into a 3rd world police state. We’ve let a ruling class take power who see us as their subjects, and will break or ignore the laws they swore to uphold in the maniacal quest to accumulate more wealth, control, and power for themselves.  They’ve infiltrated both parties and turned them into enemies of our freedom. We can’t vote them out because there are so few true alternatives, and there are so many people voting who approve of what they’re doing. Just a few more years of unchecked immigration, and the America-hating Marxists will have every election sewn up for however long elections are still held here. Evidently, even President Trump doesn’t have the guts to stop the invasion and send enough invaders back home to keep this from happening. If the wall ever does get built, it will be too little, too late.

damnflag

They’re stealing our car. They’ve backstabbed us multiple times and gouged out our eye.  And mainstream “conservatives” (whatever that means) are fighting back by drafting statements of support for the police and military. Wow–congratulations. That might have been a courageous stance to take during Vietnam (half a century ago).

If the people would rise up against the traitors and put them out of office, by whatever means necessary, it’s possible we could clean house, drain the swamp, and restore some of what we’ve lost. But that’s not going to happen, either. The government schools have done their job in spreading ignorance. And where ignorance runs out, apathy takes over.

blackbloc

That’s not to say civil war (or revolution, depending on how sloppy your semantics are) isn’t coming, because it is. But a significant component of the bloodshed to come will be racially motivated. Race will be the idol of every side. Preserving or restoring a representative government designed to protect individual rights will not be a priority for anyone with a voice loud enough to be heard. Look around–it’s already not. Attempts to educate simply inspire mockery from the bovine, low-IQ lemmings who surround us.

When the war comes, there is no fence you can safely sit on. We’ll have to pick sides. You can bet that I, for one, will not align with the Globo-Homo Hive Mind. But who does that leave me for allies? Generally, guys who have forgotten how to perceive anything beyond “muh Magic DNA.”

It shouldn’t be this way. It didn’t have to be this way. But it is.

Neither me, nor any other American idealist, can shout loud enough to derail this suicidal zeitgeist. So what do we do?whatisneeded

Some people believe the Income Tax is unconstitutional (hence illegal). Most of them pay it anyway. Some of us recognize random roadside “papers, please” checkpoints by law enforcement to be a violation of our rights (rights that law enforcement officers swear an oath to protect). But if you need to keep your job, don’t want to go to jail and be railroaded by the weaponized “justice” system, you grit your teeth and play the game.

Increasingly, I have to swallow ideals simply to provide for my family and retain what personal freedom I still have. Does that make me a hypocrite, or merely a pragmatist? Inside, I still cherish my ideals, and lament their abandonment. But who cares?

Nobody who matters. (Or, at least, not enough people who matter.)

When it comes to swallowing ideals, I suspect we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

anglosaxons

I don’t want to associate with folks who blame Jews for everything wrong in the world, or value skin color over content of character. But what choice do I have in the conflict taking shape around us? Demographic groupings which are already consumed by identity politics, and already consider me their enemy–that’s who. Demographic groupings which are 80-95% sold out to anti-American causes (and BTW: what choices do the 5-20% outliers of those demographics have, in the brewing conflict?). Demographic hive minds which only care about what they believe will advance their collective interests. Their “radicals” are already demonstrating their willingness to rape and murder. Their “moderates” have no problem cheating  and stealing. Their “liberals” are already in the habit of lying to advance the agenda they think will shepherd them to Utopia.

That’s how it stands now. How much worse will it be when bullets are flying and they face the threat of starvation or true oppression?

How important will my ideals seem when my choice is to be shot on sight by that side, or perhaps survive another day by holding the line with the side that shoots them on sight?

No, it’s not that bad.

Yet.

But we’re fast running out of options for a peaceful solution.

If I was a Five-Star Admiral in World War II, there’s a good chance I would be bent out of shape about all the losses suffered at Pearl Harbor. But as much as I wished I still had those ships and sailors, I would have to accept reality. And my strategic planning would have to reflect that reality. The debacle at Pearl Harbor could have been avoided in a dozen different ways. But it wasn’t. And lamenting it would not restore my Pacific Fleet to what it was before.

That’s where American idealists are right now. We’ll have to set our course according to the reality we face, and not dwell on what we’ve lost and how avoidable it was, if only _________ or __________ or __________. Frankly, I don’t know how successful I’ll be at this from day to day.

Proelium Banner01

Proelium Veritas by John Murphy – a Review

Vaughn Killian had risen to the top of the candidate class for Black Saber by the end of the first novel in the series. Now he’s ready to graduate…but the Brass isn’t happy with him.

Even in an elite unit like this, there’s an emphasis on by-the-book procedures. Killian is more of a field soldier–hands-on, seat of the pants. While that’s the kind of guy you want in combat, maybe he takes it a bit too far. And it turns out his instinctive warrior ways have backfired on him: because of his disregard for regulations, he’s being held back as cadre to train other candidates while his classmates get deployed. This is the last thing he wanted.

Nonetheless, he’s about to see action anyway. It seems the Carthenogans have somehow discovered the location of Black Saber’s secret training facility, and have dispatched a force of barbaric neandergrunts to capture some personnel and wipe out the rest.

With this second book, the storyline becomes increasingly complex. Murphy bounces around an ensemble cast to weave espionage, political intrigue, combat, and personal drama into the narrative. By book’s end, it’s still a mystery how some of these plot threads will tie together…and where all they will take us before they do. However it all weaves together in the third novel (???), it’s shaping up to be something huge.

It’s probably impossible for any author to write something I can’t nitpick in some way (myself included). But my biggest complaint here has to do with storytelling technique. Specifically: the cliffhanger ending. I think some plot elements could have been tied up a little better…there could have been a bit stronger sense of resolution…and likely we’d still want to read the next book. As is, it kind of feels like a much longer novel that was cut in half.

You may have read military sci-fi with similar elements before (Ender’s Game is one that comes to mind), but chances are you haven’t read a series with as much going on as this one.

thereplacements

The Replacements – A Review

With NFL millionaires flaunting their hatred of America, and contempt for at least half of their fan base, now looks like a good time to plug one of the best comedy jock flicks ever made.

“Every athlete dreams of a second chance,” proclaims Coach Jimmy McGinty (Gene Hackman) in voiceover toward the end. Second chances is what this movie is about, at it’s core. All the jokes, action, and Sports Movie Formula might distract you from that central theme; but those frills are not what resonates with the masculine soul while watching it.

Inspired by the NFL players’ strike in the late 1980s (before Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins went on to destroy the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl), the story begins with crybaby millionaire star quarterback Eddie Martel throwing a game in order to avoid getting tackled. The end of the game marks the beginning of the players’ strike.

The owner of the “Washington Sentinels,” hungry for a playoff berth despite the strike, woos “controversial” (old-fashioned) coach McGinty into putting together a roster of replacement players to finish the season.

Turns out, McGinty has been tracking some former players with great potential who, for various reasons, never made it in the pros. “If nothing else,” McGinty says, “they should be fun to watch.”

And they are.

Unfortunately, there are only so many plots available for a sports movie. It is a credit to the director that there are enough twists in The Replacements to make it stand out despite the formula.

The movie does have flaws. The romantic subplot, for instance, comes off as tacked-on and superficial. I suspect the scenes that might have fleshed it out wound up on the cutting room floor. It probably should have been left out altogether, so that other scenes didn’t have to be pared down for the sake of running time (Shane Falco’s first pass in the first practice was obviously two scenes cut together).brookecheerleader But the compromises that weaken the film are not why the critics hate it.

There’s none of the obligatory LGB-pandering anywhere in the film (except, perhaps, in a tres risque pantomime by the strippers-turned-cheerleaders on the sidelines at one game). The screenwriters didn’t contrive some way to put a female on the team–even as a kicker. Comraderie and male-bonding are celebrated throughout, and men act like men. When a female reporter invades the locker room, she gets little cooperation from the players and is ultimately convinced to give up and leave the “male space” intact. The bulk of the entire movie is an unapologetic celebration of masculinity guaranteeing that it could never get made today.

In fact, it’s amazing it got made 17 years ago, because the culture was deeply pozzed by then, already. Instead of watching the anti-American NFL bite the hands that feed them on Sunday, check this flick out.

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