Good Offense, Terrible Defense

One of my favorite footnotes in basketball history comes from the 1990-91 NBA season. Not Michael Jordan finally winning a championship. Rather, one team, the Denver Nuggets.

See, the 1990 Nuggets applied the Loyola Run and Gun offense under former university coach Paul Westhead. They scored 119 points per game on average. The Bulls scored 110, and even this regular season’s Bucks and Warriors, in an era of fast paced high scoring basketball only managed around 118.

With this scoring boom, the Nuggets finished-worst in the entire league with a 20-62 record? How? Well, that their opponents scored an average of 130 (!) points may have something to do with it. (For reference, again in a period of high scoring, the current Atlanta Hawks, the worst team in that regard, give their opponents only 119)

The closest baseball equivalent would be the 1930 Phillies, taking place in a monster hitters year. The Phillies that year finished last in the hit-crazy NL, scoring six runs per game on average-and giving up around eight.

Boom Boom Goes The Tank: Plotnukes

In my latest Sea Lion Press column, I finally have the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite technothriller pet peeves-“Plotnukes”.

Plotnukes are a kind of “I know it when I see it” term for the use of nuclear weapons in a highly contrived way. The Birmingham-for-Minsk “trade” in Hackett’s The Third World War and similar events in imitators is what I consider the poster child of such a thing.

Unusual Sports Scores

Take a soccer game that outscored a basketball game.

-In the 2015 Pacific Games, Micronesia scored zero goals and gave up a total of 114, their final crush being a 46-0 loss to Vanuatu. There was a legitimate reason for their opponents to run the score-if it came to goal difference, the margins were so big they needed to crush them-but it cannot have been a good experience (to put it mildly).

Compare this to the lowest point of pre-shot clock basketball-the 19-18 Pistons/Lakers game in 1950.

My favorite part of book blogging

I’ve done a lot of book blogging and reviewing even before Fuldapocalypse started, and far and away my most favorite part is finding a hidden, obscure delight of a book and thus being able to share it with the internet. Oh, I like reviewing big-name books from time to time, and they can be good.

But they’re not the most fun to review. The most fun to review are when I look for the book with the most zombie sorceress induced “Arkansas vs. the blimps” premise, find it, and then discover that it’s actually a good tale beyond it. There was Team Yankee and Tin Soldiers, the classic tank novels. There were many more good authors I found. The crowning glory of this was the Survivalist, where I took the plunge and read over two dozen books of ramping-up-crazy.

In fact, one of the biggest “problems” I have with my blog is as follows. Do I continue reading existing authors, which are harder to review for even if good (because you’ve already said what exists about it) or take a chance on unknown ones (which can be very good or very bad)? It’s ‘tough’, but it’s a good ‘problem’ to have.

The Spacesuit Commando ‘Genre’ of Books

I’ve mentioned what I call the “spacesuit commando” genre on Fuldapocalypse before. It’s an arbitrary, slightly snide term I’ve made and used for this type of lowbrow military sci-fi I’ve read far too much of. If I had to give a definition, it’d consist of…

 

  • The background is dystopian, often excessively and pointlessly so.
  • The characters only use power armor that doesn’t seem to actually do anything.
  • The main character is either explicitly placed in a SUPER SPECIAL SPACESUIT COMMANDO unit, or whatever unit he ends up in is treated like a SUPER SPECIAL SPACESUIT COMMANDO unit, even undeservedly.
  • There’s excessive training sequences, checking the “I read Heinlein” box.
  • The main character gets promoted ridiculously high ridiculously fast.
  • A lot of the dynamics (for lack of a better word) feel weird, like the author didn’t do the most basic research.
  • The antagonists have absolutely no development whatsoever, even by the low standards of cheap thrillers. The generic “eat everything bugs” are actually slightly better in that it’s at least justified in-universe. Human/sentient opponents are painted with the same brush.

 

And yet, “spacesuit commando” stories are the ones I do read en masse. Part of it is just accessibility (most of them are on Kindle Unlimited, and there’s a “feedback loop” of getting more spacesuit commando books in my recommendations once I’ve gotten several). Part of it is that a story can have many elements of it and still be good (or at least better than some of the others). But the most ridiculous side of me likes them because of the formulaic cheese if I want an absolutely mindless read.