The Forward Detachment Protagonist

The “Forward Detachment” seems effective as both a tactical formation and a storytelling one. The Soviets (understandably) formalized it to a greater extent, but the basic concept has been used in any army with a fast-moving component. In oversimplified terms, it’s a task force (often a reinforced battalion) used for racing ahead of the main body and seizing/destroying something to aid its advance.

And I think a unit like it is an ideal place to put a protagonist (or antagonist, if the goal is to stop the forward detachment). At least in theory, it solves a lot of issues. It’s small enough that the component characters can be developed without fading in, but is big enough to have a large conventional battle. It can be dramatic and have a clear MacGuffin/goal without sacrificing too much in terms of plausibility.

 

Kris, Then And Now

The heroine of Pokemon Crystal with physics-defying hair, known as “Kris” for her default name, was the first playable female main character in a Pokemon game. While I don’t have anything against “Lyra”, the differently-designed one who succeeded her in the remake, I still like Kris’ design better.

In a bit of unintended similarity, almost two decades later, the name “Kris” would be given to the main character of Undertale sequel Deltarune. The two look nothing alike, and their names have different inspirations (the first is obviously derived from “Crystal”, the second is derived from Frisk, Undertale’s main character).

Children of the Sun

Billy Thorpe’s “Children of the Sun” has to be one of the strangest pop rock songs I’ve heard (even if it’s very good, IMO). Children of The Sun has two main “issues”.

  • Doesn’t really sound like anyone else (and that’s a good thing). If I had to describe it, it’d be “Bad Company with weird sound effects”.
  • Is uncomplicated music-wise but has the outer-space lyrics and sound effects of progressive rock.

So it’s weird but good.

No Number Scales

I simply don’t like reviewing on a number scale.

How can a number scale take a seriously flawed but seriously enjoyable story into account? Both an overambitious but slightly lacking book and an unambitious but fun potboiler can be considered “mixed” but in totally different ways. That’s just one example why I don’t want to review on a number scale.

My Book Backlog is Done!

So, every book on my big backlog I’ve read or at least sampled and then put aside to read later. Some of them made it to Fuldapocalypse or are in the review ‘stack’, others did not and will not.

Perhaps the most famous entry is Heinlein’s original Starship Troopers. The most charitable things I can say about it are that it probably aged poorly and that I understand how it can scratch a “he gets it” itch for veterans because of its realistic depiction of boot camp drudgery. Otherwise, I didn’t like it. It has this overly “bouncy” and somewhat rambling writing style that I found to knock down both the boot-camp-coming-of-age main plot and the modest amount of actual action.

My military sci-fi itch is pretty much subsided-of the four remaining books, three were military sci-fi. I did find Jonathan Brazee’s works good for my current ‘cheap thriller’ tastes and will be checking out more of them, but I think it best to put the remaining “guy in armored space suit” books on the back burner until the genre fatigue wears off. Those made up the bulk of my holiday purchases, so returning to the delightfully technothrillery Thunder of Erebus was a good ‘grand finale’.

Going forward, I have two general priorities. One is slightly more highbrow works of fiction-I love cheap thrillers, but think going a little higher would be helpful. I definitely plan on reading and reviewing the classic Forever War, for one example. The other priority is tanks, because while some of the books had tanks in them, none were really in a starring role. So I’m planning on reading more tank books (and yes, that includes sci-fi tank books).

This whole experience was fun, and I hope to encounter more literary gems.

The Terror of Saltybet

You are someone. You may be a superhero, or a supervillain,  or a student, or a monster of some kind. Whoever you are, you are going about your daily business. Then suddenly, you are transported. You are thrown into a strange place, fighting someone who is usually a totally strange person/monster/road sign by your standards. And you have this insatiable urge to fight them, as they do to you.

Sometimes it’s just one fight-you either win and go back, or lose and go back. But sometimes it’s a big long tournament. You have to go the distance. And you see them-them. The people in the audience. To them it’s-a -game? A casino?

Ok, so I thought it would be fun to do a piece seeing what a Saltybet match is like from the character’s perspective, using the most disruptive method I could think of.