The World Series Champion Records

The World Series starts tonight. So I’ve been looking up the list of players with the most World Series championships .The leader is Yogi Berra with ten. You really have to dig a little to find players with a ton of rings who never played for the 1920s-1960s Yankees.

Two interesting standouts are the ever-slow aging Jamie Moyer (who was good enough to start a game for a World Series winner in 2008 at 45) and John Lackey (whose appearance on three different World Series winners years apart brings Robert Horry to mind).

Going Back To The Car Plant

I actually haven’t read any cheap thrillers I can remember that took place in car plants, or even had a scene that was inside a car plant. They’re big, there’s a lot of people there, and there’s a lot of automated heavy equipment that can spice up the more ridiculous set pieces.

What’s not to like? Even better, they can be everything from shiny, new, mechanized car plants to old, rusty, smoky and grimy ones. There’s a lot of possibilities for making the scenes work. I may have to include a significant scene inside a car plant for my next thriller project.

 

Happy 19th Birthday, Pokemon Gen II

So today is the 19th anniversary of Pokemon Gold and Silver being released in North America. Having played the Silver version ridiculously extensively when younger, I feel like Gen II remains my favorite to this very day. The grumpy you’re-no-fun part of me says it was because I was old enough to truly appreciate it but still young enough to have a child’s awe. Oh well. I still think it’s my favorite generation.

It just felt BIG. All the activities you could do made it feel big. That you had two regions made it feel big. The different day/night cycles and weekdays made it feel big. It felt big and lively.

When I got the Ruby version, yes, the graphics were much better. But the day/night was now a technicality and it just didn’t feel as big. Oh, it was probably as big or bigger in terms of actual tiles, but it didn’t feel big to me. Silver felt big. Silver felt really big.

I’d say Silver and Fallout New Vegas are my two favorite RPGs of all time.

 

Five Thrillers

I’ve read so many cheap thrillers that arrowing it down to just five I’d recommend right off the bat is difficult, but here they are:

Team Yankee by Harold Coyle

This is one of the best Cold War hot books I’ve read. It showed me the perils of box-check thinking, because on paper it has every indication of the kind of “Boom boom goes the tank” clunkfests I’d read on the internet. Yet in practice, it’s a smooth-flowing tale that illustrates the best possibilities of the genre.

The Alpha Deception by Jon Land

All right, so most of Jon Land’s books, especially the Blaine McCracken ones, are goofy, crazy, ridiculous and fun. It was very difficult to select the goofiest, craziest, most ridiculous, and most fun out of them. But if I had to, I’d say The Alpha Deception, because Land pulls out all the stops, even by his standards.

Burmese Crossfire by Peter Nealen

Take a love letter to the “Men’s Adventure” books of the past. Now instead of a revolving door of  for-the-money ghostwriters who glanced at one issue of Guns And Ammo, take a veteran with heart and a knowledge of when to be grounded and when to be bombastic. The result is something excellent.

Tin Soldiers by Michael Farmer

Ok, so this is driven up by context, because a 2000s technothriller is surrounded by mediocre-to-terrible neighbors. It also has its share of problems. But it manages to do right what a lot of other thrillers did wrong. This is no small feat, and it’s the technothriller book from that time period I’d be the likeliest to recommend.

Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff

A military science fiction book that has almost none of the baggage associated with the genre. This, apart from being good (if a little derivative-you’d know the movie/historical battle it’s inspired by very quickly), is one of the best cases of a fresh face revitalizing a genre.

 

How Many World War IIIs?

My latest Fuldapocalypse post asks the question of how many “World War III” novels there even are. This has been a tricky question, but the answer is “not really that many”. Having to move past that original narrow genre has even affected the Creative Corner, causing a reduction in posts, post length, and, more importantly, my focus.

It’s gone like this: Fuldapocalypse is conceived of as a place to slide in the World War III reviews. Fuldapocalypse quickly (and rightfully) shifts to fiction in general, which takes up a giant chunk of this blog’s “jurisdiction” and a lot of my posting energy. What started as a niche side project to avoid clogging the general blog turned into something bigger and more involved.  But there’s trade offs, and, especially when busy elsewhere, I’ve been prioritizing the book reviews over the “miscellaneous miscellany”.

The Megabinge

Around this time last year, I began reading Total War, the first book in Jerry Ahern’s incredible, and incredibly ridiculous Survivalist series. I ended up wolfing down all of the 27 numbered books there. Since then, the closest I’ve come is Jon Land’s Blaine McCracken series, but that’s eleven books and I read them over a (somewhat) longer period.

I’m wondering if I’ll ever megabinge something like the Survivalist series again. I’d need a series that, besides being long, had these factors.

  • Was well written enough to keep me following it.
  • Had a serial format and a overall plot interesting enough to keep me following it.
  • Didn’t face competition from another author/series.

So I haven’t slopped into the mood, but you never know…

A wonderful find

So having theorized that Casca bore a lot of resemblance to a sword and planet hero, I found the name Kenneth Bulmer in the mix for “Casca Ghostwriters Prior To Sadler’s Death” (apparently he wrote the Casca books Panzer Soldier and The Mongol).

Bulmer’s biggest writing saga was, of course, the Dray Prescott series of…. yep, sword and planet books. How about that.

The Smithtown Unit is Now Out

I’m delighted to announce that my authorial debut at Sea Lion Press, The Smithtown Unit, is now out on Amazon.

It’s a short action-adventure[1] novella set in an alternate world where, among other things, the USSR still exists, there’s a “Republic of Oran” in North Africa, and (most importantly), weapons and vehicles that were only concepts/prototypes or limited in actual history end up being used en masse here.

[1]The biggest direct inspirations were the MIA Hunter and Cody’s Army series, although the intro is more based on the classic vigilante novels.

Casca: The Sword And Planet Hero

So I’ve been reading a few more Casca books. During one readthrough, it hit me: Casca is basically a sword and planet hero (think John Carter and knockoffs of that). Sword and planet heroes tend to start their adventures by getting some sort of anti-aging/immortality treatment. Either because of this or just from some intrinsic advantage (ie, “low gravity), they have just enough of an edge over their opponents. Their adventures are either standalone books or arcs that center around exotic set pieces.

Casca? Cursed to be immortal and gains rapid healing. Advantage over his opponents but not an overwhelming one? Of course. Standalone books where he’s in one (pulpish popular) “exotic” historical period after another? Exactly. Now, I don’t think this was intentional on Sadler’s part. But it still comes across that way.