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.

The Fall of Gold Eagle

So, I found a Nader Elhefnawy blog post on the shuttering of Harlequin’s Gold Eagle imprint for “men’s adventure” cheap thrillers in 2015 (although Harlequin has continued to release new Mack Bolan ebooks since then). Besides the increasing diversity in media as a whole, the genre is mentioned in the post as being squeezed both from above (from bigger-market, less assembly line-ish cheap thrillers) and below (from independent/self-published ones).

Now the indies and the big-timers both have structural weaknesses and strengths. As for how the Gold Eagle Bolans (and similar professional assembly line fiction) held up, I’ll have to read them. Even Ahern’s Survivalist doesn’t really match up, as that was a giant serial made by one person, not 27 standalone books made by different ones.

Time Flies

A small anecdote. I remember when A Song of Ice And Fire/Game of Thrones was this updating yet niche series you basically already had to be a fantasy nerd to know about. Then came the TV show. Then came the actual books turning into literary vaporware, becoming a sort of punchline that is to books what Half-Life 3 and Duke Nukem Forever are to video games.

So yeah, it’s progressed (or regressed) a lot.

My Creative 2018

I had a good 2018, all things considered. Were there bad parts in it? Of course. But on the whole, and especially in my creative endeavors, I had a good 2018. And I’m not just talking about the two Command LIVE scenarios I made or Paint The Force Red.

I’ve said it before, but starting up Fuldapocalypse was amazing and one of the best things I’ve done all year. First, I’ve had a lot of fun writing some of the reviews. Second, it’s been a huge eye-opener and horizon-broadening device for me. I was expecting to get variations on Hackett/Clancy/Bond, but the path took me to outright science fiction and more. I’ve had to throw aside the preconceptions and stereotypes of my past “Iceland Scale” and rework my entire review setup because of it. It’s fun.

But I’d argue a better part of Fuldapocalypse is getting me to write positive reviews. I have an instinct to be critical even of things I like. Peters’ Red Army remains my single favorite World War III story, yet I was prepared to write several paragraphs about its weaknesses and only one or two about its strengths. I’ve found that blog has helped me a lot. It’s also helped me become more selective-if it’s not review-worthy or if I’d just repeat myself for better or worse, I generally don’t review it.

Because of Fuldapocalypse, I now know how broad the “cheap thriller” genre is, and how much broader the military action subgenre is than I thought. I’m not complaining. And I think I’ve approached even works I still am highly critical of better.

So in creative terms, I had a pretty good 2018.

Death Battle Season 5

So Season 5 of Death Battle just concluded with Thanos vs. Darkseid.

The season was good. Still worried the production values are going to “snowball”, but there’s been a lot of good episodes. I think my favorite was Carnage vs. Lucy, as it was an oddball match between two dissimilar opponents.

 

Some appeal after all

A lot can change in a while. About a year ago, I wrote a post where I held that special forces held little appeal to me. Now, after reading my share of “commando fiction” (for lack of a better term), I’ve grown fonder of it and fonder of “special forces” characters.

I guess I’ve just had the fortune of seeing them done better than the few examples I’d seen before.

Two Big Challenges With Long-Running Series

Long-running series have two large issues that I feel are somewhat, but not always inevitable. The first is the “Elite Republican Guard” (named after Bill Hicks’ famous Gulf War joke), and the second is “Arkansas vs. The Blimps” (which I named after a Twilight 2000 module).

The Elite Republican Guard involves the antagonists, or antagonist situations, getting less credible as the series goes on. Arkansas vs. The Blimps involves them getting more outlandish. The two are not incompatible.