It was a time of great uncertainty and upheaval in America. A time of grand, expansive plans as a small part of the population enjoyed untold prosperity. It was also when the ability to survive yet another day was a small plodding measure of success. One man pierced the veil of darkness attempting to bring a modicum of hope and light to the beleaguered inhabitants of his city. He is vengeance. He is the night. He knows where to find you and what you fear. He is... the Ghost of Manhattan. Hold on for just a minute. Is it just me, or does that not sound amazingly familiar to anyone that has read a comic book in the last seventy-five years or seen a movie this millennium?
There is something supremely satisfying, and a bit nostalgic, in reading classic thriller novels. The classics seem fresh, nuanced, with rich full characters that are multifaceted and contradictory. Newer forays into the genre seem cliched or formulaic. Even the newer pieces by the classic authors fall prey to this issue. Eric Ambler’s Cause for Alarm was only the fourth novel he wrote back in 1936 - publishing it in September of 1938 - and considered remarkable for its prophetic tone. Most of us in the 21st century forget, to the average person in 1938 World War 2 wasn’t inevitable, or at least so it didn’t seem.
There’s an odd thing that happens with a long series. It happens regardless; any medium is just as susceptible as a series of novels. This odd thing is a dichotomy that develops with the work and our relationship with it. And I find sometimes… I’m really okay with that.
Looking out from the direction of the star, out away from what little warmth and light there is, the faint band of the galaxy arches across the endless black. Deep in the endless black, out beyond the safety of the stellar winds lies the possibility of more. The possibility of other stars, other planets, other.
Everyone surely knows the story in 1984. Or at least they think they do nowadays with terms like facecrime and doublespeak being thrown around the news and social media as if we’ve all just come from a high school English Lit course. I certainly thought I did as well. 1984 warns of the dystopian future where the state has taken control of every aspect of life. Like most people though I had missed some important points by not reading the source material.
“Fontreux,” Alex continued, “is and has been one of the primary manufacturers of aircraft engines and parts to the French government. They are an essential part of the supply chain for eighty five percent of fighter engine parts and seventy two percent of rotary wing engine manufacturing for the French military. “And the Bank is to provide the bulk of the initial investment in the expansion.” “There is just one issue that may interfere.” Stevens had come to Annex B of the internal portion of the prospectus. “Oh yes. This could be a problem,” Stevens mused turning to Alex.
Most of us attempt to attain a certain level of skill. This seems like an incredibly simple and obvious statement to make. We would much rather be good at something than to fail at it completely. For most of the world a basic level of competency is expected. The Night-Comers is the eighth novel I’ve read by Eric Ambler. Over the course of these 8 books there has been a subtle development of the main characters. The protagonist becomes competent.
When authors or creators of long running franchises either run out of things to say or do with their properties there are a couple of courses of action they can take. The Reverse of the Medal is the eleventh book in the Aubrey Maturin saga. Just over half-way through the complete canon of twenty one books. Has the HMS Surprise finally jumped the shark with The Reverse of the Medal?
This is an excerpt from a Sci Fi story I am working on introducing one of the three main characters.