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.
Human beings have always liked to think of themselves as special. So what, exactly, is it that does make us special? Are we, in fact, special at all or our we just another - albeit less harry - chimpanzee? This is the question Jared Diamond asks in The Third Chimpanzee: the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal. He asks it not with metaphysics or theology but with biology, geography and social science. He questions our unique construction, the places we live and how we interact; both interspecies and intraspecies, and which of these key components that can be measured may - or may not - either separately or in combination be the key that makes us human.
“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.
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?
Two forces - the global economy and the nature of conflict changing and shifting - are the most likely aspects of ongoing change that will affect United States joint and multinational military operations. These changes will require the United States military to be a more dynamic and a more flexible force.
Running a functioning democracy is tough. It’s even tougher when you’ve never run one before. If your functioning democracy isn’t even really a functioning democracy but rather a thinly veiled repressive authoritarian single party dictatorship, well, that could get you killed.
This is an excerpt from a Sci Fi story I am working on introducing one of the three main characters.
A recent trip got me thinking about some of the similarities and differences we native English speaking cousins have. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, ‘It’s not just Britain and America divided by a common language.’
79 years ago this month, Nazi troops faked an attack on a German Radio station. By the end of September 1939 the world was in the grips of a second world war.