Poetry Swoops Down

With this post on a Facebook page I began a new poetry project. It is a bold collection co-written with Andrei Azscara. This as-yet-untiled book will be initially published in India and will be a dual-language edition in Russian and English.

Our poetic freedom begins today! Poetry swoops down and snatches Life from the clutches of Death. Our truth will burn down the concentration camps of Hatred and Intolerance.


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A New Sherlock Holmes Novel

I am deep in contemplation on a new Sherlock Holmes novel. Spent the evening out at Akahana’s eating sushi and fleshing out this tale. It will be very different from the Holmes horror story I wrote last month. There is a lot of history involved with this one. Have only one month to write the entire book. Sweating.


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Heads of Mount Nemrut


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Alexander and the King of Kings

Alexander the great is an endless source of fascination. I’ve been reading up on him again, as I am still wanting to do my long-put off book on him. But I have several side books I want to do based among his satellite of generals and lovers and specific events. For instance, one novel, as I have mentioned elsewhere several times, is based on his great Afghan lover, a princess he married in one of his alliances of conquest.

But today I wanted to mention another one which is a much more straight forward tale of war. But what a war!

In 333 BCE, Alexander had already invaded modern day Turkey and defeated the Persians generals and satraps in battle. The King of Kings, Darius III, was naturally angry and personally took command of his massive army. He marched in behind Alexander’s forces on the coast near Issus and cut his supply lines home. In a terror campaign, Darius also infamously attacked the wounded and sick Greek soldiers from the precious battles who were waiting to sail back home to Greece, chopped off their hands, and sent them to Alexander.

Alexander was on enemy soil, terribly outnumbered, and now cut off without supplies. His own men were exhausted and in a storm at the time. However, Alexander had learned the great technique of Blizkrieg which only Genghis Khan would use more effectively and only Hitler would use more infamously.

Darius assumed he would hide and wait, attempting to rebuild his forces, either by living off the land, or attempt to flee back to Greece and raise a new army. Either way, Darius new he had this weaker Greek invader by the throat, and a war of time and attrition would only favor himself.

Alexander would have none of that. Angered by the brutality shown his wounded men and knowing he could not wait to be hunted down by the massive Persian host, he did the only thing a brilliant tactician would do. He forced marched his men overnight through the storm and surprised Darius’ slumbering host in the morning on the plain near Issus.

Despite being vastly outnumbered (the Greeks numbered less than 40,000, whereas the Persians were recorded to be over 600,000 strong), Alexander’s tactic worked flawlessly and the armies of Persia were caught fully unaware with their guard down. What followed was a brutal overrun. Alexander showed no mercy and his smaller forces destroyed the Persians. It is recorded that the Greeks killed 110,000 Persians in that single afternoon. If the ancient records are accurate, this is the greatest single-day combat losses in recorded history until the first day of The Battle of the Somme.


Detail of Le Bataille D’Issus, by Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Darius the III survived this tremendous battle with a large portion of his forces who all fled in terror. He regrouped in Iran and later attempted to stop Alexander’s complete conquest of the Persian Empire, but it was actually over at this battle. This was the first time the Greeks had ever exhibited total domination over the world’s current reigning superpower, the Persians. The Persians never fully recovered from this psychological and physical defeat. Tiny Greece was fully ascendant.

I want to one day write a book on this battle and show how great a strategist Alexander truly was by turning sure defeat into astounding victory. I believe any other general, as was proven over and over through the centuries of Persian domination, would have failed when Darius cut his supplies and fielded such a massive army.

Furthermore, as always, I find very intriguing side characters in these tales. For instance, in victory Alexander looted the Imperial tents, which Darius was forced to leave behind. Beyond the usual treasures he also captured the Queen of Persia and a Persian noblewoman of 30 years of age, who was most fascinating. She had already been captured twice before in the past by Greeks in other battles, and then twice recovered by the Persians. Alexander was so taken with her that he took her as his mistress for the next five years. Now that is one hell of a woman! I want to explore her as well.

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Azsacran Phoenix and Sword

Well, in the land of quick turn arounds, the second philosophy book I am in this year concerning the works of Russian philosopher Azsacra Zarathustra has now come out. The first was Protection of a Holy Rebellious Yes to Life in the Spring. This time instead of a simple article in the collection, I was asked to write the introduction.

Featured this month in Aristokratia, here is a link to my “Azsacran Phoenix and Sword” introduction from the forthcoming book Azsacramerica.


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Dinosaurs, Sherlock, and Horror

So this month I have a rolling tide of anthologies I’ve made it into recently.

First is The Improbable Truth, the Chthulhuesque Sherlock Holmes anthology I have mentioned before.

The second is part of a SF anthology series, this particular issue dealing with dinosaurs. That will be an absolute blast to write, since my entire childhood was spent obsessing over dinosaurs and wanting to be a paleontologist.

The third is a horror anthology that deals with the hidden terror of the every day. The average turned nightmarish.

Next are several other projects that revolve around specific topics or events, but which are ready to be discussed yet.

Nonetheless, fun times!

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Perry Mason and Doc Savage

My grandfather loved reading Perry Mason (and watching Raymond Burr’s version of him on TV) so I grew up familiar with Perry. It wasn’t until later years that I started reading all the books though, because the legalese in the cases threw me of in my youthful attempts to read them.

Was recently reading some of the series and I found some interesting parallels between Perry Mason and Doc Savage. Besides his large size, Perry Mason is a tough-talking, two-fisted pulp era lawyer who is often described as a gladiator, a prizefighter, and a for-hire warrior (legal mercenary?). Now, he prefers mental battles and strategy, but never backs down and will do what it takes to solve a case. He also operate alone, despite having a couple of assistants who help him but that he often shields from danger and from knowing too much about his cases. Furthermore, just as Doc Savage who was a master of all forms of physical combat and expert marksman yet refused to carry a weapon because it bred a psychological dependency, and so typically eschewed physical combat if at all possible, Perry Mason also declines to carry a gun.

In the book The Case of the Howling Dog (1934), we have this scene between Perry and his partner, Private Investigator Paul Drake:

Paul Drake shook his head lugubriously.
“You take the damndest chances,” he said. “You’d better have me go out there with you.”
“No,” Mason told him, “I’m going out there alone.”
“All right,”the detective said, “let me give you a tip, then. You’d better go prepared for trouble. That man’s in a dangerous mood.”
“What do you mean prepared for trouble?”
“Carry a gun,” the detective said.
Perry Mason shook his head.
“I carry my two fists,” he said, “and my wits. I fight with those. Sometimes I carry a gun, but I don’t make a practice of it. It’s bad training. It teaches one to rely entirely on a gun. Force should only be a last resort.”

Doc Savage couldn’t have said it better.


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