Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Clive's Requiem


A .38-sized hole bled life. Sunk in a crimson puddle, Clive looked up at the lawman who’d felled him.

"Was it worth it, sonny?” The cop said.

Through pain and blood loss, Clive thought about it.

Thought about Colt barrels thrust in rent-a-cop faces, bags packed tight with green rolls, civilians crouching in balaclava-induced terror. Thought about breakneck getaways down back roads, a life of hot credit cards and shitty motel rooms. Paradise, USA.

Thought about HER, with all that fiery beauty, beside him every step of the way. With HER, that insurmountable rush from daylight bank snatches never ended.

Back from a score, blood pounding, they’d keep the high going. Strip off bulletproof vests and bandoliers, shirts and underwear, then spreading legs and letting tongues wander. He'd trace dollar signs on her clit, SHE whispering every statute they’d broken with filthy abandon. His cock rifle-hard, HER cunt bank vault-tight, the illicit euphoria of armed robbery extended into an orgasmic hereafter. Twin flames, fucking each other raw beside stacks of The Man’s cash.

And this cop had stopped to shoot Clive, meaning SHE probably got away.

Between bloodstained teeth, Clive gurgled, “Worth every fuck...”

The cop assumed Clive died mid-sentence.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Of Dragons and Helicopters: Fantasy and Metaphor

I recently read a military fantasy novel called "Of Bone and Thunder," in which soldiers from a powerful nation called the Kingdom are sent to a jungle to hunt down and destroy an elusive peasant insurgency.

There's plenty of supernatural elements - for example, and the Kingdom uses dragons as transportation and to attack the insurgents, much like our modern military uses helicopters. But despite the high fantasy trappings, for most of the novel's protagonists it's about trying to survive a bitter, pointless war, slogging through humid jungles to chase an invisible enemy.

It's a well-written novel, with sharp, descriptive prose that quickly sweeps the reader along with it. The writer is adept at putting the reader in the boots of Kingdom soldiers, making us feel every detail of their world – the sleep loss, the heat, the dull tedium.

But despite strong writing, I couldn’t really get into this novel. Why? Because it's not a fantasy novel at all - it's a Vietnam War novel.

And I don’t mean that metaphorically – "Of Bone and Thunder" has dragons instead of helicopters and crossbows instead of rifles, but that's about as deep as the changes run.