Thursday, April 12, 2018

David Drake

The Army took David Drake from Duke Law School and sent him on a motorized tour of Viet Nam and Cambodia with the 11th Cav, the Blackhorse. He learned new skills, saw interesting sights, and met exotic people who hadn’t run fast enough to get away.

Drake returned to become Chapel Hill’s Assistant Town Attorney and to try to put his life back together through fiction making sense of his Army experiences.

He describes war from where he saw it: the loader’s hatch of a tank in Cambodia. Drake's military experience, combined with his formal education in history and Latin, has made him one of the foremost writers of realistic action SF and fantasy. His bestselling Hammer’s Slammers series is credited with creating the genre of modern Military SF. He often wishes he had a less interesting background.

Drake's new novel is Though Hell Should Bar the Way.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Drake's reply:
At the moment, I'm actively reading two books:

Log-letters from "The Challenger" by Lord George Granville Campbell. I'm honestly not sure what Campbell's position during the Challenger Expedition of 1872 was--he may have been aboard simply because he was the (third) son of the Duke of Argyle. He certainly wasn't a scientist but he may not have had naval rank either.

Regardless, he has left a lively and informative account of this famous Royal Society scientific expedition--a 19th century predecessor of the International Geophysical Year of my youth.

Mosquito Pathfinder by Albert Smith, the memoir of an RAF navigator during WW II. This has many virtues, starting with the fact that it's clearly and entertainingly written. Smith was very much an oick, the son of a truckdriver from Salford--who happened to be very good at math. Most such memoirs are written by officers with at least a brushing acquaintance with the better classes.

Smith did his job in a variety of aircraft and theaters, describing the problems of living with scorpions and centipedes in North Africa as well as flak and night fighters over Essen in a Wellington.
Visit David Drake's website.

--Marshal Zeringue