Good ol’ spontaneity had me send my fantasy, The Shadow Conflict, to Baen Books for publication consideration. Anyone even a little familiar with popular science fiction and fantasy titles will recognize it as one of the leading publishers of the genre. They’re up there with DAW Books and Tor Books as far as I’m concerned. They’re also one of the few houses that accept unsolicited manuscripts. I’ve only ever submitted directly to a publishing house once before, and I received a nice rejection on company letterhead. I recognize it now as a form rejection, but at the time it was proof that someone had looked at my 300K epic fantasy, even if it was for a moment. That house was DAW, and the manuscript was The Last Hero, which is currently available on my Scribd page. I even remembered to add the cover my friend made for me all those years ago. Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t tried shopping it around again (I have plenty of marketing materials), but I think I’d need another three years just to get it ready. Took me three years to write the damn thing. Years should only be applied in submitting a story, not its creation. But I digress.
My sister’s recovery is going well. Work continues on Renegade’s sequel. That is, when I can tear myself away from watching Exosquad. If you grew up watching 90s cartoons, you may have heard of this hidden gem. I remember watching it on Saturday mornings, and I had one of the toys, seen below:
I purchased the first season through Amazon, and am about halfway through the second season. I’m blown away by how awesome it is. One of the only episodes I recall watching dealt with the Exosquad leader being sentenced to death, and his complaining about R rations being a ‘lousy last meal’. Even Batman: The Animated Series, as incredible as it is, danced around the concept of death. Before you come at me with the episode where Batgirl plummets to her death from a building, allow me to remind you that it was a dream sequence. When people die in Exosquad, it’s permanent.
Granted, some of the animation is a bit underwhelming, but a show can have crappy animation so long as the story and characters are solid. And holy hell, this show has it in spades. Batman: The Animated Series received praise for mature story lines and adult themes, but Exosquad is in a class of its own. The scope of characterization is unlike anything I’ve seen in American animation. You have good guys turning traitor, and bad guys maintaining a sense of honor even when ordered to set off a bomb. Things of this nature is often found in Anime such as Full Metal Alchemist, only minus the blood and gore found in Attack on Titan.
Well, except it has scenes like this.
Usually, this is the part where I’d show my age and rant about how today’s cartoons aren’t like the ones I grew up with, etc etc etc. Only I can’t make that distinction with any certainty. With the exception of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I don’t watch today’s cartoons. The darkest FiM ever got was in the season five opener. The Mane Six were locked in a room while being subjected to the same message playing over and over again in order to brainwash them. This, in a show about magical talking horses. Crazy stuff. And I love it.