As a younger man, I was quite a show off, I always wanted to be the best in everything and I wanted everyone to know it. Often I was completely “in your face” about it. Once as a young track star, I came across the finish line, and held the number one sign up to the crowd in victory. Interestingly enough, a newspaper reporter took that picture, and it ended up on the front page the next day. My mom was horrified, and my dad just smiled.
You see, my dad was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. I don’t know about you, but the way I see the attitude of a top gun type naval aviator, is much as I remember the quotes of Vince Lombardi, especially his famous quote about being number one sims 3 + all expansions kickass. Of course, as one gets older you kind of grow out of that high testosterone, kickass, take no prisoners mindset. Eventually you realize that if you truly wish to become an anomaly amongst your peers you have to do it for yourself, not for the cheers.
Sure, it’s okay do accept the accolades, as long as you realize that those giving you the award are doing it more for their group and themselves than they are for you kiskass Wikipedia. It makes sense to graciously accept those awards, but you have to be in it to win it due to your personal strength of character, and because it’s the right thing to do. Have you heard that famous line; “integrity is something you do when no one else is looking” – well, it’s kind of like that.
The best thing you can do is to lead by example, and be in inspirational focal point which creates a trend, and causes other people to Excel at what they do. Being the best that you can be at what you do is almost the doctrine that we hold true; it’s the American way. If you are working twice as hard, you will stand out in the crowd, you don’t need to draw attention to yourself, especially when no one else is trying, heck it’s easy.
Indeed, it’s amazing how much of our society is based on social norms, and respect from your fellow man. But at some point you get beyond that, where it’s no longer relevant what anyone else thinks, what matters is what’s inside. So I ask you, what are you made of, and are you an anomaly amongst your peers, taking the game to a higher level. I am. I hope you will join me at the top. Please consider all this and think on it.
Where can you go to find the best of the best in MilSF? For great MilSF short stories by the top authors of today, look no further than the anthology So It Begins (Book Two in the Defending the Future Series) edited by Mike McPhail, who just happens to have an entry in this collection himself, the inimitable and way cool offering “Cling Peaches.”. There are sixteen short stories in the anthology, if you include the superlative “Surrender Or Die,” a bonus story by David Sherman, written by fifteen authors. Charles E. Gannon has two stories in So It Begins (as I’ll call the anthology from here on out through this review), both very good ones, “Recidivism,” which opens the book, and “To Spec.” One of the features I really like about the anthology is that there is a section called Author Bios at the end of the book, before the Bonus Content story, so you can read about the authors and what they’ve written and learn more about them if you’re unfamiliar with them.
I can’t get super in-depth and give a detailed analysis of each of the short stories unless I make this review prohibitively long, but I truly enjoyed reading each of the MilSF short stories in the anthology, so I will mention at least a little bit about a few of the tales, to give you a taste of the literary banquet you have in store for yourselves when you read this collection. I’ve briefly mentioned four already, and in just one paragraph, so I’m doing fairly well…except for this expository paragraph, anyway. But, there’s “brief” mentions of short stories, and then there’s brief mentions-which means nothing, except that I’m going to go back to the four I’ve already mentioned, write a few more sentences about each, then cover a few of the other tales.
MilSF novels and stories with lots of blood, guts, and action are kickass, and I generally rank ones with tons of these three elements in them as my faves. But, I likes me a good story that zigs when you think it should zag, or funny or quirky ones, also. That’s why “Cling Peaches,” is one of my favorite tales in the anthology. The title alone made me wonder what in the world it could be about and made me want to read it. Then, the search by the two main characters of the story, Chief Engineer William Donovich and a tech called Patterson for an alien stowaway who has a liking for cling peaches in heavy syrup, was tense and at times humorous and held my rapt attention throughout its entirety.