KAMIKAZE

A place for Sladists to share their thoughts on Michael Slade and his work...

Postby SickThing » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:53 pm

I started or added to announcements about Kamikaze on the following boards:

The Robert McCammon forum
Dangerous Dwarf (author George C. Chesbro) forum
Repairman Jack (F. Paul Wilson) Forum
Shocklines forum
Remember the Coop (an Alice Cooper fan forum

I bought my two copies of the U.S. paperback today and hope to start it tonight.

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Postby MarylandManson » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:43 pm

Looking back on the series, I think SWASTIKA and KAMIKAZE represent a double masterpiece that bodes well for future Slade novels. I no longer compare or rank the Slade novels, so I won't say that the latest two are better (or whatever) than previous novels. But I will say that my appreciation for both was immediate rather than the kind that grows over time with multiple readings. And SWASTIKA's high energy has held up so far. Of course KAMIKAZE is fresh in the brain.

The compare/contrast aspect of SWASTIKAMIKAZE is interesting because of SWASTIKA's relatively large size and great detail, versus KAMIKAZE's relatively small size and deft imagery. It's almost like the difference between pointillism and the visible brushstrokes of classic impressionism, and it echoes the difference between German and Japanese cultures. But each packs a wallop beyond all such heady observations. SWASTIKA crackles and booms, KAMIKAZE slices and stabs.

Bottom line: Slade right now is all about energy and excitement that seems poised to continue unabated.

Cheers! MM
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Postby Starra » Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:32 am

I'm going to be the first one to say it, but I've owned KAMIKAZE for nearly a month and I'm still not finished it.

To be blunt, I can't keep my attention during the air battle scenes. Because it's a book by Slade, I'm forcing myself to digest what I can for as long as I can, because I know, Know, KNOW it's important to the plot that I pay attention during these parts of the story.

But I really find them hard to read, I don't enjoy them, and I'm trying to get through them so I can get to the really good parts. I'm slogging away, I promise I'll finish it, but these acts of war are really boring to me.

I'm not much interested in this historical back story, and I think that's the problem.
What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?
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Postby Slade » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:50 pm

Starra,

Last night, PBS showed the first two hours of WARPLANE, the history of air combat. I was fascinated. My wife didn't watch it. So once again, it comes down to "We like what we like."

When an author has one book out there, reaction is simple. Those who like it become Sladists, those who don't pass on. But when an author has twelve books out there, and those novels combine whodunit, suspense, horror, western, science fiction, police procedure, psychological kinks, romance, war, courtroom battles, politics, history, travel, conspiracies, etc. in differing combinations, it's inevitable that loyal readers will fracture in their reactions.

Raasnio likes the Enola Gay scenes, you struggle with them.

Like it or not, we live in the shadow of the nuclear missile. We watch with growing apprehension as Iran and North Korea blast them off, reaching ever closer to our homes, while their scientists work hard on giving them nuclear warheads.

What we in the West fail to accept is the common psychology behind this new arms race. Our part in setting it off goes back to the conspiracies of 1945: the conspiracy to capture the delivery system that underpins the plot in SWASTIKA, and the conspiracy to test the geopolitical effect on our developing enemies of using an atomic warhead that underpins the plot in KAMIKAZE.

SWASTIKA: my dad's war. KAMIKAZE: my mom's war.

SWASTIKA: the missile. KAMIKAZE: the warhead.

SWASTIKA: Dane's background. KAMIKAZE: Jackie's background.

SWASTIKA: the European Theater. KAMIKAZE: the Pacific Theater.

SWASTIKA: the morality of whitewashing SS Nazis to get what we want. KAMIKAZE: the morality of shaping surrender conditions to give us an excuse to fry 200,000 people.

SWASTIKA and KAMIKAZE are Siamese twins.

As Stephen King says: "Eventually, it all goes in." And I am the son of a "warrior of the night."

So...

"Tower to Dimples Eight-two. Clear for takeoff."

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Postby Mbwun » Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:36 pm

I really enjoyed the battle sequences in Kamikaze, but then again, I'm a bit of a techno-thriller fan - I thought they were quite well done. And speaking of techno-thrillers - I've just discovered James Rollins. If you like Preston and Child, you'll like James Rollins.

But as for the historical backstory in Slade's books: The only book that I've had problems with is "Bed of Nails" - just too, too, much historical detail about cannibalism for my taste. It's probably the only Slade novel that I've no desire to read again. I think I know more about cannibalism after reading it than I ever wanted to know.

But the one, two punch of Swastika / Kamikaze - that's the bee's knees! :D

Oh, and regarding Rollins: If anyone's read his latest book, "Black Order", or at least the excerpt from it at the back of the mass market of "Map of Bones", I think it's one of those things that will make you go "Hmmmmmmm". Sounds a bit suspicious in a "Swastika" sort of way. :wink:
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Postby raasnio » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:39 pm

In reading others' comments on SWASTIKA and KAMIKAZE it is apparent that these two novels are different from past books. I can see why some would prefer less time spent in the past while others appreciate it.

What's really strange, though, is that one person on Amazon actually said that all of the positive reviews for SWASTIKA were written by Sladist ringers. I find it funny that someone actually believes that readers would simply write positive reviews for an author they enjoy. Has it not occurred to them that perhaps many of Slade's readers enjoy the style of writing, as well as the characters and plots? There isn't just one way to write a novel. If that were true then books like American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis & Run by Douglas E. Winter should never have made it to booksellers. I'm more than happy that they did.

I've said it before, but about every year I read through the Slade novels in order. I don't do this because I am trying to impress anyone. I just happen to enjoy reading them.
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Postby steelclaw32 » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:23 pm

Starra wrote:To be blunt, I can't keep my attention during the air battle scenes. Because it's a book by Slade, I'm forcing myself to digest what I can for as long as I can, because I know, Know, KNOW it's important to the plot that I pay attention during these parts of the story.
:( :( Oh starra I'm so sorry you don't like the ABS. In a sense it's Jay's damned good attempt at trying to show a certain mettle, a different kind courage and fortitude even, so often done in war films, only a tad bit OTT; what Jay's really saying IS that these men were something else...SOMETHING ELSE entirely. 2nd only to those who went to sea in subs.
If I remember rightly Jay said something to the effect that as a rule men who flew those planes had a one,two o/o chance of coming home...Jay's dad flew roughly 20,30 or so, and lived TO come home,(and start a family). As did those too few lucky ones do likewise.

I'm also saddened to read that you feel that: "I'm forcing myself to digest what I can for as long as I can"
Slade book or not, in one way it doesn't have anything to do with the plot per se, Swastika / Kamikaze is, in a sense, more than a personal voyage for Jay he got THAT when he discovered THOSE precious documents, it's a vindication of the fight for freedom and ALL that it entails. EVERY Empire has it day in the sun, BUT, this empire, HAD to be cut down at source and NEVER see the light of day.

But I really find them hard to read, I don't enjoy them, and I'm trying to get through them so I can get to the really good parts. I'm slogging away, I promise I'll finish it, but these acts of war are really boring to me. :shock: :o :shock: :o ?!

I'm not much interested in this historical back story, and I think that's the problem.
..............Why or should it? there's not one family of at least my generation who weren't affected by it either WW1 WWII, myself,? I'm only a few years younger than Jay, but not by much I can tell you. When I WAS born, England was STILL useing war coupons so it was 'normal' for me and others, war may be boring to you Starra, but if it were not for my Granda (who faught
in WWI) and a year and half in WWII, and my own dad in WWII, and the likes of Jay's dad too, YOU'D NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE WRITTEN WHAT YOU DID. Boring...I think N O T. Lest we forget.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,1276045,00.html
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Postby Starra » Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:06 am

I LOVED Swastika. It was great. Among Jay et. al's finest.

That story was interesting to me. The European theatre is my area of interest, seeing as my grandfather was in the ranks at that time, and was among the liberation and occupying forces for a year after the war.

The story of Jackie is interesting. It's made even more interesting to me because of Jackie's parentage. I'm married to an American, and the conversation between her dad and "Red" are eerily familiar as I've heard my sweety have those conversations with his dad and uncles.

It's just coming down to a matter of interest, and it's difficult for me to maintain interest. The flight scenes just aren't doing it for me.

Slade, you know I love your books, you know how excited I was to meet you. The writing is fine, the story is bound to be good. That's why I'm giving this book far more of a college try than I ever gave Dan Brown.

And another thing, I almost logged on and posted about Warplane on PBS, because I did watch it with my husband just so I could see a Spitfire, Lancaster and Halifax.

Still not all that interested in the warplane, but at least I know what it is that you're talking about.
What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about?
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Postby PohlSE » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:59 am

raasnio wrote:What's really strange, though, is that one person on Amazon actually said that all of the positive reviews for SWASTIKA were written by Sladist ringers. I find it funny that someone actually believes that readers would simply write positive reviews for an author they enjoy. Has it not occurred to them that perhaps many of Slade's readers enjoy the style of writing, as well as the characters and plots?


Check all the Slade reviews on Amazon and you will find that a two of the reviewers seem to continue to review Slade's book for the sole purpose of bitching about the pseudonym and whining about the writing style.

After you read those go and check out their other reviews... Whenever the majority opinion disagrees with their own they turn the review into a commentary on the other reviewers and why they are all wrong.

BTW remember people that Amazon spotlight reviews are selected based on positive votes and review quality, so make sure you vote on the reviews you like and write at least a paragraph if you are going to post a review.
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Postby Slade » Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:55 pm

Starra,

Here's why a knowledge of "warplanes" is important. As the owner of the first signed copy of the SWASTIKA misprint (less than 200 copies of the 1st edition exist), you'll see the connection:

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A rare stamp that could be worth at least $200,000 may be on an absentee-ballot envelope sealed in a box with other ballots from Tuesday's election.

Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom discovered the stamp, which may be the famous Inverted Jenny, while reviewing absentee ballots. There was no name on the envelope so the vote didn't count.

What seemed like a small stamp collection on one envelope caught Rodstrom's eye about 8 p.m. Tuesday. At least one was from 1936, Rodstrom said. Then he noticed one had an upside-down First World War-era airplane - the hallmark of an Inverted Jenny.

"I was a stamp collector when I was little boy," Rodstrom told the Miami Herald. "I recognized it."

The 24-cent Jenny stamps were printed in 1918, said Maynard Guss, president of the Sunrise Stamp Club. Stamp sheets were run through presses twice to process all the colours, and on one pass, four Jenny sheets went through backward, Guss said. Inspectors caught the errors on three of the sheets and destroyed them, but somehow, a sheet of 100 stamps got through.

Stamp collectors have spent the past 88 years trying to find them all. Replicas are sold on websites like EBay.

But this Jenny, if real, might not be as valuable as it could have been. When the absentee ballot was mailed the stamp was cancelled, reducing its value, Rodstrom said.
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Postby Brad Smith » Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:10 am

I've fired the Beretta carbines mentioned in the book, the ones used by the Yakuza thugs. Nice guns. Nine-mil. You can catch them on the new Battlestar Galactica.

Now that Slade has dealt with the horrors of WW2--how far behind will the horrors of the War on Terror?
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Postby Slade » Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:08 pm

Sladists,

I met Bev Vincent at the "dead dog party" when Slade was a GoH at the World Horror Convention in Seattle. Over the years, we have discussed the influence of the horrors of the Second World War on our families and us. My dad's war record with Bomber Command inspired SWASTIKA, but what about my mom? The adventures of Viv in KAMIKAZE reflect hers, except she was three years too young to have shipped out as a nurse to Hong Kong. Had she gone, and if Bev's uncle was at St. Stephen's, she might have nursed him, and there might be no Slade to fictionalize what happened there on Christmas Day, 1941.

What if...?

Here's Bev's review in HELLNOTES:

http://hellnotes.com/2006/11/12/book-review-kamikaze/

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Postby moonflee » Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:03 am

I really enjoyed Kamikaze. Finished it in a few days, which is saying a lot seeing I spend most of my free time chasing the little one around.

Keep writing them Slade and you know I'll keep reading them.
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As hearing when we lie
The truth is not kind
And you’ve said neither am I
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Postby SickThing » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:32 am

I just finished Kamikaze. Like others, my reading time was in short supply over the past week (among other things, my youngest daughter turned 10 yesterday), so this morning I was not quite halfway through it. And now I've finished it. :) A great story, as always, and very fascinating historical information.

No matter how many of these I read, I always seem to forget that anybody can die in a Slade novel....

Thanks for the great read (well, all of the great reads)!

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Postby Slade » Thu Nov 16, 2006 8:15 pm

Here's a review from THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT:

Book Reviews
By John Burns
Publish Date: November 9, 2006

Kamikaze
By Michael Slade. Penguin Canada, 325 pp, $24, softcover.

Kamikaze, the 12th thriller in the Special X series by the local father-daughter team of Jay and Rebecca Clarke (aka Michael Slade), is a deeply cynical piece of work. Slade’s Special X novels (named after the Special External Section of the RCMP) typically pair a string of murders in present-day Vancouver with historical or quasi-supernatural events in the larger world. Kamikaze, like last year’s Swastika, jumps between murderous badness in the GVRD and World War II nastiness; it’s a given that the story lines will converge by novel’s end, with the killing spree cut short. That’s true here—to a point.

Several aspects of the series are a treat. The attentive depiction of place is welcome. I love that “the beamed facade of the Tudor building at the corner of Heather and 33rd” conceals the headquarters of Special X, for instance. Slade is all about procedure, too, which makes business sense: watch TV any night of the week and see how endless our appetite is for the inner workings of the police.

Then there’s that cynicism. Kamikaze brings together two men whose paths crossed at Hiroshima. Genjo Tokuda lost his family to the bomb that ended the war in the Pacific; Joe Hett was aboard the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped it. Now the two warriors are brought together in Vancouver in time for Remembrance Day, and vengeance is in the air.

The exposition-heavy writing and dispassionate depictions of violence point to pulp, but the novel’s enormous research (learn the bomb’s dimensions! the ritual of hara-kiri!) and central thesis make it something else. Slade argues that the dropping of the atomic bomb was not about ending the Second World War at all, but rather about averting a new one: Joseph Stalin was watching when those mushroom clouds rose over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and saw the cost of attacking democracy. Harry Truman’s sanguine acceptance of bloodshed here is chilling, and war itself comes off as the most murderous of serial killers. As Slade writes it, we’ll need more than just the super-talented Special X forces to stop its reign of terror.
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