Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Fighting soldiers from the sky

We all have our reading skeletons and one of mine is the Casca series. These books were written by Barry Sadler, of Ballad of the Green Berets fame. They concern a Roman legionary who pierces the side of Jesus while he is on the cross. There is some basis for the name Casca, but Sadler takes it a little further. In a decidedly non-turn-the-other-cheek-way, the Son of God curses Casca to live until the Second Coming. Since that takes awhile, in each book Casca finds himself in some sort of military situation like fighting the Germans, fighting the Vietnamese, or whoever. The books were an excuse for lots of Rambo like action, except it was usually Rambo times ten, because the dude couldn't die. He would get wounded, usually grievously, and then BRING IT. I remember lines like "He wasn't normally a sadist, but slavers pissed him off." Oh no, someone's gonna die tonight.

Back in they day, bookstores had a section called "Men's Adventure." While it sounds like a particularly vigorous Penthouse Forum sort of thing, it meant highly pulpy adventure books for the Soldier of Fortune set. The section featured books with all sorts of crypto-sexual imagery, with lines like "His Uzi spat hot death" and the like. In my early teen years I got most of my books at the drug store, which carried books of the Casca quality or worse. There wasn't much else in the way of decent stores in Norfolk, although Prince books came later in the 80s.


Brack said...

Yes, I fear I read more than my fair share of Mack Bolan, Phoenix Force, Hank Frost (the one eyed merc), the Rat Bastards and Casca, most of which were 150 pages max. I even read the Mack Bolan "novels" like Stoneyman Farm. From there I recall stepping it up a bit to stuff like Frederick Forsyth's Dogs of War. Then I turned twelve.

But who am I kidding . . . it's not like my taste for noir, SF and fantasy instead of "Men's Adventure" makes me any less of a nerd now than I was twenty years ago.

Tripp said...

If you were reading the lowest grade of sf, fantasy and noir I would agree, but the Men's Adventure stuff is best for as you put, 11 year olds.

Still, you are a nerd merely a more refined one.