Review of Midway (2019 Film)

I’ve been plugging away on Against the Tide Imperial most of November for Nano. I was amidst the Kido Butai engaging four of the Royal Navy’s carriers in the Indian Ocean when my memory jogged:  I never reviewed Midway despite intending to right after seeing it.  This, folks, is called “Nano-brain,” in which other tasks seem to fall aside as one strives to get to 50,000-words by 30 November.  (As I’ve long been a Nano-rebel, yes, I’m counting this blog post towards my 50k.)

Bottom Line: Go see it.  As in, if you are a Pacific War buff, open a new tab, figure out a show time near you, then go immediately.  This is really a movie you want to see on the big screen, as it’s a visual feast.  I’m not saying see it in IMAX 4-D like I did (all the other show times didn’t line up well for a work night)

Is it accurate?  About 80-90% so, with the discrepancies (e.g., Halsey arriving just as the Lexington is sinking, said carrier being represented as a Yorktown-class due to CGI, etc.) being minor and obviously done in the service of story.  But let me be clear–this is not a Ben Affleck’s Pearl Harbor.  Or put another way, you can see that the historical adviser was front and center versus bound and gagged in the corner.  Indeed, it’s sad to say that Midway did a better job of accurately capturing the Pearl Harbor attack in a matter of minutes than the titular, much maligned movie did.

If you’re saying, “Wait, what?”, understand that this movie attempts to pack everything from 7 December ’41 to 4 June ’42 into the first half.  This goes better than expected and is highly necessary if you take someone who doesn’t know the history, but buffs may get a little annoyed at some shortcuts.  For example, I can’t remember Vice Admiral Fletcher ever actually making an appearance on screen, and Raymond Spruance kinda gets the short shrift.  Similarly slighted? Anyone who flew a Wildcat, Commander John C. Waldron, and the Yorktown‘s squadrons.  However, in exchange DICK BEST finally gets the credit he deserves (albeit with a lot of Hollywood spin), Wade McCluskey is humanized, and the sacrifice of Commander Gene Lindsey (VT-6) also gets front and center treatment.  Finally, you will leave this movie wondering when they’re going to film Doolittle, and not in a bad way.  (Seriously.  The Raiders need their own movie after this.)

Overall, very entertaining and mostly accurate, I’d give Midway 4/5 stars.  Yes, things could have been done better in a lot of ways, but the way they chose was very, very good.

***History discussion incoming***

For those of you who have been following some of the recent scholarship on Midway, the movie folks straddled between what I call the Miracle at Midway and Shattered Sword schools.  (For a brief rundown of the debate, see Parshall, Dickson, and Tully’s article here.  Parshall and Tully wrote the book Shattered Sword, which is a full length treatment of this article.)  I think the producers did it well, as they showed the problems constant attacks had on the Kido Butai.  However, they did have Nagumo well on the way to getting his second strike prepared and ready to spot when the SBDs show up.  This is mostly opposed to Parshall and Tully’s belief that the Kido Butai was probably at least another half hour out from being able to swing at Fletcher/Spruance when the weather forecast became, “Clear, with a 100% chance of Helldivers and 1,000-lb. bombs…”.  Personally, I’m with the movie producers, i.e., no the Japanese decks weren’t full of aircraft but another 20 minutes would have likely been bad news for the USN.  Hmm, maybe someday a person should do an alternate history of Midway…

Speaking of alternate history, Against the Tide Imperial is coming along well.  I’ve greatly benefited from reading the book How Carriers Fought as a refresher course in RN carrier tactics.  Let’s just say it’s a good thing Somerville stayed away from Nagumo in 1942.  Spoiler alert:  Vice Admiral Cunningham does not stay away from Vice Admiral Yamaguchi in Against the Tide Imperial.  So if you’re a fan of carrier battles, keep an eye out for the pre-order link next month.

 

Some people need no introduction…

Those in Peril presents some intriguing concepts by reshuffling naval history’s deck of cards.  The US and Royal navies on opposite sides in World War I, and contending along our east coast 10 years later.  Then the U.S. allied with Japan in “The Oahu Pact” during the next world war.  Along the way we see pirates, the Spanish-American War refought, another look at the Falklands-Malvinas battle, and perhaps most interesting of all: a Japanese submarine freelancing against the French during the 1950s Indochina campaign.  Full credit to all the authors for originality!”
Barrett Tillman
On Wave and Wing: The 100-Year Quest to Perfect the Aircraft Carrier
Yep, Barrett Tillman, THE Barrett Tillman, likes the anthology. *giddy nooses*

Aries’ Red Sky Dramatis Personae

So I got the first review in my audiobook blog tour yesterday.  It was very positive–and brought up something I didn’t think about, which is that listeners of the audiobook have no way of getting a character list.  So, without further ado, here one is:

 

Dramatis Personae for Aries’ Red Sky

C.S.S. Marxville

Captain Tyr Sigurd, Marxville Actual

Commander Rebecca Taylor, XO

Captain Moffitt, Marine detachment commander

Lieutenant (j.g.) Isabelle Hutch, Comms

Rear Admiral Holcomb, Task group commander (Hastings Flag)

Lieutenant Commander Adam Ramos, Gunnery Officer

Lieutenant (j.g.) Erica Beerz, Navigation

Commander Jadran Karlsen, Hamilton Actual

C.S.S. Armstrong

Captain Marcy Cochran, Armstrong Actual Actual

Amaranta Azazel, Helm

Fourth Mate Kelly Yanick, Sensors

Vidar Amir, Comms

Chief Engineer Anton Lobus, Chief Engineer

Captain Shahjahan, Balandin Actual

Victoria Romanoff, Engineering Rating

C.S.S San Jacinto

Lieutenant Mackenzie Bolan, Assistant Plans Officer, Task Force 36, Fourth Fleet

Captain Charles Barrow, Flag Captain, Task Force 36, Fourth Fleet

Commander Holly Hansen, Plans Officer, Task Force 36, Fourth Fleet

Lieutenant Donald Tess, Plans Officer, Task Force 36, Fourth Fleet

Lieutenant (j.g.) Sharon Applewhite, Junior Plans officer, Task Force 36, Fourth Fleet

C.S.S. Eagle

Vice Admiral Lothar Ivayo—“Chain Devil Actual”

CAG, Carrier Air Group 7 “Shoguns”—Slogan “Quake From Our Gaze”

Commander Freda “Daimyo” Wiszkon, CAG, “Shogun One”

Commander Olavi “Werebear” Godehard, Commander, No. 705 Squadron (Nightjaeger) (male), “Hippogriff One”

Commander Michelle “Daffy” Omobolanle, Commander, No. 607 Squadron (Nightjaeger) “Nixie One”

Commander Erin “Oread” Altair, Commander, 606 Squadron (Nightjaeger), “Oread One”

Commander Luther “Ironfist” Morgan, Commander, VF(S)-1—Red Leader

Ensign Harrison “Cheetah” Hielscher, Red Two

Lieutenant Olga “Ostrich” Santoro, Red Three

Lieutenant (j.g.) Paige “Harley” Keighley, Red Four

Lieutenant Commander Artemis “Sunburn” Conroy, Deputy Commander, VF(S)-1—Blue Leader

Lieutenant (j.g.) Jacquelyn “Catnip” Tice, wingman to Lt. Cdr. Conroy in Blue Flight, VF(S)-1 “Godkillers”—Blue Two

Lieutenant Mitch “Crisco” Groton, Blue Three

Ensign Alexus “Buttercup” Baker, Groton’s wingman Blue Four

Lieutenant Augustus “Lovetrain” Pitt, Green Flight Leader, VF(S)-1

Ensign Majorica “Venus” Williams, Pitt’s wingman Green Two

Kursk, Spartan Republic

President Nathan Waldron, President of the Republic

Sadie Waldron, Lieutenant, Spartan Marines and niece of the President

Mathilda O’Rourke, Lawyer, Sadie’s older twin, and First Lady of Sparta

Geirmund Du, Vice President of the Republic, Future Senator, Eldest Du

Arnaud Du, War Minister of the Spartan Republic, Middle Du

Mago Du, Chief Executive of the Du Mercantile, Reserve Captain, Spartan Navy

Mr. Thaddeus Andrews , Chief of Security and Truthbringer

Colonel Orpheus Campos, Aide to War Minister Du

Commander Rachel Campos, A Weeping Foe Actual

Vice Admiral Victor Logan, Commander, Rowan System.  Call sign Skoll 6.

Chief Parliamentarian Nikephoros, Chief Parliamentarian of the Spartan Parliament

Senator Porter, President Pro Tem of the Spartan Senate

Fleet Admiral Ashley Brown, Commander of the Spartan Navy

Alastair Bernard, Minister of Intergalactic Relations

Helen Keove, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

SMoW The Taken Umbrage

Leftenant Ian Campbell, Weapons and Sensors

Midshipman Yubani Mendoza, Comms and Helm 

Korvetten Song, Master and Commander

2nd Lieutenant Donovan, Marine Platoon Leader

SFC Reese, Marine Platoon Sergeant

Lieutenant Commander Gorman, XO

SMoW Peter Basile

Rear Admiral Yavin, Spartan task force commander

1st Lieutenant Agenor Acheros, Deputy Commander, Alpha Company

Captain Mordechai Butler, Apache Company Commander

Leftenant Victor Hayden, Assistant Sensor Officer

Lieutenant Travis Steiner, 1st Platoon Blackfoot Commander

Lieutenant Abigail Schweizer, 2nd Platoon Apache Commander

Lieutenant Micah Pendragon, 1st Platoon Apache Commander

Captain Simmons, Basile’s commander

SMoW Albert Dahlman

Captain Titus Winn, Dahlman Six

Lieutenant Abigail Schweizer, Infidel Five  (I / 3rd Battalion / 35th Regiment)

Lieutenant Kasey Stephens, 1st Platoon, Infidels

Lieutenant Deborah Dickey, 2nd Platoon, Infidels

Lieutenant Martha Allen, 3rd Platoon, Infidels

1SG David Lundin, 1st Sergeant, Infidels

News on Reviews

Recent news about Amazon reviews here.

My quick thoughts:

Jeff Bezos and the gang are not playing around.  This is a strong action taken against click farms and other gimmicks that have had Amazon’s review / marketing features in the news for all the wrong reasons.  It was starting to appear to some indie authors as if Amazon did not care so much about review veracity as long as the money was flowing in for sales.  This would seem to indicate Amazon cares a great deal about protecting the integrity of its brand.

Getting reviews just got harder.  If you have books in Kindle Unlimited, this probably means that getting borrower reviews may be more difficult.  I know of at least one regular indie reviewer who is on a fixed income (hence why he does KU).  It sounds like this is $50 total lifetime, but still–it’s just another barrier to having, say, people who borrow a book from the library give an author good buzz.

Grudge Killers.  While I’ve yet to annoy someone enough that they thought it was worthwhile to create 20 different accounts to one star me, I know of several authors who have.  Amazon had previously had a “We have neither the time nor the energy to get involved…”-view of this.  However, I think in part this is due to several prominent figures getting just avalanched by fake accounts when they publish a memoir.  Regardless of the reasons for the beef, this should make it harder for crap like this to happen.

Overall I think it is a plus.  We’ll see how it turns out.

 

 

On Dunkirk

Go see Dunkirk.  Seriously.  I can’t say much more as I don’t want to spoil it, but go see the movie.  Good cinematography, acting, scoring, and pacing.  Yes, some rivet counters have complained about nitpicking things like the destroyers, Ju-87s’ sirens, and the actual Bf-109s used.   (No, I’m not joking.)  Ignore them and go see the movie posthaste.

Planet Comic Con

Just got through with Planet Comic Con.  Good show, lots of new and old fans.  If you’re just checking in from a panel or having grabbed my business card, feel free to poke around.  The tags below should let you find things fairly easily with regards to writing, promoting, and other thing of interest to independent authors.  Happy reading!

Guest Blogging, Some News, and a Little Q&A

Sorry for some of the intermittent posting.  I have spent most of the last few days filling out interview questions for my blog tour through Goddess Fish Promotions.  For those of you who do not know what a blog tour is, basically a promotion site sets you up with guest blogs / reviews of your book on several different websites.  This is my first time trying it, so we’ll see it goes.  Even if it doesn’t work for me, successful paranormal / urban fantasy author R.L. Naquin swears by them–so it may be a genre thing.

In other news–I have recently been published in Armor magazine, the U.S. Army’s professional journal for mounted warfare.  You can find the article here:  http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/content/issues/2017/Winter/  .  It’s regarding doctrine, so odds are it may be a little dry without context.

Out of all the questions I got asked (and there were a lot), I had the most fun with the “What is your musical playlist?”  one.  I kept it limited to 15 songs, but here was my answer (with some Metal Monday Alumni):

1.) Dawson’s Christian – Vixy and Tony (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjxMieuRPe4)

2.) Husker – Bear McCreary, from BSG: Blood and Chrome (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeCFZ04ggQ0)

3.) Gettysburg Trilogy – Iced Earth (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxkVNYPSups)

4.) The Stars Will Fall – Crom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky1nY3jlq1M)

5.) One Last Battle – Vic Tyler (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFzpZeSVPRA)

6.) Attack – Hans Zimmer, Pearl Harbor OST (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p0rVpyxnwI)

7.) Requiem For A Tower – London Music Works (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaioIutcHKI)

8.) Theme from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla—Akira Ifukube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfwLQIE3l4s)

9.) Bottle of Pain—Combichrist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyFyTHQqIFc)

10.) Freedom Fighters—Two Steps From Hell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP1QHVNHMAE)

11.) The Bleeding—Five Finger Death Punch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeeWq3hDMCU)

12.) I Love You—Woodkid (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afqeBydhpQU)

13.) Long Live the King—Sabaton (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rIYMEl_4xc)

14.) When Winter Comes—Miracle of Sound (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDt3jeXGfDU)

15.) Even in Death—Evanescence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9btPqVRZIlY)

I also learned that a lot of interviewers unwittingly ask the same questions.  I don’t want to steal any of the gracious hosts’ thunder, so I’ll start regularly answering a set of these questions  here on the blog / in my newsletter.  (“Newsletter?  How do we sign up for the newsletter?”  “Click here, my curious friend!”)

“A Midwinter’s Ski” was reviewed by Roses In Ink.  If you liked it as much as they did, pick it up for free on Amazon.

Last month I rode out to San Diego to attend the WEST 2017 Naval Conference hosted by the USNI (United States Naval Institute) and AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association).  The primary purpose was to receive my physical award for winning the USNI’s 2016 Cyberwarfare Essay Contest.  As a bonus, I also got to see a lot of awesome exhibits, visit the U.S.S. Midway, and talk some slight smack to a Class of ’64 USNA grad.  (“I guess we decided after 14 years to finally let your guys experience a victory.”  “_My_ class never lost to Navy, Sir.”).  This is me with the other award winners:

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Here’s what the plaque looks like:

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I’m pretty sure that The Prolific Trek is still muttering about driving halfway across the US to pick up something that would have easily fit in a mailing package.  But, had I done that, I would not have gotten to see the Grand Canyon:

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Or totally fan boy over meeting the amazing Vincent P. O’Hara, author of several naval history books.  The one I’m holding, The U.S. Navy Against the Axis, is probably the best single-volume coverage of the USN’s surface fleet during the Second World War.  While James Hornfischer’s Neptune’s Inferno is my go to recommendation for the Guadalcanal Campaign, O’Hara’s is my choice for a complete series.

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Finally, my next upcoming event is Little Apple Comic Expo (LACE).  It will be hosted at the Kansas State Student Union on 18 March from 10 AM to 6 PM.  Feel free to swing on by to see Anita C. Young and I hawking our wares.

Anyway, that’s it from the Midwest.