Sunday June 16, 2019
Book 20: Sergeant In Motion — Prologue: Time For A Brief History
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Yes, You Read That Correctly…

Sergeant In Motion: Schlock Mercenary Book 20, will be the last book in the Schlock Mercenary “mega-arc,” the unbroken¹ string of 7,300-ish² days of daily comics airing here at schlockmercenary.com. At that point the continuity of the Schlock Mercenary universe will include those twenty books, assorted bonus stories (which appear in the volumes in print), the Seventy Maxims book, and the Planet Mercenary RPG materials.

Many of you may be asking (and indeed, many of you have already asked) “what comes next?”

Good question.

The answer requires a bit of cold, calculated business stuff. See, it’s much easier to sell a collection of stories in print when you can tell a potential buyer that the collection is complete. So no matter what comes next, it won’t make the twenty-book story feel incomplete. I’ll be leaving lots of room for readers (and RPG players) to tell their own stories about what comes next for such characters as survive the events of this final book.

That sounded a bit more ominous than I meant it to. But only a bit.

Also, all I’ve done is answer the question “what DOESN’T come next?” and that’s not what anybody is asking.

In the face of a crassly commercial decision about what NOT to make (and let’s be blunt here—between the words “schlock” and “mercenary” there is a broadly telegraphed justification for me to be crassly commercial) I need to give people a reason to keep showing up. So here is a bulleted list of things that will definitely be here after Book 20 wraps.

  • Sense of wonder
  • Witty dialog
  • Punchlines
  • High stakes adventures
  • Interesting characters
  • Schlock
    • and Schlock will still be a mercenary

It’s far too soon to go into much detail about any of this. I have a book to finish, and it would not be overstating things to say that I’m feeling a bit of pressure to brilliantly stick the landing after spending twenty years tumbling through the air pretending I know what I’m doing.


 ¹ Past results are no indication of future performance. I plan to not miss any daily updates during book 20, but blah blah mice men etc. 
² June 12th of 2020 would be day 7,306 of Schlock Mercenary, and that date falls in about the right place for me to be ending a book. Dates aren’t important though. The story says when it’s over, not the calendar.

 

Good Omens

Amazon’s Good Omens miniseries is a rare thing. Exceedingly rare. So rare, in fact, that I can’t off the top of my head name another thing like it, though I’m certain others must exist. It is a TV show which is as good as the great book from which it was adapted.

There have been plenty of TV shows which failed to live up to the brilliance of their namesake novels, and more than a few which have outshone the prose from which they stemmed. And of course there are countless programs which reached equilibrious mediocrity with their so-so source material.

Good Omens, however, is brilliant in both mediums. The book, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, is a classic of modern literature. The new miniseries from Amazon is every bit as artful. It plays with the form enough to surprise us, but not so much as to alienate the audience. It subverts some expectations, exceeds others, and will someday serve well as a master class in “how to turn a book into a TV show.”

It’s a far better piece of work than the fan art it inspired from me, but that didn’t even slow me down.

 

Nineteen Years

Today, June 12th, 2019, marks the 19th anniversary of Schlock Mercenary on the web. The comic has updated daily, every day, without fail, for nineteen years now. Not because I’m a machine, but because I plan ahead, and have always had smarter people than myself handling the automation.

Still, nineteen years. That window is large enough for there to be people who began reading the comic when they had no children, and who are now grandparents.

I don’t think that’s likely, because the starting audience was not large, but that’s what nineteen years looks like.