SUNSPRING is a short science fiction film about three people in what appears to be a love triangle while living in what appears to be a space station. The strange plot and almost incoherent dialogue was written by an AI program (that named itself Benjamin). The actors did a great job bringing the resulting weirdness to life.
“Warriorrrrrs, come out and play-ee-ay.” –Luther, leader of the Rogues
Thirty-six years after THE WARRIORS stunned audiences with its brutal story of gangs in New York City, ROLLING STONE reassembled key members of the cast for a reunion and a final subway ride to Coney Island, their turf. Get the story here.
THE RETREAT, the military apocalyptic thriller series I’m writing with Stephen Knight and Joe McKinney, tells the story of a lost battalion of light infantry that must journey through a dying America to find the last bastion of the federal government. It was inspired in part by a remarkable tale called THE ANABASIS, which also inspired other works such as the book and film THE WARRIORS.
Written by Xenophon, a Greek mercenary, THE ANABASIS tells the story of a 10,000-strong professional army of Greeks who must fight their way out of the Persian Empire. The term “anabasis” means an expedition from the coast into a country’s interior.
The army, called the Ten Thousand, are hired by Cyrus, who rebels against his brother Artaxerxes II. At Cunaxa, battle is joined. Though Cyrus wins a tactical victory, he’s killed during the fighting. The Ten Thousand are now stranded deep in the Persian Empire surrounded by enemies. Through treachery, the Spartan general Clearchus and other leaders are killed or captured. Xenophon and two other officers elected by the army lead the Ten Thousand north and then west back toward Greece. Internal politics, local diplomacy and constant fighting marked their long march.
Xenophon’s account proved a sensation in Greece. Some historians theorize it later inspired Philip of Macedon to believe that a small but superior army could defeat the Persian army and conquer the empire. The story is uncorroborated but is considered an account of true events.
Click here to read it online.
“First comes the trader, then the missionary, then the red soldier,” the Zulu King Cetshwayo said in 1879 during the Anglo-Zulu War.
The red soldiers indeed came, led by men who envisioned a confederation of South Africa along Canadian lines. Without the sanction of the British government, Lord Chelmsford led 15,000 British troops into Zululand. At the Battle of Isandhlwana, the British camp was overrun by the main Zulu army. Only 400 men out of 1,700 survived.
While this was happening, a force of 4,500 Zulus under Prince Dabulamanzi disobeyed the king by crossing the Buffalo River into Natal, where he attacked a British supply base at Rorke’s Drift, a crossing over the river.
The base consisted of a stone house, converted into a field hospital, and chapel, used for storage. Lieutenant Chard of the Royal Engineers commanded along with Lieutenant Bromhead, whose Company B of 24th Regiment of Foot provided security. In all, 104 men were fit to fight. Acting Assistant Commissary James Langley Dalton ordered barricades of mealy bags constructed for defense.
The Zulus came in strength, outnumbering the defenders 45 to one, and attacked. The Zulus were unable to reach high enough to get at the men manning the barricades, who cut them down with point-blank aimed rifle fire. After several attacks, the Zulus set the hospital aflame, broke inside, and began spearing patients. Private Alfred Henry Hook held them off with his bayonet while another soldier hacked a hole in the wall allowing the other patients to pass through.
The Zulus came again and again while the British fought madly for survival. The wounded sat at their feet and reloaded their guns.
At dawn, the Zulus left after losing 350 men. Lord Chelmsford arrived shortly afterwards at the head of a relief column.
Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead both received the Victoria Cross along with seven soldiers, the base surgeon and a Swiss volunteer. Bromhead and Chard were both promoted to brevet major, and the base became known as Fort Bromhead. After the battle, they found a bottle of beer in a supply wagon wrecked by the Zulus and celebrated their survival.
Click here to read more about the battle.
Below is a review of the classic film ZULU (starring Michael Caine) by a historian:
This is great. Love the part where the cat takes the last bottle of Black Cat over another shopper’s protests.
For your listening enjoyment.