The Science of Defying Odds: Cliffhanger’s return to extrodinary endeavors

There is a science to defying the odds. I’ve spent a good part of my life unraveling it. I first came to know a bit about that science when I was six years old and stabbed the class bully in the eye at school with a pair of scissors because he kept threatening to beat up everyone. It was considered impossible to stand up to such a large, mean kid, yet I did. Then after many thousands of culminating instances 40 years later just a few days ago, when I was caught in an ice storm with my motorcycle going down a hill so steep I couldn’t stop, steer, or even stick my foot upon the pavement to hold it up because of all the black ice. I made it to where I was going in spite of those oppositions, as I always do. There is a secret to surviving and advancing in spite of the odds and I have unlocked it after much study.   It could be said that I have done all this for a literary character I have thought about since imagination first took root, who is the hero of my newly released book, The Curse of Fort Seven Mile. The description of that long contemplated work goes as follows:image

Evil is amok through the police departments, school houses, and every political crevice of Fort Seven Mile. Labor unions, secret societies, and drug cartels are revealing their deep plans constructed by a global menace, “The System” to unleash complete control over the human race. An era of chaos seems poised to unleash hopelessness into every home throughout the world, except for the emergence of a curse that refuses to submit.

From the shadows comes a solitary savior who seems unstoppable and is threatening to shine light everywhere that darkness rules. In the wake of the masked avenger known as Cliffhanger the town of Fort Seven Mile is uniting around the heroic obscurity. However the greatest mystery of all is the origin of this gallant madman who defies all odds at every turn and a race is on by the forces who wish to maintain control of mankind’s minds. A lone reporter is uncovering a carefully concealed secret which has been suppressed since the emergence of ancient civilization. The Curse of Fort Seven Mile is loose and the world will never be the same again.


To me, evil is a very real thing and all the nightmares of humanity that manifest it. Personally it is the greatest odds to defy and has been a constant obsession for me for as long as I can remember breathing, which has led to living the kind of life I have. So obviously Cliffhanger is the result of my conscious mind. I won’t even attempt to say otherwise because it would be less than genuine to declare.

I started constructing the character of Cliffhanger as a kind of modern Zorro, or a Jedi Knight set in the modern here-and-now world. But for my interests Cliffhanger needed to be so much more—he needed to be the beginning of everything that it means to be human and to do that he needed to defy every kind of evil known to mankind so that a mirror could be held up to flash the image back to society in a way that few have ever attempted.

My literary motivations have largely been shaped by writers like Johnston McCulley, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemmingway, only my frustrations with their characters were that they were entirely too weak—and human. Human in that those characters were still vulnerable to the odds that evil dishes out to the struggling protagonist. In Joyce’s case, his characters were always deeply flawed and part of the resurrection process indicative of Vito’s cycle of birth, death, and resurrection. Cliffhanger is poised in this Curse of Fort Seven Mile to question that entire process with a new way of thinking. Even though it is a worked categorized as an action adventure story, to me it is a work of philosophy constructed through art.

In essence The Curse of Fort Seven Mile is about what occurs when various collective associations strategically seek to stack political favor through cronyism at the expense of other groups. What they all miss, and why they tend to be associated with evil is that their sole purpose in associating with one another is in taking what someone else made for their personal gain. In this first chapter it is evident that the takers are the local police department in Fort Seven Mile as they are looking for an increase in their budget so that raises can be allocated on schedule. That is the source of a remote and little talked about evil which of course carries over into other aspects of life. Even though the police sell themselves to the public as a force for good, their relationship to collectivism through collective bargaining is fundamentally evil. When they are challenged they have no choice but to attack the sanctity of the individual—who in this case happens to be the mayor of Fort Seven Mile. Because the mayor is popular she is earning respect from sectors of society in and around Fort Seven Mile which threaten the political grip the police have through their F.O.P. union. So the leader of this particular union has no other recourse but force to make the mayor comply with his needs. The result of this confrontation is a job for Cliffhanger.

Future chapters will be released each month throughout the year and will drive the story to a very dramatic conclusion that is very satisfying, and unique. For instance the next chapter deals with the influence of teacher unions. The one after that the role drug cartels play on local politics and so on–so that by the end of this particular book many different ways of analyzing collectivism in all its evil forms has been examined through the prism of an action adventure story. It has to be entertaining, and it is—but to satisfy me, it has to examine some aspect of society that is not being dealt with, the origin of evil and why it spreads so easily from person to person.

The pleasure in writing this Curse of Fort Seven Mile novel published as a traditional serial much the way H.P. Lovecraft and Charles Dickens did a century ago is that the gatekeepers have been eliminated completely. When I pitched the first Cliffhanger book The Symposium of Justice I even received grief for the content by self-publishers. The uphill battle just to put it in print was enormous and I have always felt that it affected the quality of the end product. But what did get accomplished from that first work was the structure which would lead to this new story—which will evolve into a very detailed and expansive work before all is said and done. It is no longer necessary to plead to a publisher and bend a work to their whim. Now it is possible to publish without any corrosive elements but the original vision of the author. This can of course cause quality problems for any work, but it also creates a freedom that has never before existed for an author with something important to say. For me, The Curse of Fort Seven Mile has a lot to say, important, entertaining, and just whimsical—but it is certain that only a few years ago—when I in fact started the blog, Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom, it would not have been possible to publish such a story as this new novel. This first chapter would have been drastically cut by any publisher—I know first hand. My second novel Tail of the Dragon—a separate story aside from the Cliffhanger tales and also coming soon as a re-launch—was heavily scrutinized particularly the scenes involving police violence. The prison scene itself was heavily edited to fit a more PG-13 market instead of the R rating that is sometimes needed. Yet, even though sometimes very violent and expressing sometimes suggestive sexual images, The Curse of Fort Seven Mile will contain not a single curse word—and is in essence a morality tale for good. The evil that often oppresses the good is vile, and to properly convey it, language is needed to paint the picture correctly and there is a lot of colorful language in this new Cliffhanger story. For those who know my free work on blog sites like this one, you should assume that if I am selling something—that there is value behind it worth the cost.

So it’s an exciting time to release a new Cliffhanger story. The gatekeepers are bypassed and the likes of this type of modern mythology can actually be told and delivered as a direct download to the world’s digital devices. There is no purer publishing method anywhere or at anytime than from my mind to your iPad, iPhone, NOOK, Kindle, or other device. By releasing each chapter at a time, it will give readers something new to look forward to each month specific to their outlets. The work isn’t so long that it makes reading tiresome, but just long enough to carry the reader deeper down into the mysterious well of mankind’s secrets—the intention behind all chance. The ultimate questions–does a human being hold free will over themselves, or are our stories written for us by beings we’ve never met directly but only provide a voice to our ear. And is the source of that voice a benefit of wonder and divine intervention or the origin of a nightmare?   When a bullet passes by our ear in a shoot-out is it luck that saves us—or is it our own free will to write our own destinies and to that end what role does it place in religion, law, and daily living where evil attempts to erode every sharp opinion into a decayed mess.

As I’ve said, I have spent over forty years working out the mystery of defying the odds. I have a lot of experience in doing so and I practice at it every chance I get. By defying the odds we’re not talking about scientifically implausible things like jumping from one mountain to another—but in things that are physically possible, like navigating a motorcycle down a wintery road covered with black ice when logic says that you should crash. It is in The Curse of Fort Seven Mile that we begin to unravel that ambiguity of chance to reveal a deeply guarded secret that it takes a lot of pain, and terror to discover. But for the reader curled up in their favorite seat with their electronic device bringing them the world with the touch of a button—that secret is available through the heroics of Cliffhanger. That journey begins at this link:


Rich Hoffman

Visit Cliffhanger Research and Development