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Sadler, Barry

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1940-1989) US soldier, songwriter and author; his most famous song, "Ballad of the Green Berets" (1966), commemorated the Special Forces in Vietnam; he was imprisoned for 30 days in 1980 for voluntary manslaughter, after shooting a fellow songwriter who had been molesting a female neighbour. As an sf writer he was known exclusively for his series of Military SF adventures starring a mercenary named Casca – cursed with Immortality by Jesus Christ (see Wandering Jew) – who serves in wars throughout history. The series begins with Casca: The Eternal Mercenary (1979) and moves, more or less in chronological order – though Casca #21: The Trench Soldier jumps ahead to World War One – to the final Casca #22: The Mongol (1990). The sequence is incomplete. Sadler moved to Guatemala City, Guatemala, in the mid-1980s and was shot in the head there in 1988; newspaper reports suggested various motivations, from robbery to political murder. He died in a US hospital after months in coma.

Sadler appears in Mitchell J Freedman's Alternate History tale, A Disturbance of Fate (2003), in which Robert F Kennedy survives an assassination attempt in 1968 and becomes president; Sadler himself becomes president in 1984, and – far more confrontational than Ronald Reagan might have been – instigates a new Civil War; he dies in prison in 1991. [JC]

Barry Sadler

born Carsbad, New Mexico: 1 November 1940

died Murfreesboro, Tennessee: 8 September 1989




The numbering is accurate but imposed here: some titles were initially unnumbered, while the numbering of some others ignored some earlier titles.


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