Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Declan Finn's Hell Spawn: Saint Tommy NYPD - Book One

Did you ever stop to look around you and wonder what the Hell just happened? Yeah, so has Detective Thomas Nolan. In his case though, he meant it literally. I have to hand it to Declan Finn. I really didn't think you could do much to make a homicide detective's day worse. In Hell Spawn Finn decided to throw a demon at one. He owns it and when a demon comes out to play, it gets ugly. Like, double plus ungood ugly. Like, this thing is eviller than evil ugly. Like, I'm cackling evilly remembering how evil this thing was ugly. It's a good time.

I'd be careful with Hell Spawn though. It almost caused me to stay home from work because I couldn't put it down. Oh, and I was reading it while eating solo at a local diner and the waitress was looking at me funny because I wouldn't leave after eating my meal and paying my bill. She was a bit confused. I just wanted to know what happened next. Chick obviously doesn't have a reading problem. Her bad.

Seriously though, don't start this one twenty minutes before you need to be somewhere. Hell Spawn starts off fast and accelerates continuously. Finn has redefined the term "page turner" here. It almost felt like the pages were turning themselves and I was just watching. Sometimes as a reviewer I find myself reading something because it's my job to. This is a book that made me want to read it.

Now, Declan Finn has always considered himself to be a fantasy author. He has stated this on his blog, but I'm too lazy to go find a link. Hell Spawn is a damn good book, but this isn't fantasy. Finn has a much better sense of how to write a plot than most Eighties slasher movie writers, but he's got them beat for gore as well. A lot of what happens in the tome is sick, twisted, disturbing and awesome.

Myself and Mr. Finn don't necessarily agree on the all of the finer points of theology (the whole Catholic vs. Protestant thing) but something we do agree on is the power of prayer. There is a lot of it in Hell Spawn. As a matter of fact, there are an awful lot of times when Christian attitudes are shown. I approve. Actually, I'd like to see more of this kind of stuff. Hell Spawn is a Catholic writer telling a story about a saint in the making. It fits. The fact remains that Finn/Tommy's takes on a number of controversial topics, including abortion, are on display for all to see. They're pretty stinkin' close to what I heard from my pastor a few weeks ago. If you're the special snowflake uber liberal type and just can't stand the thought that someone might disagree with you, this might be a good time to go buy a biography of Che Guevara that conveniently omits his stances towards homsexuals and black people. I hate to say it, but Hell Spawn may not be for you. Finn pulls no punches. I love it.

Finn's view of the police is somewhat nuanced as is  - surprisingly- his view of saints, but make no mistake about it: Hell Spawn  is about a battle between good and evil. Saint Tommy versus the demon (and no, I'm not telling you which demon. That would be spoiling.) is an epic throwdown between the darkness and the light. That much is made clear.

Somewhat missing though, and this may be intentionally, is a clear view of where Tommy v. Demon fits in the framework of the grand battle of God and Satan. It's treated as a personal battle, albeit one fought with allies. We're not really given much of a sense of the more colossal grand battle. That's the view I became accustomed to a long time ago as a fan of fantasy fiction. Then again, this is horror.  It works differently. And  Hell Spawn is book one in a series, so maybe I'll get to see where this fits in later. Maybe not too. The book was freaking awesome without it and it's Earthbound, so personal appearances by God and Satan might not work.

Finn lives in New York. The book takes place in New York. I've never been to New York (I know, I'm working on it) but having read Hell Spawn I almost feel like I have been. Finn's relationship with New York is in some ways analogous to Anne Rice's relationship with New Orleans. Both have stories that take place outside of their respective hometowns but both continuously return to the city they love in their fiction. It shows in the work. Both authors lay things out in their work that make you love their cities too. I'm really impressed by this. It's almost like you could make the car trips that take place in the story using the directions in the book. Oh, and do you know how I could tell the book was written by a native New Yorker? There were no references to  the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street or Broadway. There is not a single scene in Times Square. It's almost like Tommy had lived all his life in the city and had no desire to comment on things that he took for granted. It made him feel more real and human.

I can't say much more about the plot without giving the whole book away, but it moves. It's logical. The entire thing works within the rules of the work itself. There is no massive, gaping plot hole that you could float an aircraft carrier through sideways. That's always a fear when reading a work like this. It's pretty epic and it's easy for an author to get excited and forget about something. That doesn't seem to have happened here and that's good.

That's not to say that Finn tied up all the loose strings. Hell Spawn is the first in a series, not the last. There are some very obvious plot threads still dangling but there need to be. I am, after all, looking forward to the next book. How could there be one if Tommy solved everything the first time?

Oh, and if you're wondering: Hell Spawn is the current front runner for my Dragon Award nomination for Best Horror Novel next year. That is, unless Finn beats himself with the sequel to this master piece which is due out in Mid-December, just in time for my birthday.

Bottom Line: 5.0 out of 5 Praying Chaplains

Hell Spawn: Saint Tommy NYPD - Book One
Declan Finn
Silver Empire, 2018

Hell Spawn: Saint Tommy NYPD - Book One is available for purchase at the following link:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Steve Rasnic Tem's The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack

(My apologies to Steve Rasnic Tem. I had originally planned to have this out much earlier in the Halloween season but life got away from me. Oh, and that's not a typo. It really is Dr. Blaack with two "a"s.)

Everyone loves a good Halloween tale and that includes your loving blogger, slaving away over a hot keyboard to bring you his latest review. This is a time of year that I look forward too starting on November first, and I was really looking forward to reading Steve Resnic Tem's The Mask Shop of Dr. Blaack. And I'm happy, because I was really impressed. Tem did a good job with this one.

I haven't read much YA Horror. I'm aware of the whole Goosebumps thing and I read the first three books from the Series of Unfortunate Events series, but it's not something I'm well versed in. That might have to change though, because I really got a hoot out of this one. It was creepy enough that it made me feel a little apprehensive, but not bad enough that I would hesitate to let my twelve-year-old daughter read it.

I'm going to mention something here that's kind of a spoiler. I don't generally do spoilers and, generally speaking, anything that I absolutely HAVE TO include to make a review usually show up in the first few pages and don't ruin anything, but this time it's a bit different. The fact is that The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack is a good to great story. The caveat is that this thing takes a long time to get started. I was just having a conversation with a friend. I mentioned to him that it took me longer to get through the first fifty pages than it did for me to get through the remaining two-hundred fortyish pages after that. Once it gets moving though, it rocks.

Our heroine is a girl named Lauren. She's twelve years old and too mature for trick or treating. She could give some of the kids in my neighborhood a lecture here. Maybe she should. Err... well if she existed anyway. At any rate, she's got a problem. Her parents want her to take her little brother Trevor out trick or treating and she's kind of stuck. The first part of the story deals with mainly this issue. It's not until after she accepts it and heads off to the Mask Shop to get costumes for both herself and her brother that things really get started, but once they do...

The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack really gets going when Trevor's mask gets stuck to his face. And I don't mean stuck as in "pour some hot water in to dissolve the glue." I mean stuck as in "this thing is magical and isn't coming off until Halloween and then only if you're lucky." The even bigger problem is that Halloween isn't for a couple of days and she has to keep the world from discovering the problem. It's a lot of fun.

I won't go too far into Lauren's character arc except to say that it's pretty amazeballs. She does a lot of maturing over the course of a single novel and it makes sense in the context of the story. It builds slowly but it's nice to see. I grew up in an era where a lot of children's books (there was no such thing as a YA genre in the long ago era of the Eighties) dealt with minor problems and the protagonists didn't change much. Tem puts his heroine through a situation that not every adult would be equipped to deal with and she takes it head on. If things don't always go as planned, well, that's life. She finds a way through and that's what's impressive. There is one specific issue that I don't seem to agree with her on, but she makes her own decision and at twelve, that's pretty impressive.

Lauren shows more leadership than a lot of the adults I've known too. There are times when she has to take the blame for things she didn't do.  There are times when she has to deal with problems she has no way to anticipate. There are times when she has to keep Trevor encouraged. She can't take credit for any of it or the secret of the stuck mask will be out. None of it would be easy, but she does what needs to be done and doesn't complain about it. This is a young lady with chutzpah.

Trevor, for his part, is a little trooper too. There are times when I'd expect a child that age (like my daughter) to break down and cry. The fact of the matter is that he does whine a bit but in his case, so would I and I'm a grown man. He gets through things though, even when they're not easy. I like this kid.

The thing that makes The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack work so well is that everyone else acts the way you would expect them to if everything was normal. Tem has built his world so well that it's almost seamless with our own. There's just that one tiny little exception about weird masks that stick on faces and do crazy stuff and nobody knows about that. It's close enough to be familiar and just far out enough to be weird. It works perfectly.

I know I got into this a bit already, but it really did take this book a long time to get started. I spent the first fifty pages or so wandering off to do laundry, or checking my Facebook or checking to see how many hits my last post had, etc. Once it took off, it really took off, but if you're going to read this one you need to be patient. The thing is, I do kind of wonder how much of the lead in to this book was really necessary. It really feels like the first fifty pages could have been condensed down to one or two. I think the book would honestly have worked a lot better that way. All in all though, it's still an enjoyable read and, if you're into the Bella character from Twilight, it does kind of work I guess.

Bottom Line: 4.25 out of 5 Dangling Straps

The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack
Steve Rasnic Tem
Hex Publishers, 2018

The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack is available for purchase at the following link:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

An Open Letter to Chuck Wendig

Hi Chuck,

Now, before I really get into this let me get two things straight here.

1.) I'm an asshole. It's true. I admit it.

2.) So are you. Seriously. I'm a reviewer/blogger. You're an author/comics writer. In a lot of ways you have more clout than I do and, I'll admit, that's because you've earned it. That much having been said, we are both equally assholes. You should probably just admit to it too.

Now, I didn't write this letter just to call you an asshole, Chuck. If that's all I wanted, I could very easily have Tweeted my opinion out to the universe and just had done with it. No, I'm writing this today to make you, and anyone else who sees this letter, aware that people like you are the reason I will never for as long as I live be civil to your side in a political debate.

Oh, and don't get me wrong Chuck. The fact that you've accomplished more than I have doesn't mean that I have a single shred of respect for you as an author, a political commentator or as a human being. There is no reason on I should. I mean, you said this:

This post was made in response to the fact that a man who stood accused of horrible things got confirmed to the Supreme Court. Here's the thing: There was no evidence that he did anything. The media may have said that the claims of Christine Blasey-Ford were credible, but that doesn't mean that they were. There was no corroborating physical evidence. There was not a single corroborating witness. The accusations were simply that, accusations with no proof.

And don't tell me that women don't make shit up Chuck. There is ample proof that is has happened in other cases. And, even a loud mouthed ignorant son-of-a-bitch like you has to admit that, although neither one of the links contained above any evidence that Blasey-Ford made anything up, they do both point to the possibility. And, quite honestly Chuck, do you remember all the #metoo hoopla surrounding the Kavanaugh confirmation? Yeah, if I were to present those stories above as conclusive proof that Blasey-Ford lied, I'd have just as much validity as any woman out there screaming about how Kavanaugh did it and she had been raped. Yup.

But honestly, I'm getting sidetracked here. This isn't a letter about Kavanaugh or any of the insanity surrounding him. This letter is about an even bigger issue.It's about civility between the parties in this country. It's about why we can't all just get along. It's about people like you and their hypocrisy. Check this out Chuck:

What you personally are saying here is that it's "chilling" if someone who supports your point of view is fired for their views, but it's okay if they disagree with you. She made a comment that was interpreted as racist, yes. You find that objectionable. I'm not sure it was even meant as a reference to race, but that's neither here nor there. What you're saying is that Roseann deserved to lose her job because you didn't agree with her statements. That's fine in and of itself. And it's not just about racism either Chuck. It's about "wackadoo conspiracies." I'll be honest here. I don't know what Roseann said outside of her racist comment because she's annoying as shit and I don't bother with many celebrities outside of the world of SF/F. That's just me. I thought they should have never brought the show back, not because of any statement but because it was annoying and boring.

My problem is that this statement proves that you think that comic book companies (and by extension others) should have the backs of their creators... but only if they believe as you do. What bothers me is that you think that you should have the right to spout your bullshit but that I don't have the right to spout mine. I know you think that there is a difference between what you said and what Roseann said, but there's really not. Free speech is free speech, even when you disagree with what's being said. So yes, Chuck, your losing your job is exactly the same as Roseann losing hers.

For the record, I can appreciate the fact that you at least admitted the fact that Marvel had the right to fire you. That applies even though you seem to think you didn't deserve it because you spouted the right ideas.

And that, Chuck, is the reason I refuse to be civil. As long as it's okay for you to call someone a "callous fuckneck," or a "grotesque monster," it's okay for me to call you an ignorant fuckstick or a troglodytic moron. It really is Chuck. And that's true even though I vote Republican. See, you are free to disagree with me.

Let's take this a step further though. I've already gone over your literary success versus the fact that I've never published anything. I don't have much of a writing resume outside of this blog. Do you know what I do have though? A history degree. One that I worked hard for. And do you know what I learned while studying history? I learned that any time a political party (in this case the Democrats) believes that only they should be able to speak their mind and that anyone who disagrees with them deserves to be punished, bad things happen. They try to make those they disagree with change their tune using physical force. I am aware of precisely zero times in history where this was not the case once they took power.

So yes, Chuck, people like you are why I'll be keeping my guns. People like you are the reason I believe that we have an honest-to-goodness shooting war, complete with bombs, guns, blood and fire, coming to the United States. People like you are the reason I hope that it gets here while I'm still young enough to fight in it and before my daughters are old enough to. Because Chuck, when it's not okay to disagree with the Democrats in this country and they try the Hitler/Stalin method (Hitler put his political prisoners in camps. That's how his concentration camps started. Stalin sent wrongthink speakers to Siberia.) there will be violence. And when you try to say that your point of view should be permitted but Roseann's shouldn't, or that Republicans shouldn't be able to ask why they should believe someone who can't provide a shred of evidence for her allegations, that's what you're leading people to, whether you intend to or not.

It's worth mentioning that in the not too distant past,  I would have been pissed that Marvel fired you. My reasons for no longer feeling that way are written here. Suffice it to say that if conservatives can lose their jobs for freedom of speech, then so can liberals. I know you acknowledged this yourself. Thank you.  I just hate the fact that I don't hate Marvel right now. Free speech should be for all, but if it's not for all then it's not for anybody. So, given the way conservatives have been treated, I'm glad that Marvel fired your and I hope your fiction publisher does as well.

At let's not forget this at the end of the day: I'm nobody's bitch. I'm not going to surrender and speak civilly to someone who won't act the same way. In the words of the rapper DMX, "If it's fuck me... then you know it's fuck you." (Yes, I left  a word that I found distasteful out. The point is still valid.)  I don't encourage anyone on my side to be a bitch either. You won't hear a call for civility from me.
You know why Chuck?

Because I won't surrender. Because being civil to a piece of shit like you gives you control of the battlespace. Because being nice means giving up. I won't be giving up.

So, yeah. Just a reminder: You're still an asshole.


Friday, October 12, 2018

D.G. Lamb's Driven to the Hilt 1: The Deepest Cut

(Once upon a time, I became aware of an author named D.G Lamb who was looking to do a blog tour to promote her new book. I volunteered to host a guest post, but apparently my message wasn't received until too (maybe I should've responded to the Facebook post instead of sending someone who didn't know me a DM) late for that. Instead, I was offered a chance to review her book as part of the blog tour. And it's Science Fiction and reviewing SF/F is what I do, soo...

Yeah, it worked.

At any rate, that's my way of saying "Welcome" to any of you out there who stopped by because they were following the Driven to the Hilt Blog Tour. I hope you enjoy yourselves while you're here and if you like what you see, stay. We love new followers here at Jimbo's!)

Joshua is the main character of D.G. Lamb's Driven to the Hilt I: The Deepest Cut. He is also a survivor. That's probably the best thing I can say about him and that's awesome. I didn't start out thinking that. I wasn't sure I was going to like the kid much at first. I'm a nerd. He starts out as a jock. We're kind of natural enemies. It's not that he seemed like a bad kid. He's actually a good guy. And the series  is really well named. He is legitimately driven to the hilt. I don't know how a human being could survive more than what this kid went through, but he toughed it out.

And what's more, I really do like him. He has to go through some serious stuff and make some hard decisions, but he doesn't flinch from what he has to do.He's got both brains and guts and that's a rare combination. Joshua is a teenager, but he has more maturity, at least by the end of The Deepest Cut, than a lot of adults I know. Joshua is not always a nice guy. Sometimes being nice and being alive don't go together all that well. At the end of the day though, he makes the right decisions in circumstances I wouldn't like to face personally.

Oh, and he's both intelligent and well educated, especially for his age. The story begins with his mother home schooling him and he seems to be able to understand and explain the written word better than a lot of college students I've had classes with. He's read at least some of the classics of Western literature, including Machiavelli.  He also has a love for and knowledge of show tunes that even my girlfriend would envy.

He's resourceful too. When he finds himself alone in the world at a young age he does what he has to do. He's creative. He's intelligent. He finds sources of food that no one else would think to try and thrives off of them. He builds things. He finds work in unlikely places. I can't say enough about this kid and how much he impresses me.

He has a willingness to do research that a lot of adults lack as well. I've known people who get upset at kids who just google everything, but when you think about it, it makes sense. Granted, Lamb doesn't actually call it "googling" but if when Joshua needs knowledge and doesn't have a lot of time to get it, he knows where to look. That much is good in and of itself, but he also has confindence THAT he can learn what he needs to know if he tries.

The world Joshua lives on is not Earth. This makes me happy. Some of the wildlife in The Deepest Cut is quite frankly terrifying and the more light years away it is, the more comfortable I am. Spidervipers sound like something I'd have loved to talk about as a young kid, in a weird kind of way. Remember the conversations you had as a kid about "Would a wolf win a fight against a bear?" Yeah, a spiderviper would fit in well with that. Except that spidervipers are legitimately creepy on top of being badass. I'm not the kind of guy that runs from a spider but I'd pretty much soil my shorts if one of those showed up. There are other creatures as well. Joshua learns to contend with all of them.

He also seems to be more than he seems to be. I know that doesn't make sense but you'd really have to read the book to get it. Joshua does have a trick about slowing down time that seems to be some type of power, but there are other characters who talk about him. What they say leads me to believe that this kid has some kind of destiny, but he's not Harry Potter. There are hints but no outright statements about what the destiny is or even why they think it's Joshua. There are more books coming and that's a good thing, because Lamb seems to have asked more questions with her first book than she answered.

I don't want to take things too far though. Joshua is far from perfect. He screws up a couple of times and almost gets himself killed more than once. Still though, you can't help but root for the kid when he tries this hard and refuses to give up. He's one resolute kid and his failures only accentuate how hard he's working at what he has to do.

I'm guess that Lamb spent a lot of time doing research of her own. I don't have any real survival experience of my own, but I've done some reading (Surprising, I know) and most of what Joshua learns in his research matches what I've read almost word for word. When I say he does things in a "textbook" manner it's not just a figure of speech. The actions he performs are exactly the ones that I've read about in the textbooks. I like that. I already stated that he make mistakes sometimes, but not once did I put my phone down and scream "MORON" the way I have at some other books. It's a refreshing change.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that parts of this book bring me back to my days as a fan of both CSI and mobster movies. At some points, I almost forgot that I was in a Science Fiction novel because a lot of the action was so realistic that it could have been happening five miles from where I'm sitting right now. Lamb did an awesome job mixing the fantastical elements of her story with the mundane ones.

My only complaint about The Deepest Cut, and it's one I've mentioned with other books a few times lately, is that it starts off kind of slow. Now, I know it's the first book in a series and that they always start out slow, but it still took me a wee bit longer to get through the first chapter or two of the book than it should have. Overall though, The Deepest Cut is still an excellent work and was a true joy to read.

Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 Spiderviper Teeth

Driven to the Hilt 1: The Deepest Cut
D.G. Lamb
Calyse Publishing, 2017

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

L.E. Henderson's The Dragon Proofed House: Book Three of the Torn Curtains Series

Ya know, I've read a lot of books over the years. Fiction, non-fiction, totally fictitious crap that claimed to be non-fiction, etc. Many of them have been books that I read having been told that they would make me think. In the case of some of the non-fiction that was true. Very rarely has the fiction. I think this book changed that for me in a weird sort of way.

L. E. Henderson's book, The Dragon Proofed House: Book 3 of the Torn Curtains Series asks a question. I'm not sure it's intended to, but it does. (Queue that Venn Diagram) Seriously. At what point would life get so bad that an individual would voluntarily enter the Matrix and forget everything about life that came before? How bad does it get before someone WANTS to give their entire life up to gaming?

Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to insult people who game. Today is my day off work. I've already spent several hours playing World of Warcraft. After I write this review, I'm going to play some more WoW. Then I'm going to call my girlfriend. Then I'm going to play more WoW. Then I'll fall asleep to The Walking Dead. I love gaming.

This is different. After all, I'm doing my laundry, writing a post and calling the little woman today. The main character of the story, Christine, has made a choice that is only marginally different than suicide. For all intents and purposes, she has chosen to sink her life so far into a game named Mirror Mountain Valley that she is unable to remember anything that came before her life there. She has no ambitions for anything after she logs out. As a matter of fact, it appears that she has no way to log out at all.

That leads to a second question, and it's one that we all faced in high school: How far is a person ready to go to be popular? How much will an individual sell themselves out to get someone else to like them? The Dragon Proofed House is a thinking persons book.

I find myself surprised at how much I actually enjoyed The Dragon Proofed House. It's certainly not my typical fare. Don't get me wrong. It was a good time. It was just... different. There are no explosions here. For that matter, there is no real violence of any kind.  There is certainly some social intrigue, but nothing like the political maneuvering that would be familiar to a fan of the Battletech novels. Despite all of that, it's still a really good story.

I couldn't help but root for Christine throughout the book. If you like the underdog, you'll love her too. Despite the trials and tribulations the game sends her way, she's bound and determined to do everything she can to help herself. If she finds that things don't always go the way she wants them to, well, we've all been there. She doesn't give up. She doesn't give over to whining and trying to wish herself to success.

And that was a welcome surprise, because the first few pages gave me a Bella-like feeling. Fortunately, that goes away quickly. Henderson seems to have succeeded where Stepanie Meyers failed.  I would still urge the reader to give The Dragon Proofed House about five or ten pages to get going.  Once Christine picks herself up and starts working toward a goal things become a lot more fun and interesting.

At the end of the day, I think that what makes The Dragon Proofed House work is that almost everything in the book is familiar in one way or another. Christine is a person who has been through a lot but so have I. She has to fight every day to make things better for herself. So do I.  Probably the paradox of her character though, is that she never gives up.

I say that because she already gave up once or she wouldn't be in the game and we wouldn't have a story. Yet, once she has made her decision to enter the game (which we never actually see "on stage") she fights to get to the endgame and stay there. And that is a fight with which I am intimately familiar.

The game plays like a virtual reality version of The Sims, except that everything constantly falls apart. At it's heart though, Mirror Mountain Valley is a game about building a really cool house and interacting with your neighbors. Money comes to the player in the form of compliment credits which can be used to either repair or improve a player's house. Compliment credits are generally given by people who like a house. It's a vicious cycle which, in its way, is comparable to some things that real world MMORPG players go through. 

I kind of wish that The Dragon Proofed House  were available in Dead Tree Format, because I'd love to give a copy to my daughter, who doesn't have a tablet and can't take pictures on her phone half the time because the memory is so full. I'd like to get her take on it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a man and I enjoyed it. I'm just saying that this is something I think she probably should read and would enjoy. As a seventh grader, she's headed into the time in her life when she'll be facing the popularity question pretty soon and I like the way that Henderson handled that.

Christine fights to fit the tastes of others and is left dealing with the consequences of changing her personality to match someone else's. I don't want to go into too many spoilers but it's about what I expected. That's something I'd like both of my kids to think about before she decides to work too hard to fit in.

Seriously. As an adult you can enjoy this book. If you know any youngsters who would actually read it (and I know some kids aren't going to read anything no matter what.) you need to get them a copy of The Dragon Proofed House and talk to them about what's in there. As a guy with a history degree, I don't often consider non-scholarly work to be important, but I'm going to make an exception here. I think this one is worth their time not just for the entertainment value (which is there in spades) but for what they can learn vicariously.

Bottom Line: 4.5 out of 5 Rosebushes

The Dragon Proofed House: Book 3 of the Torn Curtains Series
L.E. Henderson
Self Published, 2018

The Dragon Proofed House: Book 3 of the Torn Curtains Series is available for purchase at the following link:

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Nope, Nope, Nopity Nope! UH-UH!

Shields up, Red Alert! Seriously, go to your men and tell them to get ready for a fight because I'm about to have Worf beam a proton torpedo aboard the bridge of the Death Star while it annihilates Babylon 5 in full view of the TARDIS as it is consumed by a supernova. As someone famous once said "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore." There is no need for this type of bullshit. None whatsoever! AT ALL! DO YOU HEAR ME HOLLYWOOD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!??!??!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!??

Ok, so now we all know I'm mad. Who can tell me why? Oh, that's my job. Oops.

So what set me off is this piece. I found it while innocently checking my Facebook feed. I had some downtime at work and decided to see if I could find something interesting. Well, I found that article interesting in the same sense that Vlad the Impaler found the actions of traitors interesting. Unfortunately, I lack the authority he had and so the guilty are still at large and able to continue killing everything great that came before them. 

I'm going to take a moment and tell you what is wrong with this. I mean, yes, recasting Lando and G'Kar as females is insulting to the fandom, the original cast and J. Michael Straczynksi.Yes, they should be played by different actors. Yes, the uniform pictured is thirty-one flavors of fucked up. But honestly, none of that should matter. Because there is NO FREAKING NEED TO REBOOT EVERY DAMN THING EVER!

(Oh, and for the record, I'm not a big fan of Crude Reviews and their rampant SJWism. I don't recommend their site. I was reading the article before I realized what site it was on.)

I've talked about this before. Listen Hollywood. I get the fact that not every idea is Hollywood caliber. I support not making everything that get suggested because I support quality entertainment and some stuff is just crap. I mean, it doesn't all sink to the depths of gender-swapping Londo and G'kar just to virtue signal in a show that already had females in prominent roles. (Can you say Ivanova, Delenn, Talia and Lyta boys and girls.) Oh, and that includes two women who took command of squadrons of ships in battle. And there is no badder-ass in all of SF/F than Susan Ivanova. Still though, that's not the problem.

The problem is you morons and your absolute obsession with rebooting old content. Let sleeping dogs lie. Listen, I came to a love of B5 late. If not for the love and patience of a good woman (who, for the record, never once looked at me and uttered the words "Just watch the show, dumbass." She's obviously a better person than I am.) I may never have watched it at all. The fact remains that it makes no sense to shit all over a show that millions of people watched and loved. And no, if they're going to gender-swap Londo and G'Kar, they don't have a respect for the original show.

Look, I get the desire to make a profit. Television studios are capitalistic endeavors. I'm good with that. I'm just saying that

A.) There is no need to reboot old stuff just to make a profit.
I am watching an episode of The Walking Dead while writing this piece. When it debuted, the Walking Dead was a brand new show, not a remake. It just finished recording its ninth season. It has an absolutely huge following. It is very obviously profitable, because if it wasn't it would be gone by now. Oh, and the network that created it? American Movie Classics. Reshowing old stuff wasn't good enough I guess. The same with Netflix and Amazon Prime. Odd, that.

B. There is no lack of ideas out there.
The Orville worked. It's not a reboot. It's not a remake. It's just good TV. Remember what that's like?

C.) Gender-swaps have been known to fail.
We all know the records of the Ghostbusters reboot and Oceans 8. Stop flushing your money down the toilet. Those won't aberrations. It's not going to get better next time. If you want to make money with a movie about one or more women, make it with either original content or with content that was originally conceived with female characters. You know, like Wonder Woman? That made more money than any previous super hero origins movie. (It has, admittedly, since been surpassed by Black Panther, but it made over eight hundred million dollars at the box office.) And honestly, if women and/or minorities want to more representation then they need to show some integrity and write their own stories instead of stealing them from someone else.


D.) Sometimes it takes some intestinal fortitude to get thing done.

At some point in the not so distant past, somebody pitched a movie about a tornado filled with sharks. It could not have been an easy sell. It has made millions and produced two profitable sequels.  Take some responsibility and make something that hasn't been done before.

I know it's not easy. J.K. Rowling and George Lucas created probably the two most successful science fiction universes in the history of the genre. Hell, they created two of the most successful stories in the history of humanity. Both faced rejection. Rowling was rejected thirty-two times before Harry Potter was accepted for publication and created an entire new market of readers. There was no Young Adult market before someone at Scholastic showed some guts and let J.K. Rowling create one.
So yes, it does make sense to make new content. It makes good money if it's GOOD new content. And no, I'm not suggesting that Hollywood should start making every idea that comes their way. I'm just saying that there is plenty of new ground to explore. Hollywood needs to start looking toward the future instead of the past.

Everything they're rebooting came from something that was once a new product. No matter how far back they pull from that's true. Gilgamesh is the oldest surviving written story. Go back far enough, and somebody told it for the first time. It's time to tell some new stories for the first time. Not new versions of old stories. New stories. Get it together guys. Stop digging up corpses and looting them. Put something new on my TV screen.

(Five of my favorite SF franchises were referenced in the first two sentences of this blog. Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Doctor Who, and uhh... what? Two nerd points, exchangeable for major bragging rights, go to whoever can name the last franchise in the comments.)

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