Grab Mercury from http://amzn.to/2DcCdIW
So, I recently watched the Shape of Water. I left about 30 minutes in. Reason? Just the immense amount of sexual content. Nudity I don’t mind too much, honestly. Not something that gets as much of a reaction. I don’t view it as ‘real’. Sex causes a different reaction. And it starts at less than 5 minutes, with masturbation. Very disturbing, especially since, fellas, we gotta stop masturbating. Then there’s constant conversation about sex, homosexuality and various other things I find unpleasant. The kicker was a sex scene between the villain and his wife. It’s presented as perverse. In the middle the villain (who is Christian and racist etc, the connection is that of villainy in and of itself) covers the mouth of his wife because he’s lusting after the mute main character. Didn’t need to be there, angered me at every point.
It’s a real pity, as I do love Del Toro, but the recent crop of movies has burned me. There was no point to the sex. Lust etc, I guess, but the narrative didn’t need any of it. Her next door neighbor is gay. Sure, he likes musicals, he doesn’t need to flirt with a pie slinger to make it concrete. Villain is close minded? Fundamentally, why the sex scene with his wife and ugly lust?
It’s like this, if the actions taken seem to have no connection to the mainline plot, they probably don’t need to be there. MC has a routine? Show it without the explicit masturbation to a 3 minute egg timer! They didn’t need so long for so little. They didn’t even introduce a major character in the half hour or give me any reason to care for the MC besides the ‘disabled loner cute girl’ schtick which only works if she has a personality besides ‘doormat’!
Ultimately it’s just ugly. Probably put in to guarantee the ‘artsy’ awards. Really frustrating. Five bucks lost. Hm. Maybe I just want to obvious evils of Hollywood and its work oblique, not so explicit.
Spoilers. She does have sex with the thing. It’s mostly on screen, in the water. No thank you.
Looking forward to this though. Also, check out Violet Evergarden.
Epitaph: Pictures of a Family
John took up Jacob’s offer and saw a grief counselor, with his family. He also started to talk to Jacob again, as well as his old friends from the Knights of Saint Louis. His barbecues became the stuff of legends.
Peter and Cynthia got married in the proper course of things, and Peter took up management of Gramps’ junkyard. They had five kids, who had their own adventures and events in their lives. Cynthia became a feared soccer mom, but gave up striking people with bicycle chains. She found she had an uncomfortable urge to lick her children’s scratches and other dog-like behaviors. Peter slept longer in winter and had to manage his weight. They both died contented.
Susan took up her mother’s legacy of gardening and alchemy by dual majoring in nursing and botany. She married a very nice doctor she met at college and had a nice, large family. She and Cynthia enjoyed years of motherly rivalry between their children, which lasted until they passed away of old age, Cynthia going first.
Edmund became a lawyer, claiming inspiration from the fairies. Lucy married at twenty five and had children but determined to be as boring as possible. As such, neither of their children had any adventures. Not that the children of lawyers can have adventures. No dragon wants to face litigation, and who ever heard of a lawyer’s kid stolen by fairies?
Richard spent ten years and ten days serving the Horned King. He married a baptized willow nymph and had children with her. He ruled his section of the forest well, and did not neglect to provide information to Jacob Grimm whenever monsters were about, and the whole area knew peace for as long as he kept it. Not that troubles never reared its head, it just never lasted long.
Mika became Goblin Queen after the Goblin King suffered a freak fondue accident and his wife retired in mourning. She ruled well and kept her subjects from stealing babies and eating people most days. She married, and ever since the Goblin Royalty has been through her line, to the goblins immense satisfaction. She never had peace, for try as she might the goblin poetry never got any better and Jack was always a thorn in her, and the rest of the Family’s, side.
Jack remembered the coin that the Fairy King gave him. Taking it, he caused all manner of mischief, which might be written of in another book in the future.
I’m editing my Novel: Seven Siblings, currently
Sometimes I’ll have ideas on pitfalls of the Auteur, rather than the workman. I desire to be the auteur of literature. That is, to write things of surpassing quality, but such that only I could write it. Perhaps, one day, I could reach that height. It’s not about me being good/best/worst, it’s about having that flair. I’ll be putting up musings on occasion to turn it over in my head.
Someone started a chat in discord: He had just watched the ‘disaster artist’ movie.
I know my work is spotty, but here’s a chapter of something I’m working on.
Chapter 18: Requiem for a Poisoned Chalice
Edmund neither desired to be tested, nor looked forward to whatever challenge was set before him. He didn’t avoid challenge in what he thought of as his ‘real’ life of not being tormented by fairyland. This was getting beyond what he thought of as ‘acceptable’. He wanted his real life with his family and his school and his own bed and not the couch of some fairy godmother in between charity cases.
He sighed. He shouldn’t be ungrateful, the food had delighted him. Her protection of his siblings saved their lives. That little fairy had healed his feet and not even tried to put him into a Faustian bargain. He pushed away the negative thoughts and focused. A task awaited him.
He considered the grey fog he walked through, and wondered whether he passed any of his siblings struggling with their combatants. As much as it bothered him, Jack was a goner. Probably eaten by trolls, or stepped on by a giant. In fact, the amount of things that could happen kept dancing through his mind. Mika was being served rotisserie style. Richard probably was getting gored by some mystical beast in an ironic twist for the hunter. Lucy running for her life in some hellish race. Susan facing, likely, the ghosts of the past and Peter stuck in some contest against that giant minotaur. Maybe one of them had cursed shoes and was dancing for a hundred years in a cursed masque ball, if they were lucky.
The fog cleared a little, and he could see a squat form, like a toad, sitting at a table. As things became clearer, the form turned into a full toad. No, it changed to be a toad like elf. The fat thing squatted before a sumptuously laid out table. Framed by sweet meats, fruits of all climes, and overflowing bowls of candies, a lazy susan slowly spun in the center, with a pair of goblets and a flagon on top of it. The goblets were covered in beaten red gold, with gems and platinum filigree. The flagon seemed to be made of moonstone or quartz, for it glimmered in strange ways. Through the nearly glass-like quality of the minerals, Edmund could see crimson liquid sloshing within, as the toad-like elf idly fiddled with the lazy susan.
The face of the thing flopped and expanded as the ugly thing breathed. It took in an immense breath, and expanded to twice his height and width. Then, like a balloon collapsing, it spoke to him, each syllable ruffled Edmund’s hair and flapped his collar. The smell singed Edmund’s nose hairs, causing him to flinch. In every way, it looked like a toad in human form.
“Well! Look who’s here! One of the children, first in a very long while, pity under less than magical conditions.” The greenish elf leaned down, and whispered conspiratorially, which means he merely spoke loudly, not shouted. The smell got worse. “I’m more traditional than the rest the nobles here. And I like playing these things traditionally, you see!”
He paused, and leaned back, hand playing over the goblets and the flagon. Edmund said, “I see you’ve set out food and drink. Two goblets. Is one poisoned? The poisoned chalice gambit is considered a classic in our side of things!”
“Ho ho!” And with that laugh, Edmund fell on his behind from the breeze. Despite the foetid smell, Edmund felt that his flattery had been the right call. “I’m so glad you recognized it! But the poison is much more subtle! Death isn’t as fun for our kind as a hundred year sleep! You don’t know how funny it is to see them wake up and everything is different and unknown. They run around, grabbing people and shaking them.” The toad mimicked the panic of a man out of his own time. “Oh no! What’s going on? What’s happening? What are these clothes? What is that thing flying in the sky!? I don’t know what memes are! I can’t understand you!” The elf laughed and laughed.
Edmund laughed in kind. Partly, the toad-like elf was so ridiculous that Edmund couldn’t help himself, but also, the laughter was infectious. Too infectious. Edmund kept laughing, but carefully now, reading the motions and the table. The lazy susan still turned slowly under the almost careless fingers of the elf. “My name is Numenoad, and I rule all the pools from what you call Oregon down to the foot hills of El Dorado. I want you to know that you’re not fighting some… TOADY!” And the two of them laughed for a good moment.
“I’m glad for your consideration! A hundred year sleep sounds awful, and I can’t let down my siblings like that. Hm, any news of them so far?”
Numenoad gained a sly look. “Have you got a toad pun or a joke for me?”
Edmund made a great show of thinking one up. He ‘hummed’ and ‘hawed. He scratched his chin and rubbed his neck. “Weeeeellll now…” Numenoad leaned forward in anticipation. “Do you accept rhymes?” Numenoad grinned but shook his head. “Sad. Well, I’m glad I’m not going to… croak.”
Numenoad’s giant, bulbous eyes widened. “Rough, but serviceable! Clearly, you aren’t a wordsmith. Ah well, the time of bards is long gone and the next one to come is quite a bit of a hop away! What did I expect? If you win, I’ll be happy to tell you who needs the most help.” Edmund nodded.
The thick, mucus covered fingers stopped the lazy susan. “Feel free to pour the wine!” Edmund looked at the flagon askance. Numenoad laughed, again nearly falling from his perch, so greatly did he rock in his seat. “I don’t blame you for that, this is a battle of wits! Over a hundred years ago, I poisoned the handle of the flagon. I almost think it unfair, you being a tadpole compared to me… but I haven’t done this in a long time.” The webbed hands lifted the gem-like flagon and poured the wine. Edmund could smell the strong alcohol in it.
Edmund began to talk. “I can’t smell any difference. I think you played this straight. If you were doing this every day, to fight the boredom, you’d switch it up. I wonder if you even know which one it is? You’ve been sitting here a long time, you could have lost track.”
Numenoad pointed to one of them. The goblets were identical in all points, as were the two portions of wine. “This is the goblet with the ‘poison’.”
Edmund flinched. He didn’t expect this. “You could be lying. But I’ve read some fairies can’t lie.” The goblet on the right didn’t look any different. If they just pooled the poison at the bottom of the cup, he wouldn’t be able to see it.
“I can. I’m not so proud. And besides, this is my favorite game! Games have special rules about such things! It gets me hopping excited!” The squat elf let out a ‘ribbit’. “Pardon.”
Edmund continued to think. There’s always a trick to this. It could be a simple misdirection. It could actually be the goblet with the poison. It could be that he pointed to that one so that he would suspect it. The wine itself could be poisoned, but Edmund did not want to test it, just in case. He didn’t have any of Susan’s or his mother’s draughts or anything from Grandma Goodness’ house that might come in handy all of a sudden. He could literally go down infinite possibilities of the two options, based on how far Numenoad had thought it, and Edmund would bet any amount of money that he had the perfect strategies.
He went over his options. He couldn’t flip the table, that would probably end poorly for him. He could just grab the goblet, or the opposite goblet and risk it. He could… do something else.
“You know, this reminds me of some jokes. How about this? I’ll choose after three jokes.”
Numenoad laughed, but he placed his hands over his mouth. He did his best to cover up his fits of giggles. His eyes became mere slits as he sought to control himself. “Alright alright! But I’m going to warn you, I’m heard some real croakers in my day!”
“So, this is a favorite of my joke books: A cowboy lost his favorite book while on the range. One day he looks down and a toad has it in his mouth. He takes it up in surprise. He shouts, ‘It’s a miracle!’ The toad replies, ‘Not really, your name is on the cover.’” Numenoad guffawed, just once.
“Another one: A man goes to the movies. He looks around, and sees that there’s a toad besides him. He says to himself ‘I didn’t think toads went to the movies. How weird.’ The toad replies. ‘It’s not so weird, the book was great!’” Numenoad began to giggle, the air sacks on his back expanded and deflated rapidly.
“Last one! Then we choose! An old man goes out fishing. After a while he hears a voice say, ‘Pick me up!’ Well he doesn’t see anyone so he thinks he just dreamed it up. Then, he hears the voice again. ‘Pick me up!’ He looks around and sees a toad on the pier next to him. ‘Are you talking to me?’ He says. The toad replies, “Yep! I’m talking to you. Pick me up and kiss me and I’ll turn into the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen. You’ll have me as your bride and every one of your friends will be jealous.’ The man looked at the toad and thought about it for a few minutes, then, he put the toad in his front pocket. The toad screamed, “What, are you nuts? Didn’t you hear me? I said kiss me and I will be your beautiful bride!’ It was getting ‘hopping’ mad! The old man looked down at the toad and said, ‘Nah, at my age I’d rather have a talking toad!’”
Numenoad opened his mouth wide in a great “HA!” And just at that second, quick as lightning, Edmund grasped both goblets and splashed them into Numenoad’s wide open mouth!
The toad-like elf gasped and swallowed in surprise. “Well that’s never been done before. They try to spill it, not drink it, hide it… well. Good game! Ha ha ha ha!” Numenoad began to sway and his immense eyes drooped.
Edmund rushed over and cradled him as he fell over. “Wait! Your promise! Tell me if any of my siblings are in danger, and where I can find them!”
Numenoad pointed into the fog that still surrounded them. “There, you will find a younger sister in dire need of help. She is at the gate of the giant’s spice rack. She is not in mortal danger, if she gets help soon.” Numenoad giggled as he drifted off. “I should have defined the rules better. I’ll remember that for the next one. But a good game of the poison chalice involves turning it on its head, after all! You’re pretty good, kid!” And with that, Numenoad began his one hundred year sleep.
Edmund laid him down respectfully and ran into the fog as fast as he could.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t think much of the old guard. Not… MUCH… AT ALL!
The Cat Returns Review!
I like it! Read on!
I have to blog more. My self-promotion is limp-wristed.
STEAMPUNK IRONMAN! BABY YESSSSSSS!
As far as I’m concerned, there has been a desert of good science fiction and fantasy since, I don’t know, about 1950s-60s to about 2000 or so. The exceptions are many, but that leads to names everyone should already known. Asimov, Heinlein, Vance and a few others lead the top of the roster, but I’ve been continuously disappointed by anything not top shelf, and even Asimov’s Foundation series has lost its luster since I’ve grown up.
Many problems arise, from the beginning of message fiction, to the loss of the creative sparks of the pulp era to just a simple lack of action. Examples: Foundation has almost no action, being focused on the ideas of psycho-history and other subjects Asimov was interested in. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has action (repeated asteroid strikes and fighting in the moon tunnels, anyone?), but the protagonist rarely participates in it. Starship troopers may have been Heinlein’s crowning work by just having some dang fine action to keep things interesting between Heinlein’s philosophy lectures.
About 1990, Star Wars novels got good, but I can’t say the same thing about free standing Sci-fi novels. The Belisaurius series by David Drake and Eric Flint, The Dragon Never Sleeps (kinda… that’s an article by itself) by Glen Cook and then uh… Hrm. I should have wrote this in my room, where my library is stationed. The Saga of Seven Suns? (not that I own that mediocrity) It’s just a pity I can’t remember more. I looked a while back over my library, and besides some modern stuff from the last, I don’t know, 15 years to now, almost everything is approaching or way past the 100 year mark. I’ve got the first thirteen books of the Redwall series, some Cyberpunk from the eighties and some star wars books bridging the gap. So damn few.
And what’s more, most of what people have been recommending me from that era or close by isn’t really hitting my standards for a fun romp and read. Many times I just get bored since the author has good ideas but can’t pace for crap and so when he should be having a startling revelation or a chase seen, he’s spending a chapter on a dinner scene! I’m calling you out, Country of the Blind! I don’t give two shits that your character ordered London broil! They should have been talking during the scene the Strong and Independent Black Woman (TM) searched the computation rooms!
I should utter jubilation and hallelujahs to the Most High God that the Pulp Revolution, (#pulprev) and the Superversives and Noblebright and so many others are rising to the challenge. I am deeply blessed to being published by the Superversive Press, and that is why I am writing this now.
I want to rise with them. I’m writing this post because I don’t want to keep anything about my goals secret. I’m not some secret king retreating from a ‘victory’ on twitter or facebook to lick my wounds and morally posture like that gamma, Scalzi. I am brimming with confidence, if it’s God’s Will, I’ll achieve everything here. I’ll speak plain, lest I speak down or above my station: I am going to die the greatest Millennial sci-fi and fantasy writer. Of all my generational cohort, I will stand at the top, the king. I will write the books I wanted to read. To facilitate that, I invite everyone to read Astounding Frontiers (up to vol. 2 as of writing). My Seraglio is in there, as well as some others and numerous short stories that are just great. Read it, and know I desire and look to a golden age of sci-fi to come. I desire the crown, but if I can help raise a new golden age of sci-fi yet be forgotten, that too is a great dream and worthy dream.
My goals are simple, punch up to the subversives. Every time I put out a serious novel, or any of my short stories, I want them to tingle with ‘the good stuff’. You know it, that glorious cocktail of action, adventure, philosophy, wonder and dreams. I don’t want a single person to go “Aw man, how boring! I could have spent my time better!” I’m not going to go crazy here, but I think everyone should know what I want.
I want revelatory shoot outs from the crossbeams of a Space Elevator under construction around an alien world. I want an Angry Scotsman (TM) cutting his way through an alien army who thought that just because they caught him napping, they could invade earth. I want a lone scientist to discover a galaxy wide threat and defeat it with a newly invented anti-doomsday gun in one hand and a hot blond elf-alien in the other. I want Dr. Steamcannon vaulting a burning zeppelin to defeat the evil crippled Dr. Herod and his battle loving Scotsman (TM) body guard as they attempt to get away with kidnapping the queen or burning London for its ‘crimes against humanity’. I want high octane literary adventure in worlds and dreams beyond my own imagination. I don’t want an Alice in Wonderland dark remix. I don’t want a sex-fueled drug romp. I don’t want my Dr. Steamcannon to talk about British Colonialism for five pages, I want him to rebuke Dr. Herod’s Social Justice agenda with a pistol whipping and then he goes home to his similarly to Dr. Herod crippled but virtuous wife for a subtle message that it’s bigger than just ‘justice’.
I search for it, and I’m beginning to find it in various books and sources. I hope to find more. The problem I had with Jon Del Arroz’ For Steam and Country is that feeling that he held back. (and James. The boy needs to die tragically and painfully preferably wrestling the emperor during a thunderstorm on the roof of the evil palace) When he could have delivered megaton punch after steampowered megaton punch with the airship fight and the giant and everything else, I felt that he held back. Ben’s law of Ship to Ship combat: The rarer the ship, the more awesome the fight must be. Now, the sequel sounds great, and I would encourage people to read it, the ending is worth it, but still, it’s stuck in my craw. It’s a lesson to me, to never be satisfied. To pursue the ramping of awesome and emotions to heights undreamed. My audience will want me to ramp it back, but they will never complain I didn’t go far enough.
And then I’m back down again, from glorious imagination to reality. I’m remembering how dry many of the 80s to 90s books I’ve read are. I remember seeing things like Earthsea peter out and die. And lets be real here, they’re fairly dry books. My favorite being the second one, where there seems to be actual threat to the protagonist in the catacombs. There’s no great and defiant fight of pyrotechnics magic, or even the quiet will of good against evil and the grief of Gandalf’s fight against the balrog. The villain of the third book basically gives up and dies.
I fear, and will talk about this fear in another article, that the millennials will be another ‘Silent Generation’ compared to Generations to come (Zyklon and on) and the Gen Xers. We grew up on the leavings of people more concerned with messages and ‘real life’ (or whatever it is that Country of the Blind wanted) than a great story.
I want to know, who did this to an entire generation? I want to know, how can I make them pay?
Who am I kidding? I have a damn good idea who did this to me and my cohorts. I’ve read Vox’s blog and others. I’m coming for you. I’m weak now, laugh at me. Throw roadblocks in my way. I welcome it! I want to struggle to reach the top! I am not nearly as good as I need to be yet. I will reach that height, and by that time, do me a favor and die ignobly. You are not Brutus, who killed Sci-fi in the forum. You are Cassius, a dishonorable man. Fall on your sword, you who made my childhood isolation worse! Or better yet, wait until I’m famous. Read my books and despair, for I wrote them for you and me. Me and mine for adventure and glory and the brighter morning. To force open the armor of the heart and whisper that morning comes! Awake and fight! For you, to burn in the light of the God I serve and to scream that nothing you do will compare.
By the Grace of God, I will earn every accolade you were given on a silver platter through my sheer skill and glory in the writing arena. My muse is mad and screaming, and I listen and glean from her gems of plot, character and story that you -you iconoclasts! You book burners! you anarchists! You rapists of Genres! You doomed men and women!- could never dream! I’ll wager that my gibbering muse and my berserk nature against the crumbling might of Tor that I can out write the greatest of their modernist, feminist, istist roster!
The Dragon awards are happening this weekend. I wish John C. Wright and others like Declan Finn the best in your categories. I’ll join you at the top soon!
Look forward to the third vol. of Astounding Frontiers! My story really takes off in that volume!
Now enjoy some metal versions of Disney and other movie songs. relax, my dreams are years off.