I have become something of a book snob in the last two years, and by that I mean I refuse to read anything I have no interest in. There are too many bI have become something of a book snob in the last two years, and by that I mean I refuse to read anything I have no interest in. There are too many books that just flat out suck but are loved by the literary elite who sit around in Starbucks and try to look like they are much smarter or more cultured than they really are. Damn yuppies. I hate those guys. But this is also true in the world of independent publishing. There's A LOT of crap out there (Amanda Hocking comes immediately to mind) that has risen to fame in the so-called "literary underground," but its mostly poorly executed knock-offs of Twilight or the Da Vinci Code (neither of which were any good to begin with.) Hell, even the Bizarro Genre, a genre that defines itself by creating unique content, is a hit-and-miss affair once you are about three or four stories deep, so I'm pretty choosy about which Bizarro stories I pick up and which ones I pass on. I read this one because I happen to know that the author has a very dry sense of humor that I dig, but I still had reservations. (I'm a jerk. Sue me. I'm not gonna sit here and lie to you people. I don't even know you! Why should I care if you hate me?!) But I do gotta say that Gigantic Death Worm managed to side-step those reservations for two reasons.
Reason the First: The action carries the story. By the end of the first chapter I was like "oh dang, how are they gonna get out of this." It moves very fast (and in a good way) and I was anxious to see how everything was going to resolve itself. It is far and away the best action-themed Bizarro story to come out in at least two years.
Reason the second: It has some REALLY good jokes in it. I don't want to spoil them, because context and timing is everything. But it was a damn funny story.
All in all, it was a really fun experience. Vince Kramer has managed to create a solid foundation with which to further his creative ambitions from here on out. Excellent debut novella. I'm interested in seeing what's next. ...more
I purchased this novel because I happen to know that it's writer, Conor Lastowka, is a very funny person. How do I know this? Let's say that I am an eI purchased this novel because I happen to know that it's writer, Conor Lastowka, is a very funny person. How do I know this? Let's say that I am an enthusiast of RiffTrax commentaries. For those of you who don't know, RiffTrax is the online incarnation of Mystery Science Theater 3000, starring the team of the final three seasons, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. Now, MST3K, especially in its last three seasons, is incredibly funny. But I have to say that I think RiffTrax is a lot better, and one of the reasons is that they have at least two writers who are writing jokes that my generation (born in the 80s, grew up in the 90s) will appreciate and laugh at. Whenever I hear jokes that reference 8-bit Nintendo games or certain Saturday morning cartoons, I know that they had to have been written by either Lastowka or his writing partner, Sean. So that long, rambling paragraph explains WHY I bought the book.
Now, whether or not the book is actually funny and/or entertaining is a totally different thing. Just because somebody can write RiffTrax jokes doesn't necessarily mean that their humor will translate well into prose. I took this into consideration as I started reading the Kindle version yesterday (to get a head start on it while I wait for the paperback version to reach me,) and I gotta say that I forgot about any such consideration before I even finished the first chapter (or day.) Lastowka makes the funniest jokes I have read in prose novels in all of 2013. I don't want to give them all away, but this was the joke that pretty much locked the whole book for me.
"How does one measure something like "percentage of mobility loss on your right side" anyways? It sure looked like less than 90 percent every time Cormac saw him wheel by."
So yeah. If you're in it for the LOLs, which I definitely am, there are more than enough. It's rare when a book claiming to be a laugh-riot actually turns out to be a laugh-riot. Gone Whalin' actually delivers what it promises. So all aboard and argh, matey! I'm first in line for this and whatever comes after. Thumbs up and so on. ...more
You know Mark Dice? No? That doesn't surprise me. He's a career troll who "exposes" secret societies who worship Satan by harassing legitimately succeYou know Mark Dice? No? That doesn't surprise me. He's a career troll who "exposes" secret societies who worship Satan by harassing legitimately successful people like Rush Limbaugh, Alan Colmes, and Danny Bonaduce (if you can believe it.) He also goes around with a megaphone and a cheap home video camera so he can record himself harassing people and acting like a total douchenozzle in public. He used to call himself "John Conner," but I imagine he got a cease and desist letter that essentially read "be more creative with your pseudonyms, you retard. I mean come on!" I ordered this gloryhound's book about four and a half years ago, read it and it confirmed my suspicions that he has no clue what he's talking about. Like none. At all. So I never paid him any more mind after that.
Then about an hour ago I got this message in my gmail:
"I noticed that some of the negative reviews with one star were written by trolls who haven't even read the books and should be reported as abuse, and can be, by clicking the "report abuse" and then clicking "report as inappropriate" which counts as a vote to remove the troll's review. If enough people do this, then Amazon.com will remove the troll review after it is brought to their attention. Just by reading the one star reviews it's obvious that 90% of them are from trolls who never even read the books. This is a typical strategy for the trolls to do. I would really appreciate it and it takes two seconds. And if you wouldn't mind taking a few minutes to write a review, you could do that, but by reporting the fraudulent one star reviews it all you have to do is click the "report abuse" link and that's it. Thanks so much. I hope you have found some valuable information in my books and there are more videos and another book on its way and this summer."
So he essentially is telling his "audience" (such as it is) to get out there and fighting trolling by trolling. Because apparently he just can't take being criticized. But, in fairness, he did ask me to tell everybody on Amazon what I thought of his stupid book, so I guess I will.
It's amateurish, childish, non-persuasive, and in parts downright bigoted. Most of his arguments boil down to "this is true because the Bible says so" or "this is true just because I said it is, don't question it."
And I'll say this to Mark Dice himself: Dude, is this really what you want to do with your life? Do you really want to be a douchey, overgrown fratboy hack spewing complete and utter monkey garbage on the internet? Really? If you want to glorify Christ, there's better ways to do it. You know, like shutting the hell up and leaving everybody alone for starters. You're not famous and you're never going to be. You'll never be anything more than a lesser internet celebrity. At least the "Don't Taze Me Bro" guy contributed to the short term cultural vernacular, and he had to get tazed and nationally embarrassed to do so. So please, for the love of God, shut up before you do something you will never be able to live down. And while I have your attention: Alex Jones is a Jew-hating bigot, and Ron Paul will never ever be President. You know, because he's an absolute nutcase. Thanks. That's all I really want to say to you. ...more
Max Barry is one of my favorite authors. In fact, if I had to make a list of my top 5, he would definitely be on it, no question. I first read Syrup bMax Barry is one of my favorite authors. In fact, if I had to make a list of my top 5, he would definitely be on it, no question. I first read Syrup back in 2005, and the style of that book completely hijacked the way I write my own fiction, so I to say Barry is a literary influence on me would be an understatement, but whatever. Enough of that. I had been waiting for a long overdue fourth novel from him in 2009 when we got the serialized version of Machine Man, which was brilliant. One page a day, essentially a cliffhanger every Monday through Friday. It was a lot of fun to experience. Without spoiling things too much (and skip to the next paragraph if you are one of those OMG! SPOILERS! THE WORLD REVOLVES AROUND ME! kind of people. I warned you. Don't send me angry emails,) there was a particular Friday when we learned a BIG SECRET involving one of the book's major characters, which was conveyed in a single sentence, and I was all EPIC MIND BLOW! So yeah, the serial was tons of fun.
So here is the paperback, which remains largely true to the serial, and yet has major differences. This isn't a serial. THIS is a NOVEL, and Barry did a great job with the transformation. The expansion of CC's character was one of the things I enjoyed the most. I also enjoyed the revamped beginning and the including of the cell phone angle, which I won't spoil for you here. But there were things I enjoyed even more reading for the second time, such as the medical staff's hostility toward Charlie during his second visit there. I was all "I remember this. This is great." So it was a definite treat for me. Also, what with e-books and kindles and all that crap out now, its nice to see something that was generated on the interwebs take physical form. Sort of legitimizes it slightly more.
So when all is said and done, this is a VERY good read. So good, I read it twice. Good job, Max. You're one of the greats. ...more
I have been a big fan of Tacoma's work for a good long while now. Very much like reclusive Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder, he's one of those littleI have been a big fan of Tacoma's work for a good long while now. Very much like reclusive Simpsons writer John Swartzwelder, he's one of those little-know, unsung heroes of independent writing and publishing, yet shines like a jewel in the vast desert of obscurity, beckoning those wondering to come hither and partake. Tacoma's edge over Swartzwelder, however, is his accessible personality that comes through in his writing, making the reader/author bond much stronger and enhancing the experience for all involved. In Key Dali, Tacoma returns to Florida after two books in Texas. His triumphant return was apparent to me in the second sentence of the book, which may have been the funniest thing I had read all year. Like Christopher Moore and Max Barry, Tacoma is able to use his humor in such a way that advances the plot effortlessly. The story, as always, is deep and layered, but doesn't come off as pretentious or smarmy, which, given the climate of popular literature, is quite a feat. Pick it up even if you aren't familiar with his previous work. You won't be disappointed....more
WAY too whiny and complainy for my taste. Nobody in the book is even remotely likable, and the plot plods from one alleged plot point to the next withWAY too whiny and complainy for my taste. Nobody in the book is even remotely likable, and the plot plods from one alleged plot point to the next without any terribly compelling reason for the reader not to abandon the journey in favor of something more rewarding. Reading requires effort, and if the effort isn't worth it, the reader will not continue down the path that the book sets for them. They will simply find another, more worthwhile journey. The author gasses on and on and on and on about politics, the passage of time, and stuff that really has nothing to do with whatever is supposed to be going on. The reader is bludgeoned with the angry politics of the author and THIS IS WHAT'S WRONG WITH UHMERICA. There's so much OMG RAGE BLARRGH. And when the author is NOT in WHITE HOT RAGE mode, he bores the reader to death with his moody musings of life. Frankly, there's nothing in the book that makes it worth the reader's time.
This is me being restrained. I could go into things much deeper and get into a more specific and comprehensive review, but then I'd be here all day and the book really isn't worth all that time. Just know that this is a not a good pick....more
I met this man at the Barnes and Noble in Bel Air in 2007. He was really nice and had a lot of interesting things to talk about, and I figured he wasI met this man at the Barnes and Noble in Bel Air in 2007. He was really nice and had a lot of interesting things to talk about, and I figured he was an author that I could get into, so I bought this book on the spot. It was a lot of fun to read. I had just moved to the Baltimore area and was still learning about the area, so I was reading this book while I was making myself more familiar with Maryland. It was a pretty cool experience. About two years later, though, I decided to see if he had written anything new and was shocked to discover that since our first meeting that he had left us. I really didn't know how to feel about that, it was kind of surreal. I just know that between our one time interaction in Bel Air, me reading Chemical Girl and discovering Maryland, Chip Silverman had an effect on my life at that time and I was glad that I'll always be grateful for that experience. He was a great man....more
I love this book. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but wow. Great story! Great characters! Great art! While female empowerment element isI love this book. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but wow. Great story! Great characters! Great art! While female empowerment element is subtle, its definitely there, which is great because it gives girls a reason to be interested in super heroes and it doesn't turn off the male audience like say... The Craft or The Shining. The Shining had WAY TOO MUCH girl power stuff in it, man. I mean SHEESH! Seriously, this is an awesome book. Its engaging on a lot of different levels, but the most important is that its great, original storytelling. Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2012. ...more
There are two reasons I am giving this book five stars.
Reason the First: Christopher Moore basically writes two kinds of books. The first kind is theThere are two reasons I am giving this book five stars.
Reason the First: Christopher Moore basically writes two kinds of books. The first kind is the Joe-Everyguy vs. Supernatural Phenomenon type of book, represented by the Bloodsucking Fiends Trilogy, Island of the Sequined Love Nun and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. The second kind is a reimagining of major staples from the Western Canon, represented by Lamb: The Gospel of Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal and Fool, which was a retelling of King Lear from the point of view of the court jester. Sacre Bleu falls into the latter category, as it centers around the life and "death" of Vincent Van Gogh and the concept of painters and art history. I'm not going to get into the plot because of spoilers and whatnot, but the story really does showcase Moore's storytelling abilities at their finest and most creative.
Reason the Second: The books design is absolutely stunning. Very few books are designed as well as Sacre Bleu these days, and it is genuinely as much fun to look at as it is too read.
Highly recommended. Christopher Moore is the best absurdist author modern literature has to offer. ...more
This may be the weirdest opening of any review I've written, but you gotta stay with me here, because it'll all make sense in the end. Or at least I hThis may be the weirdest opening of any review I've written, but you gotta stay with me here, because it'll all make sense in the end. Or at least I hope it will. Either way, I have to set the table for the things I want to say, so bear with me.
First, I feel the truest test of any Christmas story is NOT whether you read it at Christmas time and it makes you feel the spirit of Christmas, but rather whether you can read it at ANY time of year and it makes you feel the spirit of Christmas. Secondly, believe it or not, there isn't very much Christmas themed prose or "graphic literature" (a term which I think I just invented.) The reason for this is that truly original Christmas stories are difficult to conceive and execute. The mass quantity of Christmas media comes from film, television and popular music, mediums that lend themselves better to the themes of the holiday. Now with all that seemingly working against Super-Powered Revenge Christmas, the story, its characters and its creators emerge victorious in this funny, action-packed, and emotionally fulfilling journey.
Not to get all spoiler-y, (and for the love of God, STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE INFECTED WITH SPOILERS, NO MATTER HOW SLIGHT OR INSIGNIFICANT! YOU WERE WARNED, DAMN YOU!) the plot goes something like this; a comic book writer and his girlfriend-artist are having creative differences regarding their current project. Desmond, the writer, thinks Christmas is outdated and is in need of a "reboot." Libby, his artist-girlfriend, helps him break the story. They come up edgier-sexier-more-comicy-er Christmas characters; Red Avenger (Santa), Caribou (Rudolph), Frostina (Frosty), Niceness Girl and Uberbrain (Mary and Joseph.) That team of heroes takes on the sinister H Corp, or H.E.R.O.D., which consists of Mr. S. (Ebeneezer Scrooge), Mr. P. (Mr. Potter), Mr. G. (Hans Gruber), Rat-Kong (whom I BELIEVE are the mice from Twas the Night Before Christmas, but I've been wrong before,) and the sinister, disgusting and utterly evil Glinch (GUESS WHO!)
The story shifts seamlessly back and forth between the creators telling the story in a bar and the actual super hero action. It's not jerky or unnatural. Both sets of characters are symbiotic, and I believe that from a storytelling perspective, one could not exist without the other. The reader invested in both stories, which is something not all story-within-a-story or parallel stories can achieve. The "valley of despair" portion of this tale centers around how Desmond wants to end the story, which is not a very happy ending, let me tell ya. Libby argues that a deliberate bummer ending will do nothing but piss off the readers. This forces Desmond to admit that he is really using the story to express his own unhappiness with his self-image. It is here where the road to redemption for ALL the characters begins.
The major themes of the book are the evolution of mythology, the temptation to retool and re-imagine old stories, even if they don't need such re-imagining, and the responsibility of storytellers as the custodians of mythology. However, the importance of love, hope, faith, friendship and victory in our lives as human beings is the theme that stands out the most and shines the brightest. Bill Corbett proves with SPRC that not only is he a great story teller, but that he damn well knows what he's talking about when it comes to these things.
A quick word about the fact that this is a graphic novel, which essentially means "long comic book" for those who don't know, and the art of Len Peralta. SPRC has the audacity to be funny in a medium and industry that doesn't really want to be funny anymore, despite the definition of the word "comic." The art is not only fun to look at, but is very crisp and stays true to the tone of the story. I would definitely like to see his art in more mainstream comics, because he knocked it out of the park on this one.
I started off by saying that the truest test of any Christmas story is being able to read it at any time of year and feeling the spirit of Christmas. SPRC takes you on a journey that starts out as ridiculous farce, takes you into forest of confusion and down into the depths of despair and defeat. Then, against all odds, climbs back up the Steps of Hope and Redemption (which look a lot like the steps of Cirith Ungol, only prettier,) fighting Scrooges and Glinches all the way, and emerges at the mountaintop of victory and happiness. If that isn't what the spirit of Christmas is, I really can't tell you what would be. It gave me the goosebumps, made me smile and laugh, and left me with that burning happiness in my soul. In its own very real way, SPRC delivers the spirit of that glorious day our Savior was born into this world. If I were a character in this book, I would have no problem giving a speech that ended with "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men," then going up to Captain Amiable and saying "that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."...more
Let me count the way I love Villain's Journey. Spoiler-free for all you whiners.
1. The new villain was fantastic. Great and original, and they didn'tLet me count the way I love Villain's Journey. Spoiler-free for all you whiners.
1. The new villain was fantastic. Great and original, and they didn't feel the need to give him a super-stupid name like "Machine Ghost" or "Oblivion" or something. Just David Graves.
2. The way the members of the Justice League play off each other. So many dynamics to explore.
3. The way the team is set up now reminded me of The Ultimates, which is good. But it is also distinct from the Ultimates, which is also good.
4. The story was great and I liked how it all ended. Last page of issue 12 was GREAT!
And that's really all I can say without being a spoiler. If you read this and volume 1, you should be ready to dive into Throne of Atlantis. If this doesn't hook you into being a subscriber of the comic book, then there's nothing I can do for you. ...because you have no soul. ...more
"My suffering has left me sad and gloomy," and already I'm rooting for the tiger to eat you! How did anybody every find this book engaging! Twilight i"My suffering has left me sad and gloomy," and already I'm rooting for the tiger to eat you! How did anybody every find this book engaging! Twilight is more upbeat and has more action! And its manlier! Pass! ...more
I liked this volume quite a bit. Batman gets to get testy with Green Lantern, Flash and Superman, Aquaman gets to act like a cocky jerk, and Wonder WoI liked this volume quite a bit. Batman gets to get testy with Green Lantern, Flash and Superman, Aquaman gets to act like a cocky jerk, and Wonder Woman gets to act like, y'know, a real girl. Really liked how they all behaved like real people who are just barely meeting each other. And Pandora was super awesome at the end. I predict she's gonna be HUGE in the DC world from now on (as if she hadn't been before, but she really shines here.) ...more