Problems With Po

I’ve tried not to speak my mind about Star Wars because I’m just a fan of the movies and have never immersed myself fully in the culture, but I am a veteran and I recognize a dangerous rogue when I see one. Why has Po Dameron not been court-martialed?

Trust me, I was in the military and I can guarantee you that an organization that will bust you down in rank for falling asleep on guard duty after a 12 hour shift, will not smile indulgently on someone who costs them an entire bomber wing to sink one enemy ship.



Self Publishing

I’ve never wanted to be self-published. Nothing against it, but personally my goal has been to do it the old fashioned way: get an agent, sell a book, get a contract. I know I’m a good writer, I’ve worked at it for years, but my sense of success will only be fulfilled when I am accepted by the profession.

But about ten years ago everyone was going crazy for Amazon digital publishing. It was the wave of the future. It was remaking the game. Publishing was on its heels. So I allowed myself to get talked into self-publishing four of my books that hadn’t sold. The four books advertised on this site.

This is the story of how that went down.

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Escapism Is Not A Bad Word

As someone who suffers from bouts of deep depression and spent years on anti-depressants, I can testify to the healing power of distraction. I remember being in high school, suffering from the usual teen insecurity with a dark layer of depression on top and some ADHD and Dyslexia thrown in for a sweet topping and some teacher, wanting to elevate my tastes, would drop something dreadful into my lap and tell me to read it.

I don’t know what it is about Melville’s dense, forbidding prose that English teachers think is going to inspire comic book fans, but it doesn’t. In fact, if you really want to enjoy Moby Dick’s fascinating story, read the Cliff’s notes.

I also remember checking out hardcover SFF novels from the school library and covering them like my school texts so I could read them in class without getting caught. Well, except when I was called on and had no idea what was the teacher was even talking about.

So today, when my news feeds are just so, so awful I can’t stand them anymore, I choose to look away, to focus on the things I love. As a Genrist, those things will rightfully involve SFF, Horror, & Crime Fiction. Cash me below the jump.

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The Five Scariest King Novels

That graphic is from a Twitter ad put out by Simon & Schuster. I can only figure that those are the five they sell because they definitely are not the five scariest King novels.

Pet Sematary is scary in parts, but it’s mostly just sad.

Christine is almost a comedy. I love it, but it’s not that scary.

IT… well, the first 70% is fantastically scary, but the ending is double plus dum. Even so it does belong on this list.

The Tommyknockers is just ridiculous. It’s barely readable.

Insomnia is a love story.

The actual five scariest Stephen King novels after the jump.

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Castle Rock

When I heard this new series wasn’t written by Stephen King or based on one of his stories but was rather a tribute to his work, I was really worried. Remember when they turned Lawnmower Man into an homage instead of using the source material? But I needn’t have been concerned. Castle Rock feels like something King would write.

TL;DR: If you haven’t watched this series already, you’re probably on the verge of murdering all the people who keep telling you to watch it.

Spoilers for Castle Rock follow

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Since everyone else is jumping off a bridge…

I, too, shall rank the Castle Rock books.

Spoilers and another dumb list follow after the jump.

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Horror In Four Flavors

In the pre-Blockbuster days we had to take our horror movies as we found them. They really weren’t putting horror films into wide release so our options were limited to TV, usually on that fourth channel, the UHF one that you could never get a clear picture on, and second run/drive-in theaters. And since there was no selection process on our part, we just watched everything and sorted it into four categories:

Classic B&W A-Grade (Frankenstein, Dracula)

Classic B&W B-Grade (The Invisible Ray)

Garish Color B-Grade (Dr. Phibes, Anything from Hammer)

Cheap Color C-Grade (Don’t Look In The Basement, Anything from AMI)

Without a filter for quality, the single demand we had of these movies was that they be entertaining. Now, that could mean different things at different ages, but mostly they were either gross, scary, funny good, or funny bad. The only sin a horror movie could commit was to be boring.

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Horror In The Modern Age

Stephen King made the point in The Danse Macabre that horror seems to flourish during horrible times. Universal’s monsters exploded onto the screen during the Great Depression and big bug movies made a splash during the offing of the Cold War. Cronenberg’s body horror flooded theaters during the post-Nixon cum Reagan nightmare. And now, with the country shaking itself to pieces in the worst division since hardhats beat hippies with brick bats in support of the “silent majority” Stephen King is making a strong comeback.

It’s interesting that the series Castle Rock is not a King property, but a story based on the way King’s work makes us feel. And, as far as I’m concerned, it makes me feel like it’s 1979 and I’m reading The Shining for the first time. All that’s missing is stagflation and an ineffective president who seems out of touch with reality… oh, wait.

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Horror Vs. Adventure

How do you know if you’re in a horror movie or an adventure film? Are you Ripley or are you Indy? Or, for that matter, are you the first Ripley or the second?

After the jump, some easy ways to tell…

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A List! A List!

I’m in a horror mood lately, probably because of Castle Rock, so I’m going to make a list of my favorite horror movies ranked by how scary they were to me at the time I saw them (in the theater where possible).

  1. Dracula (the original, seen on TV as a child)
  2. The Omen
  3. The Shining
  4. The Haunting (1963)
  5. It Follows
  6. Let The Right One In & Let Me In
  7. The Ring
  8. The Grudge
  9. The Exorcist
  10. The Thing
  11. Hellraiser
  12. The Descent
  13. Halloween
  14. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
  15. The Fly (1986)
  16. Zombieland
  17. Shaun of the Dead
  18. Reanimator
  19. House on Haunted Hill (remake)
  20. IT (2017)
  21. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
  22. 10 Cloverfield Lane
  23. Cabin in the Woods
  24. The Birds (9yo, special Halloween screening)
  25. Peeping Tom (on video but alone in the dark)
  26. Night of the Living Dead
  27. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
  28. Alien
  29. Psycho (8yo, special Halloween screening)
  30. Get Out
  31. American Werewolf in London

Notes about these choices follow after the jump.

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