Friday, December 9, 2016

An Intelligent Response to the Moronic White Supremacist Call to Boycott Star Wars Rogue One

The history of science fiction, as a genre, has always held within it a firm and total denouncement of xenophobia and bigotry, and a boundless optimism for a pluralistic universe of possibilities.

Whether it is the extreme pluralism presented in the Star Wars universe, or the quasi-utopia of the Federation in Star Trek, or the much more blatant and outright denouncement of ultra-nationalism and fascism presented in Babylon 5, nearly every major science fiction narrative presents a denouncement against hate and those who use hate and fear as a means for accumulating power. None of this even begins to mention the history of Doctor Who as a political platform, or the works of Heinlein or Frank Herbert.

I've not yet seen Rogue One, but given the history of political undertones present in hints throughout the original trilogy, and placed front-and-center in the prequels, I wouldn't be surprised if this narrative continues here.

If those who exploit ignorance, hate and fear to justify and perpetuate their greed happen find themselves being called out in this film, or in any other, perhaps they should take a good long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves why.

- Scott Mulder

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

With Rejections Like This, Who Needs Acceptance?

I've always believed that most great stories start near the end and work their ways back to the start. In keeping with that tradition, I thought I'd begin with my response to a recent rejection letter:

"That was easily the kindest and most encouraging rejection letter I've received in some time. With your permission, I'd love to share this on. my blog."

What prompted such a gushing reply, you're probably wondering? Before I get to that, allow me to include the editor's response to my response so we can get the legal crap out of the way:

"Aww, thank you. I'd be100% okay with that. That's pretty cool of you! I wouldn't mind a bit of a reputation for being a nice and thoughtful editor!
--L
 
Nice, guy, right? This field is full of them, believe it or not, but they don't normally take the time to write such a positive, encouraging rejection letter. Nor, I might add, should they feel compelled or obligated to do so. I consider myself one of the good ones but when I was editing "The Darkness Internal," I didn't always write personal letters to my authors. Anyway, without further adieu (misspelling intentional), here is L.S. Engler's reply in all its glory!
 
"Hello again, Christopher!


First of all, let me thank you for your patience in waiting for a response to your submissions. This year, the World Unknown Review received well over 100 submissions, exceeding my expectations beyond belief. Unfortunately, not only did this mean taking more time to review the submissions, but it also meant a lot of really hard decisions, as there's only space for ten stories each year. Your story, "And What's Left of the World's a Better Place for It," made the short list, but, unfortunately, it did not make the final cut. I'm going to have to pass on publishing it this year.

That said, I really did enjoy it. Glenda was an incredibly interesting main character and the concept was really intriguing. It just didn't quite resonate as strongly as some of the others. I wish you luck in placing them elsewhere, as it truly was an exceptional story, and I hope you'll consider submitting again to us for future editions.

Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to read your work.

--L.S. Engler"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Two for Thanksgiving.


The only other time I ever wrote about Thanksgiving on this blog took the form of a history lesson/rant about the absolute bullshittery involved in such a dubious holiday. I was called crazy for writing it so I knew I’d done the right thing. I never revisited the topic because, honestly, what’s left to say that hasn’t been expounded on by others far more knowledgeable than I?
So, this post is not a history lesson but it is most certainly a rant.  A personal one.
In the wake of my mother-in-law’s passing, several things came to light and to pass. But she didn’t need to physically pass away to make that happen. Even before she was gone, months before, when she was no longer aware that it was a holiday,  my wife's siblings realized they no longer needed to avoid her scrutiny if they didn’t include my wife and, by extension, me in holiday gatherings.
Obviously if they could no longer get in trouble, they also no longer had to conform to the old ways of doing things. And while the irony of peoplre who refer to themselves as "The Family" and claim to embrace all forms of traditionalism comprising their supposed core values in the name of convenience and comfort isn’t lost on me, this post isn’t about pointing out hypocrisy. I could spend volumes on that. No, this post is about the simplest of concepts: Right and Wrong.
Who am I to discuss these things as if I’m an expert, they would probably say? My response is as simple as the concept: I’m a human being who knows better than to try and fool myself and others into thinking blatant disregard can be disguised as righteouness.
My wife devoted countless days and nights to her mother’s well-being only to be shut out towards the end for reasons I’ll not expound on here. Suffice it to say, the very least that could be done in honor of their mother and what went before is to extend an invitation to a holiday get-together. Who cares if she says no? If you don’t care enough to even present the appearance of propriety and compassion, you sure as hell shouldn’t care if someone declines an invitation. If anything, you’d get to spin it into a smug assurance of your own moral superiority.
So, perhaps the fear is that the invitation would be accepted and they would have to face their own shortcomings and wrongdoing. It is, after all, easier to remain in one’s bubble than to pop it and risk inhaling less familiar air.
That must be why they couldn’t even wait until their mother was completely gone before beginning the now annual act of choosing not to include my wife in the holidays.
You may notice that I haven’t really included myself in the non-inviting discussion. That’s because I have no stake in this. For my money, I could literally go the rest of my life and never partake in another holiday gathering with them and be perfectly fine. But she is their sister and aunt and they should at least have the good taste to go through the motions. One would think the nieces and nephews she helped raise who are now adults and had nothing to do with the falling out would acknowledge her on holidays, especially since she had made sure to send them birthday wishes. They did not return the favor on her birthday.
This year’s Thanksgiving will be almost like last year’s, with just the two of us feasting on an incredible meal (she prepared her mom's traditional meal to honor her)  my wife has prepared all by herself. Except last year we took food to her mom and spent the evening with her. No one else did that.

 I imagine at some point my wife might be hard-pressed to even do that as the years go on, and who could blame her? Pettiness has a way of gnawing at our souls until there’s precious little left. Still, sometimes I wonder if there really are only two of us. There have been signs and moments that indicate my wife is not alone.
I look forward to what she prepares and am thankful she is in my life and still willing to go through so much to make the day memorable and worthwhile, mostly in honor or her mother’s memory.
Ultimately, it is as my own mother used to say: We can’t control how others act, but we have almost total control over how we react.
Happy Thanksgiving~

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fascism.

Imma just leave this here and let ya'll do with it as you please...




Thursday, November 10, 2016

My Literary Hero James Morrow's Thoughts on the Trump Victory.

"Beneath the disgusting and endlessly distracting masks of Donald Trump—misogynist, racist, xenophobe, religious bigot—lies the matrix of a face unprecedented among those forty-four men who’ve held our country’s highest office: the face not of a mere sociopath (the republic was hardly spared that in the past) but rather of a sociopath who can’t be bothered to disguise his lack of a conscience, knowing that a corrupt legislature will do that for him. And so we leap into a void ...not foreseen by the 18th-century Enlightenment rationalists who assembled our republic: a zone of raw nihilism and provisional absurdity, reverberant with the dark laughter of a nonexistent Providence, where ignorant armies clash by night and tell lies by day, waiting for Godot. Were the stakes not so large, and the impending piles of bodies not so high, my own inner sociopath would anticipate the next four years with sheer, salivating, hideous pleasure."

Friday, November 4, 2016

Tribute to Barbara Michael, my mother-in-law.

Today is my mother-in-law Barbara Michael's birthday. She passed away this year on February 17th at the age of eighty-two surrounded by most of her children. I was there, too, as were two other in-laws and several grandchildren.

My wife Lorie and her mother were extremely close, loving and fighting each other the way only people with that type of bond can.  Below is a picture of me with Barb as she was called, taken in 2014 when she was experiencing dementia-related issues. Note the beautiful smile and childlike wonder still in her eyes:



Lorie and I were there every Saturday to spend time with her mom. It became such an ingrained tradition that I didn't even question whether it was going to happen; I just wondered when. Her mother was her world and now that she isn't here in her physical form, Lorie is facing the impossible task of moving on with her life.

My mother died in 1997.  My father died in 1991.  I have experienced parental death but that doesn't make me some wise sage.  All I can do is love and care for and be there for her.  It's a powerless feeling and while I can understand how she feels, I cannot feel how she feels. This has permanently changed Lorie and Barb's passing has left an enormous void in the world.

Barb, you are loved and you are missed.



 
Here's Barb on her birthday three months before she passed, still stunnin' em!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Hello, Poland!

I don't know why they find me so fascinating in Poland of all places, but my statistics viewer shows a rather large amount of people viewing my website from there. So...Hello, People of Poland. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On Editorializing

This post was going to be about what a craptacular mound of rubbish is "The Walking Dead," but I'm going to save that one for next time because this incident just took place a mere few hours ago. Well, it didn't start then but it hit its epoch that recently. I want very badly to name names and, in this case, websites, but being the professional I believe myself to be, I'll refrain and simply repost the conversation with a bit of needed context.

The article in question was about box office results for movies released this year and it contained more than a couple side-trips from Fact Town to Opinionberg.  A commenter on this particular site's Facebook page decided to disagree with the assessments of some of the films regarding their quality.  He was rather smugly advised by the article's author that while his comment was "great," this wasn't an article about opinions on movies. I wrote the following:

That may be what you intended but your opinions of the quality of the films mentioned permeates an article where it wasn't at all called for.

A day passed without any reply so I figured the writer's ego was not sufficiently bruised to warrant snark. I was wrong as the following back-and-forth indicates:

HE: Yup, that's called editorializing.

ME:It sure is.
(Then a few minutes later...)
The dictionary definition for those who might be unaware:
Editorialize
"1
to let your opinions show in a piece of writing where you should only be giving facts
Inexperienced reporters are often tempted to editorialize."


(He posted a more extensive definition and accused me of cherry-picking but that comment has since been deleted)

HE: You must be fun at parties (For some reason he didn't delete this incredibly lame and tired rejoinder)


ME: I am fun at parties. I bring liquor for all the minors.
When one editorializes in an informational article, it's generally viewed as a negative or at least an unfortunate stylistic choice. It tends to weaken the overall point and shift the focus unnecessarily to the author. I am aware of the ever thinning divide between fact and opinion thanks to content writing but that's still a thing as they say. Regardless, I'm not here to attack approach, merely pointing out that denying this is an opinion piece is inaccurate. Oops gotta go. The kids need beer!


HE:  While I am inclined to agree with you, I do think it's fair to point out that a post about the biggest box office bombs without any editorializing would be a bit dry if it was just cold hard dollars and figures. Also, we're an entertainment blog, not the New York Times. (And never denied that this was an opinion piece, although calling it just that is also inaccurate.). Now please forward us your home address so we can alert the authorities to your serving of alcohol to minors!

ME: LOL!

No one ever referred to his article as strictly an opinion piece, meaning he's either oblivious to what took place or being intentionally obtuse to save face. In other words, he's an Internet Content writer. So, it ended amicably enough and he obviously realized his attempt at expanding the definition to make it serve his purposes backfired and that I was someone who knew what the hell he was talking about

Still, like so many millenials, he had to insist upon his point being valid because everybody gets a trophy.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Visual Artist John Skewes: A Class Act

Recently, my short story "Fairy Hunters" was published on the Trigger Warning: Short Fiction With Pictures website with an illustration by John Skewes that I felt perfectly captures the feeling and theme of the story.

Yesterday I received an email from his assistant offering to send me a print of the image. I was beyond impressed by that gesture. It's never happened to me before. I have received free copies of collections in which my work appeared, sometimes with the included artwork, but no artist has ever taken the time to send me a personal print of their work.

It's nice to know there are still people like John out there.

Here is the image:


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beyond Science Fiction Complete Anthology Kindle Edition featuring two Christopher Nadeau Stories!

Before it ceased publication, Beyond Science Fiction was one of two excellent e-zines published by Dayne Edmonson and illustrated by Larry Lonsby Jr. dedicated to featuring actual thought-provoking, non-by-the-numbers genre fiction. The other was Beyond Imagination, which actually wound up becoming a home for more of my work than the former.

Still, this ginormous anthology features two of what I consider my better short stories: "Open Door Policy" and the intensely person "Do-over," of which I am exceedingly proud.

$5.99 is an excellent price for a year's worth of fiction, articles and artwork. And Kindleunlimited users  get it for free!

Below is an image of the cover:

Click here to order.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Just Call me A Worthy Source for Citation.

This insightful article used one of my Movie Network articles as a reference.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What I Did When Faced with a Trump-like Sexist Diatribe from an Employer.


I won’t bother rehashing the content of Donald Trump’s leaked “hot mic” comments regarding women to a disturbingly complicit Billy Bush in 2005. Lord knows enough is currently being said about it, including at least one brilliant parody courtesy of “Saturday Night Live” and Alex Baldwin’s dead-on impression of the be-wigged Cheeto.  What’s really important to me is the fact that there are people out there, male and female, who are claiming this is normal “boys will be boys” banter and that all of us with male plumbing indulge in it.

That, dear reader, is absolute horseshit.

Of course, to hear former Eighties teen heartthrob Scott Baio tell it, there’s nothing wrong with Trump’s advocacy of sexual assault and female objectification. After all, “He talks like a guy.” And if Chachi/Bob Labla can’t tell us how life works, who’s left? Well, me for one. I’m at least as qualified as a faded TV actor whose constant stabs at relevance involve latching onto the coattails of a lunatic who’s ushered in more hatred in his followers than we’ve seen since the heyday of fascism. Since we know how Baio would have smiled and nodded appreciatively with his hands in his pockets while Trump discussed women using the “P-word,” we must return again to Billy Bush.

Bush sat there and giggled and fed into Trump’s braggadocio for ten minutes when he could have easily put a stop to it. He wasn’t a kid either. He also wasn’t recording this as part of an expose, since Billy Bush is about as much of a genuine journalist as Maury Povich. He is either a coward or he agreed with what he was hearing.

While complaining to my wife about the fact that Bush is a wus of the highest order, she asked me if I would have stopped Trump’s offensive comments. When I told I would have, she chuckled lightly and said, “Come on. Really?”

Then I told her about my own similar experience with a former boss who was an attorney and a rabid, sexist twerp. He never went as far as Trump but he started the first time we sat down together discussing women in a derogatory way. I told him I was uncomfortable with it and that there were women in the office and I wasn’t interested in having this conversation, especially in the workplace. He looked at me as if I’d grown a horn in the middle of my face. Later on when speaking with the female co-worker and personal friend who had recommended me for the job (it involved writing) he asked her if I was gay because of what I’d said to him. After all, what kind of guy would pass up the opportunity to discuss boobs and butts no matter where he was?

She said, “No. He just doesn’t choose to discuss women’s body parts at work. He’s a decent MAN.”

Needless to say, he was taken aback. My wife, upon hearing this, looked at me as if seeing me for the first time, her face bright, her eyes and mouth equally wide with joy.  She told me I was her hero and, coming from someone who’d been surrounded by sexism all her life, that meant the world.

You see, I get that objectification happens. And it happens on both sides. It can be relatively harmless and it should be expected because we are, at our core, biological entities designed to procreate.  But much like with racism, when someone has the power and wields it in the name of denigrating another human being and sees it as their earned and born into right, that person is loathsome and beneath contempt as well as undeserving of even more power.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Latest Short Story Publication.

Just a quick update about "Fairy Hunters," the story that answers the question: "What's the redneck wearing?" After a minor delay, the story has now been published on the Trigger Warning site and I must say I love the artwork that accompanies this strange tale of mine.

Check out here for free!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Postscript to Graham Whiting Post.

In the interest of fairness, I searched for and found a follow-up piece by Acorn School Headmaster Graham Whiting, whose blanket commentary on works of dark fantasy being read by children sparked some negative response online. I wrote about it as well. Unlike most of my fellow genre fans, I was probably one of the few who saw the validity in his argument despite its superior-minded tone.

Mr. Whiting wrote a response to the articles that called him an ass which can be read here.  he comes off far more reasonable this time around.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Work-related rant. Scroll down or endure. Your choice:


Working at Library1, the smaller of the two libraries, where donations of books are accepted but there's only a small, dedicated group of seniors who go through them. In comes a guy who asks me where the donations should be brought. I ask him if it's a large amount and he advises me there are ten boxes. That's not exactly a shitload, especially if you're used  to Library2, so I grab a cart and go outside to help him since the security guy who'd normally do it isn't in today.

 Once outside and next to the van, I meet the guy's wife, who advises me in a cavalier manner that her mom just died. I express my condolences and she says, "Yeah, it's a bummer. So, she was an avid reader and we're trying to get rid of all her old books.” She laughs.

 Laughs.

 
So, eight boxes later I’m unloading the cart, thinking there could only be a few boxes left. As I emerge from the back with a now empty cart, I see that she has grabbed a librarian to help her find me because apparently I took too long to unload the cart into the tiny space allowed.  She then asks if we have more than one cart which, because I am already overheated and annoyed, doesn't immediately send up a red flag.

 Back outside, it slowly dawns me on that the cart is filling up again and they do indeed have a shitload of boxes left in their van. We are now at fifteen boxes and no end in sight. At this point, picturing the facial expression of my co-worker who also heads up the all-volunteer Friends of the Library group, I tell her this second round is as much as we can take.

 Is the woman gracious and grateful that we took half of her enormous payload? Have you been to America? If so, don’t ask silly questions.




 

 The woman flies into a hysterical fit, giving me her life story and telling me how she has to drive X amount of people to some-place and yadda-yadda and how the bookstore she tried directed her to a dumpster and the other nearby library wasn’t accepting donations, etc. But for some reason, because we accepted a large amount, we were supposed to accommodate an entire van full of boxed books.

 Try as I might to not let this set the tone for my day, it was within the first thirty minutes and that makes it nearly impossible.

I would say it's a real bummer, but apparently that word is reserved for serious inconveniences like the deaths of our parents.

 

Rant ended.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Short Story "Fairy Hunters" Publication Delayed.

Recently I posted about my short story "Fairy Hunters" being slated for a Labor Day Weekend publication on Trigger Warning. I have recently received word that it will now, "likely appear some time during the week of Sept. 26 - 30 or possibly during the first week of October."

So, don't fret none. You'll find out what the redneck is wearing and why it matters soon enough!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Trip Down (Recent) Memory Lane Courtesy of Richard Bowes.


This morning, awesome author Richard Bowes reposted the interview I conducted with him in 2013 on my Facebook page. Not only was I honored originally that he consented to an interview for my first issue, I am also honored that he remembered and, in his usual class act way, made sure I knew he did.

Then I started going through those old issues and feeling a tad melancholy. I miss the days of compiling those (I think) wonderful issues by (factually speaking) wonderful authors, each with his or her own vision of the darkness inside themselves and their fellow humans. It was hectic and stressful and sometimes the rewards were few and far between.

And I'd do it all over again without changing much at all. That includes apparently driving away an acquaintance who found the act of publishing their spouse's twisted work so objectionable that they felt comfortable confronting me via Facebook before dropping me and summarily ignoring me afterwards.

The magazines are still available to be read and I sincerely believe you'd be doing yourself a favor by doing so.

*Addendum*

After rereading my first editorial, I can honestly say I set the tone for what I was doing exactly as I'd hoped. You can read it here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What the Redneck is Wearing.

For those who read my previous post regarding the end of my submissions drought, here is a little extra info, you may recall that the editor requested a sentence of paragraph providing some detail on what the "redneck" in the story is wearing.  Here's what I sent him:

He placed his hands on his narrow hips, resplendent in his full hillbilly hunting glory.  He had on that stupid red flannel hat with the earflaps and the ripped camouflage jacket with the ripped pockets.  And under that zipped up jacket, no doubt, was that moronic T-shirt he liked to wear with the hopefully ironic slogan, "Redneck Don't Mean Stoopid."

And here's what he wrote back:

"Love it!  Thanks Chris!  Appreciate it."




There, now the redneck attire mystery has been solved!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Drought Endeth

It's been a while since I had a new short story accepted. From what I'm seeing online, I'm not the only one experiencing this. And I'd rather have a publishing drought than a creativity one. Recently, however, Trigger Warning accepted my short story "Fairy Hunters." Ironically, that story was originally written for another publication but I decided the first version was too short and insufficient of the quality for which I strive, so I kept it and worked on it until I liked it.

Almost as good as getting published is the following email I received as a followup:

Christopher:  One editing suggestion early in the story if you're up for it.   Would love to see a physical description of what the redneck is wearing -- his hunting garb.  Doesn't have to be a full paragraph unless you're feeling it.



You can just email me those separate sentences/paragraph my way if you like and I'll insert.  Don't need to re-send whole story.


Thanks!
 
 
 
That's what being a writer is all about: Describing what the redneck is wearing :)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Ever-Increasing Problem with People Taking Everything Personally.






Ancient chair-accoster Clint Eastwood recently referred to the current generation as "pussies." Ignoring the negative connotation in his words regarding a slang term for the female sex organ, it's difficult to know to which generation he's referring since they're literally all younger than his! However, if my own experiences with social networking are any indication, he was not only not entirely wrong, but the Hollywood icon I once admired and can now barely stomach probably meant everyone from Generation-X down.

The problem lies in "identity politics," which is defined as a "tendency for people of a particular religion, race, social background, etc., to form exclusive political alliances, moving away from traditional broad-based party politics." In other words, intense, unreasonable tribalism, often for its own sake, sometimes for good reason, and always to the exclusion of openness to freedom of expression. This mentality stretches beyond the definition above to concepts, genre fandom and even eating establishments.

"Well, okay," you said, "But aren't you being a tad--Wait! EATING ESTABLISHMENTS!?"

That's right, nameless question-asking person...a restaurant. Not even a nice one, but I'll get to that in a bit.  What's important right now is that, until last night, I was ready and even happy to dismiss Dirty Harold's words as the ranting of an increasingly disconnected, grumpy old white guy bitter over the diminishment of his privilege.  It's still rather easy to do that, but I'm far too objective in my reasoning to deny the truth in his sentiment, at least as it pertains to a pervasive inability for many to accept discourse and criticism without losing their proverbial shit.

Case in point: Where I now live and have resided for four years, there is a local restaurant that is very popular with the majority of the town's residents. In fact, it isn't merely popular.  It has spawned a multi-generational level of fanatical devotion that is quite disturbing, culminating in a Facebook exchange that should have never taken place. This individual, for reasons clearly motivated by a thin skin and a fragile ego, took my not-even-all-that-bad review of his favoritist restaurant ever in the whole wide world and launched a poorly conceived personal attack on me in the comments section.

Below is the back and forth between us. The names of the restaurant and the sad human who attacked me have been omitted:

My initial Review: "Been here quite a few times because my wife loves it and have yet to be impressed. Food is ok but nothing special."


 Mr. Butthurt :Been going to [Restaurant]for 25 years great little restaurant......

I hope what ever you do Christopher someone is as critical on you...... 2 stars ..... I rank you as a ........



Christopher Nadeau Seriously? You're so personally invested in a greasy spoon that it compels you to denigrate another human being? You're a sad little person. Enjoy your salt and grease


Mr. Butthurt Dude:  your on such a tall pedestal that you give a small businessman such a poor review of his restaurant.......

You sir are the one who went out of your way to cause the owner to have less than a positive review of his business ultimately causing him finacial loss..

I denigrated you please. You denigrated yourself.

Out of all positive reviews only you and 2 other people gave (Restaurant] a bad reviews.....
Move on troll......
The owner is a great guy and runs a top notch business.



Christopher Nadeau





Oh right. We can only post good things or else imbeciles like you need to run to their safe places sorry. I thought social networking was for the free expression of opinion not dictated by a cult member and assclown who takes it personally when someone  doesn't sing a restaurant's praises. If we weren't supposed to be honest with our reviews there wouldn't be a scale to choose from. Get over yourself and stop trying to police the opinions of others.


  It's been an entire day since I wrote that last part. I'm hoping he realized how absurd he came off and decided to refrain. Perhaps he even decided he was on superior philosophical ground and chose to ignore the supposed "troll" who merely expressed an honest opinion. One wonders where he got the idea that small business owners who are "great guys" are immune to the dictates of capitalism but he obviously feels strongly about it. If nothing else, people like Mr. Butthurt are becoming the norm and the general discourse is suffering because of it. Just because I refuse to be silenced by stupidity doesn't mean others are as strong-willed or even in a safe enough position to act as I did.

Frankly, that's what people like him are counting on~
 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"The Best of The Horror Zine: The Early Years" Now Available!!!

Collecting all the best work from those of us who appeared in the earlier issues of the highly respected e-zine, this one is chockfull of not-so-yummy badness!

Click here to order.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

TV SHOWS PEOPLE OBSESS OVER & WHAT I THINK OF THEM:


Thanks to social media, I get to watch people on a list named “Friends,” most of whom I’ve never met and likely never will, talk about the stuff they’re into on a sometimes second-by-second basis. As a result, I have noticed that even those people that pride themselves on being “different” and “weird” usually tend to be just as sheep-like in their tastes as the supposed mainstream they look down upon.  It’s been a rude awakening for me, especially considering how I’ve been forced to draw the sad conclusion that I have only a little more in common with them than I do with those who consider my interests bizarre or lacking in merit of one type of another.

So, most of the television shows these people are into get discussed and drooled over on a constant. Below is a list of some of those shows and how I feel about them:

Game of Thrones- It started out mildly interesting in its first season until one of the two only interesting characters got killed off. By season two, I realized I not only didn’t care what was happening, but what was happening was little more than exploitative melodrama.

The Walking Dead- As far as I’m concerned, there are two versions of this show: The brilliant and riveting six-episode first season led by Frank Darabont, and the slow descent into pointlessness, abject stupidity, and formulaic claptrap of the later seasons. Guess which one I liked?

Orange is the New Black- I actually heard a radio interview with the woman whose actual life story inspired this show, and her apparent cluelessness intrigued me. Sadly, after three or four episodes, I found myself bored, annoyed and not at all invested.

The Big Bang Theory- I’ve written so much about this geek culture minstrel show that at this point it almost feels self-indulgent. Bad writing, terrible actors with nearly zero comic timing and shoe-horned geek pop culture references make this show pure torture to try and sit through.

Castle- I used to like Nathan Fillion. And I don’t blame him for jumping at his own major ntwork series, but this one just happened to be a combination of every show I’ve ever hated. All the clich├ęs are there, from the would-be witty dialogue, the clunky sexual innuendo, the candy-ass mysteries, the implausible inclusion of a character who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near police work (“The Mentalist,” anyone?) and a chemistry-free casting. So glad to see this one go.

Scandal- Shonda Rhimes excels at juvenile, tittering shows about the idea of sex from the perspective of middle school age children, so it’s no surprise that this ludicrous foray into silliness is equal parts unbelievable plots and screwing.

 

I know there are more but those are the main ones I’m constantly reading about. Next up, a list of show I like that everybody seems to hate~

 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Thoughts on the Orlando Massacre.

I could offer my observations and opinions on what happened in Orlando when  a murderer slaughtered fifty human beings at a nightclub and wounded at least fifty-three more in the name of  his twisted take on religion combined with homophobia taken to its worst extreme. But that would all be theoretical, despite the well-intentioned approach. Instead, I thought I'd repost something one of my bosses wrote because it's eloquent, well-written and, most importantly, it's based on the viewpoint of someone who can relate:



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

AN OVERLOOKED POSITIVE REVIEW OF "FLOORBOARDS"

Every so often, my Blogger stats show me that an older post has been viewed, prompting me to click on it and see what I wrote. In this case, it was a post from August of 2014 when the Parsek Inc. anthology "Parch" was released. At the time, there was only one reader review, which was positive, but I wasn't mentioned in it. Now that I've taken a second look, I see another review that did mention me and it was also positive.




Click here for the  review.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Shane Black on Bowing to Fandom Pressure.

I've always admired Shane Black as a screenwriter ever since "Lethal Weapon" and "The Monster Squad," and recently I've come to admire him as a director as well. I was not one of those who felt some bizarre and entitled sense of betrayal because he dared alter a popular Marvel villain in the name of actual surprises and creativity.

So, in his honor as a  show of solidarity from a guy he's never heard of and certainly doesn't need as a supporter, I present the following Shane Black quote as something all creatives and supposed fans should abide by:

 “The minute you start to govern your creative impulses based on anticipation of someone else's response or their expectations then you're going to fail. "
 
 


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sometimes I envy cartoonists.

Cartoonists can make an important point in such a succinct and effective fashion. For example:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Always say What?

I don't know why The Horror Zine's Jeani Rector loves my short story "Always Say Treat" so much but with the impending arrival of their latest anthology, she will have published it three times.

"The Horror Zine: The Early Years" collects the "finest selections" from the four anthologies they have published so far and one of those included the short story mentioned above. It's a Halloween-themed, dystopian tale of a time when trick or treating youngsters have become so feared and so unstoppable that everyone spends Halloween locked inside, hoping they haven't been chosen to be this year's trick.

While my personal favorite story of the three I've had published with the Horror Zine is "Flame101" I consider "Always Say Treat" the first time I truly honed my ability to balance creepiness with social commentary. Or maybe it's just a really effective poop-inducing scare-a-thon. Regardless, I am honored to appear in an anthology that includes such luminaries as  Ramsey Campbell (who once compared this particular short story to something Bradbury might have written!) Bentley Little and Joe R. Lansdale.

I'll provide further info as details are provided to me~

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Finding Myself in Too Many Places...

I'd never heard of the site "Booklikes," but I happened to find it and there I was in all my mock glory along with several books I have stories in as well as my second novel "Kaiju." My first novel, "Dreamers at Infinity's Core," isn't on the site for some odd reason, but I still feel well-represented on this professionally designed website.

Click here to see it what I'm talking about.

I just wish they hadn't included that damn Russian bride book by that OTHER Christopher Nadeau~

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

THE UPTIGHT BRITISH PRINCIPAL'S COMMENTS REGARDING POPULAR YOUNG ADULT NOVELS AREN'T ENTIRELY WRONG

Many of my Facebook friends and presumably many more in the so-called "genre community" have their knickers in a twist over the severely judgmental words of a severely uptight principal in the UK.

Graham Whiting, Principal at the Acorn School, posted a blog condemning such works as "Harry Potter," "The Hunger Games" and even Tolkien's seminal "Lord of the Rings" as mind-ruining garbage. It's all in defense of the wonderful children, of course, as he writes what I can only hope is a sentence laced with intentional irony, "Children are innocent and pure at the same time, and don’t need to be mistreated by cramming their imagination that lies deep within them, with inappropriate things."

Whiting defines "inappropriate things" as " mystical and frightening texts" that apparently are embodied by these popular series. One wonders what age group he means. According to their website, "The Acorn School is an independent, co-educational school which provides an invigorating, quality education for pupils from 7 to 18 years of age." Does Whiting believe teens are also too delicate and underprepared for these stories or is he specifically referring to single digit age children?

The principal appears to be espousing the by now tiresome assertion that there is no beauty in darkness and only positivity is worthwhile for the development of young minds. Okay, fine, but then he proceeds to advocate classic authors who wrote some of the most disturbing stories in English-speaking history. For every light-hearted Shakespearean romp, there's a horrible, violent tragedy.  Yet somehow Whiting finds the works of these more revered authors to be the opposite of, "un-sensitive books for young children!" (Exclamation point his)

Whiting sums up his point of view rather well with the following paragraph:

"I stand for the old-fashioned values of traditional literature, classical poetry, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Dickens, Shakespearean plays, and the great writers who will still be read in future years by those children whose parents adopt a protective attitude towards ensuring that dark, demonic literature, carefully sprinkled with ideas of magic, of control and of ghostly and frightening stories that will cause the children who read them to seek for ever more sensational things to add to those they have already been exposed to."

One gets the impression Mr. Whiting is speaking from the perspective of a devout Christian. He is well within his rights to do so, as is he in declaring his disregard for fantastic literature aimed at young adult readers. By "fantastic" of course I mean "fantasy-oriented," not "super cool" the way people often use the word. However, while he does indeed make minor reference to a religious objection with veiled comments about the "devil in the text," he goes so much farther by literally blaming childhood mental illness on these types of stories:

"Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, and Terry Pratchett, to mention only a few of the modern world’s ‘must-haves’, contain deeply insensitive and addictive material which I am certain encourages difficult behaviour in children; yet they can be bought without a special licence, and can damage the sensitive subconscious brains of young children, many of whom may be added to the current statistics of mentally ill young children."

Wow! It's "Seduction of the Innocent" all over again.

To be blunt, Whiting comes off like an elitist, clueless individual with far too much time spent in an academic enclave where he has formed ideas about reality rather than experiencing it. He also unapologetically advocates for the stories he grew up reading and admits that by the age of thirty he felt as if he'd read all the books he needed to read in order to become a well-rounded individual. So, add pompous and self-important to any assessment of this gentleman. But as some readers of Ayn Rand have practically said in response to comments regarding their heroine as a person, sure she was an awful human being but was she wrong?

Well, she was but Whiting is a less definite matter. Yes he is ludicrously overblown in his conclusions but I cannot deny the kernels of truth contained within them. I have watched what Harry Potter fandom has done to a generation of impressionable young people and I must concede his point on an albeit lower level.

Since the Nineties, it does seem as if the generations most heavily influenced by whatever Young Adult Novel of the Moment is on their list of expected pop culture obsessions have become infantilized. Many of them refuse to read anything that is even remotely challenging and gods forbid they're asked to read mainstream fiction! Keep in mind this is coming from an author of fantasy, horror and science fiction. I'm not some sequestered, arrogant establishment tool. I'm a sympathetic fellow fan who still sees the validity in an otherwise melodramatic screed.

I work for two libraries in two very different communities, yet the majority of teen and JFic books I see going out and coming in are fantasy based. And while I vehemently disagree with Whiting that kids shouldn't be reading these things, there is definitely an over-abundance of them. Perhaps it's a backhanded way of getting kids to read in an increasingly digital world, and that's certainly a noble undertaking, but there is something to be said for experiencing a more tangible reality in print form. These are, after all, growing, questioning minds seeking meaning and answers in a confusing world. We're already seeing what safe places are doing to them, so is it necessarily a positive to provide them with fantasy world into which they can escape, complete with costume and insider jargon?

Where Whiting goes wrong in his reasoning is his enthusiastic willingness to condemn all forms of fantasy and tales of magic as detrimental to the minds of children. That's patently absurd. His obvious disdain for anything he didn't read by the time he was thirty, apparently a milestone age in his life, is laughable. And the outdated mentality that reading material he doesn't approve of contributes to mental illness is so far beyond reason as to be something that might have originated in one of those novels he looks down upon from his lofty perch.

If anything causes the brain damage he believes is caused by Harry Potter and other like stories, it's close-minded literary bigotry. It's already claimed one victim~



Sources:
http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-jc-harry-potter-brain-damage-20160509-snap-story.html
http://www.theacornschool.com/news/the-imagination-of-the-child/

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Opening Paragraph/Excerpt of a New Story

I don't post these often but since the opening sentence was actually spoken by my wife, thereby sparking off a torrent of ideas and images, I thought I'd share:


Nobody really thinks about what Forever means until it’s handed to them on an ice cold plate.  Until then, it’s merely an abstract concept, a lovely three-syllable word that fills the space between song lyrics and sounds like the ultimate commitment to love and togetherness.  But Forever has a much darker side, one that takes away those we love and keeps them away no matter how much we miss them or what we’re willing to do to bring them back.  And there’s a secret about Forever, one only a few of us know and even fewer of us share: Forever comes to a stop.
 
 
Good bad or indifferent, feel free to share your opinions!
(Name-calling, unless it's really funny, will not be permitted)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Not the Movies You Remember.


With the constant barrage of blockbuster films assaulting our senses these days, I have been thinking back to another blockbuster-filled decade and wondering how many of these current films will stand the test of time as poorly as so many of those. Will people still use words such as “awesome” to describe “Iron Man” or the “Lord of the Rings” films in ten or fifteen years? Here are ten films people considered to be pretty damn incredible at the time that have not aged well at all:

 

The Fugitive- When news of this Harrison Ford starring remake of the classic TV series dropped, I’ll admit to reacting bitterly. After all, I’d already started work on a script with Dennis Quaid in mind (A Harrison Ford type to my way of thinking) and it was a far more grounded treatment than what we got. At the time, the film seemed exciting and riveting, but age has revealed it to be overblown and suffering from a ludicrous third act reveal.

Speed- Okay, I hated this one from the outset, but even I thought it had some production level merits. Not anymore. It was yet another overwrought descent into laughable mediocrity, featuring Dennis Hopper is an embarrassingly awful scenery chewing performance and more clich├ęd dialogue on that stupid bus than one would find in a screenwriting class.

Demolition Man- What once seemed like a refreshingly humorous take on a tired genre now feels forced, loud and severely compromised. Stallone’s fish out of water is fine but Snipes’ overacting is painful to watch.

Forrest Gump- I’m pretty sure this movie makes everybody’s list of overrated schlock. What a cloying piece of sentimental rubbish. Hanks has never been worse and neither has Zemeckis.

Titanic- Bill Paxton once referred to this movie as a 3-hour “romance novel crap-a-thon” in an SNL skit. Whether he meant it or not, he was right. Frankly, at the risk of offending idiots, they’re the only ones who could possibly still think this historical bastardization that was obviously filmed on a soundstage was anything other than James Cameron’s massive ego run amok.

The Matrix- Oh, look. It’s Keanu Reeves again. Never mind the fact that he seems to have just recently learned to act. Nobody could have changed my opinion of this pretentious, over-the-top pile of drek.

Jurassic Park- I never understand what thrilled people about this lackluster, phoned-in excuse to introduce people to the next generation of CGI. The story was dull, the action was stagey, the acting was better than the material and the dinosaurs failed to impress. Looking at it now, the skeletal plot and dull resolution remind us that it really was an excuse to practice using new technology. Boys and their toys…

The Silence of the Lambs- If ever one needs an example of bad melodramatic Nineties acting and “Face/Off” isn’t available, look no further than this overrated glorification of serial killers. Anthony Hopkins, an actor I’ve always found rather iffy, chews scenery so hard I’m surprised he still has his teeth. Taking a character another actor infused with a quiet, subtle dread and turning it into a farcical mockery must be a talent. The less said about an apparently half-asleep Jodie Foster the better.

Braveheart- Mel Gibson is a very good director, despite his personal problems, but this is not the movie to showcase his talent. While his acting in the film is quite good (everyone’s is) the visuals are so textbook symbolic and silly the movie suffers from an overabundance of self-indulgence. If not for the admittedly kick-ass battle sequences, this woefully inaccurate portrayal with its cartoonishly evil English and virtuous Scots would be a complete waste.

Men in Black- Here’s an idea: Let’s take something people have been reporting seeing for decades in the most negative manner possible, and turn them into a pale reflection of the Ghostbusters.  Let’s make the aliens wacky and almost harmless and throw a bunch of one-liners at everybody. Oh, and let’s make sure the movie is plotless. The only saving grace for this movie is that by the third installment, all involved had apparently learned how to make an actual movie with a plot.