Monday, October 16, 2017

My Review of A Throne of Bones by Vox Day

I read A Thrones of Bones because Vox Day does a pretty good job of subtly (your opinion may vary) hyping it up, and I have to say that I'm happy that I did.

I don't read much fantasy. I prefer science fiction. However, I do find myself occasionally desiring to break out of that genre from time to time. I bring this up because the only other two "epic" novels that I've read have been The Stand by Stephen King, and The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien. In  comparison to these two books, I much preferred A Thrones of Bones.

In Comparison to The Stand:

A Throne of Bones doesn't dedicate a significant portion of its middle section on characters that will never appear again - just to fluff the page count, show how bad the world is, and provide an outlet for some of King's numerous, weird hang-ups. Vox, unlike King, also keeps the number of perspective characters to as many as he is willing to handle, which prevented him from having to write some convoluted plot twist where many of the characters are conveniently blown up. The ending in A Throne of Bones is also superior to The Stand's ending. The Stand's ending felt like an incredible waste, and a large WTF?!?! moment for me - the big bad villain is defeated by one of his minions, and the "heroes" contributed absolutely nothing to that defeat - incredibly disappointing. A Throne of Bones' ending sets the stage for the next book in the series, and felt like a good, natural stopping point.

In Comparison to The Fellow of the Rings:

J.R.R. Tolkien is undeniably the father of modern epic fantasy, and his influence on the genre is carried over into the pages of A Throne of Bones. If you're familiar with the Lord of the Rings' orcs, goblins, trolls, dragons, elves, dwarves, and humans, then you'll find Day's fantasy beings comfortably familiar. For me, I never got past Tolkien's first book in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien spent far too much time in the Shire, focusing on Frodo's life, that ultimately, didn't matter. By the time I got to the end of the book, I was done. To this day, I still don't know if I want to continue reading the series, and since I've seen the movies, I don't really feel the need to. However, with A Throne of Bones, I never got bored. It may have been a bit slow to start, but once "the ball" got rolling, I wanted to keep reading.

I'm now done directly comparing these books.

The story focuses around the consequences of one of the characters' (Corvus's) decision and the growing unrest in the Amorran Empire. It is well paced and none of the scenes or characters seemed wasted or pointless. The central characters are all fleshed out, with motivations, strengths and flaws. It's a bit surprising to find myself liking Severus Patronus's (one of the antagonists) love for his daughter, and understanding Magnus Valerious's (another antagonist) pain and sadness. I also really enjoyed the love between many of the characters, and this is clearly something that Vox is quite versed in.

The world of Selenoth is similar to Middle Earth, but with a Roman Empire twist that was quite refreshing, although I found the Latin names difficult at times. World building is handled well enough. Vox doesn't spend much time on overly descriptive text of the scenery, and in this way is similar to Isaac Asimov and his Foundation Trilogy - a stylistic choice I find myself enjoying. Despite this, you get a good enough sense of the world that your mind can fill in the blanks.

The one flaw, and you may, or may not consider this a flaw, is that if you follow Vox Day at all, then you will see the author in his writing. I personally don't consider this a flaw. Many great authors wrote from their own, personal experiences. Frank Hubert studied beach conservation, and this is reflected in Dune. Stephen King has many hang ups, and it's present in all of his books. Palahniuk experienced some weird shit, and those experiences contributed directly to Fight Club, Rant, and I'm sure much more. While you may not like that, I do, as it contributes to a deeper understanding of the messages that the author wants to convey in their stories.

In conclusion, if you like fantasy, I definitely recommend this book. If you like Vox Day, I definitely recommend this book. A Throne of Bones is a deserving heir to Tolkien's epic, modern fantasy. I look forward to A Sea of Skulls - which is already available, but there is an extended version that I'm waiting on.

A Throne of Bones is available on Amazon.com and is published by Castalia House.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Review of SJWs Always Lie by Vox Day.

Do you want to understand what's going on with Marvel Comics right now? Do you want to understand what happened in GamerGate? Do you want to understand what's going on in the catholic church right now? Do you want to understand what's going on with science fiction lately, and why you think it's crap?

Good. Go read SJWs Always Lie by Vox Day, and published by Castilia House.

Vox directly participated in events that were involved in GamerGate, and helped gamers route the SJWs. He was also personally attacked by SJWs that had infested the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America organization. So, when he writes about SJWs, he writes from personal experience and careful observation.

Vox goes into detail about all of the above in his book, describing who and what SJWs are, their tactics, and how to prepare yourself for their attacks and how to fight back - and win. Everything he writes about, he backs up with facts and evidence - presenting example, after example. If Vox were a lawyer, I'd hate to have to go up against him, but would want him on my side every time.

He also established the Three Laws of SJWs:

1. They Always Lie
2. They Always Double Down
3. They Always Project

Again, through numerous examples he provides, he lays out how these three statements are true. He then demonstrates the power of rhetoric and it's ability to defeat SJWs.

I don't know what else to say about this book. It's like a field manual for anyone who finds themselves on the receiving end of a SJW's vitriol, or for anyone who simply wants to understand SJWs better. The only negative I can give it, is that it's short, but he's resolving that issue with a sequel. He may also find himself having to someday update his examples to maintain the book's relevancy, but given current events, there will likely never be a shortage of evidence.

SJWs Always Lie is available on Amazon.com and published by Castilia House.

Welcome to the culture war, kid.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

My Review of Blade Runner 2049

You can't talk about Blade Runner 2049 without spoiling it. Thus:

Spoiler Waring!

I don't know what to think about BR2049. There are things to like about it, and things not to like about it.

Is it a good looking film? Yes. Is it well acted? The acting is OK. Is the story good? I don't know. Is the sound and music good? No. Plot? Meh. Themes? Interesting, but it's clearly pushing certain narratives/agendas over others.

The cinematography is great. Everything is shot well, and everything looks good. It doesn't have the same feeling as the original though. This is far lighter, where the original is far darker. Los Angeles has also been updated in the past 30 years and there are no longer fire belching towers or giant pyramids. We also get more of the world outside of LA - it's all pretty dismal, this being a dystopian sci-fi and all.

The actors are all fine. No one is especially outstanding. Gosling plays K, a replicant blade runner. The way Gosling portrays K is very similar to his character from Drive, the only difference is that K has more dialogue and emotions. This wasn't Leto's best performance, it was serviceable. Ford is old and out of place in this film. That's weird to say, but he really does stand out from the rest of the cast and characters. De Armas is cute, and her performance was OK. I don't know if I liked her acting or if I just find her attractive. The rest of the cast were fine.

The story focuses around K. K is a blade runner. He's a replicant. He hunts other replicants for LAPD. Everyone knows he's a replicant, and many humans resent him for it. This answers the BIGGEST question from the first movie: was Deckard a replicant? Yes. Yes he was, and it appears that since Deckard, all blade runners have been and are now replicants. For whatever reason, this doesn't feel like the great revelation it should've felt like, probably because it's answered too casually and out of hand.

K kills Sapper Morton (Bautista), an old replicant, which leads to him finding a skeleton. The skeleton was Rachel from the original movie. The bones indicate that Rachel had a baby - which should be impossible for replicants. This is considered a "miracle" and is an allusion to the immaculate conception - more on themes later.

K hunts the child, and ends up believing he was the child he's hunting - exploring the idea of false vs real memories from the previous movie. The big bad Wallace Corporation wants the kid, or Deckard, or both, in order to create more sexually reproductive capable replicants - Wallace (Leto), for all of his supposed intelligence can't figure it out. K ends up running away, and finds Deckard in Las Vegas. They fight, then make up, then the Wallace Corporation finds them and kidnaps Deckard.

K is kidnapped by replicant revolutionaries, told he's not the child he's been looking for, and sent to go kill Deckard. K finds Deckard, helps him fake his death, and then takes him to his daughter. Deckard meets his daughter. K dies. The end.

The film takes 3 hours to tell this story, and it's boring, about as boring as I wrote it. There are numerous, long, establishing shots to remind you how well the movie looks and help build the world, but it doesn't help. As much as I enjoyed the movie while I watched it, I wish it had hurried up and got to where it wanted to go. At least one couple walked out of the movie.

I stated this in my Valerian review, science fiction is an excellent place to explore ideas. Some of the ideas present in BR2049 are interesting, but none of them particularly thought provoking. One interesting ideas is K and his relationship to Joi (de Armas). Joi is a hologram and K's wife. She is stuck in his apartment until he gets some sort of transmitter stick. It's both sad, and endearing seeing these two artificial beings together. It also hits terribly close to home now that sex bots are real.

Sex is a theme in this film. There are hints of BDSM in the relationship between K and his boss, whom he calls Madam. There are prostitutes, openly prostituting themselves on the streets - of course they're replicants. There's a whore-house with glass walls in which an orgy is happening (visible to the public and right on the street), and it's just obscured enough not to be considered porn. There is a nude advertisement for Joi, and it turns and offers the world a clear view of her genitalia. There are several naked replicants on display in Wallace Corporation - although these are presented more like cadavers for scientific study then as porn.

The hedonism and decadence on display hits close to home and reminds me of the open air orgies that are gay pride parades and BDSM parades. It's gross, but then again, the humans in BR2049 are doomed, so what's the point of maintaining human decency?

Unsurprisingly, the ideas of Cultural Marxism's class warfare and feminism sneak their ways into the film. Cultural Marxism is presented through the replicant revolutionaries who want to start a war between them and humans and between the replicans and Wallace Corporation. Feminism is there in the form of a woman leading the LAPD, a "bad-ass" replicant secretary that knows kung-fu, and a replicant woman that was born to two replicants (an allusion to the immaculate conception, changing the Jesus archetype to a female).

There's also the trope of the evil robot creator that sees himself as a god because he makes robots. I'm sick and tired of this blasphemous trope. I get it, it's a quick and easy short cut to show how arrogant someone is, but it's old. It's funny, Hollywood hates Christianity, yet can't stop alluding to it.

 Unfortunately, none of these ideas, or the story really seem to matter - the humans are all going to die anway - that's what the movie leads us to believe. Earth is fucked (allusion to climate change/nuclear war), and humans are being replaced by replicants (which is analogous to Europe, Europeans and the immigrantion crisis). Since replicants can have babies now, it's only a matter of time before humanity goes extinct.

I think this is why I don't like the movie. Humanity is fucked, the earth is fucked, replicants are the future. There is no hope for humanity in the Blade Runner world.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Review of Brings the Lightning by Peter Grant

I haven't read many westerns. In fact, I've only read two. Brings the Lightning by Peter Grant is one, and it's good.

The other western I've read is Hondo by Louis L'Amour.

Peter Grant compares favorably to Louis L'Amour, and I would say that he is, at least, on par. At this point, the only thing that L'Amour has over Grant is shear quantity.

Brings the Lightning follows Walt Ames, a former Confederate cavalryman, who is trying to find his purpose in life after the Civil War. Ames' search takes him across the USA to the Utah territory, a journey that is fraught with danger and opportunity. Each hardship that he overcomes brings him closer to his goal and his purpose. But, as you can see by the subtitle of the book, that this is only the beginning.

Grant is a good writer, and the book is well paced, and it shows that this time period is something he is both knowledgeable of, and passionate about. The characters and the plot are both good. None of the characters feel like tropes, and all of them get enough time to flesh them out and for the readers to care about. While the plot could be considered a bit a-typical, it isn't inappropriate for the period and place, nor is it boring - as I stated the journey is full of adventure.

If you're interested in westerns, if you like Louis L'Amour, or if you're looking for something new and never read a western before, I highly recommend Brings the Lightning by Peter Grant. It is an entertaining tale and enjoyable journey. I look forward to reading book 2, as soon as I'm done with my current reading list.

Brings the Lightning is available on Amazon.com and is published by Castilia House.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Ugly Truth About DACA


By Stefan Molyneux.

Want to know the truth about DACA? Watch this video. Watch it in its entirety.

Meanwhile, attempted border crossings have increased. Allowing amnesty will trigger chain immigration. It will also cost up to $115 billion - that's money that could be spent building the wall.

Breitbart isn't the only one talking about the negatives either, there are plenty of articles on both side.

What are the positives if DACA is allowed to stay? There is none. Unfettered immigration will fundamentally change the USA - just like it's changing Europe. There is no magic dirt. Illegal aliens aren't here for our benefit, they're here for theirs, and theirs alone.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My Review of Hitman's Bodygaurd

Hitman's Bodyguard is an un-apologetically fun movie. Ryan Reynolds gets to play the straight man, while Samuel Jackson get's to be the zany, fun guy - and it works! The supporting cast are also good, from Salma Hayek and Elodie Yung to the guys who play the goons.

It is by no means a perfect movie. There was a weird choice in how they lit some of the shots, where the light just blooms in a surreal way. There is also a scene where the music is just too loud - that may have been the theater's fault. Some of the CGI also isn't great.

Despite all of that, this movie had me laughing. The role reversal between the two stars was a good decision, both actors genuinely appeared to be enjoying themselves. Salma Hayek is hilarious despite her few scenes. Elodie Yung is good, and did a good job.

Thankfully, there is very little political correctness, feminism, or SJW bullshit in this film. Hayek's character kicks the ass of every single patron during a bar fight, but it's so over the top, it can' be considered anything but comedy. Yung's character also has a good fight scene that accurately enough portrayed the real life physical differences between men and women. Reynolds' and Jackson's fight scene is well choreographed and well shot, and was fun to watch.

Additionally, the attention to detail was quite good as well. While it probably contained dozens of tropes, it didn't seem like it. The actions scenes were good, the comedy was good, and the chemistry between the cast and creators was also good.

Overall, it's a good movie. Set your expectations low, accept the fact that this film is pure fun and was intended to be pure fun, and you'll have a good time laughing your ass off. This is a movie I definitely recommend!

It's been a few weeks...

Since I wrote anything here. I haven't written anything for this month yet, either.

What have I been doing?

Working on things. Things that don't directly benefit this blog.

I can't sustain the rage that prompts my writing on here. I can't sustain the fear either. What does that leave?

Love, but that requires that I love writing this blog. Writing this blog was only ever intended to allow me to have a voice. I have a voice, and thank you all for reading. This would also require me to love my readers - although the statistics on the back end of this site demonstrate that people have read my blog - I don't have any connection with you readers.

Also since this blog lacks any kind of focus, it inherently lacks purpose.

Much to think on, I have.