My dears, my darlings, words cannot describe how much I NEED this Samurai Generals Sword Set. It would be a glorious jewel in my “Ugly Stuff” crown. I could photograph me with a sword in each hand when I wear that tutu you were going to buy me.
Later, we’ll talk about my “Ugly Stuff” thing. In a nutshell, I have excellent tastes, which I like to offend from time to time by having something truly ugly around to look at.
So the last two days, while I was bitching about the flaws in I, Robot, Syd has been telling me other Asmoiv books I should read instead. It’s not even that the book was entirely valueless, although the streak of sexism put me off mightily. She hasn’t offered up much defense for the book, choose to deflect my criticism with lines like “Product of his times” and “He got better about that, he really did get better.” The problem is, I’m not sure I care. The writing was dry and the stories were just thought experiments, answering questions no one asked. It’s not encouraging.
She’s trying to claim that she told me to start with Caves of Steel, but I recall that she told me the books go in order and if you start in the wrong place you won’t know what’s going on. There is a published order and a chronological order as I understand it, and if you try to read chronological first, you will get confused. So I started at the beginning, which is often the best place to start anyway. However, I can accept that this is just the wrong book to start with and I’ll give him one more try before I declare him anathema and punch anyone I happen meet with muttonchops just in hopes of getting my feelings to him.
That’s not what I really want to talk about though, what I want to talk about is the “product of his times” thing. I don’t buy that, and I don’t tolerate it. People try to hide behind that, saying we mustn’t judge past works by today’s standards, to which I say bullshit. Either a writer transcends their time or they don’t. I’m never asked to make excuses for Dashiell Hammett, nor do I ever feel compelled to. He’s either a profane or acceptable as he is. In some cases, the profanity is the point, in some cases it’s merely a side issue. Of course it’s entirely possible that I excuse or ignore the annoying things because I get into the story. His works are engaging, while works that aren’t engaging me have a greater tendancy to have elements that annoy me.
On that same point, but slightly different, Edgar Allan Poe was a flat out misogynist. Sure, when you peruse his selected works it hardly comes out, but look deeper and you’ll see it. Read A Predicament sometime and you uncover not just a humor piece, but also a deep dislike for women writers. Keep reading his works and you find someone with a serious problem with women. Sometimes worshipful, sometimes violent, never healthy. He can usually keep that out of most his stories though, normally by ignoring women entirely, so his issue is rarely brought up. When it is though, it ruins the whole story.
There comes a point where a writer just looses me because of some of his or her foibles and prejudices. There comes a point where I am hyper sensitive to those things and each time they come up, it will ruin the book for me and make me set it down. These can kill a book, or even the idea of ever reading that author. Quite often, it will turn me off them forever. Mainly because there are so many things to read, watch, and do that I find my time limited and I don’t wish to spend it being pissed off at shitty writing.
Stephen King is a good example. No matter how much I once liked his work, when he gets going I can no longer read him. I’ve tried to go back and read some of his stuff lately, and it’s just not happening. I can no longer read him, because his things keep jumping out at me. The last couple of attempts, its been one thing. It’s why I just stopped dead on Full Dark, No Stars and why I just decided not to finish The Stand and it’s the reason I cannot stand what is supposed to be his best novel “IT” one little bit.
Oddly, it comes down to one word. Continue reading
Been reading an old sci-fi book this week, actually listening to it.
I have eye strain from listening to this book, my eyes rolled that much and that hard.
Badly missed tech trends, sexism is still okay, thinly veiled everything. I really hate the last one. Guys with half their faces painted black and the other half white embarrassed me as a child. To this day, I’ve never been able to watch that episode. Every time a sci-fi story does that whole “See, we’re saying it’s about this, but REALLY it’s about that” I’m reminded of a fantasy of mine.
I always wanted an episode of Star Trek where Data says something like, “It’s much like the situation in the American South when whites owned blacks as slaves.” And then Riker would turn to him and say “Yeah, we worked that out, what with not being stupid and all. Look, metal boy, go stand in the corner and explain to the wall how you’re a Pinocchio analogy. I’ve got work to do over here.” There’s room for analogy, but Sci-Fi never really trusts its audience enough and has to make it so much more blatant and obvious. And why? Sci-Fi readers are, in my experience, smarter than most the people around them, why not trust them?
You know what is really annoying me about trying to read I, Robot? The sheer number of times people quoted the laws of robotics to each other. I mean, these are supposed to be so basic they’re on page one of every book including How to Build a Better Dildo, and yet they constantly quote them off to each other like the person they’re talking to has never heard of them. It would be like me trying to explain that trees burn. “No, you can’t use a blow torch to melt that tree because trees are made of wood Bob. TREES ARE MADE OF WOOD!”
Now imagine that, stated over and over again and you begin to see my frustration.
Yeah, I know it’s actually a collection of short stories, doesn’t make it any less of a shitty read. Doesn’t leave me not thinking that there were 57 different ways to convey that information besides saying “Trees are made of wood” over and over again.
Ah fuck it. Time to go listen to some other story where women aren’t either idiotically flighty housewives or stone cold bitches who only got jobs because they couldn’t land a man. I just don’t have time for this bullshit.
I maintain that if the peahean it pecking the popcorn from my fingers, I am not feeding the bird. She is stealing from me. That bird stole my popcorn and I want recompense!
Twins in Death
A Tale of The Weirdo
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter One: The Ballad of Captain Scourge
March 10th, 2002
A lot of trouble went into getting restraints for Captain Scourge. The problem was not in finding a rubber straight jacket. Oddly enough there were enough S&M shops around that sold a wide range of leather, rubber and PVC clothing to subdue the man or woman willing to pay the price. The problem was getting someone to actually go into the store and buy the stuff. It’s fairly hard to go into a shop and explain that you need rubber kink wear to keep a dangerous super villain restrained and it must be rubber with as few metal parts as possible because said Super Villain was electrically gifted. The Weirdo managed though, and paid for the restraints out of his own pocket, which was quite magnanimous of him really. Magnanimous because he was not about to submit the receipt in order to get reimbursed, and they were fairly expensive.
Captain Scourge’s first physical sensation was of arms holding him tight in the darkness. He slowly came to himself and found that the arms holding him were his own. He looked down and found himself in a leather and rubber straight jacket. The police where slowly leading him towards a large van. He had seen the vans before, paddy wagons, as his dad had always called them. It was a large blue thing with a maw that would take him into the bowels of the truck. He wasn’t cuffed by steel but tied to the truck with thick smooth ropes that were also bought from the kink shop. The man in the gray coat had tied him and actually hung him off the floor to keep him from touching the metal floor. His eyes swam, and he could only make out a little of what they were saying.
“Where is he going next?”
“Not sure. Jorgaes will probably take possession.”
The doors closed with a loud clang and he could only see light through the crisscrossed chinks of the small six by eight inch windows on each door. He could see some light but he couldn’t hear anything else. He tried to kick his legs, and that was when he finally discovered what trouble he was really in. His legs had been closed in some sort of rubber corset and he couldn’t move them. He began to panic and to cry out a little when a hand touched his head.
“Calm down kid.” The voice had a certain reassuring tone to it.
The hand touching him felt cool and smooth, almost like the scales of a reptile. He couldn’t see the face of the speaker, just the large red hood of the cloak that obscured all features.
“Get me out of this.” Captain Scourge whined softly.
“I can’t yet.” The voice sounded odd, like it wasn’t human. “If I do it now you’ll be in the same fix, maybe even dead. Can you just hold on for a few minutes without panicking?”
“I think so.” Captain Scourge said softly, unsure if he could.
“Good.” The owner of the voice backed away and he could hear him sit down. “We’re going to have to wait for a few minutes. It’ll hold off the panic attack if you take long measured breaths and just concentrate on one sensation. Try to consider exactly what your right index finger is rubbing against for example.”
Outside the men looked into the windows at the young man in the restraints. They couldn’t see anyone else, just the young man, but then the other rider was leaning against the doors to stay hidden from peeping eyes. He had other ways to remain hidden as well. The head turned to look at the windows and Captain Scourge thought he saw something like reptile scales again, though the person could have just been wearing a mask of some kind.
“They’re going to take him away to some government laboratory and stick needles into him for the rest of his life aren’t they?” Jack asked.
“I’m not sure.” The Weirdo said.
“Jorgaes is here.” Tommy said, pointing over his shoulder. It might be telling that The Weirdo didn’t look, or that the car hadn’t actually appeared yet.
It was a moment later that the silver BMW that Jorgaes was driving this season pulled up around the corner. Jorgaes (pronounced Yorgaes) was a man under five foot high and built as if someone had made him out of bricks. He smoked the most horrid Pakistani cigarettes known to man and was The Weirdo’s link to the United Nations, for whom he sort of worked.
Years ago he had been approached with a deal, to work for the U.N. to help take care of certain problems with the world, in exchange for which he would get diplomatic immunity for himself and his staff. This meant that he would occasionally do some cloak and dagger sort of stuff, when he agreed to do it, and in exchange for which he would get immunity. No country listed him as an employee, in fact he wasn’t listed at all and all inquires about him were routed to Jorgaes, who had a habit of hanging up on people.
“Hello gentlemen.” Jorgaes said looking at the young man through the caged windows. He had to step up on the bumper and pull himself up with the door handles to look through though.
“Jorgaes.” The Weirdo said.
“What have we here?” He asked taking a silver cigarette case from his pocket.
The case cover was black enamel with a circle with an arrow coming from it, the male sex symbol so popular during the disco years. He pressed a button and opened the case between his hands like a book.
“We have one Captain Scourge.” The Weirdo said.
“What is a Captain Scourge?” Jorgaes asked as he selected a cigarette and placed it between his lips.
“This is.” The Weirdo said pointing. “Do you know what we could do with him?”
They opened the doors and found Captain Scourge dangling like a piece of meat from the ceiling. Jorgaes looked at him, appraising him, as if he wished to buy him. He raised his hand to his lips, exposing his cuff link. The cuff link was a black circle with the astrological symbol for Aries on it. This along with his cigarette case made people think that perhaps in his off hours Jorgaes listened to disco music and read his horoscope a lot. This was in fact untrue, but he enjoyed the fact that they thought this.
“Some federal guys are already on their way, they think they could contain him.” As Jorgaes spoke he crouched down and looked at the young man’s face.
“Contain?” Tommy said. “Contain as in put in a test tube and see how he works?”
“Probably.” Jorgaes said flatly, straightening up again.
There was a moment of chilly silence during which Tommy mentally transmitted to The Weirdo his opinions and thoughts on Jorgaes and letting him continue to walk the earth. Jorgaes must have gotten a whiff of the thought because he looked directly at Tommy. Jorgaes was not exactly intimidating, but he had been in politics a long time and possibly actually knew something of the outside world.
“It’s obvious he’s got to go away, at least for a while.” He said gesturing with the cigarette. “We can’t have people flying through our fair city electrocuting people for no good reason. You guys just got this city put back together, you want to let him take it apart?”
Tommy said nothing, and through his silence made his position complacent to the one being offered.
“They’ll probably find some way to train him and turn him into a weapon.” Jorgaes said. “But then what of it? Maybe the kid can be reformed.”
“Oh?” Jack asked.
“They’ve reformed people before. Or at least put them to good use. It’s what they do. We’ve got a few working for us in fact, completely reformed, working on the west coast.” He closed the doors behind him.
“Yeah.” The Weirdo said.
“Point being it’s not your problem any more.” He reached into his coat and pulled out a thick manila envelope. “Here’s your payment anyway.”
The Weirdo took the envelope and became in a small way compliant to what was going to happen to Captain Scourge. Jorgaes dropped his cigarette and stepped on it with the toe of his left wing tip and put pressure on it to kill it. He didn’t grind it out, didn’t stamp. He had simply placed his toe down and crushed it. Jorgaes then turned around and walked towards his car.
The Weirdo looked into the envelope and found the same amount of money that he always found. He knew that an item eight one five seven six would have another large bill attached to it. Item 81576 was apparently a truck of some description, but it was also what Jorgaes put down when he paid The Weirdo.
Not that The Weirdo ever kept the money that Jorgaes insisted on giving him. The Weirdo’s personal resources made him one of the world’s wealthiest people, and thus made regular large cash contributions to children’s charities. If a person wanted to be suspicious, they could look at the ledgers of the United Nations’ several different charities and watch how an exact amount goes for 81576 and that amount enters the coffers of a children’s charity. The money was actually dropped off at a homeless mission in Harlem this time, but you get the point I think.
The Weirdo took a pocket watch from his pocket and flipped the cover open. He looked at it for a moment and then closed the cover again, looking at the other two men who were left.
“I think I’ve got enough time to still get a bit of lunch.” He said. “If the world ends, leave me out of it.”
“Yes sir.” Jack said giving a deliberately bad salute.
© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions
Now, some of you may be aware that I own a replica of a T-Rex Skull. Not a huge deal, but I like it. It’s a little skull though about 1/10 scale, and that’s because the T-Rex was a big critter.
NOW! For VEWPRF my dear friend wanted to get me something to go along with it, a velociraptor skull.
She ordered it, and was told it was on back order. She then waited, and waited, and waited. Had she been a male, she would have a long Gandalf beard with all the waiting. Eventually, she lost patience, canceled the order and got me a knife instead. Because the way to my heart is with a sharp object. Well the thing is, they sent it anyway.
So, saturday I came home from work and walked around the house.
Now, we have a lot of knick knacks. From Shao Lan, the dragon in the bathroom, to you know what? Take my word for it, we’ve got a bunch of things. However, I know where all the things are. I have a tendency to look at each one as I pass. Now, it was dark in the hall where the skull is, and I barely glanced at the Rex skull as I passed. It wasn’t until the second or third time that I looked at it that I noticed the silhouette of the skull was wrong. So I grabbed it and examined it, realizing that it was not the rex skull but a different one. Syd laughed, because I passed three times and didn’t notice. Except it was A) dark and B) not my chief point of interest as yesterday was a crappy day. The thing is, she could have kept it going longer had she not replaced the Rex skull. What struck me was that the outline of the skull had changed. I didn’t even notice that there were now two skulls and it would have taken me longer to work that out had she left the rex skull were it was and merely put the raptor skull between the rex skull and the knife that had to get moved because the raptor skull is going there now.
Anyway, short story long, I have a Velociraptor skull and it helped the day suck less.