Monday, December 25, 2017

Moving in winter tips

For my readers who might have to move in winter.

First: Don't. I am assuming a place with real winter. As in temperatures approaching zero or lower. As in snow and ice making your trips to the vehicle worse.

Second: If you do have to, take breaks. It's the same kind of health hazard that shoveling snow is, so do a bit, take a break.

Third: Have fun weeding your stuff. I've donated hundreds of books to various local places so I don't have to move them. This only dents my library.

Fourth: If you must move in wither and can afford it, hire people instead. If you can't recruit friends.

Fifth: Don't feel bad about just throwing some things away. Some just isn't worth donating, and won't sell quickly or easily. Jut eat the loss and keep going.

So, yes, my days have been filled with dropping stuff off, and packing. Oh, and trying to make all the arrangements I need for the moving itself. I get to spend some time today with friends, but already dropped off some books, and will have some packing and sorting to do later.

What fun.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Notice of Slowdown of Service

Due in part to the employment market and housing costs in Illinois, as well as some other factors, my focus has to shift away from writing and blogging for a time. I will be abandoning the state and not wave on the way out. It's dying, and has been losing jobs and people for years.

My future location will remain undisclosed for at least a time, though it will be far less hostile for my faith and politics.

I will try to keep posting a couple times a week, but have no guarantees. If all goes well, regular posting will resume shortly after the start of the new year.

Thank you for reading and following.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Injustice Book Review: The Revelations of Zang by John R. Fultz

Cower not, fierce reader!  Today we look at a set of stories in a land that well, feels a bit familiar and new at the same time. Let's take a look at some of the structure, and some of the crimes of this book.

Before I begin, I will say for my more "sensitive" readers, that there is a fair amount of sex in the book. I don't believe it's in every story, and well, it's not a Christian world.

To the structure: This follows a number of characters in the world via individual stories. The stories aren't directly connected. So, when one story ends and another begins, it can be a little jarring.

That's merely a weak point, though. The world has a really rich history to it, without detailing it outside of necessary times. There's magic, though it's not systemtized like a lot of modern fantasy. And some of it is more standard than others, such as bargains with dark things.  Others involve the word of silent ones and necromancy.

For a strong point, all of the stories tie together very well, and I was pleased to see some of the interacting points throughout.

Now to the crimes of the book.

First, the book places value on faith. Not a specific faith, but it has a recognition of the dehumanization and decay of the soul that society undergoes without faith. There's regret and repentance and mercy.

Second, the book decries a number of leaders in this book, while praising others. Vice and virtue both have leading examples here, and see growth and change through their faith. The faithless ones, well, they have less pleasant outcomes.

Overall, this is a really cool book, and while there's more sorcery than swords by far here, I really dig it and commend to any lover of both. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Adaptations part 2

Yeah, I know I didn't go through and look at any GOOD adaptations. And I realized it's a really good idea to do so, as many will hold up the Marvel Cinematic Universe as good adaptations. Largely, they aren't adaptations; they're standard "hero's journey" action films, with some notes from the comics stories and characters.

So, what's a good adaptation? I'm going to look at Road to Perdition, as I hold it is quite possibly the best comic book adaptation yet. Oh, there are changes made in the story, but most of them are sensible to the translation of time constraints and well, a minor bit of believability, regardless of history.

First change was the name of the Quad Cities crime family leaders. They were the Looney family. Max Allan Collins wrote them as such, as they were a historical truth, The book was part gang history, part Lone Wolf and Cub. Why the change? It's not a common name, and some might think it was too on the nose, never mind that it wouldn't be very recognizable as Irish anymore.

The scene in the Capone headquarters? It's in the comic. I'm not sure on the history, though there are several tomes on the Angel of Death.

What else got changed? Well, the amount of the time on the road, robbing banks feels very condensed. That's FINE, they manage to give the impression without the time. Going from a novel to comics, somethings won't work as well, due to sheer descriptive ability vs. having the art present.

There were multiple hitmen after Michael O'Sullivan, not just one. Again I don't have a problem with the condensing of this as he was portrayed as a real threat, and a fairly constant presence.

One last change they made, and that's more a movie audience(normies world wide) versus a crime comic audience(gritty is good). The graphic novel ends with the son being the one that shoots the final hitman. Likely that would have caused an outrage, and there was no reason for that. The movie was a one off, no sequels, while the comic is written so that sequels could happen(and they do, in both novel and graphic novel form).

There's a few other really good adaptations out there, and I might cover more later. Or more bad ones, even if they make decent stories themselves.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Doing adaptations well or badly

Why not talk about this a bit? There's been a lot of adaptations over the years, and I don't just mean film and TV.  The Shadow started as a radio theater host character, and was spun off into his own show, with books, comics, and film following. Recently, Castalia House has announced an adaptation that may be their first foray into their alternative comics distribution model. 

Personally, I don't have any excitement for this, though I know the series has people that love it. Whether that will translate to folks buying comics, we'll see. They also mention a Lovecraft Noir series and a military science fiction series possibly being adapted. I think the Lovecraftian may work, and I'm confident the milsf books will if and when they happen.

For an adaptation to do well and be good are, of course, two very different things. In comics, I've seen adaptations of opera that are amazingly beautiful, but they lack the music. There's also been so many comics adaptations of movies that are just lazy that it's ridiculous. 

One thing that I can guarantee is disastrous in adapting a property is not having a coherent version of it. My best example would be the Jonah Hex movie, which opened with a great animatic. One of the big issues was the fact that there was no one version of the character or type of story they wanted to tell, and instead tried to mix up the weird west and regular western versions of the character, and landing in a disjointed semi-weird, semi-regular version with a twist of steampunk.

So what works? Start with knowing and respecting the work. That's why Henry Cavill fails as Superman, there's no respect for the history or mythos of the work. Oh, you can point to Superman Year One, but even that has Superman as more human than these. 

Look at the origins, and I don't mean Krypton. His planet of birth matters for the scale of what he is capable of, but not the directions he chooses. No, his origins are not as Superman, but Clark Kent from Smallville, Kansas. Not the show, the place, and what that means, which is mostly beyond anyone in the film industry anymore. No culture of faith, instead he's taught to sacrifice others rather than self.  

Maybe if there was a better cultural awareness instead of coastal elite smugness, they could move beyond playing to their social justice ideals. Nah. Keep playing, guys, you're making huge openings for everyone that wants better stories.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Product Review: Havit Vertical Wireless Mouse

Yeah, I don't do this as a gneral rule. But, I'm a musician and writing, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has been a fear of my for decades. I've had problems with regular mice for years(hand cramping or part of the hand going numb), and finally decided it was time to try something else.

Now, I didn't want to spend much, so I thought I'd try one of the less pricey vertical mice. This one is from Havit, and it arrived yesterday. My old mouse was bothering me enough I left the coffee shop to get batteries, as it uses AAAs, where my old mouse used AAs.  But, for a pic of how it fits(from Amazon, but it's pretty accurate):

Yep, it lets my wrist work the mouse at its normal angle. After trying it with web browsing(the page back and forward buttons are placed a little high, but you won't hit them by mistake) and normal use, I decided to go for the big thing last night: how did it work for play? So I pulled up Grim Dawn, as that would let me test the mouse best of what I have.

And I have to say, I'm happy with it. My hand never cramped, my wrist never needed a break. So, if you're a righty and a susceptible to CTS, I gotta say this might be worth your money. There are vertical mice for lefties as well at some comparable price points, but I won't attest to those.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Injustice Quick Reviews 2.15

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we have a spread before us including death, mystery, action, ancient history retold, talking apes, and mythic warriors. Let's take a look at our selections.

Star Legions: Warlords of Cunaxa by Michael G. Thomas- It's been a good while since I read the first two, and I have to say, it was easy to get back into the series. The link is to a cheap omnibus version, so you don't need to dive into the middle, though I think you could if you wanted. Major crime: showing the heroes of the past as such, even in complex situations. 7 of 10 fell deeds

The Slayer by James Alderdice(David J. West)- This is a reprint collection under the name he chose for fantasy works. We follow a pair of warriors through a series of adventures during the Crusades, dealing with men of honor and dishonor. Major crime: Honor in men of action. 8 of 10 fell deeds

Seduction of the Innocent by Max Allan Collins- This is the third in his Crime and Comics trilogy(kinda hoping for more later on). We cover a fictional version of the comics outrage stirred up by Dr. Wertham and his book of the same title. Once again, in many ways a love letter to comics history and crime novels. Major crime: Admitting the consorious nature of the Democratic party. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

Galaxy's Edge: Sword of the Legion by Nick Cole and Jason Anspach- Look, it's Galaxy's Edge. I am beyond apathetic to Star Wars anymore. Galaxy's Edge is the real deal, and any support going its way helps the possibility of other media picking it up. Major crime: Irking the Mouse. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

The Invisible City by Brian K. Lowe- Checked it out because the guy's a Cirsova contributor. And I have to say, he knows how to work in long form really well. The start is a little slow, but things pick up, and well, there's racial oppression, talking apes, and more in a world close to our own. And I really want to dig through that library. Major crime: Taking notes from ERB, and making it feel fresh. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Game Mechanic: Diminishing Returns

Yeah. This one is a bit trickier as I can't just search for it as a mechanic on BGG. But, we talked a bit about it when I was on Geek Gab Game Night, and I also haven't done a post on game mechanics for a bit. Oh, yeah, you might want the show.

Anyway to some diminishing returns.

I mentioned Terraforming Mars, as it was in my mind. The first player gets more points than the second for each milestone. It's not unique to this game by any means, but it's a good example.

Dominion and many other deckbuilders in many ways feature a combination of opportunity cost and diminishing returns. The Victory Point cards are limited in quantity, but they are part of the deck, so early purchases  can limit later ones. For the unfamiliar, each player starts with a small standard deck(identical, and usually 10 cards), and add to it throughout the game.

War games also have a version of diminishing returns in that there's limited benefit to adding more units to a conflict or point within a conflict. The general attack ratio for victory is 2:1 in straightforward military conflicts. Past 3:1 there's limited benefit.  Some wargames model this through number of dice, and there's a target number/symbol.

Games like X-Wing add defense dice, and Warhammer has a save roll against death. Warhammer's is less likely to be overrun by sheer number of dice, but both are overwhelmed.

The flipside is increasing cost, and we see this in games with supply/demand mechanics. Power Grid is the key example for this, with prices adjusting for each of a commodity bought. The Korea board even has two markets, and a player may only purchase from one.

Planet Steam also has a supply/demand aspect, with some things becoming unavailable for parts of the game, and market manipulation being a key aspect of play. The below image is mostly on the market.

As usual, these are but a glimpse, and hardly definitive examples, though I hope they are clear. I think next time I might cover incentivizing suboptimal decisions.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Projects post 12/3/17

I figure I might try to give a little update on where things are with writing for me right now.

MAGA 2020 and Beyond has come out and done ok. We've got some decent reviews for it on Amazon, but of course, can always use more. From the reviews:

I was amazed to enjoy every single story.- Man in the Middle
It was a fun read from authors that I like and gives me a chance to smile & be excited about our country. Excited like I was during the Reagan years.- SuzeQ

Now, I've done a little bit of other writing as well, and have a couple more short pieces out for future publication(we'll see when that happens).

 I am also working on a first draft for a novella, having a good time, and at currently around 11k words. I've got ideas for two other books as well, one a sequel and one I want a little help with. More on the current project(and sequel) later.

I need to get a feeling for a lot of US places for one of them. I'd appreciate some summaries of them from folks that live in or near. Here's the real kicker I want help with: I also want some local SJW flavor. I don't need names, but nicknames would be helpful.

If you want to help, email me here: Use SocialJustice as the subject line.

Oh, you want to know what the project is? Well, there's a cooperative game called Pandemic where everyone goes around the world curing illnesses. I've imagined(for now) a parody game called Social Justice, that is uncooperative, as each player has their pet agenda. So, I'd appreciate the help, and maybe the game can exist too at some point, so it can be played. And as we know...

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Net Neutrality: Idealism, Publicity, and Smokescreen

Yeah, yeah. Everybody's seen some of the panic about the expiration of the Net Neutrality rules. But, seeing that the big tech companies are pushing for it begs some questions. Why does Twitter want it? Or Facebook?  What do the rules actually do?

We've been told in the past that it prevents ISPs from anticompetitive practices, such as throttling speeds and censoring content. Supposedly, this keeps the internet "free". But we should be smarter than that these days. After all, it's not the routers of information that are the censorship sources most of the time now.

No, the big companies are pretending to be virtuous with this move. Google may have abandoned "don't be evil" as a company motto, but they still know the import of looking like the good guy. Same with Twitter and Facebook. It also distracts from the moves they're really making. Appeal to the idealism of the crowd, and they won't see what the other hand is doing, at least for awhile.

We've seen suspension of accounts, demonetization of channels, deletion of content, and more from these guys. They carry these moves out with abandon. Why? Because they're effective monopolies. Oh, I know, Daily motion, vimeo, and others exist to "compete" with YouTube, but how many actually use them? Because YT is where the traffic is.

Facebook has a couple of companies supposedly attempting to compete. But it's the same thing. Content matters, but only in relation to the fact that it attracts new traffic. You have to do the same thing, and better to draw people away from the old interface.

Let's look at Twitter. Yes, Gab exists, and I don't know its current state. I do know that I stopped using my account after things started getting really heavy on the personal attacks for no reason. I don't mean an occasional fight, I was seeing constant garbage from people that were engaging and amusing when they had been on twitter. Gab also wasn't driving any traffic here, so I quit using the account. Without a benefit, there was no point.

So, what's with all the smokescreens? Razorfist has alluded to Net Neutrality being unnecessary due to antitrust laws. And to a point, that's true. The fact is, it distracted from those laws, which was the whole point. These giants control most of the traffic online, most of what people see and hear, and how. They've also been caught lying about their policies and numbers on multiple occasions.

BREAK THEM UP.  They rule the internet in many ways more than the phone companies used to, before that got broken up. But not regionally, no. Twitter will likely die on its own, but YouTube is propped up by Google despite losing money. Facebook, I don't know how to split. I'd even favor splitting Amazon's digital and physical product delivery companies. All of these companies are shaping how people view things, and pushing a game of social justice at some level. As we know...

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Quick Update on Gene Wolfe

I saw my friend Thomas Trumpinski yesterday(he wrote the guest review for MAGA 2020 and Beyond).  He was at Chambanacon over Thanksgiving weekend. It's a smaller convention in Central Illinois, and has been going for a long time. Gene Wolfe has long been in attendance at the convention.

I was told that Gene has recovered enough that he attended the convention for a time each day. He is currently residing in a rehabilitation center, and hopes to return home eventually.

I have no updates on where to send cards, but am sure he would appreciate any prayers for him.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Halloween's supremacy in spending is a measure of spiritual crisis

On Sunday, I heard on my Catholic radio station(it's local and mostly has EWTN programs), a commentator who was in shock that Halloween had passed Christmas in popularity. Not only was he in shock, but he failed to see both the reasons and the best response that Christians in general could have.

I'm going to start with looking at the reasons. First, more and more people are nones. That is not to say atheists, but rather that they posses no faith. There's also been a rise in wiccan and other pagan belief systems, including the hedonist form of Satanism(I'll not discuss the diabolic version).

How many years have teachers and parents been telling children, at least in the United States of America, "You can be anything when you grow up."?  And slowly, when they reach adulthood(not maturity), it is uncovered for the lie it is. Still, the lie is attractive, and also attractive is the occasion of celebration.

But the celebration of religious holy days and festivals is largely a foreign concept, especially when one looks at the family problems of the day. When kids start seeing all the problems of Christmas and Thanksgiving in coordination at both mom and dad's houses, and want stability instead, the concept is undermined. Yes, further than the materialistic nature Christmas has taken on more and more.

Since family has been destroyed as a concept for many, there's the attractiveness of celebration with friends. And while holy days are indeed appropriate to share in feasting, they've already been poisoned in many minds and hearts. And Halloween in the minds of the nones has nothing to do with faith, after all, it's been associated with witches and horror for ages in pop culture.

Enough discussion of the causes. Let's look at what the response should have been, and can still become.

First, We should start calling the day by it's proper name: All Hallow's Eve. Names are words of spiritual power, or Christ would not have asked the names of the demons possessing people. Also, note Adam's first job: naming everything. When you name something, and it responds, you have gained some control over it. Some may call this magic, but music and art have similar effects on the soul, that are ultimately inexplicable by "science".

The second part has some progress made already, albeit in a less widespread form than we need.  Presentation of heroes of faith. I put it that way, for two reasons. The first being that Protestants don't recognize saints as such, and the second being that there are many heroes of faith not thus honored in Catholic or Orthodox traditions.

We are seeing well written novels come out that respect faith, and "Christian" movies are starting to get the need for less insular audiences as well. Who's missing? The commentators and populizers. But I don't think it's for the same reasons quite as conservatives. Some may be due to ignorance, some due to a rejection of portrayal of sin, which is lying to ourselves. We are fallen, and have redemption only as a gift.

And I have seen many push the idea of reading only old books, and the superiority of old art, etc. But the problem there is, if they won't help with supporting the new works, the restoration they desire will never happen; art needs funding. You want to replace modern garbage with real art? Put up or shut up. Enough with the navel gazing superiority.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Injustice Anthology Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Merc

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we look over the third anthology from the Wandrey/Kennedy 4 Horsemen universe. There's of course lots of guns and lots of shooting. But you knew that, or at least you should.

Chris Kennedy opens the book with a preface, explaining why they invited so many authors to play in their world. This is followed by an Foreward by David Drake, an excellent author of the old school that writes stories and doesn't treat fans or other authors badly for having politics he disagrees with.

Argonaut by Kal Spriggs- An underequipped merc unit is deployed to what is supposed to be a cakewalk. Misinformation and bad leadership lead toward disaster. But some mercs that don't fit in elsewhere might have enough to say about that.

Shell Game by Terry Mixon- A family merc company takes some big chances to complete an impossible mission. Are they good enough at the old switcheroo?

The Last Dragon by Terry Maggert-  A story in two parts. Part one features a captured courier. Part two follows a mining operation on one inexplicable planet.

Hero of Styx by T. Allen Diaz- A story of death, the weight of command, exotic species, and betrayal.

The Beach by Philip Wohlrab- This story follows a medic with a merc unit as they attend to the horrors of the battlefield.

Velut Luna by Chris Smith- A kid gets sprung from juvie and into a contract with an employer she doesn't understand.

Keep the Home Fires Burning by Jason Cordova- A merc that wants to help his nation through his company ends up captured when things go sideways.

Vremya by Mark Wandrey- The surviving brother at the head of a mining company decides to go for the big time in the galactic resources game. Always have an astrophysicist along, gravity does very strange things.

The Last Guardsman by Stephanie Osborn- A bounty hunter is the last of his line. He's sent after a very dangerous killer, as well as the secrets he stole.

Unto the Last-Stand Fast by Robert E. Hampson- A retired merc shows back up to fight to protect the Interstellar Catholic Church and his home.

The Demon of Ki-a by Eric S. Brown- A company is hired to fight an enemy for a peaceful settlement. They find out the information they've be given is most inadequate.

Under the Skin by Marisa Wolf- A depik hunter goes after a contract that one of his clan failed.

Inked by Mark Wandrey- A MinSha tattoo artist has a crowd for a day, and an observant human merc ends up with something he didn't expect.

Angels and Aliens by Jon R. Osborne- A Protestant preacher joins a company as a contractor to help troops, but also help answer his own questions about aliens, heaven, and hell.

Life by Chris Kennedy- This is a continuation of a story from the previous anthology. Dr. Avander fights for his life both in an arena and in a lab.

Lessons by Kacey Ezell- A depik babe is taken to die in the woods. She is found by an aerial predator, and taught for a time.

There's some nice surprises here. The fact that faith plays a larger role here is nice, as is the fact that not every story is milsf. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Missed a few KS comics worth a look yesterday.

I got reminded of one in particular earlier today by Jon Del Arroz. I knew I'd only looked at one tab, the "graphic novel", and forgot there was at least one decent looking project in the "comic books" section.

Also know that Kickstarter doesn't sort by length of project, and there's been a bit of theft from and by comics creators. Please do some research on their past if you want to back, I'm not going to discuss that more here.

This is the one I forgot: Q-Ball #1: Honestly this looks really cool, I just don't like the pricing for physical. If you like martial arts books, seriously. Take a look.

Now for a more odd sf book: Gone: It looks like it could be interesting, but it is not action packed. I'd say more a conceptual mystery tale.

Deathworlds 1: billed as The Divine Comedy by way of Robinson Crusoe, I would be tempted. Again, I'm not a fan of the pricing here.

And now for the bizarre fun story

Sharks on a Train: Oh man. We got a superspy adventure, with a brain in a jar, lovely dames, and oh yeah, a GUN THAT SHOOTS SHARKS(I think). At least that's what it looks like. I will comment on these guys as project runners, as I can. They deliver. And the pricing is ok, 5 for softcover, 14 for hardcover. IF somebody has a HUGE budget and wants to do film, um yeah that's here too, for the low price of $999.  PLEASE.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Day post: Kickstarters to look at

Yeah, I know. Most people do a post about being grateful for what they have and the people around them. I saw my family last weekend, ok?

First up, is one that I'll grab eventually, but can't currently. Flash Gordon for Savage Worlds. This look like they know and love the material. And while I have no experience with Savage Worlds, the presentation so far is dead right.

Now to something more active. Mars Open: Tabletop Golf is a flicking game that goes above and around  stuff. Watch the videos for some cool action. And as a dexterity game, this will be either hot or cold for people.

Side Effects is a party game(cards) about dealing with mental illness, the treatment thereof, and the problems the treatments may give.

Commies! is another party game, this time about gaining control of the Party. Politics, deals, and backstabbing. Possibly some erasure from history as well.

Mountaineers is a 3D climbing boardgame, which claims a lot ov variability due to double sided walls and a deck our climbing routes to follow.

Now for a couple of graphic novel projects

Beasts of the Black Hand is a WWII dieselpunk book, with mysticism and moody art. Ron Marz is writing, so let that be part of your guide if you know his material.

Adventures of the 19xx, book four looks like a pulp adventure, with a focus on the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Where I talk about some of this week's comics.

And nope, I won't be talking about Doomsday Clock. Read it. Done with it. I wanna talk books I can say are worth a try.

Nope, though I'll get the "normal" book out of the way.

The Demon: Hell is Earth #1(DC):  Literally the complete opposite of the Deadman mini. No origin, just right into the story. Writing and art are solid, if not quite top tier. There's a direction and the characters are interesting. Explosions, demons, and hellfire. Plus Jason Blood acting as Etrigan's conscience. Yeah. I'll keep reading.

Onto the next least unusual.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #2(Dark Horse): If you haven't been reading Black Hammer, you really should. The story is good. This? This is a side story in the same world, and if anything, it's better. This issue features an interview with the retired servant of an eldritch god, cthu-lou (he's a plumber by trade). Writing is awesome, character design is wonderful, and art is for the most part solid.

Ok, now for something not yet trippy.

The Villain #1 (Red Giant Entertainment): While Neal Adams has his name on the book, it's as a concept creator. The writing is good. The art is an bit of near non-descriptiveness. I'm unsure if that's intentional. By non-descriptive, I mean you get the near everyman idea of each character, even if it is clear which one the narrator is here. I'm curious, so I'll try again.

Now to the trippy books.

Doppelganger #1 (Alterna Comics): This doesn't feel like anything special until you really get towards the end. The main character is a corporate employed family man. But once the twist sets up, it really digs in fast. Art is appropriate for the slice of life story presented at first, and the writing is good. And at Alterna's buck fifty, it's a very solid read.

Imaginary Fiends #1(Vertigo): Now this is a ride. We have a great underlying idea, conceptual terror that stems from what goes wrong with the idea, and black bag investigations. This is some of what Vertigo has done really well in the past, so it makes me happy.  Like a pair of cats tossing a mouse back and forth. Yes, I want to see what paths this takes.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Casefile: Arkham: Her Blood Runs Cold

01 Publishing sent me a few books awhile back, and it turns out the first one I read isn't out yet. That's ok, I can still talk about it. Yeah, I read a digital version, and had a few moments of frustration typical of my experience with digital comics. That's a format flaw, not a flaw in the comic itself.

No matter, I can still chat about the story and art a bit.

As to the art, it's pretty good black and white art, with a lot of noir touches. Sure this could be done in full color, but even then, a limited color scheme would work better. But B&W is a good feel for this. In some ways, I almost feel the art is trying to be a touch too realistic in terms of styling, but I prefer more impressionistic touches for this type of story.

What is Casfile: Arkham? It's setup to be a series of graphic novels, all of them standalone. Why? Because too much continuity scares people. Because the pulp hero novels are that way. The stories are part noir detective, part eldritch traditions.

The writing, also is pretty good. I should mention that there is some sexual content in the book. Storywise, it fits, same as the depiction of "ancient religions".  But, neither thing fit everyone's taste in books, and some will read it, but don't want graphic novel versions for various reasons.

There's insanity, scheming, plots for power, and appeals to ancient evil. 01 put up a trailer for you to check out, it doesn't show much, but it's something:

I honestly enjoy the mix in Criminal Macabre a bit more, but this is pretty good stuff. And if you like the horror of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know, this might tickle your fancy. 01 Publishing has their motto as "No Safe Space". I can get behind that.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Comics as culture? Absolutely

How many times have we heard comics derided for being "kids' stuff", or "only comics"? But the fact is, less than a hundred years ago, comics were not only culture, they DOMINATED culture. And there's more to it than that.

But the quote prompting this came from the intro to Max Allan Collins' Seduction of the Innocent, the third of his comics and crime novels. And while the quote is false, the numbers are real:

The most popular entertainment medium of all, here in 1954. My city boasts twenty comics publishers putting out 600-something titles every month, selling eighty to one hundred million copies a week, reaching an audience larger than movies, TV, radio and magazines combined(they figure a comic book gets passed around or traded to six or more readers).

And lest you think I'm exaggerating, here's some numbers via Infogalactic on Action Comics 1, and a few later issues. Action Comics 1, had a printing of 200,000 issues. And sold out. Eventually, Action Comics would reach sales nearing 1,000,000 a month. That's one title. And over a decade before Dr. Wertham's tirade against comics.

Hey, let's see how Detective Comics did. In fact, I'll even go to post Wertham. 1960. Hmm. According to Comichron, using USPS required data(first year of requirement), Detective Comics(Batman) sold an average of 502,000 copies an issue. Not as much as say, early Action Comics, but this is still more than five times the top book from October 2017. Oh, and the best selling book that year(Uncle Scrooge) sold on average 1,040,543 copies an issue.

So if Alt*Hero and other projects do well, maybe we can reverse this tide of shrinking markets. Maybe we can open up people's imaginations better than movies do again. Maybe people will talk of heroes and romance and man's flawed nature. Maybe, but I really don't know.

Honestly, I have to wonder if the first real casualty of the culture war was comics. Stop people from reading about horrible things, so they don't fight against them. Stop tales of romance and heroism being popular, and sideline them to "kid's stuff".  Hide from the public just how horrible our worst acts are, and let people think that man is perfectible, so the anti-Christian agenda can be pushed, via "science".

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pulp adventure comics: Half Past Danger

It's been awhile since I posted one of these, and this is one of two miniseries I recently reacquainted myself with that fits the pulp bill in many ways. Yes, this series was about three or four years ago. It's so pulp in a lot of ways it hurts. Here's the blasted cover:

If that doesn't get your attention, I really don't know what will. Hmm. Ah, I'd like to not spoil it, but it's been out awhile, and I'm not going to give out all the story. Look for it. Oh, and there's a new one coming out now.

I'll take secret Nazi bases for 500.

Oh, is that not enough? I mean you've got ww2, really cool planes on a secret base. Hmm. Well, I suppose there are dinosaurs for terror.

Hmm. Yeah, there might be some good action here. Oh, we're missing something. What's that? Oh, you want to know about the guy with the sword on the cover? Well, his sword is really nice.

We've got Nazi's and ninjas, dinos and dames. Oh, I didn't show you the dame past the cover? I should fix that maybe. Couldn't find a good online pic from the original, so I had to take a picture. Excuse the bad angle and such, I'm no photographer.

Oh, no, I'm telling you why or how that guy can carry the gun like that. Nope. Gotta leave something for those that decide to read it. But yeah, this is a great fun read. I'm gonna see what I can find on the new one, because well, dinos and war comics are a good mix.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Guest Review for MAGA 2020 and Beyond

A good friend of mine was most generous and reviewed the anthology MAGA 2020 and Beyond for me. I'm in it, so I must recuse myself from a balanced review. I've made minor corrections for spelling, and deleted one sentence more functional to the publisher side of the book. But anyway, here it is:

Injustice Gamer Guest Anthology Review
By Tom Trumpinski
MAGA 2020 and Beyond

I’m lucky enough to share a coffee shop with Albert Genesson. We’ve spent hours talking politics and the craft of writing. I was surprised and delighted when he asked me to review this new anthology that contains two pieces of his work.

MAGA 2020 and Beyond is billed as examinations of optimistic futures that result from the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 election. My inherent suspicion towards message fiction slid forward, of course, from my reptile brain. After all, stories that emphasize message over substance are notorious for being a main cause of Puppy-Related Sadness.

So, can the conservative, libertarian, and alt-right produce better message fiction than the Left?
I say, “Cower Not, Fierce Reader, for the best four stories alone in the anthology are well-worth the five dollar Kindle price!” Brad R Torgerson gives us 45, a conversation piece about a secret-service agent and a time-traveler who ponder the methods by which to avoid a future hell. For action, Declan Finn gives us a rip-roaring Middle-Eastern tale, Mad Dog Moon, from his Love At First Bite universe. The anthology begins with an adorable YA story by Jon Del Arroz, Winning Is What We Do, which pits illegal alien illegal aliens versus a TrumpMecha. Jon also wins the prize for the best duplication of the President’s unique manner of speaking, which he exhibits in particularly loving fashion. Former White House Science Fellow, Arlan Andrews, Sr., gave us a fun piece about a newly-born super-patriot in M.A.G.A.I.

An ambitious project like this one inevitably ends up having down-sides. The shift in editors mid-project shows in several ways. Alfred’s essays look and feel rushed. The New Wall and Six Grandfathers seemed to suffer from inadequate editing. 

In addition, I was disappointed by the swerve into dystopia evinced by some of the authors. While they have merit, in some cases, they felt out of place in an anthology billed as optimistic. I was a bit put-off by the amount of Canada-hate in evidence. Heck, I’ve been on panels with Robert Sawyer, the Pope of Canadian Nationalism, and I still don’t dislike Canada that much. To those writers, a piece of advice—the closer your message is to the front-line of a story, the more the story suffers. Quality, first and foremost, because if our Fierce Readers put the story down unread, we’ve failed both as artists and advocates.

The weakest parts of the anthology were the essays. I’ve ended up being an off-again on-again off-again member of the CLFA because I have an inherent distrust for governmental change as a tool of freedom and progress. Ivan Throne’s and John C. Wright’s essays stayed far, far beyond the frothing level of discourse and did nothing to convince me to be optimistic using either rhetoric or dialectic.
One last note—Milo’s introduction seemed to be partially redone from the intro to Forbidden Thoughts. I’m not sure that he really knows that much about SF and Fantasy. I know he’s a big name in the movement, but I think you can do better.

 Overall Rating, Three Cups of Double-shot Cappuccino. Rating of Four Best Stories, A Rousing Five Cups!


Quite honestly, I'm quite happy getting a mixed review with an anthology of this nature. It's not for everyone, and Tom and I certainly have some different ideas and ideals in reality and fiction. It's a good time, and I'm glad to call him friend.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

7th Continent: adventure gaming at its best

I FINALLY had a chance to break out my copy of 7th Continent yesterday. I had it with, it wasn't in my plan to play it, but hey, it won't get played if it's not there. But the friend I met with had been advised we play it, so...(pics will be from BGG)

Yeah this is a really good game. As far as theme, think of it as a coop based on the choose your own adventure books. Only the game isn't one story, it has a few. And there are a lot of variables within the game. Some of this depends on action efficiency, some on timing. A lot of it depends on the cards in the action deck. Or lack thereof.

First things, though: if you haven't seen this game, it has a lot of cards. So if you order it in the future, be prepared to sort for awhile before you play. It took the two of us a couple of hours in a previous time to get the cards all sorted.  Here's one of all the cards:

Anyway, back to the game premise. You and your fellow adventurers(early 1900's) recently came back from an expedition to a newly found land. Unfortunately, you all are cursed, and have to go back to lift the curse. Each curse is tied to a specific starting point, and there's four generic curses added to the action deck as well. I'll talk about that soon.(You can start with multiple curses, but I wouldn't until you've beaten a couple first.)

The map building is very specific, as the art forms a very coherent map. After exploration actions, that is. Unexplored cards are marked with explore cards of a certain type indicated on the map.

From there, you explore and build up a map. But, you won't ever see everything. Seriously. The estimated time for all the content in the box is something along the lines of 1500 minutes. That is not for a game, that's to see EVERYTHING, requiring many games, even with the same curse. Eventually you develop a map that might look like this:

More or less. I haven't been there yet. We played for about 3.5 hours, and got off our initial island. Our action deck had run out, and then, after a little exploration and actions, the curse struck its final blow.

Now, the action deck. There's a default set of basic skill cards, plus a set of five for each character that are added to the game. The action deck is shared. Every action has a cost and a requirement for success.  Once the action deck has run out, the discard pile is shuffled and replaced in the discard tray face down to draw for each action. If at this point a curse is revealed, the game is lost. Here's the official basics video, it includes a save demonstration:

Anyway, there's a lot here, and it has an easy save mode with no need for notes or remembering what you were doing. Also, given the join/drop rules, I have to say, in a lot of ways this fills the rpg spot quite well. Exploration, puzzles, and so on.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Injustice Book Review: Praxis, by Justin Knight

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we take a look at a more practical side of science fiction: warehouse workers IN SPAAAACCCE! Honestly, there's a lot to the story and it's far more than that. But, as someone with over eight years of experience on power equipment in warehouses, it's nice to see. What do we have?

First, our warehouse workers are fairly realistic. Not all are smart, but they aren't a homogeneous group by any means. There are characters with family, devoted couples, and people just dealing with the daily struggle. The equipment junkie attitude of them being "toys" is pretty accurate from my experience.

Second, we have a redemption arc within the story. I won't go into details, per my general spoiler policy. But the fact that someone can be stuck for a long time, and come to a point where they wish to repent and change and actively do, especially after paying a price. Whereas the SocJus crowd is far more likely to simply excuse behavior and deny evil, unless of course it's in recognizing truth.

Third, there's a story of alien cops and pirates. While this may not be a SocJus trigger, the fact that the lawmen are good guys is.

Fourth, Mr. Knight gives us glimpses of family life and devotion. Not only is it respected, but aspired to by other characters.

A little bit of real criticism here: I kind of wanted to see more on adjustments to equipment required for zero and low gravity. It would be a real concern, and is almost always ignored by authors. Now, there is some mention of future equipment, as well as a little extrapolation from existing safety/security measures.

Damaged product also gets mentioned, but I saw nothing on inventory integrity. Both of these issues would be HUGE in space. Is it glamourous? Nope. Necessity rarely is. I also know that too much would get boring quick for almost all readers. How many times do you have to count to a thousand?

One small thing that is explained by the author being English is the use of "whilst" and "learnt". Though, as the workers are based out of Vancouver, I'm uncertain as to the idiomatic nature of the region. It might be more American, it might be something entirely different.

This is a fast and worthwhile read. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Deadman by Neal Adams is DOA

Neal Adams is honestly good at art. But wow did he drop the ball on this. People that don't know Deadman can't really get a grasp on him, despite there being a bit of origin story here. There's plotholes bigger than just in the Russian movie Guardians. (The movie is really fun still. This? Um, no.)

I don't know a ton about Deadman, he rarely showed up in the DC books I read. But he was  in Batman: the Brave and the Bold a few times. Yes, it's not the same, but you do get a bit of a feel for the character. But to say, a diehard Marvel Zombie?

Well, Diversity and Comics couldn't follow it:

Now, if you didn't watch, let's talk about some plotholes. They're everywhere. Jim Gordon, commissioner of Gotham PD, is a temporary ambassador for a NUCLEAR FACILITY inspection. What about all the scientists in the DCU? Where's the Atom? Where's Professor Martin Stein? Good grief, there's bad guys with better qualifications than Gordon.

Now, Neal Adams managed to do things that can only happen when the same guy does writing and art: plotholes in art and layout. It's honestly impressive when something that happened in art apparently just unhappens in the art. There's also travel bits that make no sense, when he's supposed to be able to just appear where he needs to be.

DC should just shut this down now. Get a writer to work with Adams,  his art is still good, but don't give him the writer/artist control. His Batman mini was largely deem incomprehensible, and why encourage him by giving him another one?  Not everything has to make sense right away, but enough does that the questions get asked initially and answered later.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Injustice Anthology Review: Lyonesse Volume 1

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we look at the first collection of stories from the Silver Empire subscription service Lyonesse. I'm putting up both links because I know some will want to subscribe, and some might just want to check out the anthology. Either way, I think it's a good deal. Let's take a look.

Four Funerals and a Wedding by L. Jagi Lamplighter- A woman is gifted to bring people back.

The Dreaming Wounds by Anya Ow- A woman slowly regains her ability to see those trapped between life and death.

The Dragon's Teeth by David Hallquist- An uploaded copy of a soldier is activated in dire times.

Zombie Jamborie by Declan Finn- Voodoo zombies attack New York. Private enterprise has a plan for everything.

The Artifact by Dean Abbott- A society that has enlightened itself past religion searches a planet for cultural evidence from a mysterious society far beyond them.

We Bury Our Own by Cheah Kai Wai(Ben Cheah)- Post disaster, a spiritual warrior is called to go after one of his own who went rogue.

Number 43 by Jonathan Ward- In a world of Frankenstein type science, a "servant" is sent after a former protege.

The Last Winter by A. R. Aston- An old warrior in what looks to be his end comes to an understanding of a witch woman's prophecy from years earlier.

Shini Tai by C.L. Werner- A Samurai comes across a great sumo and mystical forces set against him.

The Case of the Unicorn by Nora M. Mulligan- A detective is hired to find and return a unicorn to an elderly woman.

The Harsh Mistress by Mike Murphy- A salesman with a bad month gets a unique chance to make a sale.

St. Lucian's Star by Dawn Witzke- A woman who locates objects is hired to locate a relic, and goes along for the recovery.

A Day Without the Horned Goddess by Kieran McKiel- The daughter of a mythic being from the South gets weary of life around the Northern loch.

In Another Life by Morgon Newquist- A tale of time travel, obsession, and a sort of revenge.

Moonset by S. D. McPhail- On an alien world, the different species cooperate when a new strange tree shows up.

Mile High Murder by Declan Finn- A man with a deadly plan faces some men with their own plans. Mildly ties to A Pius Man and the Con Murder books.

Honestly, all of these stories have good stuff in them. There's a huge variety in feel and thematics, so don't worry if you don't like one. It's in many ways the type of anthology the "year's best" collections want you to think they are. 9 of 10 fell deeds

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Book launch is Wednesday for MAGA 2020... and another little bit of news.

Yeah, Wednesday launches from Superversive Press: MAGA 2020 and Beyond.  I've got an essay and a story in there. I'd like feedback from those that read it. It's got a number of folks I've reviewed here, including Jon Del Arroz, Declan Finn, Daniel Humphries, and Dawn Witzke. We have pieces by Ivan Throne and Milo Yiannopolis as well, and one story from Brad Torgersen.

We have a memslinger(Dawn) that worked very hard on some publicity stuff. Here's what she did for my story:

It's fairly fitting. Not as good as the one for kaijubushi, though(you may have seen the tweets):

In other news, I found out that Galaxy's Edge is going to be expanding. I was personally skeptical when Nick Cole and Jason Anspach announced the project, but I think they've shown they know what they're doing. Who gets to join the fun? Well, he's got some chops, though you might be used to him writing SF comedy. His current project involves space Vikings.

Yeah. I have NO CLUE how this will work out, or if it will be serious, a comedy, a side piece, or what. But given what I've read from the people involved(dunno if Jason is in on this too right now), I'll be watching. This must be what a well run franchise is like.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Prayer Request for Gene Wolfe

It is with a heavy heart I post this. Two days ago, I found out via Twitter that SFF legend Gene Wolfe is in the hospital. He has had a bad case of the flu, and had trouble keeping food down for about two weeks. It has been stated he would appreciate get well cards from friends and fans.

Here's the address if you wish to send him a card:

OSF Healthcare
800 NE GlenOak Ave
 Peoria, IL 61603

I have read a number of his books, and like many great authors, I have more of his that I haven't read. The first science fiction convention I went to(only a couple years ago), he was a guest at, and made certain to take the time to sit at one of his panels which was part reading and part just him chatting.

He is a Catholic, and his faith came through in his discussion. Unfortunately, the religious ignorance of the audience was also apparent when he mentioned the only time he felt real fear was an encounter with a diabolist. He had to explain what that was, and then there were comments about all fundamentalism being wrong.

For those unfamiliar with the term, there are, broadly speaking, two types of Satanist. One is a hedonist that mostly doesn't want to be told what to do, might dabble in magic, but generally will leave others alone and be decent to people. The other is in full agreement with Christianity on the nature of good and evil, and actively seeks to do evil. There are stories of them in drug and human trafficking, sex slavery, and other sinister things.

At any rate, the experience of being among so called fans that were so uninformed about faith nearly made me swear off of sff conventions entirely. I still had good experiences with game cons, and it was my stumbling into independent authors and small publishers that got me to go to LibertyCon.

I wish I had taken a chance to talk with Gene at the convention. Even then, his health and strength were clearly on a downturn, though his mind was still quite active. Sadly, in many ways he and his work are being shoved aside. Here's a recent picture of books I rescued from library weeding:

The sheer cultural ignorance of librarians amazes me. But then, we know they're actively playing Social Justice. As we know:

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Injustice Anthology Review: HA!HA!HA!

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we stare villainy in the face. Sometimes it is familiar, sometimes understandable, sometimes incomprehensible. I will have to take a few stories to task, but let's take a look.

We open with a foreword by Nick Cole, drawing on his acting background and experience. He quite rightly mentions that villains are in many ways, better characters. Many comic book heroes are defined by, or rather, in contrast to, their villains.

Supervillainy 101 by Chris Pourteau- Whew. Take one part serial killer interview, one part sacrifice to a LONG term plan.

Tick Tock by Christopher J. Valin- The writing is very solid. I wish the set piece part of the story were more original: A good chunk of this is a reworking of Max Allan Collins' Batman story, "A Death in the Family".  I don't mind the copying of characters so much, but the fact that there's little to separate it, to make it unique.

Vying for Power by Greg Wilkey- The big supervillain in a city has died. Now, at the funeral, a play is made for control and power. But not everyone is what they seem to be.

Ghosts of the Flames by Hall and Beaulieu- We follow a team of scavengers in a world of heroes and villains at war. But hidden agendas and unsettled spirits have ways of unsettling things further.

Rejected by M,K, Gibson- A retired hero gives a chance to shamed heroes. The fallout of a supervilain's death has to be dealt with, and there are more layers to his organization than is readily known.

The Winter Witch by Susan Faw- Morpheus leaves the world, and one of his children has their own plans for the realm granted by their father.

Counterclockwise by Ed Gosney- A man whose power has failed him approaches his last moments due to a lack of control and judgement. Or perhaps we have a case of psychosis? Either way, the act was done, and actions have consequences.

The Gala by Morgon Newquist- Ooh, another Serenity City story. This takes place long after the one in Paragons. There's a really interesting take on the insane female sidekick here, more complex than many versions of Harley Quinn. A sinister lass indeed. Stay away from the crazy.

The Heart of a Clockwork Girl by Michael Ezell- Oh, man. A henchman goes on a mission for the evil genius that has created an artificial woman to hold him loyal. Revelations and weariness change the henchman's perspective.

Djinn 2.0 by Jessica West- An alien royal is exiled to Earth after scandal. Her redemption is to help humanity to peace.

Hacksaw's Formulation by A. J. McWain- I know nothing of the story, as it was absent from the ARC I received.

Prisoner of War by Steve Beaulieu- A war reporter under fire finds there are worse things than normal enemy soldiers to worry about. And lines can be easy to cross.

There are some standout stories in here, I particularly enjoyed Vying for Power, Rejected, and The Gala. And the volume is at least currently priced to be well worth it. 7 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Gonna rant because Hollywood hates everything good

Oh, I know he's not as popular as The Shadow, or possibly The Phantom, and he's not the shining example of Prince Valiant. But I have to say I dig the Green Hornet. There's a great amount of history here, with multiple serials, radio shows, and a TV show. Not to mention some really cool visuals and music. Dynamite Entertainment even has done some really interesting comics, both on the traditional and on the reinvention side of things.

But what they all did right, Hollywood did wrong. Yeah, that terrible Seth Rogan film from a few years back. Even by the end of the movie, the character doesn't have a clear direction and is still a bit of a schmuck. Why? Because they think you have to tell origin stories all the time.

Amateur tip: Your hero needs to be a hero, in fact show me that fast. I can put the pieces together myself, and I don't need to see him fumbling around. Especially as a standalone film.

Guess what the old show and serials all did? Jump right in. Check it out:

The first serial(just a clip):

Here's the TV show:

Hey look, right into the story. No origin, just show us stuff moving. Instead we got mopy, directionless Rogan being unsure of himself or acting like a frat boy. Sure, the serials had an advantage of coming from the radio plays, but they went right into it as well.

And there's apparently someone wanting to bring it back again. Whether it ever sees the light of day, that's another matter. Oh, yeah, try to have a good theme song. In fact, just use the old one, it's great.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Injustice Book Review: Jack Del Rio by Richard Paolinelli

Cower not, fierce reader! This day we look at an action series from one of our friends. This review is for the entire trilogy, which was just finished, and is available as an ebook omnibus for the uninitiated, which I was one prior to this.

Now, I went and read the whole series in order, and  I think the last book might make sense without the prior books, though I wouldn't recommend it. There's a great amount of emotional journey that Del Rio goes through that just won't come across in the small mentions contained in the final volume.

I joked in my Amazon review that Richard had created Jack Del Rio simply to torture him. I say this due to the recurring loss that follows this character in each volume. I won't spoil any of the plot this way, but simply say that his parents being killed years earlier is just a start.

Each story features an investigation that spreads far further than what it initially looks like. The first is on an Indian Reservation, the second goes into DC, and the third spreads into the UK, DC and more.

There's conspiracy, action(but not too detailed), shadow governments and more. If you want non-sf action and adventure, this will scratch that itch and quite well.

8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Injustice Anthology Review: Paragons

Cower not, fierce reader! This day we have a collection of heroes, some tragic, some triumphant. Some are simply happily out of the game. Let's take a look at the woven words within.

Medusa by Steve Beaulieu- This is most definitely a tragic tale. A hero with no control of her power, forced into isolation, or risk the rest of a world she has already lost.

Nightsick by Kai Wai Chea- An ex-cop engages in a brutal fight with organized crime. His former partner still has her role with the law, but traps and snares make things more flexible.

Blackout: A Serenity City Story by Morgon Newquist- I get the feeling Serenity City might be a grand place to visit, with heroes taking the roles of Arthurian Knights, Greek Gods, and mysterious fae. 

Like Father by Jon Mollison- This is a generational story of a father and his son and the day the training wheels came off. The dread an tension of watching, being there JUST IN CASE something goes wrong. And the son surprising the father.

Blue by John Milan- A man who's been given an experimental technology is haunted by his mistakes from action. His despair has held him captive in a dead end life. A chance meeting, paired with a villain that wants the power push him to change.

Crisis Counseling by Jon Del Arroz- It figures he would write the story that might be unpowered in here. But this is about the power of the imagery of comics, the inspiration and hope it can give.

The Weight of One Girl by Richard Watts- A powered cop is searching for a missing girl. She gets sidelined when the investigation leads in the direction of a Senator she's had dealings with before. How is she to save someone when banned from the investigation?

Low Man by M. Earl Smith- A combat vet with PTSD who has chosen to stay homeless is nearing what he believes is his end. He takes his one friend where he hopes he'll be cared for, a place that may or may not remember what he's done.

A Soldier Out of the Desert by Paula Richey- An alien warrior is tasked with protecting and helping a human hero, after his people betrayed him. The hero is tasked with helping him learn to fit in human society, despite her own problems.

Someone is Aiming for You by J. D. Cowan- A hero that avoids the government limitations hunts a trail to the men that destroyed something precious. What attacks of conscience can do is remarkable.

Deadly Calm Returns by Dawn Witzke- A retired hero gets called in to handle a villain who really just wants a date with the young hot thing that normally protects the area. But action, adrenaline, and fame aren't everything.

Weather Witch by Declan Finn- A girl in Africa is part of a group rounded up for human trafficking in an attack by a powered being of force. In resisting him, she comes into power to protect herself.

Stalina by Sam Kepfield- After an accident in careless areas of t nuclear research in the Soviet Union, a patriot learns some inexplicable powers. She is tasked with protecting their projects in the space race.

There are some serious gems in this collection, and I would not say any are bad. Now I gotta wonder when I get to see some of these in proper panels. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Alt*Hero nears a quarter mil

It's less than 13k away. and sure, I could be precise and state it's got $238,712 as of this writing. But it's less fun than saying quarter million. Corporations see numbers like that and start thinking about money they missed, especially if it's something they already produce.

I'm sure Disney and Time Warner are starting to take notice. Sure, there's a lot of material involved. But, you look at these kind of numbers over time, especially with comments like, "I quit reading comics X years ago", and somebody might start crunching some numbers just on that one guy, and realize that if they could have had him for those years, we'll say 3 titles(small), and talking to friends, becomes a lot of money eventually. Especially as he's not unique in his experience. X can be 5, 10, 20, 30, or 1.

One is a dangerous guy to the SJW crowd. Not only is he more willing to be check out an alternative, he's more likely to be mad about what they did to the fictional world he loved. People that love Star Wars are getting dissatisfied, because the material is rehashed. Wait til real alternatives show up: STD is losing to The Orville. If the timing had been there, Galaxy Quest would have blown it out of the water already.

At any rate, while I have some book reviews to do this week, I'm going to try to go through a few Chuck Dixon comics I have as well. Besides, I want to revisit Winterworld a bit.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Well, somebody at DC animation still knows what they're doing

And I'm not talking about the animated films. Nope. Nor that horrid looking Teen Titans reboot. Nope. There's a newer show out featuring a version of the Justice League. There's no deconstruction here, and the animation well, it's not Justice League Unlimited, but it's pretty good.

Oh, here's a little clip because the show also has a sense of DC's animated history:

It remembers some things about the earlier cartoons that even Bruce Timm seems to have forgotten with his last venture. First, that heroes need to be good and heroic. Second, that the story needs to be fun. Third, that funny does not preclude treating the material seriously.

They also did a fun Halloween episode, with Cain and the House of Mystery. Here's a little clip from that:

Yes, we once again get kid versions of the Leaguers.

I have two small things I take issue with. One, that they went with the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship angle. I simply don't care for it, it feels like lazy writing. The Batman/Wonder Woman angle in JLU was interesting. Yes, I know New 52 went there. I gave up on DC for awhile with that.

Two, they dropped a character called Space Cabbie in the mix. It feels very Golden Age goofiness. I will say the writers make it work, but I just don't care for the idea.

There are a couple of semi-feminist bits, but I can excuse those just for the fact that they are dealing with Themiscyra. Of course, most rampant feminists don't look like Amazonians, either.

At any rate, it's fun. Not quite the genius of Bataman: The Brave and the Bold, or JLU, but it does know what it's doing.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Injustice Magazine Review: Storyhack issue 1

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we take a look at the first  regular issue of another pulp action magazine(there is an issue 0). We've got contributions from authors reviewed here before, so let's take a good look at what we have.

New Rules for Rocket Nauts by Michael DeCarolois- Way to open the magazine with a bang. Yes, it's a longer story, but we've got a young cast aside adventurer, mysterious aliens that nobody can communicate with, officials who too easily believe in peace without understanding, loss, and fighting to save humanity.

Retrieving Abe by Jay Barnson- This is interesting, as it's a bit slower, but filled with tension throughout. One might argue that it's a bit strong female character in nature, but I didn't find it unbelievable. There's no Mary Sue here, she pursues out of duty to her husband, not a desire to be independent. The sense of knowledge of the work from one's youth brought in helps greatly.

The Price of Hunger by Kevyn Winkless- Oh, my. A story of greed and Indian legends. And cursed gold. Yeah, this might be a good late night read.

Protector of Newington by John M. Olsen- This steampunk superhero story has a lot of fun pieces. I did say steampunk and superhero together, right? Cause that's exactly what we have. A mysterious bad guy, child slavery, and sacrifice  and redemption.

Brave Day Sunk in Hideous Night- Initially I was meh. Werewolf, PI doesn't do it for me. Throw in a time criminal and law? Ok, you've added enough to the mix that this is worth reading. Especially as the werewolf has PTSD, it's a nice touch.

Taking Control by Jon Del Arroz- Well, I for one am pleased to see my friend dabbling in Weird Westerns again. This is certainly a bit lighter than the Doomtown material was on the weird factor, but that's fine. This has some nice touches of cons, holdup artistry, and magic, and there's even a hint of possible future pieces(somewhere in that writing time, maybe).

Some Things Missing from Her Profile by David Skinner- Mars. A blind date gone bad. Martians have been conquered. A woman with less past than she should have. A segregated society. And a main character with a family history of not respecting the law.

Dream Master by Gene Moyers- Woah. Um. This felt like something out of some of the old pulps. Ripped right out, even. We've a series of mysterious deaths, strange behavior beforehand, and a psychologist trying to figure out the how and why against a secretive sinister being.

Under the Gun by David J. West- Hey, I know this guy. I know Porter Rockwell. But the story doesn't follow him, for the most part. We've a weapon that urges killing, and a newly made killer. We have an old killer who has learned to stay his hand. Fire away.

Circus to Boulogne by Mike Adamson- As one who likes to occasionally visit old war comics like Enemy Ace and Sgt. Rock, this is pretty cool. I'd say it's a touch slow here and there, but then, there's plenty of tension to help balance that.

There's a lot of pulp here, from the cover to the illustrations before each story, to the little filler bits. Variety pulp, and while there aren't serials, there's plenty of argument against too many. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Injustice Book Review: SJWs Always Double Down

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we look at the second volume on SJWs in the world. As it is, his mere existence triggers many, so let us look at the tome, and after, I'll have the results of the drawing.

First, there is a pretty good history of many incidents within the last year. I think some of the Hugo/Dragon timeline is off, but, for the unacquainted, there's good background. Unfortunately, very little of this material was new to me, and while good in detail, I had read most of it before with varying levels of detail. The previous book's history section was honestly much more useful to me, though this does provide reference for the future, and for those who join later.

This history is more focused on group actions and corporate signs and signaling than the previous one, and includes here discussions of the NFL and comics as well as some tech history.The history is spread throughout, instead of as a single portion of the book.

Somewhat more universally useful is the section on sequence of convergence and the tactics used. As with the previous volume, they are expanded on with examples.  One thing we can be grateful for with English is that our language mostly denies one tactic, that of Accent, which was a problem with the Ancient Greeks, and I suspect might be with several other languages, especially Chinese, which has recently had moves to ban puns, a long tradition based on the proximity of vastly different words.

But, if one has read the previous volume, much of this can be extrapolated from those premises, even if one does not have the exact vocabulary. Sad to say, in this regard there is little to surprise his experienced readers. This is no insult, merely  that one's mileage will vary based on experience, perspective, and observation. That said, some are more fortunate in their life dealings and locations, and have less opportunity to witness, to say nothing of the younger generation.

The next section, of individual tactics, is in many ways more useful than the overall tactics. While the information is far from new, it does serve as a potent reminder of the specific attacks, especially if one has only witnessed a few. Again, the vocabulary is possibly more useful at a universal level.

We have following this a section on SJW mindset and psychology. This section is actually very good, as to most readers it will be like a foreign language, even after experiencing attacks. A general explanation of r/k theory is here, and makes one wonder if our abundance is not indeed a hindrance to proper society. To complement this, Vox also includes a detailed list of his socio-sexual hierarchy. While I'd read a good bit of it before, here it is laid out in a detailed manner, with relation to SJW psychology.

Vox also presents a chapter on building SJW proof institutions, based on his experience with Castalia House and now Infogalactic.  These processes are informative, and in some ways might be worth the price of admission alone.

Three Appendices are included, one is an interview on SJWs in Open Source software communities, and the other a section on identifying Gamma Males. Both of these are good, and the final, a draft of the Code of Merit for software projects will prove helpful to that front.

I do not put any blame on Vox for this book being less unique; I'm not sure it was intended there be more than one initially. There are many that have written him already for the help the book has been to them, and I hope it isn't for me. 7 of 10 fell deeds.


Now for the drawing, a day late, but here it is. The winner of the Max Allan Collins Crime and Comics trilogy is....

Dominika Lein! I'll be sending those off soon after contacting you.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.