Announcement: Why I’m Not Posting So Much

Hello, anyone who might be reading this for whatever reason. I haven’t been very consistent lately. There are reasons. For about two months, I had a pain in my jaw which was finally diagnosed as a huge cavity that had gotten beneath a filling in one of my backmost molars. It was infected and making me pretty miserable. So on that front, I was having trouble keeping up. I tried to have posts scheduled ahead of time, but I was pretty worn out, and it was hard.

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Vampiric Reads: My TBR (Part 1)

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Welcome to the first of two posts that talk about the vampire reads I’m hoping to get to. Obviously I can’t review these yet, but I can tell you why they look interesting to me. I’ll also be linking these so you can look at the summaries. So let’s get started.

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Aztec vampires? Yes, please. That’s exactly the kind of thing this sub-genre needs. A different set of folklore to pull from to breathe new life into an old monster. It sounds like it’s full of culture and history that will be really engaging even without vampires, so this one’s on the wishlist.

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Review: Star Trek Beyond

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First, it needs to be addressed that I’m a weird Trekkie. The first reboot film in 2009 is what brought me to the Star Trek fandom. I watched some of the original series and thought it was all right. Sacrilege, I’m sure some of you are crying. Then I found The Next Generation. There it suddenly was. My brand of Trek. Everyone has the incarnation that is their baby, and I don’t judge anyone for whichever show or set of films that is. Even in discovering that Next Gen was definitely my favorite, the reboot films are still beloved by me. You’re always going to show favor to whatever brought you to the dance, even among naysayers.

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#T5W: Fictional New Year’s Eve Party

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This week’s topic is characters I’d invite to my New Year’s Eve party. To be totally transparent, I’m not a party kind of girl. I’m pretty introverted. So this list is going to be comprised not of answer that are cute or popular so much as answers that suit me. Characters I would really want to hang out with that would make me get over my social anxiety for an evening.

5. Nicodemus from Shakespeare’s Planet by Clifford D. Simak. The first thing my party will obviously need is a sassy android. It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but I remember Nicodemus being my favorite character, and I also remember him being a sass-master. That’ll make for some fun. Also, his physical needs will be minimal, so I won’t have to stress as much about food and drink for him. I’m nothing if not practical.

4. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I imagine he’s going to show up on a lot of lists, and there’s good reason for that. He’d be good company, good conversation, and he’d be sure to enjoy himself. He’s a reader, so we’d probably have a lot to talk about. I might have to worry about him getting drunk, but I also wouldn’t have a problem with him crashing on my couch.

3. Death from The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. I know on some level that must sound godawful, but if you’ve ever read this series, you know Death is actually a very chill lady. She’s kind and funny and would be very cool to spend time with. Also, man, I have a ton of questions. I’d probably drive her nuts with all my existential crap.

2.Tammy Lauper from Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker. The first time I read this book, I was struck by how much I felt I had in common with Tammy. Which makes inviting her to my party a no-brainer. We’d get along swimmingly. There’d be no end to the things we’d find in common. And after everything she endured throughout the course of her story, I think she could use a party, good company, and a stiff drink.

1. Smiley Bone from Bone by Jeff Smith. Definitely would be the life of the party. In fact, he’d probably take over the party, cooking and handing out refreshments and being a great host. Which means I could relax and actually enjoy everyone’s company instead of obsessing over everything be perfect. Also, he’s just hilarious. I like funny people, and if you want funny, he’s at the top of the list.

Thanks for reading, and as always, happy geeking!

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Happy Holidays!

I’m taking Christmas off, so there’s no post today except to say happy holidays! Whatever you celebrate or even if you don’t do anything at all, I hope you have a great day. I will be back on Wednesday with a new article. Enjoy your meals, your family, your downtime, and I’ll see you then.

#T5W: Fictional Items I’d Give As Gifts

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A very interesting topic with Christmas so close. I do sort of wish I could reach into a book and pull out gifts, as I think it would’ve made the whole process easier in general. Here are the top five I’d choose were that possible.

5. One of Edgar’s paintings from Duma Key by Stephen King. My friends and I are always talking about how when paintings are described in works of fiction, we’d love to see them. More than any other book that has done this, I’d love to see Edgar Freemantle’s paintings. His work was described as very surreal and based heavily on Salvador Dali, one of my favorite artists of all time. He also happens to be a favorite of a close friend of mine, and if I were able to give her a painting straight out of this book, I know it would blow her mind.

4. Any of the keys from Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. My favorite of all the keys is the Head Key. You can unlock your head and take anything out or put anything in. I think that’s incredibly handy, but all the keys in this series are amazing and work wonders. Of course, I’d have to be careful which keys I gifted and to who. Huge responsibility, that.

3. A robot from The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee. In this universe, there exist romantic robots that have all sorts of talents and are very awesome. Yes, I would give all of my friends one apiece if I had the power. Especially because they apparently have the ability to suddenly become sentient and actually fall in love with you. This is a very female answer for this top five, but let’s not even pretend, it would be amazing if this were real. But hopefully I could make it work without that ending. That would sort of ruin the gift.

2. A billy-bumbler from The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Maybe this doesn’t technically count as an ‘item’, or about as much as a robot does. But people give pets for Christmas! It’s that same idea, only a fantastical pet that can sort of talk to you and is super smart and secretly a tiny gunslinger. I would die to have one of these little guys, and I know all my pet obsessed friends and family would, too.

1. The wardrobe from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis. The ability to actually travel into a magical world full of mythical creatures. While there, you might even become their king or queen, saving their entire kingdom. And you come home in time to have some lunch, as if no time has passed. Screw getting a Playstation for Christmas. I want this! Er. Ahem. I want to give this. Of course.

Thanks for reading, and as always, happy geeking!

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Books to Read in Pairs Tag

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This book tag was created by Jen Campbell. The idea is to pick out books that you think could benefit from being read close together. So let’s talk about my choices for this tag.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice & The Summoning by Bentley Little. These are both vampire stories, but they’re very different. Anne Rice was the first author to really focus in on the idea of the romantic vampire. For better or worse, the idea of the vampire as a seducer or lover became popular because of her. Meanwhile, The Summoning is about a very nasty, gross, deadly vampire with no sex appeal whatsoever. The reason I feel these work in tandem is because Rice’s vision is beautiful and still a great book to this day, but Little goes out of his way to have the characters wonder how sexy vampires ever became a thing, when their vampire is the absolute worst. I think that’s both amusing and thought provoking.

Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco & The Shining by Stephen King. This is a case of the book that came first (Burnt Offerings) and the book that followed in its footsteps (The Shining). Anything like this makes for an interesting experiment. Their stories are very similar. The former is a slimmer volume but maybe not as entertaining. The latter is more long-winded but probably more well-done overall. I wonder what similarities and contrasts could be mined by reading these close together. Or if you’d just end up totally burnt (heh) out on haunted houses and broken homes.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson & If You Could See Me Now by Peter Straub. These books are different stories, to be sure. Jackson is writing about a pair of sister haunted by their past and their own, strange minds. Straub is writing about a man returning to a place from his childhood and discovering old ghosts. But they share a tone. They also share some narrators that are so unreliable, you don’t know if you should trust anything they say. I think it’s clear that Straub was inspired by Jackson’s style of eerie storytelling, and if read closely together, that would become more apparent.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter & Red as Blood by Tanith Lee. Both of these are more adult, feminist retellings of fairy tales. Carter takes more of a hard line regarding the feminist angle, and Lee seemed more interested in the whimsy and darkness of making these tales adult in nature, but there’s a lot to compare. Lee’s romanticism versus Carter’s academia, while they’re both achieving this poetic level of prose, at the height of their powers. Also, I just love fairy tales. Read all the fairy tales at once!

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis & The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Two stories of rich people being terribly naughty. Each of them set in the most decadent decades known in modern America: the 1980s and the 1920s respectively. I believe that Fitzgerald, with his message of American dreams dashed to pieces, wealth having sadly more worth than the human heart, and debauched party-goers with no limits, was transgressive before it was cool. I don’t think Ellis and his first book could’ve had the proper gateway into literature without Gatsby. The disaffected youth and hopelessness of Less Than Zero is understandably darker, but comparisons could certainly be made.

Thank you for reading. I hope this gave you some ideas about future reading projects. As always, happy geeking!

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TFW: Favorite Villains

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This one deserves a little setup. First off, “favorite” is a very awkward word in this case. Approaching the topic of villains, favorite is often not the way I’d like it put. More like most effective villains. Or even “worst” in the sense that they’re very nasty. A couple of these, favorite might be okay, but there are definitely levels to these choices that I’ll be explaining as I go through.

Also, this topic was shockingly hard. It made me realize that I don’t read a lot of things that focus much on the villainy. If they do, then the character becomes so gray to me that they no longer read as a total villain. See A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin for lots of examples of this. Or sometimes the villains in my favorite books are monsters, and I wasn’t sure if that should count. Basically my thought process this week was pretty particular, and I obsess too much. Now let’s get started! Oh, and some spoilers ahead, too.

5. Dodge from Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Dodge starts as the monster under the bed. Then evolves into the bad kid next door, the unpredictable kind that makes you squirm every time he’s left alone with one of our main characters. Then something fantastic happens near the latter half of the series, and he gets a ton of backstory and character depth that you didn’t see coming. Like any great comic book villain, suddenly what’s happened to him becomes tragic. Hill went above and beyond in making Dodge both terrible and magnetic, and he’s one of the reasons this series is a must read.

4. Randall Flagg from The Stand/The Eyes of the Dragon/The Dark Tower by Stephen King. This is one of those times when favorite tastes sour in my mouth, because if anything I love to hate him. He’s arguably the most twisted and real-seeming villain King has ever written. Crimson King, eat your heart out. He’s powerful and mysterious, but he’s also fallible, often due to his monstrous ego. Some of the biggest events in the King-verse, he’s there working his evil machinations. Most disturbing of all, he’s charming. People want to follow him. He’s seductive, and nothing makes a villain more horrifying to me than that.

3. Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Those spoilers I warned about? Right here. Though I think the cat is mostly out of the bag with this one. For the first half of the book, we’re under the impression that Amy is a victim. Then the second half slams into us like a truck, and we’re left with our jaws on our chests as she explains her evil plan and how perfectly it went. She’s a murderer and a mastermind, a complete sociopath who sees only her own gain and catalogues every slight against her in painstaking detail. She uses the basic, female stereotypes that permeate the media to handily win her way wherever she wants to be. You almost have to admire it, which is so gross of me to say but is a testament to incredible writing.

2. Roland Croninger from Swan Song by Robert McCammon. When we first encounter Roland, he’s a somewhat dark-minded kid obsessed with a computer game. Nothing new there really. Then the unthinkable happens, and America has been struck by nuclear war. In the ensuing fallout, Roland sees himself as a knight from his favorite game. He’s determined to serve his king and prove himself courageous. His actions are ignoble but fueled by an unnerving sense of honor and rightness, turning him into the definition of lawful evil. It becomes clear throughout the course of the book that of all the ne’er-do-wells in his army, including the man who outranks him, he’s the most deadly and effective. Again, he’s awful, but McCammon gives him so much time and thought that he’s a blast to follow.

1. Francis Dollarhyde from Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Some might say Hannibal Lecter, for his style and charm. Some might say Jame Gumb for his creepiness and the way his character was molded from some of the most notorious real-life killers in history. But I say Francis. Because his backstory is tragic. His life is sad. His delusions are terrifying and depressing. For a time, his heart isn’t entirely corrupted, and it makes his ultimate choices even more heartbreaking and awful. Before Harris was making Hannibal a character that was hard to hate, he created Francis, who defines why you would cringe away but also feel sympathy for a character. In Francis, he creates this perfect portal into pathological evil, stares right into its heart, and dares to show us the goodness that could be, making for a perfect, villainous tragedy.

There you have it! Thank you for reading, and as always, happy geeking!

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