fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
This is my front page. If you want me to add you, drop me a line here. Or, add me. Either way, I'll check you out. You can also drop me a line here if, for instance, you don't have my email address. All comments here are screened.

This post also includes every tag I have -- this is because my current LJ style doesn't include a tag index. (At least half of my participation on LJ is on my phone. I chose this style because, as bare-bones as it is, it loads quickly and it's still readable on a small screen.)

I'd tell you more about myself, but that's what my profile -- and the rest of my LJ -- is for.
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
So, Orson Scott Card has released a statement lately, about that movie coming out.

" Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

"With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

"Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."


"Tolerance," eh? I wonder what he means by "tolerance?"

"Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society. The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity's ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships."


Okay, if that's the level of "tolerance" he's asking for, I find I can live with that. I can be far more magnanimous than that, really! With that in mind...

Go eat a dick, Orson. I'll consider seeing your movie when you're dead and therefore can't funnel your profits from it into promoting hateful causes.
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (creative)
Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends: Oh my god o my god o my god o my god! I love this show! How have I never seen it before now? This is freaking amazing! Sadly, I'm having to catch it on youTube, which means that lots of episodes are missing, but there are still plenty there, and o my god o my god o my god o my god o my god! And I'm keeping this one close to my heart because when Santa's reindeer start shitting in my ears, I'll need some Christmas stuff that isn't moldy garbage.

Jimmy Two Shoes: I've seen two episodes of this one, and I like it a lot, though I'm not a rabid fanboy like I'm quickly becoming for FHFIM. It's about a kid in Hell, with a rather dimwitted demon for a best friend, and holy crap, this show is aimed at kids? I can't be all that surprised, because I grew up with cartoons involving transvestite rabbits, irresponsible hunters, would-be rapist skunks, and trigger-happy prospectors... but this cartoon takes place in Hell! It's like the people who made this cartoon don't think that small children are easily scarred!

Crossed: A trainwreck in comic book form, started by Garth Ennis and continued by others. In this world, humanity has been overrun by... well, sentient sadistic zombies who can turn you into one of them by bleeding on you, spitting on you, or jerking off onto bullets and shooting you with one of them (canon example). The comic is ostensibly about the survivors, and what they have to do to survive (and more to the point, how much humanity they have to give up in the name of survival when surrounded by inhuman monsters), but the writers all seem to be trying to top each other (and themselves) in how many vile things they can pile into a comic. "I'm going to have the zombies rape half their prisoners, then watch as the rape victims turn to zombies themselves and rape the other half of the prisoners!" "I'm going to show someone being beaten to death with a severed horse-cock!" "I'm going to have a guy cut a woman's lips off and wear them around his cock until they rot off!" "I'm going to have a zombie rape a dolphin in the blow-hole!" When he worked for other companies, Garth Ennis had limits. (There was plenty of sick shit in Preacher, for instance). Crossed abounds with sick shit, to the point of overpowering anything else that might make the comic worth reading.

Clive Barker: I've been rereading his short stories again. Very good writer, with very lovely prose, even when it's completely at odds with what he's describing with it. I reread The Hellbound Heart, and found myself surprised that the cenobite with the pins and the grid cut into its scalp... had a little girl's voice, not the booming baritone we've all come to expect from Doug Bradley since, and the grid was tattooed, not cut. So much has changed. And Clive Barker has a tumblr! Cool! I remember he was an artist as well, and... oh. Never mind. (Click if you're into naked dudes and body paint and occasional weird shit, but not if you're at work.)

Sherlock: The BBC version, with an otter playing the title role. I remember reading somewhere, someone complaining that modern technology has killed the murder mystery. In fact, at the time, I thought they kinda had a point -- I remember seeing several episodes of Murder, She Wrote a while back, and found myself thinking that none of the mysteries would have worked if the characters all had cellphones. In this version, Holmes and Watson have embraced technology, with Holmes mass-texting people at press conferences and being able to tell that a person with a drinking problem owned a cellphone, and Watson being encouraged to write a blog. It's Moff, with all that implies, both good and bad. I'm told there's another modern take on this series, with Watson being an Asian woman. I'm sure that as a white dude I'm supposed to be offended by this, but honestly, why not? (Perhaps I lack appropriate respect for the canon material or something...)
fierynotes: Picture of Tarvek, from Girl Genius, facepalming. (facepalm)
One delights in discovering a piece of classic literature for the first time, but the pleasure from this discovery is dampened by the realization that this masterwork has birthed a catchphrase that could easily become overdone and annoying. Oh, how hateful!

(My education has some serious gaps in it, which is hateful indeed. I can't believe I've never been exposed to The Pillow Book before now! Especially since I remember one of you saying something along the lines of "Sei Shōnagon was the first LJ user.")

(Many thanks to [personal profile] happiestsadist for the link, and [personal profile] ms_daisy_cutter for the signpost.)

In related news, The Tale of Genji (another work from the same period) is on my good intentions list, but I've heard intimidating things about it: settings and customs unfamiliar to Westerners, arcane language, achingly beautiful prose that gets completely destroyed in translation, and artful discretion with names that makes my habit of using bracketed names for lovers seem coarse and direct, and makes following characters a chore. Wikipedia claims that even in Japanese, it's a daunting read and most people tackle annotated versions of it. Any thoughts or suggestions?
fierynotes: Picture of Discord. (discord)
Most sci-fi looks to the future, but a little of it looks to the past. Of the stuff that does, a lot of it looks at one significant event in history and creates a narrative starting from that. For instance, at least two writers that I know of -- Spider Robinson and Jeff Smith -- have blamed Tesla for the Tunguska event, and come up with stories that had potentially universe-ending implications from it.

If you take this same idea, use a background of US Rocket History, add several doses of black humor and Things I won't Work With, and shake vigorously over the always-entertaining, sometimes-insane conversations you'll hear at conventions, you might end up with A Tall Tail, by Charles Stross. You would have to be one sick puppy to find this story funny... but since it made me laugh so hard that [livejournal.com profile] ologbu jumped off my lap in annoyance, I wouldn't fault you for it.

(On a more serious note, I should add that Stross ended up naming one evil compound that hasn't appeared in Things I Won't Work With... yet. Dimethylmercury is one of the most toxic substances known to humans, and the stuff killed Dr. Karen Wetterhahn in 1997 despite her taking every chemical safety precaution known at the time. It wasn't her fault the stuff travels through gloves like a ghost through a brick wall.)

Edited to add: Oops. He knows Dimethylmercury, and won't work with it.
fierynotes: Picture of Tarvek, from Girl Genius, facepalming. (facepalm)
A little over two hundred years ago, some pervert named Marquis de Sade wrote The 120 Days of Sodom. For those of you unfamiliar, it's about four rich and powerful aristocrats who have been sexually abusing their daughters, who decide to throw their daughters in a castle along with either pretty young girls, eight handsome young boys, and four ugly old crones. Then, they enlist as accomplices four veteran whores and eight men with huge penises (four of whom de Sade doesn't bother to name), and spend four months doing no end of horrible shit to the daughters, pretty little girls and boys, and ugly old crones. (If I remember right, a couple of the castle cook's assistants get raped as well. The cook protests, and the perverts decide that actually having food is a good thing, so they decide not to rape any more of the cook's staff.)

There are people who will argue that this book is an amazing social commentary, an attack on those who would abuse their power... but no, I disagree. The Marquis de Sade was just a pervert. And not any of the fun or hot kinds of pervert, either. The 120 Days of Sodom ought to have ended with the lines, "wow, that's a hell of an act. What do you call it?" "The Aristocrats!"


Nearly forty years ago, some guy named Pier Paolo Pasolini (who isn't just some guy, but was apparently a towering cultural figure) decided that the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom really needed to be a movie, and created Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma. I can just imagine the sort of casting calls for it:
Wanted: eight pretty young women and eight handsome young men. Must be willing to be filmed naked, act like a dog, play a victim in simulated rape scenes, eat (and possibly bathe in) chocolate on camera, and ultimately be tortured (with bad special effects). Must also not be planning a career in show business, because after being in this movie, you'll quite possibly never work again.

Wanted: four tough young men. Must be willing to play rapists and be filmed naked (except for a large rubber cock). Must also not be planning a career in show business, because after being in this movie, you'll quite possibly never work again.

Wanted: four older men. Must be willing to play powerful brutes, dress (badly) in drag, eat chocolate and have lemonade dribbled on your faces. Must also not be planning a career in show business, because after being in this movie, you'll quite possibly never work again.


And a few hours ago, some poor fool named "fierynotes" decided, after arming himself with a mostly-complete translation of the script, to watch this beastly shitstain of a movie. In retrospect, this was not one of my better decisions.

The pacing of this movie is not merely slow, but glacial. Pasolini spent twenty-two minutes framing the horrors that will take place in that castle. After that, things got disturbing. About an hour in, I wanted to throw up. (There are a couple of infamous scenes of coprophagia in this movie. I don't care if the copro- in question was choco-, I wanted to throw up.) Then an ass-judging contest, then a mockery of a wedding in which our four aristocrats get "married" to the four guys with extra-large rubber cocks, then a mudbath (which made me want to throw up again). Ultimately, this movie ends with the victims being raped, tortured, and murdered... and the pianist, who's been providing the soundtrack for all of this abuse, decides to jump out a very high window. Can't say I blame her.

In every way that matters, this movie is faithful to the source material... but having the four veteran whores as storytellers makes the pace of the movie unbearably slow. (I suppose this is a blessing in disguise -- it helps to give the viewer a break from all the horrible stuff being shown.) It's just like the book in that if you squint, you can construe it as social commentary... but it's still just an Aristocrats joke.

One last thing I feel I need to add, and this is my music geek showing... this movie came out in 1975. Carl Orff died in 1982. I mention this because near the end of Salò, Veris leta facies ("The Merry Face of Spring," from Carmina Burana) gets excerpted, and if I were Orff, I would have sued the everliving fuck out of... well, I don't know. Pasolini was fatally stabbed shortly before Salò was released. But I would have found someone to sue, and then I would have sued them off the planet. I can only assume that Orff never became aware that his music was abused in this way.

I want a drink after watching this. I can only add that I'm glad I downloaded this -- I'd hate to have paid to watch this. I'll be deleting it as soon as I finish typing up this post -- I feel filthy just for allowing it to exist on my computer.
fierynotes: Picture of a black sockpuppet. (footsie)
So, [personal profile] cuddlycthulhu just finished reading The Kobold Wizard's Dildo of Enlightenment +2 by Carlton Mellick III. Poor bastard. Poor, poor bastard. (You can read about it here. I'm sure sympathy and scotch would both be appreciated.)

Well, the first few pages of it were available on Amazon, so I read them. Wow. Isn't he... er, imaginative!

Then I clicked on the author's name. Holy crap. Not only imaginative, but prolific! This is an alpha male member of the obscure species Simiacocainum lysergideum! Amazon lists 39 books to his credit, with such eeeeen-teresting titles as Satan Burger, The Haunted Vagina, The Cannibals of Candyland, Zombies and Shit, Ocean of Lard, I Knocked up Satan's Daughter, and many more!

This is the kind of crack monkey that Chancery Stone (remember her?) wishes she could be, but she'll never even come close. Fly free and fly high, brave little acid-tripping crack monkey! Fly, and let the whole world see your freak colors!

Is it sad that, despite [personal profile] cuddlycthulhu's direst warnings (or possibly worse, because of them), I kinda want to read this author now? Just to discover how awful he is for myself, you know. I bet he's even crazier than the mind who brought us Wesley Crusher: Teenage Fuck Machine. I kinda want to start a circle of people to read this at a convention during the wee hours -- after all, we all know Eye of Argon already. There may also need to be a rule about "one shot of good scotch for each X pages you successfully read," but that couldn't be done in an open room like Eye of Argon could.

Edited To Add: Amazon has just recommended to me Ass-Goblins of Auschwitz and Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere, by two different authors clearly cut from the same cloth. Help me. Somebody. I've fallen into the internet, and I can't get up.
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)
"Bello Swain was a geeky dude (who was quite handsome, but didn't know it) who, after dressing in drag, found himself pulled between the attentions of a supernaturally beautiful amber-eyed sparklepire named Edward, and a hot werewolf named Jacob who had muscles, muscles everywhere, and never owned a shirt..."

Ms. Corsetto is absolutely right! This would be much better than Twilight!
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (studious)
Martyrs: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Short version: a small conspiracy (which isn't properly introduced until about halfway through the movie) is out to discover what the afterlife is like. Well before the beginning of the movie, they've concluded that their best chances of achieving that goal are to push carefully chosen victims right up to Death's Doorway in the hopes that these victims will see into the doorway and report back on what they see. Unfortunately, this means torturing them almost to death, and stretching out that "almost" as long as possible. They call the ones who just die "victims," but the ones who actually see anything are called "martyrs." (At the end of the film, it's explained that the word "martyr" comes from the Greek for "witness.")

One could easily compare this movie to Hostel, considering that there's a lot of torture and degradation in both movies... but the resemblance ends there. Any idiot can make a movie with torturers who just do it for the hell of it. This movie has torturers who do it because they feel they must... and who, in fact, have great respect for their victims. Further, this movie doesn't gloss over the psychology -- where Hostel just revels in the physical torture, Martyrs lets a victim escape her torturers, but explores how haunted she is by her experiences, and lets us believe that she's haunted in the supernatural sense for half the movie. This movie is not some faceless monsters torturing some faceless redshirts -- both the victims and the antagonists are credible human beings. In fact, the antagonists are human enough that there's sympathy for them when SPOILER ALERT. )

Because of all this attention to human details, Martyrs is genuinely terrifying, where Hostel is just disgusting. (Someday, I may watch Hostel. If I do, I will be very drunk, and I will no doubt savage it in a journal post soon afterward.) It's an excellent movie... but very difficult to watch.
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, looking very pissed off. (angry)
For those of you who haven't stared in wonder at "The Queen Bee" by Randall Garrett, you have no idea what a treat you're missing. And just in case you're missing the sarcasm dripping off that last sentence, lemme summarize it for you:

A space liner blows up, and there are seven survivors: three men of siring age, one old man, and three adult women who act like children and are treated as such for the whole story. One of them is a good little girl who knows her place, one of them is a neurotic androphobe, and one of them is a she-bitch from hell, with all the worst traits some men attribute to women: bossy, shrewish, and impervious to reason. they find themselves marooned on a habitable, even pleasant planet, and remember a law that applies to all people who are stuck on uninhabited planets: each woman needs to bear one male and one infant baby with each man.

Yeah, the men are now colonists. And the women now make babies and do housework. Amazing, isn't it, how a genre can be all about looking to the future, and yet the roles women get stuck with never change?

Anyway, the she-bitch from hell acts like a tantrumy five-year-old for the entire story, and in acting like a typically irrational woman, endangers the colony in several little ways and a few big ones. The men slap her around and one of them slugs her, but it doesn't help. You just can't reason with women, right?

There's a little side plot in which the woman who's scared of men is horrified by the thought of getting close enough to one to produce offspring, but it's nothing a man can't solve by slapping her around and fucking her anyway (the fucking part is thankfully elided). She gets pregnant, and is happy as a clam. You know, like any victim of physical and sexual assault (who was terrified of men even before all that happened) would be when they discover that they're pregnant.

That side plot get ended abruptly by the aforementioned she-bitch from hell, who murders both women two days after the pregnancy is announced. She figures that if she's the only woman alive, the men can't visit retribution upon her -- they need her too much, for populating the planet. Of course, the men find a way to put this uppity bitch in her place: a lobotomy. The story ends with a birth of a child (named after the good little woman that the she-bitch from hell murdered), and the implication that all three of the fertile men on this planet will be having lots of sex with a lobot. For the good of the colony, of course.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction produced a lot of great stuff, but it was far from perfect. For instance, it produced -- and published -- shit like this.

(Stories like this make me miss the days of Godawful Fan Fiction. I'll probably end up cross-posting this to Why God Why.)
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)
It's been said of JRR Tolkien that, for all his success as a writer, what he really wanted to be was a filkster. By the same token, George RR Martin really wants to be a food critic. It seems that there's a shitload of food in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and a handful of enterprising lunatics have decided to see how much of it they could make.

I have approximately zero interest in the books, but the food looks amazing. This chowder, in particular, looks wonderful.

(Link stolen from [livejournal.com profile] drave117.)
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)


It's been a long time since I've read Burroughs, but at first guess, Deja Thoris isn't anywhere near naked enough. At second guess, John Carter isn't, either. And since Disney is producing it, I imagine that these are the smallest complaints that can be made about this movie when it comes out.

Huh huh. Henh henh henh. "Barsoom." Huh huh. I said "barsoom."

(I should probably try to pick up that series again. I don't think I actually ever finished a book, but I have very vague memories of picking wood pulp out of my teeth and marveling at how much Burroughs enjoyed the human body.)
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
Against my own better judgment, I just finished reading a certain Eric James Stone story that's been making the rounds.

Firstly, one of the basic rules of writing science fiction is Know Your Science. If you don't know your science, either get outside help or do your research. Octavia Butler dealt with social issues a lot, but as a black and possibly queer woman, she had a grasp on these issues that many other writers do not. A lot of Philip K Dick's work involves mind-twisting drugs, and... well, let's just say he knew that subject very well. Robert Heinlein wrote of having to solve equations on rolls of butcher paper for things like travel times between planets, and his wife (who was smarter than him in many fields, including math) frequently helped him. Spider Robinson wrote a story with similar equations (but nastier, because Lorentz contraction got involved), and when he couldn't crack the numbers, he consulted a friend who, if I remember right, works at JPL. Samuel Delany wrote a story once about a language developed as a weapon in war, that would convert everyone who learned it, and you'd better believe he knew his subject -- he is, among other things, a language professor.

A moment's research would have told anyone that even if a ginormous plasmic being living inside a star is casually referred to as a solar whale, the term solcetacean does not work. "Cetacean" is a scientific classification that couldn't possibly apply here. "Solcetacean" is a bit of Latin and Greek gobbledygook that's clearly intended to make the writer look more clever than he is. And if that weren't merely the smallest thing wrong with this story, I'd perhaps let it go. (After all, I don't like the mix of Latin and Greek in the word "hemovore," -- it ought to be "hemophage" or "sanguivore" -- but I can still enjoy Doctor Who, right?)

As it is, this story is a really painfully bland wish-fulfillment tale in which a single human Mormon preacher successfully gains a concession for Mormons from a being thousands of years older than humanity. Yeah. Convincing a ancient being of the basic rightness of a belief system created by humans less than two hundred years ago. Let the arrogance of that idea sink in a moment.

It's not that I believe theology has no place in science fiction. I assure you, in competent hands, there is a place for it. But these are not competent hands.

Unbelievably, this story won the Nebula for Best Novelette. My current theory to explain this is that many of the nebula voters were at a really wild party at a convention, and Eric James Stone has the negatives. I suspect farm animals were involved.
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (creative)
Dear Jerome Corsi,

I hear you have a new book coming out in a few weeks. In light of your history as a lying, shit-stirring, swift-boating douchebag scumbag assbag, I'd like to take this opportunity to say, to both you and your book sales...

Suck it! Suck it long and hard!

Sincerely,
Barack Obama

(Not that the birth certificate matters. Let's face it, if you believed he was a Kenyan Muslim who was unfit for office because he's a darkie or some shit, chances are you were completely immune to facts before, and you'll probably remain so. I also doubt that the release of the birth certificate will hurt Corsi's book sales, because let's face it, Corsi's target audience is the terminally delusional and the fact-immune, but hey, I can dream, huh?)
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
Jeanne Robinson
March 30, 1948 -- May 30, 2010

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