Category Archives: Books
Thoughts on books that have caught our eye in fantasy and science fiction literature.
While serving as a groomsman at the wedding of a long-time friend, casual conversation with your fellow groomsman evolved into an elaborate, comedic brainstorming session of hypothetical wedding plans for your future possible nuptials. Ideas put forth included the following elements: a luche libre mask, a Klingon bat’leth, a bouncy castle, chimpanzees, a multilingual officiant who speaks High Valyrian, and Danzig songs.
To the chagrin of your significant other, part of you finds the Klingon bat’leth idea intriguing and the Danzig music an interesting choice for the reception.
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 265 (or Temporal agents and the displacement fields they rode in on…)
While discussing your thoughts on the Spierig brothers’ time travel film Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke, you talked about how it was not quite the “temporal policeman catching criminals” film the trailer made it out to be, due to headache-inducing plot twists you predicted 45 minutes prior to their revelation in the film.
You also repeatedly expressed a determination toward finding and reading the Robert Heinlein story “All You Zombies” upon which the film is based, in order to verify the origin of the aforementioned twists.
To which your significant other replied, “So essentially, you were hoping for a feature length version of Time Trax?”
“Would that have been too much to ask?” you responded, adding, “It’s not like I was expecting a Timecop remake. At least Time Trax had some panache… and an artificial intelligence computer assistant disguised as a credit card.”
Upon a recent visit to a used book store, you reacted to discovering a cache of old stand-up comedy LPs the same way most people would react to finding a rare Beatles album.
In describing the moment of discovery to others, you stated that when you saw Don Rickles grinning at you on an album cover titled, “Hello Dummy!” it was as if he was speaking directly to you.
By the time you left the store, you had albums showcasing the comedic works of Don Rickles, the Smothers Brothers, and Steve Martin… vowing to return to look for Richard Pryor albums.
In an alternate universe, Roald Dahl did not enjoy the success of his beloved children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Instead, he wrote a dismally unpopular book called Charlie and the Horchata Factory, in which Willy Wonka’s golden ticket campaign is an attempt to unload his unprofitable horchata factory, thereby staving off personal bankruptcy and a looming labor strike led by disgruntled Oompa-Loompas.
Now that Stephen King has joined Twitter, part of you wants to just tweet the man all day as if he was your pen pal.
However, you know that this is an ill-advised course of action, as it is fueled by nerd-guided admiration for an author’s body of work rather than an invitation to annoy Stephen King with constant tweets not unlike the following:
“When are you going to be on Sons of Anarchy again?” or “What’s your favorite pizza topping?”
Having read Misery, you can appreciate the need for boundaries between author and reader, especially if the roles were reversed.
You did tweet him once to welcome him to Twitter and a second time to ask if he was aware that NBC’s Revolution makes a lot of references to his works. After all, they just aired an episode titled “Captain Trips” about an outbreak.
Does that remind anybody of anything King related?
You have devoted a large portion of your Thanksgiving holiday break to streaming kung fu and samurai films in between reading old pulp fiction crime novels in e-book format.
You’re childhood enjoyment of the Captain Planet cartoon series lends itself to a surprising appreciation for the four-part Funny or Die comedic saga in which Don Cheadle portrays a rather insane Captain Planet.
Click on the links below to behold, what I like to call, The Downfall of Captain Planet…
A group of people you don’t know are conversing nearby, as you exit a building. You clearly overhear the phrase “lamb’s blood.” Though you are a bit alarmed at this phrase, and have no idea of the actual context of the conversation, part of you would find it amusing to approach them and interject the following:
“Excuse me, but you aren’t planning on killing a djinn by chance, are you? I only ask because in order to destroy that particular supernatural creature, the lamb’s blood needs to already be on the dagger or it won’t work. Also, it’s a good idea to have backup on hand as the touch of a djinn can render you incapacitated via psychic attack as it feeds off of your life-force.”
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 245 (or “Is that a terrifying, classic film villain on your TV screen, or are you just happy to see me?”)
The thought occurs to you that if your younger self from twenty years ago were suddenly transported in time to the present, the world would seem very both fascinating and a bit scary, just based on the fact that you have a digital video recorder that allows you to record high definition versions of television programs without a VCR, which you can use to fast forward commercials.
Furthermore, two of the television shows on your DVR are centered around terrifying film villains Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter, the latter being broadcast on a major television network, which bewilders your younger self even as it confounds your present self, considering that people once found shows like Married With Children and The Simpsons edgy and controversial.
Your knowledge of various mythologies (Norse, Greek, etc.) primarily comes from college classes and the works of Neil Gaiman.
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 243 (or Intergalactic gladiatorial arenas and personal dream sequences)
You recently had a dream that you accidentally traveled through an Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge (also known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge or “wormhole”) connecting two points in space-time.
Upon arriving at the wormhole’s other end, you find yourself held captive by a group of aliens from the Predator film franchise, who force you to fight in an intergalactic gladiatorial arena alongside fellow captives Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Chicago-area wizard and private detective Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden from The Dresden Files novels.
Throughout the remainder of the dream, you embark on a journey of survival with these characters in which you repeatedly attempt to get a letter of recommendation from Data endorsing your application to Starfleet Academy, as well as secure a wizard’s apprenticeship with Dresden.
You have realized that how well you get along with a person seems to have a correlation between the ratio of how much that person likes Stephen King’s Dark Tower novels and how much that person dislikes Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga.
Having read the first book and seen the first movie in the Twilight Saga, and loathed both with a passion, you have avoided the work of Stephenie Meyer and the subsequent film adaptations that have occurred. As such, when you first saw the trailer (provided below) for the film adaptation of Meyer’s supposed “science fiction” novel, The Host, you were shocked.
Why the shock? While you haven’t read the book, you have seen the film Bowfinger, a comedy in which a terrible director secretly films a famous actor without his knowledge in order to make a science fiction film called Chubby Rain, about aliens invading Earth via raindrops.
Thus, you exclaimed, “I can’t believe it… The Host is basically Chubby Rain being filmed for real!”
Behold, and judge for yourself.
How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 238 (or “Is that a Kindle in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Oh, that’s a Kindle… never mind, then”)
You often volunteer the number of novels you read last year when trying to impress someone in a dating situation, only to realize that half the time it makes you look as if you have no social life, and the other half, your potential date has no response at all.
While you have kept up with the HBO vampire drama True Blood since it first premiered, you have privately debated whether or not to discontinue viewing it each season, as it just seems to get more campy and absurd each year. Thus, when a die-hard fan of the show asked you how wonderful you would feel if the universe depicted in the series was a reality, you respond as follows:
“If I spent my life living in a True Blood universe, I think I’d spend my life annoyed with everyone around me, muttering, ‘You’ve got be kidding me’ everyday, until undereducated werewolves or overly whiny vampires attacked me and put me out of my misery.”
In an alternate universe, the much-beloved story, Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus, which was Francis P. Church’s response to a girl’s 1897 query to the The New York Sun concerning the existence of Santa Claus, did not gain popularity as a Christmas classic. This was caused by the much darker tone in Church’s alternate universe response, which was titled, Hey, Virginia, Just Who The Hell Have You Been Talking to, Young Lady?
While on your lunch break at work, you come to a startling realization. You not only have one song in your head, but several at the same time. These multiple tunes, competing for musical dominance, have blended into a single amalgamated “mega song” consisting of the following source material:
Rush’s Fly By Night; the original Mario Bros. video game theme; Stuck in the Middle With You by Gerry Rafferty (Stealers Wheel); and Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter.
During a long phone conversation with an old friend, who often takes the opposing view to yours in a discussion, you find yourself defending the legitimacy of Skyfall as a Bond film, in which you go so far as to list reasons why it is perhaps one of the best Bond films, the talks break down when you make the mistake of mentioning the now-defunct Stephen King Dark Tower film adaptation. The impetus of the Dark Tower entering the conversation was your reaction to seeing two actors working side-by-side who were rumored to be considered for the role of Roland Deschain, The Gunslinger, at various times.
The final insult was when he refused to believe you (as he will not read the series, though you have and love each book) as to why Javier Bardem’s Spanish accent doesn’t fit the role of Deschain (the content of Wizard and Glass serving as that reason, in your opinion), and he kept calling the series’ protagonist by a long list of incorrect names just to annoy you even though you had said “The Gunslinger” at least six times.
It was a then that you realized that you react the same way to people making negative comments about The Dark Tower series, when they haven’t even read any of the books, as Marty McFly reacts to being called a chicken in the Back to the Future films
Recently, you were asked to identify your ideal career, which took all of your willpower to not answer as follows:
“Preferably, I’d go with a line of work in time travel, but my second and third choices would be ‘intergalactic explorer/ lothario’ or a maester in Westeros.”