Your Heroes Were Monsters

I’ve been meaning to write about Lovecraft and his racism. I think that maybe there are interesting things to say about that subject. Fair warning, this essay will be rambling and meandering. I’m working through ideas. Take it or leave it.

But instead, what set this off was Isaac Asimov. I think if you’re an average lay person, you’ll probably go ‘Who?’

But if you’re a science fiction nerd, he’s practically god. Born in 1920, Asimov was a biochemist, eventually a professor of biochemistry. Selling his first story in 1939, he was an incredibly prolific science fiction writer, with a career that spanned literally hundreds of stories, dozens of novels, the Foundation Future History series, right up to his death in 1992. On top of that, he was a critical editor. His name was on a leading science fiction magazine. He wrote mysteries. He moved into non-fiction and became a science populariser and general writer. He’s credited as the author of over five hundred books. That’s stunning.

Within the sci fi community, he was incredibly active, friendly and popular, and accessible. He was a charming guy, not retiring like Clarke, not arrogant, not weird. Just fun to be around. Any narrow field is rife with backbiting, with feuds, with dirty deals, and people getting screwed over or doing the screwing. But not Asimov. Everyone seemed to like him, no enemies, which is remarkable

He cultivated this avuncular, charming public image – the fiendishly intelligent, but friendly and approachable guy, with muttonchop sideburns and black rimmed glasses. Not threatening, not intimidating, just… likeable.

Not the best writer in the world, but a hell of a guy, and as I said, practically a god in the Science Fiction community, and well liked.

Also, it turns out, he was a serial harasser, a regular groper, who constantly sexually propositioned women, whether his advances were wanted or not. He groped breasts, he groped ass, he put his arm around women, he didn’t ask permission, he just did it. For some it was welcome, for many it wasn’t, but he just didn’t care. He reveled in it, he wrote a book called the ‘sensuous dirty old man’ about his career and joy in sexual harassment.

None of this was a secret. He was a staple at conventions. Everyone knew he did it. Men, women, women who’d been groped and accepted it, women who’d been groped and didn’t like it. Everyone knew. The behavior was there, no question, and it was normally unacceptable even for the standards of its time.

So now, finally, twenty-eight years after his death, Asimov’s reputation is finally crashing.

Read moreYour Heroes Were Monsters

Rethinking It: The Inhumans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spiderman? Great. Captain America? Terrific. Iron Man? Brilliant. Even the Hulk and Captain Marvel have their favourites.

But then we come to the Inhumans. This was the MCU’s big fiasco. There’s a lot of history with the Inhumans, and it’s pretty much all crap from start to finish. Let’s work backwards.

The Inhumans appeared in theatre as an MCU movie notable for being cheap looking, plastic, with mediocre special effects, costumes, and sub-par acting. After a couple of disastrous week or two in the movie theatres, it played on television as the pilot to an eight episode series. Now this isn’t the first time that a television pilot was released theatrically. Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica got that treatment. But it’s generally not a good idea.

The subsequent series was basically more of same – crap CGI, crap characters, crap costumes and acting. It might have had a moment now and then, but it was shabby. And it undercut itself – Medusa the lead inhuman with the octopus tentacle hair got her head shaved. Karnak, the ultimate martial artist got a concussion and lost his skills. So these ‘special attributes’ are barely introduced then written out? The series died hard no one cared.

Behind the scenes, it seems like the Inhumans were the pet project of Ike Perlmutter, who was one of the people behind the MCU. The general consensus is that Kevin Feige is the brilliant pilot of the MCU. Perlmutter was the racist, sexist, cheapskate troll who was eventually forced out of the movies and exiled into the television branch, where he could only mess with Agents of Shield. He also pushed the Inhumans there to.

Why did Perlmutter push the inhumans? Because way back in the day, when Marvel was having a hard time, they sold their most lucrative property, the X-Men. Now that they’re a big thing, they can’t get the X-Men back.

The X-Men were about mutants, regular people who got all these fantastic weird powers and amounted to another race alongside humanity. That’s pretty much the same basic description as the Inhumans. So Perlmutter basically figured that the Inhumans could be replacement X-Men.

Not quite.

Okay, let me show off my Nerd Cred by giving you a little of the background of the whole Inhumans shtick.

Read moreRethinking It: The Inhumans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Retroverse, Sneak Peek

Retroverse:  The Secret History of Outer Space

So what do we have here?  This is my other Coronaclypse Project.

Here’s how it started. Way back when, I was working for this small law firm. My boss went nuts, after about a year, I decided that it wasn’t going to get better and quit the firm. I took a job working in house for an Indian Band and moved up north.  It was a good job, loved the work, loved the people I worked with.

But… the downside was that I’d basically moved away from my wife, from my life down in the city, our friends, etc.  My mother in law had just had a stroke a couple of months before. So she couldn’t come to join me for two and a half years.  Come a long weekend I’d take the twelve hour bus ride down, and then take the twelve hour ride back. But even with the phone and visits, it was pretty lonely.

I had some time on my hands.

Anyway, one night, I was watching a Late Night Double Bill – This Island Earth and Queen of Outer Space.

This Island Earth involves aliens in the 1950’s who call themselves the Metaluna, who try to trick a bunch of scientists into being a think tank for them.  It turns out that that the Metaluna are at war with another alien race, the Zagons, who are bombing them out of existence.

Queen of Outer Space involves astronauts in the 1980’s who get hijacked to Venus which is ruled by space amazons.  Turns out that the Venerians  a generation ago had an interplanetary war with a neighboring planet called Morda, they won, but they’re still bitter.

It was late at night, I was bored, and kind of fuzzy, so I ended up wondering  “What if its the same war?”  What if the interplanetary war from This Island Earth was actually the same interplanetary war referred to in Queen of Outer Space, just seen from two different points of view. What if these two movies were in the same universe.

Read moreRetroverse, Sneak Peek

Amazon Hotlist

A bit of cool news!

David McMillan dropped me a line to let me know that last week, two of my short story collections The Fall of Atlantis and There Are No Doors in Dark Places got picked for 4th and 5th place on Amazon’s hot new releases list.

This week, still on the hot new releases list and 19 and 20.

It’s kind of nice.

David McMillan’s collection was number one, good for him!

Dawn of Cthulhu and other stories….

Are you a Lovecraft fan? Can you pronounce Cthulhu? Do you recognize the guy with the tentacles? Azathoth? Yog Sothoth? Leng? Mountains of Madness? Shoggoths? Innsmouth?

If any of that meant anything to you, the answer is ‘yes.’

If it didn’t, stick around, you might find this interesting anyway.

Or you could go back and read my blog post, H.P.Lovecraft and Me. Seriously, it’s worth reading.

Anyway, I’m a writer, and something of a Lovecraft fan. I’m not blind to his shortcomings either as a human being or as a writer, I certainly don’t endorse them. Lovecraft’s strengths and weaknesses as a person and as a writer both deserve attention and consideration. There are things that can and should be condemned, but at the same time, I think that nuance is appropriate. In the end, all our ancestors were monsters, and all their works are tainted. Yet we live in the world they made, and we build our houses upon their rocks.  There’s a blog post I’ll get to.

But Lovecraft did do some things well, Lovecraft was influential, and deservedly so. I certainly have, in some ways, been influenced.

I’ve actually written two major Lovecraft stories.

I will caveat that – not major in the sense of setting the genre on its ear, winning awards or even getting much notice. But major in the sense of being very large works, the two stories together probably run better than 25,000 words, and which, I think have unique but effective and interesting twists on the mythos. Maybe someday they will get some notice.

One of these is called Life, Love and the Necronomicon, its psychological horror exploring the mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred and his world. You can find it in Giant Monsters Sing Sad Songs.

The other is The Secret History of the Cthulhu Cult, one of three long stories found in Dawn of Cthulhu. I don’t think I need to explain what it’s about. The three stories are about Cthulhu, Lost Continents, and Muppets.

Yeah, you heard me. Muppets.

Read moreDawn of Cthulhu and other stories….

The Mermaid’s Tale: We Got Reviews!!!

I got reviews. Not of The Luck, not yet. I’m hoping for those, and I’m planning on running it by the few famous (semi-famous?) people I know in hopes of getting a plug.

But for The Mermaid’s Tale, I have reviews. Normally, I just stay away from those things. It’s a ‘no win’ situation. If you get a bad review, well it ruins your whole day. If you get a good review, then you end up believing it, you get a swelled head, start thinking you’re special, and it’s just feeding your ego. I’ve got enough of an ego, maybe too much of one. If you get a mediocre review… well, who cares? So there’s no good outcome from reading your reviews, I try not to.

But here I am, trying to sell the book to you, and promote my upcoming book, The Luck, and hell, even sell you on all/any of my other writing. I’ve got a whole web site and blog devoted to it – so hey, narcissism central!

So anyway, I thought I’d delve into reviews and share some excerpts of comments with you. Not the entire review (unless they’re really short), because that’s the property of the author.

***

Michael Fletcher, author of Beyond Redemption.

“This book is violent and brutal and haunting and beautiful. If I could give this a sixth star I would.”  

I think that this is actually the official plug for The Mermaid’s Tale. I suspect that Fletcher is the most semi-famous person to have reviewed me. Fletcher is actually an absolutely brilliant writer, definitely out of my league. I picked up Beyond Redemption on a trip to Australia and was absolutely rivetted reading it back home. It was just amazing, a powerhouse tour de force of imagination, horror, empathy and sweetness. I was in awe. So seriously, this is a writer that you need to go well out of your way to find.

Read moreThe Mermaid’s Tale: We Got Reviews!!!

H.P. Lovecraft and Me

Yeah, I know. H.P. Lovecraft’s star is in decline these days, what with his racism and all. Ironically, Edgar Allen Poe was a racist AND a pedophile, but he still seems to be okay.  Everyone and everything we love turns out to be horrible.

Go figure.

There’s room, I think, for a fairly nuanced discussion of both Lovecraft’s racism and the racism of his era. I’ll write about that one of these days.

Like it or not, Lovecraft was an incredibly influential writer. Just out there, his weird scary stories had generations of shy young nerds stumbling around mumbling about tentacles and yog sothoth and whatnot.

I was one of those. I’ve actually written a couple of major Lovecraft stories: Dawn of Cthulhu, and Life, Love and the Necronomicon. Major in that they’re long, and I think, unique. Not that they’re famous or anything. But they’re good stories, so check them out. This blog is about trying to sell you on my work after all.

For me, the Lovecraft story was ‘The Colour Out of Space,’ a story which if you are concerned, has no racist aspects whatsoever as far as I can tell, and can be happily read by the most woke among us.

First I read it.

And then I lived it.

Read moreH.P. Lovecraft and Me

Shut Up! That’s why!

So what am I working on right now?

Well, I could be working on Lexx Unauthorized, Volume II, revising and preparing it for upload. That’s written, I just need to fine tune it. I’ll get that done soon, though.

I could be working on a short story collection called Dark Places Have No Doors , the stories are written, it’s just a matter of commissioning a cover, and getting it edited and uploaded. I’ll get that done soon, though.

I could even be working on The New Doctor, or the Greatest Unauthorized Doctor Stories, Axis of Andes, some additional material for The Luck that Lorina wants, yet another collection of horror stories, a couple of collections of humorous fantasy and sci fi,  Princess of Asylum, A Change of Life, etcetera, all knocking around my hard drive, waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.  All of which I’ll get around to, sooner or later.

But what I’m working on right now?

A novel about a 1967 giant movie monster from Korea called Yongary?

Why?  Shut up! That’s why!

Is that a good answer?

Probably not.

But bear with me, maybe I’ll have a better one.

Read moreShut Up! That’s why!