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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Update! Books and Stuff!

So…  here’s what I’ve been doing lately.

LEXX Unauthorized, Season Two – From Here to the End of the Universe, edited and finalized, released March 31, about 90,000 words. I’ve started on LEXX Unauthorized, Season Three. But I think I’ll give that some time before releasing.

Then I wrote, rewrote, revised, adapted, extended, edited, revised some more, edited some more, designed covers, formatted no less than three collections of stories.  The Fall of Atlantis, What Devours Always Hungers and There Are No Doors in Dark Places.  Full disclosure, a lot of these stories were already written. But there were partial stories that I completed, there were revisions, there were a lot of stuff that amounted to compiling and writing from scratch.  So, a lot of legitimate work. Each was about 45,000 to 50,000 words.

Over in ‘Free Stuff’ I did a 15,000 word feature on STARLOST, The Rise and Fall of a Canadian Star Trek, I think it’s actually pretty good. I’m working on Starlost Reviews, and Starlost Universe.  Why?  I dunno. It’s definitely not commercial – it’s going to end in free stuff. But I think it’s interesting and worthwhile.  I’m not going to get rich, so why not do things that I enjoy and find valid.

So in writing related activities – two projects, look for Agents, and learn more about promotion and marketing. This blog is part of both those efforts.  Much more overtly the second.

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Axis of Andes, Sneak Peak

So, how’s the Coronaclypse been treating you?  For me, it’s been social distancing, seclusion, preclusion, and as the day job goes quiet, reading, watching television, and writing up a storm. Look, I’ve got a history of lung infections going back decades. So while I’m not worried, I am aware that this thing could kill me.  So, I’ve been trying to keep busy writing.

I thought I’d offer up a sneak peak at an upcoming project…  Axis of Andes

Essentially, it’s going to be a novel length alternate history, chronicling the third theatre of World War II, the great Andean Conflict which ended up touching almost every state in South America. In our history, South America largely sat out the war as neutrals. But that doesn’t tell the entire story.

Brazil was a pro-allied neutral sending thousands of volunteers to fight the Nazis in Europe. Argentina and Chile were pro-belligerent neutrals, spying for the Nazis and Japanese.  Argentina and Brazil maintained a cold war. Argentina and Paraguay ended up providing a home for Nazi war criminals. Through the 1930’s and into the 1940’s, the region seethed. There was the Colombia-Peru War (1932-33), the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay (1935-38), the Peru-Ecuador war (1941), a near conflict between Peru and Chile over Tacna and Arica. There were major Fascist parties and Fascist movements in almost every single South American country. There were social tensions, ethnic tensions, class conflicts.

South America was caught up in the economic and political transformations of the 20th century, it was a powderkeg that never quite blew. There were all sorts of events that could have kicked off an epic conflict, but never quite.

It’s a fascinating landscape to tell a story.

So, here’s a teaser….

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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.

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Prisoners of Trump’s Ego

I think it’s worth discussing Donald Trump’s peculiar, even bizarre history with the Coronavirus.
Trump supporters of course agree that the President did everything perfectly, everyone else is to blame, the Chinese lied, governors undermined the country, the WHO is corrupt, and no matter how many die, the President has done and is doing a terrific job, better than anyone else. Nonsense of course.
But it’s worth going back and taking a deeper look. What exactly happened? Why did the United States do essentially nothing through January? Why did the President spend most of February and early March minimizing the issue? Why does the United States continue to flounder today?
Admittedly, not everything can be blamed on the President. Most of the nations of the developed world have been slow off the mark, criminally so. In the United States, there’s an outbreak of what can only be called idiocy as Governors, states, state populations, communities and people just refuse to appreciate the risk – how else to explain mega-church services, or public beaches open in Florida, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Spring break parties, and what appears to be a right wing cause in rejection of social distancing. There’s a lot of blame to go around, especially in the United States.
But I would argue that in this pandemic, there is a central figure who has single handedly moved the needle from crisis to disaster.
Donald Trump: Essentially, he’s a poorly informed, disinterested narcissist.
If it doesn’t actually involve him directly, he’s not interested.  This isn’t my opinion. This is actually the recurring observation of a number of sources, including the ghost-writer of Art of the Deal. It’s a recurring observation from a number of sources former white house staff persons and insiders. He hates to read, he likes pictures, he’s uninterested in briefings, he is extremely incurious.
He’s literally only interested in his own initiatives and ideas, whether it be buying Greenland, threatening and then meeting with North Korea, confrontations with Iran, or tearing up trade deals and treaties. Basically, if its not coming from him, he’s just not interested.
This has put most of his senior cabinet on the wrong foot steadily, except for Kushner. Because anything they advocate, or initiate or any progress they make, is a threat to him, so he undermines them, or demands ingratiation, flattery and obedience. Any policy formulation or legislative development from the White House is invariably sabotaged by Trump himself.

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LEXX Unauthorized, Series 2 – The Light at the End of the Universe


Now hear the stories of episodes dreamt and episodes realized, last minute inventions, cast changes, surrealism and sci fi.

It can be found on Amazon, Smashwords and Draft 2 Digital, Kobo and many other platforms.  It may take a little time to go through, but definitely look for it.

I hope that it lives up to expectations.

Remember, this is a small private project, so if you like it, let me know. Post reviews. Recommend it to fellow LEXXians, Cult Sci Fi enthusiasts, and just about anyone else you can think of.


Countdown to LEXX: The Graveyard

OPENING SCENE – DEEP SPACE – The LEXX is cruising through empty space. It turns, the Gigashadow looms in front of it. The LEXX cruises slowly past as the Gigashadow turns slowly, motionless. It’s not the Gigashadow, just another of the species, and its dead, scorch marks and gouges in its side. As the frame opens, there are other carcasses of dead insects, some dismembered, all of them visibly damaged. The LEXX passes among the dead leviathans, as it flies, small insectoid forms – things resembling stingers and moths, spiders, crabs, centipedes and beetles are visible, forms strange and exotic and all clearly dead. One of the drifting objects is a craft that is half viking longboat and half scorpion.

CUT TO – LEXX Bridge – Stan, Kai and Xev are looking up at the viewscreen, as the LEXX cruises through the insect graveyard. Stan is pensive.

This gives me the creeps. I think we need to get out of here.

The third LEXX script never actually got written. I had a story worked out, just never followed through.

So you’re probably wondering, why don’t I just upload the second script that I actually did, instead of just blathering away over something that never got done? And for that matter, why didn’t I?

I thought it might make for an interesting story in and of itself.

I started with the Insect Wars….

Let me back up a little for those who don’t know LEXX (and if you don’t, I’m not sure why you’re reading this), the backstory of LEXX, particularly the first two seasons, is that many many thousands of years ago, there were two space faring races. Humanity and the Insects. Unfortunately, the Universe was only big enough for one. The great conflict was called the Insect Wars and ended with the near extermination of the Insect race and the ascendancy of humanity, lead by the Brunnen G.

Unfortunately, a single insect survived, and was able to pass its ‘soul’ or ‘essence’ into a human host. This human/insect became the first Divine Shadow, created the Divine Order, and proceeded on a plan, over thousands of years, to wipe out the human race. That was always Paul Donovan’s backstory.

Details changed over time. Originally, the Divine Order’s homeworld, The Cluster was a giant graveyard/war memorial, and the Divine Order started off as grave keepers, which influenced their costumes/uniforms, their traditions and rituals and technology.

Later on, in Gigashadow and Mantrid that got retconned a bit, The Cluster was just the small world/big asteroid where the last Insect hid to wait for its victim, no war memorial, no monument, etc. Instead, just the dormant insect, being fed on human flesh and growing and growing for thousands of years, while His Shadow and the Divine Order conquered much of the Universe, waiting for the apocalyptic moment when it could burst out.

But we never really did find out much about the Insect Wars. There’s a suggestion in the first season that humanity won, in part by adopting the Insects own living technology and turning it against them. I think Donovan was going to write a novel, but eventually set it aside.

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