Monday, November 29, 2021

Last Chance for Cyber Monday!

Find it Here!

As of tomorrow, the Big Black Friday sale will be over! This is your last chance to jump on what is the best deal this entire season, far more than any corporation or online store: grab yourself a bunch of books that actually are on sale for a great price!

There are over 100 books available. In case you missed it, just about all of my books are on sale, more or less. 2021 has been a weird one, so I wanted to put something out there for those of you looking for a fun time.

Here is the rundown:

Grey Cat Blues for $0.99
Gemini Warrior for $0.99
Pulp on Pulp for $0.99
Brutal Dreams for $1.99

Last chance to jump on these before they return to normal pricing! But you don't only have my books, but over a hundred others by other talented authors. So please be sure to check out the sale here if you have yet to.

In other news, I have an update on Gemini Drifter that was sent to newsletter subscribers. For everyone else, I can say it is now that it is close to finished and ready to go. Further updates will come when there is more information to go, but if you're a newsletter subscriber than you already saw it. We're finally close to the finish line! 

NewPub is on fire, and we ain't putting out the flames anytime soon!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Big Black Friday Blowout!

Find it Here!

Once again, author Hans Shantz has gotten a bunch of authors together for a big Black Friday sale, an onslaught of killer adventure books for either free or $0.99. You can find all kinds of NewPub works to splash across your reading device and see what tickles your fancy. Most everything you'll find is miles ahead of where the old industry is.

For the first time, my book Gemini Warrior is also included. If you haven't jumped aboard (or left a review!) this is the perfect chance to do so. Book 2 is almost out of production. The same goes for the others in the Heroes Unleashed line. Now is the perfect jumping on point to get yourself caught up in the weirdness.

What isn't listed, because there isn't anywhere near enough room (there are over 100 titles!) is that all of my fiction is also on sale. I'm going all out this year for the readers.

That's right, you can find Knights of the End, Grey Cat Blues, and Someone is Aiming for You & Other Adventures, on heavy discount. Not to mention, the recently released Brutal Dreams is also being offered at a slight discount, for those who missed it. I'm also a part of the Pulp on Pulp nonfiction book as well as two entries in the Planetary Anthology series.

Basically, you find almost everything I've put out on sale this weekend. It's a long list!

Everything is all available to find on my amazon author page here.

On Sale!

And again, aside from me, you can get books from dozens of other authors starting today and over the weekend. This is probably the best book deal you're going to find all year, and a good place to find new favorites and see what you might have missed.

Once more, you can find the Big Black Friday Sale here.

Please have a happy and fruitful Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and I will see you next week. Only one month left before we wave goodbye to 2021! Time sure does fly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Signal Boost Before the Storm!

Find it Here!

As you well know, Black Friday is nearly upon us, which means consumerism madness. While that usually means craziness at the box store it usually means clicking refresh at Midnight on Thursday night in your online store of choice.

But ahead of all that, Tuscany Bay Books has the entire 11 book Planetary Anthology series on sale. You can now get the entire set for around ten bucks. That's right, cheaper than a dollar for each and far less expensive than anything you might be considering on Amazon. And this is before we even get to Friday! (It will be at this price through the weekend, too)

Here is the description of book 1 if you are unaware:

"From Book 1: Pluto, the Roman god of death and wealth, ruled the underworld far away from all of the other gods. So it was only fitting when, in 1930 and working on a theorized ninth planet proposed by Percival Lowell, Clyde Tombaugh used the telescope at Lowell Observatory to locate the ninth planet in our solar system, far, far away from its brothers and sister. 
Then came that day in July of 2015. Like the Romans when they found themselves within Pluto’s realm and discovered it was nothing like the desolate fires of damnation assigned to his Greek counterpart, Hades, those of us in modern time discovered that Pluto was nothing like we had imagined since 1930.

That iconic photo of Pluto, with the heart-shaped plain later named Tombaugh Regio, told us that there was so much more to the planet. First, it was not blue and not just solid ice as so many had expected it to be. Just like Pluto’s mythological domain, the planet displayed a variety of features and composition.

In this volume, what you will find in the pages that follow are twenty-one amazing stories of death and wealth set around a wandering cousin far out in the cold edges of our solar system. You will find Vikings, knights, warriors defending home and hearth, of triumph and tragedy, and, yes, even the god himself. You will read tales of great courage and great loss. Of sacrifice for a greater good and of justice delivered to the overly greedy. You will even find the aforementioned Walt Disney himself."

Once again, you can find it here!

I should also take this moment to tell you that Thursday's post will be out on Friday for the same holiday incoming as the above. That's a pretty big hint as to what to expect.

Until then, have a good week. Winter is here, but that doesn't mean slowing down. We've still got quite a ways to go.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Signal Boost ~ "The Good Fight" by Justin Robinson!

Find it Here!

Welcome to the weekend! Once more I would like to share with you a book you might have missed. This one is from the author of The Mummy of Monte Cristo and is just as suitably weird. Though I suppose you can tell from the cover.

This one is apparently aimed at ages a bit younger than the former work, but has no less an interesting setup from Mr. Robinson.

The description is below:

From the author of the award-winning THE MUMMY OF MONTE CRISTO!

Terry is an ordinary 16-year-old girl in Toronto. Her days are usually filled up by schoolwork, karate class, and helping out in her mother's store, but strange things are happening behind the scenes of the city.

People are disappearing and coming back changed, with their identity torn out of them. A series of close calls with an unthinkable adversary puts a target on Terry's back. It's everywhere, enslaving people, hollowing them out into puppets... and now it wants her.

Once again, you can find it here!

As for my next book, well, it should be coming sooner than you might expect. Just when? You'll just have to wait. I can promise it'll be worth the wait.

Until then, enjoy your weekend and the oncoming Advent season. It promises to be a very interesting time, much like it always is.

2021 has been awkward, as you are very aware, but things will clear up eventually. Until then, read something exciting to lift your spirits from the many talented authors, artists, and writers, striving to give you something new. You deserve it.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Savage Planet

This is one weird world, but I think you already knew that. It would be very difficult to live in these times and not see how strange things can get, especially in regards to how our perception of things has changed so tremendously over the years.

Ostensibly, we don't live in the same world we did even a few years ago, and it doesn't look like we're going to stop changing any time soon. In this sort of climate, can we even agree on much anymore? It seems like everyone is going their own way.

But I do believe there are things we can still come together over. Most notably, we can agree on where reality ends and where fiction begins.

Or can we?

I often wonder about the line between reality and fiction and where it really exists in the stories we tell. Of course one understands that the events we see in the stories we read or watch aren't physically occurring around us at that moment in a way that we can participate in, but there are parts of them that stick with you no matter what happens.

By the same token, advertising and word of mouth reputation can also alter your perception of stories before or even after you've already seen them. This is, after all, why advertising, propaganda, and word of mouth, are so important to sell stories to others. It's difficult to get someone interested via blurbs or elevator pitches, regardless of what experts may tell you. You need to sell "experiences" and "feelings" and such immaterial things, not the stories themselves.

What matters is selling you, not so much reaching you. As someone who has watched a lot of b-movies over at Cannon Cruisers for the last few years, I've slowly realized the difference between what a story offers versus what you are told a story should offer is often immense. Throughout the 20th century, it took a lot of trial and error to get it right.

For an example of this, take 1980s action movies, supposedly stupid films filled with poorly written dialogue that you are supposed to laugh at for being bad. But if you actually watch them you will find this is revisionism crafted by irony-poisoned hipsters. 

Action movies tend to be stories where heroism is rewarded, and the heroism is depicted as being larger than life, which requires larger than life action to match. You'll also find the "dumb" one-liners you laugh at actually are funny and clever, meant to make you laugh to begin with. At some point what you were being sold by those you trusted ends up being very different than what you are getting. Take a look at many internet critics from the '00s mocking Schwarzenegger's Commando over things that are meant to be funny to begin with. It is bizarre.

One would then have to question how many other things we have partaken in have been sold to us wrong. Perhaps we have also engaged with stories that were not presented as what they truly are and ends up successfully driving us off in the process?

I say this because of the obvious dumbing down of popular entertainment into fabricated genres that has been occurring over the past century. You need to check certain boxes to be placed into certain shelves in the correct stores. We've actually gone over this subject before. This obsession with classification overrides actual storytelling intent and leads many creators distracting themselves from what is more important in the creation process.

There is no medium or genre that has escaped this problem, just individual creators that know how to work around these unnecessary expectations.

So let us go into a story that falls into this exact crevice.

One such story I wish to talk about is 1984's b-movie favorite, Savage Streets. This film stars Linda Blair in her second most famous role, and for good reason, though I would argue she only really becomes the central character by the end. However, this is a movie that, in this writer's opinion, has negatively suffered over the years due to what it was sold as being and what others still praise it for. Truth be told, if you've seen it then you probably know what I mean. Savage Streets is not really what you would expect it is based on its reputation among exploitation film fans and those who love so-called trash cinema.

First, let us describe what the movie is actually about before we touch on things like reception or general advertisement required to sell it. The story is actually not that straightforward, despite what the poster at the top of the post or the taglines will have you believe.

Savage Streets is about a group of young urbanites in early '80s New York, all of which have no future or respect for the hopeless world they live in. We follow a group of men and a group of women as they collide and their worlds melt down into nothing.

The story starts as we center on the lone father figure in the movie, an inept middle-aged boomer who impotently wags his finger at his emasculated son not to go out on a school night. The son rolls his eyes, sneaks off and changes into his leather jacket, joining his cool friends for a night on the town. From there we see what the world he is truly living in feels like.

And this clueless kid's experience is pretty much our position going into this movie. We are watching a lost, amoral generation navigate a cruel and uncaring world, flailing in their attempts to interact with and understand the madness around them.

This setup tells us everything we need to know going forward, about the city, about the characters, and about what kind of story this actually is.

Our group of male punks soon comes across the equivalent fiery group of modern women and the two exchange heated words after the former almost accidently runs over the deaf-mute sister of Linda Blair's character. At this point it is established these guys aren't all there, but also that the women are kind of lost themselves, drifting about life without any aim. They hate and disrespect each other, though not for any reason in particular.

Eventually, however, they will push each other to the point that one of them will go too far. And then it all goes to hell.

But despite what the poster at the top of the page says, this isn't really a revenge story. It actually shows us both groups like they're gangs ready to clash with each other repeatedly, only instead we see them disintegrating in real time as things continually go bad for them. 

Without any glamor was see an uncaring world step aside as one group moves to more vicious acts such as rape and murder, doing them as naturally as they breathe without anyone stopping them. It just so happens that each victim in this spree is someone Linda Blair knows intimately, but she doesn't learn this until near the end of the movie. Until then, the movie is focused on the disintegration brought about by a lack of love or Justice from or towards anyone involved. Things are constantly happening, and getting worse, until a boiling point is eventually hit.

By the last half hour, she has hit her limit, learning from one of the turncoats what truly happened to those she loves (who is then unceremoniously murdered by his own supposed friends) and fresh in the knowledge that the law and all authority figures will not help her, she sets out to take the perpetrators down herself.

This happens around an hour into the movie and what follows is the entire climax. As I said, revenge only really comes into play late.

Now compare this with a Death Wish-style revenge movie. They don't work like this one does, because they aren't the same type of story.  The inciting act happens within the first half hour, and the rest of the film is spent seeking Justice for wrongs until the final showdown at the end. It is a very different set of events.

But Savage Streets doesn't do this. It is more interested in the disintegration that leads one to become that type of person that would murder Paul Kersey's family in Death Wish. What kind of a world fosters this sort of behavior? This is a generation with nothing and nobody--no hopes and no dreams and nothing to aspire to besides another dopamine hit before the inevitable overdose. Our main character has nothing she wants to do except live with her friends and family in peace, but she can't have even something simple like that. The world will not allow it.

By the time she goes out for her revenge in the last half hour it isn't quite like Paul Kersey snapping, but more like a long series of events resulting in a downhill slide into a bog of poison. This is what causes her to throw off all care and concern for herself and the law to do what needs to be done. This actually makes the last leg of the film more cathartic than it would be in a proper revenge movie, because it isn't about the revenge itself at this point. It is about doing what no one throughout the movie would do--set things the way they need to be and fix the damage. No one stepped up, leaving this fatherless hopeless case to put aside her ego and embracing her anger with the world into the right channel needed. You aren't necessarily cheering for revenge--you're cheering for this madness to be put right. And by the end, it is.

So while it does have revenge as a plot element and is a movie about Justice, I would be hard-pressed to advertise it the way the movie studios did when it came out. I wouldn't even sell it the way the film's fans do now. This isn't Death Wish and neither is it a "femme fatale" movie with a sexy lead in revealing clothing showing bad men how good women are. Sure, this was directed by the man behind Friday the 13th Part V, but it has little in common with that sort of sleaze. There isn't any sort of triumph at any point in the story.

Linda Blair essentially traps the three (that's right, there are only three) villains using her wits, twisting their vices against them, and surviving by the skin of her teeth. The entire climax is portrayed as, and is, an incredibly stupid thing for her to do on her own, almost ending in her gruesome death. She doesn't celebrate her narrow victory.

But if she didn't act to begin with then who would have?

We all know that it would have been no one. The entire movie proved that to us over and over. They would have continued to escalate in their insanity, hurting more innocents along the way to get their braindead pleasures of vice. Justice needed to be dealt out swiftly and unmercifully to those involved, and it was.

Even the finale of the movie ends with the above graveyard sequence to honor those who died due to this carelessness of modernity. There is no real victory here because none of this should have happened to begin with. Unlike Death Wish, however, Linda Blair at least as her remaining friends and family to help her through this trying time and they can hopefully move on from this. Though, of course, left unsaid is that little prevents this insanity from occurring again in the future.

Because this is the modern world.

I should also go into how one of the taglines is about "the battle of the sexes" or something silly like that. It truly isn't. This would imply each side consisted of one sex purposefully doing battle with the other, when the truth is that there is nothing of the sort happening. Weak people are responsible for letting this craziness happen to begin with.

There are male characters on the good side, some of which even fist fight against the villains at one point. The villains openly assault and violently threaten males all the time just as they do women. It just so happened that it was a female at the end of her rope that they (inadvertently, I might add) antagonize in their spree of terror. Their uncontrolled chaos of malice, lust, and greed, is what eventually led to their downfall. And they were rewarded by the world for being this way, until someone finally acted with Justice against them.

That there were no strong or competent adults to stand up against any of this is the actual tragedy of the picture. Everything would have been prevented with something substantial beyond finger-wagging at those darn youths to just be normal, dang it. The entire movie is about decay, so fat chance of that happening.

But none of this sells movie tickets, does it. You can't exactly fit all of this into an elevator pitch or a catchy tagline.

I would wager if you watched Savage Streets it was either like I did when it was on a late night station back in the day and got absorbed in the lunacy, or because you bought it based on the advertising and were either pleasantly surprised or horribly disappointed with the final result. This is because it isn't quite what it is sold as.

To get straight to it: Savage Streets isn't a gritty action movie. It isn't a "feminist" statement, or whatever that means among modern film snobs. It's not really exploitative: the rape scene is definitely not for the squeamish. It's not really a revenge movie or a thriller either. It's just a story about the youth generation struggling for air and failing in an amoral world of material pleasure-seeking. There is no glamor here.

So how would you even sell something like that? Not only that, but how do you explain it to someone else who might want to know if it's for them? Going on past experience this isn't really the type of thing that comes across easy.

There are times when a short and simple sales pitch is a good thing, but sometimes you need a bit more than that. Sometimes you just can't sell something others might want to buy. That's just the way it is, I suppose.

And we really should be doing more than just selling stories, anyway.

I'm not going to say Savage Streets is one of the best movies ever made, but I do have to say that recently re-watching it for the first time in a dog's age made me appreciate it much more than I did when I was younger. It isn't the sort of film it was being sold as and I couldn't quite understand that at the time.

But now I'm older and am far more used to the tricks and strategies behind basic storytelling and can see the intent for what it really is, I can say it deserves the cult status it has attained. Even if I think it still sold incorrectly most of the time. However, it could never be anything more than a cult favorite, purely because it can't be elevator pitched. This is why they resorted to selling the last half hour as the whole movie.

What else could they do?

It's also a movie that could only have been made at the time it was made. The 1970s were too nihilistic to allow movies where Justice wins gets made, and when they actually did were called "fascist" and any number of juvenile names by elitist snobs who tried to bury them. The 1990s were the age of edited down films which meant it would have been gutted entirely of what it was. Post-Cultural Ground Zero? Forget it. Not in a million years would this ever get made. They would have put everyone in this movie on a list.

Through the packaging of 1980s grit, everyone involved in this piece made a flick that couldn't have existed at any other time without diluting the impact of the story they wanted to tell, of a modern world of madness where Justice is needed more than ever. And it isn't quite like anything else you'll see, even from its time period. 

Whether the story it tells is up your alley or not is tough to decide. It is a cult classic for a reason and requires a certain taste for a certain type of move. Though I can say that I like it I don't know how I could possibly recommend it. The movie is a tough watch.

Nonetheless, it is one where the reputation of the piece does not really do justice to what the product actually is, which is the larger point of today's subject.

Not everything can be "sold" or even really marketed as what they really are.

The question arises then about how much out there might we have missed out on because we were sold a false, or misleading, bill of goods? How much of this is also more about perception than it is simply selling things to the wrong audience? Not everything can be sold in today's world, and yet everything has to be sold in order to be successful.

How much of life have we missed out on because we were given the wrong directions to the wrong location? There isn't any way to know how much we could have lost, of course, but it is definitely more than nothing. There is no way we would have seen it all. We can't.

Sort of like last week's New York Ninja, the truth is that we haven't seen it all. There is a lot out there we haven't seen, and will never see.

But I'm not so certain this is an entirely bad thing.

The fact that there is so much out there we will never see or experience, things that might have been great in life, speaks to just how much there really is in this world we will never truly get to do, even if we spend the rest of our mortal lives living to the fullest and doing everything we can. No matter what you do, there will also be an incalculable number of things you will never get to do. There is always more out there waiting to be discovered.

I suppose this post just exists to muse on the sort of thing one might miss by looking at, or being sold things from the wrong, or a different, angle. Perhaps it would do us good to always keep an eye and ear out for that which we might not otherwise consider, one foot in the hope of the unknown and the other in the knowledge that we will never see the full picture. You never know what you will find and where you will find it. Sometimes going outside of yourself can be exceptionally rewarding, sometimes not. I suppose this is a case where it was the former for me.

When I was a kid I thought horror was just slasher movies because of everything shoveled onto my plate when I was younger. I avoided the genre until I went out of my comfort zone and found not only horror that was out of that sector, but also some films in that category that are very much worth watching beyond the drek I had been continuously exposed to. I even covered some of them on Cannon Cruisers.

The point is that you never know what you're going to find out there. As long as you keep looking, who knows what you can come across?

To take a scene from a different, though similar in a lot of ways, movie:

"Integrity" is more than closing yourself off to the world around you

In the world today it is considered being "inclusive" and "welcoming" to create communities around the most trivial things and invite everyone in, but that isn't necessarily a good thing. Sometimes you need to find inaccessible spaces to challenge yourself and expand the scope of your world, to keep it growing. It won't always work, or be successful, but it is always worth trying. You won't always be the person you are today.

The world is an unpredictable, bizarre, and savage, place where anything can happen at any moment. You can hide from it, or embrace the weird and learn from it. Who really knows what will happen next? Definitely not you or me.

The boxes and categories made up during the last century are already falling by the wayside, having long since worn out their usefulness. Soon enough they will be far away in the rearview window before they are forgotten. When that happens will we still be clinging to these failed attempts at filing reality away, or will reconsider the way we see everything? Eventually, we are going to have to make that choice.

One day this will all be over and done. When that happens, where will we be, and how badly will we find ourselves lost at sea? And what will we use to guide the way forward as the current ways die around us?

I don't know, but here's hoping it's something better than the world we're leaving behind. There is so much ahead that it is hard to take in where we are right now. It's a savage planet, but that doesn't mean we have to be at the mercy of it.

We can go far. So let's go there. What's the worst that could happen? All we have to do is keep our perception sharp and our expectations open. That's enough for me. 

I'm ready and waiting to see what this new world has waiting for us ahead. Aren't you?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Signal Boost for Leviathan!

Find it Here!

It's been awhile! Today I wanted to share with you this strange book in a new series that you might want to keep an eye on.

This one is called Leviathan, the first in the Antediluvian Legacy series. What is it about? Well, you can see the description below.

Young Noah begins a epic quest to destroy a monster and save the planet from destruction in this fantasy adventure inspired by the Bible story.

The Earth is cursed, humans scrape meager livings from the soil, and legendary beasts roam the wilderness. When a fearsome leviathan threatens his homelands, Noah must find a way to defeat the monster. Desperate to discover its weakness, he journeys to seek the aid of the half-angel giants called the Nephilim. Meanwhile, the angelic Watchers known as the Grigori have seized the great city of Enoch, and their powerful leader has become obsessed with Noah’s bride-to-be.

Friendships and faith are tested, and Noah is thrust into the middle of an impossible revolution against the fallen Grigori. His Nephilim comrades must choose whether to fight on the side of humanity or the angels, and their decision may mean the difference between the earth’s salvation and its annihilation.

Once again, you can find it here.

Yes, this book is based on the events depicted in the Bible, but it does have its own wrinkles that might tickle your fancy. Give the book a look and check it out for yourself.

That's all for today! See you next time.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Blast From the Future Past

Here is a funny story.

What do you get when you make a movie in 1984, shelve it before production is finished, let it sit for 35 years, only to have it finally completed and released in the year 2021?

The answer to that would be the movie known as New York Ninja. This is an unreleased 1980s action movie that was completed and put out today.

The reason I wanted to talk about this is because of how absurdly rare something like this is to happen. Imagine getting the chance to release a long lost project from a bygone age in contemporary times. That doesn't happen very often.

And yet this is what boutique label Vinegar Syndrome actually did with the release of New York Ninja. You can see the trailer for yourself here:

What happened was that Vinegar Syndrome acquired the rights to long shuttered film production company 21st Century Entertainment and went through their archives. They soon found tons of footage for an unreleased movie named New York Ninja. There was no sound and the film was completely unedited, but there was something there.

Eventually one of the staff took this on as a project in his spare time. He went through the footage, edited it into a coherent movie, then Vinegar Syndrome helped him by getting a new score done and finding voiceovers for the dialogue.

You see, the lack of any sort of sound meant that this glaring flaw needed effort to overcome. They hired b-movie greats like Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Linnea Quigley, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Cynthia Rothrock, among others, to play the main characters. Because even though they discovered who the main actor was (the reclusive John Liu who disappeared from sight not long after this was shot) they knew nothing about the shooting, the rest of the cast, or anything about the history surrounding this film's creation. They were essentially going in blind.

And yet, they did it. The project was completed, and a movie was made. They did their best to take what they had a create a 93 minute action movie out of it. All their efforts made this a 1984 movie completed in 2021--not something that happens too often.

In fact it was so uncommon and bizarre that we talked about it on Cannon Cruisers. You can find the special episode here. Though I can also post it below for easier access. Listen to it wherever you would prefer. Just keep in mind that it is nearly half an hour long!

What is interesting about this project, to me, is the sincerity. They treated the material, as silly and goofy as it can be, as seriously as they could. They tried to match the lip flaps and follow the obvious plot through line than John Liu intended it to have, and the actors all do a decent job of taking you back to 1984 by way of 2021.

It is a very surreal experience to watch, but it never feels like the people making it are taking the experience anything less than seriously. And that benefits the final product tremendously. The last thing we needed was another purposefully bad movie trying to wink and nod with the irony crew that almost ruined b-movies for the rest of us.

What the movie does is take you back to a time when a movie could just be a fun night out with the guys. You never expect to see something on the level of Heat with low budget action flicks like this. That isn't the point. It is to feel good seeing a man take revenge on those that did him wrong, and set it right.

And in the process, make it as outlandish as possible. That is what makes movies like this so fun to watch and enjoy. They don't make them like this anymore, so it is nice to see someone got out of their way to fix one back when they were still being made.

I'll just end this shorter post by saying that if you enjoy low budget b-movies or general action movies from a time when they were as crazy as all get out and unafraid of being judged by small-souled bugmen then you should see this movie. Even if you think you've seen it all, you definitely haven't seen this one before.

It's guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and that is definitely worth your time. I guarantee it. We need more of that in the 21st century.

Sorry for the shorter posts this week. It just shook out that way! I'll see you next time for something brand new.

Thursday, November 11, 2021


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Another Girl, Another Planet

Find it Here!

It's been quite a hectic year, but I want to take you back a bit and show you a novel by the recently passed Lou Antonelli. It was, in fact, his only novel, being that he was mainly a writer of short fiction first.

This futuristic tale came out almost 5 years ago in 2017, and isn't quite the sort of thing you see a whole lot today.

The description:

"Dave Shuster has been confronted by secret government agents over a photo taken by a Mars lander of a graveyard complete with crosses on Mars. Shuster claims that – in an alternate timeline – he was a low-level bureaucrat in the administration of a joint U.S. – Soviet Mars colony when he was caught up in a murder mystery involving the illegal use of robot technology. 
In that timeline, the Cold War took a very different turn – largely influenced by Admiral Robert Heinlein, who was allowed to return to Naval service following World War II. 
When Shuster is thrown into a power vacuum immediately upon his arrival on the Mars Colony in 1985, he finds himself fighting a rogue industrialist using his wits with some help from unlikely sources in a society infiltrated by the pervasive presence of realistic androids."

Once again, you can find Another Girl, Another Planet here.

I don't know for certain but I wouldn't be surprised if the title was a reference to the old underground rock classic of the same title by The Only Ones. It's a bit obscure unless you were around at the time or are really into the genre. But it is a good one.

You can listen to the track here on the band's official channel:

And that is all for this week. Have a good Saturday and Sunday, rest up, and I'll see you next week. 2021 is almost done, but we've still got a couple of months left to go.

It's not quite over yet, so let us make the most of what we have left.

What else can we do?

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Good Old Days

There is no date in this photo. I think it's better that way.

Do you know how old you really are? Do you really understand what year we're living in? Sometimes it is easy to forget: we spend so much time in a secular haze of materialism, after all. Deep down we know it's not real, and want to escape from it all, but what else can we do? There isn't much to the present or hope in the future. For some of us, all we can do is look back. And this is where things get dicey.

We've gone on for far too long talking about the dangers of nostalgia around Wasteland & Sky. The harsh truth us that it has been a crutch for us for so long that it is hard to forget how normal the obsession with the past actually isn't the way things are meant to be. Sometimes it is good to reflect, but one can't stare in a mirror forever.

However, that doesn't mean it should never be looked at to begin with.

There is nothing quite stopping us from going into another rant on the subject aside from needless repetition. For instance, did you know that the first Spice Girls album released 25 years ago on this very day and date? That's right, corporate bubblegum has been ruling an entire industry for a quarter of a century. Nothing at all has been learned, and nothing at all has been changed. We're still living in the ruins of the 20th century.

One could make another series of topics about how destructive this entire mentality has been. We've been stuck in a time loop for ages now, and it doesn't look like we're getting out anytime soon. Surely we could go on about it once again.

But that is not what we're going to talk about today.

Instead, for once, I wish to talk about the good side of nostalgia and looking to the past. Though it feels like an aspect of modern culture that should get talked up a lot, it surprisingly isn't. Nostalgia isn't reflective like it should be--it's been made into a cope. Where it could be a wistful look at where we came from has turned into mindless worship of a date on a calendar. It is basically the mirror image of futurism, and just as empty and pointless.

Most worship of childhood properties today comes down to longing for better times than current ones we are forced to endure. However, there can be more to it than this. Sometimes it really can just be wistful remembrance of memories of other times. There is also the fact that studying what happened in the past allows you to see how you got from one place to another. Knowledge of what once happened is important to see where we are going next.

Regardless, someone who has no nostalgia for anything is worse than one who has too much for one thing. This is because a person incapable of reflecting on the past at all will have no perspective to the future and are left helpless and adrift. They are prisoners of the present, endlessly reshaping their lives to be acceptable to the person the suit on the news tells them to. You have to be modern! There isn't any future here, because there is no future being looked towards. All this accomplishes is endlessly changing your wardrobe as third parties egg you on.

Ironically enough, modern mega corporations have figured out how to sell nostalgia to people who both have no interest in the here and now AND to people who hated everything that came before at the same time. It is quite ingenious, and they really should get more credit for this. You get the glossy candy shell of the thing you remembered stuffed with fashionable present trends ticked off like a corporate checkbox list. It's a poison pill that smells of roses. You get your nostalgia and the corporation gets paid. Everybody wins!

I should have added quotations marks around the word "wins" because nobody ever does these days. Every nostalgic "revival" you remember from the last decade or so is consumed and discarded almost immediately after releasing so you can be pushed to devour next old new thing they're shoveling out. You'd figure more people would have understood their hatred for the past was being used to fund people and systems they supposedly dislike, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Buy products to support the revolution!

They could just stop buying, but they can't. Instead, they'd rather feed the beast.

What you aren't nostalgic for is those Saturday Morning Cartoons you got up early to watch when you were seven; you are nostalgic for the experience of getting up to watch and enjoy them in the first place. This is where many, including those currently "creating" today's culture, get horrifically wrong. The product itself is not what you are longing for to fill the hole inside of you; it is everything around the product, everything that caused it to be made to begin with, that you crave. You long for a place and time, not things.

I realize this is difficult to process in a world where you are always being sold something new every five seconds and are expected to hop right on it unquestioningly, but it is true. Products do not cause any nostalgia--the trace feelings and memories of long lost times and people you experienced at the time engaging in said product does. What you are longing for is not an intangible feeling or a product, but to reconnect with that primal feeling of loving life for what it was back when you were younger and happier. You are pining for that simplistic and completely natural sensation of wonder that was beaten out of you as you got older.

I've heard a lot within the last decade about how common nostalgia was for other generations, but it's fairly inarguable that it didn't exist at the level it does now. This should prove that it is not as natural as the party line says it is. There has always been a heavy sense of nostalgia in the modern world that even used to extend back to the Old West, back when that was disappearing, though such things were usually painted over by the Cult of the New's need for progress. The future was always going to be better, so the past can be easily discarded.

How many times have I covered such a subject on this blog? Mythic and Futuristic storytelling was hijacked by materialist cultists in order to make their own religion out of at the expense of the art of storytelling itself. Any criticism of this corruption was deigned backwards thinking and heretical. You can't long for the past because it is Bad and the future is Good, so just forget about everything that came before. It's all uniformly evil, anyway.

What has become clear in recent years is that nostalgia as a movement has actually been growing steadily over the years. It isn't that it is a constant: it is that it was a seed planted in the bowels of industrialism that has only flowered as we've sped through modern life. Nostalgia has strengthened over the years, there is no up and down wavering trajectory of it. It's not part and parcel of existence. It is a byproduct of a culture obsessed with always charging blindly forward. In essence, it is only going to get stronger as long as we live in the age we do.

You can find trace blips of this nostalgic obsession while scanning articles and footage from the past, but it was never that prevalent in, say, the 1920s as it is today. However, as the decades went on, looking to the past became a more and more common occurrence. Perhaps because, and a lot of people won't want to hear this, the times really were getting worse. Not only that, but we were abandoning many forms and ideas we never got to properly flesh out before they were discarded and abandoned by the Cult of the New.

Nostalgia is a way to cope with the present, but it is also a way to keep your bearings in a mad world where things are not what they could be. At least it is based on lived experience and not the vague hopes of a future utopia that will certainly be built any day now! This is what got modernists through the cultish secularism of the 20th century. We are almost there!

You just have to close your eyes and believe!

But the rabid hatred and misunderstanding around our complicated relationship with the past has also led to a lot of confusion and depression in the modern day about our place in the world. This came about from an insistent and dogmatic belief system that can best be summed up with six words: Old Thing Bad, New Thing Good. You better believe you have something wrong with you, nonbeliever! Now do what we tell you, and in the frame we tell to to do it in. Is it any wonder things are as skewed as they are these days?

Western culture had definitely reached a point within the last decade, which is pretty inarguable, that it was considered wrong to prefer anything that existed in the past to what exists in Current Year. It simple didn't Work That Way. And because of the current misunderstanding around nostalgia that barely exists outside of a materialist standpoint, it then became warped into the cruel mockery we do battle with today.

It's essentially another side effect of the modern medicine we've been mindlessly dosing ourselves with for as long as we have been alive. We have lost perspective with everything: our past, our present, our future, and even the nature of our existence. We've replaced it all with another new hit from our favorite drugs instead.

No wonder we mistake online discussion groups as "communities" even though they have nothing in common with real communities at all. We might as well be calling music videos movies instead. After all, they both feature moving pictures and music!

But this is veering off topic. The important thing to note is that we have it backwards, as we do so often in Current Year.

You aren't at war with the past--you are at war with your misunderstanding of it. You are at war with the false framing modernity fashions around you. This isn't as simple as the past, present, or future, being "bad" or "good" or anything of the sort. This is an existential issue about your place in the universe we live in.

Find the rest here (it's worth the read!)

I would add that it does not help when cultist Baby Boomers and reactionary Gen Xers went out of their way to create so much art that deliberately to cast doubt on the meaning of existence and insulted everyone who came before them as stupid and evil. They scrubbed that out for younger generations, giving them a biased, at best, look at the way things were.

They took this attitude into art and created a decay state we have been unable to shake for decades. Let us be honest, outside of b-movies, the movie industry as a whole had been on a downhill slide for a long time, replacing quality craftsmanship with flashy new computer gimmicks to hide the fact that their stories don't actually have anything to say. Message fiction stories usually don't have anything to say, which is the problem with them. They want to hammer correct thoughts into your head--they don't want to share the experience of life with you.

This isn't about "messaging" of the sort you might think. This is a problem of the plot itself not reflecting normal human experience or hopes and dreams, but instead being fashioned as Scripture to reinforce your ill-fitting place in the modern world. They don't believe in any sort of purpose to anything, so their inability to create a story that can instill that feeling in you has all but rusted away. Now the theme is little more than "obey the rules we put in this year" and expecting you to pay the big bucks for it.

They can't do this if you're still watching your beat up VHS copy of The Goonies instead of salivating over the remake and ready to buy the merchandise, can they? Therefore, the current destruction of the past you see around you has unfolded the way it has.

There is no reflection or love of the past. It's all material to them.

One of the reasons Hollywood cannot create a decent Christian character (or any religious character really) anymore that isn't a vapid cartoon character that always fills the same clich├ęs over and over is because they took for granted the world they grew up in. They hate that world and want it destroyed for their oncoming paradise. That one was a world built with meaning and purpose which was then taken away as the younger generations came of age, now lost without anyone to guide these hopeless kids. Simply yelling "Future!" in their ear as they contemplate downing a handful of pills to end it all isn't going to save them from the emptiness we have been raised in. It very obviously never saved anyone at any point in history.

It's certainly not saving modernity from currently imploding.

So many cling to nostalgia because it is the closest thing they have to a religious experience. It is the closest they can get to understanding the transcendent from their badly educated position in a badly educated time of existence. What else can they reach for that isn't being sold back to them right now for a special price?

Think about being brought up in a purely materialist world where only pleasure and "being nice" matters. You have impulses and desires floating in the back of your brain telling you that this isn't enough to be whole. You know that there is more. You might not say it, but you know it. This is why even materialists find excuses for explaining the existence of love. They know it is real, but they can't prove it through their shallow philosophy. But what exactly is it that you're reaching for? The only experience you have, the only understanding you can muster, is of the past. What other transcendent notions or experiences can you find in modernity?

What aspect of modern life encourages actual spiritual practices? Is it between the rampant consumerism? Is it aside from the talk of the oncoming materialist utopia in the commune? Is it after paying bills or buying groceries and utilities for yet another month? When is there time for anything transcendent in how things are structured today? The obvious conclusion to come to is that there isn't any.

So if you can't imagine a transcendent future or a transcendent present then what is left to connect with outside of the physical dimension?

That's right, it's the past.

When the programming kicks in

This is what makes the past so important to control for those who want to sell you on the present we are trapped in. Demonize the past, make people hate it, then you can sell them a new identity complete with the pretty wrapping of the old. For examples of this process, see every single reboot of an old franchise over the last decade or so that uniformly falls short. This is what they are doing to culture in an attempt to hijack your nostalgia.

But no one really buys what they're selling. Talk to anyone long enough and they will admit to liking, and even preferring, a lot of things from the past. They have to do this in secret because of the stigma that looking to the past has in mainstream culture, despite it being a normal thing that people have always done and always will do. It is yet more proof that modern times aren't what they should be that something so natural is detested for such silly reasons.

The term "the good old days" is usually said to denigrate nostalgia, or generalize to an absurd degree the concept of there being any good in the old days at all. However, the saying should be emphasized as the good old days, as in the better times from those forgotten days. When someone talks about the good times, they are referring to specific moments that stand out from the rest. Nothing in that hokey old saying implies that the person bringing it up believes the old days were all uniformly perfect and without blemish.

They are merely holding up the best of the old as the standard going forward. Is it really that ridiculous an expectation? Why?

And is it really any different than instead thinking the future they imagine will be a perfect paradise that no one dares question? No low points, no lulls? There was no glorious unblemished past, but there is also no advanced utopia on the way either. Neither of them exist, but we are supposed to expect one to be feasible.

Why else would they want to control the way you see the way things were? How many Ghostbusters movies do you need, anyway? At what point can Harold Ramus' creation by left alone by the people who wouldn't help him make a third movie while he was alive? They didn't have respect for him then and they don't now.

It should be left in the past. That it can't be is proof of the sickness of modernism. We need that hit, art be damned. Rewriting the past forever and ever will never create anything new. The state of things now shows that much.

However, we can use the past to help us understand the present and build towards the future. Should we skip out on any of these then the whole system crumbles. This isn't even really debatable since it is what the people currently running old industries into the ground are actually doing as you read this. Do not fall into their traps.

The past is gone, yes, but it isn't dead. It can't die, no matter how much we might wish it away. It is what lead us to where we are as people. We either accept and build from it, or we run from and bury it. Regardless, refusing to face reality has never failed to hurt anyone, has it? We only have an entire generation that prides itself on rejecting observable reality as they melt down for the entire world to see. In other words, we should probably reconsider the way things are now. Why in the world would you want the state of things today to continue on forever?

The past isn't dead, but those who refuse to accept that will kill a part of themselves in the process. A lot of genuine bugmen are out there, after all.

A bit ironic, but that's always part of the process. God has a sense of humor and we are always ready to fall for the joke.

And that's what modernity is: one crazy joke that has been going on for a long time now. Fortunately, the joke is over now.

But that doesn't mean you can't remember and appreciate the good old days when you do so. The times where things were at their best, when you could shine the brightest, and when everything was the way it should be. They might just be moments, but they are important moments that are cherished for a reason. You need to remember that in order to know exactly what to strive for. If you aren't striving, are you really living?

The conventional wisdom is that the days you are living right now are "the good old days," but they aren't really. You won't know what really worked and what didn't until you pause and reflect on what led you to where you are. That comes mush later. You need  the life experience to come in order to judge how good it actually was.

"The good old days" are always in the past, and they are always important. You remember them for a good reason, and it is up to you to keep them close for when they matter most. Otherwise, they will be lost and forgotten in the riptide of modernity and future worship. Lose your past and you lose an essential part of who you are.

Remember that tomorrow never really arrives, but yesterday always stays behind. It's up to us to use the time we have as they were intended to be used. Otherwise there really never will be any more good old days. We will have lost them along with ourselves.

I don't know about you, but I think I've had enough of that in one lifetime. The 20th century is over, but it never will truly go away, even when we do.

The past remains no matter how old you get. Maybe the question at the start of this post shouldn't have been to ask if you know how old you are, but how much time you have left. Without knowing the past, and everything you've gone through, can you really know that answer? Even if you were to die in a freak accident, God forbid, would you be remembered for your present or your future? No, you would be regarded by your past. 

Because that is what we are all destined to become. One day we will have no present, no future. One day all we will have left is the legacy we leave behind.

Perhaps it would be best to try making these current times the "good old days" before we go and leave the world behind to its eternal march towards an inapproachable future. And all we can do with our frame of reference is to use the past as our guide forward.

After all, how do you make good old days without the good and the old?