Monday, April 24, 2017

Interviews With Monster Girls: For The Discerning Degenerate

 



Okay, I know what you're thinking. Or at least I can probably roughly approximate what you're thinking.

It probably runs something like this: "Jim, you're a total degenerate, & you never shut up about how much you like monster girls. This is obviously some degenerate ecchi shit. Why should I waste my time with this bullshit when I know it's just gonna be some borderline porn like Monster Musume?"

Yes, I am a degenerate, and yes, I do love monster girls. Unconditionally. And for less-than-Christian reasons. Here's another part where I get to say "however."

However. (I really do love that part, like you guys don't even know)

This is not an ecchi (softcore porn) show. And really, that makes me love it even more.

Shocking, I know.

Actually, back when Monster Musume was airing, a friend and I would talk about how we both thought that the show would be much better served by being a straight-up romance between Kurusu and Miia, with the rest of the girls being friends that they had adventures and hijinks with. I don't even think Miia is best girl and I think that the show would've been better as a romance with her as main squeeze. It would have much more potential to be a more serious affair, and we very likely would've gotten a lot more character development and more interesting subplots out of the show than what we currently get through the manga and anime. Although I will say that I still like it. It's fun, and that's the most important thing to me. Also the gratuitous tiddie, but anyone who watches or reads Monmusu knows what we're all there for, so that can be set aside to talk about it's other merits and detriments.

Kukuruyo (who has a wonderful non-ecchi monster girl comic currently running on his site, Monster Girls on Tour) actually brought this up on Twitter in a conversation I and a few other people had recently. The monster girl genre has kind of been tainted by Monmusu blowing up like it did. I mean I'm not gonna lie, to my understanding it was pretty much always this weird fetish for lonely nerds on the internet (coughcough). But thanks to the popularity and visibility of Monmusu, everybody who hears someone like my stupid ass talking about monster girls immediately starts to drift into lewd thoughts. And they're more than justified in that. That really is kind of the long and short of it, barring a couple of shows and manga that happen to feature monster girls, but don't make the sexual aspect the key thing. Kukuruyo recommended Hyper Police, which I've yet to check out (I've been watching Konosuba shaddap), but from the wikipedia article it sounds very interesting and, according to Kukuruyo, it's not some ecchi softcore porn shit. So the genre would be greatly served by some people coming out and using monster girls as a feature in the world, but not making it all about da tiddie.

ANYWHO, back to the point of this post. Jesus, I need to work on my bloviating...

Interviews with Monster Girls is not an ecchi show. Actually, surprisingly enough, they go to great lengths to NOT put ecchi shit in it. They kinda fail in this in the last episode, but one character is a succubus and they go to the pool, so what are ya gonna do? But the vast majority of this show does not use the monster girls for lewd purposes, for which I commend them. Like I mentioned earlier, we in the monster girl [fandom? community? movement? philosophy? I'm too drunk for this?] need some content creators to come out and use monster girls as a feature in their created universe, but not devolve into complete ecchi degeneracy.

This show, I believe, does so admirably.

Now you might get conflicting opinions. Not everybody is into slice of life anime. Kukuruyo mentioned that he thought that the show was boring as fuck every time the vampire girl left the scene. I disagree, but Kukuruyo is entitled to his opinion, and taking that point of view into account I can even see where he's coming from. But, once again, I disagree.

I think that this is an excellent drama show that builds its characters admirably, and focuses squarely on the point of the show without wavering one little bit. That point is: What if demi-humans just suddenly sprang up, were rare, and had to deal with living in a largely human world? The show actually attacks this concept with a rare ferocity, and they don't get bogged down in side plots and, likesay, ecchi fanservice shit.

It would probably help if I actually described the general plot of the show at this point, so you can get an idea of where I'm going with that defocused drunken rambling above.

So okay. In this world demi-humans (effectively monster girls) have begun springing up all over the place. Oddly enough, it's a genetic mutation this time, they're not off in some mythical land of monster tiddie like in Monster Musume. So two humans can have a child that winds up being a vampire, with no supernatural interference whatsoever. They're also incredibly rare. Rare like the dullahan girl (look it up, it's actually a mythological creature) who features as one of the main characters of the show is one of only three dullahans that exist on the planet. Other variants of monster girl are more common, but not to the extent that they are in other media featuring the concept.

So now we come to the main character. Tetsuo Takahashi is a biology teacher for a high school. Yes, the plot of this show DOESN'T center around a young virgin who's constantly caught between a bunch of demi-humans that want to tickle his pickle! You may need to sit down for this. I know that's a shocking revelation. But Dude (he will heretofore be referred to as "Dude" because I'm drunk and fuck trying to spell out his name every time, and he also bears a striking resemblance to The Dude from The Big Lebowski, in attitude if not appearance) is a high school teacher, in his early to mid 30's, and is fascinated by the concept of demi-humans.

IN AN ACADEMIC SENSE, YOU FUCKING PERVS.

He actually majored in biology because he wanted to study them and expand understanding around these creatures. Unfortunately, he couldn't find enough demi-humans to interview while in college, so now he finds himself teaching high school biology. Fortunately for him, his high school has recently admitted several students who are demi-humans (or "demi's" as they call them colloquially), and he finally has the chance to learn more about these fascinating beings straight from the horse's mouth. He can record their "lived experiences" I guess you could say.

He meets a vampire, a dullahan, a Yuki-onna (snow woman), and a succubus, and proceeds to ask them all kinds of embarrasing questions about their various natures, and even performs (consensual and non-lewd) experiments on them to gain a deeper understanding of their natures. So the main focus of the show is this guy trying to understand them, as well as them dealing with living in the human world.

So on to the characters, which are the real point in any slice of life show worth its salt! I've already described Dude, so I'll forego that character and tell you about the monster girls he interacts with.

Hikari Takanashi is the vampire. They do a bit of subversion on the classic vampire tropes, and Hikari's not exactly your typical vampire due to that. She loves stinky foods like garlic, isn't afraid of crosses, can walk into sunlight without bursting into flame, although she's pretty sure a stake through the heart would kill her. Mostly her vampirism just makes her thirst for blood, hate the heat, and avoid direct sunlight whenever she's able. She also has this adorable tic where her teeth itch, and she needs to chew on somebody to get rid of it. Ordinarily she gnaws on her sister's arm, but she also takes a liking to the snow woman because her constantly cold skin agrees with Hikari's vampire nature. She's very energetic, a total loudmouth, and also a little bit of a prankster. It's easy to see why Kukuruyo thinks she's the most interesting character in the show. She's high energy, and I could very well imagine some image edits of her wearing a MAGA hat floating around, though I've yet to find any myself. Although maybe that's because I haven't looked, but anyway.

Kyouko Machi is the dullahan. Unlike Lala in Monmusu, Machi can't attach and de-attach her head from her body at will. Her head is permanently de-attached from her body, and she has to carry it around in her hands, put it in a sling when she's in the bath, and attach it to her chest with a harness whenever she eats. She's very self-conscious, but that doesn't stop her from making friends and interacting in as normal a fashion as possible with the other students in the school. She also enjoys having her head cradled securely by others, which leads her to develop a crush on Dude, which thankfully doesn't go anywhere. Because not only is Machi not best girl, she's also a high school student, and Dude is like 15 years older than her, and that would be creepy. Like, really creepy. And Dude takes measures to ensure that she gets the net with that.  But Machi is a total sweetheart, and she is very self-conscious about her status as a dullahan, which makes her incredibly adorable.

Yuki Kusakabe is the snow woman. Yuki is very timid and shy. She's read a bit about snow woman mythology, and what's more she's had experiences with her powers that lead her to believe that she might be dangerous to other people. So she's kind of a shut-in, or at least anti-social, until she runs into the rest of the demi's and starts developing friendships with them. Most of the stories about Yuki-onna are very sad, and Dude uses these to understand how her powers manifest so that he can help her overcome her social anxiety. She actually runs into a bit of trouble with a pair of gossips at her school when she turns a boy down because she's afraid she might accidentally freeze him to death, and the resolution to that is greatly satisfying. IN JAPANESE. They fucked the dub up on that point, but I'll get to that.

Sakie Satou is the succubus. Being a teacher, she's set apart from the rest of the demi's in the show, and that immediately puts her ahead of the pack in the running for best girl, but her attitude is what really sets her apart and speaks to the level this anime went to avoid devolving into ecchi fanservice bullshit. Obviously if you have a succubus character, you're going to want to show off how alluring and sexy she is. Well, they specifically avoid that. In this world, succubi have a pheromone effect that drives men crazy. This is transmitted to these men by sight & how much skin they show. How that translates to an olfactory sense that would be necessitated by pheromones, I don't know. Don't ask me, I just write up the "reviews". Maybe it's released constantly by their skin, and the more skin they show, the more pheromones they let off, but that's just rampant speculation as it isn't adequately explained in the show. Maybe they go in deeper in the manga, but I kinda doubt it.

Taking at least two paragraphs because this really is the most interesting character in the show, Sakie understands that she exerts an effect on men that she literally cannot help. That's precisely how she was born, and she can't exactly change her biology. So, in an effort to curb this, she takes measures to decrease the effectiveness of her pheromone effect. This is why I've taken to calling her "Conservative Succubus Lady". She places a heavy emphasis on personal responsibility. I should mention that in this world, succubi are called "dream demons", and they have the ability to basically give guys wet dreams if they fall asleep near them. So in an effort to curb this, she lives miles outside of town in what is effectively a cabin in the woods, because if she lived in an apartment complex the dream shit would get way out of hand far too quickly. She also reduces the amount of skin she shows by wearing a tracksuit everywhere, making herself less alluring and showing off as little skin as possible. This, of course, doesn't stop horny high schoolers from ogling her, but she does what she can to reduce the effects of a condition that she can't really help.

She also has a bit of a romantic subplot with Dude, because he also goes to extreme lengths to not let her pheromone effect...well, affect him. She thinks he has a low libido, which means that she can try to get romantically involved with him without worrying that he just likes her because she's a succubus and holy shit she's so hot she touched my hand I am incapable of thinking with my big brain because my little brain has COMPLETELY taken over. Meanwhile he is completely 100% susceptible to her pheromone effect, he's just really good at hiding it until he gets around a damn corner and almost has a heart attack because oh my god this is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life.

This leads to a couple of funny moments and more than a little sexual tension, but what's more important is how she reacts to all this. She actually begins to fall in love with him. Not only because it seems like he likes her for her rather than her pheromone effect, but because he takes all of these demi students under his wing and basically becomes a kind of father figure to them. It's a bit more complex than I'm representing it as here, and it seems to be on a slow burn. I was expecting them to be dating by the end of the first season, and they weren't, so I'm hoping for something better in the second season. If this is slow burning, then they're burning it super slow. But hopefully we can get some actual romance out of these two next time, and if they handle it properly then the slow burn will be absolutely worth it when these two finally hook up.

But the central point of this show is this guy trying to understand these creatures he's fascinated by (once again in an ACADEMIC SENSE), and him helping them learn how to live in the human world. He really does become a kind of dad or uncle (uncle would probably be more appropriate, seeing as how all these girls already have fathers) figure to these girls, and it's sweet to watch them come to understand themselves better through his good-natured fumbling. This also leads to plenty of comedic moments wherein he's taking a scientific interest in their problems, works the issue out in his head, then says something that sounds completely horrible when taken out of the context that only exists in his head, and gets accused of being a perv by all these high school aged girls.

All in all this is a very enjoyable show, and I hope you all will take the time to go watch it. If you're into a more serious, less degenerate show that has monster girls in it, I think you'll find this one well worth your time. Now...I should probably get back to that fuck up with the dub that I mentioned earlier.

Originally I watched the dub first, then went and watched the sub. I was at work, and it was easier to listen to the dub than have to pause my work to pause my phone, or divert my attention to read subtitles. So I broke my general guideline of watching the sub first. Turns out this wasn't that big of a deal. There is actually only one single discrepancy in the dubbed version. But it's kind of a big one, and I might as well inform you guys of it now before you go find it and think I'm recommending you some ol' bullshit.

As I said previously, the snow woman turns down a boy that wants to date her because she's scared that she might accidentally hurt him through the unfocused use of her powers. A couple of gossips start talking shit, and the vampire girl takes it into her head to call them out on it. She does, very bravely in my opinion, and in the Japanese version everything is fine and the encounter proceeds apace as you would expect.

In the dub, however, she gets accused of being; and I wish I was joking; a "social justice warrior". This kinda fucking broke me when I was watching it. I had a bit of a freakout, because I was damned sure that this was not the translation of that line from Japanese, and what's more this is blatant politicization of something that really doesn't need to be politicized. A girl is being bullied because of how she was born and how she's dealing with it, the bullies get called out on their lack of understanding, and everybody kind of moves on. But to drop that specific phrase into the dialogue of the bullies carries a distinct political message on the part of the localizers which I can't ignore.

This is blatant entryism and an attempt to corrupt something that is good on its own without this American political bullshit thrown into it. They specifically gave this line to the bullies in an attempt to associate anyone who used that phrase in a derogatory fashion (like the bully in the show did) with people who are intolerant of others who are different, when that is simply not the case. Social justice warriors have a distinctive ethos that they cultivate, and the people who oppose them aren't just a bunch of intolerant a-holes who dislike people because they're different. So that is a big, BIG strike in disfavor of the dub.

But the Japanese version contains none of this, and having watched both versions I can say with full confidence that that one line, which takes up maybe a second of screen time and is then forgotten, never to be brought up again, is the single discrepancy between the Japanese and English versions of this show. So if you can get past that and don't like watching subbed anime, you'll be more than happy with this show. If you can't...then you might have a little bit of growing up to do.

Just saying.

But the show is very good, I had an immensely good time watching it in both versions, and if you're the type of person that likes a good slice of life anime that happens to include monster girls in a non-lewd capacity, you very likely will too.

I will take this time to mention that the show isn't out on DVD yet, however RightStufAnime does have the manga available. Which, if the manga is anything like the show (I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list), I feel totally comfortable recommending it to people. So if you're interested in picking that up, I do have a RightStufAnime affiliate account, and there is an ad on the left side of the website. So if you're interested in getting this manga I would appreciate it if you would click the link on the blog, and then go buy whatever you want. I'm gonna look into picking this up once I get a decent income, and given the quality of the show I would encourage you to do the same.

It's good shit, fam, and you won't be wasting your time by watching this show or (presumably) reading the manga. I'll read the manga and let y'all know if it's shit, but given the quality of the show I seriously doubt that it is.

In any event, that's about my peace on this. Thank you all for your time, and I hope you'll come back for the next post.

Here's a link to the first issue of the manga, if anyone's interested:

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=1495988&b=866986&m=65886&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Erightstufanime%2Ecom%2FInterviews%2Dwith%2DMonster%2DGirls%2DManga%2DVolume%2D1

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep.49 - The Ramblecast 2.0








Hello everybody, and welcome to another ramblecast! This time I go longer, harder, and more rambley! I really didn't have a plan when I recorded this, but I soldiered on and managed to get 2+ hours out of it, and I hope you all enjoy my disjointed ramblings. I touch on my recent quitting of my job, my plans going forward, how busy I've been, political shit, a new twitter friend I made, and a whole bunch of other shit because god forbid that I actually keep track of what I'm talking about for once in my fucking life. This goes everywhere, and there's no overall point, so I hope y'all are still willing to put up with my pointless ramblings!

King of Limbo Podcast:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj6skTXDugI
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vx0m8E-BvM&t=25s

EJ Spurrell:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlackTrident_
Website: http://ejspurrell.com/

MP3 Download Link of This Episode: https://ia800408.us.archive.org/25/items/jimfear_audio_productions/EP49.mp3



Social Media Dump

Opening Music:
Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Friday, April 21, 2017

Appendix N Review: Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance







The review series continues! This time we're taking a look at an honorable mention on the Appendix N list, Planet of Adventure by Jack Vance! The reason I call this an honorable mention is because, while it is not expressly mentioned on the list, it does say "Eyes of the Overworld, Dying Planet, et. al." and this I took to mean that the rest of Jack Vance's work is de facto included in the list. So for the purposes of this review, we're going to treat it like it's on the list. Yes, it's science fiction. Yes, Gygax's intention with the rules of D&D was a sort of fantasy world based loosely on medieval Europe. No, it doesn't precisely fit in with the rest of the list. But with a list as diverse as to have H. P. Lovecraft sitting next to Fritz Leiber sitting next to Micheal Moorcock sitting next to Tolkien, I figure that a little bit of fudging based on the "et al." is well within the acceptable spirit of the rules. That, and part of this book directly influenced a Mazes & Perils campaign that I'm going to be DM'ing, so I figure that helps it make the cut. At least in my estimation.


Now as I get the vast majority of my reading done through audiobooks, I'll start this out by going over the audio version of this particular story, available on Audible. The narrator, Elijah Alexander, does a serviceable job. Usually I judge a narrator on a few points, these being actual voice, performance, whether or not the narrator attempts to put on different voices for different characters, and flubbed lines (although that's more the fault of the editor than the actor, but it's one of those things that sticks in your mind).

Mr. Alexander's voice is perfect for this type of story. He sounds like a 1950's radio drama narrator, and as such is able to give this story a certain feel that few narrators would be able to bring to the table. His performance is acceptable. He isn't that proficient with putting on voices, apart from Anacho, but he enunciates properly and there was no part in this book that I was confused about the words of the text. Also the editors did their damned job on this audiobook, and there were no flubbed lines anywhere that I'm able to remember.  It's not an amazing, groundbreaking performance, but it's perfectly serviceable and fits the story very well.

As to the story itself, well frankly I don't really know what to do with this. Like Nethereal, it has several elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror in it. This is one of those Appendix N stories that just said, "lol fuck genre, this is COOL,"  and ran with it like a kid with scissors. It is also actually four novels in one anthology. City of the Chasch, Servants of the Wankh, The Dirdir, and The Pnume, are the names of the individual novels, but the story flows together so seamlessly that, if you threw them all together with no divisions between the novels, you'd never be able to tell them apart. It really does feel as though Vance wrote them all at once then almost arbitrarily decided to cut it up into four different books.

The basic plot is simple enough. Adam Reith is an astronaut sent to a faraway planet with a team of researchers to investigate mysterious radio signals that emanated from it at one time, but stopped as mysteriously as they began. The way the beginning of this plot plays out should tell you all you need to know about the books that follow it. In the prologue of City of the Chasch, the team is introduced, Reith's job as a scout (which we will come back to later) is described, Reith and Waunder (another scout) are sent to the planet, and a missile strikes the mothership, killing everybody except the two scouts. And as if that wasn't enough, in the first three pages of the first chapter hostile natives chop off Waunder's head while he's unconscious right in front of Reith's eyes!

Yeah, it's that kind of book.

While Reith quickly finds himself alone on the planet, he just (or nearly just) as quickly finds himself a new comrade in Traz Onmale, the young chieftain of the Emblem Men, who are a tribe of human descendants that are ruled by the emblems they wear on their hats which decide their actions and their personalities. Traz leaves the village with Reith, and it's pretty much all downhill from there. To avoid spoilers I'll keep the rest of the plot to myself, apart from isolated reveals of details about the setting that are too interesting to not talk about. But trust me, you'll want to read this one.

So where do I even start after the plot? This has to be the most incredibly dense science fiction story I've ever read. I'm fairly used to new scifi, things like Firefly, or Trek, or Star Wars. You know, gigantic, galaxy-spanning settings with huge governmental entities controlling everything they can get their hands on, and rebellious small factions taking them on. Or even something like Farscape wherein the rebellion is like eight people + 1 starship, or Stargate where the main characters have no ship but thanks to the gates they travel all over the universe. Nothing in my previous experience with science fiction really prepared me for a four-novel scifi story that takes place completely on ONE planet.

Because the saga of Adam Reith takes place almost wholly on Tschai. He is incapable of leaving the planet, despite how hard he's trying to. And Tschai is BIG. I mean really big. Immense. YUGE. The biggest, believe me.

There are about six races on Tschai, five of them major players in the events of PoA, and two of those are divided up into sub-races. There are the Chasch, which are divided up into Green Chasch, Blue Chasch, and Old Chasch. They're an old and decadent race that is on the cultural down slope, and if it weren't for their advanced technology someone would've bulldozed them a long time ago. The Dirdir are feline/reptile creatures that are partially feral, but at the same time have an interest in high cultural pursuits and consider themselves to be superior to the other races of Tschai, an attitude which filters down to their slaves. The Wankh (or Wannek, if you're playing GURPS: Planet of Adventure) are secretive and isolationist, not even speaking the common tongue of Tschai, as well as being the only race to maintain space travel and an airfield for their spaceships. The Pnume are underground dwelling, insect like creatures that have little or nothing to do with the other races of Tschai except for their slaves, maintaining vast tunnel networks and a rigid social hierarchy. The Phung are crazy lone wanderers whose actions make little sense, perhaps even to themselves. The men are divided up into perhaps hundreds of sub-races, including the Emblem Men, Chaschmen, Dirdirmen, Wankhmen, Pnumekin, and other less common variants.

Now just for some perspective on how dense all this is, each of these groups has their own languages written and spoken, customs, technology, social hierarchies, histories, religious practices, and so on and so forth. Now the languages don't come up all that often, except in a certain section where the written language of the Wankh has to be translated. But the cultural practices definitely do, and the entire series is basically Reith experiencing culture shock over and over again after recovering from the worst case of jet lag you've ever heard of. I would reveal more, because this book is completely engrossing if for nothing other than the sheer cultural anthropology of the world Vance has brought to life, but half of the fun of this book is discovering all these different cultures and races, and the mysteries behind them.

So far as gaming, like I said, this book is a masterclass in world building, and for the aspiring GM looking to spice up his game and get tips on fleshing out the different races for his setting, this is a blessing straight from Gygax himself. The different areas of Tschai, as well as the idiosyncrasies of the different races are definitely gameable, as show by that GURPS rulebook I mentioned before. Because yes, that does exist. But if you're not a fan of GURPS, or are just looking for a way to spice up your world, Planet of Adventure is the place to find it. For example, the feral hunting practices of the Dirdir would map very well onto a non-Tokienesque version of elves. I've even adapted the idea of the coin in trade in the land being gathered from one particular very dangerous place into a campaign I'm designing.

There's also the matter of the Scout class, which seems to be a catchall for everything from fighting man to thief. The only thing Reith doesn't do is use magic, because magic doesn't exist on Tschai. To my understanding it was adapted into another role playing system apart from the GURPS adaptation of this setting, The Traveler game. This is a thing that I could see being difficult to map into a rule set as a custom class, but it is doable. I'm just not experienced enough to do it myself, unfortunately.

But getting back to the literary portion of the review, the overall tone of this book series blew me away. It feels much more like Drizzt Do'Urden and his friends blowing through a fantasy setting rather than a science fiction novel. There's not a lot of hard scifi here, but the story doesn't suffer for it. At heart, Planet of Adventure is an adventure story. Shocking, I know, but that really is the focus of it. Vance doesn't waste time explaining the physics of Tschai, or the principles on which the weapons used work, or even the intricacies of space travel. This is about one man, stranded on an alien planet, desperately trying to get home and warn his people about the danger facing them. Reith swashbuckles, lies, cheats, steals, murders, and valiantly saves the day over the course of this story, giving it a feel much closer to what I've heard of John Carter of Mars or even Conan than what Brian Niemeier calls Big Men With Screwdrivers science fiction. Reith uses his smarts and sword arm (figuratively) to get him out of jams far more than he uses his knowledge of advanced scientific concepts.

And the way that the world is developed and laid out, the aliens feel more like ogres and elves instead of your classic wacky space aliens. Apart from the Wankh, of course, who are a completely other animal that nobody will expect. There are also the different slave tribes of human, each viewing the other as freaks and oddities, not true men. They also each have their own idiosyncrasies as well, which are gathered from their master races. The Dirdirmen are very prim and proper, believing themselves to be above everybody but the Dirdir themselves. The Wankhmen are very secretive and devious, and interact with their 'masters' in a completely unprecedented way compared to the way the rest of the slave races interact with theirs. The Chaschmen, in a spectacular turn of Vance's, actually have a religious belief that they are destined to become Chasch themselves!

All in all, Planet of Adventure absolutely floored me, and I could not stand the moments where I had to pause the audiobook, or wait until I was back at work, so that I could get to the next damn part of the story. The prose races along at a breakneck pace, and it is a story that is so much fun to 'read' that I could barely contain my excitement on realizing that science fiction could DO THAT.

I highly recommend this series. If you're not into audiobooks, that's fine, you won't be missing anything that you'd want on your bucket list. It's not like we're talking about the audio adaptations of The Witcher stories, here. But the actual story of Tschai and Reith itself is so incredibly engaging, interesting, and so much damned fun that you won't regret picking this up in any of its incarnations. The audio version is available on Audible under the name Planet of Adventure, and you can find a Kindle version on Amazon under the name Tschai. You should absolutely buy this one, it will open your mind to possibilities in scifi that, given what I've read in the genre from Heinlein onwards, is completely unprecedented and mind blowing.

Music is Ourobouros by Kevin Macleod: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?collection=12&Search=Search

Ouroboros Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/












 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zombie Slaying 101


Photoshop by Christopher Warren, based on this image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2007-04-07_-_London_-_Flashmob_-_Fleshmob_-_Zombie_Walk_-_Zombies_(4889850244).jpg



So I've been reading around on the blogs of a couple of my friends, and JD Cowan, Bradford Walker, and Brian Niemeier have really got me thinking, and I think this needs to be said. Well, honestly it probably doesn't need to be said, but I'm gonna say it anyway! Willfully and knowingly stating the gob-smackingly obvious has never stopped me before, why let it now?

In their posts (Bradford's is here, Brian's is here, read Bradford's first because Brian builds on it) they talk about Star Wars and how it's basically gone to shit. They have several theories about why, and like I said they got me thinking. But this post is about what we can do about it. Now most of you already know the solution I'm going to give, but there might be some out there that don't, so allow me to be that guy and just go ahead and state the bafflingly obvious for everybody.

These companies and franchises are shells of their former selves. They are no longer producing material of any quality (except maybe Marvel's movies and tv shows, but I'm so bored and turned off by the practices of their comics division that I can't even get excited about the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie), they're derivative, their heroes have all become bad xeroxes of Watchmen, and they're not doing anything new or fresh that really resonates with people. JD Cowan explains in this very good post on his blog, Wastelandandsky. It's a long one, but my god is it good. You should all go read it.

These companies are not what they once were, as I and others have said. They have been infected by several illnesses, and much like our beloved genres of SFF, it's slowly killing them. Much like in a zombie movie, wherein someone will be bitten, turn, then bite their idiot family member who doesn't get that they're not who they were anymore, these companies are trying to bring their industries and genres down with them.

It's time we stopped being sentimental.

It's time to put them down.

Metaphorically and financially speaking, of course. As RagingGoldenEagle said on twitter:



And he's right. These companies have completely forgotten this. They have lost their commitment to JUSTICE and as such their fate is beyond sealed. They've lost their once iron clad knowledge of what audiences are really after, and because of this sales numbers are declining. So they've already consigned themselves to slow death. The Marvel Vice President of Sales is so stupid that he actually thinks that "diversity" is killing comics, and that people just want more white men in their comic books. People don't care about "diversity", he is right about that. People love "diverse" characters like Luke Cage, Storm, Black Panther, and all the rest of them. For some people out there these are some of their favorite heroes. The problem is that they're taking beloved characters and racebending them to make them more diverse in hopes that the name (like Iron Man or Ms. Marvel) will keep enough readers interested, and that the story will hold their interest.

Well, the issue is that people can see through this, and they're not having it anymore. You guys screwed the pooch so fucking hard with FemThor that everybody knows what you're trying to do, and we're done having this political agenda shoved down our throats when all we want is a comic to read to escape from our everyday lives. We don't want to see your writers lampooning Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, we don't want your speeches about how "women superheroes are oppressed because they're women", and we damn sure don't want you fucking with our beloved characters! This is as clear as I can make it. Nobody cares about the sex or skin color of the hero.

Well, maybe some people do, but those people weren't gonna buy the fucking comics anyways, AS WAS PROVED WITH FEMTHOR IF YOU REMEMBER THAT DRASTIC DROP IN SALES, so their opinion should be discarded and you people should be listening to the actual fans. And the actual fans want you to stop fucking shoehorning your leftist political ideology into your comics. We want you to stop making the politics the main focus of the story. Not everything has to be political, for fuck's sake! Dial it back a few notches, and concentrate on writing and drawing fun stories that will get your audience back.

Now, as I type this, I know that this advice will fall on deaf ears and unseeing eyes. These companies and franchises have hit the death spiral with a will that is astounding, almost as if they're begging for bankruptcy and irrelevance.

I say we should give them what they're asking for.

Let's see if we can't accelerate that death spiral we see them obviously engaging in.

And the way to do this is to just stop fucking buying their crap. Don't go see the movies, don't watch the tv shows, and damn sure don't buy the comics. Take that money you were going to use on that, and go spend it on something actually worthwhile. There are independent publishers out there. Dark Horse, Image, IDW, not to mention all of the smaller publishers like Kung Fu Comics, Alterna Comics, and others that you could be getting your new and exciting material from, instead of staid bullshit that doesn't go anywhere and doesn't matter because they're gonna reboot the universe anyway in five years. This isn't even counting all the manga you could be buying that actually does take its story seriously and has good plot development. Which you can get at RightStufAnime.com via my affiliate program on the left there (shameless plug).

Point is, there are so many other places that deserve your money. Why are you still giving it to these people who don't care about you? These companies are the equivalent of the rock star who's gotten monumentally famous and now doesn't have time for the fans who got him there in the first place.

They don't have time for you.

Return the favor.

Stop giving these people your money, clicks, and attention.

They turned on you a long time ago. It's time to turn on them.

Now I hear some of you saying that the tv shows and movies are still good, but are they? Are they really? Especially knowing that the people who comprise this company fucking hate people like you and me? Do you really want to fund those people? There are, as I said, other, smaller, more deserving entities that you could give your money to. People with an attitude like Brian Niemeier's. "The customer is the boss, we give them what they want." You have limited funds for stuff like this, and you probably shouldn't be giving it to people who hate your guts. Just sayin. I know how it is. I grew up reading Marvel and DC. They are home to some of my favorite characters. But now I've cut them off. I know it's doable. If I can do it you can too. Besides, if you still need your Marvel/DC fix, there is a thriving used market where you still get your comics and they don't get a fucking dime. (hint hint mycomicshop.com hint hint shameless plug)

You need to cut them off completely, and encourage everyone else to do so as well. That means no comics, no loot crate, no merchandise, no movie tickets, no Nielsens on the tv, no nothing. Cut off their profits and bask in the schadenfreude as they shrivel up and die, still maintaining that they were right and the customers were wrong as they fade into irrelevance and history.

Because sales numbers are JUSTICE. And when you turn your back on JUSTICE, eventually JUSTICE will come for you.

This public service message provided by your local bitter, angry comic book/Star Wars fan.

DimensionBucket Media Books Are Now Available!




Well it's finally happened. I warned you all. I prophesied that the day would come when we would finally have books available from DimensionBucket Media. Now that time has arrived, and woe be unto the doubters among you.

Anyway, serious crap aside, YES WE DO FINALLY HAVE BOOKS AVAILABLE! As you can see by the graphic above, we bring you six volumes of some of the best fantasy, horror, and science fiction that you've ever laid eyes on. Some of them are originals, some of them are from old masters, all of them are guaranteed to please and titillate.

I'll go down the list and give you a description of each, from top left to bottom right, as well as links where you can find these great books on Amazon without having to do any of that pesky searching. NOTE: If you cannot see the links, you probably have adblock turned on. If you whitelist my blog you'll be able to see them.

First up we have Darkest of Dreams. This is an anthology of original short stories by the DimensionBucket Media crew, featuring three stories each by myself, Christopher Warren (aka DimensionBucket), Connor Goff (aka Noughtshayde), and William Harmar (aka GentlemanWalrus). It features everything from horror, to science fiction, to fantasy, and sometimes blends these genres as well! You can get the book here:



Next up we have A Man Upstairs, by Christopher Warren. A collection of small stories for small hours. "A Man Upstairs" features an array of uncanny personal accounts–anecdotes of ordinary people in unordinary lives. Keep a light on, an ear to the wall, and listen closely. Just beware: what you hear, will not be pleasant. You can get the book here:



We also have available Crack'd, by Connor Goff. Geoffrey saw the man with a piece of paper, then it all went to hell. Reality isn't quite what it used to be, not after what happened. Now it's coming for him–finding every opportunity to tear his reality apart. Bit by bit. Person by person. Conner Goff presents a novelette of strange and unsettling implications. You won’t be safe. Not under the covers, and certainly not with the lights on. You can find the book here:



Our next book we are very happy to bring to you, as it is this author's first coughcough "professionally" published work, Hell's Five Minute Tales of Horror by Hell Richards! This collection of microfiction is sure to give you a ton of great quick scares! You can find the book here:



Next up we have Dimension of Cobwebs, by various authors! These are tales written by grandmasters of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy, but are some that you might not know so well. All of these authors have their famous stories, but they also wrote a lot more than just those, and we're doing our part here at DimensionBucket Media to bring these back into the public consciousness by compiling them into an anthology that any fan of classic weird tales is sure to love! You can find that book here:



Next up, we have a book that I'm personally very happy to be bringing to you all, The Phoenix on the Sword, by Robert E. Howard! For too long has Conan been remembered by that movie from the 80's starring the former governor of California! It's time to get back to the original stories, and to do that, we're bringing the first published Conan story back into the eye of a public that has been starved for actual heroism and adventure! With cover art by the incomparable Kukuruyo, we hope that you all will join us in remembering why Conan was so popular, and in paying tribute to one of the men without whom things like the Pulp Revolution would not be possible. You can find that book here:




We're very excited to be bringing these books to everybody, and we hope that you'll check them all out! Now, at this point I should tell you that all of these books are only available in paperback for the moment. DimensionBucket Media is going to be at Stokercon this year with a dealer's table, and we needed to have actual print books for display and sale. For that reason we concentrated on getting the paperbacks out first. However, we're hard at work converting them over to audio and ebook, so keep an eye out! I'll definitely be informing you of when those versions go live, you can count on it! And if you do enjoy them, consider leaving some nice words on Amazon. It does help with rankings and whatnot, and we would really appreciate it!

Thanks for the time, and happy reading!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hooray For Diversification!







Okay guys, I've been listening to Aaron Clarey's podcast today (which you should all subscribe to on iTunes or wherever else he publishes it) and he launched into another rant about diversification in media platforms and income streams. Now that I'm technically self-employed I figure that I need to start taking more of his advice, especially when it's this prescient and good. In the interest of promoting my brand more effectively, as well as giving myself even more work to do, I'm ramping back up my YouTube channel, and I'm starting accounts on Vid.me and Dailymotion. I've tried uploading audio to Minds before, but it didn't work out too well. Maybe they've changed the formula, but for now I think a YouTube, a Vid.me, and a Dailymotion account is good enough of a backup. Not to mention I store and host all my audio on Archive.org, so in the event of a catastrophic failure of massive proportions on YouTube, all the videos that I actually care about having up will be published over on those other two platforms.

I'm also going to be looking into monetization on those two sites once I actually get my YouTube backlog uploaded to them. I'm also thinking about putting adsense on my YouTube channel, but I don't know if it'd be worth it given the immense fuckery going on with YouTube at the moment. But, it is another revenue stream, however small, and that can't hurt, I suppose. I'll give it a think and see where I'm at when I get my channel backed up. In the meantime expect a shitload of videos to be uploaded on Vid.me and Dailymotion, most of them old. I'm going to forego uploading The Scarlet Letter, because I stopped doing the audiobook thing for free when I realized I could get paid for it and never finished that one. If I pick it up again, you'll know, because it'll be up for sale through DimensionBucket Media, and I literally never shut the fuck up about things that I'm selling because that's how I'm trying to make my living now.

I'm also going to be uploading in stages. So I'll start with all my creepypasta narrations, then move on to the audiobook of The Time Machine, then the podcast, then the miscellaneous videos like those two Kaiju Chronicles things I made and never touched again as well as the book reviews and the ads for the Cat Kimbridge books. So be prepared for a lot of old shit that has low sound quality to be uploaded over there for a little while. I'm gonna get caught up as fast as I can, hopefully by the end of the week, so that we can get back on schedule and I can start recording those posts I made while I was convalescing.

Anyways, I hope that you all will join me over on these other platforms, especially Vid.me, because I'm a huge supporter of new social media sites like Minds, Gab, and now Vid.me, and I'd like to get them some publicity. It also helps me out, so that's a party and a bonus. Here's the links so you all can go subscribe or whatever it is they call it on those sites.

Vid.me: https://vid.me/JimFear138

Dailymotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/jimfear138

I'll also be putting them in the social media tab here on the website, so people will be able to find them easier. Thanks for your time, guys, and let's keep this fucking train a-rolling!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The JimFear138 Podcast Ep.48 ft. Brian Niemeier









Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the podcast! This week we get to talk to Brian Niemeier, reigning Dragon of Horror and author of The Soul Cycle Series! We talk a lot about his books, but also delve into more obscure topics like anime, horror movies, and even take a crack at talking theology for a while! It's a wild ride, and was a ton of fun! Hope y'all enjoy!

MP3 Download of this episode: https://ia600408.us.archive.org/25/items/jimfear_audio_productions/ep48.mp3

Brian's books:

Nethereal: https://www.amazon.com/Nethereal-Soul-Cycle-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00ZBDOHKU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492376079&sr=8-1&keywords=nethereal

Souldancer: https://www.amazon.com/Souldancer-Soul-Cycle-Book-2-ebook/dp/B01BM1SX3Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492376106&sr=8-1&keywords=souldancer

The Secret Kings: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Kings-Soul-Cycle/dp/1541210573/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492376135&sr=8-1&keywords=the+secret+kings

Brian's website & social media:

KAIROS: http://www.brianniemeier.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrianNiemeier

Gab: https://gab.ai/BrianNiemeier






Social Media Dump

Opening Music:
Honey Bee Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Closing Music:
Kings of Tara Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License