Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: Black Dragon by Amos Keppler

  When you read a Keppler-novel you get a complex story where it’s downright impossible to guess the ending. You certainly don’t get a thorough explanation of the plot on the first page or something. The story is shown, not told.
  You have to be both a curious and aware human being to find out what’s going on and that’s great. There’s way too little complex storytelling out there.
  The reader is pulled into a world where superhuman powers have become commonplace, and we are shown the effects of that, both on individuals and society as a whole. We witness the true ramifications on a society where super-powered individuals and groups are present, how the real-world dynamics are completely different from what is shown in comic books. Even though there are similarities, this is something completely different from other stories featuring costumed and superhuman vigilantes.
  The novel is 175 000 words, far thicker than most books. It needs to be in order to describe in necessary detail the story as it progresses.
  Vigilantes and crime fighters aren't described as positive forces at all. What we see unfold is fascism in its most sinister form. It's actually one of the best descriptions of it I've ever read. We are shown how initially well-meaning people can change and become pretty much what they initially despised, something politicians and others starting adult life as idealists certainly should take to heart.
  It also shows in excellent ways how a cruel society crushes the human spirit until almost nothing is left but ashes.
  There are burning emotions, sizzling passion and hatred here, making me shake in my boots.
  The novel contains themes and angles not covered in most books I’ve read and most certainly not in comic books.
  This is a deeply troubling book. It starts off fairly modest, but slowly grows darker, as you flip the pages.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Review: Shadows in the Starlight by Elaine Cunningham

  I quite enjoyed Shadows in the Darkness, the first novel in this series. This one isn’t as good as that one, but still has many of the same qualities. It is a fairly mature story, can’t easily fit a genre and doesn’t have many good things to say about the police and other dominant forces in society.
  Gwen, the main protagonist is still searching for the truth about her life and origin. She isn’t human and struggles to come to terms with what she is: an elf, another species that have existed side by side with humanity for a very long time. They have a different and occasionally cruel set of rules and motivations compared to the human society she grew up with, and she has trouble reconciling herself with that.
  She is a former cop with a rather strained relationship with many of her former colleagues, also a good thing to cover, and strangely enough not an angle covered much.
  I do think the story is too short. The reader has just taken a bite or two of the juicy action and then it’s over. I feel like I’ve only read the first third of a book or something. It ends too quickly, very much where the action should have started.
  I still appreciate the author’s attempt at creating something different, also with a strong woman as protagonist and strong, multi-level black characters, though. It’s way too rare in today’s mainstream marketplace.
  Hey, Elaine, I’m still waiting for the next book in this series. If no one wants to publish it, try self-publishing. I’m told it’s easy and inexpensive in this digital age.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Poor man’s way of enjoying art

  There is one part of the bit-torrent and free download of music and movies that hasn’t been mentioned much, amazingly so.
  It’s a major equalizer in so many areas.
  It gives people that wouldn’t otherwise be able to pay for experiencing music and movies a great opportunity to watch and listen and not give a fuck about the inflated official prices set by wealthy and oppressive movie moguls and record producers.
  Giving them the finger is so much fun, on so many levels. Recently, for instance the show The Blacklist was pulled from the more law-abiding torrent sites because of yet another horrid court order, but I just switched to a torrent provider that doesn’t give a shit about court orders and was still able to download it.
  There are still segments of the Internet where lawlessness rules, where people reject unjust laws on a matter of principle, and I love that, just fucking love that.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Reading the Bible

  Many Christians haven’t really read the bible, only selected, edible parts. Quite a few actually become atheists after having read all of it.
  Hardcore Christians and Christian apologists don’t care one way or another, no matter what their holy book says, not deviating in any way from what they want it to say, but there are those reacting strongly to passages like these:
  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Ephesians 6:5

  You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. From Leviticus 25:44-46

  Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. Numbers 31:17-18
  This should give anyone ignorant a certain idea what the Bible is truly about.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pieces of nothing

  Women today are a pair of eyes, a nose and a mouth… and hardly anything else.
  At least if you look at the faces covered by makeup and retouched on magazine covers so common today and of everybody attempting to emulate that.
  We are supposed to be pleasing and willing and present a smiling surface. From birth through adolescence, school and advertising that’s the message we are told and sold.
  In a society where even some professed feminists refuse to acknowledge the damaging effect of wearing high heels, it’s easy to see we still have a long way to go until true equality is ours to enjoy.
  Oppression of women has never stopped. It has taken on a few new aspects and also kept the old. The rights to free abortion are constantly questioned and attacked. The rape culture is running rampant. The war on women is ongoing. Many women, unable to liberate themselves from their upbringing are even actively participating in the subjugation of both themselves and others.
  The last case going public was that of Jada, a sixteen year old girl being drugged and violated, and then «shamed» (the rapist and supporters shamed themselves) when the image of her drugged and still body was put on the Internet and went viral. Many people didn't support her, but sided with the violator and enjoyed a good laughter at Jada’s expense.
  In Steubenville a major part of the local community supported the football player rapists and not the rape victim.
  In Maryville, Missouri a rape victim and her family had to leave town due to harassment after the case was known. The rapist, yet another football player wasn't even charged with rape and got off with a misdemeanor plea.
  These are cases in the United States, classic, typical cases, excellent illustrations, but this is a world-wide «phenomenon».
  The sympathy is often given to the perpetrator, not the victim. People complain that a given football player’s career is ruined and so on. Their lack of true empathy is staggering.
  These are just a few cases illustrating what keeps happening, and it’s all due to lack of true respect for women. Part of that is we are seen as frail creatures, hardly deserving of proper treatment. My take on that is this:
  We are not made of china. We don’t need special protection, only equal to that of everybody else.
  Another is religion. Religion, among other things is also an attempt at control, also men’s control of women.
  In a culture, segmented over centuries, where males are seen as superior it is evidently easier to excuse brutality against women. That is just more twisted logic, of course, but that’s clearly how many people see it. Some men actually feel entitled to sex, both in a given situation and in general. To them and their apologists it matters little whether or not the girl consents. They have other concerns than the well being of a given girl or woman.
  If you begin researching this subject further, like I did, you will find lots of surprising and shocking facts. The end conclusion becomes inevitable.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Removing your body hair

  It’s a bad practice, the way I see it. It’s typical that most people embrace what is clearly an unnatural act and reject the natural body, pretty much like they have been brainwashed into thinking they prefer the artificial to the natural in most things.
  I see it pretty much as a cultural predilection, like both female and male circumcision, facelifts, cosmetic surgery, wearing high heels and a fairly long list of acts altering your appearance and complying with what is seen as the dominant viewpoint in order to make others see you more favorably.
  Most people today are scared to death to not fit in and to experience public condemnation, and even to not be popular. This certainly is comparable to that.
  I haven’t removed anything, not a single hair and am certainly comfortable with that. But I developed early on a fairly healthy self-confidence about my own looks and preferences. The image I have of myself is not dependent on what others may think of me. I honestly wish others were more like that.

  Insane practices are abundant today, and the reason is very often a low self-image. Current society does that to you, in order to control you better. They offer you fake happiness instead of the true and better version, and you buy that, don’t you, hook, line and sinker. Please get a life! Both you and humanity as a whole will be better off because of it.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

  The rest of the world should break all contact with Zionism and the Zionists. It is that easy.
  Artists, musicians, filmmakers and authors shouldn't perform in Israel or visit the country. They shouldn't release their product there. No one should. No one should buy the products of people doing it. There should be a total boycott. No politicians should visit or have any contact with representatives for the government and their eager supporters. Israel should be shunned until it ends it inhuman policies against the Palestinians and agree to total withdrawal to the 1967 borders and with all the settlers gone from the Palestinian territories. Israel needs to be pushed and pushed hard.
  Boycott worked with apartheid South Africa, even though the United States didn't exactly support that either.
  One thing is damn certain: appeasing tyranny never works.
  The list of Israeli crimes is long and sordid. It is clearly one of the very worst tyrannies today.

  I, for one, hereby state with conviction that I will never buy another The Rolling Stones record and that I will also speak out against them at every opportunity if they play in Israel.
  This is one of many way too modest acts I will do in order to aid the Palestinians in their struggle against invasion, occupation, apartheid, genocide and countless other horrible acts visited upon them.