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What to Expect Soon (also a rant about Animorphs)

December 31, 2009 3 comments

Hey guys. Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Mostly been busy due to the holidays as well as work being extremely taxing recently (such is the cost of working in retail). Most the spare time I’ve had has been used working on my novel and trying to recoop from work by playing some of the games I received for Christmas.

The two most notable ones being Assassin’s Creed 2 and Dragon Age: Origins. As awesome as the story and gameplay in Dragon Age is, Assassin’s Creed 2 is the game I’m really focusing on just because the gameplay is addictive (pretty much improving on all the short comings of the last game in every way) and the story is really engaging. The story in Assassin’s Creed 1 was pretty good and I did really like the sci-fi twist they had on it. The story in Assassin’s Creed 2 is really kicked up a notch though, since it does a good job of focusing on the realistic (well, at first) historical fiction storyline presented by the main character Desmond’s ancestor as well as the modern story of Desmond, which focuses more on the sci-fi aspects of that series. They also explain more about the conspiracy with the Templars and the Pieces of Eden, which almost seems to delve into like…Metal Gear Solid levels of mindscrewery, but I actually really like that (in no small part to the fact Metal Gear Solid is one of my favorite game series of all time). I’ll probably end up doing a full post about Assassin’s Creed 2 soon enough, but I’m thinking about doing one for the first Assassin’s Creed first since I did love the first one and I can’t really talk about Assassin’s Creed 2 at all without spoiling Assassin’s Creed 1 anyway, so I might as well just tell everything that happens. Thinking the Assassin’s Creed 1 post will probably go more in depth about the story since the story is very cool and not that difficult to make fun of, so that might be enjoyable for you guys.

Now another thing I really want to talk about very soon is to do another Good Books post that is a retrospective on Animorphs, sparked by conversation I had about the series with a friend of mine the other day. Now, if you were in grade school in the 90s in the pre-Harry Potter era, you know what Animorphs is. Basically when you were a kid then that was interested in reading at all, there were two series that were generally agreed to be series that almost everyone read. One of them was Goosebumps, which I have fond memories of even though most of them do not hold up when you grow up. At all. In fact, there is a very funny blog reviewing all the Goosebumps books from an older perspective that rings very true to me. I recommend you all check it out. The other series that was required reading that was the much better one of the two was Animorphs.

Basically it was about a group of kids who get the ability to morph into any animal they touch for a short period of time from a friendly alien. This alien warns them of an invasion by a parasitic race called Yeerks which can get in people’s minds and control them. And they’ve just set up shop on Earth, so its up to these kids to stop them.

Now, if you’ve never read Animorphs, you’d think this seems like a fairly lighthearted superhero story, just the sort of thing you’d think little kids would be into. It’s not. Oh lord is it not. For a children’s series, this was DARK. These kids basically engage in a gurilla war against the Yeerks and starts to delve into surprisingly complex territory. It’s questioned if the Yeerks, which are intelligent and need hosts to do anything, are really bad and the heroes themselves start to do very morally questionable things for their cause (including, but not limited to, murder and blowing up a f***ing shopping mall filled with people. And not all of them were aliens). It was well written, complex, and dark, which made it very popular. I think mostly because the books had many complex themes so it did not seem like they were talking down to kids or insulting their intelligence like many young adult books. It’s a good book series and I suspect if I went back to read most of them, they’d still hold water.

I’m going to go more in depth about Animorphs at a later time. I also might even dig into the Animorphs live action TV adaptation, mostly because of how awful it is. I didn’t even remember it existed until recently even though I watched most of the episodes for it, which should tell you how forgettable it was. I remember the first couple episodes being decent because they basically just do the first book, but it doesn’t work out after that. I might talk about that too if I can find some videos of it somewhere. But trust me when I say it isn’t that good. The opening should tell you right away, since it has one of the worst, most misleading openings ever. Let’s watch:

Now… let’s think about Animorphs for a second. It is a dark series that is about 5 kids basically fighting a war against a powerful alien race that invades the minds of humans. They’re the only ones who know anything about it and part of them sees the war as hopeless, as only a means to stave off the inevitable conquest. These kids also do very morally grey stuff in order to defend the world. This show is an adaptation of that dark, complex, heavily science fiction series with themes about morality… and gives it an opening with a theme song that makes it sound like Dawson’s Creek. I mean, seriously. I can’t blame the person who wrote the lyrics, because if you listen to the lyrics, they are ominous. The melody of the theme son is not. It completely messes up the tone of the books and the tone the series is trying to created. Granted there is some high school drama in the books, but it’s downplayed for the most part. It is not Dawson’s Creek. It should not have an opening that makes people think it is.

And if I remember right, the opening isn’t even the worst part of that adaptation. But we’ll talk about that at a later time.

Finally, I have another interview coming up which I’m really excited about. I’m hoping to get that up in a few days. I hope you guys enjoy it.

Just wanted to let you guys know about some of the stuff to come. I hope you all will enjoy it. Have a nice day.

Interview With Linkara

December 27, 2009 3 comments

(Note: I should point out that this interview isn’t exactly new.  Lewis Lovhaug was nice enough to give an interview to me for my Deviantart account earlier this month. I figured it was noteworthy enough to post on here as well. So, here you go…)

I recently had an opportunity to interview Lewis Lovhaug, better known as Linkara, the comic book reviewer on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses. His videos can be found here: [link] I asked him a few questions about his videos as well as some of his other projects.

Me: First of all, I would like to thank you for the interview. For the benefit of our readers, can you just briefly tell how you started doing comic book reviews and how you came to be on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses?
Lewis: I started doing text reviews in the same vein as the Agony Booth or Jabootu’s movie reviews. After the “Ask That Guy” contest, I had so much fun doing the video that I decided to make comic reviews in video form. I submitted my stuff to That Guy with the Glasses, they liked it, and the rest is history.

Me: What is your process for doing a video? How long does it typically take to make one of your videos and what does that work entail?
Lewis: As I read the book I write out a script separating live action bits and voiceover bits. After I film I collect panels and edit it all together into a video. It can vary – theoretically I could make an entire video in 24 hours but I have to pace myself or I go nuts.

Me: How does it feel to work on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses? Judging by the number of crossovers you guys have done, it seems like you all get along very well…
Lewis: It’s fantastic! I love that I can share my love of comics to everyone and we all get along very well on the site.

Me: Now, you have reviewed many horrible comics. However, are there any terrible comics in particular that you really wanted to do a review for, but couldn’t get around to it for whatever reason?
Lewis: Nope. If there’s a comic I want to review, I put it on the schedule and I find a way to make it happen.

Me: You’ve spoken at length before about the specific qualities you look for in a bad comic, but what kind of specific qualities do you look for in a good comic? What are the best qualities of comics you actually enjoy reading? What are some of your favorite comics you are reading currently?
Lewis: It varies. Fun superhero stuff is what I tend to appreciate more.

Me: You recently did a very funny review of Superman IV with the Nostalgia Critic. Do you have any plans in the future to review any more bad comic book movies? There are more than a few that probably deserve it (please do the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, please do the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie… )
Lewis: Maybe, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Me: I believe you also stated some time ago that you were considering doing video game reviews as 90’s kid. Are you still considering this? (Mostly I’m asking since I find 90’s Kid hilarious since I’ve known at least 2 or 3 people in my life who basically are that character).
Lewis: I’m still considering it – it’s a matter of time, figuring out the best format, and what sort of games he’d review.

Me: You’ve done just over 50 videos. What was the video you would say you most enjoyed doing and what would you say is the video that was the most difficult or frustrating for you to do?
Lewis: I really had fun with the New Guardians #2 review and the Silent Hill stuff. As for most frustrating, probably the Superman 4 video because of all the technical problems we had.

Me: Is there one specific joke from your videos that you’re particularly proud of writing? Basically do you have a favorite joke that you made in one of your videos?
Lewis: “Oh, boo hoo, we’ve all got problems.” I just love that joke for some reason.

Me: One interesting thing about your videos is that they sort of have a weird story arc to them, with characters like Mechakara and Spoony’s Dr. Insano popping up with some degree of frequency. What made you decide to put this kind of storyline in your reviews? Was it a conscious decision or did it just sort of happen over time?
Lewis: A conscious decision, especially to emulate comic book story-arcs and whatnot.

Me: Going back to your taste in comics, are there any comics you really enjoy that you feel are very underrated that more people should take an interest in?
Lewis: Booster Gold, currently ongoing, and the weekly series that finished up a while back called Trinity. Trinity is highly underrated.

Me: Now just the opposite. Are there any comics that you feel are very overrated and, if so, what specifically do you not like about them?
Lewis: The Boys. Also Army@Love – hate them both with the fire of a thousand suns.

Me: Now, although you’re obviously most well known for your reviews as Linkara, you’ve done numerous other projects as well, so I’d like to ask a few questions about those. I understand that before you started writing comics and doing reviews, you wrote a series of self-published books called Angel Armor that you started writing as a teenager and continued to write as you got older. I haven’t really seen a whole lot of other people ask a whole lot about it, so I was wondering if you could tell us a bit more about them. What are the books about and how did you get the idea? Do you intend to keep creating more books in this series?
Lewis: I’m currently in the process of rewriting the first one. Essentially it’s a schoolboy in a Tolkien-esque fantasy land. I don’t talk about them as often because, well, looking back they’re not very good. I’m going to fix this, but for now I prefer to sweep it away like I did my fanfiction.

Me: You’ve also written a webcomic called Lightbringer about the world’s first superhero. Tell us about that and how you came up with the idea. What made you decide to write a webcomic?
Lewis: Modern day comics, whenever they create a new universe with superheroes populating it, always seem to want to give it a full looooong history of superheroes, with their own golden and silver ages and blah, blah, blah. I wanted to start from the ground up, get people interested in superheroes as they’re first emerging in a modern world. Kind of like Heroes but not so stupid and with costumes.

Me: You’ve also written an indie comic called Revolution of the Mask. What is this comic about and how did you come up with the idea? What made you decide to try to make this idea a semi-professional endeavor of making a comic?
Lewis: Revolution of the Mask is about a dystopian future that, at its core, is really just about superheroes and why they’re awesome. I based it on an underutilized plot thread from a B-movie called “City Limits,” where purportedly a group of teenagers have a society built around comic books, but there isn’t much evidence of that, so I wanted to write about that and better utilize it.

Me: Outside of comic books and graphic novel, do you have any favorite novels or stories?
Lewis: T.H. White’s the Once and Future King is my favorite book. Not many other hobbies outside of comics, I admit. Just not into very much; I’m kind of boring that way.

Me: What do you do when you’re not making videos? What other hobbies do you have outside of reading comics?
Lewis: Watching other people’s videos, mostly. XD Or watching a show or something that has been recommended to me or the occasional video game.

Me: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us. Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Lewis: Anything else I’d like to say? I will say Craft Porcelain, since that is a tag on something on my desk.

And there you have it. The name of the webcomic mentioned in the review is Lightbringer, which you can find here: [link] Revolution of the Mask can be purchased and viewed on Brain Scan Studios website here: [link] I hope you all enjoyed this interview. I might try to do some more in the future. So to all my readers, remember to live long and Craft Porcelain.

Good Manga: Bakuman (Plus a Brief Discussion about Comics & Literature)

(I’m probably going to be the only one who cares about this, but I’m a little upset with how the column name “Good Manga” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as Good Books or Good Games. I thought about naming it something different like Magnificent Manga, but I decided against it based on the small setback that that name is completely stupid).

Now, I love comics of all times. It’s one of my favorite mediums for storytelling. It’s amazing that something as simple as setting pictures to words can create stories that draw people into the world and the characters in some ways that novels simply cannot. Though there are some people who argue that comics shouldn’t be considered art, sequential art has created some of the most popular and lasting stories in modern culture (I mean, if you just want to think of the power comic books have had on the greater culture in general, try to think of the last time you met someone who has never heard of Batman). It’s gotten to the point where even if you don’t read comics, the characters are so real and so well loved that everyone seems to know about them and most really love to see stories in any medium about them. The true mark of great literature, I think, is its ability to allow someone to read a story about them and not want it to end, to endlessly ask questions about what happens next in that world or the characters that inhabit it. And yes, some comics are so damn good at it that the only reason to not consider it literature would just be plain prejudice against the medium just because it’s words with pictures instead of just words. I defy you to read something like Watchmen or the Sandman or 52 and tell me its not art.

Of course, most people who would make such claims about comics not being literature are the same people who may say sci-fi or fantasy or romance novels aren’t literature. I’m not sure why but there is a certain widespread pretension among many people to mentally narrow down what “literature” is to only 1) what they like and 2) wouldn’t be embarrassed to read in front of people. If a work with written words tells a good story, I would consider it literature, but many people treat the word “Literature” like its basically the intellectual Cool Kids Table. If someone walks up to the table, there is a group of people who will be like “Oh, you’re a sci-fi story…yeeeeah, sorry, but you’re gonna have to sit at the sci-fi table” or “A comic? Heh, yeah. Yeah no. Go over there. With your own kind.” It comes off as petty and ultimately meaningless, like most of the labels that get place on people during grade school. So yes, I believe comic books are literature and I love the medium enough that I feel the need to talk about one of my favorites.

A lot of my favorite comics are actually manga. If you’ve never heard the term, it’s basically just comics in Japan. Comics in Japan are a huge industry that makes of a very large percentage of what many people in the country read. It’s a legitimate industry which is very hard to get into and more complex than most people would consider.

The manga I want to talk about Bakuman is not only one of my favorite comics currently, but it also is a good look into the creative process, doing whatever it takes to achieve your dreams, and just how complex and interesting the comic industry (specifically the very intricate manga industry in Japan) can be.

Bakuman
Bakuman: A realistic manga about two kids who make manga. It’s very realistic, except for the blue hair. Japan does love its blue hair.

Now first of all, I should mention that this comic is created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata. Most of you may not have heard of them, but you probably have heard of a comic they created called Death Note. Now before you either squeel with delight or groan and swear never to read it (or just simply ask “What the hell is Death Note?”), I should mention that this story does not have a lot in common with Death Note. It has a lot of complex characterization like Death Note and there are moments where the characters talk a lot (which Death Note is famous for) it is very much grounded in reality. And surprisingly, the story is actually funny and fairly lighthearted. It has serious moments, but it’s not dark or unsettling. Anyone whose ever read Death Note will have a hard time buying that since Death Note isn’t exactly a light hearted comedy romp.

JUST_AS_PLANNED
In case you’ve never read Death Note: this is Light Yagami, a character in Death Note. He wants to kill all the criminals in the world with a magic notebook and eventually become God over everything in a new utopia composed of only those he deems worthy. This character is the HERO of the story. This isn’t exactly Happy Days people.

As for the plot of Bakuman, its sort of hard to explain. Not because it’s too complex or anything, but because the plot seems too simple at first. It stars Mashiro, a disillusioned high school student (like 90% of all manga protagonists) who used to love to draw and wanted to be a manga artist like his uncle, until he tragically died. He keeps his drawings to himself until his notebook is found by Takagi. Unlike that other series where finding a notebook leads to all hell breaking loose, this leads to an unlikely friendship as Takagi convinces Mashiro to help him create manga so they can become professional manga artists. Mashiro is at first a wet blanket, but eventually warms to the idea. He also finds out the girl he is secretly in love with wants to be a voice actor. After a series of unlikely yet amusing events, Mashiro and the object of his affection, Azuki Miho, agree to follow both of their dreams and get married once they have both achieved them (it’s a long story and is pretty hilarious in the way it plays out, but not in the obnoxious romantic comedy way. It feels pretty authentic). So the new partners decide to create manga and try to become real professionals.

While it doesn’t sound all that interesting at first, the way it plays out is very interesting. Aside from the goal of becoming professional manga artists and chronicling their successes and failures in the industry, the manga doesn’t so much have a “plot” as it is just showing the day-to-day lives of all the characters as they all try to succeed as artists. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s “a show about nothing” since the main characters have that one consistent goal throughout, but eventually new characters are introduced and fleshed out to the point where the comic because more about all these characters and how they go about following their dreams. All the characters in the comic are very realistic and seem like real people. They’re all complex and have clear motivations for everything they do, even if the reader doesn’t agree with their actions. I don’t want to spoil a lot, but I do want to say that especially in the more recent chapters, it seems obvious the creators are making an
effort to make every single character developed and realistic, even if you didn’t think they would be a huge focus when they first appeared or even if you didn’t think you’d like the character at first. Almost all the characters are likable in their own quarky ways and they’re all unique and interesting. One of the hardest things to do with stories in any medium is to make people care about the characters and this is one of the best examples I’ve seen of a comic consistently doing that with almost every single character ever.

Also, strickly as someone who has aspirations to work in a creative medium, I find this story particularly inspiring. The main characters are very determined to follow their dreams and never give up on it, even when things don’t always work out the way they would like. It’s very interesting to see the sort of behind-the-scenes world of publishing manga in Japan and how the characters deal with it. Anyone who has any aspirations in a creative medium will be able to relate to this comic on some level, since seeing Mashiro and Takagi rise from amateur to professional is something anyone whose tried to do that before will be able to greatly sympathize with the protagonists.

Unfortunately, Bakuman is not available for purchase outside of Japan, but the wonderful folks at OneManga.com have worked hard to provide a translation of the manga for English audiences. Like the manga in Japan, the translation is updated once a week. I strongly urge you to read it, bookmark it, and watch for each new chapter. I’m sure you will not regret it. So go on and check it out.

How Not to Respond to Criticism

Now, I am an amateur writer. As of yet I've had nothing professionally published, but I have published some writing online in the past so I'm no stranger to criticism. Most of the feedback I get is good, but some is well…not so good. And I'm comfortable with that, since most of the criticism I've gotten has been constructive and actually brought up good points on how to improve my work. The best way to handle someone who gives a bad review of something you wrote (or something you created in any creative medium in general) is look at their complaints, see if they have any good points (most of them usually have one or two), and see if its anything you can improve upon in the future.

A bad way to respond to criticism in general, especially if you're a published author, is to actually respond to bad criticism. A worse way to respond to bad criticism is to respond to a bad review in an angry manner then threaten to call the freaking FBI when people tell you you shouldn't have responded in such a way to a bad review. This is what I like to call a Bad Idea.

Now you might think something like that wouldn't happen, that most authors are smart enough not to do that. And true, most authors are. But not all. That article details such an instance where an author named Candace Sams responded to reviews on Amazon.com very angrily to the point of saying she would call the FBI. Because people said they didn't like her book. I'm…pretty sure the FBI has like…better things to do than listen to people complain about bad reviews. The links to the responses in question are in the article and they are an…interesting read to say the least.

That article was brought to my attention courtesy of sci-fi author/online snark messiah John Scalzi and also Neil Gaiman. (Also, just a reminder, if you ever do something that's such a Bad Idea that even Neil Gaiman says "Wow, that's a Bad Idea," trust me…you've got a Bad Idea right there. You might even say at that point it would be a Very Bad Idea).

Just wanted to put that out there for anyone whose ran into bad criticism before and show you that you should never ever ever ever ever do something like this. Ever. Ever. Look, nobody really likes it when someone doesn't like their work, but like I said, the best way to handle bad criticism is just to learn from it. You should never respond to it because every person is entitled to their opinion, and you should definitely never respond angrily, even if you think the review might not be fair. It will just make you look like a jerk or like a crazy person. Sure this is a bit of a trainwreck, but every person has the potential to do something like this if they lose their cool and choose to do the Bad Idea of responding to criticism (well, maybe everyone wouldn't say they'd call the FBI, but still). Just remember if you ever have an urge to do something like this, resist that urge. Just read the review, see if there's any constructive criticism worth taking away from it (like I said, there usually is), and walk away. If you forget that, you may open yourself up to potentially doing something like this.

Good Games: Trauma Center: Second Opinion

I've been playing a lot of older games recently to pass the time. I
played through Mass Effect again last week in preparation for Mass
Effect 2 coming out next month and recently I had an urge to go back
and look at one of my favorite early games for the Wii, Trauma Center:
Second Opinion.

Trauma Center Second Opinion
Trauma Center: House ain't got s*** on this.

This game has been out for quite a while, so there's a good chance
most of you have already heard about it. For those of you who
haven't…well, hang on to your hats, because you're in for a treat
because this is one of those games that makes perfect sense once you
played it, but if you try to explain what happens in it, it'll either
sound like a game that makes absolutely no sense or something you made
up after drinking too much tequila. And it is awesome.

This game is made by Atlus, a company whose entire business model is based around making games that are both cool, extremely difficult, and more often than not, very weird conceptually. In this game, you play as a newbie surgeon named Derek Styles and perform operations with the Wii motion controller, which is a very cool concept. This game is actually a remake of the original, which was a DS game, but with some new stages and whole new stages. Now you might be wondering if this game would be too complex being a surgery simulation, but this game simplifies a lot of the stuff in surgery and…really doesn't truck much in the way of accurate surgery simulation. You'll see why in a minute.

After a few tutorial missions where you remove tumors, treat car accident injuries, and so on, you will find out your doctor character has an ability called Healing Touch, which allows him to slow down time via intense concentration. This basically amounts to bullet time. You have bullet time. In a game about surgery. I did say this game was awesome, did I not?

Max_payne3_rumor
Max Payne WILL save this patient!

And in case you thought that was too weird, you haven't seen anything yet, my friend. A few missions after that, you discover that there is a new manmade super-virus called GUILT being spread by a bio-terrorist group/cult who believes doctors curing people is going against God's wishes to decide when people should die. Dr. Styles is then recruited to join a special organization called Caduceus dedicated to wiping out GUILT.

Now I'm sure this all sounds cool, but not THAT off the wall. Well, let's talk about what GUILT actually does. GUILT has many different forms which include, but are not limited to, the following: parasites that cut peoples organs open from the inside which you must cut out and burn to death with a laser, thorns that appear in organs and petrify them which are damn near impossible to remove without your surgical bullet time powers, tumors that not only freaking MOVE under their own power but can combine with other tumors with a Saiyan fusion dance to tear organs apart unless you train fluid from them mid transformation, and there is even a final boss version of GUILT that combines elements of all of these together while ominous latin chanting music plays in the background like you're fighting freaking Sephiroth.

So yeah, you might have noticed that this game deviates just a little bit from reality.

Guilt
I would just like to point out that the first time you fight the alien bug sword flavor of GUILT is just two missions after you're treating a car accident victim. And we've moved from that to cutting out alien parasites that have to be burned to death with lasers. Just to give you some perspective.

Now, despite the fact I'm making fun of it, is is a very good game. Some levels are hard as hell, as anyone whose played any game published by Atlus will not be surprised about (I wonder if real doctors have as much problems pulling out evil demon thorns that petrify organs in rapid succession). The storyline is interesting. It won't win any awards and its obviously not realistic, but the concept is interesting and most of the characters are interesting enough to drive their weird little story. There's even a subplot at one point in the game where they tackle the moral ramifications of euthanasia, which is kind of weird to hear about in a video game, but it was interesting to see such a topic discussed in that manner in a video game (it is a little weird to have characters talk about that right after exercising alien bugs from a patient, but still, it's interesting to see something like that in a game storyline).

So if you have a Wii, pick up Trauma Center: Second Opinion. There are some sequels out for the Wii as well which I've heard are also pretty good, although I can't speak from personal experience. They're definitely worth checking out for the fun (yet at times brutally difficult) gameplay and neat motion controls present in all the games.

(And before I go, I just wanted to share this (which I'm almost certain some of you have seen already) which sums up the Trauma Center series better than I ever could).

Good Books: World War Z

December 15, 2009 2 comments

So as I said in the first post, one of the things I plan to do with this blog is review nerdy things (ie pretty much anything a guy like me would like). This can include books, video games, films, and what have you. Since I am an amateur writer, most of the things I will focus on will be the writing quality of what I review. For books that's a no brainer, but since a lot of the video games I love have good writing (not all of them, but a lot of the ones I like do) and the same goes for films, comics, and so on.

So I decided I'd review a book I enjoyed first and go over why I enjoyed it. I'll try not to go too in depth since I don't want to spoil any of the things I like for people who have not seen them. Also my review style may not be the most professional since I don't consider myself a very professional person. Still I hope you enjoy it.

Anyway, the name of the book is World War Z by Max Brook (who happens to be the son of Mel Brooks, director of Young Frankenstein, which is neat).

World-war-z

Now, I'm sure many of you have seen movies about zombies before or played games where you fight zombies. I'm sure a lot of you enjoy them (I certainly do, since Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite comedies and Left 4 Dead is one of my current favorite multiplayer games). But are you really scared by zombie movies? Some of them really are frightening (Dawn of the Dead being the one everyone usually defaults too) but most really don't do a good job of conveying that zombies are appearing all over the world and showing the consequences of it.

That's what this book is all about. It's written as a series of fictional interviews with people who survived a zombie outbreak that was a worldwide pandemic that was about a decade in length. You get the sense that every character interviewed has been through hell and each tells their widely different experiences as they saw it through their own eyes.

I will not mince words, people. This book is horrifying. It is terrifying. It reads like what would ACTUALLY happen to the world if suddenly there were zombies. How the governments all over the world would react, how some amoral scumbags would try to profit from it, how peoples families and lives would be completely shattered by it, how people had to go through day after day not sure if they would live and how some people wished they hadn't. This is probably the most realistic fictional work I have ever seen that basically conveys the world nearly coming to an end, each person describing all the frightening things that happened through their own eyes with genuine dialogue that rings as true as if you or I were talking. And the fact it realistically shows how the world would go down the crapper so quick and the consequences of what is essentially a worldwide mass hysteria taking over on top of zombies is a very involving, engrossing, and genuinely scary work.

Maybe some of you don't get how scary this is, so I'm going to explain it to you. Imagine the scariest thing you have ever seen. Go ahead, I'll wait. Here, I'll do it too.

Pennywise01

JESUS CHRIST!

…now, where was I? Okay, imagine the scariest thing ever. Now imagine a whole world full of those things. And that everyone in the whole world was just as scared of that thing as you are. And the world was overrun with those things for TEN YEARS and everyone had to do whatever they could to survive. Imagined that? Good. Okay, World War Z is about as scary as that happening twice in a row.

World War Z is a great book. The best thing a book can do is draw you into a world and have you believe that, given the right circumstances, this could happen and the characters would really react this way. It makes you believe that if zombies happened, this is almost exactly what would occur. It's a good page turner cause you just HAVE to see how people got through this, you just have to see what happened in other places around the world, even though it is scary as hell.

I recommend this book for pretty much any fan of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, or people who just like stuff with zombies. Also, if you're a writer who wants to see a good example of writing horror in an effective way, this is the best example of horror fiction I've read in a while. So pick up this book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Just don't expect to be able to sleep any time soon…

Categories: Books Tags: , , , , , , ,

That One Post that Happened to be the First One

December 14, 2009 1 comment

Hello reader.

I would like to welcome you to my humble little corner of the Internet. I'll try to keep this brief since, in my experience, most first posts on any blog are just awful awkward things. Usually the person writing them doesn't know what they'll write or why. The few people that do read the first post don't even know why they're taking the time to bother. Pretty much both the blogger and the reader (or "bloggie," if you'd prefer) just want to cut to the chase. It's just like meeting a stranger at a party. Nobody knows what they're saying, it's awkward, clumsy, and most of the time it doesn't lead anywhere good.

So I suppose I should tell you about myself. My name is Corey W. Williams. The W stands for something. I'm an amateur writer, as of yet unpublished aside from content I've provided online. Most of it is fanfiction I wrote as a teenager. Some of it is surprisingly not THAT bad, at least I think so looking back. But some of it is. Oh god it is…

Er, anyway, I am also a nerd, ladies and gentleman, in case the fact I had a blog wasn't enough of a clue. I enjoy video games, especially RPGs. I read a lot and write. I read comic books and manga, and I also enjoy some anime every once in a while. I watch a lot of films, own a bunch of DVDs of obscure TV shows and cartoons most people have forgotten (I'll just use Clone High as an example because I loved that particular show). I know that the secret of the universe is 42, I know what a Big Lipped Alligator Moment is, I know that John Freeman has a tendency to find wepon, I know that bards are sometimes spoony, I know the enemies gate is down, I know Torgo takes care of the place while the MaSTer is away, I know that R'lyeah is a city underwater and that the word is basically Great Old One speak loosely translated to "You should probably stay the hell away from this city," I can keep rhythm with no metronome, no metronome, no metronome, and I know that if you got ANY of those references then you know I'm clearly a dork. And if you got any of them I also know you have some of that nerdyness in you, so it seems we've reached a consensus. You've passed the test.

This is basically a blog about the stuff I love. I love nerdy stuff. I also love writing. So most if not everything will either be about nerdy stuff and writing (both, more often than not). I'm sure not many of you are reading this, but if you are, I hope you will enjoy listening to my rambling musings. I hope we can get to know each other.

Pleased to meet you. Take your shoes off, stay a while and hopefully we'll enjoy each others company. Have a good day, all of you.

(Hopefully, as far as first posts go, this was a least somewhat interesting).