Edge of Darkness – #BookReview

Note: this review was first posted on Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there click HERE.

Cyberpunk fans and fans of far future fiction will enjoy reading this book.

SYNOPSIS

In 2065, corporate sponsored governments jockey for supremacy in the biotechnical arena. Bullets and missiles take a back seat to cyber-enhanced soldiers and pulse weapons. In this extreme environment, only the most hardened body and mind can survive.

Calder McKenna was a failed experiment in the military’s push for power. Now a special agent for the metro task force, he lives day by day trying to forget the ones that were lost… the ones that he could have saved.

When technology and humanity collide, Calder is forced to make desperate decisions, but how do you destroy the monster without becoming one yourself?

REVIEW

3/5 Stars

Calder Mckenna is an ex-soldier working as a cop who is still haunted by the actions of his past. His life gets a whole lot more complicated when a mysterious package shows up at his door. While what is in the package might unlock hidden potential inside him, it might also make him into a monster. This story is about his struggle to maintain his humanity while still protecting his partner and those around him.

The book starts off strong and is full of action. The integration of technology and humanity is a consistent theme throughout the book. Calder also starts out as a rather interesting character to me. I found myself wanting to know more about him and why he was the way he was. For most of the book I was excited about it and enjoyed the story. There was at least one relationship that I found a little less believable than others but I won’t go into detail about it to avoid spoilers but otherwise I was intrigued.

I was reminded of things like Altered Carbon or Phillip K. Dick novels as I was reading this. While this is not quite as realized as those worlds, this was still an entertaining read. I liked how these mega corporations are controlling everything from behind the scenes but I never got a great sense of what exactly they were doing or why. It was clear that they were not above board and needed to be stopped, but I feel like that is part of the book that could have been strengthened.

The action is fast and continuously interesting and I found myself rooting for Calder to succeed. There is a lot of action and for this kind of story, I find that a great plus. I enjoy a little bit of philosophy about the way things are but then I am ready to get back to the fight. Edge of Darkness provides a constant stream of intense action with real, high stakes.

For me this just narrowly missed being a four star book, mostly because I felt like some of the scenery and background could have been delved into a little more, and like I said one relationship never quite worked for me.

If you like far future fiction, this is a good one to go with and I will be checking out the sequels.

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Midsommar – #MovieReview

Don’t Drink the Mushroom Tea

I don’t know about you but I have had some extra time on my hands to watch movies. I read a Buzzfeed article that had 25 of the most disturbing movies you could watch and thought, yeah that’s a great way to stay entertained so here is my review of film number 1.

Midsommar is one that I meant to get around to but didn’t watch until today. I kept hearing really good things about it and wanted to check it out. It’s pretty much every bit as creepy as I heard. Spoilers are below, you have been warned

The movie starts off very dark. I mean that literally and figuratively. The first scenes show a darkened house with lights out in the dead of night. The tone doesn’t really lighten up either. The story revolves around Dani who starts off anxious and worried about her sister who has bipolar disorder. Dani calls her frat bro boyfriend worried and he dismisses her fears in a way that I frankly thought was disgusting. When people are anxious and worried, they should be listened to, not dismissed, especially when there’s evidence that shows the thing they are worried about might have happened. Turns out, Dani was right to worry and her jerk boyfriend Christian wasn’t helping things either. Dani’s sister killed herself and her parents in that dark house I was talking about.

That’s just as devastating a tragedy as I can think of and I don’t think Christian is helpful in the situation either. He’s not a total jerk but he really doesn’t want to be in the relationship with Dani and basically hangs around because it seems like an even more jerk move to break up with her.

Anyway, while Dani is starting to get over her grief, she goes to a party with Christian and he drops this bomb on her when he tells his friends he is planning on going to Sweden with them. Dani is upset, jealous and a bit angry. But she is also very apologetic to Christian about feeling that way. Dani decides not to break up with the guy but to go to Sweden with everyone. Bad call Dani.

The lighting of the film changes dramatically from there. It’s pretty much bright day from there on out. This is not the most gore-filled movie you’ll ever see and there’s not a bunch of quick jump cuts to scare you but the tone of this movie will stay with you if you watch it.

You get the sense right away when Dani is offered some drugs in the form of mushroom tea and she is uncomfortable with it, what with, you know, grieving and all that there is something wrong here. For a while it seems like maybe only the bad things are in Dani’s head but the rituals that are going on in this quiet Swedish town take a dark turn quickly. For the first half of the movie it’s a slow churning build up to what might happen and it just grips you right to the end.

The action really starts going when during a part of this festival two people literally jump to their deaths intentionally as part of it. All of the Americans and Londoners watching recoil in abject horror at what happens. From there, the non-Swedish characters are killed off in different ways one by one. I am not going to give any of that away, but it was devastating to watch. By the end you will find yourself both sympathizing and horrified with Dani and her actions. It’s a wild ride, done in super bright daylight and yet it still never loses the edge of horror that you want in a scary movie.

If you like horror and can stand a little gore, this one is well worth checking out.

Brightly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

To Be Taught If Fortunate – #BookReview

Hello out there in cyberspace. Slick Dungeon here and I just read a book about outer space that I want to share with you. I enjoyed this one a lot and I will be doing a little review. There will be some spoilers but I will not give away the whole plot here. You’ve been warned if you want everything in the book to be a surprise.

To Be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers is a hard science fiction novella that had me interested cover to cover. It follows the adventures of four astronauts in the far future who have been sent from Earth to explore a few planets and their ecosystems in the interests of science and humanity. Ariadne, Chikondi, Elena and Jack have all been tasked to take scientific recordings, samples, etc. and sent back to Earth for study.

The book is full of beautiful descriptions of new species, the harsh realities of space exploration and the breakdown of difficult scientific ideas into understandable concepts. The characters are very well developed for such a short book. I was pretty gripped throughout, whether it was the personal struggles of the space explorers or the underlying question of the book; should we seek knowledge just for the sake of curiosity?

Those of you out there who are space nerds will probably know that the title is taken from a small snippet of a quote on the golden record on the Voyager space craft. This book takes the idea that we ought to be curious, that we need to find more out about the universe around us seriously. That can be said for a lot of science fiction and especially hard science fiction books. Where I think this one is different is that it also asks if our curiosity does harm. Are we hurting foreign species we might encounter in space? Are we able to minimize that? And if we can minimize it, is that really enough? Should humanity care about space exploration if there are problems on the ground right here on Earth?

What I love about this book is that it does not provide hard and fast answers to those questions. We follow along as the astronauts go to different environments, with different challenges both for the astronauts and the species (or lack of species) on each planet they touch down on. It isn’t a silly novel where there are a ton of bipedal humanoid species. No, the species they encounter might be microscopic or look somewhat like rats but have truly nothing in common with the earthbound creatures we think of. And it’s very well described.

Maybe the one thing I would change about the book is the ending. I feel like it could have been more conclusive. On the other hand, that may have been the whole point. The book doesn’t give us answers to a lot of important questions, but it dares to ask them. So maybe the end is made that way too. So that we have to form our own opinions and ideas of not only what the right thing to do is when it comes to science, but also how our heroes end up in the long run.

If you’re looking for an entertaining, deep, yet short read, and you have any interest in space exploration at all, I highly recommend To Be Taught If Fortunate.

If you’ve read this, let me know what you thought about it in the comments.

Space-ily Yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

A Pizza to Die For – #BookReview

Take the Pizza Leave the Mystery

Have you been stuck inside for days with nothing to do but read or watch movies? Me too. Although, I live alone in a dungeon so it makes sense. Slick Dungeon here with a cozy mystery book review for you in your time of boredom.

A Pizza to Die For by Chris Cavendar is one in a series of cozy mysteries that take place in or around a pizza shop in Timber Ridge, North Carolina. It’s about a pair of sisters, Eleanor and Maddy who run the place called, A Slice of Delight. I’m going to give you a little plot summary but then I had some issues with the whole thing so I am going to rant about that for a while.

If you just want a nice, tidy, mystery, there are definitely worse you could read out there. If you want a nice, tidy, mystery that constantly makes you wish you were eating pizza because they say the word every other sentence, this is absolutely the book for you. I think I gained weight just by reading it to be honest.

The story goes like this. A new pizza place is about to open. The restaurant is called Italia’s and not only will it have a fancy, dancy, high-falutin, wood fire oven, there’s a chef there that will toss the pizza dough in the air right in front your very own face. Maddy and Eleanor are none too pleased with this and so she and her crew go to see the dude opening it up. His name is Judson Sizemore and they basically threaten him to, you know, not open the place, but after he was a jerk to them, so apparently that’s all okay behavior.

I bet you see this coming. Judson ends up dead. Eleanor and Maddy are suspects of course, so they attempt to clear their names by solving the mystery. In case you actually want to read this, I am not going to give away who does it but there are spoilers that follow so you have been warned.

Here are some thoughts I had along the way.

  • At one point this book has the required “get off my lawn” scene where they go to try to talk to one of the suspects and he pulls out a shotgun and says he will shoot Maddy and Eleanor if they don’t leave. So many mysteries have this but this one to me was exceedingly ridiculous. The guy threatens to shoot them for, you know, walking up to his door, but then how is he talked down? Eleanor tells him she also has a house that is a bungalow house, like the one he owns. Oh. Okay. Yeah I was willing to blow your face off two seconds ago but IF you happen to own a home LIKE mine, then that’s all good, no problem, let’s be best friends. Give me a break (so I can grab a slice of pizza).
  • I know this book was written a while ago and takes place far away from Chicago but these people in this town seem to feel like you have to have some kind of magical ability to make Chicago style pizza. They go on about this for pages. Pages I tell you. And you know what? Now I need me some deep dish!
  • So Eleanor and Maddy think what they have to do is figure out who did the killing at Italia’s the night Judson dies. Guess who they never talk to even once? Yeah, everyone that was working there. Nope, none of them could possibly be suspects despite the fact that Judson in his few scenes where he is alive seems like a total jerk. Great detective work.
  • Speaking of detective work. This town has a Chief of Police who warns Eleanor away from doing her own little investigation and other than that pretty much shows up on occasion to order pizza or do some dishes in the back with Eleanor. The Chief, Kevin, has history with Eleanor because they went to the same high school. But he does no real investigating of this whole situation other than to basically ask Eleanor where she was on the night of the murder. I swear I have never read a cozy mystery where the police department ever does a good job. How are the tax payers okay with paying you Kevin? Huh? Come on, man, the Timber Ridge residents deserve better from you!
  • Also, I have made this statement in other reviews about mysteries but how is a pair of civilians going around and bullying people into confessing to them, not to the police in any way, going to help in court? I am pretty sure a lawyer who is worth a dime is going to get that case tossed in seconds flat.
  • Speaking of crappy lawyers. There is a lawyer in this who is dating Maddy, named Bob Lemon. Well, Bob Lemon does the smart thing exactly once. He tells Maddy that she should not go investigating other people for a murder she might be a suspect for. She jumps all over him for it and pretty much puts him in the doghouse for it for a good chunk of the book. And he apologizes for it! I mean, the dude is a lawyer and the first rule of good lawyering is to get your dumb client who is going around looking very suspicious to you know, shut up. If I was Bob Lemon I would not have apologized. I would have demanded my hourly rate of $100 an hour for that one bit of advice and left Maddy to make her own dang mess.
  • The suspects in this book never looked like they had that much guilt or motive or even opportunity to do this crime but why would they confess anything to Eleanor and Maddy? They do have a friend that seems to intimidate people because he must be into some criminal stuff but that doesn’t seem like enough for someone who committed murder to just be like, oh yeah, I am gonna confess every dark secret of mine to you.
  • Also, as I said I won’t give away who did it but like in every one of these stories, why would the killer actually confess in the last part of the book? They had every opportunity to you know, shut up and just kill the people confronting them. All I can think is that person must also be dating and ignoring a lawyer who gave good advice and then apologized for it.
  • This book even has the prerequisite relationship with a criminal and the protaganist (in this case a pizza maker) that makes no sense at all. I mean, this may have come about in previous books but how many small shop pizza owners are like, yeah let me hang out with a mobster? I could almost buy it if the protagonist were crooked or, like in law enforcement but just a pizza shop owner? Really?
  • Speaking of crimes. In several sections of the book they mention that the local health inspector is away on a honeymoon. Well, it’s a good thing because the kitchen in A Slice of Delight seems to be like Grand Central Station. (Well Grand Central Station a few weeks ago). Everyone shows up there to ask Eleanor stuff, tell Eleanor stuff, and do this dishes with Eleanor. I mean, are there no rules about this sort of thing? She doesn’t even tell anyone to put on a hair net or gloves or anything. It made me want pizza less and that is nearly impossible.
  • There is one thing that I can say for this series though. Their pun game is strong. This one is A Pizza to Die for but they have a bunch of other books with titles like, A Slice of Murder and Rest in Pizza. I wholeheartedly approve. I am gonna murder that slice of pizza to die for and go rest in the remains of it now.

Man that book and review made me really want pizza. Think anyone will deliver to a monster filled dungeon out in the middle of nowhere in thirty minutes or less?

Hungrily yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

P.S. Hungry for more murder pizza? Check out this series here!

Slick Dungeon’s Outbreak PSA

Hello out there all you wonderful people, this is Slick Dungeon. Normally on my blog I post about movies, books and role playing games. Today I just want to take a minute to do my part to stop the spread of an epidemic.

All the major health organizations recommend two things to keep us healthy. One is wash your hands and two is not touching your face. I don’t have much to help with the second one but for the first let me do you all a service. We’re supposed to wash for at least 20 seconds which is the lyrics to Happy Birthday twice. Well, if I keep singing that I am going to be approximately four thousand years old in the next half hour. Instead, let’s get this song stuck in your head again. Wash your hands while you sing it and you will be so lost in belting it out, you won’t realize you have spent well over 20 seconds doing it.

Personally I am partial to the Metal version but any version will do.

Lyrics:

When a humble bard
Graced a ride along
With Geralt of Rivia
Along came this song

From when the White Wolf fought
A silver-tongued devil
His army of elves
At his hooves did they revel

They came after me
With masterful deceit
Broke down my lute
And they kicked in my teeth
While the devil’s horns
Minced our tender meat
And so cried the Witcher
He can’t be bleat

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
Toss a coin to Your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty

At the edge of the world
Fight the mighty horde
That bashes and breaks you
And brings you the morn’

He thrust every elf
Far back on the shelf
High up on the mountain
From whence it came

He wiped out your pest
Got kicked in his chest
He’s a friend of humanity
So give him the rest

That’s my epic tale
A champion prevailed
Defeated the villain
Now pour him some ale

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
Toss a coin to your Witcher
And friend of humanity

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
And friend of humanity

Toss a coin to your Witcher
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’ Valley of Plenty
O’
Toss a coin to your Witcher
A friend of humanity

There, now it’s stuck in your head again. Go wash your hands!

(Also someone please remind me not to rewatch Contagion)

Sanitarily yours,

Slick Dungeon

Out of my comfort zone ~ book tag

I have never done one of these book tags before but this one seemed fun so here’s mine.

  • A book that is an exception when it comes to genres or elements you don’t typically like

The Color Purple is a book that is written through letters and notes and I usually can’t stand that kind of thing. But in this book, it’s done beautifully and I wouldn’t change a word. I’m glad I gave it a try and found something excellent to read.

  • A book you enjoyed from a genre you previously held some stigma against

Lonesome Dove is basically a western and I almost never read westerns. I’m too much of a city person to relate usually but this one kept my interest the whole time and it was worth the effort, teaching me that, yes, there are westerns worth reading.

  • A book you didn’t know was out of your comfort zone until you started reading it

I have a pretty strong stomach and I like to give myself a good scare now and again but honestly, nothing could have prepared me for just how uncomfortable The Hot Zone made me. It seems even more relevant now and I don’t think you could pay me to re-read that one now. I barely finished it as it was and I did not get a lot of sleep those nights.

  • Pick a friend who motivates you to pick up books you might not normally be interested in –is there a book they convinced you to give a try?

I am not going to name any names here but I do have a friend that convinced me to read Outlander. I thought I was going to just end up wanting to make fun of it, I mean a time traveling nurse who meets her love in Highland Scotland? That’s the plot of a lot of bad romance books but you know what? Outlander is incredible and I can’t give it high enough praise.

  • A book that is out of your comfort zone but you would like to read

I’m not one for historical fiction but with all the buzz going around, I really kind of want to give the Wolf Hall series a go. My problem is usually that with historical fiction you know the end before you pick up the book but I just keep hearing good things about these and I am really tempted.

  • A book or genre so outside of your comfort zone that you’ll probably never give it a chance

To me, this is the hardest question on this tag to answer. I have pretty eclectic reading tastes and I am happy to read almost anything. But, I guess if I have to pick one type of book I am not going to get into, it’s those non-fiction books about tank warfare and things like that. I don’t think I can get into those at all.

I did this post because I read the tag in Flowersinthebrain’s post and thought it was a great tag. Go check out that blog and like that did, I am going to tag anyone who reads this post. Have fun!

Uncomfortably yours,

Slick Dungeon

Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes – #BookReview

They Date Valets instead

Happy leap day everyone! For most of us it’s an extra day to make the most out of life. For me it’s an extra day to slog through a silly romance book. To each their own I suppose. Today I am going to review Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes.

The last time I read a romance book that had a duke in it, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was halfway decent. I won’t say this book was as good as that one. I had some thoughts as I read through it which I will share below.

If you are just looking for a mindless, fun, romance book, this one is not bad at all. If you are like me and sometimes have difficulty entirely suspending your disbelief, you may not want to pick this one up. I am going to give a quick plot summary so if you don’t want spoilers, because you just love to read books that involve time warping mirrors, emptying chamber pots while wondering about latex gloves and mention Star Wars more than once, you have been forewarned.

So here’s the deal. This book is about Leah. She has a huuuuuge jerk of an ex-boyfriend. This dude (Kevin) not only breaks up with her for a different woman, he literally asks her to the wedding to be a bridesmaid for this other woman, but only so that Leah can be in the picture and then photoshopped out for the woman’s actual friend. Dude, come on Kevin, you are making all men of this time period look bad. So bad that apparently there needs to be a magical mirror where woman can go to Regency period England just to land a man.

Leah who apparently has a few interests including going to Renaissance fairs, playing The Legend of Zelda and weeping over seeing Mr, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett get married, has this friend who went back in time and found an Earl to marry. Leah gets the chance to house-sit for this friend and seems to think it’s a good idea to dive through this mirror to find a Duke to marry because she totally misinterprets what the woman who does the mirror magic says to her. The mirror magic woman, Mrs. Knightsbridge, tells Leah she will find her true love at the Duke of Granville’s manor. Yeah, so we all know that means not the Duke right? I mean we’ve read enough books that we know that right? Yeah, it wasn’t the Duke because it turns out he is a lot older than her. But that doesn’t stop him from being the third wheel in the book.

Turns out that when Lean crawls through that mirror she basically crash lands into the arms of Avery, the Duke’s valet. He is the first person she meets in this time period but it’s clear that they are destined to be together because he is hunky, and kind of rude to her, although I would say if you saw someone suddenly crawl out of a mirror, politeness might not be at the top of your mind either. We also know this is the right man for her because he sticks up for her and does chores for her when she should do them. Leah through some serious good luck is able to fake that she is a maid for the Duke in the hopes of catching him for a husband. This ruse just leads to Avery falling for her and vice versa. For her part, Leah absolutely hates doing the normal stuff that maids would have done back then and can’t wait to get out of doing it.

After a couple of days of this, Leah goes to this party and meets a woman who knows about the magic mirror and happens to want to help her. I got the impression she is maybe from one of the earlier books in this series but I haven’t read those so I don’t know for sure. Anyway, Lady Chesterfield takes Leah in so doing chores is no longer required. Never content to be happy though, Leah gets really tired of doing exactly what she hoped to do, going to balls in Regency period dresses and trying to hook up with the Duke.

Avery is not only a Valet but also a boxer and he’s on the hook for some money to some bad dudes. This results in a side plot where Leah gets kidnapped and Avery has to beat a few dudes up, etc. Then the magic mirror breaks and Leah can’t go back. But she wants to go back because her Pawpaw, is in the hospital. She wants to take Avery with her but a. he’s apparently too big to fit in the repaired mirror and b. they have had a few misunderstandings that a five minute conversation might have sorted out but they never have time for that because, you know, all the kissing going on.

As you might imagine, everything works out in the end and all is well that ends well. I noticed some things in this book I would like to bring attention to though.

  • Leah seems smart and she is all into Ren fairs and whatnot, so why was she so surprised at the lack of sanitation in the Regency period? She wonders both if they had bleach and latex gloves. Yeah, cause in all those Colin Firth movies, the staff is always putting Clorox everywhere right?
  • Also, I get that you can like more than one time period but she seems to think she is kind of prepared for this because she goes to Ren fairs. That is a huuuuge time difference! But whatever.
  • At one point in the book Avery touches Leah’s arm and she gets… let’s say excited. And she thinks in her mind that, “her arm graduated to an erogenous zone.” I wondered if there was a degree involved in that. I mean does your arm at least get an online certificate that it can hang on the wall or what?
  • Let me get this straight, Leah has read all the Jane Austen, she has seen the movies, she knows her friend found someone when she was least expecting it but she never thinks that the guy who might be right for her is not the dude who is old enough to be her father? Seriously?
  • At one point Leah thinks to herself that the staff probably realized she played more Legend of Zelda than she had scrubbed floors. Man, that game is a lot older than I realized.
  • Leah also totally freaks out because she has to move a chamber pot with no gloves. While I understand the concern for sanitation, what did she freaking think she would be doing as a maid in a huge house? Didn’t she see like any BBC period mini-series ever? Oh wait, she watched Pride and Prejudice so uh….
  • She totally assumes Avery is just going to go to the future with her. I think there might be a bit of shock and quite the learning curve there for him. Just wait til he sees indoor plumbing! Although, I guess if she did get him to this time period, anyone will stay once you feed them a single Oreo so, maybe that was her plan?
  • Kudos to this book for mentioning Star Wars in appropriate context more than once. Not sure that is enough to qualify a person as being a geek but at least it’s in there.
  • Okay so, let’s say you are planning to go back in time and maybe find the love of your life. Lucky for you, you live in the 21st century and you can bring some stuff with you. Leah brings aspirin (good call), a picture of her grandfather (can’t blame her there), but she does not bring any form of birth control. Uh, I mean I know he is the right guy for you and all but maybe get to know him before you might have a kid with him? Just saying.
  • Okay last thing for me about this book is this one question about this whole thing. What about the whole time travel thing? I mean, could she cause a Marty McFly situation? She’s a geek so she has probably seen that right? What about the butterfly effect and all that? But she wastes exactly zero time thinking about that. Like not even once does she think about how her being in that time period might have brought back some sort of plague and then when she goes back home it’s nothing but zombies and she needs The Doctor to show up in the TARDIS to fix everything because of one magic mirror (that is probably actually alien in origin). But why does no one in this book think about that? Best I can tell is because the mirror is full of “time magic and love magic”. I love science.

I’ll be honest, I have read a lot worse romance books than this one and I didn’t hate it as much as I expected but it’s also no Outlander. If you have a few hours to kill and want a bit of time travel, a bit of steaminess and a whole lot of wondering why people don’t wait five minutes to talk to each other to sort everything out, this book is for you.

Leapingly yours,

Slick Dungeon

This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products I have personally used. Thank you for your support!

Want to find out what happens for yourself? Get the book here: Geek Girls Don’t Date Dukes

I Remember – #BookReview

I Remember When You could Write a book That didn’t Only start Sentences With I Remember…

Hello fellow book nerds and freaks out there in the world. I read a lot of books and sometimes what I look for in a book is… shortness. I love epic reads and long books but on occasion I want a short, easy palate cleanser of a book to give me a brief fresh outlook on things. One that will revitalize me and energize me to read more books.

Well, I saw I Remember on my shelf and realized that it is only 167 pages and quite thin so I thought it might be a great match. Err…. noooooope. The entire book is made up of sentences by Joe Brainard that begin “I remember…”. Okay, sure, maybe you could make something interesting out of this. I feel like a lot of great stories might have begun with an author remembering something, I’m sure this applies to both fiction and non-fiction. Joe Brainard’s book is non-fiction and it is one of the dumbest reads I have ever read. While there are a few poignant passages that delve into love or sex or deep emotions there is a much larger amount of totally random bizarre thoughts that seem more at home on my blog than in a book.

Here’s a few actual quotes from the book.

  • I remember pink dress shirts. And bola ties.
  • I remember cherry Cokes.
  • I remember cold turkey sandwiches.
  • I remember that germs are everywhere!
  • I remember sometimes blue underwear.

You know what? Everyone else remembers those things too! (Except for the blue underwear, in my experience underwear is either blue or it is not.) It gets weirder though.

  • I remember that woman who was always opening refrigerators.
  • I remember eating airplane glue off my fingers. (Yum-yum.)
  • I remember never using shoehorns.
  • I remember “Uranium”.
  • I remember, in art movies, two nuns walking by.

Ok sure dude. I think you should have just written an interesting story about a woman who opens refrigerators looking for Uranium while you eat airplane glue off your fingers because you lost a shoehorn due to being distracted by two art-ish looking nuns walking by. That’s the kind of a story I can get behind.

But wait! This gets weirder. I’m not going to post the things that Joe Brainard remembered that were essentially racist or overtly sexual but those were definitely in the book. I am just gonna list more of the weird stuff.

  • I remember when a kid told me that those sour clover-like leaves we used to eat (with little yellow flowers) tasted so sour because dogs peed on them. I remember that didn’t stop me from eating them.
  • I remember Dorothy Collins’ teeth.
  • I remember the clock from three to three-thirty.
  • I remember (ugh) hound drops.
  • I remember “7” and “14” and “13” and “21” and “69”

I admit I have no idea what a hound drop is, or why someone would eat leaves that dogs peed on or why one person’s teeth are so particularly memorable but I will say that you forgot most of the clock and how to count in order with all the numbers. I’m thinking you may want to have that checked out if that’s all you remember dude.

But I can’t end this post without my absolute favorite, weird line from this book. This is the only I remember worth it in the whole thing and it comes last.

  • I remember a dream of meeting a man made out of a very soft yellow cheese and when I went to shake his hand I just pulled his whole arm off.

Me too, Joe Brainard, me too.

So, to summarize the whole entire book I must remember that famous quote from the classically bad film, Ghostbusters II. “Very good Louis. Short but pointless.” — Egon.

Forgetfully yours,

Slick Dungeon

Arthur Christmas – #MovieReview

On the tenth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Arthur Christmas.

This movie boldly asks the question, what if Santa Claus was a hereditary position run like a highly efficient army? It further asks, what if one of the next Santa Clauses in line cared a whole lot but wasn’t good at the whole military efficiency thing? It also asks what if one of the next Santa Clauses in line was good at the whole military efficiency thing but bad with children? It also asks, what if the current Santa Claus just relied on his kids and elfs to do everything. It also asks what if one of the former Santa Clauses wished he wasn’t retired and wants to go out on the sleigh again? It also asks what if a child was almost forgotten by Santa Claus but quick thinking saved the day and the guy who cares turned out to be the best choice to be the next Santa.

To which I say, why didn’t you just watch The Santa Clause instead?!?!

It’s a better movie by a long shot.

Only two more of these to get through.

Merilly Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Christmas Survival – #MovieReview

On the ninth day of Christmas my rancid ex gave to me Christmas Survival.

Also on the ninth day of Christmas I started to think that maybe there are too many days of Christmas.

This movie is called Christmas Survival but it is really about a family that doesn’t quite get along. It’s almost two hours of arguments and bad parenting. There were too many characters to keep track of so I wasn’t even sure who belonged to what family most of the time. It’s got the standard stuff like ruined dinners, holiday mishaps, family tension etc. I found none of it interesting.

Look if you are going to call your movie Christmas Survival I expect some deadly dangers appearing.

Here are a few suggestions about what this could have been about.

  • Dracula comes to torment the family and they have to survive together.
  • Ditto the wolf man.
  • The family eats a Christmas goose and half of them turn to zombies.
  • The family is a pack of serial killers who lure people in need for their annual feast and then hunt them but this time the tables turn and the family gets hunted instead.
  • The family is in an airplane crash and all they have to survive on is the holiday food they brought with them.
  • There’s a secret underground fight club that the family get hoodwinked into joining and their only hope is the eight year old son who has watched a lot of television wrestling.
  • Or you know, go with what this did and just make it a long boring conversation with such parental disorganization that the kids aren’t even allowed to open their presents on Christmas day and have every adult act like an incompetent jerk the whole time.

There is only one Christmas movie that works as an antidote to this. Die Hard. It takes place at Christmas and really is about survival.

Merrily Yours,

Slick Dungeon