Author Archive

Naked Heat: Compelling Murder Mystery or Cheap Tie In?

ABC has an excellent show called “Castle,” that is worth watching (and that is not just my love for Nathan Fillion giving that endorsement). It’s about a fictional writer, Richard Castle, who tags along with a female cop in order to do research for a series of books he writes, based on her. However, I’m not here to write about the show itself. ABC, in a rather brilliant form of marketing, has published two books under the Richard Castle name to tie in with the show. The first book, which was entitled, “Heat Wave,” was a short, fun read, keeping on par with the show.  So with high hopes, and without hesitation, I picked up the second book.

This is published as a legitimate book, including the fake author biography in the back. We’re supposed to take Richard Castle seriously as an author, but if that is the case, he’s a bit of a Mary Sue. The whole book is played out like an episode of the show, with the characters’ names changed.  For those of you that don’t know, a Mary Sue is a fan fiction trope where the author of the story inserts him or herself into what they’re writing about, usually as the main character. Everyone loves him or her and they solve all the problems that occur.
This is exactly what’s done here with the Richard Castle character inserting himself as Jameson Rook, the popular writer that everyone loves. It comes off as lazy writing to me, by both the ghost author and the fake author. We’re supposed to believe this is a New York Times bestselling author, and it just takes me out of the experience. I’m probably thinking about it too much, as this is just supposed to be a tie in book, but I need to explain this to get into the main problem I had with the plot. Continue reading

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Bite Me: A Love Story — A review

Vampires have somehow become a very popular trend in the last few years, with everyone seemingly wanting to cash in on them. From “Twilight” to “The Vampire Diaries,” the undead have spread through the media and there is seemingly no escape from them. Christopher Moore’s latest book, “Bite Me: A Love Story,” also tells a story about vampires, but not in the traditional sense. No one in this book sparkles.

Finishing up the trilogy started fifteen years ago, which previously included “Bloodsucking Fiends,” and “You Suck: A Love Story,” Moore released “Bite me”  at a great time, with everyone wanting to read about vampires (more than pirates, or even ninjas). However, these are not your typical vampires. Yes, they will still die if exposed to sunlight, but they are not the old, romantic brooding types that everyone obsesses over. They are not hundreds of years old and trying to hide among the humans in their secluded castles. These are regular people who got turned and are living with it, one day at a time.

The story is mainly told through the eyes of Abby Normal, an underage goth girl that is, like all goth girls, obsessed with vampires. She serves as a daytime minion to Tommy Flood, a young writer from Illinois, and Jody, his girlfriend who happen to be vampires. The book mainly focuses on their group trying to figure out how to stop a group of vampire cats from killing all the homeless people in San Francisco. The plot, while ridiculous, serves as a vehicle for the character interaction, which is where Moore’s clever writing really shines. He writes dialogue which produces laugh out loud funny lines one after the next, without making it seemed forced. Continue reading

The Protomen–Act II: The Father of Death

In an age where CD’s and records have become obsolete in order to make way for the sale of individual songs, it is rare to see a band release a full album that tells an overarching  story, rather just being a collection of songs about numerous unrelated subjects. The Protomen’s recent release entitled “Act II: The Father of Death,” does just this, creating a compelling story over twelve songs.

The Protomen are a band that took the plot of the original Mega Man games for the NES, changed it into a 1984-esque world and turned the whole thing into a rock opera. Some details are changed from the original source material, the biggest being that Wily is actually successful in his attempts to take control of the world, and he oversees everything from a tower while his robots create a dystopia where Big Brother is always watching. Continue reading

Tales of Monkey Island: A Pirate Tale in Five Chapters

Whenever an old game franchise is revived it is met with fan skepticism and nervousness. This is  especially true with games which have large fan bases. Over the years, I have personally seen a lot of old games updated to varying degrees of success. The most recent of those is a revival of one of my favorite series: Monkey Island. Telltale Games took the license from Lucasarts and released five episodes over the past 6 months. The  story of Guybrush Threepwood is continuing on and is still filled with plenty of puzzles and humor along the way.

The plot starts off with Guybrush once again trying to take down his nemesis, the demon pirate LeChuck. In the process, Guybrush messes up a spell, and sucks all the voodoo energy out of LeChuck, making him human again. Unfortunately, all that voodoo is spread throughout the Caribbean, infecting all the pirates, making them all sick and prone to fits of demonic anger. Those possessed include his wife Elaine, and like in Evil Dead 2, his own hand. So it’s up to Guybrush to find a cure for this demon pox by traveling all over the Caribbean in search of… a voodoo sponge to suck up the energy, obviously.

You can see where this might be a problem

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Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ

I am a simple man, the littlest things amuse me. So when I see a game called “Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ,” for the Nintendo DS, I am going to pick it up because it has an awesome title. All I expect from the game is two things: Zombies, and a way to kill them. The game does not disappoint in this department.

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Don’t know why Little Red Riding Hood has a huge rack

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Pygmy: Is Palahniuk even trying anymore?

pygmy-chuckChuck Palahniuk released another book a few months ago entitled “Pygmy,” just a year after his last book, “Snuff,” which I did not like. I was surprised when I found out another book had been released so soon; most authors usually have a larger gap between books. I figured with the steady decline in quality that his work has had that it probably wasn’t going to be any good, but it was short so I figured it wouldn’t take to long to read. So, going against my better judgment I picked it up, hoping it would at least be better than his last few books have been. I really need to start trusting those first instincts.

The story is about a young Asian spy from an unnamed country posing as an exchange student in America. While here, he is working to put a plan in motion that involves winning the local science fair so he can go to Washington and set off a device that will kill millions of Americans. This is different from his usual work and for some reason felt a little ridiculous to me. Yet I had no problem accepting the plot of “Survivor,” which involved a man becoming the leader of a cult and building a giant landfill of pornography. Maybe it had to do with the narrative style of this book that just completely turned me off to the story. Continue reading

A look back on: Monkey Island

Lucasarts used to do more than just release multiple Star Wars games year after year. That was twenty years ago. They had a game division which made a lot of classic adventure games that had nothing to do with Star Wars. I always thought the term “adventure” wasn’t all that fitting, that brings to mind more platforming elements, but I guess it sounds better than “plot-driven puzzle games.” They produced many classic titles, such as “Maniac Mansion”, ‘Grim Fandango” and “Sam & Max Hit the Road”, all of which had memorable characters, hilarious dialogue and brain-scratching puzzles. The genre died out in the mid to late nineties, but fans have always wanted more.

In the past few years, they’ve had something of a revival, especially by the company Telltale Games who have been releasing adventure games in an episodic format. They started getting major attention when they released two new seasons of Sam and Max two years ago and continued on with other games like “Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People” based on the characters on Homestarrunner.com and “Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventure” based on the famous duo of the same name. Recently, it was announced they would be releasing episodes for one of my favorite series next month: “Monkey Island”. Continue reading

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