Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sci-Fi That Sucks: I Will Fear No Evil

The more I read by Helein, the more I wonder what the fuck was wrong with the guy. The only time he stays interesting is when he sticks to science and adds some action. For some reason, dude had this thing throughout his career of letting his works turn into shit by any mentionings of love or, more typically, sex. If you read my review of The Puppet Masters, I had the same issue with it, but for I Will Fear No Evil he reached a new level of hatred. The majority of The Puppet Masters was good, but it was seriously hampered by a ridiculous subplot concerning the love of the two main agents in the story. Then, yet again, I found this same issue coming to the surface and annoying the piss out of me in one of his most famous works, Stranger in a Strange Land, which I can unequivocally state is not as awesome as the Iron Maiden song. Heinlein in all of these examples seems to do one thing, come up with an awesome idea and then spends so much time to writing about bullshit to apparently take up pages to increase book cost that it leads to bizarre sidetracks into sexuality that make you wonder if he had some sort of fucking problem. Out of his novels I have so far read, only The Moon is a Harsh Mistress comes with recommendations, this one, fuck, just don't even bother.

I Will Fear No Evil was apparently written while he was suffering through some sort of organ inflammation and his wife edited it, so maybe that has something to do with it, I don't know. The plot is simple. It's the future, the world is overpopulated (trust me, they do barely anything with this ripe concept), and this old rich guy is dying. His dying wish is kind of an attempt to commit legal suicide because he doesn't think it will work; he wants to have his brain transplanted into a healthy, young body and he gets the help of a doctor who did it with two monkeys but who was demonized afterwards. He's a crazy old guy and quite a horny coot, which is fine, and the way he talks and has an honest way of speaking makes for a believable character, at first. His secretary and her husband are one of the couples to sign the contract, and of course, she ends up dying soon after and his brain is put into her body.

Now, first off, the particular edition I have fucking blew that shit by talking about it on the back cover. You don't find out it was his secretary, Eunice, until at least a hundred or so pages in when he finally is able to see himself in the mirror. Before that, they play around with it, but if you weren't told, you wouldn't know, so I was a little pissed at that publishing slip. Anyway, you kind of figure it's going to happen and man, what an awesome idea for a sci-fi plot. Not new, really, but just plain awesome. Heinlein, however, fucks it up after Johann realizes who he is.

See, sure, we're all sure if you were a guy placed into a woman's body, you'd probably want to see what it does, no question. Problem is Heinlein spends the whole rest of the goddamn thing with Johann (now Joan Eunice) having sex with everyone under the sun, buying clothes, and really doing nothing of fucking interest. It basically reads like sci-fi for the first hundred pages, and then descends into a shitty romance novel with a Fabio look-a-like on the cover for the other 3/4 of it, which amounts to around 500 motherfucking pages. After the brain is transplanted and Johann is up and walking, the novel descends into one of the worst farces of sci-fi I've ever read. Cheesiness is fine, this just plain sucks. It's like listening to your wife or girlfriend blab about what they did throughout the day, but stretch that over the week or so it will take to finish it. Absolutely nothing interesting happens through the rest of the entire book, take that at face value because I mean it. It's a total travesty to even call this sci-fi, because other than brief mentionings of technology and the year, as well as a small stint about moon travel at the end that goes nowhere, there's almost nothing in here that has anything to do with the genre. It reads like an issue of Redbook you read on the shitter because there's nothing else around or like a Lifetime movie you for some reason won't shut off. Horrible.

The characters are unbelievable, the dialog ridiculous, and the end total blue balls. You'd expect a weird twist, but here it is. Eunice is somehow still functioning in the body and talks to Johann in his mind. That's kind of cool, but when his lawyer dies at the end, who he married and who was having sex with Eunice before she died, he somehow is also put into the mix and they're all talking together. How in the fuck did that happen? And when Johann decides to impregnate his new body with his own sperm that he had frozen away, Heinlein does next to nothing with the concept! Add to it this quasi-religious Indian thing very similar to the bullshit going on in Stranger in a Strange Land and you get one goddamned awful book. This is probably the worst sci-fi novel I've ever read, and I don't think it can be topped. I'm actually dreading reading anything else by this guy it was so fucking bad. AVOID AT ALL COSTS.

Monday, November 28, 2011

MIXTAPE 1 - South American 70's Rock

Christian Van Lacke, guitarist and vocalist for South American band Tlön was kind enough to put together this compilation of South American bands from the 70's. For the most part, all these fall under the prog rock category, but there are also a few hard rock gems as well as a few who mix up their rock with folk from the region.

Here is the playlist:

1) Azafata del Tren Fantasma (Invisible / Argentina) 1974
2) El Inca (Wara / Bolivia) 1973
3) Ah! Te Vi Entre las Luces (La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros / Argentina) 1976
4) Mi Cueva (El Polen / Peru) 1973
5) Lo Mas Grande que Existe en el Amor (We All Together / Peru) 1973
6) A Traves de los Inviernos (Color Humano / Argentina) 1973
7) Octavo Sendero (Miguel Abuelo Et Nada / Argentina) 1973
8) Mira Niñita (Los Jaivas / Chile) 1973
9)  Martha Ya Esta (Tarkus / Peru - Argentina) 1972
10) Para Hacer Musica (Montevideo Blues / Uruguay) 1972
11) A Pagina do Relampago Eletrico (Beto Guedes / Brasil) 1977
12) Yo Sere Animal, Tu Seras mi Dueño (Aquelarre / Argentina) 1972

(((((((((DOWNLOAD IT HERE))))))))))

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sci-Fi Adventures: Birthright

If you were paying attention the last time I did one of these, then I don't need to do an introduction. But since it's most likely you weren't, let me do that. Laser Books was a rather short-lived sci-fi venture that sought to release a series (not connected in any way) of several books, all within a certain page limit and featuring a variety of authors (they got to number 58). They were notorious for severely editing some upper-level writers' work, and due to the speed at which they released their novels, the company tanked in little time, mainly because the plots of the novels are largely derivative and nothing too noteworthy. That is, at least, from my perspective, because I've already read five of them. Having commented on one prior, I decided to give this one a go because it's more interesting than the others. It's one of a number of sci0fi novels I've read over the past two months, but man, this one leaves a disturbing taste in your mouth.

As you can see, Kelly Freas dishes out another weird cover with the disembodied heads this series was known for, but now that I'm used to them, I think they work rather well because they basically summarize the entire plot of the novel in a single image. In Birthright, you're introduced to Andros, a young boy who's having trouble being human because there are suspicions he's actually an android, a new breed his father created that look, act, and function almost the same as human beings. Because his birth is suspect, people don't think highly of Andros, mainly because his father loved androids so much and was pushing to create this new breed you learn about in the novel. Andros returns to his father's complex, not really too interested in learning about androids or becoming involved in their constructions.

Fitzsimmons, the man temporarily in charge of the outfit until Andros gives up his ownership, doesn't really want the boy involved and you slowly find out he's been wheeling and dealing under the surface, working super-android against super-android in an effort to weed out the last of them. See, Andros' father created a religions for the androids based on a god called Vat, which simply deals with the vats they are 'born' in. The Sons of Vat, as they are called, are utilized by Fitzsimmons to take control, learn where Roarchik's super androids are, and kill them off, leaving only lower-level androids as the company's main production since Roarchik androids are the best in the world!

Andros eventually learns the truth about Fitzsimmon's plans and falls in love with one of the Supers, an android named Miranda. Well, perhaps not really love, he's disgusted with her at first, but then seems to slowly feel the humanness of her and comes around. Anyway, the plot of Birthright is actually pretty tame, it takes that whole Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? plot, or a plot about androids and para-humans like you find in a number of sci-fi novels and short stories throughout the decades. By the end, you figure out that Andros' past was left suspect so he'd get involved with androids more, and then learn his father planned for Miranda, the one I mentioned at the start of this paragraph, and he to give birth to a half-child in this weird love plot of creepiness. So that's the 'birthright' of the novel, as well as the ownership of the industry and all of that.

So why read this? Well, it doesn't necessarily move slow, and there's some intrigue and such going on, but where Birthright really makes you puke and shudder is the ending. HOLY FUCKING SHIT WHAT IN THE HELL WAS KATHLEEN SKY THINKING?!!!! When Fitzsimmons learns about the secret HQ of the Supers and their birthing chambers, he doesn't just arrest them or something, motherfucker KILLS them all in one the most disturbing and bloodiest of chapters I've ever read. If you thought Cliver Barker was dropped on his head and had his brains run over by a lawnmower, think again. Kathleen Sky lays out here one of the most gorey scenes in sci-fi history, and perhaps the most gruesome ever penned. Fitzsimmons gets the help of this local android-hatin gang, and they go crazy. I mean really, really crazy, like disturbing images of strangling and gutting infants crazy. Now, yeah, they're androids, but since they're designed to be all but human, you can't help but be a little freaked out by this one. The murders are depicted in a very graphic fashion and after a generally tame plot throughout the rest of the novel, Sky knows how to fuck you up. Birthright, in many ways, is pretty standard sci-fi, but give it to the ending and it's well worth it, that is, if you want to have nightmares for a least a month. I have to say, after this one, I really wonder what the rest of the series has in store...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RED STATE - The Best Work of Kevin Smith and That's Not Saying Much

Just watched this movie a couple of nights ago, I enjoyed it. It helps that I had no expectations.

I had no expectations pretty much because I think that along with M Night Shyamalan, Smith is one of the most overrated directors ever. But this direct to video so-called horror movie came preceded of decent press so I was excited.

One thing to note is that the poster on the left is pretty cool. Inverted crosses and all, I could hardly qualify Red State as a horror movie. Maybe 'religious drama' or something along those lines would be more accurate.

Anyway, religious fanatics always make for pretty entertaining 'entertainment' and one thing to note is that the actors that play the fanatics in this movie get it right. Not to get too much into name dropping and such, but it was good to see a trimmed John Goodman doing his best and then the old lady from The Fighter actually making us hate her almost immediately. Those two are the best, and then of course the dude that does the voice of the stupidest guy in King of the Hill, he was pretty cool, plus he dies a quick blood splattering death, so he gets points for that.

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Signs To Candlelight Records

Candlelight Records today proudly announces the worldwide signing of Corrosion Of Conformity. Since early this year, the band -- featuring the esteemed Animosity line-up of vocalist/bassist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman, and drummer/vocalist Reed Mullin -- has been working with long-time producer John Custer. Now nearly complete, their still untitled eighth studio album is planned for release early in the New Year.

Gathering last summer to jam as a trio for the first time in over a decade, the treasured threesome quickly rekindled the magic that originally united and ultimately bound the musicians on a journey that today continues to impress both fans and critics. It is the efforts of this line-up that Decibel Magazine recently called  "crucial stylistic lynchpin in the bridge between metal and punk. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY irrevocably reshaped crossover's sonic possibilities. AllMusic.com notes, "C.O.C. weren't following any trends. They just incorporated all the things they liked about thrash, punk and 70's metal originators Black Sabbath into their constantly evolving sound. It secured them artistic and commercial credibility."

Candlelight's Steve Beatty says of the signing, "Animosity is one of my favorite records ever. To have C.O.C. on Candlelight with that line-up is simply mouth-watering. I saw the band in London recently and they did not disappoint. This hungry child can't wait for the record."

Edward Christie adds, "we are extremely excited to welcome the band to the label and are looking forward to an amazing album. We are all huge fans and this is truly a memorable day for all of us."

The band shares the excitement the immediate future holds. Woody Weatherman comments, "writing and recording this new record as a three-piece has been a blast. Having Reed back in the fold with Mike and I brings it around full circle. I'm really looking forward to all that lies ahead this upcoming year."

Reed Mullen adds, "Mike, Woody and I essentially learned how to play music together and cultivated our own style, sound, and unspoken language. Re-bonding with them musically has been the greatest thing that's ever happened to me."

In addition to intense work on the album, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY has kept busy in 2011 touring throughout the US and abroad. One of the main attractions at this year's Maryland Death Festival, the band mesmerized a salivating capacity audience. Sean Palmerston, editor for Canada's online magazine Hellbound, said, "I lapped this set up. It was like the tastiest comfort food after a hard day's work. I haven't listened to those classic C.O.C. albums in a long, long time. It put a smile on my face."

Mike Dean says of the new songs, "we have been overdubbing vocals and guitars in between our live dates for the better part of a year. Now it's time to mix. The process we started back in April is finally coming to fruition. The results should reflect all eras of the band's existence filtered through our current reality. This is a beast we can't wait to set free."

Formed in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1982, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY quickly transformed heavy music. Politically charged and socially aware,  the band has influenced countless others and today remains humble about their accomplishments. With over 1.1 million albums sold in the United States  alone, the new album will be their first since 2005's In The Arms Of God. On release, Billboard Magazine called the album a "riff-fueled set that ranks with
(the band's) best work."