Surviving a Bad Book – Freeware

freewareFreeware by Rudy Rucker

1/2 Star

Book 3 in the Ware Tetralogy

 

The following post will contain gross descriptions, etc. It was that kind of book so this will be that kind of post. There will also be frank discussions of sex and various fetishes.  You have been warned appropriately.

 

 

biohazard_symbol

Wheewoo, wheewooo, wheewooooo!

 

 

 

In my actual review I didn’t get too detailed because I was still dealing with the disgustingness of the book and didn’t really want to go there. But since these SaBB posts aren’t real reviews, but introspective lookbacks, I figure I can let it all out, kind of like the author did.

First off, I was actually enjoying this series back in 2014. Software and Wetware were of the “Weird” variant of SF and while it shouldn’t have worked for me, it just did. I have no idea why, but I was really enjoying something that was just plain Out There.

Then I got to Freeware and things went too far and it was the end of the line for me. Rucker had always had a thing for sex in his books, but in this one he really went into “get some therapy” kind of territory.

I’m not a fetishist kind of guy. Pretending to be someone I’m not, dressing up in costumes, pretending I’m an animal, wearing latex, none of that appeals to me.  What also doesn’t appeal to me is pissing during sex or pooping in or on your partner. Or rubbing feces all over each other.

 

minion1

Yeah, pretty much my reaction too!

So when Rucker has some of his characters dress up in latex, use a clear latex sheet and then poop on each other, piss on each other and get turned on by it? Well, that is not just disgusting, it is also perversity of mind and body.  Sex is like any other appetite and if not properly used and controlled, will spiral out of control. That is the part of the Fallen Nature of humanity but I don’t want my mind filled with sewage and so I cut the book off right away.

And I wasn’t even comfortable enough at the time to write all that out in my review.  But obviously I haven’t forgotten it.

neverforget

Bork, borkety, bork!

 

I’m just going to end this by saying, who thinks that any of that is a good idea? Who writes that and thinks it is a good idea? Who reads it and thinks it is a good idea?

 

 

bookstooge

 

all-the-things-meme-collection-1mut-com-1

 

 

Advertisements

The Rite (Forgotten Realms: The Year of Rogue Dragons #2) ★☆☆☆☆ DNF@30%

rite (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Rite
Series: Forgotten Realms: The Year of Rogue Dragons #2
Author: Richard Lee Byers
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 352/Abandoned
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

More and more dragons go rogue and the various characters attempt to figure out what the badguy Sammaster has done by backtracking him. One group to a mystic monastery currently under siege by dragons and another group to a some wizards who are working on Sammaster’s notes.

DNF’d at 30%

 

My Thoughts:

My first DNF of the year. Man, I was bored with this story. There are several factors leading into that though.

First, I have had a string of 4star books since the beginning of the year. My standards were thus higher. Second, I was on the fence about Forgotten Realms the whole of last year and kept giving them chance after chance. This year, No More Mr Nice Guy. Third, I don’t want to keep on eating badly cooked literary mac-n-cheese where I KNOW that half the stuff is half-baked. Finally, work was physically brutal this week and I ended up taking today off because of how hard Monday-Thursday had gone. Hiking an hour using showshoes, carrying 60lbs of equipment, shovelling out traverse stations all day, breaking trail, pulling a sled filled with 200lbs of equipment during the day, then ending the day by hiking an hour out with 60lbs of equipment again.

If I had read this last year, I probably would have given it 2.5stars and struggled through the final book in the trilogy. Not this year. I am done with this book and this trilogy and the whole Forgotten Realms series. It is written for a completely different target audience than me and I need to stop trying to shoehorn myself into that demographic. Objectively, it was the same as the first book, but I just don’t have the patience to deal with it anymore.

I have enough books on my Oasis and in Calibre to last me 2 years. That’s if I don’t add a single thing. So why should I persist in adding books that have an extremely high chance of being lower than 3stars? Not worth it.

★☆☆☆☆

bookstooge

 

The Monster Hunter Files (MHI #7) ★★★★☆

monsterhunterfiles (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Monster Hunter Files
Series: Monster Hunter #7
Author: Larry Correia, et al
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

A collection of short stories about various monster hunts and hunters, some good, some bad, all interesting. Correia starts the parade but then each story is by a different author and none are overlapping or interconnected. A nice montage to fill your Monster Hunter craving.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this collection immensely. In fact, I stayed up until almost midnight monday night reading it. I kept on telling myself, ok, THIS is the last story for the night. And before you know it, bam, midnight!

There were only 2 stories I actively disliked. One was a Jane Yellowrock/Faith Hunter story. It reminded me why I don’t read 99% of Urban Fantasy. Bad attitude assholes with chips on their shoulders so large that they have their own gravitational pull. If I had my druthers, Yellowrock would get run over by her own motorcycle while having her shotgun shoved up certain orifaces. That’s how she makes me feel after just a short story. Imagine a book, a whole series? No thank you. The second story was about some vietnam vet who rescues a commune of hippies from a vegetable demon. First, it portrays Vietnam vets as nothing but mentally disturbed violence seekers. You know how many Vets from that time settled down afterwards and just got on with life? Yeah, you don’t hear about all of them, they don’t make the news. Second, the hippies turn out to be semi-intelligent and OK people. Yeah, I’ll believe that in a heartbeat. Hippies are just soft Commies. In fact, if you put a Hardline Communist and a Hippie in a sealed room and gave me a Sig P938 and ONE bullet and told me to choose, I know exactly what I’d do. I’d line them up, Hippy first. At least if the Hardliner survives I’ll know he’ll go for my jugular. /End ranting and raving/

Here’s 2 of my favorites. One about a girl and her hippy dad (hahaha) who move into the Enchanted Forest trailor park because the girl tried to kill her science teacher because he was a werewolf. Not even her father believes her. Of course, moving in where the Queen of the Elves lives doesn’t help things. But when the girl helps take out an invading clan of garden gnomes, it’s all good! My second favorite was about Janitor One who hooks up with talking mice because his janitor2 coworker opens up a portal to hell to summon a demon because the janitor2 is jealous of how Janitor One actually does his job. I think part of the appeal was how Janitor One would literally try to fight anyone who looked down at him, even Owen Pitt 🙂 That takes some serious balls.

The rest of the stories varied between pretty good to hohum. Some were funny, some were sad. One of the ho-hum ones dealt with the douchebag hunter from the Monster Hunter Memoirs series. But overall it was nice to get another MHI story. It’s about the only Urban Fantasy series I look forward to reading or can even stomach in most cases.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune Chronicles #6) ★★★★☆

chapterhousedune (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Chapterhouse: Dune
Series: Dune Chronicles #6
Author: Frank Herbert
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 452
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The Honored Matres are wiping out Bene Gesserit worlds while on their search for Chapterhouse, the nerve center of Bene Gesserit’ness.

Duncan Idaho and Murbella are on Chapterhouse and Murbella is being trained as a BG Sister to see if Honored Matres CAN make that transition. Duncan is just doing his thing and staying in the no-ship so nobody can find him. He becomes the Teg ghola’s weapon master [as he has visions of face dancers and somehow steals info about super advanced weapons from their minds] and in the end takes off in the no-ship with Sheena, Scytale and others.

Scytale continues his bargaining with the Sisterhood but is pretty much stymied.

Darwi Odrade is now Mother Superior and has plans to tame the Honored Matres by melding them with the BG. But to do this she must kill the High Honored Matre and convince the rest of the BG to accept Murbella as a synthesis of the two sisterhoods. She succeeds and dies and Murbella is confirmed as leader of both groups.

It is revealed that the Honored Matres have been fleeing something even more powerful than them and it is now up to Murbella to guide humanity to survival against whatever this “other” threat is while combining the best of the Bene Gesserit with the best of the Honored Matres.

And some Jews. I don’t even know why Herbert put them in, but they are shoehorned into this story like nobody’s business.

 

My Thoughts:

This really felt like 2 books. One of those books I liked, the other I thought was a steaming pile of poo poo. And I mean really stinky poo poo.

One book was about sexual obsession (by the author) and child rape and pages and pages of philosophical gobbledy gook that was batted back and forth by cardboard characters like a badminton birdie.

The other book was filled with planets being wiped out by super weapons and the discovery of eternal life through ghola memory being awakened and threats so large that they might be the end of all humanity all across the universe.

I enjoyed the first 10% of this book, then went out of my mind for the next 45% and finally enjoyed the last bit, thankfully. All of that is just to show that I don’t hold it against anyone who hates this book, doesn’t like it or just think it stinks (like really really really stinky poo). But being the man I am, I was able to go beyond Frank’s weaknesses and still enjoy the strengths this book has to offer.

But I had the mantra “why Frank, why?!?” running through my head the entire time. He has huge awesome plot material and tons of cool action stuff and he focuses on conversations about power and sex and religion? For phracks sake man, let it go and just tell a great story like you did with Dune. I think that is what each book after Dune lost out on, telling a good story. Each sequel became the vehicle with which Herbert drove us around his little personal psychology museum and bored us to tears with his ramblings.

One thing about this re-read that I enjoyed, or at least noticed without feeling like I needed to pass judgement, were terms and conditions that ended up being used in the Dune 7 duology by Baby Herbert and KJ Anderson. Noticing those things made me a little more forgiving of them and made me wonder if perhaps they weren’t the total wankers I think them to be. Yeah, that’ll last until I start reading the Dune 7 duology. Don’t worry, there will be no good feelings of comraderie and brotherly love then. Nothing but cold scorn and derision for ruining such an epic as the Dune Chronicles.

So why the 4stars? I’m beginning to wonder myself!

  1. The Action. When it happened, it happened fast and furious and there was NO messing about. Death and carnage and billions snuffed out in a heart beat.
  2. The Ideas. Once you got past Herbert’s obsession with power and the really weird ways he expressed that obsession, some of the points on humanity and how humanity acts and interacts were quite intriguing. I suspect they’re not very original, but in SF, it really works.
  3. The Direction. This series had moved beyond the Atreides family directly and towards the Gene Gesserit as a whole being a shepherd to humanity. Humanity had gotten larger and so the need for some guidance had gotten larger. Where this was leading was great.

Of course, it ends on a cliffhanger with Duncan and the No-ship in unknown space just hanging out. Like, duuude, where’s my spaceship? If you read my initial review from ’12 you’ll see how I reacted to that. This time around, knowing I had the completed story, no matter from who, that made a difference.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

A Death in the Family (Batman/Robin #1) ★★★★☆

adeathinthefamily (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Death in the Family
Series: Batman/Robin #1
Author: Jim Starlin
Artist: Jim Aparo & Mike Decarlo
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Comics
Pages: 144
Format: Digital Scan

 

 

Synopsis:

Batman has taken Jason Todd under his wing and trained him as his new Robin. Unfortunately, Jason lost his mother to illness and his father to crime and so he’s got a lot of anger and he lets it out while on the job.

Going through some papers of his parents one day he comes across his birth certificate where he finds out that his “mother” was actually only his step-mother and his birth mother is still alive and either in the Middle East or Africa. After “quitting”, in a note no less, Todd runs off to Israel to check on the first of three possible “Mom” candidates and then ends up in Lebanon.

At the same time the Joker has broken out of Arkham Asylum, again and with most of his secret funds being not so secret and impounded by the US Government, heads to Lebanon to sell off a nuclear cruise missile. Batman is tracking him down and runs into Todd. It turns out the people they each are looking for are connected. So they team up, foil a bunch of arab terrorists who want to launch a nuke into Tel Aviv and find out that the Israeli Secret Agent isn’t Jason Todd’s birth mother. The Joker is out a million dollars with no more missiles to sell and a large grudge.

While Batman and Robin go after Candidate Number 2, the Joker makes a run for Ethiopia and blackmails Candidate Number 3, who is in charge of large amounts of medical supplies from the UN. The Joker doesn’t know she’s Candidate Number 3 of course. Candidate Number 2 turns out to be Lady Shiva and she wants nothing more than an all out, one on one fight with Batman. After defeating her and doping her up with sodium pentathol, it is revealed that she too is not Todd’s mother.

The Joker not only blackmails Candidate Number 3 but drops off a load of his lethal laughing gas in the place of the supplies he takes. This will kill off whole camps of refugees. Bruce and Jason discover that CN3 IS Jason’s mother and there is a tearful reunion. At least until Jason discovers what the Joker is doing and informs Batman. Batman chases down the tainted supplies and Robin goes in to rescue his mom, against Batman’s express orders, only to discover that she’s been dipping into the medical funds and is as dirty as a sewer herself. She delivers him over to the Joker who beats him bloody with a crowbar and leaves him and his mother to die in a bomb blast.

Batman is devastated and returns home, vowing to never take on another apprentice. The Joker is caught by the Iranian Secret Police and given the job of UN Ambassador for Iran by the Ayatollah. As such he has immunity for all past crimes and Batman can’t touch him without setting off WWIII. Superman delivers the bad news to Batman and keeps him from going thermonuclear. The Joker has his time at the UN Assemblage, sets off a gas bomb and when that is foiled by Superman, a regular bomb. Batman chases him down and it ends in a fight in a helicopter, which crashes. Batman escapes but the Joker’s body is not recovered.

 

My Thoughts:

My first thought on starting this was “What a jerk Jason Todd is”. While he’s angry about his parents being dead, how does that excuse his going against Batman’s direct orders to wait on the police to break up a criminal ring? And then his actions in going after his birth mother? Leaving Gotham, stealing credit cards, breaking into secret bases, compromising secret agent identities? And then again ignoring Batman’s direct order to stay away from the Joker because he’s too dangerous? You would have thought that being taken out so easily by Lady Shiva would have shown him some of his limits, but no, Jason Todd was a selfish, arrogant jackass who brought his death upon himself. I have NO sympathy for him and was rather glad he died. He’s the kind of person that leads into the Watchman universe and the fear of Superheroes/Vigilantes. Jason Todd is a Taliban Fighter to Superman’s United States Marine.

My second real issue is the handling of the Joker as the Ambassador for Iran. I’m sorry but that is NOT how Ambassadorship works. It would be like saying that Osama Bin Laden could have become Afghanistan’s Representative and gotten off scot free. We still would have put a bullet in that bastard’s head. I realize this is a comic book and played up for drama, but come on!? My real issue is that I can see the kind of attitude that allowed this to happen in the comic book happening in real life. It makes me sick because it could happen for real.

Now I’ll talk about why I still liked this story and gave it 4 Stars.

Batman. With the recent movies, Batman has become just another vigilante. Willing to kill if it’s convenient. In this book Batman is back at his “I won’t use a gun and I won’t kill people” attitude. When he goes after someone, he drugs them, cuffs them and then lets the Authorities dole out the justice. That ethos is sorely tested here and I found that inner battle quite well displayed. It was fascinating to watch Batman realize that Law does not equal Justice and how that tore him apart. Batman is a Hero with strong internal ethics and not just doing whatever he wants because he can.

Superman. He played a very small part but it was interesting to see how he was portrayed in the late 80’s. I didn’t really get into Superman until the mid-90’s and by then some things had changed. Here he’s portrayed as acting upon the orders of the United States Government. Not quite what I’d call a government Stooge, but only one decision away from that status. His decision to side with the “Law is the Law and so it is Right” way of thinking was a bit disturbing. Yet at the same time how many people in the nation thought that way? Today, with the scads of laws promoting perversions, that are knee jerk reactions to special interest groups, that are passed with no intention of ever being enforced, I find myself being cynical. It simply wasn’t quite that way 30 years ago. It was eye opening to be reminded of how much of a sea change in attitude has gone on in our nation and in the whole world.

Lady Shiva. I simply liked seeing her because I recognized her from the Knight Fall/Quest/End storyline from later in time. Just one of those interesting tidbits.

Finally, I like the cover a lot. At a time when Superheroes did not die, but simply stopped having their stories told, seeing a Robin undeniably dead is shocking. It shows Batman being vulnerable, it shows just how murderous the Joker truly is and it gets at the pathos of the human factor in a Superhero story. Much like the iconic cover for the Death of Superman years later, this cover will always mean more to me than just the story.

On a side note, I read the original 1988 edition that JUST had the 4part “A Death in the Family” storyline. Later editions of A Death in the Family do include a A Lonely Place of Dying. I’ll be reading and reviewing that next.

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

 

Survival Saturday – Mac n Cheese Attempt #1

maxresdefault

For all the Why’s and Wherefore’s of Survival Saturday, please visit the Intro Post. Thanks!

 

Tonight’s dish is an old reliable standby, that staple of our childhood, the perennial favorite, macaroni and cheese by Legacy Premium. It doesn’t get much more “staple” than that.

IMG_20180106_204124378

 

 

 

Ingredients & Allergens:

IMG_20180106_204226628

 

 

Nutritional Info:

IMG_20180106_204201262

 

 

Things Needed:

6 Cups of water

1 package of Mac n Cheese

 

Directions:

Boil 6 cups of water. Whisk in entire package. Reduce heat to a MEDIUM BOIL. Cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 3-5minutes.

I once again used a bamboo spoon instead of a whisk.

 

Impressions:

So, this was our first real flop and sadly, it was all our own fault, I can’t blame the food in any way. I didn’t reduce the heat to a medium boil, I reduced it to medium heat. That didn’t fully cook the pasta and when we each took a bowlful, we ended up with half cooked pasta, some of which was truly crunchy and I mean full on granola crunchy! We poured our bowls of uneaten food back into the pot and I’ll be tossing the potful into the garbage later tonight.

Second, this really should have been whisked together. A bamboo spoon just didn’t do it. The cheese powder fell into the pot all at once and a spoon wasn’t enough to truly mix it up. So besides crunchy pasta we also had clumps of extra cheesy powder.  Gross.

Mrs Bookstooge thought the sauce was a little thin for her taste, as she wanted a more full bodied bowl of food. I was ok with it, as I was thinking of it as almost Mac-n-Cheese soup.

IMG_20180106_211527106

 

Neither of us finished our bowl, well, because of crunchy pasta! But the bowl pictured has 1 1/2cups worth and from the little I did eat, that would have fully filled me up. So the serving suggestion and total servings once again were spot on. This would serve 4 very hungry people easily. Unless one of them is a teenager. Then just pour the entire package down their throats with some hot water!

We’re going to try this again next month, as “mac-n-cheese”  was the one that had the highest number of packages in the bulk box I bought years ago.  However, we’ll be making some changes.

 

Lessons Learned:

READ the directions more carefully! Seriously, I laughed afterwards when I realized what I’d done. But if we were in a real Survival Situation, we’d have had to eat that crunchy pasta and life would be even worse 😦

Use a whisk. I really need to find some sort of plastic or bamboo utensil that I can whisk within my Pampered Chef pots without worrying about scratching them up. If any of you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

I’m also thinking of cubing up some block cheddar and adding that to our individual bowls. Some nice extra sharp yellow cheddar wouldn’t go amiss at all.

 

bookstooge

 

–All Survival Saturday Related Posts–

 

Bookstooge & The Robinverse

0d897495edeb7e5aa03df875c2bcdb77a03ca672_hq

 

My Robin Read:

I bought 2 Robin graphic novels back in the early 90’s. One was A Hero Reborn and the other was Tragedy & Triumph. They made me a huge fan of Tim Drake who I knew was the third Robin. Dick Grayson was just a name to me and I knew that Robin2, as I thought of him, had died. You couldn’t be into comics and not know that. But Drake, he WAS Robin. But beyond those 2 GN’s, I’ve never explored the Robinverse very much.

Fast forward 20 years and suddenly I’m hearing that there’s a new Vigilante in town, Red Hood. He’s bad, he’s mean, he’ll hand Batman’s butt to him on a platter. And what do you know, he’s Jason Todd, resurrected from 30 years of death because writers are so darn lazy that they can’t come up with any NEW & GOOD ideas on their own. I had no interest in checking this guy out. He wasn’t Tim Drake. Then last year Lashaan reviewed the graphic novel for Under the Red Hood and surprisingly, to me, it sounded intriguing.

I’ve been wanting to re-read my 2 Robin books ever since I read that horrible Robin 3000 Part I and Part II last year, just to wash the taste out of my mouth. Since Under the Red Hood was now on my radar I thought I’d throw it into the mix. Why read 2 Robin books when you can read 3? Then I realized I need to actually read where it all began, with A Death in the Family, which chronicled Todd’s demise and set the stage for the Red Hood so many years later. I also decided on reading A Lonely Place of Dying,which bridges the time between Todd dying and Drake getting on Batman’s radar.

While these 5 graphic novels are not tied together as a publisher certified “Series”, they are tied through the characters of Jason Todd and Tim Drake as Robin. If I really like all these, I might go on and investigate the world of Red Robin, which is the Hero identity that Tim Drake took on at some point in the future. I know NOTHING about that.

Well, this little Intro Post went a bit longer than I expected. But there you go, my plans for some graphic novel reading in the Robinverse in the next couple of weeks and/or months.

 

bookstooge