September 24, 2012

Helmut speaking for Boskone

It's been years, even decades, since I last read those words.

"Helmut speaking for Boskone. Your report is neither complete nor conclusive."

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June 12, 2012

Nero Wolfe

What I've mostly been buying for my Kindle Fire is Nero Wolfe murder mysteries. I have bought a few other things (e.g. "Space Cadet") but one reason my Kindle SF collection is pretty sparse is that most of the books I want aren't available for the Fire. (For instance, "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" or "Downtiming the Night Side".)

But there are a hell of a lot of Nero Wolfe books, and I've been having a great time revisiting favorites like "The Golden Spiders" and "Too Many Cooks" and "Gambit".

I thought I had read them all, back in the day. The first one to come out was Fer de Lance; the second was League of Frightened Men, and I liked them both, though I haven't bought either one of them yet.

According to Wikipedia, the third was The Rubber Band, and I just bought it. And it turns out I have never read it.

Well, and now I'm half way through it, and I've figured out why. It isn't very good. I've figured out who the murderer is, and have a pretty good idea why he did it. I could be wrong, of course, but I don't think I am.

That, alone, isn't really enough to make it lousy. The real problem is that the characters are off-character. Wolf isn't acting like Wolf should. Archie isn't the Archie I know and treasure. Inspector Cramer seems like an entirely different policeman.

It may be teething problems; Stout may not have really figured out the characters by that point. But the next two books are Too Many Cooks and Some Buried Caesar, and the characterization is right on the money in those. (At least Wolf and Archie. Cramer isn't in either of those.)

And so I'm having a strange experience: an entirely new Wolfe story, one I've never read before, and I'm not sure I want to finish it. Hell of a thing, isn't it? Really disappointing.

UPDATE: I was wrong about who did it. I jumped ahead and read the last two chapters.

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August 04, 2011


I just learned about a web comic called "Outsider". It is really good!

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July 31, 2011

Is Hollywood out of ideas yet?

I think it's obvious that they are. Here's yet more proof: they're working on a sequel to the movie "300". It'll be called "300: Battle of Artemisia".

How are they going to manage that when the entire 300 died in the first movie? The reason we celebrate the Battle of Thermopylae is precisely because those men bravely sacrificed themselves in order to protect their homeland from Persian invasion. Ye Gods.

UPDATE: Seems that the Battle of Artemisium (sic) was the parallel naval battle between the Greeks and Persians. The Greeks were outnumbered there, too, but not as badly as at Thermopylae.

They're in the early scripting stage on this. I bet this never gets made.

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July 17, 2011

Least-surprising news department

And in one of the least surprising results of this year, the last Harry Potter movie just scored the highest-grossing first weekend of all time.

I don't intend to see it. I lost interest in the series after "Prisoner of Azkaban". I bought "Goblet of Fire" but never unwrapped it.

One problem is that reportedly every single male father-figure Harry has ends up dead by violence. With just one exception: Ron's father. Reportedly, she intended to kill him off, too, but just couldn't bring herself to do it.

And maybe Hagrid, too? I see that Robbie Coltrane is in the cast list for the last movie. Does he survive it?

...speaking of endings and spoilers, I haven't been able to find anyone who blogged about the last episode of Anohana, and revealed just what the heck the ghost girl wanted. Anyone care to let me in on it? (With spoiler tags)

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July 01, 2011

Oh, good heavens

There's going to be another Monty Python movie -- starring Graham Chapman.

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October 28, 2010

Oh, just IMAGINE our joy!!!

Fox has signed contracts for two sequels to Avatar.

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August 27, 2010

Buck Godot -- Gallimaufrey

I just finished reading (and carefully downloading) the whole "Buck Godot -- Gallimaufrey" series.

I collected it when it was first released as a BW independent. One of the frustrating things was that Foglio didn't do a very good job maintaining the release schedule. It's 8 issues, so it was supposed to take 7 months start-to-finish, but I vaguely remember that it was more like  2 years.

Of course, it was bumped by paying work. About that time Foglio started doing card pictures for Wizards of the Coast, for example, and that probably paid better. Buck Godot was more of a labor of love -- but love don't put food on the table.

So I can't blame him, but it was really frustrating, especially as the story got hotter. Especially the way he ended so many of the individual issues with cliff-hangers.

No longer a problem. The whole thing is online so it can be read straight through now. And now it's colorized. The colorized JPG version looks fantastic, to the point where I even found myself wondering if the art had been redone.


That's from the second issue. This one from the seventh is more astounding:

Now there's no possible way that was made by scanning the comic book. No way it would look that good. So they worked from something a lot better. Were these originally done in pen-and-ink? If so, they must have scanned them in high res, and then gone to work  on them big-time with a graphics editor. It could well have ended up taking nearly as much time per page to colorize as the original art did, in order to end up with results that gorgeous.

My first reaction was that it was originally done with a graphics editor, using scalable stroke graphics. But there really weren't any back then. This originally came out in the mid 1980's IIRC.

Anyway, all the Buck Godot stories are fun, but Gallimaufrey was last, and best. It's a great story, full of sex, violence, wonderful images, heroism, villainy, honor, betrayal, and did I mention sex? Sex turns out to be a plot point.

The Klegdixal ambassador is my favorite supporting character, but Hyraxx is a close second.

UPDATE: I guess my memory is getting fuzzy. According to this page, the first issue came out in 1993 and the last one in 1998.

There were modern graphics editors in 1993, from Corel for instance. I wonder if Foglio used them?

UPDATE: Comic artists are most easily distinguished by how they draw faces. I can pick out Urushihara every time by how he draws mouths.

Foglio's faces are very distinctive, too:


And I find it interesting that he seems to be able to put readily-identifiable noses on his women, while still making them gorgeous.

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August 06, 2010



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June 30, 2010

It's all James Cameron's Fault!!!

"The Last Airbender" is out, and word is that it reeks. As I post this, it's at 7% on the Tomatometer. It's all because Cameron camped on the name "Avatar", I tell you!

UPDATE: James Berardinelli hated it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 06:05 PM | Comments (20) | Add Comment
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