John Carter of Mars Lives!

I thought John Carter was a hoot!  I’ve read most of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books, and own 10 of his books from three series.  I’m no expert, but I think that the John Carter movie caught the Barsoom zeitgeist really well, and brought the visuals firmly into the 21st century.  Playing ERB as the nephew works out very, very well in relation to the original, and Mars itself works out to be a really strong character in the movie.  While the story doesn’t hold true to any one of the Barsoom books, in another way it hold true to all of them.  Critics can hate this movie all they want (haters gotta hate).  I think anybody who ever read the Barsoom books will find something to treasure here.

I took my family to watch this film, and every one of us liked it.  Even my wife, who found huge nits when she watched Casablanca, loved this. I draw that comparison because Casablanca has spawned so many imitations that My Bride thought the original film was full of clichés.  John Carter of Mars started just that size of revolution among F&SF fans around the world, and the stuff Edgar Rice Burroughs dreamed up has been almost endlessly regurgitated for B movies and B pulp fiction, but ERB created it, and Disney brought that oeuvre boldly to life.  I’m just pleased as punch, and my family had a great night at the movies.  If this show hasn’t left your village, go and watch it.

Visually it’s as real in its stark reds and severe clime as Avatar is in its blues and verdant forests, and John Carter doesn’t require that humanity export evil exploitation from America in order to fight it.  Instead it gives us a hero who finds reasons for hope and love in extreme conditions, and doesn’t then belabor that.  It squeezes a love story into a few looks and some shared peril, and unfolds an entire alien, impossible, amazing and fun world before our eyes.  And I loved that dog.

My only real nit was the red-men of Mars.  In my mental picture they’re a bold red, not a standard human coloration.  I think giving them a native American cast of color but not foregrounding Native American actors gives the movie a mildly off ambiance – it looks too much like 1950s Western Movie red-face.  They should have gone Cadillac Red.

Bill

Demon Underground

Demon Underground by Susan Wright

Should probably be considered the second section of one story. Starts up the moment the first volume ended, and develops the ongoing action. The heroine (Allay) is a demon, but what are demons? They aren’t all evil – in point of fact, the heroine seems to consider them to be worse than they actually behave. I’m uncertain if that is unreliable narration, or if the author wants them to be more evil than she’s actually writing them.

As an unreliable narrator, Allay is very interesting. She seems to be falling in love with a very old demon, but the question is out there, is she in love, or is he manipulating her into being addicted to him?

I also think it’s interesting that the demons use that label on themselves. Are there angels? Are demons another species?

The story is very personality driven. Allay, her offspring Bliss, Ram and his offspring Mystify are emotionally fleshed out, and that seems more important to Allay than what is actually happening in the world.

The story has been examining what the world does as demons, who are immortal and can look any way they please, are discovered to be real. I’m sure it intends to continue down that path. I’ll be reading it when it does.

The weakest point to the books, as far as I am concerned, is that the writing doesn’t carry me along, waiting for the next thing. I keep going back, but I’m very able to put the books down for about two-thirds of each book, then I get swept up in the end. I’d like to be dragged along for more of the book.

Publishing News!

I have great news! Zook Country has been picked up by Twilight Times Books, and will be in print sometime in the next year. The current link, and introductory $2.99 pricepoint, will go offline later this week, to be replaced by a Twilight Times Books link on or about Friday, 10 March. I shared this first on my Zook Country Facebook page. Go forth. Follow the link and Like Zook Country on FB. Be sure to buy Zook Country while the price is under my control! That’s really a polite request, but go do it anyway… By sometime Thursday, the Bleeding Edge Books edition will be be a fading memory!

Web Friends

Just writing a good book that excites the people who read it isn’t apparently enough.  I’m starting to mumble and chuckle to myself, thinking, “How can I make this thing go viral.” Then I get this really nice helping hand, and I just have to share, because it made me feel so good! Melissa Douthit on Zook Country I really admired the way she caught snapshots of reviews.  Cool.