Normally, I am not a vampire guy. Except as bad guys. That whole Anne Rice immortally tortured gay blood sucker thing just put me right off. About the only time I have ever liked a vampire as the hero has been the TV show Angel.
Luckily for me, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend isn’t about do-gooder or tortured vampires.
The story tackles an idea normally reserved for zombie movies, what if the world were overrun by vampires. A virus of some sort has swept the world and slowly the world succumbed. There are two kinds of vampires, dead ones and live ones, but there is only one man left. Robert Neville is the last man on Earth, and with no end in site, with everyone he loved gone, for some reason he just won’t give up. He keeps garlic on his doors and windows by night and goes out for supplies and to kill sleeping vampires by day.
Given the bleak subject matter, its a true testament to Matheson’s writing that the story doesn’t spiral into a morose somber mess. Instead there is an odd sense of hope, and even humor, in Robert Neville’s life. The end left me a little wanting, I understand what Matheson was doing there, but some part of me just felt a little… cheated. But the rest of the book is good enough that I’ll forgive him.
If you don’t care to read the book, it has been made into a movie a number of times in the past, although always under another name (The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price and The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston directly, and I’m sure the story influenced quite a few other films), but this year we’ll see a more direct adaptation in I Am Legend starring Will Smith. I suspect it will deviate from the book much like Mr. Smith’s previous I, Robot did. But I would still recommend reading the book.
In recent weeks I’ve watched all of Rescue Me, a show that airs on FX. I have the first and second seasons on DVD, and the third season I downloaded from torrents (but I’ll pick up the DVDs when they come out). And, damn, this show is good.
If you have never heard of it, the simple premise is Denis Leary plays Tommy Gavin, a New York City firefighter. His house lost four guys on 9/11 and when the show begins its 3 years later but the tragedy still lingers.
As the show unfolds, it follows the lives of Tommy and his crew. Tommy in particular is interesting to me because he is a hero, really. His character is that when he’s on the job he is perfect, almost superhuman, in his duties. He saves lives. Meanwhile, his personal life is in the shitter. He is separated from his wife, he’s an angry beligerant asshole, and he begins seeing ghosts. Not really, this isn’t some Sci-Fi show, he’s obviously just halucinating, but it begins to make him unravel even further. Denis Leary plays the character superbly, from scene to scene he makes you love him, hate him, root for him, root against him… as Tommy fights his demons, you really want him to straighten out but at the same time when he knowingly takes the low road, you completely understand why he does it.
I can’t wait for season four.
If you haven’t seen the show, I seriously recommend picking it up.
It is. It really is. And if you are offended by that statement, its because you don’t really care about raiding, but you see it as a way to keep the really good loot out of the hands of people not willing to put forth the effort. You aren’t raiding because its a good story.
The main reason I say that raiding is stupid is that the way current MMOs are designed, raid encounters just do not make any sense at all. Seriously. If I were a sixty foot tall winged god surrounded by eighty people, you can bet your ass that I would not waste my time beating on the glowing regenerating turtle in a hard shell while the remainder of them killed me. I’d use my wings to sweep aside my attackers, I’d divide them and step on them. I’d kill the healers first and pick the rest off at my leisure…. because… I. Am. A. GOD.
The idea of mere mortals, even equipped with super uber weapons of doom, ganging up to kill gods is just… stupid. Especially when the gods just stand there and take it like the two dollar whore they are coded to be. I could actually buy it if it was just a group of six or even ten people, with a use of strategy and tactics… but have you ever seen people work together in large groups? Either most of them turn off their brains, follow orders, and many of them lose/die, or they are complete and utter chaos.
Raid content is insulting in the basicness of its design.
Frankly, I don’t play games to be archer number seven in a war someone else is leading. I don’t play to be a part of healing bank two, or even to be the “main tank”. When I play a game, I’m looking for narrative, and I’m looking to be the hero, not to be fire support for the hero. No one in the history of fantasy has ever said “My favorite character in Lord of the Rings is Glormindar, which is the name I gave to the guy who was standing about twenty feet away from Aragorn and was killed when the Nazgul arrived. He was fuckin’ sweet!” If you play games to be a cog in someone else’s wheel, well… I feel sorry for you. I really do.
Along with my zombie books, I got some superhero books for Christmas too. One of them was Other People’s Heroes by Blake M. Petit. The book is about a world where superheroes exist, and one man has always wanted to be one. As a kid he was saved from a burning building by Lionheart, the greatest hero. As an adult, he finds out that he has powers himself and plans to starting fighting crime when he discovers that its all a sham. There are no real heroes and villians anymore, its like professional wrestling. The heroes all grouped up and put the real hard criminals away, and the other bad guys were offered steady jobs. Fights are scripted, heroes put on a show, real crime is down, and kids get good role models to look up to. But something isn’t quite right, and our hero aims to find out what that is…
Its a good book, a really good book. Blake weaves a solid tale of superheroes with the right amount of humor. It reads like a comic book without the pictures.
That said, I was disappointed by one thing about this book… the publisher. Having gone to a few writer’s workshops myself, and one with A.C. Crispen who co-heads up Writer Beware, I’ve been constantly warned about PublishAmerica (see Writer Beware’s exposure of the PA hoax, and this Washington Post article). Basically, as a Print on Demand publisher, very few, if any, small bookstores and no major national chains will carry the book. POD books are almost always non-returnable, so stores don’t stock them since they can’t return unsold copies. Many stores will let you special order through them, and with online sales picking up every year this is going to be less of a problem (however, for now, the majority of book sales are still done in brick & mortar shops). But POD publishers also don’t do much, if any, marketing for their books. I believe PA offers to do two local press releases, and they will send individual announcements to a list of people that you (the author) provide. Oh, and if you read PA’s contract, they own your book for 7 years. That means for 7 years if you sell the movie rights or get picked up by a large traditional publishing house, they get 50%. All this made me sad because Blake’s book is excellent. Shopped to the right publishing house he could have gotten a good deal and actually gotten paid well (or at least decently) for his book. I may have never known this book even existed if not for Amazon.com.
So, there you have it… good book, bad publishing company.
John Hughes returns to high school with this tale of super powered children attending a school to train them to be heroes… or for the less usefully powered kids, hero support, a.k.a. sidekicks. Okay, its not really John Hughs, but its got enough teen high school troubles that it could pass for one of his movies…
I really had fun watching this movie. After seeing a number of comic book and superhero films take things in a more grown-up and serious manner, it was nice to see a film take it from an almost slapstick comedy family point of view.
I’m not going to say much about the movie itself, because I might get carried away and ruin it for you… but its definately worth the money to go see it. It’s one I’ll have to own on DVD when they release it. Good stuff.
I started a little project for myself. For one, to get into City of Heroes a bit more. Two, to get to know the community a bit. And three, to do some writing.
Its called the Front Page.
I created a character named Calvin Meeks, who is not a hero at all, but one of those reporters who always gets mixed up in trouble.
So far so good. I’ve met a few folks, and even had a couple of offers for doing stories (tagging along for exp and such, while taking notes and photos).
I’m really enjoying it.