Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Walking Dead

Many times I’ve attempted to watch & read The Walking Dead. My first exposure to it was the comics, but I didn’t keep up with it. When I heard the show was coming out I watched most of the first season before I was distracted with other things. I didn’t think about it much, but a trip to the hospital on a day where the only thing worth watching in the waiting room was a marathon of seasons 1-3, I decided to give it another shot.

It didn’t last long.

I do not like The Walking Dead. Mostly the show, but also the comic.

My main issue comes in the form of the main character, Rick Grimes. In the show he is the catalyst to screw everything up for the group. He attracts the horde in the city, he leads them to the building, the car they use as a distraction leads the zombies to the campsite, and the survivors that could have helped in the attack were with him in the city when it happened.

It annoyed me how the relationship was handled between Shane and Lori. They went through a lot together, everyone thought Rick was dead, and yet they just hide it all and cause a bunch of trouble. Sure, Lori was written as a useless character, but Shane was the one who held everything together until Rick got there. If Shane respected Rick so much, which apparently he does because he just hands control of the group over to him even though Rick has no idea how to survive in the world, he would have taken Rick somewhere away from the others and told him what happened.
“Hey. I tried to get your out of the hospital, but I couldn’t. We all thought you were dead. I did my best to keep your family alive, and well, while doing that something happened between me and Lori.”

But where’s the drama if that’s addressed? There’s still plenty of drama. Shane’s confession could tear Lori and Rick apart, since they were already on the outs it isn’t a that hard to do, and the tension between the three of them would drive things. Rick confronts Lori, Lori confronts Shane, Carl hears it all and runs off. Shane and Rick go after him while Lori has one of her legendary useless stretches. Shane finds Carl and brings him back, not before taking out a couple of walkers, and Rick forgives him. Lori has to decide if she wants to patch it up with Rick, since things before were on the outs, or if she wants to pursue things with Shane without hiding it.

Character development! Relationships! Emotional investment! And that’s not even the mid-season finale of season one.

Season two… everyone knows it sucked. The show just dragged, the budget was slashed, and the entire run could have been cut to four episodes without losing much. Shane going crazy, the drawn-out search for Sofia, and bad writing all around made it a chore to watch.

Season three. First issue, Rick tosses out the dog food. Dude. It’s canned dog food. Put that in a pot with some water, butcher up the owl from upstairs and you’ve got some hearty soup. The main ingredient in most dog food is corn. You just ruined a meal that everyone could have eaten. Second issue, Andrea. After they killed Lori off, which they tried to make important by writing her decent for half an episode, they needed someone else to be dangerously stupid. I don’t blame the actress, I blame the writers and the directors. Actors and actresses can only do so much with what they are given. The Governor was pointlessly insane, but I felt that about the comic too.

I stopped watching at this point. They cleared out the prison, the Governor was setup as the bad guy, and I just didn’t care. It lost it’s appeal after slogging through season two and watching season one slowly circle the drain.

There, I’ve said it. I don’t like AMC The Walking Dead. I don’t intend on watching it. The game was cool, like a ‘choose your own adventure’ without any real point to the choices, but cool and I look forward to the third installment. I will check out the spin-off TV series in hopes that it doesn’t fall to the same junk the original did. It can’t be any worse than Z-Nation. What a piece of crap that is.


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The Witcher Book 1: Blood of the Elves- Final Review

I just wrote a small review, but I was only about halfway through the book. Now, I’m done, and I can post a full review that is better informed.

The phrase “show, don’t tell” is a common one. If you’ve ever been confused as to what that actually means, read this book. Everything about it is told instead of shown. Constant strings of dialogue or narration to explain things instead of just having the story happen.

I was turned on to the series by the videogame The Witcher and it’s sequels. Unfortunately, I don’t have the correct system to play the game so I decided to check if there was any source material. There is a prequel book to setup the series called The Last Wish. I got that book, loved it, and then ordered the rest of the series. The Last Wish is a good book, it’s a collection of short stories connected by flashbacks as Geralt is healing from a job that went a little sideways. If you like the games, read The Last Wish, skip the other books.

The first 1/3 of the book is mostly dialogue and long stretches of narration to tell the reader what’s happening, how they feel, and what caused this to happen. Again and again there are just long stretches where nothing is really described. This portion of the book takes place in a ruined keep where the witchers train. That’s about as much as I can tell you about it. It’s a ruined keep, with a graveyard, possibly a wall, and training grounds that aren’t fully described. There are references to different equipment setup for exercise, but they’re just given names.

Once it moves on from the training section there is a couple of chapters that further explain what’s going on. This starts to get away from the constant barrage of someone telling you what’s going on and why, with some actual action and description. Alas, this is short lived. After a brief brush with a functional story it goes back to the dull march of exposition. The next little bit of story is Geralt on a barge protecting it from water monsters.

Sounds like a cool setup, right? You, like me, would be wrong. We learn about this creature from a long, drawn-out debate with a scholar, then we get a customs inspection, and some one tries to capture Geralt. Even that is just ho-hum.

For another thing, the setup it that witchers are societal outcasts, but Geralt isn’t treated with anything be respect. Oh, you’re Geralt the witcher, I’ve heard about you… you saved my village last year… remember that time we did awesome stuff together… Everywhere Geralt goes he just happens to run into someone who knows him by reputation or has met him previously and is wildly impressed with him. They stand up for him, they warn him of trouble ahead, and this, of course, leads to more exposition clumsily described as banter.

I guess if my table gets wonky I’ll have something to prop it up.

k keep with a gre

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Blood of the Elves: The Witcher Book 1

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski introduces the world of The Witcher via a collection of short stories told via flashback. Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a monster hunter, who travels the land dealing with magical menaces. The twist on the idea is that the inspiration comes more from classic faerie tales and lore rather than just another angle of Tolkien or Dungeons & Dragons. I really liked this book. The characters were solid, the world felt alive, and it was a cool premise.

Guess what? There’s a series of books to go along after and this was just the introduction. Thanks to some Amazon giftcard from Christmas I was able to order all three books.

I’m about halfway through Blood of the Elves, which is book 1 of 3, and it’s disappointing. Instead of Geralt traveling the countryside fighting monsters the story revolves around the impending threat of invasion from a kingdom of evil dudes that invaded and failed a few years prior. Large chunks of exposition are just tossed out as dialogue and there isn’t a lot of action to break it up.

“Yes, duck that, now dodge.”
“Ouch. What did I do wrong?”
“Move faster.”

I’m going to stick it out to see if it gets better.


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Idea Rambling

For a couple of months I was on a dystopian kick, but that got depressing and the topic was kind of crowded. Zombies and nuclear war are the two gorillas in that fight. Neither really interest me. Hypothetically, I’d like to write my own zombie novel that would address things that I find annoying, but I just can’t get into it. It was cool a while ago, but like I said, it’s a crowded subject. Nuclear war doesn’t interest me as the options are stark, depressing reality or complete fantasy. Giant mutate monsters and survivors wearing leather, or fallout shelters where people fight to the death of the last can of beans. Wow, that sounds like a fun story to write.

Basically, the train of thought led me to realize that people would rebuild. The world wouldn’t pop back to normal, but there would people out there making their corner of the world something better. Rebuilding, constructing a new society, I like that idea. Instead of wallowing in the muck that is the collapse, the story would focus on the world as it’s put back together. Granted, they wouldn’t be back up to browsing Imgur for hours a day yet, but they’d have some things in order. Tight-knit farming communities, walled in towns, trading caravans, and stuff like that.

It really lends itself as a sandbox because so much can be done with it.

On another topic: I’ve started reading The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski. It’s ‘low fantasy’ with roots in Faerie Tales rather than another reboot of Tolkien. I enjoy fantasy and mixing in the faerie tale stuff really hooks my interest, I’m a sucker for that stuff. Witchers are basically monster hunters that travel the land taking care of problems. They’re mutated by magic and alchemy to be more than human and because of this people are unfriendly to them unless there’s a monster that needs taken care of. The Last Wish is a series of short stories that gives history to the main characters and sets the world for the novels.

I’d suggest checking it out if you like fantasy.

That being said, I would love it if anyone has some good non-European inspired fantasy books to suggest. There was one book I was looking into, I don’t remember the authors name or the books, but it started with extensive torture and didn’t really make me want to continue reading. Suggestions are welcome.

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