Hell For A Hobbler: Short Story

•December 5, 2012 • 1 Comment

This is a free-written excerpt from a larger piece on which I am working inspired by my recent circumstances (Hint: I wrote it yesterday and edited last night and today). I apologize for the unexplained, magical jargon. Just go with it. If you have questions, please let me know. 🙂

Also, please leave comments and/or likes on this page and/or Facebook so I can keep track of how many people are actually reading these and so I may improve my craft as well. Investing that extra second of your time will make me a better writer and leave you a more satisfied reader. Thanks ahead of time for reading!

Here it is:

Following the healers’ diagnosis, Paul’s body ceased fighting the demon-gnomic malignancy and allowed it to fully ravage his entire being. Paul hobbled through the infirmary lobby, bag of Slyphic healing stones in hand, toward the gargantuan entrance doors. They loomed like two metal and wood-clad sentries guarding the exit of death’s realm. These gate guards were excessively heavy to the point of immovability by most men. The irony of the doors was epitomized by signs posted on each one which stated “CAUTION: GNOMIC-INFUSION IN DOOR FOR AID OF INFIRM.” In truth, the doors required a considerable amount of energy on the part of any healthy and able body. The pusher would bear the entire weight of the door until, once fully open, it tripped a myriadic mechanism which would hold it open for several seconds. This allowed the weakened or infirm to pass in and out before it slammed shut again. In his newly weakened state, Paul could barely open it.

As he pressed himself fully against one of the doors, a million thunder-charged needles shocked him with every twitched muscle. At this, the obstinate door mockingly creaked ajar. This anti-thesis of a portal was the threshold of death existing to prevent his spirit from escaping from this world of oblivion and returning to the realm of physical being. The door’s hinging groan was derisive laugher to Paul’s whole-hearted, whole-bodied, yet foolishly and hopelessly naïve attempts to escape the house of the dying and dead.

The door’s creaky-hinged bliss fell on defiant ears, and Paul pushed even harder. If he didn’t get out now, he would never be strong enough to escape. Paul refused to resign himself to oblivion, at least just yet. If he could get home before the pain caused his body’s spiritual preservation spell to sedate him, then he could ingest the Slyphic stones and heal himself entirely. Falling asleep wouldn’t prevent the malignancy from spreading; it would merely stave off its progress as long as Paul remained asleep. The moment he awoke, it would be ready to devour his well-rested body. There was no choice. He had to get home, and he had to properly heal himself. His eyes tearing up, Paul let out a primal grunt and squeezed through the hard-fought crevice like water fighting through self-made cracks in a giant boulder. Behind him, the door gave a muffled closing sound as it returned to its post, silently ashamed in the wake of its defeat. However, Paul’s victory was as short lived as his following exhale. Upon taking his first step outside the infirmary, Paul’s entire body tensed, instantly feeling heavier. Had his body betrayed him? It felt as if his body were somehow drawn to the house of death, its present resistance a means of binding him to the spot until death heaved open the heavy wooden doors and dragged him back inside.

At this point, the pain was no longer confined to the surface of Paul’s body. He could deal with outward pains, but this had infiltrated to the deepest levels of his extremities as though it were wrecking havoc inside his very bones. In the same way that he had pushed through the doors of death’s palace, his pain escaped from his tightly clenched jaw. He no longer possessed the energy with which to restrain this hybrid utterance of a shuddering moan and a gasping cackle. It burst forth. His face twisted in tremulous excruciation, his mouth forced agape with the awe of breaking past a threshold of pain, which one had never before experienced. His contorted face curled into a tortured smile, his only means, at present, of coping with the task of pioneering this new realm of desolation.

Paul’s eyes re-opened, facing the ground. He saw the infirmary’s shadow towering over him a looming shade of death emanating from a fifty-story gravestone. Paul turned away in the direction of his safe haven. With his next steps, Paul’s knees buckled, and his body shook violently on the half-sturdy, splintering pillars of his legs. His back felt a depth of pain, resounding through his body on several arcane planes, which culminated in the feeling of being stabbed by a fiery dagger through the spine’s flesh and bone tickling his spirit with the tip of the burning blade. A scream burst from Paul’s lips in a twisted cackle that dripped with the woe of his present circumstance. Paul hobbled, counting each footstep as he went “1,2…1,2…1,2…1…” toward the Slyphic tuning spire shooting up from the ground before him.

Huffing, Paul made it to the Slyph Spire feeling the whisper-quiet thoughts intercepted from every being in Kravashna. His calves and the back of his legs felt as though there were splitting open from the inside, the glass temple of his body being smashed apart from within by the malevolent demon-gnomic within him. He hugged the slim spire with his entire body as if it were the last refuge in Eucropole to which he could cling. Forsaken by once-benevolent fortune, Paul looked to the sky, fortune’s home, for answers but received none. With this, the realization seeped into his mind, the venomous trickle of a thought rending its way deeper into the stone stubbornness of his mind. Paul discovered he wasn’t in Eucropole anymore; he wasn’t even in the larger world of which Eucropole was a small piece; he was wandering through the expanses of hellish Kravashna guised in the imprint of his former world. Or was it the other way around?

With the Slyph Spire hundreds of feet behind him, Paul waded through seas of blind Slyphic entities crashing against him like a stone fighting a river’s current as it tumbles along the river bottom. To Paul, every step seemed just as awful as the first, yet each was somehow worse because it was one more insult added to the previous barrage of steps which he constantly hoped would be the last.

Paul saw the willingly unseeing eyes of the Slyphs around him. Like the imprint of worlds long gone and overwritten by generations of existence, the Slyphs looked beyond him as though he, like the long gone cities, were dead, a mere imprint of their former glory which lingered on the wind. But this was different; he was alive.

Paul knew they could see him. Before some could avert their eyes to something else behind him, he caught their glances through the pain-winced slits of his eyes. Paul crept along, forcing himself to hold his head heavenward, raising his eyes in the exultant misery that came with every arduous and shaking step to face the world both before and above him.

“Damn you, and you, and you” Paul muttered under his breath as each unseeing Slyph passed by him, “and burn the heavens.” His eyes darted skyward, piercing through the clouds to stare at the faces of the ascended ancients, whom his people called gods and heroes. These same gods and heroes were the ones who left him to die in that infirmary. Paul looked on them all with contempt, but this slowly drained out of him.

He realized that even if they had been benevolent enough to offer him their most gracious charity (whether by one of the passing chariots which rained ashy dust on his bare, twitching body or just a shoulder to slump against and be dragged along like a useless, dying man to his haven, which no longer seemed steps away but rather entire worlds) he would not accept it. He would refuse vehemently.

Prior to the healers’ rituals, Paul remembered standing before the infirmary braced against another Slyph Spire catching his breath to ease the shooting tenseness of his body. A female Slyph came to mind. As reality, just like the past, was starting to become a sweaty blur, Paul couldn’t recall her face or name. The arcane safeguards deep within his body designed to prevent him from further excruciation were beginning to preserve his memories and stifle his thoughts.

Fighting to recall, he remembered she said something to the effect of “Do you want some help?” While he couldn’t recall the entire moment, the muscle memory of his feeling was vivid. Paul’s eyes were closed, and he took deep breaths to hold the painful fire within so that it wouldn’t consume and burn him alive. The nameless, faceless Slyph interrupted his numbing self-steeling, and Paul looked at her, half amazed that someone was speaking to him.

But even at the dawn of his pain, Paul responded politely through clenched teeth and a forced smile “No. I’m fine. Thank you, though.” He waited for her to turn and walk away in order to manage himself on his own terms. Paul could not bear having someone who was conscious of his pain see him show it. After he was certain she had gone far enough away to not hear or see him, he allowed his body a tremulous buckle, almost falling into the handrail of the stairs, which lead to the entrance of the infirmary. He clung to it, using it to press his body upward toward those looming double doors.

Paul’s memory dripped away like beads of sweat falling from his forehead. If Paul didn’t accept help then, if he had made it all the way to the infirmary from his haven on his own, he would be damned if he wasn’t going to make it back the entire distance. “Either I make it on my own terms, pain and all, or I die” he told himself.

Paul’s will made a puppet of his own body as he went through the monotonous “1,2…1,2” sequence holding himself erect in forced defiance of the circumstances prescribed for him by the gods and the self-imposed adherence to his own self-reliant standards. At this point, Paul abandoned the thought that anyone, divine or otherwise, would offer help. He merely saw the world as an expansive, ashy wasteland of disinterested corpses wandering around him and a sky fiery with the hatred held for him by gods and heroes burning through its blood-orange dome. Pressing onward, each step chipped away a piece of his body’s resilience and fed it to his soul’s engine stoking the flames with which to force himself to make it to the haven before his body shut itself down entirely.

The slow incline of the ground gave Paul a pained smile. “Of course the whole world turns to hills as I become a-.” Paul closed his eyes and bit his tongue trying to pinpoint through his teeth the pain shooting down his entire body. With a huff, he managed “cripple.”

Paul made his way from large stones to building walls, from Slyph Spire to Slyph Spire, finding that the only way to avoid the pain was when pushing or pulling on something, giving his body a purpose other than looking and feeling feeble. At the top of hill, Paul could see the roof of his haven, its golden-peaked top a mockingly encouraging beacon. How can it be so close yet seem so far away?

He clutched the bag of Slyphic healing stones in his hand and savored every aspect of his body’s misery, cataloging it for later reference. He knew that he would be home soon, and he could not escape the pain before that time. Sure, the stones would alleviate the present soreness, but Paul would lose all consciousness and control after swallowing them, leaving him (one of the world’s most wanted tuners) vulnerable in the middle of devilish Kravashna. So, until he passed through the doors of his safe haven, he would take everything step by step.

With recent steps, Paul had lost the “1,2…1,2” cadence. He began muttering variations on “You are going to die” under his breath to himself like a mantra of comfort which a healer whispers to a man on the verge of death’s cliff. Paul savored each twinge, each shaky step, each stab of pain to the deepest recesses of his essence, and each sharp breath that turned to laughter at his own pathetic condition. If gods and heroes were no longer a source of enlightenment, if sylphs and men alike would not help him, then, Paul concluded,  “this,” the pain, which he presently felt coursing through his entire body like a feverish poison, “will be my enlightenment.”

As the haven towered before him, Paul’s body was giving in. His body’s defensive magicks were making him wearier with every deliriously sweaty, quavering movement of his body. He could no longer hold himself up without aid. Vainly, his hands braced each leg attempting to hold himself together for just one more second until he could taste the relief of the Slyphic healing stones.

Paul relied on each structure as a crutch, reaching for and falling into them like vertical monkey bars. In his present condition, unaided by man or Slyph, god or hero, Paul found that the only things he, or any other man could rely on, were himself and the land, and even for the land, it was only whatever a man could take from it that he gained. The land, like everything else that wasn’t himself, gave nothing on its own.

At the haven’s gate, Paul held his hand to the magical sensor, and the gates slid open. He walked to the nearest trolley hexed to take the inhabitants to their designated buildings. Paul’s face rippled, cringing as he sat down on the seat of the trolley car. He kept a hand on the lip of the car’s roof as a crutch to hold himself still. As the trolley bumped along, pain erupted in his back as if a steel cable conducted the shock in his lower left back through the remaining mass of his ever-tightening body. In response, the spiritual mechanisms within Paul began numbing. With this, his mind was becoming less and less focused. All that remained was his determination to make it through the doorway.

Finally, after what Paul guessed was either a decade or three minutes, the trolley stopped at the steps of his golden-peaked haven. Paul’s fingers tightened on the car roof’s lip, making sure he didn’t move his hips and focusing only on pulling or pushing with his arms, as he hoisted himself out.  Paul’s moment of ease was gone the moment he attempted to straighten his back. The briefly forgotten pain had crept up on him like a pack of ravenous wolves on a wounded prey. Against the deadening weight of his body, Paul pushed himself up the stairs lifting one foot at a time up each step, every one bringing him ever closer to journey’s end.

At the top of the seemingly infinite stairwell, Paul clung to the balcony’s rail, fishing for the keys in his pockets. The keys clinked in his quivering hand, and he opened the door. He held a hand out for the sensor to lower the veil barrier long enough for him to enter his haven safely. Upon stepping inside, Paul’s mind was more clouded and his motions more fumbling. He rushed, at a brisk hobble, over to the Slyphic preparation circles on the tabletop across the room.

Onto the table, Paul emptied the bag’s contents: four small pouches of stones each with a tightly wrapped scroll attached. Paul tore the papers from each bag one after the other staring at them through tear and sweat-blurred eyes, hardly able to read. He looked through all of them, placing each somewhat close to the bag from which he took it. “Where the hell are the Talcor stones?” He muttered desperately to himself, half-delirious, body damp with sweat and trembling from the inside out. Will this kill me before I can even save myself? Even if my body shuts down, only these can really heal thi- As if in combat to the increased numbing caused by his body’s preservation spell, the demon-gnomic fought back. The pain was unbearable. In that moment, Paul wondered if the infirmary had actually made him immortal so this demon-gnomic within him, along with a horde of tiny Slyphic-drunes for good measure, could perfect their torturous methods on him, the undying victim of their collective malevolence, in what Paul hoped was slowly killing him but never would.

Paul rummaged through the tiny, unfurled scrolls again. Picking up the paper with which he began, he read the paper “Talcor stones- Take one every four sand glass cycles with a gnomically infused tea.” In that instant, Paul turned, reckless and only partially aware of his spinning surroundings. He shifted through objects on the shelf with the utmost speed. He was in a full out sprint with fleeting time, which, the legends always said, had never been beaten. What hope does a newly crippled man have against such odds?

He sparked a fire in the Slyphic circle, giving it a moment to breathe, while he moved to prepare the ingredients with which to brew over his false flame. Phasing in and out of awareness, Paul compiled the concoction and placed it over the fire. Staring at the steam and counting off the tea’s preparation time on a small sand glass next to the circle and gauging how long he expected to remain awake, Paul knew the brew would be completed one drop of sand after his collapse. It will be too late!

Paul felt his body manually shutting down his functions, as though his higher mind was fed up with his more stubborn, outward self which begged to hold on for “one more second, just one more.” Seeing that the tea’s sand glass had a few more sands left, Paul grabbed the Talcor stone bag and emptied it on to the table fumbling for one of the many scattered stones. He chewed it in his mouth, the acrid taste enough to put him out, as he counted down the sands. Three more to go!

The last drop of sand fell.  As the vile chalkiness of the Talcor stone began trickling down the back of Paul’s throat, his body impulsively lurched forward. With the continuous nodding of his head and closing of his eyes, Paul had neglected his vigil of the sand glass. Not sure if it was real or not, in his melting world of delirium, Paul’s nearly blind eyes stared at an empty sand glass. It’s done!

Paul tore the pot from the flame and poured it into a small, bone-crafted cup in the circle’s center, more tea dripped onto the table than into the cup. Then, he grabbed the slick cup with two violently shaking hands and washed down the bitter, mashed dregs of the Talcor stone. With this, the cup fell to the table and so did Paul. He grasped the table’s edge. His entire body tensed viciously and pulsated, like a human accordion haphazardly played by a destructive child, as Paul slumped onto the floor.

Losing all feeling and sense of place, his pain washed away as the soothing tea coursed through his body scorching the malignancy.  The crippled man had won in the race against both time and death, at least for now. In his last waking seconds, Paul’s wearily tormented face eased into a smile as he realized his victory. Locked safely in his haven and basking in the glory of escaped fate, which fell over him like the sun setting through his window’s blinds, Paul plunged into the world of darkness and sleep not to return until he had purged himself of the demon-gnomic entity within.

Pain is for Pansies

•December 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Pain is all in perspective. While I may have jacked up my back considerably (arguably the most pain in which I have ever been), there are two huge pluses to this situation. One: I was able to climb twice in the two days before my back started having issues. Two: My back’s condition, based on my own experience with it the past few days and the doctor’s own words, I am that much closer to being like Batman (by far the best of the two upsides). Think about it. Things may hurt, emotionally or physically, but if you look hard enough, then we can all find the strength to overcome (just like Batman! It’s all full circle now-at least I think so.).  

Where is the Great American Novel?: A reflection on Life and Art by Doctor Charles Reuvolle

•November 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

This is a short story that I wrote in the last hour, literally. I spent no other time on it, but I very much like this, so I thought to share it with you, my loyal reader (not sure if I have more than one). Be gentle and enjoy.

Charles Reuvolle was, by far, the most emphatic, gin-fueled authority on British Renaissance Literature that Princeton University had to offer. At least, that was how he explained his occupation, after the sixth drink, to various bar patrons. Doctor Reuvolle was, for the most part, a self-imposed hermit having no television, buying no movies, and subscribing only to various scientific journals such as Neuroscience Quarterly and the occasional ironic purchase of a New York Times Best Seller. The good doctor reasoned that he did not want to become another victim of “the disease of linguistic and grammatical neglect that was plaguing our great country worse than unemployment,” and that the only way to purge himself of this was “entertainment attrition.”
Doctor Reuvolle taught two courses at Princeton. The first was an obligatory course on British Literature rigorously designed for the unwitting undergraduate that didn’t search out the horror stories of past students online. It wasn’t that Reuvolle didn’t like his students. He simply did not choose to allow them to be lenient on their standards in regard to their education. “You are the future of the American literary tradition,” he would remind them at the beginning of every semester, “if you do not care for your own grammar or linguistics, then you might as well go write reality television or the next Best Seller.”
This friendly reminder at the top of each semester epitomized the purpose of his second course “Where is the Great American Novel: The Degradation of American Standards in Industry, Self-Worth, and, most importantly, Language,” an elective he taught to a select class of 16 students every semester. “This course,” he reminded everyone who accosted him for change on the street or asked him to volunteer at a youth shelter, was his idea of “community service,” and he would have no part of his efforts stolen from this work.
Doctor Reuvolle ran his hands through the invisible locks of hair on his shaved head, tweaked his beard, and pushed up his glasses with a purposeful finger to meet the gaze of his fresh batch of students. “First of all, I would like to thank you for choosing to devote yourself to this task of reviving the English tradition in America. As many of you are aware, we are caught in a whirlwind of so-called entertainment,” with this Reuvolle cleared his throat with a singular, gruff cough. “The American tradition of English is becoming less structured and, therefore, more meaningless. This newly developing tradition of reality television, liberalized expression through YouTube, and recycled film plots with a disregard to its philosophical, social, and intellectual impact has led the majority of us to believe that no matter how innate or trite our opinions, its our thought that counts, and we, therefore, have a divine mandate to share this kernel of perspective with the rest of the planet as personal evangelicals of our own ignorance. This, if you have read any of my articles, is where I propose that we have strayed from the path set down by our intellectual ancestors.” On this note, Reuvolle made his way around the podium and stood before the class, a naked speaker with a vital message. He removed the pipe from the chest pocket of his jacket and lit it, puffing twice before speaking again.
“I’ve fought it, but clearly it hasn’t worked. I require legions, and you are my recruits. In this class, I will push you to construct a novel of personal, intellectual, and social significance. You will draw on the great minds of every field of academics that appeal to you and synthesize their seemingly conflicting voices into a burning social critique of this country, urging your fellow citizens to fill their minds with knowledge and shut their mouths so that the only dregs of knowledge don’t fall out and leave them bereft of any sense at all.” Pricilla, the perkily-titted, perfectly and precisely dressed senior, raised her hand.
“But, if we are to make something so powerful and moving, wouldn’t it be lost on the entirety of the country? How do you propose we fix the tradition if we don’t shatter the current system and spoon-feed the populace until they are able to reason for themselves?” Charles smirked at this, knowing she would be the one to raise the question that he had pondered for years.
“Excellent point Ms. Wentscom. This is why I have designed the course in two parts over two semesters. In the first semester, we will construct our manifestos, and then we will destroy them. The second semester is devoted entirely to undercutting every aspect of our works and guising it properly for public consumption. We will make references to popular culture, idioms, and even, it pains me to say it, write to the sensational nature of this blind herd of ours. We will be guerilla intellectuals, holding the highest of opinions and sullying the form of our work to reach the unwilling populace for its own good. I will not be satisfied until each of us has taken our greatest work and downgraded it to meet the standards of the New York Times Best Seller List. Then, and only then, can we begin to rebuild the fabric of this country, word by word and mind by mind, we will restore the vigor to American industry and its people through their souls and their hearts. At this very moment, the great American novel is
cultural confetti. It has been torn apart by its populace which uses its philosophical insights and humanistic themes as blurbs to fuel the barrage of banality provided by news reports, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, remakes of remade movies based off books which are inspired by true stories. The great American novel has been reduced to a million fragments exalting laziness and ignorance as the new standard of life. I see in your face that you doubt me, but what else could we believe when school children in Sweden have a better grasp on English grammar and American history than the average American adult? This way of life has long deserved an editor, not divine but flawed and human, to synthesize and restore the once sweeping themes of humanity to their former glory saving us from the decimation of American culture.”


•November 27, 2012 • 2 Comments

Alas, I have returned. Like most college students (or just hardworking people in general-college or not), I’ve been preoccupied with many things recently: soul searching, academics, work, girls, etc. I realized that this site should not be used for banal reviews of books, how I might potentially use them in my writing (everyone has an opinion and personally, I would better use my time creating content than commenting on content), or telling the not so sehr interessant details of a rural-raised, East Coaster coming to Las Vegas to pursue a degree in Film, English, Creative Writing, and Entrepreneurship. This blog would best be used for creating and spreading my content like a malignancy so that I may start getting my voice out there. I can’t promise that I will have lots of content or that it will be consistent (mainly because I find promises both misleading for others and confining for yourself), but I can say that I will use this as the first mouth piece for my writing that I wish to share with the world. With this, I invite you to taste some of the blurbs of pieces I am working on. I am focused on getting interest and feedback, primarily, so feel free to comment or message me with feedback on work. 

I will leave you with the opening of a piece that I free-wrote over the holidays:

Giles Jameson was a hardworking man who “loved his money like he loved his women, spread wide and held firmly in his hands.” He reclined on the couch, his feet hanging over the edge in the way a large dogs’ paws droop one over another when crossed at the stair’s edge. The TV flickered before him in bright effervescence brought to him by Hostess and Charmin and made hazy in the sleep-deprived, Monster-fueled wee hours of another Saturday night alone in his apartment.

Also, here is the link to a short film that I acted in for class.

I will be posting an improv comic strip that I helped write and draw at the recent comic book festival. More to come. Thanks for reading!

On-Going Read List

•April 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I can’t keep track of multiple paper and word doc. lists, so I am just going to post for my convenience and any feedback you may have. 

Carl Jung’s Book on Archetypes (forget the name)

Aleister Crowley’s work (all of it)

Incognito by David Eagleman 

William Blake’s work


Con-nerd-sseur Catch-Up

•February 28, 2012 • 2 Comments


Oh my goodness, I cannot believe that this has been inactive for a month. Well actually, I can…I can explain! I was working on the Silmarillion (which was a task in itself) and finally gave up after starting over twice. So that was my initial hindrance. My secondary hindrance was the fact that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a massive undertaking (so the time between finishing this and a post would be quite a while).  And, third-endary (yes that is not a word) was that my 18 month old macbook pro, top of the line apparently, decided to crash about 2 weeks ago. This crash led to me not having consistent computer access and the loss of all my audiobooks. So, I do apologize for the few of you who have been keeping up with this blog. But I have not been idle in my absence. In my absence, I have discover the towering stack of comic books and graphic novels on my desk that have given me hours of enjoyment for the past few weeks. So this is tangential from  NPR‘s top 100 Sci-fi and Fantasy list I have been working on, but no less entertaining.

As I read more, I find that I have less and less to say about each book. You notice some things more and some less as you progress in a genre. Also, in light of recent (well recent about a few weeks ago) listenings to the podcast “Writing Excuses” I have decided to take a note from their book. They keep their podcasts to 15 minutes because, as they say, “you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.” Similarly, you have better things to do and attend to than what I have to say, and I am not a Science-Fi and Fantasy expert , so I don’t have much to say that you may not have come to conclusions of yourself. As such, I will try to keep my comments considerably shorter and more concise. With some of the graphic novel series, I may even just blanket statement then since I go through those them like crack. So here goes Con-nerd-sseur Tangential Entry #1.


1. Transmetropolitan-Warren Ellis

I began this series in the close of last year and over the past three weeks have read Volumes 3,4, and 5. Need I say more? This is one of the few reads I have had that is a source of continual laughter for me. Spider Jerusalem is a ballsy, psychotic and violent (yet superbly relateable) columnist that takes passion in the truth. The things I like about this is the constant laughter, intelligent writing of Ellis, and the commentary on politics that we get into (particularly in the last 3 issues). This is a must read for any one who considers themselves to have half a brain and any wit or sarcasm in their bones. Disclaimer: not for the easily offended.


2. Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindry Island

Since I am new to Ellis I am not going to say this is not typical him, but this definitely wasn’t Transmet. Captain Swing is a steampunk (as you can tell from the cover) story about a band of pirates and the unlikely man who gets dragged on their mission. I’m not going to spoil the story, but this is definitely a great read. It is the same smart writing that I am accustomed to with Transmet, only it is the 1800s. Slowly I am becoming more of an Ellis fanboy.

3. Lucifer Morningstar #1, Mike Carey

This is also one I have meant to read for a few months now and finally picked up. This book is phenomenal. It’s a great change from Transmet. Trade crass, invasive, and uncensored Spider Jerusalem for the aloof, suave, sexy, self-interested (but in a good way) Lucifer  and you get this. The chilling intelligence and resolve in this character is conveyed well by Mike Carey and if you like journeys and explorations into Hell and other dimensions or realms of time and space, you will love this. I certainly do.

4. Gates of Gotham,Scott Snyder and Kyle Higgins

Nothing special. Good, quick read. Interesting steampunk story of the development of Gotham’s architecture and “royal families,” as it were. Again, in comparison with these other titles, nothing wow-ing but still an OK read. I think Pain and Prejudice (focusing on the Penguin looks much more promising however).

5. Sandman Vol. 4 and 5 (?), Neil Gaiman

I forget if I read the fourth one last week or not (titles and panels are blending together), but I distinctly remember reading A Game of You. But these two go over Morpheus’ possession of Hell (given from Lucifer) and the dream journey of Barbie against the Cuckoo. Both of these are great. I liked 4 a little bit more just because we get more face time with Morpheus and the other immortals than in a game of you. But nonetheless, both are really good reads. Precisely what I have come to expect of Neil Gaiman.

6. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1, Alan Moore

After reading Alan Moore’s How-to on writing comics, I finally picked up the first League. I got it a while ago and never felt in the mood to read it, but at last I have. I have no quarrels with this book. It is certainly a great change from the incredibly complex Watchmen. This is fun and entertaining if you are familiar with the classic literature he references. A great read, good work by Moore. I just got Vol. 2 the other day and already started reading.

Well, that’s about it for my reading these past few weeks. Hope you guys found these helpful and or enjoyable. I seem to be turning this less into a review spot and more just a public tracker of what I have read. Please leave comments, concerns or likes if you like my page or have comments or concerns for it. Enjoy life and reading. Until next time.

P.S. I almost bouldered my first gym V4! 😀

Con-nerd-sseur Update

•February 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. School and the fact that the Silmarillion has been holding me up with progress has been why. So I started a new book. The Silmarillion is like a family tree for the first bit of it and then these obscure legends for the next while. It’s well-written but I’m not ready at the moment to find this anything but boring. Thank God for Jonathan Strange. I promise I will get you guys a proper review one of these days. Thanks for checking up! 🙂

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #11- The Time Traveler’s Wife

•January 25, 2012 • 2 Comments

Let me just begin by saying, “this hurt…really.” This is one of the first books I have read by a woman author on this list (in fact, she may be the first) but I don’t think I have been this upset over a book since Ender’s Game. This books is fantastic. A fantastic choice for my Eleventh tasting of science fiction/fantasy literary flavors. The list I am drawing from is NPR‘s list of the Top Sci-fi and fantasy books. Clearly this is not all the best books…they are missing NK Jemisin for one, but it’s a great start for a guy who has always been a slow reader and scared to pick up a massive sci fi or fantasy text.

Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

Date: January 14th-January 24th

Source: Westminster Library Audiobook

As you can tell from the bit above, I really liked this book. I knew I would like the time traveling and all that, but I didn’t know it would be this enjoyable. The only complaint I have is that some of the details in their lives got a bit much for me, but this is only a few instances. The things that I felt this book excelled in were the complexity and humanity in the main characters, the relatable of seemingly everyday moments and situations, and the heartrending struggles of these two. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression when I say this, but Niffenegger’s portrayal of our world is done in such fine detail that her world felt as tangible as Frank Herbert’s Dune. I love both of these books and I think they did a great job of world creation in their own respective universes. For instance, Christmas with the in-laws was one of many laugh out loud moments for me. Her humor about families and their attempts to hold a temporary cease fire during the holidays while gathering ammo for later was great. I also loved the vividity of the love making of the main characters. It was both sensual and primal. Awesome. There were many times where I was like, “Oh my God…his tongue can do that?” This is just another example of the passion charged world that we are beckoned into by the story. I also enjoyed seeing the issues that the two lovers shared, both small and large. Their coping with each other’s sexual past, with miscarriages, and Henry’s struggle to be with Clare (like the wedding) as well as Clare’s desire to be with Henry were all very relatable and human. This amazing sense of humanity was what made the ending so heart breaking. The entire book they were both seemingly bound by fate, and I wanted Henry to be able to survive. I wanted my happily ever after…but the world doesn’t operate this way (nor would I want it to-I just wanted to see them happy :D). But the heartbreaking separation of the two and Henry’s plan to see Clare as she died so she wouldn’t be alone were just beautiful. I had no idea that love could make me so upset (especially someone else’s… a fictional someone else’s mind you!), but it did.

This book was fantastic. I think the reason it really resounded for me is that most of these books have been set in entirely alien worlds or drastically different ones-with a few exceptions of course- but this world was ours. This book took our simple, basic world (yes I am terribly oversimplifying our world) and made it mysterious and interesting. For me, it was the most emotionally involving because it was the most relatable. This is not to say that the other books on this list are bad by any means. But the humanity and commonalities the readers share with these characters are predominantly more relatable than Paul Atreides or Ender Wiggin, because the characters in this book draw on more commonly shared experiences. They don’t just draw on the large things like love and betrayal (like Ender’s Game and Dune) but they draw on the tiny little things that we’ve all had one or two of in our lives and that was what made this such a resounding novel. I love this book, I still think Dune and Ender’s spoke to me much more in terms of my interests but in terms of a great book that just speaks well to me as a man, this book nailed it. Great book. I would love to read it again. Just funny, alive, and vibrant.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post. Please comment if there is anything I can do to make my blog more relatable and enjoyable for you guys. Again, likes and shares are always appreciated. Thanks again for the read and I look forward to sharing another book with you guys soon.

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #10- The Road

•January 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

First off, I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to it. Actually, I can. I had 2 of my 3 best (and at some times only) friends come up and visit me in Maryland. We played all the way through Horde, beat Beast on hardcore (or got close-I forget…all the carnage blends after a while), went climbing at the Rockville Earth Treks (which kicked my ass and made me jealous of their walls), and beat Jet Set Radio Future. After those three days, I pretty much flew out here and then started my internship the day after and school the next. I have been catching up on sleeping patterns, cooking for myself (healthier cooking for myself…no more Hamburger Helper for this guy) and just getting things back in order.

The holidays were great. I was able to get some much needed reading done (as you all are privy to) and to start eating healthier, go to a Raven’s game, catch up with family, get some time to catch up with old friends and start making some new ones. But, enough about me. I’ve got some school work  I need to start on and some more sleeping to get through (and with my dreams taking on such vivid and lucius (sp?) form, I can’t wait to get to some more dreaming). But here it is, book 10!

Book: The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Time Period: January 12th-January 13th

Source: Audiobook-Westminster Library

This post accounts for the 10th book of my literary taste testing NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. I liked this book but I felt that viewing the trailer for the movie skewed and sullied my expectations. So on one note, I felt a little let down because there was something I was expecting the entire time that didn’t materialize. On the whole I liked how intimately we see the father and son, the haunting view of their world, and the father’s struggle to keep his son away from the “bad guys” as they search for more “good guys.” I liked the intimate nature of the story. It was on a smaller, more manageable scale than say Dune or Ender’s Game, and I like it for that. It felt almost like reading a Neil Gaiman book like Stardust with how briskly we pass through this smaller world. This helps create the theme of isolation of course and makes it more haunting the further we get in the story. I liked the haunting world we find ourselves thrust into. I particularly liked when they would run into conflicts like the man stealing the shopping cart or the final confrontation. I loved the grittiness of the people and the father’s apprehension toward and distrust of others. When he shot the flare gun into archer’s house and he starts screaming, I cringed to think of the flame burning away at this hollow, emaciated being. When the father is about to shoot the stinking man that stole the cart, I could see the stink of the man accused in my head and loved the dialogue. The truly Darwinian nature of this world (he would steal our food and kill us, why should we not do the same-juxtapozed with the child’s innocence) is most palpable in the small scenes of conflict. Lastly, the father’s struggle to keep his son oblivious to the terrible position they were in was almost painful to read. I mean, the kid isn’t dumb…just innocent, but watching the father trying to protect the kid and do what is necessary while having to show him love, affection and keep him from going completely insane was what made this book a strong favorite for me.

My only complaint is of my own fault. I saw the trailer for the film and assumed the movie was about this man and child on the run from a band of armed men trying to extinguish the last threads of society. So, the entire time I was expecting the man that we saw in the beginning to have his group of people track them down and the father would have to start offing them. Needless to say this was not the case and I will not comment on which I would have preferred. But, with that expectation, I was even wary in the end when the child was alone and that man came to get him. I was just waiting for the man to turn on the kid and just kill him. But nope, didn’t happen. Thank God. I mean, I was expecting it but, if it had happened I would have been livid. So…thanks Hollywood for distorting my reading experience.

All around, this is a good book. Not entirely up my alley. I think I am more of a Dune, Ender’s Game, 30,000 Leagues kinda guy, but I can certainly see why people would enjoy this book. I may not read it again, I may. Just depends. Good book overall, certainly worth at least the initial read.

On a side note, I have now completed 10% of the readings on the literary taste testing list. So I feel it is time that I share a couple stats updates with you as I have grown a bit over the past few weeks.

+150 EXP, Reading speed -.5% Story Comprehension +2%, Story Reference Ability +4%, Story Craft +3%

Level Up!

Thanks for reading guys. I hope you find these things some what helpful. I’m not the most eloquent writer (my syntax and diction can be a bit spotty if you couldn’t tell from reading anything I have written)  so comments are always welcome. I enjoy sharing these little literary explorations with you guys and I hope you find something enjoyable in them as well. Shares, follows, and likes are all welcome as well. Until next time (which may be a good while as I am getting acclimated to the grind again-but eventually), keep on the look out for something interesting to read or to write.


Play Jet Set Radio Future (great game and story-my favorite game next to Fable), read Y the Last Man (super funny and thought provoking), listen to the Prairie Home Companion podcast (if you are from South or Midwest and a bit of a sarcastic fellow or gal you may like it), watch the Maltese Falcon (first movie I watched in Film Noir class-so freaking good) and…read MY BLOG! 😉

Con-nerd-sseur Log Book #8/9- Dune/ Slaughter-House Five

•January 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 Books: Dune, Frank Herbert and Slaughter-House Five, Kurt Vonnegut

Time Period: January 1st-January 7th (late in the evening)

Source: Audiobook-Westminster Library

This post account for both the 8th and 9th books of my literary taste testing NPR‘s list of the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. The majority of the reading time was taken up by Dune, but I finished it so early in the morning that I had to listen to Slaughterhouse while I was still in such a good mood. I find that the further I get in this list, I either have less to say about each book or I am just too much in awe and internalizing what I just read to have much to say. But maybe commenting on two books instead of one will spice up this little situation. So let’s get down to it.

The pairing of the two made a very interesting and satisfying combination because of the differences of the two. Dune was phenomenal, there is no question about it…it’s really no wonder this is the highest selling science fiction novel to date. Herbert’s world creation, character development and exploration of themes (particularly politics, religion, and time) were all executed well throughout and kept me immersed in this book right to the end. Conversely, the considerably smaller scale of Slaughter-House, the great humor, and the pace of causality (like all moments happening at once and Billy traveling in-between them) were my favorite points in Slaghter-House.

The world of Dune is hard to put into words for those who haven’t read it. The connection of all the characters, the rules and social structure, the wholeness and humanity of the characters and anything else having to do with Arrakis was intricately crafted. The depth of these characters was also quite good, Herbert capitalized well on characterization in this story. Lastly, themes like the mixing of religion and politics (that we see quite a bit of today) and time (like all moments happening at once, etc.) are well done as well. My words can’t do this novel justice. Just read it. If you have, read it again. I certainly will.

Slaughter-House was also quite incredible. The thing I enjoyed most about Vonnegut (this is my first novel with him) was his shifting between events and his humor. The switching between Tralfamador and Earth are quite interesting because the meaning of events are paralleled on the two places. I enjoyed very much the discussion of time and the end of the world with the Tralfamadorians. Their characterization of living creatures as machines, their perspective on war, free will, and Earth’s role in the universe was enlightening and added to the experience of the read. I’m not sure what else to say on this as well. The humor of Vonnegut is on point and off kilter enough to keep my interest. One thing I found particularly amusing and enlightening was the idea that making an anti-war movie (or book) is like making an anti-glacier movie, glaciers aren’t going to stop being their no matter how much you don’t want them to be. There isn’t much else to say about this book either. Just another great read.

These two are great complementary reads because the differing scope and style of the two authors give two well-paired perspectives on similar things such as humanity, tim, and causality. These books were two more reasons I am glad that I started working on this list. They are great, certainly worth re-reads-especially Dune. If you have any comments or concerns, please voice them so I can shape these responses better for you guys. Also, likes and shares are always appreciated. Until next time, hope you guys find something interesting to read or write!