I am out on a business trip for this week and one of the things I learned about life on the road early is that a guy really has to avoid boredom and the bar. I have two strict rules about booze: only on weekends, and NEVER at work. There's just too much trouble a fella can get in if he gets schnockered with the people he works with. So last night, to keep myself entertained I loaded kindle onto my ipad and figured it out and bought my first book in years - Murder One by world famous explorer, adventurer, author and man at large - WL Emery. I am already a quarter of the way through it.
One of the problems I have with most story tellers these days is that the characters in the story aren't really believable. They live and die in the story totally for the mission they're on. They don't worry about money the way real people do. They don't get pished at having to work overtime and most of 'em are totally without regard for their personal safety and interests as they battle their antagonists and challenges. The main character in Murder One appeals to me because he seems to understand the borderline psychotics and narcissists we all encounter every day - and he accepts them as a fact and knows how to deal with them and even use them from time to time much as I do in real life. (The character also knows how to deal with full blown psychotics and psychopaths and seems believable there too). It's shaping up to be a fun little read, and a perfect way to kill a night or two on the road.
Even though I used to be a voracious reader I am by no means a literary critic. All I want out of my fiction is a story. One of the things that effs me right off about current authors is that there always has to be a social justice lecture or a scolding embedded in their plots. At least half the characters are powerful, strong independent women that can punch out drunken rig pigs and iron workers without breaking a fingernail. The other half are queers or racially balanced vibrants that can do no wrong... and the villains are bigoted hateful fat old white males - guys like me, HAR HAR HAR!!! When I come across passages that go into lurid detail about a couple butt-blasters going at it in the bushes or the bedroom it just kicks me out of the story and leaves me wanting to wash my eyes out. It definitely leaves me sorry I bought the book.
Stinker books are a fact of life just as bombs are at the movie theatre. There will always be the dud you wish you hadn't spent money on. It used to be that I would get one stinker book for about every ten that I bought. Then it became one in seven. Then one in four. By around 2005 pretty much every book out there seemed to be about pushing homosexuality, feminism, socialism or diversity more so than being about telling a yarn! I hope WL avoids this in his work. He has so far.
I don't want to be lectured or indoctrinated when I read for fun. As a result I have learned a few things about buying books today:
- stay away from the old big publishers. Most of them are run by social engineers, bitter menstrual women, and pedophiles. They have axes to grind and they do it with books meant to entertain. Most of them are publishing dreck and their sales reflect that.
- look at the pic of the author on the book, if possible. If the author is obese, with tats and a face full of fishing lures and piercings with purple hair - put the book down and give it a miss. You may not be able to judge books by their covers, but contrary to the Usual Suspects you can judge people (and authors) by the way they look. Freaks can usually only write for other freaks.
- don't read anything by a female author. Period. Most of them are estrogen powered. There's nothing wrong about that, but women write books for other women and there's a legitimate market for that. Put it this way: sometimes you gotta go along with the wife to see a chick-flick at the movies because she goes with you to watch the good stuff with guys like Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone in it! HAR HAR HAR! Unlike movies - you don't have to read 'chick-lit'!
- independent publishers are your friend. Patronize the authors you like. Forgive them if they write a stinker; because with them it is a matter of human error. With the social justice warriors that infest the publishing industry today - they are selling dreck as the deliberate final product. The so-called 'indies' or self published authors are committed to a quality product and if they fail - you're out three or four bucks. If you inadvertently buy a paperback that turns out to be written by a pan-gendered she-twink with blue hair - you could be out $12.00~$15.00.
- do not accept industry awards and accolades as a means of measuring a book's merit. In science fiction, for example, the Hugo awards are red flags for hack novels. If you are a normal, well adjusted human being comfortable in your own skin and identity - you are better off taking book recommendations off of pikers like me here in the out house than you are from the New York Times Best Seller List.
As I said, I gave up reading for pleasure almost 20 years ago. The marketplace for fiction has changed dramatically and customers in my demographic have pretty much been kicked to the curb by the industry. Perhaps I didn't leave the marketplace so much as it left me? I think I can speak for The Obsolete Man when I profusely thank the few remaining authors out there that still cater to us.
In the future I am going to read the works of the great bloggers like Pete and the Old NFO etc - and then write scathing, scalding reviews just as I did for WL Emery. Tremble under my scrutiny, ye scribblerians! For now you answer not to the marketplace of your mortal peers - but to The High and Mighty Filthie Critic! Annoy me with tales of emoting fat chicks at your peril! Mock me with your wicked and deceitful social justice -and ye shalt face my wrath and retribution!!!!
Betcha it about the Irishman's Dilemma:
Do I eat the potato now, or do I ferment it and drink it later?
HAR HAR HAR! Have a good hump day!