Comic Review: Golgatha

I picked this up because I saw a kickstarter that had a science fiction comic, and those are pretty rare. It looked very heavy on the SF, which I was excited about. So how did the story break down?

Golgatha is the story of colonists who get sent on a mission to colonize a new world on a sleeper ship. When they get there 80 years later, they find that there’s already a robust colony set up, and that technology was discovered that surpassed where they were at, making them redundant. The world promises to be different and disorienting, and conceptually, what a cool idea. Unfortunately the book breaks down from there.

There’s four parts here, four issues, and the first whole issue is spent on showing us a character who is really dark, did some dark things for the military, and basically is getting forced away from his home after his wife disowns him. That’s the main crux of it, not much sci-fi at all. This is very much too dark for my tastes, and the pacing and way it played out reminded me of those mid-90s comics that tried really hard to be edgy. I ended up liking the character well enough to continue.

Now on the kickstarter and on a full page here — we get introduced to this crew of this sleeper colony who has all these skills, do different things and…. then never appear in the issue. The colony ship crashes and so the promise set up by these introductions evaporates immediately. We’re reintroduced to the “you’ve been gone a long time…” new cast, and find out that the head of the world is the main character’s grandson.

Now the colony is huge, like a big city, and… we don’t get to see much of it. We’re told there’s a culture that’s very different, told there’s no place for soldiers anymore (later there are soldiers and battle drones). We never see anything, however.

A crisis gets explained to us in issue 2, where someone basically suicide bombed the city, and we don’t really get much clear explanation of that other than the colony leader’s ex wife disappeared years ago after finding some “anomaly.” Another interesting premise, cool concept, and comes back with some poor execution. We get a lot of talking, a romantic plot that doesn’t quite work out with the only other survivor of the colony ship (the others I guess died after that intro page) and a really slow build. These first two issues could have been used to set a way more epic stage for issues 3 and 4, or show us some of the culture of Golgatha, something.  The character set up was fine but I keep seeing “oh this is cool…” and then it misses the cool parts.

In issue 3, they set out to find the lost ex-wife of the colony leader, they find her after a little bit of cool action, and it gets kinda cool again. A small twist is set up and I’ll try not to spoil it. From this point on, the story flowed pretty nicely, albeit still with some pacing issues to the more interesting elements of the story.

The action was very light, the promise of “needing a soldier” — well they didn’t really need one. The main character could have had any background and really done fine with what was thrown in front of him. The scientist that also stated how smart she was several times, and also went in some weird Bhuddism stuff… also wasn’t really needed. She could have not existed in the story and it would have proceeded fine, and maybe given some more pages to try to flesh out some of the cool alien stuff, the cool world, and the cool missing doctor influenced by the anomaly stuff a bit more.

While I hit the pacing for several pages of talking that didn’t go anywhere, some odd religious references that didn’t quite feel natural, introducing some concepts (like the colony’s AI) that didn’t really get used for much, it did flow very well. I read this very fast and in one sitting, so the comic didn’t drag, despite its diversions.

The story was alright at the end, and though I really picked it apart. I didn’t hate it. I don’t regret reading, and it wasn’t boring for the most part. And most importantly — there were no politics in it! It just went on a lot of little tangents that didn’t come anywhere near to fruition, and hit a lot of backstory that really didn’t matter to the plot. The side vignettes in the kickstarter version are pretty interesting, enjoyed those, but the “science “content at the end was skippable.

Art wise… it looked like a high quality web comic, though not really the standard with which I was used to whenever I picked up a Top Cow book. It was fine, serviceable, but some of the colors blurred in the cooler moments — like when they were falling into the chasm, and it wasn’t as evocative of action in those points where I would have liked. It just came off a little flat, which didn’t help with the oddly paced storytelling.

I don’t love blasting things I read, and sometimes I just choose not to write reviews because of that, but, it’s on my mind, and unfortunately, I also have in my mind what I’d have done to fix it if I had written it. The issue does end with a cool action sequence and some changes that are interesting — and a really intriguing concept again for a promised volume 2. The concepts are cool all around, and they have a lot of them, I just think this needed a lot more tightening up at the end of the day.


Review: Hugo Nominated Cirsova Magazine – Issue 6!

It’s the review everyone’s been waiting for, of the magazine completely redefining the science fiction and fantasy short fiction market. For the general market – this comes out in September, but I kickstarted Cirsova and so I received an early copy. Hopefully I was able to scoop the first review as well. These stories harken back to a time where magazines like Amazing Stories, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s, etc. were actually what people would pick up to find exciting, fresh adventure stories. I’ll briefly go over each story, then a summary:

To Cirsova Issue #6! 

“The Last Job on Harz” by Tyler Young

I”m already calling this the novelette of the year for 2017. A trilling adventure about two investigators sent to a world who have to deal with high tension corporate intrigue and strange genetically manipulated monsters. Great way to open the issue.

“Death on the Moon”, by Spencer Hart

The issue continues with investigators in a noir-style tale on the moon. It didn’t go full noir, but had a lot of that feeling, including some of the dialogue. I didn’t dislike it, but wasn’t as in love with this as I was the opening tale. A style thing that this may appeal to other folk more.

“The Battlefield of Keres” by Jim Breyfogle

Maybe my favorite short story of the issue. This had two very interesting protagonists on a hunt to go thieve a magical helm from an ancient battlefield. I’d gladly read more in this universe.

“Othan, Vandal”, by Kurt Magnus

Othan goes to steal a talisman from a tribe in order to pay off his debts, and find there’s more than meets the eye here. I particularly liked the character and this may be my second favorite short of the issue. Its ending was very satisfying to read as well.

“Temple of the Beast”, by Hal Thompson

Academics go out to find a legendary beast in an Indiana Jones-style adventure here. Solid work, pretty straight-forward.

“Tear Down the Stars”, by Adrian Cole

A nice follow up in Adrian Cole’s universe, probably the most developed of the stories worldbuilding wise because of the continuation. I’m not sure if this is direct from issue #2 or if there was one in between, but it was pleasant seeing the characters again. I think the original story had a bit more to it on the action thrill side, but this had a better concept, so it balanced out. Totally readable without the prior story, and was happy to see this world again.

“Magelords of Ruach”, by Abraham Strongjohn

This was another continuation story, which is supposed to be a trilogy of stories. It definitely had a Burroughs-esque feel to it with Martians fighting Neptunians and trying to escape from their world. I think I would have done better to have read the first story first, but still a fun ride after I settled into what was going on in the story.

My Name is John Carter, by James Hutchings

Continues the epic poem in honor of the classic series. If you’ve read past issues of the mag, you’ve seen this and it brings a smile to the face every time.

Overall, I’ve now read 4 issues of Cirsova: 1-2, 5-6. It’s obviously far and away the best science fiction magazine out there right now. It’s fun adventure 100%, and never wavers or apologizes for that. While I enjoyed issue 5, I wasn’t quite as into the dark Lovecraftian theme that the issue presented, even though they did a very different take than I see most people do when exploring that framework. This issue I devoured, it hit all the sweet spots. As I stated above, there was no bad story in the mix, just ones I liked more than others and probably just due to personal taste.

Frankly, this issue alone deserves to win a Hugo Award if best stories are the sole consideration. Cirsova has knocked it out of the park with perhaps their best issue to date.

Film Review: Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

This weekend I went to see Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. I saw it was the most expensive indie movie ever made, and that Luc Besson was involved, of Fifth Element fame – which might actually be the greatest science fiction movie of all time. So I figured, why not? I got a little worried when I was told there was a message in the movie, as message fiction bothers me for the most part. This didn’t have anything to do with current political climates, so it’s safe on that front. Let’s dive into the rest of the film.

Valerian both suffers and does excellently from the modern-film having to have so much action it hurts and overuse of CGI.  I say done excellently, because while most action of this sort throws me out of the film after a few minutes (Star Trek: Into Darkness and Spock fist fighting on top of a crashing space ship is a great example of how it’s used poorly), I never was thrown out of the action in this at all. It was clever, well done, and actually showed us action that other films haven’t from a creativity standpoint. The visuals were beautiful to look at. And there CGI was everywhere. Way too many visuals with a lot of density, as is the trend. I couldn’t help but want to compare a little bit to Avatar with the blue aliens who were integral to the plot, which is bad in that it reminded me of a bad movie, but everything Avatar almost did, this did strictly better. Pacing wise, it was pretty break-neck, and I think with the amount of action I did start to suffer a little fatigue. It should have maybe been 10 minutes shorter for a tighter film.

A lot of people complained about the casting, that these actors didn’t have enough gravitas to hold a film of this weight. Luc Besson reminds me of a younger Keanu Reeves, an actor I’m not particularly fond of, though mentally, he does prepare me for an action flick like this as Keanu does these kind of movies. I can’t say his acting ever threw me out of the film. Cara Delvinge played the female lead, Laureline, and she is mostly known for modeling and background work, not for her lead roles.  I won’t lie, I was perfectly content to stare at her for two hours. I thought she did a great job actually, but even if she didn’t, I wouldn’t have cared. Where the casting broke down were the tertiary roles. Some of the lines delivered were pretty bad and wooden from those characters who came in to drop information periodically. Rihanna was tough on the dialogue end, but obviously her dancing was pretty crazy to watch.

Plot wise, I really enjoyed it. A good mystery build, investigations, lots of zany twists and turns like you’d expect from the guy who did the Fifth Element, unique use of strange alien species. There were points where things went a little implausible, but the movie and plot didn’t take itself too seriously. It was very clear on that from the get go. The dialogue had a lot of humor in it, which was fun. I enjoyed it, cared about the main characters. The subplot of the romance felt reeeeeeeally forced though, I gotta say. Some of it was cute, but most of it was over the top and poorly done. I liked it when it was some jabbing, but as it got later into the movie it broke down a bit. Not that I mind how it resolved, but something about it just didn’t work. It didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film much if at all, however.

On the message: it was there a little. Anti-war, don’t use crazy destructive weapons of overwhelming force in war because there’s consequences and innocents get hurt. Love and acceptance is a better way to do things. The blue people were somewhat annoyingly painted as saints, noble savages, like all films do these days, but it wasn’t so obnoxious like Avatar where it was all message with cigar chomping general. Elements were the same, but it wasn’t poorly done, and frankly I can’t say I disagree with that message. No problems on that front.

The amount of fun action and beautiful imagery throughout the movie were about perfect even though I picked out some of the minor problems that, due to how many there are, did hurt the film a little bit. That said, I’d actually watch this one again, and there’s no many movies in recent years I’d do that with. I can’t give in an A, but I rate it a solid B, 8/10.

X-O Manowar 2012 Run (Vol 1-13) Reflections

Mild spoilers for anyone who’s reading through this. Nothing big though.

I caught up on X-O Manowar, which was just relaunched a few months ago, written by Matt Kindt. The current iteration I found so beautiful that I wanted to go back and see the history of the character, which was rebooted with the rest of Valiant in 2012. The series had 50 issues plus several one shot side stories, and overall, was very intriguing.

It started with a character who’s pulled from Roman times, as an alien race called The Vine is seeding and harvesting worlds for slaves, of which Aric is brought to the vine world. Our hero starts a rebellion and discovers the Manowar armor, which is a holy relic of the vine. He fights his way out, and some of the vine start to hail him religiously as a chosen one, others see him as blasphemy. Epic battles ensue, and he comes back to Earth only to find that he’s now in modern times with his armor, that his people have no home.

After a lot that I’ll gloss over, Aric and his Visigoth people sset up shop in Nebraska and some good superhero/sci-fi tales get told from there. I enjoyed probably 2/3 of the series (which is pretty good for 50 issues).

Toward the end of the run, the last 25% of the books or so, the quality went back and forth. The art maintained its standards, which is nice, but the writing suffered from a couple of problems:

  1. “Save the world” syndrome – where each arc progressively saves the world from a more dangerous threat. This happens a lot in comic runs, and it takes a lot of the suspense out of later battles because he’s already fought the epic destruction machine that devours worlds, so seeing one again doesn’t ring in the same way on the second or third times. Maintaining discipline of not going to these kind of arcs is really hard, though it can be done, or having more personal developments in between help as well. Granted we did get a little of that with the wedding, but after that it went back to full tilt.
  2. Reliance on comic tropes. At points, X-O became Green Lantern. They even put in an XO corps kind of deal in a couple of different ways. There was a galactus villain. Once back on earth, it became Agents of SHIELD only not. What had a lot of unique premises got brought into the Marvel/DC way of doing things, which made the book lose a lot of its charm in the closing chapters.

Even with those, as I said, most of the arcs were completely satisfying. Vendetti did a great job with it, so much so that I checked out his Green Lantern run (which writing both might be why this storyline kinda blended at points).

The big thing that disappointed me, however, was that it didn’t answer any of my questions from the new run. The armor in the new run sorta has a way of speaking/calling to Aric, which the powers of it in this universe are pretty undeveloped. We see the whole paff thing when he fires his little bolts, an occasional laser sword which isn’t explained how he figured out how to do that, flying, some invulnerability, but because of the lack of definition and limits, it hurts some suspension as well in stories, but I’m still more concerned about how it really didn’t lead up to the relaunch.

That goes from the character standpoint too. We see a tired warrior in the new X-O. Aric is depressed, wants nothing to do with anything, but slaughters mercilessly. This wasn’t where he was left off at all in the prior run. The prior run didn’t prepare for that in the least. What happened to his wife, his people that caused this? I was hoping to get a few of those answers, and was braced for some really emotional moments at the end of this run that never came to fruition. The last 8 issues or so just were battle to battle to battle that didn’t have much in the way of emotional impact, some of the weakest in the series even though it resolved a lot of the vine conflict.

I’m complaining a lot, as comic book readers tend to do, but I have to iterate that this is one of the best superhero stories I’ve read in a long time by leaps and bounds, with the new issues even surpassing that so far. I hope we can see a little bit more character development as the new books have gone a bit fast, and there’s a lot of explaining to do which hasn’t been done yet in terms of what happened here.

We’ll have to see how it goes. Even though it was darn good, I was hoping for that little bit more that would have pushed this run to greatness.


Retro Review: The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

The High Crusade is the fast paced adventure story that melds both high fantasy and science fiction into an incredible epic adventure. The concept is an alien ship lands on Earth, an advance scout for an invasion force that preys upon undeveloped worlds, subjugating and taking their resources as a galactic empire expands. They land in the middle of the crusades, coming up against English knights ready to go fight in the holy land. Unfortunately for the aliens, the knights slaughter the advance party and steal their ship. From there, Sir Roger and his band of men find that the aliens can’t deal with direct physical confrontation from an energetic force, and set about conquering the alien empire on behalf of England and Christendom.

It sounds like a bit of a trite tale, and the voice that Anderson uses in this story definitely comes across as light-hearted, sometimes bordering on the absurd. But there is enough seriousness there that it keeps the story moving along and interesting. Like many of Anderson’s books, it’s told from a “story within a story” type of set up, where they’re tapping into a historical account of what happened from a futurisitic perspective, when it then delves into our main character’s thoughts on what happened with this group, the perspective of a direct observer.

The characterization is really nice, and the story really does come across like it’s being told by someone who was there, talking to us the reader directly. He intentionally mentions that he leaves out portions that would besmirch the Lady Catherine’s good name, and that brings a sense of charm and authenticity to the storytelling that we often don’t get from modern, more cinematic tellings of events.

The battles progress quickly, and some are glossed over as the crusaders take over different elements of the world. What I really enjoy the most is the budding jealousy between Sir Roger and Sir Owain, and how it isn’t just some background event, but how it consumes the plot toward the end. That personal touch in an impersonal adventure makes the story something that’s better to connect to, and really hammers a sense of character that’s missing from a lot of the older-style high fantasy adventures.

It’s almost odd reading a book with English men being heroes who conquer everything and make things better, and it’s nice not having a modernist spin on Christians/medieval people being “backwards” or somehow dumber than modern/future people. Historically, that was not the case, and that’s refreshing to read. The injustice gamer talks about it a bit in his review. I think he glosses over an aspect in a lot of ways – this has an anti-Colonialism bent to it that doesn’t seem to ring for now, but in the late-50s and early-60s with how Vietnam was developing, probably had a bit more of a different message than we’re reading it from in a historical perspective. Which is okay, as if a message is there, I think it’s buried well enough that you can have a fun adventure story without reading too much into it, unlike a lot of modern fiction.

It’s a really fast read, partially due to the pacing, but also because the book is very short, which ends up about the right length for the story as I came away fully satisfied with how it went, and not really needing more.  I don’t have any complaints, and though I think that Fire Time had better characters to attach to if going into Anderson’s work for the first time, this is right up there in terms of something I’d consider great fiction.


Retro Review: Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

Earlier this year I was pretty excited to find that Timothy Zahn had a new Thrawn novel out. The original trilogy was something I found exciting in my youth, and I was eager for more with this character, which they’ve actually done a great job of incoroporating into the Rebels tv show as well.  It’d also been more than 20 years since I read the original books, so I wanted to check them out and see if they held up to the test of time first. You can see my reviews of Heir to the Empire and Dark Force Rising to see what I thought so far.

The Last Command didn’t let down. It opened up in some nice battle that drew me right back in to the book. At this point, pages 50-125 perhaps, I think it dragged a little compared to the rest of the series. It fell into the standard trap I see in some books of “oh this needs to be a standalone book, so we’ll give you the lay of hte land” with a lot of dialogue really geared toward telling us how much Thrawn was some strategic wizard and how dangerous he is, which we already knew.

However once it got past that, this book flew. I couldn’t put it down for a moment. The development of Mara Jade was beautiful, and I would say that actually the character that ended up iwth the most development, and is most underrated from the series is Captain Pellaeon. His arc of training from Thrawn is really fabulous. It’s amazing that Zahn not only managed to create such a great villain in Thrawn but a sidekick villain I care to read more about. Expert writing on a level beyond almost everything else, tie in or not, ever written.

In a book like this it takes a lot to make you care about characters who aren’t Luke, Han, Leia, as we all come in for further adventures of our great heroes, but Zahn’s creations really shine and even sometimes outshine the originals. C’Baoth as a new dark jedi is actually more interesting than the Emperor in the original movies in a lot of ways as well.

The only character whose arc felt flat to me was Karrde, as he went through the same Han Solo/Lando arc that we’ve already seen with those characters. I vastly prefered the darker criminal elements to him in the first ocuple books than I did in this one where he’s all in on the Republic side. He ended up a little boring as did his segments from his perspective.

Even with that though, that’s minor. Zahn’s writing is so strong that even the parts where I didn’t like were fine. He has a nice descriptive sense that’s not too bogged down and communicates scenes well.

Not much to say about the main characters themselves. They felt real, Zahn could have written the scripts with them and i would have never noticed a difference other than the developments they’ve made in time. The dialogue between them was great, about as well done as can be asked for on that front.

The big epic finale conclusion battle is about as good as it gets in fiction as well. I usually skim through battle scenes hard because they overdescribe elements and tend to make something imminently skimable, but The Last Command is relaly battle done right. There’s character development mixed into it, tension and twists like I’ve never seen. Brilliant and beautiful, and once more, better than the original movies.

I may actually go read The Hand Of Thrawn series because I liked this so much, and apprecaite Zahn’s creations and contributions to this universe almost more than the originals, even though I wasn’t intending on reading more Star Wars books. One can only lament what could have been if Disney/Lucas developed this into film rather than the uninspired marketing-driven nostalgia pieces that they keep putting out that are devoid of feeling.


Retro Review: Cash by Johnny Cash

I don’t read a ton of biographies, auto or otherwise. Many of them come across as very dry as they recount events in life chronologically, and no matter how well done that is, it can get boring. The ones that really stand out are the ones that put the feeling and soul of a person into the work, whether that’s the ghostwriter creating a character or the person themselves dictating and getting it written down/cleaned up, I don’t know. Either way, when it’s done right, it creates a compelling story. The two examples I can think of in this vein are Me by Katharine Hepburn and Art of the Deal by Donald Trump. Those books really stand out as you get a feel for the person and how they’re living in the moment that it’s written, not just their chronological life story.  Cash by Johnny Cash is no different, and perhaps even exceeds these two examples.

Each section is framed with him talking about the current road performance he’s on, so you get the feel that you’re sitting with Johnny on the tour bus while he’s just going on old-man style about his glory days, and it’s inviting like hanging out with a favorite grandpa. Within that framework he bounces around to different stories. At first is early life – which it’s amazing how not all that long ago time-wise it was so difficult a life for so many people, it makes you realize how much the troubles of today’s modern times are just complete nonsense and that people these days are the biggest whining complainers imaginable.  How he had to toil in the fields all day dawn til dusk even as a young child, and come home to no electricity is pretty amazing. That’s not even 100 years old.

His 50s-60s life is very compelling, with lots of stories of great musicians like Elvis, Carl Perkins and others, and of course his own recording career taking off. It was cool that he was a part of the military and he had quite an interesting job in that regard as a person who deciphered Russian Morse code for our intelligence programs. There’s a lot of cool detail, and he interjects with a story from Jamaica which is riveting.

Later in the book, it gets heavy. He talks a lot about his drug use, his problems, his failings as a human being. It makes it very clear this is honest and not just some presentation of him as some idol, which I appreciate. And he couples that with some of the most amazing witness testimonial of God’s grace and the glory of Jesus Christ that I’ve ever seen in a book. It’s from an honest man’s perspective and not someone who’s doing it for appearances, and that’s what makes it so powerful.  We all have failed and fall short of the glory of God, and this is an example of that, and how we can keep striving as humans to be perfect in Him. It’s really inspiring.

The end drags a bit as he just wants to mention every friend and family member and acquaintance he’s ever come across, but that’s just 20 pages of the book and it feels like a coda after the story sort of a prolongued thanks section rather than part of the text itself. Even with that, it’s a fast read, riveting, compelling and you’ll get a sense for a big musician who really is an everyman in both the way he looks at the world, in his failings and in his redemption. It’s a beautiful story and I respect Johnny Cash more than most musicians as a result.


Review: Netflix’s Castlevania

A lot of buzz about this animated program over the weekend, and I promised I’d watch it and review. This is based on the old Nintendo games, an action/horror thriller that was very intense when I was a kid, even on the 8-bit system. Naturally there’s been a lot of Castlevania games over the years, and it’s developed a world. I haven’t played much since the original games, so I only am aware of that.

The series opens with a woman killing a bat, which hit me right in the nostalgias. I thought oh boy, we’re going to really get a good feel for this game. that’s about the last positive thing I’ll say about it as everything turns directly on its head into a garbled, poorly written mess of a show.

The church captures her, yes the church, and then burns her as a witch in a scene that paints the clergy as these maniacal old men who seem to just delight in torture. We spent the first half an episode on this, and the clergy with the long fingernails that keep getting zoomed in on to show how bizarre he is, also conjuring in us images of actual evil witches in him, it left a sour taste for the first half of the episode. Dracula then shows up and says this was his wife, and it’s the church’s fault for setting his wrath upon the world.


Dracula is supposed to be bad, a vampire. He is almost shown as a hero/anti-hero against this wicked church-influenced humanity and it doesn’t jive. The people who are going to be saved in this show don’t have redeeming qualities in the first episode to be worth saving. His rage shows up and he goes over the top caricature evil anyway, sending all sorts of evil into the world, killing people, lots of Game-Of-Thrones-Esque shock gore which really does nothing for the plot.

In fact, a whole episode goes by and we don’t meet a protagonist, don’t really get anything out of Simon who I was hoping to meet (I’m guessing he was the one kinda hanging at the bar there while some other gross bar patrons talked?). A first episode as an extended prologue? That’s too much, and there was nothing to connect to if that were the case for 25 minutes of my time. It was a jumble, it’s anti-church, it doesn’t quite make sense, it’s just trying to shock with showing very direct gore, it’s about as dark as it gets (which i expected from Castlevania — but I expected some heroes too to fight the darkness, that balance needs to be struck), that’s enough for me to write off the whole show. There’s no point to it, and nothing to root for.

What happens with these shows is there’ll be a lot of buzz around the first watch, and when it starts to settle in, people will think about it and it won’t get nearly the amount of accolades it does now.

Netflix needs to learn how to make a show without trying to go for over the top shock value in showing how awful everyone is all the time. They seem to be incapable of doing that with House of Cards, This, Sense 8, or any of their shows. Until they break that barrier, they’re going to have a hard time holding viewers. This will be successful for its first run as everyone checks it out for the nostalgias of it, it is a brand that gets people to tune in, but shock value won’t hold forever.


Drown The Cat – The Writer’s Guide For The #PulpRevolution


Doing a post on writing advice this morning reminded me of a new release this week, something that flies in the face of conventional “how to write” guides, focusing on dialing in the passion of a writer. Drown The Cat quite intentionally parodies the title of Save The Cat, the writing guide that so many authors use–a book that in a lot of ways has produced monotone, boring fiction from a good portion of the industry.

I’ve read Drown The Cat, and it hits the points that every new writer should learn in their journey, most importantly encouraging writers to be themselves. It’s very easy to read, and well organized and formatted. There are some standard writing points in there, but this encourages you to stretch your mind more than follow everyone else in the field. Though he’s not as keen on wall-to-wall action as many of us, this IS the writing guide for the Pulp Revolution.

If you don’t know who Dario is, it’s a shame. He is one of the best editors in science fiction and fantasy, and very few have heard of him. If you can hire him, do it, you won’t regret it. He’s edited Doug Sharp’s Channel Zilch, which is one of the most unique and innovative science fiction works of our time, as well as Bonnie Randall’s Divinity and the Python, of which is a great work of horror/romance fiction every writer could and should read as a study in how to write characters readers connect with. He’s got his own fiction as well, of which I equally hail. Bottom line is, if you want to improve your fiction fast as a new writer, you should listen to his writing advice.

Check out the book here: