My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Timing is everything, sometimes, and I stumbled into this book (thanks to a gift from my pal Joey Snackpants) at a perfect time.
This book is Kevin Smith telling the tale of his rise as an Indie film celebristar, his time watching the “Indie” scene become less of a scene and more the commercial norm, and then his urge to buck the system and go back to doing things his way again… not for money, but for satisfaction.
“Tough Shit” proclaims something I have told friends, fans, and followers for ages: you’d don’t have to be the smartest guy in the world. You just need passion and work ethic.
Kevin has both.
I highly recommend reading this book in audio book format since the man himself reads it (while stoned and recording from his home.) He adds occasional side nuggets that aren’t in the book itself which makes for one hell of an entertaining listen.
I’ve already bought a couple copies of this book for people I work with. Why? Because I get it. I get Kevin Smith. I get what he went through and I feel his pain dealing with similar circumstances in the fan geek industry. I bought copies for some people I work with because I hope they get it, too.
P.S. The “too fat to fly” shit in this book is funny, too.
The end result has been (after being told time and time again by “Joey” and my friend Ryan to do so) that I have started listening to some of Kevin’s podcasts.
So to conclude:
-I could relate.
-It’s a great advertising piece, too, since I am now listening to his podcast.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Man, do I ever miss Bloom County. This book, though, isn’t Bloom County. It’s more of a reminder of what was a “golden age” of comic strips. And by golden age, I mean golden age in MY lifetime. There are comics that predate me (Peanuts, etc.) that are just as legendary.
But I digress.
As a kid who never understood the joys of the sports page, I would gravitate to the comics section of the Sunday newspaper each and every week. So my childhood and teens were spent on a solid diet of Berkeley Breathed and Bill Watterson. When Bloom County ended, I had the last strip cut out of my local newspaper, mounted on poster board, and pinned it up on the wall next to my Apple IIc.
I miss Bloom County.
Opus is a Sunday only comic that ran in the new millennium while print media was slowly spiraling into oblivion. As bad as political correctness was in the nineties, the past decade has taken the American mindset to such an extreme need for sanitized entertainment that it would have been impossible for Breathed to recreate the magic of Bloom County again… but dammit, he tried.
This book just missed the mark for me, though. Aside from the obvious limitations that newspapers put on the strip (there were at least three or four strips that noted that an alternate strip was sent along with it “just in case” the newspaper opted not to run it due to it’s controversial content,) there were a couple of things that the book as whole did that made it less enjoyable.
1. A Lack of Notes: In the previous Bloom County and Outland volumes, Berkley Breathed and his editor would occasionally offer pop culture insight or side stories at the bottom of random strips. That is sorely missing from this volume.
2. Cohesion in Storytelling: Breathed did this in the beginning (introduced Steve Dallas appearing along with other characters,) but later in the narrative he just gave up. Binkley just shows up… the same age. No explanation. Oliver has a cameo and, again, no explanation. I know it’s just a comic strip – but this bothered me for some reason.
I enjoyed reading the book for the feeling of closure. In the end, though, “Opus” just serves as a reminder of how great Bloom County was by showing that there couldn’t be a Bloom County again.
Review: When Elves Attack: A Joyous Christmas Greeting from the Criminal Nutbars of the Sunshine State0
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I got this book right around the Christmas holiday in 2011, but I never really felt up to reading it after that season ended. Enter: December of 2012 – I decided to drive to see my father for Christmas (since my wife would be out of town.) The trek to his place from mine? About six hours round trip…
Perfect for a short audio book.
Thus I stepped back into Dorsey’s twisted world of Serge A. Storms and ultra-stoner Coleman. The problem is, his “twisted world” is, sadly, based on the real world of Florida. I live here and while folks outside the Sunshine State might think some of the characterizations and claimed “standard holiday news” events are extreme examples, they are (in fact) a disturbing norm thanks to our odd ball population.
The book was a short, fun romp through a holiday season in Tampa, Florida in Tim’s usual style of dark humor and creative murder for the betterment of man. It’s probably still a fun book to read outside Christmastime, but there’s more fun in doing so when you’re surrounded by plastic Santa Claus statues and palm trees. And stuff.
When I was young, my mother would regularly point out that nothing is new whenever we’d watch a movie together. Everything, she’d say, is a combination of ideas that already existed. Over time, we began to see what she meant…
and Neuromancer is a prime example.
Aside from the fame the book has for popularizing the phrase cyberspace –
NOTE: A common misconception is that this was the first work to use that word, but William Gibson used it in one of his short stories first.
- as I was saying, aside from popularizing the phrase cyberspace, Neuromancer sets the tone for a number of ideas that show up years down the road. “The Matrix.” Popular hacking. Even the groundwork for what became the Internet we all know and love.
The amazing part of this novel is that it’s really a fun and in depth noir style story with technical sensibilities. You have to have enough of a brain to conceptualize the activities of renegade A.I. beings in future Internet matrix which, in today’s mainstream of geek culture is no longer a stretch.
Back in the early eighties, though, it was innovative.
A Neuromancer movie could be really well done in today’s age of CGI and acceptance of science fiction, but (in seeing it) today’s filmgoers would think it borrowed heavily from other works. In this case, though, this is egg that came before the chicken.
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The adventures of Serge Storms kicks off to the level I’ve grown accustomed to (since, you know, I’m reading them completely out of order.) This book in the series has all the ingredients in the usual formula: Serge pissed off, a stoner sidekick (played by Lenny – for now – since Coleman is allegedly dead,) guns, touristy locations, and standard Florida political idiocy.
I also got, from the gist of this book, that Mr. Dorsey may NOT be a fan of “Bubba the Love Sponge.”
This made for another great drive-around-listen-on-audiobook adventure during my usual treks around the Sunshine State. I can’t wait to read the rest of them and be caught up with the entire series so that when I finally read a new book it feels all chronological and stuff.
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If you’ve read my blog (or follow my Goodreads account) then you know that I am pretty big fan Tim Dorsey and the adventures for Serge Storms. I started, though, by reading the books completely out of order. Here’s a few I’ve already read:
Atomic Lobster http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7322
Cadillac Beach http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7473
Electric Barracuda http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7612
Gator A Go-Go http://www.tomcroom.com/archives/7518
I’ve read others, too, but never took time to review them. That said, I was thrilled when Florida Roadkill was finally offered on audiobook since it’s the first book in the series.
Is it perfect? Nah. It’s obviously Tim’s first foray into a novel with his newly introduced psycho killer with a Florida conscience, but it’s still a hell of a good time seeing the beginnings of his characters. (So THAT’S where Coleman got his name!)
Now that the rest of Dorsey’s library has been added to Audible, I will be catching up with the older titles over the next year since they make GREAT listening as I drive around Florida for conventions.
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Sweet Jeebus – this is one long book.
The biggest problem with this book has nothing to do with Mr. Clemens himself. It does, though, have EVERYTHING to do with the intellectuals behind it. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate the work it must of have taken to get maintain the Mark Twain “universe” and the amount of time, research, and energy a number of people put into it. I just don’t appreciate the verbosity spent by the introduction of this fact/those accomplishments.
Seriously. The beginning of this book could have been cut to ten simply worded pages telling the same info… but I digress. Let’s talk about Mark Twain.
(Added note: as I started researching some details about the book while typing this review, I found that a special READER’S EDITION came out in March of 2012 that solves everything I just bitched about. Had I known then…)
Mark Twain opted to have his autobiography published one hundred years after his death which was November of 2010. All 760 pages of this thing. His writing holds up and so does his humor. The greatest enjoyment I got from his stories and anecdotes is how much things HAVEN’T changed over a century later – male egos, politics, and even inflation.
Twain loved human stories and small towns- and he hated political parties. He was a father to who truly loved and cherished his daughter (who died before him, tragically.) He was a complex person with a wit and intellect that still yields quotable quotes in the twentieth century. I enjoyed the parts of this book that were HIM, but instead of Volume 2 (when it comes out) I might just have to re-read Tom Sawyer.