ERAGON was not a good book, but it didn’t have to be. Lemme splain.

This book was huge back in 2006 when I first picked it up. I got WAY into it. I’d been removed from reading big fantasy novels for a while so it was a good primer for getting me back into the genre.

Someone pointed out to me that it was the plot of Star Wars with dragons, and that’s accurate, even if I didn’t want it to be at the time. You can give it a break on the grounds that the dude was 15 when he wrote the first one, and got the others done in his late 20s. I sure wouldn’t want anyone to read my stuff from back then, but I would also have taken the half-a-million dollars that came with it in a heartbeat, so no judgment there.

ERAGON was kind of like Harry Potter in the sense that it got a lot of normies into a genre that they might not have otherwise messed around with, and created a demand for more. In the end that benefits writers and readers. That’s a good thing. There are still people that really loved the series (I still have fond memories of reading the first two).

Whether it holds up now is less relevant than the space it created for more of us to generate and enjoy books of the same genre.

Audible had this on sale last week and I grabbed it for my kids, largely on the comparison to ERAGON, among other things.

Haven’t read it yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes.

Audible had another sale…

I ain’t even finished listening to all the books I bought on the last sale, ugh.

I picked up about a dozen more. Some are audiobooks of print books that I’ve already read, like SAKURA. I also grabbed a copy of WITCHY EYE for my wife, and some nonfiction as one does. (There was even a biography on Jefferson Davis and I realized I knew nothing about the dude other than he was the Confederate president.)

Yesterday I finished reading TABOO, by the same guy who wrote HATE CRIME HOAX. Very Thomas Sowell-esque intellectual writings.

Anyway, this week I’m going to read FRAUD AND FICTION, the JOURNAL OF THE FIRST VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS, and YAMADA MONOGATARI.

For reports on these books, make sure you follow the Radcracker Podcast.

I’m rewatching SMALLVILLE

Aiight so hey, Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling started a podcast, because that’s what part-time celebrity actors do these days, especially if they were on a successful TV show more than a decade ago.

Admittedly I’ve been following it because it takes me back to some of the fun that I had whilst watching Smallville in my teens. It’s also a hilarious look at the absolute kitsch and schmalz that formed a huge part of my identity at age 17. I laugh so that I do not cringe.

Anyway, this week I showed my wife the first two episodes. It just validates what Tanner Guzy said, about how a present version of yourself should always be able to beat up on a past version of yourself.

I want to go find 17 year-old Graham, running on the treadmill at 24Hr Fitness with his Discman, playing CDs that he burned off of WinMX, listening to teenage emotional rage music, and tell him what an absolutely unqualified P***Y HE IS so that he will look back at those workouts 20 years later, in his house with his wife and kids and dog and Hemi Durango, and just laugh.

Though I supposed I’m already there, so thanks, Present Graham.

BRIAN’S HUNT is better than you remember

Total Chad novel. Brian’s out in the wilderness, homeschooling himself while he eats off the land, dreaming about a girl he hasn’t met yet, but whose father approves of him because he’s shown he can live in the wild.

Injured dog finds Brian in the middle of the night. Through knowledge gained by experience and reading, he disregards things that society generally accepts as true and ends up treating the dog in a way that works. The dog is happy and loyal.

Then Brian uses his powers of deduction to figure that the dog was attacked by–most likely–a bear. It’s also a breed of dog popular among the Creek Indians, for companionship and limited work. He heads over to where they live to return their dog.

But…tragedy! The local Creek family, the Smallhorns, have also been killed by the bear, the same bear that attacked the dog. Husband, wife, two small children…just terrible. The only survivor is Attractive Teenaged Daughter Susan, who has only heard of Brian, but never met him.

Brian finds her. Rescues her. Gives her fancy gifts…what, roses and chocolates? No no no, even better, the two things women desire above all else: a competent man and a few hours of sleep. They find her short-wave radio and call for help. Rangers and Mounties show up to get Susan to safety. Before she parts ways with him, he says “Next time we meet up, let’s talk feelings.”

And she’s like “Definitely.”

Now that Female Love Interest is secured, it’s time to hunt some bear. Because it’s personal, baby. Mud up that face, grab your bow and arrows.

Dog jumps in on the action. Brian finds the bear’s tracks and follows them for a while. Then…slowly…he starts to cover the same ground again…and he realizes…the bear is hunting him.

I’ll save the ending for you. Really you shouldn’t have even read this far. Just go read the book. Read the whole series. Read everything Paulsen wrote about the outdoors. Everything else sucks, this does not.

You should be Chad-maxxing on books.

Principled but lazy

I was gonna change my website from WordPress to Substack but I got distracted and didn’t make the change. Then GoDaddy auto-renewed this week and I’m committed for another year.

Oh wait, that’s my hosting. WordPress renews in December. I’ve still got time. I will get around to it, lol.

Allegedly I have 120 followers on this site? But none of you are buying my books, wtf guys?

Yet my old post about how badly beets taste is getting love.

I don’t know what you people want.

Tech Upgrade

I now have a dual-monitor setup.

This isn’t new tech, just an old monitor I had lying around.

My next real tech upgrade might be my microphone, but I’d really prefer to save up for a drawing tablet. Then again, I’ve got a bamboo pad and a hand-me-down laptop to dial in.

And I can use another old laptop to sail the high seas for programming on my television.

Man…you really only need old junk, huh…

State of the Dread: September 2022

Big breakthroughs on Howling Wilderness. The rest should be done by the end of the year and then I’ll take a break before getting it primed for Halloween 2023. Wish I could have done it for 2022, but this way I’ll have time to get quality digital illustrations dialed in. Between drafts I’ll decided on a palette-cleanser project.

Did some scribbling and stuff, but the big thing was the new thumbnails for YouTube. They’re versatile so I’ll use them elsewhere, too. I’m gearing up for Inktober 2022 now, and I’ll get some sketches done far ahead of time.

In August I read eight books. Nothing that made the best-of-year list but they were all very good. I’ve been thinking about the best-of list and I’ve decided that if I were to go back to previous years when I had 10 or 12 or 15 books on it, many of them would not break the threshold now.

In September I’m clearing out some stuff on the to-read list from a while back, and then I’ll have a goal to read maybe two nonfics a month for the rest of the year. Now that the move is over I can set print reading goals as well.

The rest is irrelevant. You’re here for my reading, writing, and drawing.

The Opposite of a Birthday

That would be the day that you died, right? Where you don’t eat cake, or anything? And instead of gifts, you get an insult of incredible magnitude?

Mentioning this for no particular reason, certainly not anything that’s going to show up in a search-engine blip.

OTD in 1973, Professor J.R.R. Tolkien, who created the majority of the corpus of poetry that exists in Old English today, and replaced the mythology that the Normans destroyed a thousand years ago in the British Isles, passed through the veil and into the next plane of existence.

His legacy of imagination and mythology will live forever, no matter how many billion-dollar corporations pay his ungrateful great-grandchildren millions of dollars so they can shove a fist up its rear end and make it parrot current-day sociopolitical drivel.

Thank you for your life and your work, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. I should very much like to shake your hand someday.

What if ‘Good Omens’ was written by a guy who liked Christianity?

I’m gonna save my in-depth review of this series for an Upstream article. For now I want to link to some stuff here.

Mercury Falls on Amazon

Rob Kroese is one of the much better names doing indie sci-fi and fantasy. It helps that he’s a yeoman novelist with a wide range of interests, and he studies a ton of stuff himself. Much like David Butler, he casts a wide net into different areas of Christian lore, then just has fun telling a good story.

In this case, we meet an angel named Mercury who wants to stop the end of the world, which–funnily enough–may come about due to a loophole interpretation of a divine contract between God and Satan. He’s not the only focal character by a mile.

We also get Christine, a journalist investigating Armageddon sects, and a colorful cadre of side characters to boot.

It’s just plain fun and I want you to like it. I finished book 2 recently so I’m moving through the series. Enjoy.