‘No, No, Please, Nos! No “Katana-Wielding Scullery Maid”!’ (2018)

Image result for images of ella the slayer

At last! A fantasy novel that tries to give a definitive answer to the age-old question, Which are more obnoxious–zombies or superheroes? And is there any limit to how ridiculous you can make the martial arts?

No, No, Please, No! No ‘Katana-Wielding Scullery Maid’!

The whole blamed point of fantasy is to let the imagination run wild. Here it is locked up in Cliche Camp with watchtowers, guards, and dogs to make sure no original idea can get out or get in.

My sword sensei used to go green around the gills when people came in asking to learn “those jumpin’, spinnin’ kicks” that they see in movies.

Books that make the reader dumber… a growth industry.

 

‘Harvesting Organs’–Think Again

Harvesting Organs & Cherishing Life: What Christians Need to Know About Organ Donation and Procurement : Klessig H, Bogosh C: Amazon.in: बुक्स

This will not be a full review, but I do want to call attention to this book co-authored by Christopher Bogosh and our own esteemed colleague, Dr. Heidi Klessig–Harvesting Organs & Cherishing Life.

Organ harvesting is a big, fabulously lucrative business in our fallen world. Most people think of it as a way of saving a patient’s life by transplanting into that patient an organ from another patient who has just died.

Except it isn’t. I am reminded of a line from Jurassic Park: “The point is, you’re still alive when they start to eat you.”

A major point in this book is that “brain death” is not exactly real, irreversible death–like when your heart stops beating and can’t be made to start again. But “brain death” lets them start cutting you up while you’re still a little bit alive.

This is a shocking book, and it should certainly move us to reconsider the whole business of organ harvesting.

Note the subtitle: What Christians Need to Know About Organ Donation and Procurement. I agree: we need to know these things.

I don’t think I’ll sign up as an organ donor anytime soon.

[Note: If you were here earlier, you may have noticed a headline that had nothing to do with this post. My bad! Management regrets the stupid error.]

‘Yachting with No Pants On’ (2013)

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Every now and then a perfectly serviceable novelist writes something that makes you fear for his sanity. And every now and then, one of these clangers is published.

And you wind up with John D. MacDonald babbling about a nude yacht with an “all-girl crew”… and your flesh just crawls.

Yachting With No Pants On

This book was one of JD’s Travis McGee series, solid, kind of offbeat, highly entertaining thrillers. Why he ever felt the need to write about a nude all-girl yacht crew is a poser for the ages. I mean, gee! Editors are supposed to protect you from making a fool of yourself! What was MacDonald’s editor thinking?

PS–Hats off to Lisa for correctly identifying the Travis McGee book in question.

‘Curtain’ Revisited

Curtain: Poirots Last Case

I don’t generally review books I’ve already reviewed. But I’ve just finished re-reading Curtain and it shocked me all over again.

This was a heckuva book to be writing while World War II was going on and German V-2 rockets were killing people on the streets of London. But that’s when Agatha Christie wrote it–the story of Hercule Poirot’s last case, written when she still had two more decades’ worth of Poirot mysteries to write–and then she locked it in a safe for 30 years.

In Curtain the world war is never mentioned. One senses that the action in the story could have taken place either just before the war or just after–although in terms of the Poirot timeline, that would be impossible. But that’s not why I’m writing this review.

Have you ever been involved in a group conversation in which one or two persons comes out with something totally outrageous, wicked, beyond the pale–and gets away with it? Worse–everybody else sort of tepidly, timorously agrees with it, even though you can tell by their body language that they don’t really agree and would just like this part of the evening to be over. So somebody drops a bomb–“I don’t care what they say, people who say they don’t believe in Climate Change ought to be jailed!”–and everybody else nods their heads, maybe mutters “Yeah, uh-huh,” and totally fails to call them out on it. Because, I guess, who wants to get into another one of those interminable arguments?

A lot of that goes on in Curtain. Characters natter on about useless lives, lives not worth living, people who are a burden to others, and how they all need to be humanely put out of the way, cull the crowd for the good of the species etc. And no one else ever says, “What are you, some kind of Nazi? You sound like Heinrich Himmler talkin’–if he were here, he’d fit right in!” I mean, we don’t even get an “Oh, come now!”

Now… why would Agatha Christie include such conversations in her novel unless she had heard them, probably pretty often, before World War II broke out? Heard them at dinner parties or casual get-togethers. Heard them from well-educated, highly thought-of people. After all, it was eugenics–which was Settled Science in the 1930s. You had to agree or you were anti-science.

Gee, I wonder why so many people in Britain became convinced that their ruling class wanted to sell them out to Hitler. Well, has our ruling class sold us out to China? Honk if you don’t think it looks that way.

This is a shocking book. Agatha Christie wrote it while her nation was fighting for its very life against an enemy that believed in eugenics and had no compunction at all about putting it into grim practice–an enemy with which her nation’s ruling class had much in common.

One wonders to what extent God had to intervene to keep Britain from entering into an alliance with Nazi Germany.

 

‘Another Tough Assignment’ (2018)

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For the life of me I can’t remember the actual name of this book. It has been blotted out of my mind. So you’ll just have to settle for the pseudonymn I gave it: Deeply Neurotic People with Feminism Thrown In. 

Another Tough Assigment

One of the major problems with Young Adults fiction these days is, it’s written by rather shallow adults who just don’t have a clue. Not that this one was badly written; but it was very badly thought out. They think they understand teenagers. Heaven help us.

Anyhow, this post generated a lively discussion which you may enjoy revisiting. And if I can ever remember the name of this tomfool book, I’ll come back and edit it in.

The Adult Fantasy’s Not So Hot, Either

Emissary by Thomas Locke, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Yesterday we looked at a review of an appallingly bad fantasy novel pitched to children.

Today’s mouldering pile of rubbish was marketed to adults.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/review-of-christian-novel-emissary

Question! When in America did “mainstream” come to mean “completely outside the Christian world-view,” and how did we ever allow that to happen?

Christian fiction author T. Davis Bunn, with a string of best-sellers on his resume, decided a few years ago to write “a wholly secular fantasy”, Emissary, under the pseudonym of Thomas Locke; and a major Christian publisher decided to publish it.

Emissary contained every fantasy cliche known to man; it was a veritable thesaurus of cliches. Why in the world do fantasy writers do this??? I mean, it’s “fantasy,” right–and that means it’s supposed to be imaginative. Like, what is the freakin’ point of a thoroughly unimaginative fantasy? Why bother to write it? Why bother to read it? If you’re an experienced fantasy reader, you’ll already know precisely what sort of characters will appear in the story, you’ll know exactly what they’ll say and do on any occasion, and the only surprise you’ll ever get is if you drop the book and fall out of your chair trying to pick it up. If you even bother.

Also, many of these fantasy cliches, in addition to their thorough predictability, are basically pagan–not “Christian” in any sense of the word. Why did Mr. Bunn waste his talents on such bilge?

Fantasy matters because it has access to regions of the heart and mind not easily explored by other kinds of stories. It matters because it ought to be included in Christ’s Kingdom and put at the service of that kingdom, not reserved as a province of neo-paganism.

And I wonder if Mr. Bunn just stopped caring about such things.

 

 

Truly Abysmal Children’s Literature

I’ve done a lot of book reviews for Chalcedon, and I thought you might like me to share them with you.

Some of these books were breathtakingly, astoundingly bad. Here’s a book supposedly written for children under 12–Spartan and the Green Egg: The Poachers of Tiger Mountain.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/book-review-of-spartan-and-the-green-egg-the-poachers-of-tiger-mountain

Looking back on it, this book is more hair-raisingly awful than it seemed while I was reading it. Conferring virtual omnipotence on children, by means of insanely high technology, is not an idea I can get comfortable with.

And what would possess any mother to name her baby “Spartan”?

This book is just so incredibly bad, I might actually be afraid to read it to a child. What if it puts him off reading for life? What if he gets mad at me for insulting his intelligence?

But worst of all–

What if he thinks it’s good?

I wake up screaming.

Another Book I’m Not Gonna Read

sapientdream - Pastlives (lyrics) - YouTube

Fap! My toilet backed up again–must be time for some past lives regression therapy!

“How can I live as my aware self?”

The Perky Publicist is morphing into the Pesky Publicist, sending me emails about new books I ought to read. This one, whose title I decline to give, lest anyone buy it and then blame me, is all about New Age self-improvement.

Confound it, the Mets lost again! Must be time to re-adjust those chakras.

Why is it that the more technology we have in our lives, the more superstition we get to go with it? Somebody must be reading this bilge. Yee-hah, I was Uncle Floyd in a past life! What? Uncle Floyd is still alive? Well, how many Uncle Floyds are with us now? Coulda knocked me over with a feather.

Up next–join your local Self-Exhumation Society! You could wind up as a bona fide YouTube celebrity.

I Won’t Read This!

Somewhere in Egypt there’s a Roman graffiti that says, “I cannot read the hieroglyphics.” Dude, I know how you feel.

Have I ever given the impression that I’m a sorta trendy guy, a New Ager, a plant masquerading as a human being? Heaven forbid. So why does the Perky Publicist come sniffing around my email, thinking I’d like nothing better than to squirt away several hours of my life reading this bilge?

“The Ancient Power and Wisdom of Women’s Sexuality…” Suddenly we’re back in the 1980s at a PBS fund-raiser, with all these middle-aged women and a few very soft-looking men sagely nodding their heads as the speaker natters on about how wimmin’s menstruations formed the galaxies. Run screaming to the sidewalk.

This here book is about the orgasm as “the highest form of celebrating life” and (oh, crikey, I think I’m gonna hurl) “honoring the orgasm as a sacrament.” (Excuse me! [three-minute break])

The author is a sculptor (groan!) whose clumsy figgers represent “women experiencing the full vibratory [something or other] of their inner core.” What have I done to deserve this?

Up next! A new book on New Age Self-Improvement!

Any New Ager can improve just by shutting up.

Holy Cow–They Really Believe That?

The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and  Jeopardizes Our Future(Or, Don 't Trust Anyone Under 30): Bauerlein, Mark:  9781585427123: Amazon.com: Books

[Huff-puff! Newswithviews is done! One more blog post, type up a chapter of my new book… and I can crash.]

When I was in college, if I heard this once, I heard it ten thousand times–“Your generation is the best, the smartest, the most with-it generation ever! You are the hope of America!” Etc., etc.

I put this down to manipulation. This was how left-wing professors recruited useful idiots. You could cut the cynicism with a knife.

Professors are still stroking their students with this pap, but there’s a big difference between then and now.

Now they really believe it!

In his book, The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein cites a multitude of studies that find that professors have actually convinced themselves that their students are inherently wise. Although if that really were the case, why are the students sitting at their desks listening to the prof, when they should be up at the lectern and the profs at the desks, being taught by the students?

And some of them would think that was a good idea.

The fruits of the most costly education system in history are not only rotten, but also poisonous. It’s killing our country by inches.

I’m sure manipulation is still part of the picture, but it’s gone beyond that to pure idiocy.

Defund the universities. Now, before it’s too late.