Monday, June 29, 2020

You should take a few minutes from your Monday to appreciate Mark Hamill singing a country song about King Kong's dong.

In these really strange times, Mark Hamill singing a country song about King Kong's dong size seemed to capture a rather perfect moment in time. So, I'm linking it below for your enjoyment. It really is worth a watch, if anything, because it's hilarious. Have a Happy Monday.

Friday, June 26, 2020

I should have seen Mulan by now. I wish times were different.

Without much to write about, I started to think about the summer movies that I would have seen by now and pick out one that (I think) I would have really enjoyed. That movie is Disney's Mulan. The reasons I was excited to see it were because I enjoyed the original story, and I tend to gravitate toward things with Asian themes to them (as I'm half-Asian). From the preview trailers that I've seen of the movie, it looked fantastic with the usual high production values from Disney and cinematography which feels epic in its lavish portrayal of China.

Regarding this kind of thing, we probably can thank many actual Chinese directors for this particular take on China. I can think of Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Curse of the Golden Flower to name a few off the top of my head, as well as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Curse of the Golden Flower in particular is a tragic tale that sticks in my memory, because the final fate of one of the royals in that show is quite gruesome in its telling. Not that Disney's Mulan will have any gruesomeness to it, but it does seem to be borrowing heavily from the tradition of presenting China in bold color and fantastical beauty.

I am a little disappointed that there won't be a talking dragon called Mu-Shu being played by Eddie Murphy. However, I'm looking forward to seeing how they avoid that character in favor of something else that might seem to be a better fit in a movie with live actors.

Are any of you lamenting the absent summer movies? Are there any in particular that you wish you could have seen by now? These are interesting times, indeed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Stargirl is a fantastic show and you can watch it on the CW every week.

I've got to say that I'm about six episodes into the new CW show, Stargirl, and I absolutely love it. Unlike some of the other CW offerings, the drama between angsty characters is a lot more subdued. For example, there's less of things like Barry Allen (The Flash) moping around with regard to his relationship with Iris and being all moody about how only he can do this thing (and then it turns out that he actually doesn't need to do that, know...there is no "I" in team). But even more than cutting some of the soap opera out of this thing, it has lots of superhero action that I crave from a show, and it's pretty light-hearted giving us mustache twirling villains that seem way more aligned with all the best things I love about Legends of Tomorrow. In other words, it doesn't ever take itself too seriously.

It also has a strange kind of Spielberg-esque circa 1980's vibe to it that reminds me of the best parts I enjoyed from E.T. and other movies of similar bent. I'm not exactly sure how they are accomplishing this, but I do like it. Maybe it's the small town setting that does it, but Smallville also had a small town setting and I didn't get the same feel from it as I do from Stargirl. I'm really liking that Stargirl is putting together a new JSA, and I cannot wait to finally see Doctor Fate in action. He was an incredibly interesting character, and the full-helmeted Doctor Fate was an extremely powerful sorcerer (so that should be a lot of fun).

I have heard that the reason this show feels different is because it comes from DC Universe. If so, then that does make sense. The DC Universe shows I have watched thus far, like Doom Patrol and Titans all had higher production values (I think) than the CW did. Their special effects also looked better, so I guess I'm saying that it looks and feels cinematic. I wonder if it will crossover with the other DC universe shows. I'd love to see Titans and Doom Patrol crossovers.

Is anyone else impressed with the show?

Monday, June 22, 2020

Dungeons and Dragons is making some big changes to make its game more inclusive and diverse.

Dungeons & Dragons is a game I play, and it's also making some interesting changes in its current 5th edition roleplaying game to modernize it for today's world. In an announcement they made on Juneteenth, they hinted at no longer providing racial bonuses for people to pick certain races over others in making their characters. I never really thought of this as racism, but there you go. And then they're going to overhaul the Drow, which are a race of evil elves who have black skin. I've thought the Drow seemed problematic for a long time, and even suggested that people should never cosplay as a Drow because that could be construed as blackface. But sometimes you did see someone do it, and I don't think they were aware that the image might be offensive to some.

Another thing they are doing is overhauling monster races like orks and hobgoblins who typically have been depicted as having darker skin tones. I guess that is going to change, as well as their behavior. In other words, orks are not always evil, and there's going to be a move to make them more of a society that could actually exist. I know in the current D&D game I'm running for friends, I have a couple of goblins I've cast as sanitation workers and they smell like hot garbage. But after reading Wizard's post (Wizards of the Coast is the owner of the brand Dungeons & Dragons), I'm wondering if I'm not being diverse enough in my depiction of sanitation workers in this fictional world. Goblins just seemed easy to pick on. And there's a kind of "stereotype" built around exactly "what is a goblin?"

To be honest, these were always questions I had in my mind when I watched something like The Lord of the Rings, or read books with these kinds of monsters in them. Anyone who is a fan of The Lord of the Rings wonders how the orks in and around Mordor can survive. There's nothing to eat there. It's all rocks strewn over with ash and sulfurous fumes, etc. Basically, it's a real hellscape. Yet there are tens of thousands of these creatures just milling around, obviously finding water somewhere, though I don't think venturing out from behind the Black Gate to find food and water would necessarily support a society. Maybe Barad-Dur had mushroom farms underneath it or something like that.

And then they're going to take a hard look at the Vistani, which are a people in a famous Ravenloft module who have all of the gypsy stereotypes. I guess they will be consulting with (or already have consulted with) a cultural expert on gypsies so that they can get it right.

And there's another part of me that wonders if all the "woke"-ness goes too far with the fantasy genre. Look, I get it that WOTC needs to make money and survive as a business, so they have a vested interest in making fictional and fantasy worlds as diverse and inclusive as possible. But in figuring out that goblins or orks couldn't actually exist if they didn't farm and have children and attend P.T.A. meetings kind of takes all the magic out of the fantasy. I say that because the more and more detail we put into fictional worlds moves the slider toward the real world. In other words, if we keep sliding things toward "more realism" and answering questions like, "how exactly does this work" and "let's figure out everything"...well...what you end up with pretty much resembles our world. And at that point, why play a game? You could just live your life.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how the makers of D&D thread the needle and make their game more inclusive. Good fantasy games tend to need bad guys, and when you remove things like orks and goblins and Drow from being good bad guys, it probably means that there will be some kind of "other monster" that is created with a made-up name which will be the new bad guy for a while. And if that's all people are doing (shifting the bad guy to something else), I suppose it may work in some ways. However, I'll always wonder if this new bad guy isn't the same thing as the old one, only with a different name (because using the old bad guy became problematic with regard to identity politics).

Friday, June 19, 2020

This year Jaws turns 45 and I think it's become an allegory for modern life in the United States.

Jaws turns 45 this year, and I thought I'd bring up things that the story profoundly illustrates. They are unchanging and enduring with regard to the way humans treat each other.

The corrupt money-grubbing Mayor (Larry Vaughn) is every Republican in Congress, and he's President Trump in a nutshell. "Let's open the beach...we can still save July 4th!" "It's the economy that's important!" The parallels between Covid 19 endangering and killing people seems remarkably similar to the shark swimming around eating people. Another one of his quotes that I love is, "Martin, It's all psychological. You yell 'barracuda,' everybody says, 'Huh? What?' You yell 'Shark,' and we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July." This is an acknowledgment of the power of gaslighting people, and it's happening every day with our current administration.

There's also the time when Sherriff Martin Brody says, "I can do anything, I'm the chief of police." It's a great line and clearly a joke. Martin's been drinking a lot, because he's incredibly frustrated and worried about his own family and the citizens who live on Amity Island. He feels the weight of his decisions and is troubled by the death of Alex Kintner, because he didn't have enough guts to close the beach. And he doesn't know if they actually caught the shark. When taken into 2020 context though, the quote takes on another level of meaning that they knew about even back then: that cops (when push comes to shove) basically feel like they are not accountable to anyone. To put it another way, society does not (often) visit consequences on law enforcement officers. It's as true in 1975 as it is in 2020 America.

Ignoring science experts--this was a thing in the movie and it's still a thing today. The mayor in the film prefers to use "cheap" solutions to try and get the shark. None of them work, but he gaslights everyone into believing that the beaches are safe. The science expert in the movie is named Hooper (played brilliantly by Richard Dreyfuss) and he knows that the shark is still out there. He even explains to the mayor very passionately that he pulled a tooth the size of a shot glass out of the bottom of Ben Gardner's fishing boat, but got spooked and dropped it. The mayor instantly seizes on this with, "So you don't have the tooth?" and then uses this lack of evidence to dismiss Hooper utterly and completely.

Jaws is a great story. But more than that, it has become (in the decades that followed its release), an allegory that reveals much about human behavior in modern America.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Adults make decisions and so do children but is one actually any better than the other?

One of the realizations of becoming and being an adult has been the realization that nearly every decision humans make from childhood to adulthood can be measured as awful if you look at it from a certain point of view. And it's interesting that society has drawn a line in the sand, the age of eighteen, as the point where a person will now own all the terrible and awful decisions that they make.

A recent opinion piece from the New York Times observes that moderates and those with liberal views got shipwrecked the morning after the 2016 election. We were washed up half-naked on a cruel and hostile strand of beach, where people with disabilities are mocked, immigrants are reviled, grabbing women by their private parts is perfectly fine if you are a celebrity, etc. On this island, unemployment is at its highest since the Great Depression, 100,000 plus Americans are dead, the president has been impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of congress, and the president has made an estimated 18,000 lies and misleading claims to the citizens of the country. The worst of it is that a shockingly large part of the president's core supporters loves this island we are marooned on just fine. It allows white men wearing camouflage to bear assault rifles to occupy the Michigan State House with Hitler's mustache scrawled on pictures of the governor, and it allows adults to indulge in their most barbaric selves.

And I want to point out my own use of the word "adult" there, because in any other context, a person under the age of 18 would just be dismissed as making a bad decision or a psychologist might say, "Their brain is not fully developed which prevents them from recognizing that the actions they take are terrible." And that made-up statement I could see a fictional psychologist (in my head) saying is biased toward liberalism. To clarify, it's only terrible because it's terrible to those of liberal views. To those with conservative views, the person brandishing the weapon and storming Michigan's House is a hero worth celebrating. Put another way, is a pedophile actually doing something awful when the only ones judging the decision are fellow pedophiles? Is a murderer actually doing something awful when the only ones around are other murderers? Do you see what I'm getting at? Where and what one is surrounded by matters a great deal.

So what then makes a decision terrible or good? I'm beginning to think that there are no terrible and no praise worthy (read as good) decisions. The good and the bad are determined by what goes against the norms of society. Society is kind of like a civilized mob or like those birds that all change direction at the same time in the has a flow to it. It moves in one direction or another with regard to things that I'm having a difficult time trying to nail down in my head. But there is a flow to it. In a society like ours that is deeply divided so that half the country is flowing in an entirely different pattern than the other half, finding out if a decision is good or bad seems to come down to location, location, location. It's also apparent to me that getting these patterns to merge with each other is not going to happen. If I were a blacksmith, I'd say that two different metals are not going to join together unless they are white hot and forced to do so through violence. What does white hot look like in America? You don't want to know...but it's happened only one time before in our much "storied" history.

If there is a point to my essay here, I think it is this: all decisions are bad and all decisions are good depending on where you stand morally, regardless of age. And what you use as a moral compass is going to depend on location, location, location. Adults are proving to make the same disastrous decisions that children make (or the same good ones), and age (to me) does not appear to be a factor. As Forrest Gump once said, "Stupid is as stupid does." Forrest never made a distinction regarding age, which ends up being kind of brilliant if you stop and think about it.

So what is society then? In my opinion, the whole of society is a made-up construct...a house of cards...and that includes all of our laws and the other things that millions of people believe in. It's weird to see it in this light, but the wars going on in our streets, the violence between cops and protestors, the mysterious hangings of black men in California, and the list goes on and making cracks in the smoke and mirrors that (I think) was put in place to keep people like me from seeing things as they truly are. I'm now seeing the wizard behind the curtain who is pulling all the levers. Instead of having a kind of reverence for the law and its enforcers, now I see that some dude in the past just wrote that law, and they said all of us should abide by it. And that other dude shot and killed this other man because he actually felt like doing that, and he has some kind of immunity because some other dude said he was immune. Like...what the hell? Is this what life really is? People have just been making up stuff for centuries and expecting others to live by it? Yes...that's exactly what has been going on. And, it's dizzying.

That's the overall effect I'm experiencing having been "marooned" on this desert island with the "President of the Flies" and where barbarity begins with the line, "You are not the boss of me," and just degrades to everyone saying, "I do what I want!" It strikes me as telling that the horrible decisions a child makes draws ire and condemnation from adults, when the same horrible decisions put into action by adults just makes people wring their hands in helplessness. But then again...maybe they are only horrible to me because of where I stand morally. There are others who clap and celebrate the decisions, because to them...they are beautiful and good. Maybe the demarcation line of the eighteenth birthday is just secretly a societal agreement with parents that "You are allowed to brainwash your child to whatever things you believe in up to this point. If it hasn't set in by then, they are free to pursue other things." That just sounds grotesque, doesn't it?

Well, maybe to some of us it does. Thoughts?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Was Game of Thrones' ending so bad that it killed off other fantasy projects slated for movies and television?

A little over a year ago, Game of Thrones ended. Before it's final season, it was a cultural phenomenon that had millions of people talking about how it would end. When it did finally end, it was a huge dud, and there were lots of people that poured hate down upon it. My own opinion? was really awful. However, I was hoping that it's success would indicate that we'd see other fantasy projects on film and on television.

Now that it's a year later...I don't see anything. No one talks about Game of Thrones anymore (for obvious reasons). It is in the dustbin of history. But no one talks about anything else either. Whatever happened to that Amazon Lord of the Rings series? Nada...nothing. I heard there was going to be something done with Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Nowadays, there's just crickets. There are no fantasy movies I can think of that are being greenlit. I'd heard rumors that maybe people were thinking of revisiting the Narnia stories, but again I've heard nothing more than that.

If Game of Thrones did irreparable harm to the fantasy genre (as it appears in film in any form) for the next fifty years, well...that kinda sucks. But I get it. A crash and burn of epic proportions tends to harm everything around it pretty badly. I just wish that the showrunners had realized that they had more of a responsibility in doing a good job with their intellectual property than just making a product for HBO. They should have thought about the lasting impact a terrible landing was going to make on the entire genre as a whole. But people don't tend to plan for the future very well. I guess that's why we can't have good things.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Can we discuss why J.K. Rowling feels it's necessary to weigh in on trans topics?

Look, I admire J.K. Rowling's story, and I know she's a hero to a lot of people out there. But I'm honestly flabbergasted as to why she feels the need to weigh in on any topics that don't have to do with Harry Potter or her other writings. Why on earth is she saying any of the stuff that she's said about transgender individuals? She could just keep her opinion to herself, and avoid media firestorms.

It's clear where she stands. It was clear some time ago even before this latest tweet about "people who menstruate" versus "having a word for that at one point in time." If you were that rich and that famous, would you sit around talking about those topics on twitter? I know I wouldn't. I don't talk on twitter much now. Well...and as of this writing...she has now posted an essay justifying her thoughts on this on her blog right HERE. Seriously, this is a complete mess.

So those few of you who read my blog still...please educate me in the comments. Why is J.K. doing this? Why do you think she needs to weigh in on the transgender debate? As far as I know, she has very little queer representation at all in her books, so why talk about it now?

Let's discuss, and have a good weekend. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

If you are looking for a distraction I'd recommend reading Diana Wynne Jones' Chrestomanci novels.

I'm in the midst of rediscovering some old Diana Wynne Jones novels. The ones I've read thus far are in the Chrestomanci line and they start with Charmed Life and The Magicians of Caprona. The thing I think I appreciate most about her books is how refreshingly original they seem to be. With the Chrestomanci books, she built a universe consisting of nine separate dimensions (and this happened all the way back in 1977). There was one copy of each person within each parallel dimension. The only exception to this was if a person was an enchanter. Then there was only one copy of that person that existed in all nine dimensions. However, that one person ended up having nine lives.

They are also told from the perspective of children, so yes...they are children's books. But they aren't afraid to paint children as utter monsters to each other. In the first book, Charmed Life, a girl is so utterly horrid to her little brother that she kills him three times over so that she can use powerful magic. Thinking of seeing those kinds of things today, especially in the way that Americans tend to worship and place children upon a pedestal, makes me cringe at the thought, double that if I were to try and market the book as a children's story and not a horror story.

And there's also the settings. Most traditional magic stories take place in some version of medieval Europe or England, or they take place in a modern world slightly removed. Diana Wynne Jones also borrows this technique, but in the case of the Magicians of Caprona, she places the story squarely in a town in Italy (Caprona) which is at war with its neighbor city states. The magicians of Caprona are two Italian families constantly bickering with one another, and piling slight upon slight for so long that neither of them is correct on what originally set them at each other's throats.

You might guess correctly that a resolution to all of that fighting and a new found respect for one another is in the pages of the tale, which is lovingly told through the perspectives of children growing up in a world where they are taught to hate the other family, and to marry for magic first and love second.

Anyway, if you are looking for a distraction, I would recommend taking a look at these books. They aren't great literature, but they are fun, and there are few books that so easily stand on their own like these ones do. Yes, all authors borrow from one another. But whereas a lot of fantasy fiction is so clearly derivative of Tolkien and/or greats like Tad Williams or George R.R. Martin that they resemble fan fiction...the Chrestomanci novels have enough uniqueness to them that they aren't a fan fiction of any kind. They're just good fiction.

Monday, June 8, 2020

It feels weird that the first season of Batwoman is now irrelevant other than as an art piece for Ruby Rose's talent.

It feels strange to me that the first season of Batwoman, starring Ruby Rose, who did a great job with the character, is now done and there isn't going to be any more. If you aren't following news regarding this, Ruby Rose decided to retire from the character after just one season. And the showrunner has decided to just reboot everything. So the second season won't have anything to do with the first at all. It will be a different setup and a different villain and an entirely different story. They didn't want to recast Batwoman and just continue with the story that had some dangling threads. So it very much is kinda like the one season of Birds of Prey that happened twenty years ago when the CW used to be the WB. It's a one and done piece, and the first season of Batwoman is now just a historic art piece to showcase Ruby Rose's talent.

Of course, the devil will be in the details and the execution. I'm trying to stay positive about this, as I did enjoy watching Batwoman. Maybe there's ways that an entire reboot after season one could be great. And I don't know at all why Ruby Rose left. But I can imagine that replacing Ruby Rose with someone that ticks all of the boxes for the character of Kate Kane (a white queer woman who looks natural with red hair and has experience in action roles, can act, and is affordable on the CW's budget) is probably kind of hard. Making it a new character means that they can fudge a little on the character's details and maybe find someone that will work.

Ah well, it's not like 2020 didn't suck already. Cheers, y'all.

Friday, June 5, 2020

I will be sad if movie theaters do not survive Covid 19.

I love movie theaters. I love going to the movies, getting snacks, obtaining prized seats at the local IMAX to be blown away by a four story screen and digital surround. I love movie theater 3D, and eating ice cream in the cool dark while I know that outside it is sweltering and sunny. These are memories I have of movie theaters, and quite simply...I love them.

News broke yesterday that AMC theaters is probably not going to survive Covid. They are making essentially zero dollars during the pandemic, and they won't be able to open "business as usual" when all the green lights are go. And it also remains to be seen if even they were allowed to open "business as usual" if anyone would ever return to the theater in large enough numbers for them not to go extinct.

This is heartbreaking on many levels for me. I love movies, but I also know the realities of capitalism in America. It is difficult to make it in our country, because greed has continually increased rent and land values to a point that the only way a business can be successful is if they are churning money hand over fist. I am continually surprised at how expensive it is to live in the United States, but the "heat" has been turned up so much on just about everyone...that the only way anyone is fine is if things are firing at 100%. That's great if you can keep up the pace, day after day, week after week, year after year.

When you can't keep up that feels weird that you just go extinct. That things collapse so readily and handily that you just cannot survive. Why did the people that came before me think that this was okay to do? Why did our elders and people who are no longer around who laid the foundations of this country come to the conclusion that a one-bedroom apartment in a city should cost $2300 a month? Why do small businesses have to pay $40,000 a month for renting a space? Like...why is that a thing?

I look at headlines at the cost of things and have many WTF moments. To put California's power lines underground to help with wildfires would cost $243 billion dollars.  Seriously? Why is it that expensive. Why does it cost $243 billion dollars to bury power lines? I don't get it. The scale of everything just seems out of control. Anything that breaks down in my house always costs at least $1,000.00 unless you do it yourself. My family pays the nurse who takes care of my father $1200 a week. He gets great care and he deserves it, but holy crap is that expensive. People seem to be completely out of touch with how much things cost.

A wheelchair ramp made of aluminum for my friend's house was $3,500.00 for ten feet with a rail. To fix the head gasket in my Ford Pickup and to correct broken seals around the transmission cost me $3,000.00. I paid it, but I was left thinking...why is everything so expensive?

Who are the people who can keep up with this kind of pace at how fast bills come at you fast and hard? People are going to fall off this treadmill. It isn't sustainable. The fact that we are losing art institutions like movie theaters is just a canary in the coal mine. In my opinion, we have raised the cost of living and doing business in the United States to toxic levels. I guess we shall see soon enough how it all turns out in a post-pandemic world.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

I got nothin' for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question.

Today is Wednesday, June 3rd, and it's time for a summer Insecure Writer's Support Group post. If you haven't heard of this blogfest, you can go HERE and sign up. Here's a brief rundown:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Here is the June question: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Hmm. I don't think I have any real secrets. I think I'm a little on the autism spectrum so basically whatever is in my mind I kind of blurt out. Additionally, as I've gotten older, my friends have winnowed down to just a small handful, and they all have significant others, so I only really see them on social occasions like playing cards or for a small dinner party and then (sometimes) a boardgame. So, I don't have any juicy gossip on anyone. Since I'm pretty transparent myself with regard to just about everything from sexuality to what I like to read to what I watch and to what I eat...I'm kind of drawing a blank. I suppose I am secretly bothered by a few patches of snow mold that left brown areas in my lawn. I figure I'll do something about it at some point, but I'm not in any hurry to do so. I'm also kind of (secretly I guess) enjoying the lockdown because I'm an introvert and there's no FOMO (fear of missing out) since there's nothing else to do.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 1, 2020

I'm in awe of Michael J. Sullivan's book production team.

This cover art is pretty darn amazing. It's like all the covers in this series.
I'm in awe of Michael J. Sullivan's book production team. If you don't know, Michael J. Sullivan is a highly successful fantasy author that writes good books. I'm a fan. I've read all of his Royce and Hadrian buddy stories, and lately his efforts have been on piecing together the epic tale of the Legend of the First Empire. It starts with the Age of Myth. I'm currently about to read Age of Legend, which is the fourth book in the series (I think there are two more after that). They are all about six-hundred or so pages, tightly written, and essentially perfect with no visible spelling or punctuation errors that I can see anywhere. And they are actually higher quality print books than you can usually buy from the major publishers.

Sullivan was traditionally published by one of the Big Six, and I think he parted ways with them because he makes more money by doing so. That's not to say that anyone could do this. Rather, what I'm saying is that he (specifically) does this extremely well. I always participate in his kickstarters and I haven't seen one that ran for less than a month that didn't go over $100,000 in backers, which is kind of incredible. They also hit The New York Times bestsellers, etc. All the usual stuff you'd expect from a major publisher. Only, it's just him, his wife, and some employees that are essentially friends doing all the work.

The print in these books is incredible. The paper is super high quality, the cover art is stunning, the book jackets are the best in the business, and there's even foil imprints on covers behind the book jackets as well as the fancy curlicues you see at the top of chapter heads. It's kind of ridiculous. I never thought such a small operation could produce products like these. He signs all of them, and you get all the nitty gritty details in their email blasts.

For example, his wife (who does a ton of the kickstarter stuff) sets up the kickstarters in the most professional way I can imagine. They have totes you can buy and other add ons. They have an actual composer writing original music for the series, and it's basically the same quality as you'd get from Alan Silvestri or some other film composer. Imagine having someone compose music for your books...I can't even think of how I'd go about finding someone to do that. They've got voice actors to do the audiobooks. I haven't listened to any, but if it's like anything else he's doing then it's the best in the business.

In one of the email blasts, his wife talked about how they dealt with Covid and how she lived out of a trailer in their front yard for fourteen days. And then to do the book signings they rent out an actual warehouse where the books are brought in by forklift so that Michael can start signing them, and then they have a table set up to package and put shipping labels on things. It's basically an assembly line similar to what I imagine car manufacturers have over in Detroit.

But's like a super small three to four people with a couple of extras here and there.

On top of that, Michael Sullivan can apparently write a book in the same time that it takes me to use the restroom in the morning. Which also blows my mind. Each of the last three books in the Legends of the First Empire (again these are big books mind you) has had a kickstarter pick up within like a month of the last one ending. Seriously. My mind just cannot comprehend how prolific and fast this man is with writing his books.

If you get a chance, I recommend them highly. Quantity in this case is not indicative of quality, as the books and stories are amazing.