Monday, December 28, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (The Dusty Complains)


!!! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS !!!




You loved The Force Awakens, right? Sure you did. Everyone did. It's made a gazillion dollars and shows no signs of stopping. It's washing that icky prequel Jar-Jar taste out of our collective mouths. It's giving us young feminine heroes sans slave bikinis to rally behind while still bowing the nostalgia strings of our cello hearts making J.J. Abrams look like the Yo-Yo Ma of space opera.

I understand. Really, I do. I took my eleven year old son to go help awaken the money force in IMAX 3D and it was nothing less than a spectacle. I loved the original trilogy like everyone else and The Force Awakens paid tribute in a way that fans dreamed about when they bought tickets for The Phantom Menace and had nightmares about when they left that movie.

It was entertaining as a standalone, also. The actors were solid. The story succeeded on the strength of a tested formula. The special effects were without equal.

But after the Star Wars intoxication had passed I had time to analyze a little deeper. I had time to pick apart things. Basically, I found things to bitch about. Bitching about them doesn't suddenly mean I don't like the movie. But I see no reason I should have to ignore these things either.

Kylo Ren is kind of a wuss. So is Finn, but I have a lot more problems with his character than just his uselessness in a fight. So let's stick with Ren for now. Here's a guy who's the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. Both a couple of certified badasses. If that's not enough, he was identified as being strong with the force at a young age and received training from Luke Skywalker. Yet he's easily outwitted by some kids and eventually defeated by a child who has literally never held a lightsaber before. He couldn't even out-muscle her when they were leveraging for position. I understand she's a force prodigy, but he was able to toss her into a tree a few seconds earlier, then suddenly he's at her mercy. Even fucking Finn gets a wound on Kylo and he's got no force helping him out.

(Yes, I know Kylo is wounded from Chewie's blaster. It's no excuse. He's a wuss. Let's hope Supreme Leader Snoke fixes that.)

Tangentially, why do any of the Jedi or Sith fight with a lightsaber when they can sling people into walls or squeeze there brains telekinetically?

Now for the part that might be a bit controversial. Of course, there was already controversy when folks first found out there'd be black and female storm troopers. There's always idiots ready to spout nonsense at such announcements. I'm fine with black actors getting all the parts in Hollywood. Black Santa Claus? Bring it on. Idris Elba as James Bond? Might be the first Bond I watch in years. Remake of Passion of the Christ with a black Jesus? I say go for it. And don't leave the women out. You wanna make all female Ghostbusters? Sure, why not? Make an all female Magnificient Seven while you're at it.

But now that I've seen the movie. I don't think we should have had black and female Stormtroopers. Before I make my case, let me show you a couple of pictures.
 


Actual Fucking Nazis
 


Space Nazis (AKA Stormtroopers)



Does the First Order (and why the fuck can't they just be The Empire?) look like an inclusive group to you? If you're going to base an antagonist off the most historically racist government in the history of mankind, then it's a little self-defeating to have them be inclusive of other races and genders.

Besides, when did they stop being clones? (Don't answer that, angry nerds.) Which brings me to my next issue.

Finn is also a wuss. He wants to run away from everything. He wants to avoid conflict with the First Order at all costs. I understand that he was taken from home at a young age. The fact that he's a non-conformist despite his years of training and brainwashing is a pretty cool gimmick. But what about his attitude. Why is he trying to be sassy and funny? Why wouldn't he be stone cold serious all the time? He acts more like a guy who's been kidnapped last week, not as a child.

Let me offer a different version of Finn and Rey. Finn is indeed a pacifist. He doesn't want to kill, but he's underwent the brainwashing of the First Order. He's white, and the First Order has taught him to see other races as inferior. After making his escape to Jakku he meets Rey, a young black salvager who's in possession of BB-8. The girl proves her mettle time and time again, causing him to question everything he's been taught. He decides to join the resistance and use his superior Stormtrooper training and cold logic to help win the fight. Against the odds he and Rey become close, and Finn becomes a softer character over the course of the film.

That's my version. Maybe a little too deep for the kids buying Star Wars happy meals.

Another tangential question. If you are going to open up Stormtroopers to other races and genders, then why are there still only humans in the First Order? The resistance has all kinds of weird alien allies, including Ackbar and Nien Nunb. Why don't the bad guys ever have anyone like that? There are clearly some badass aliens in the Star Wars canon that would make for better soldiers than humans, so where are they?

Lastly, lets talk about Han Solo's death. Should it have been saved for the second or even third film? It's impossible to say without knowing what else is in store. It was a beautifully tragic moment but if the other two films lack anything comparable then it will be for naught. Plus, Han was really terrific in The Force Awakens. I'm not sure the new stars can carry scenes the way Harrison Ford does and I don't think Carrie Fisher is up to that challenge either these days. Even if she is, it doesn't look like she'll have that sort of role in this trilogy. That leaves only one hero who can save us. Help us Mark Hamill, you're our only hope.



Friday, April 24, 2015

New Stuff

Been a while since I updated anything so here we go.

Shaundra The Watcher finally came out in ARES Issue #2. Head to aresmagazine.com for that one.


I was recently accepted into "Selfies from the End of the World" from Jeremy and Dawn over at Mad Scientist Journal. It's a first-person account of a black southern farmer renting a room to a white northern scientist who things that the farm is ground zero for the apocalypse. 

I've also been accepted to Bete Noire since I last updated. This piece is a pulp crime about two laid-off rednecks in Franklin County Virginia who kidnap a mobster in hopes of stealing his moonshine money. It's pretty funny stuff and Bete Noire is a nice magazine.

Alternate Hilarities accepted my piece "Lenny's Dilemma" for the anthology "Hysterical Realms." It's a story about a genie whose lamp needs to be rubbed before it grants a wish. And by lamp I mean penis.

In poetry news, Star*Line accepted my poem "Formicidae Martis." It's about an ant from Mars who just doesn't have a fun time on its visit to Earth. 

There's a few submissions out that I have a good feeling about so hopefully I'll have a reason to update again soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Publishing News

My story, "Flight of the Lonely" just came out over at Acidic Fiction:
http://acidicfiction.com/2014/12/12/flight-of-the-lonely/  

It's about an elderly man with wings who lives in a retirement home. He's cranky and always has been. Always used his wings for selfish reasons. Until now.

I also had an existential poem published in Page & Spine:
http://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/211/post/2014/12/souls-home.html


And one in Scifaikuest's print edition:
http://store.albanlake.com/product/scifaikuest46/


In other news, ARES Magazine #2 should be in mailboxes in January. It contains my story "Shaundra the Watcher," about a teen girl with superpowers. Superpowers that seem sort of lame, at first.
http://www.aresmagazine.com/?p=789

Sunday, November 2, 2014

ARES Magazine Issue #2


The second issue of ARES Magazine comes out soon and I have a story in it! I'm very excited about this. ARES is the biggest publication I've been accepted into as of yet. It pays pro rates but is not qualified by SFWA because it hasn't been around long enough. Plus, SFWA rules bumped up to 6cents a word and ARES is still at 5cents a word. Still, it's a healthy rate and was considered pro at the time I got the acceptance.

Here's a preview. If you click on the 'store' button you can pre-order a copy. ARES has two options: You can buy the print edition with an original board game, or the magazine alone. Later you can get an e-copy also I think. Obviously the board game edition is a little pricey if you're not a gamer but the zine-only is a good value. It's a 11x14 magazine that feels like a trade paperback it's so thick. The first issue was about 90 pages and probably would have been double that in a digest-sized zine.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Giving away two paperback copies of People Eating People.

All you have to do is enter the giveaway at Goodreads. While you're there add the book to your 'to-read' list. If you don't have a membership, you can easily create one with your facebook profile. Open to US and Canada only.

Starts on August 27th.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

People Eating People - A Cannibal Anthology by Dusty Wallace

People Eating People - A Cannibal Anthology

by Dusty Wallace

Giveaway ends September 04, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, August 25, 2014

People Eating People now in Paperback

https://www.createspace.com/4947600

The paperback edition of People Eating People is now available on CreateSpace for $6.99. It looks good and feels good to hold. Click the image above, or go to this link: https://www.createspace.com/4947600

In other news, the Kindle Edition of People Eating People will be on sale
the week of September 4th for only 99cents. That's practically nothing, folks, so mark you calendars for some money-saving cannibal goodness.

Monday, July 7, 2014

People Eating People Update

First: If you've sent me a submission and I haven't responded. QUERY NOW!

As it stands, we're gonna have a nice collection of stories that vary wildly in genre and tone. I'm only waiting for one piece that I solicited to be done.

As far as a launch date, I'm thinking probably mid to late September. I could launch earlier, but I was planning on sending the completed anthology out for review. Some places, like Publisher's Weekly, require you to submit your work one month before launch for them to review. And reviews are what we need to bring attention to the work, whether they be negative or positive. It's a cannibal anthology, expect negative reviews. Don't freak out about them. If you see one on a site, leave a thankful comment. You'd be surprised at how that affects reviewers.

I'm hoping to have a cover reveal in the next couple of weeks. I saw a couple of preliminary sketches that were very good but didn't really fit any of the stories. So the artist decided on a scene from Frank Larnerd's short story and is working on that now. He wanted to do something with steampunk and Frank's story provided that fodder.

A note on diversity: There's not much of it. I got about equal submission from male and females and acceptances went to more males. That's not because I'm partial to male work, it just happened to fall that way. I'm a first time anthologist who's not offering a lot reward for work, so my submission pool was smaller than most. It's hard to represent diversity from such a small pool.

I have no idea about the race or sexual orientation of my writers. If they'd like to tell me, fine. If not, that's fine too. I do know a couple of folks submitted from outside the US and had names that aren't frequently associated with caucasians. But of the 2 or 3 I got I really didn't think the work fit. I wished it had. International flavor would have been nice.

At first, I was leaning towards an ebook only release. Now I'm starting to change my mind. The book won't be a weighty volume and printing through Createspace should allow me to set a price under $10 quite easily. If that's possible, I'd like to do a paperback version. I think the art's gonna turn out great and art helps sell paperbacks more than ebooks (Actually I just made that up but it sounds true.)