Tuesday November 20, 2018
Book 19: A Function of Firepower — Part I
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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I finally made it back out of the house to see a movie. I wish I’d enjoyed the movie more.

Fantastic Crimes of Beastly Grindelwald or Something Like That suffers from some altogether too common pop-cinema ailments. Unmotivated action, Flanderization, and tokenism top my list, but I should also point out that it felt long and by the end I didn’t really care what happened to key characters, and those are more likely to dampen the spirits of movie-goers.

Unmotivated action is pretty easy to understand. It’s when you don’t think a character would do a thing, and the story never gets around to explaining why the character did the thing.

Flanderization is when a character in a series begins as a well-rounded, interesting person with quirks, but as the series progresses they are defined only by their quirks. It gets its name from Ned Flanders of Simpsons fame. Fantastic Beast’s Queenie Goldstein captivated us in the first film with her mind-reading, her smarts, her cooking, her effortless beauty, her kindness, and yes, being a little ditzy. This film mostly just gave us ditzy. It was pretty disappointing.

Tokenism is when a demographic is represented by only one character in the film, and it’s made worse when that character falls into one or more negative stereotypes. The only Asian woman in the film, Nagini, played by Claudia Kim (you may remember her as Doctor Helen Cho from Age of Ultron) happens to be cursed to turn into a giant serpent. Because serpent-ness is an Asian thing?

The good news is that everyone on screen did brilliantly with what they were given. Even when they weren’t given very much, they acted it to the nines, and did everything they could to make it work.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald doesn’t quite fall past my Threshold of Disappointment because I wasn’t expecting much. It doesn’t clear my Threshold of Awesome, however, which leaves it in far too ordinary a place for something with “fantastic” right in the title.

 

The Kickstarter Ended, You Funded All The Things

Our Kickstarter closed at $4,000+ past the final stretch goal, which means not only are backers getting four books, they’re making me write a fifth one.

Which means it’s time for me to get back to work. Maybe at some point in the next two weeks I’ll have time to go to the movies again.

 

Last 24 Hours: Get Four Books!

The Schlock Mercenary Kickstarter for books 14 and 15 has cleared another stretch goal, and backers who get those two books now get electronic versions of The Howard Tayler Retrospective Sketchbook and An Honest Death And Other Stories at no additional charge.

We only have three covers pictured because we’re a little surprised to have gotten this far.

The project also unlocked add-ons for five new Schlock Mercenary universe challenge coins, and a sixth coin which is a key fob version of the Maxim 70 coin.

The final stretch goal is out there a bit. It’s an R&D goal, and it’s about $13,000 away.  If we reach it, I’ll write a novel in the Schlock Mercenary universe.

I’m probably going to write it anyway, but with a proper budget I’ll also edit it, polish it up, and Sandra and I will explore ways to publish it. Perhaps it will get its own Kickstarter. Maybe we’ll shop it around with editors (or get an agent and have them do that) so that people with an existing infrastructure for prose can handle the heavy lifting.

The novel will definitely happen if we reach $125k. But if, between now and 6pm Eastern Time on Friday we reach $115k, I’ll make the first chapter available to backers at no charge.

And because were within just $3,000 of that goal already, I’m making the prologue available to everybody right now.