Fiction & Felines!

Last week, I wrote that I may be showing off another custom. The latest one turns out to be taking a little longer than expected. I thought about rushing to get it done in time before realizing San Diego Comic Con coverage starts this week. Rather than letting all my hard work get lost amidst the noise of coverage, I’m postponing that post. That way when I do upload it after my armchair SDCC coverage, it’ll be ignored for the right reasons.

So this week is a follow up to one of my least read posts of this year. It’s an evergreen article on books & cats, this time with a superior title. I say evergreen because it will perpetually be non-current. Spoilers for decades-old books away!

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Since I started reading Needful Things in the cellar during the latest heatwave, the cat has jumped on my lap for pets five times in one day! I tried to tell her it wasn’t Kneadful Things.

Leland Gaunt is very charming, but would’ve been much better if he was honest. Instead of actually providing what his customers want most in exchange for dirty deeds & minimal money, he’s only selling rubbish he’s hypnotized buyers into thinking is superlative. He has matter manipulation magic, so it’s unfair that he’s not not objectively conjuring the items in question. The story is another anti-materialism parable, but it would’ve been more fulfilling if the townsfolk ruined each others lives for genuine articles. (Are anti-consumerism stories hypocritical when the authors are capitalists? Where are all the pro-materialism stories?) Despite Mr. Gaunt claiming to be disinterested in souls, he’s collecting as many as possible from these transactions. Aside from the soul transfers being invalid because the humans don’t give informed consent, the metaphysics of it are no clearer than in any other tales of Faustian bargains. Are souls so tenuous that people forfeit them by a single bad deed? Gaunt is connected the Lovecraft mythos, & none of its extradimensional beings cared much for souls. The message would’ve been clearer if Gaunt traded fairly with the Castle Rockers. This story wouldn’t work as well in the post-eBay world.

Stephen King uses many folksy invectives. This would be charming if he completely eschewed conventional profanity, but here’s it’s jarring. I’ll be butched if Maine-uhs cursed like that in the late 1980’s.

Although it’s either a little too long or not quite long enough, Needful Things is one of the better King books. (Gaunt’s guns fire bullets coated with something that explode victims’ hearts. Making bullets even deadlier than usual doesn’t actually go anywhere, unlike Gaunt’s spiffy Tucker Talisman.) It’s billed as “the last Castle Rock story,” but Hulu is making a series set there named Castle Rock. Even if that meant the last Castle Rock story written by Stephen King, that still feels like false advertising. King ought to have obliterated the town to prevent this sort of thing from happening.

 

I believe I have now read more 007 books than movies named after them. They’re travelogues first & spy thrillers second. I was pleasantly surprised by how literal the Gothic cover to You Only Live Twice is & disappointed when On His Majesty’s Secret Service didn’t feature a gun-toting griffin.

According to Goldfinger, Ian Flemming did not like lesbians, Koreans, Sicilians (the mafia boss has to shave during meetings because he’s apparently a werewolf), or Latvians. It does have a superlatively over the top mission to compensate. Also Auric Goldfinger, despite compulsively cheating at gambling like Sir Hugo Drax, twice inexplicably refuses to kill the duplicitous 007 while incapacitated.

Pussy Galore is the apex of double entendre Bond Girl names, & any attempts to surpass it are just embarrassing. She & Tilly flirting to Bond’s chagrin is cute. Unlike the movie, she doesn’t help Bond sabotage Grand Slam. She only betrays Goldfinger at the last minute because she suddenly decides life in prison is to preferable to never being boned by Bond. (James Bond’s epitome of manliness overriding her lesbian orientation is terrible.) Otherwise she was perfectly cool with murdering a whole city for gold.

Tilly Masterson is killed by Oddjob when she chooses to flee in a different direction than Bond ordered amidst the climax’s chaos. He eulogizes her with “Poor little bitch. She didn’t think much of men.” Wow, stay classy, James! Bond has always been a Lothario, but he’s been a chivalrous one up until now. It’s especially callous since the entire book could be retitled How 007 Royally Screwed Over The Masterson Sisters. Both end up dead because of his meddling. What a cad!

On the other paw, The Spy Who Loved Me is very empathetically told from the perspective of a civilian woman, whose personal travails remain relevant today. I’m informed the movie of the same name has nothing in common.

Thunderball was pretty great (including the beginning where everyone is creeped out by how upbeat Bond is once he becomes momentarily health conscious), although Blofeld’s iconic white Persian doesn’t exist in the novels! That’s a massive oversight! The poor creature doesn’t even get a name in the movies or its appearance on The Powerpuff Girls either. Meanwhile Dr. Guntram Shatterhand is a most excellent pseudonym for keeping a low profile.

Scaramanga understandably turned to crime after the police shot his elephant.

 

I thought I heard squeaking as I was falling asleep but I was unsure if my kitty had caught another mouse. The next day, she pulled a baby mouse carcass out from underneath one of her paper piles as proof so she could claim her treat bounty. Clever girl even tossed it into the air & caught it before it hit carpet!

Currently her record stands at twenty-three mice. Surprisingly she’s been catching a lot in the summer this year. She spends so much time varmint hunting yet lately she’s just been eating their heads.

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Is there anything better than the sleepy contented smile of a cat that says “You’ve just earned another day of life, dumb ogre”?

What’s the real name of the adorable black-furred imp in Wizards of The Lost Kingdom nicknamed Apelua by MST3K? It totally acts like my kitty in the scene where three dudes are transmogrified into mice.

Nimona is kind of like V For Vendetta if it had gay knights & a shapeshifting monster girl. Both science & magic peacefully coexist in its whimsical dystopia. So this graphic novel comes highly recommended. Is the titular character’s name pronounced like The Knights Who Say “Ni!” or “The Horns of Nimon?” Writer-artist Noelle Stevenson says the animated adaptation will have a shark with boobs!

Speaking of needful things, why won’t Disney let me buy this Tug-n’-Talk Shmebulock from Gravity Falls? On the opposite end of the licensing spectrum, Target  has an exclusive Ducktales toyline from PhatMojo, a company of which I’d never heard. Not that any party involved has done a good job advertising them. Now that TRU is toast, Target will also begin carrying NECA toys in August.

SDCC will have happened by next week’s article, so I’m going to talk about everything I saw while I wasn’t there. Except for comic book news, of course. Comic conventions never yield any worthwhile comic book news.

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