It is fortunate that I do not have Wolverine’s claws

For it is a certainty people would provoke me slice and dice them. Particularly if I had his healing factor so I couldn’t be stopped.

The ass-hat who provoked this was Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Burnett Robinson who said in a recent sermon that ““In this matter of submission, I want you to know upfront ladies, that once you get married, you are no longer your own. You are your husband’s.” By which he means it’s moral to rape your wife.

No, no, it’s not.

It’s true that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians says wives should submit to their husbands. But a)it does not therefore follow that she must do anything her husband asks. Even misogynist Southern Baptist preacher John Piper thinks there are limits; unfortunately his dealbreakers are if the husband wants to engage group sex (or roleplaying or bondage, even consensually), not if he’s abusing her. That she has to submit to “for a season” or for one night of physical abuse. Then she can turn to the church and ask for help. Not, apparently civil authorities.

Keep in mind that (as Beth Moore has discussed), Ephesians also sets rules for husbands, who are required to love and cherish their wives. Rape is not loving. Abuse is not loving. Yet for men such as Piper and Robinson, demanding husbands do what’s right isn’t half as important as ensuring the wife never challenge patriarchal authority.

When people such as this present themselves as moral voices, my contempt is limitless.

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This was worth Apple TV

So as part of getting new iPhones, TYG and I got access to free HBO Max for a year and three months of Apple TV. I didn’t bother much about the latter until I saw they were airing a video of Broadway’s COME FROM AWAY. I signed up (don’t know I’ll keep it when the three months are up though), as I love the soundtrack.After the 9/11 airplane attacks, 7,000 air travelers were diverted away from United States air space and dropped off at an airport next to Gander, Newfoundland, which has a population of around 11,000. The results? Panic, romance, friendship, practical problems (“I went to the store for tampons and pads.”) and fish-kissing. While I”m long past the point at which 9/11 evokes strong emotions in me, the characterizations, conflicts and humor — not to mention the excellent music — worked for me; I imagine it might  work even for future generations for whom 9/11 is a historical footnote. A pleasure to see it after hearing it so often. “We have passengers down at the Moose Club who want to try elk — no, wait, it’s the Elk’s Club and the want to try moose.”

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Simon Pegg Meets Aliens (and more!)

It will be a while before I clear out all my viewing from working on Alien Visitors, but here’s the first catch-up post.

ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING (2017) has an intergalactic council (voiced by the Monty Python team) decides humanity’s survival hinges on whether Simon Pegg can use reality-warping powers for good or become corrupted. This is a good example of alien advanced science being indistinguishable from magic, as the council might as well have been God in Bruce Almighty or the bored deities gifting Roland Young with similar power in The Man Who Could Work Miracles.The results, unfortunately, are the predictable monkey’s paw effects of everything Pegg does turning out wrong though the alien’s standards turned out to be a nice twist (“It was good when he started all those wars, but now he’s stopped them — nothing is more evil than weakness!”). With Kate Beckinsale as Pegg’s dream girl. “The London Underground is worse than anything we did at Guantanamo.”

WORLD’S END (2013) has Pegg playing a self-destructive hot mess who reunites with his old school chums (including Martin Freeman of Sherlock) to re-enact the post-graduation pub crawl they never quite finished (making Robin Williams’ The Best of Times a logical double-bill). Unfortunately this plonks Pegg’s crew and Lost Love Rosamund Pike right in the middle of an alien takoever helmed by former teacher Pierce Brosnan. This has some clever writing in spots but Pegg’s the kind of overbearing jerk I just cannot stand. The alien stuff is simply too stock for me — like some of the shticks in Mars Attacks!, the pod people claiming We Make People Better could have been dropped in a serious movie without changing anything. “Does anyone know what ‘robot’ means?”

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL (2016) is an interesting, if slightly too murky film wherein a father with a strange mutant child scurries to help him meet his Moment Of Destiny despite the efforts of the authorities to stop him and Mom Kirsten Dunst (yet another actor whose gone from kid star to Mom roles within my lifetime. Not that I’m old or anything). This is an effective SF thriller but would benefit from a little more explanation about why the kid is like this — I’d assumed an alien hybrid, but they don’t confirm or deny that. “What do you believe will happen Friday March 6?”

As CHARIOTS OF THE GODS (1970) was one of the films inspiring Tribulation 99, I gave it a look and had the pleasure of seeing TYG boggle at the bullshit (“That carving looks nothing like an astronaut!”). This pseudoscience documentary attempts to sell Erich Von Daniken’s theories about alien ancestors but even as a teen I was more intrigued than convinced by his ideas. Now I find his theories just ridiculous, nowhere near as interesting as Charles Fort (probably because Von Daniken has less solid material to work with). This makes me appreciate why some critics find Von Daniken racist, with the emphasis that the aliens did their work in Egypt and preColumbian America rather than, say, ancient Rome (the film mentions some Roman temples but only to claim their foundations were former rocket sites). Jack Kirby’s Eternals (source of the images here) is vastly more interesting.“Would Ezekiel have described visitors from space in any different terms?”

The animated CHICKEN LITTLE (2005) is unusual in that the protagonist’s Zero to Hero moment occurs well before the alien invasion, as his long-odds win in the Big Baseball Game redeems him from his previous panic over the sky falling. But then, when he starts squawking Aliens Are Coming…This makes the structure feel a little off, but the film ends up being a good example of an invasion that’s actually a misunderstanding (“You know how it is — when you’re a parent you do anything for your kids.”). Minor but watchable. “Prepare to be hurt — and not emotionally like me!”

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A week of staycation and a non-cover reveal

Well, mostly. I can’t help making little adjustments to Alien Visitors as long as I have the manuscript on hand. And it took me quite a while to get the illustrations mailed off Wednesday. Still, compared to the rest of this month, this week’s been a cakewalk.

Obviously no writing to review but I do have a non-cover reveal for Undead Sexist Cliches to share. I started with a temporary stock cover from Amazon —But several friends confirmed I needed something more. My friend Kemp Ward did an amazing job, but I don’t have a postable PDF yet. Stay tuned.

And that’s all my news.

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Giving Thanks

We have two wonderful dogs and modern medicine helps keep them both in good health.

Alien Visitors is done.

TYG is still my wonderful angel.

I was at the doctor last week, convinced that after a month of bad sleep, less than usual exercise and maybe a little bit of stress eating, my stats would look terrible. Nope: weight down, blood pressure good. Cholesterol sucks, but that’s normal.

And I’m really enjoying having the free time to just chill this week.

I still freak out that Republicans are committed to making the United States a one-party banana republic dictatorship and could potentially succeed. But you know what? A lot of them think making liberals miserable is a win, so screw ’em. Happiness in dark times isn’t folly, it’s defiance. I deny them the victory. I hope you do too, at least for today.

As it’s appropriate to show sympathy for the less fortunate at this time of year, I shall conclude with sympathy for this chap from Halloween. I’ve no doubt he hoped to make it to Thanksgiving, but …#SFWApro.

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Shouldn’t women’s roles have improved by 1996?

Rewatching The Thing From Another World (1951) as I worked on the Monsters chapter of Alien Visitors gave me fresh appreciation for Margaret Sheridan as Nikki, the female lead opposite Kenneth Tobey’s Hendry. It’s not that she plays a role in fighting the Thing, but there’s no question she could do it if she had to.

Producer Howard Hawks liked stories about tough guys, and Hendry and his crew are plenty tough.  It’s not emphasized, just taken as a given that they’re willing to go up against this alien menace and fight to the last man to save the world. Scotty, the reporter (Douglas Spencer) establishes his bona fides easily: when Hendry says he should be away from the front lines, Scotty replies he shouldn’t have been at El Alamein or Okinawa during WW II, but he was there. ’nuff said.

The thing is, Hawks liked his women tough too. Contrary to the poster, Nikki never screams, never faints, never needs more protection than anyone else. She never stays behind when they’re going up against the Thing. We learn that on her last date with Hendry she drunk him under the table, a measure of toughness back in those days.

Fast-forward to 1988’s Predator. We have one woman in the cast (Elpidia Carrillo) and her role is a headscratcher. She’s working with a Russian special-forces team fomenting unrest in the region. We never learn what he role is: interpreter? Guide? Marxist guerilla? It comes off as if she’s there solely to provide exposition and avoid criticism the film’s a 100 percent sausage fest.

While Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his crew are tough, there’s more self-consciousness about it. One of the team (Jesse Ventura) carries a massive gun way too big to lug for jungle fighting; there’s the early scene where we watch Carl Weathers and Ah-nuld arm-wrestle with an emphasis on their muscles.

And then there’s Independence Day (1996) where as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a lot more worry that the male characters aren’t man enough. Jeff Goldblum lost his wife because he wasn’t ambitious enough for her; as a president, war hero Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is dismissed as a wimp because he compromises and negotiates. Both, of course, prove they’re Real Men.

The flip side of that is that the women have to be Real Woman, which is to say letting the men have all the glory. As the first lady, Mary McDonnell dies because she didn’t listen to her husband; Margaret Colin’s role as Goldblum’s ex is to see how awesome her husband really was; Viveca J. Fox gets to be a little heroic because she’s protecting her son, plus she’s doing what her boyfriend Will Smith told her to, in contrast to McDonnell.

It’s really annoying that Sheridan’s tougher and probably more capable than any of these later films. It should be the other way around, shouldn’t it? Similarly, the female lead in I Married a Monster (1997) doesn’t get to do more than in 1958’s I Married a Monster From Outer Space. All she can do is warn the town doctor and have him do the fighting. The 1995 Village of the Damned is marginally better than the classic 1960s film, but not much (I discussed this about a year ago).

Not that it’s startling news Hollywood is sexist, but it’s still annoying.

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Alien exhaustion

So Sunday I started proofreading Alien Visitors. I finished at 3 AM Monday morning.

I haven’t done anything like that in years. I’m amazed I still can. It got very, very, very exhausting near the end (go figure) but it felt soooo good waking up Monday and not having anything left to do.

Okay, technically I have two things to do: actually send the manuscript once they set up the server and mail off the posters (probably later today). Driving to the post office or a UPS store today didn’t seen like such a smart idea. And yeah, until it’s actually out of here I’ll keep tinkering. But I was able to spend yesterday doing nothing but watching TV that was not about alien visitors, petting dogs and taking naps.

The day went fast. There was quite a bit of sleeping. I won’t be working until December — the first staycation (or any sort of vacation) I’ve taken since the pandemic started. I intend to enjoy it.

In the meantime, here’s Plushie’s Before and After shots from our visit to the groomer last week. The change with Trixie is never as dramatic#SFWApro.

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99.99 percent done

Yesterday was a looooong day, almost an aill-nighter, but it’s done. Alien Visitors is finished, other than the mechanical steps of sending it off digitally, then mailing the hard-copy illustrations.

I thought I’d have to do a regular post this morning but nope. Not when I wound up feeling a little like this:But it was worth staying up late, knowing the whole thing is done. It feels great looking at today and knowing I have no responsibilities other than sleeping, playing with dogs, watching TV.

#SFWApro. Cover by Joe Kubert.

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The text of the book is done

Today comes the proofing and footnoting. Then everything goes off.

Proofing is important. I was reading over a quote from The Book of Revelation (including in Tribulation 99, which I’ll be reviewing soon) and realized that contrary to what I had written, that book of the Bible does not say ” “When the thousand years are ended, Stan will be loosed from his prison” (though I now want to write about Stan and what he was doing in prison that long).

For your visual pleasure, he’s Plushie frowning on me for letting Wisp get the lap.#SFWApro.

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In just a couple of days …

All these books and reference magazines are going back on the shelves.I use the Internet for a lot of stuff but reference books are frequently preferable to clicking on a half-dozen sites about a film or TV show until I find one that has the information I need.

#SFWApro.

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