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I’m watching with great fascination at the way young people are clamoring after Bernie Sanders. I suppose it’s the idealism of youth that dreams of a perfect society where everyone is taken care of. It’s a laudable notion. Is it practical? Could it really be accomplished? It seems unlikely,but it’s beyond my limited political insight to even guess.

At at the other end of the spectrum is Donald Trump who plans to make America great again but really provides no specific details about how he would do it. Yet he and Sanders, the two most unrealistic candidates in the race have the biggest crowds.

The crowds cheering for Sanders and Trump somehow remind me of that great poem by Lewis Carroll, “THE WALRUS AND THE CARPENTER.”

It’s a poem about this walrus and this carpenter walking along the seashore, who exhort all the young oysters along the beach to follow them for “a pleasant walk”

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

The end of the poem is very Twilight Zone-ish. The youngsters soon find themselves in the soup, so to speak.

I keep thinking about that eldest oyster who just shook his heavy head, refusing to go along. I have a bad feeling that we’re all just oysters waiting to jump into the next available pot of hot water.

 

 

 

 

 

The book giveaway is over and I’m pretty happy with the results. The sales’ rankings for The Big Shutdown shot up from the low thousands to 40, which put it in pretty good big shutdown 2company. Now that its over the book is back down in the 3,000 area. That’s not a problem for me. The monster hunter books continue to be top sellers in the Horror/Western category. But that’s a much smaller niche. You really don’t have to sell that many books to get into the top 100 or even the top 10. But space opera is much larger category with thousands of titles competing against each other. So unless I go with one of the big publishing houses, who can promote and provide wide exposure, The Big Shutdown may never get into the top 100 again, unless somehow word of mouth builds and the book sells by itself. Not too likely. But in the meantime I can continue writing and publishing myself, slowly building up a readership and like the man said, when it’s all done, I can say I did it my way.

Here’s an interesting breakdown of the actual number of books that were given away yesterday. Compared to guys like Lawrence Block and Paul Bishop who gave away books around the same day that I did, the numbers may seem laughably small, but it’s all relative, gang. The total number of free books given away was 45. The fascinating thing is that only 26 were given to U.S. readers. The other 19 were from overseas!

Germany had the highest number, with 9.
Next. United Kingdom, with 8.
France and Canada both scored 1 each.

My blog consistently registers viewers from those countries. Though they seldom if ever comment on anything, it’s great to know they’re following me and Flying W Press. Thanks to each and everyone both overseas and in the U.S. who participated in the giveaway. I would have been really bummed out if no one did. I really hope those who got the book will now actually read it and if you have the time, post a review on Amazon. It helps to have a few stars after the title up there on the Amazon page.

So, now it’s onward and wherever. Look for more new releases coming in 2016. Have a good weekend.

big shutdown 2Maybe I’ve gone stir crazy from all the snow. But you all know that The Big Shutdown has been out now since November. It was selling very well when it first came out. But since then, frankly, it’s slowed down a bit. The Flying W Press Mordecai Slate books are outselling it by far. I think it’s partly because there haven’t been any Amazon Customer reviews for Shutdown. The people that bought it aren’t saying anything about it.The book just got a terrific review in Amazing Stories Magazine. I think there would be more postive reviews if people had a chance to read it.

I figure the only way to get the book read by more people may be to run a promotion. And that’s what Flying W Press is doing. This Friday, Jan. 29 the Kindle version of The Big Shutdown will be free. That’s right. It’ll cost you nothing to get your grubby little hands on it. And then once you’ve read it, you can write a review. And believe me, I don’t care what you write about. Even if you hate it. Even if you think it’s the worst mind-rotting junk you ever read, feel free to say so. My philosophy has always been: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” But remember it’ll be free for only 24 hours. So be sure to go to the Amazon page this Friday and snap up your very own copy of The Big Shutdown.

big shutdown 2Amazing Stories’ Ricky Brown gives THE BIG SHUTDOWN a big thumbs up in his review today. Among other things he says: “THE BIG SHUTDOWN by John M. Whalen is a fun read that will remind readers just why pulp fiction, westerns, and ray guns belong together.”

You can read the review here.

 

 

 

Star_WarsA few more thoughts on STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS occurred to me during a discussion on facebook of what I wrote on my last blog. Two of my friends wrote to say I should just relax and enjoy Star Wars for what it is. Fun. Here’s what I replied:

Well, I’ve got other beefs to pick with The Force awakens. It’s the first one since Disney bought out Lucas. In case you don’t know how I felt about The Big Sellout here’s a link to the blog I wrote back then.https://johnmwhalen.wordpress.com/…/31/empire-1-rebels-0/

I said it was like all the characters had been sold into slavery, a sentiment which Lucas himself expressed a short time ago. I’d been a Lucas supporter until he made the deal. There was no good reason for him to sell his creation. He can say he wanted the story to continue, but the bottom line was money. If he wanted to keep it going he had the wherewithal to do it himself. Maybe not creatively anymore as witness the prequels that every body hated. He would have done better to let it just end.

Megacorporations own and control everything now. Star Wars under Lucas Film was at least one bit of rebellion against that trend. So that’s why I won’t contribute a dollar to it. Best way, actually,to see The Force Awakens would be to sneak into the theater and see it for free. Hey maybe we could combine that with the No Pants Subway Ride that’s going on today. We could all show up with no pants but carrying toy light sabers.

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I also said:

I don’t begrudge anybody a good time. I’m sure it’s very entertaining. But what I can’t get unstuck from my craw is that Star Wars started out as the product on one man’s genius. He made the movie he wanted to make, basically, a big scale Flash Gordon serial. (He lost control of it when he went on to the sequels, which I don’t believe were ever originally planned.) But the original film was the work of one individual with an idea and the drive and inspiration to see it through. But now Star Wars is in the hands of a corporation whose only inspiration comes from box office receipts. Just one more example of the corporatization of American culture. That’s why I gladly spend $18 to see The Hateful Eight. Tarantino at this point has not lost his independent spirit or inspiration and makes movies the way he wants to make them. I’m still not sure I liked Hatefu 8 but I’m not sorry I saw it, and I’ll go see the next one he makes. But Disney and JJ can make all the movies they want, but I won’t be in line to see them. (As if anyone in hell, cares what I think.)

And in case you think I’m being too harsh with Disney, that they aren’t the evil Empire after all, just remember that they blocked Tarantino’s showing of The Hateful Eight in Hollywood’s Cinerama Theater, a venue the director really wanted. Despite an agreement with the theater to interrupt its showing of THE FORCE AWAKENS to allow Tarantino’s film to be shown for two weeks in its Road Show 70 mm presentation, Disney blocked the showing. They wouldn’t give up one little theater for two weeks. That’s as mean as anything ever done by any of Disney’s animated villains, including Cruella de Vil.

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(A major spoiler in this blog if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Although I think I waited long enough to run this one)

I still have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I probably will wait until it’s on HBO in a couple of months. I’m a terrible person. I know it. What’s wrong with me? Don’t I want to sit there misty-eyed as Disney and JJ manipulate me with nostalgic symbols of my misspent youth? Don’t I want to cheer as the goodies beat the baddies and cry when a hero finally bites the dust? No. I don’t.

I guess what it is, is I had a traumatic experience in a movie theater when I was a little kid. It was the first movie my parents ever took me to see. “The Sands of Iwo Jima” with John Wayne and John Agar. I must have been about six or seven years old. I hardly remember anything about the picture, but I must have gotten very attached to Sgt. Stryker, the character the Duke played. I guess I thought he was a really neat guy. So at the end of the movie, when he gets killed I went into a total state of shock. I started bawling like you wouldn’t believe. My folks tried to get me to calm down but I just couldn’t stop crying. “He’s dead,” I wailed.”He’s dead.” “Why, why, why?”

My old man must have wanted to haul me out of there, but my mom was more sympathetic. She tried to explain he wasn’t really dead. He was just pretending. “Pretending?” Then my old man got the bright idea of staying for the next showing. In those days movies ran continuously. So it started up again and lo and behold there was John Wayne walking around, talking, shooting his M1. And finally I was convinced.

So now we have another movie where a beloved character bites the dust. Can anyone explain why Han Solo had to buy the farm? Huh? I’ll tell you why. So Disney could bring in a bunch of new action figures to put on the market. Can’t tell me there’s any other reason. People beat up on George Lucas but I like the way he just left us thinking old Han was still out there somewhere being the devilish rascal he always was.

So I’ll catch up with this installment of the series eventually, but I don’t plan to throw any money Disney’s way. And besides I don’t want to get embarrassed sitting in a theater when the lights come up, pretending I got something in my eye.

theBeginningOfInfinity

I see people talking about the new year as if it were something real.

Setting goals and making promises to themselves.

But a year is only a mental construct. A concept. A day, an hour, a year exist only in the mind.

Time is a continuum with no beginning and no end with no artificial divisions.

Flowing through time with no boundaries, we are what we always are: changing.

Goals achieve themselves or not.

As it will be.

heran

My New Year is off to a good start with a new  movie review up on Cinema Retro. This time it’s John Garfield’s final film. HE RAN ALL THE WAY. You can read it here.

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Happy New Year monster hunters and ray gun fighters from all of us at Flying W. Press. 2015 was a good year for Flying W. We now have three books out. Stay tuned in 2016 for more exciting stories. You know the kind I write. Furious pulp action mixed with soul-searching psychodrama. Where else can you get that other than Flying W Press? Have a great 2016!

 

 

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Creed is first rate. And an overwhelming emotional experience.It wasn’t that it was a tear jerker plot. It’s just that because of the long history of Rocky movies there is now an emotional resonance that’s automatically built into the series. So many of the scenes in Creed contain references to the earlier film and those references more than anything else raise goosebumps.

The film takes a new approach and seems more realistic than the others, particularly the boxing and training scenes. I believe it’s the first in the series to be filmed in widescreen. Stallone was wise to put himself and his beloved character into writer/director Ryan Coogler’s hands.

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