Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do You Know the Code?

Briane Pagel has a new book out. He says it's the best book he's ever written and, seeing that I have quite liked his other books (except for that pineapple thing), at least the ones I've read, I'm really hoping for good things from this one. I've already picked it up but, with the end of the school year and everything going on with my kids, I haven't had a chance to start reading it. I'll let you know what I think as soon as I do, though.

Until then, here's Briane to talk about Codes!

Wherein I Hate Stuff For No Reason (a guest post by Briane Pagel)

I know this is the space Andrew has lately been reserving for his discussion of how to handle, or not handle, a bad (or, as it was, not-really-so-bad) review, and I think that’s important work. Someone has to stand up to bullies, and Andrew has a good platform from which to do so. That’s why I am extra-appreciative of his willingness to lend me his Wednesday slot in order to let me provide some thinly-veiled marketing in the guise of a LISTICLE!

P.S. WHY does everything on the internet have such a stupid name? Years into it, I still cannot bring myself to say that I tweeted something. I tell people “Oh yeah I posted a link to that on Twitter.” “Blog,” “Tweet,” “listicle,” etc. etc. It’s so degrading. I feel stupid whenever I talk about anything I do on the internet. People will say Are you going to try to publicize your book and I have to say Yes, I plan to… *sigh*… blog… about it.

Where was I? Oh, right: Listicle. People love lists! That was one of the things mentioned in an article I read entitled, “These 5 Amazing Things People Love About The Internet Will Change Your Life.” (Other things included cats and lists about cats.) So I’ve been making the rounds, promoting my new book, Codes, and it just made sense. What better way to discuss a near-future book about a corporation trying to perfect the process of human cloning by implanting computer-programmed personalities into them and marketing the result than to create a superficial list designed to generate fake controversy?

Did that sentence make any sense? It’s been a long day and I got lost in some of the clauses there.

Knowing that Andrew usually uses this space to discuss people’s reactions to bad reviews, I decided that the theme for my latest list would at least tangentially relate to that topic, and so I came up with the idea of reviewing shows and books I’ve never even seen, and, of course, panning them.

If you’re like me (and I pray you’re not. TAKE MY WORD FOR IT) then there are LOTS and LOTS of things you HATE, almost-sight-unseen. I am a champion at hating stuff before I know anything about it. I can dislike something practically before I know it exists. It’s a talent. Books, movies, TV shows, songs, certain shades of green… doesn’t matter what it is, I can hate it right up front. And, more than just hate quietly, I can -- based on that completely uninformed opinion review the bejeebers out of that thing I hate. YES! FREE SPEECH! ‘MERICA! Let’s get to it!

1. The Walking Dead: I have never seen this show, or even a preview for it. That has not stopped me from hating it so much that I have started disliking other shows if a commercial for TWD airs during them. Can we NOT have any more allegories about our society told through the zombie format? This thing is all over! I can’t go onto a web page without seeing some picture of a sweaty guy or girl holding a machete and looking fierce next to a headline about how TWD is really going to amazeballs you with the storyline this week. LET ME GUESS: They nearly get overrun by zombies but then hack their way out! Also, where is everyone getting these machetes in the first place? I am 46 years old and I have never seen a machete in real life. Do the zombies bring them? Do they sell them at the True Value ™ Hardware Store? In real life, a zombie apocalypse would feature 100% fewer machetes and 100% more “Dads holding a bed lamp they grabbed off the table.”

2. The New Star Trek Movies: This automatic-dislike probably began when they cast Chris Pine as Captain Kirk in the first “new” Star Trek movie. Looking at Chris Pine gives me the same feeling I get when I grind my teeth, only less pleasant. That was bad enough. But then I heard that in one of these movies they had Kirk driving around in a hot rod on Earth. You know what space operas don’t need? Drag races on planet Earth. But to top it off, they remade “The Wrath Of Khan.” YOU CANNOT REMAKE THE WRATH OF KHAN. That is like remaking a rainbow. Like remaking a glorious, rage-filled, fist-shaking, Enterprise-attacking, earwig-monster-injecting, desert-planet-inhabiting, Fantasy-Island-operating rainbow.

3. The Hunger Games. OH. MY. GOD. From the moment I first heard of this series of books I thought they sounded like the dumbest thing ever. Here is my understanding of the plot: some government starves all its citizens, so that they will send a bunch of kids to shoot each other with arrows in order to get a little bit of extra food. HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? How would that system work? It could never! But then after all the kids shoot each other or whatever, the two (?) winners (?) get elected to the government or something, like Charlie winning the chocolate factory only Jennifer Lawrence didn’t even have to give back the gobstopper? NO DO NOT BOTHER EXPLAINING WHERE I GOT IT WRONG. The plot doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to, because it’s a book for teenagers, and teenagers love it when things don’t make sense. It lets them be convinced that adults don’t ‘understand’ them. That’s why I loved The Cure when I was seventeen, and why kids nowadays love The Hunger Games and its sequels, New Moon and whatever the third one was with Percy Jackson.

3a.Bonus hatred: I cannot stand Jennifer Lawrence. Not even a little bit. She is somehow the female version of that guy in 8th grade who thought smelling farts was funny. Associating her with a movie makes me that much less likely to see it. If “J-Law” showed up on my doorstep with a giant pizza and a bootleg director’s cut of the next Star Wars movie, I wouldn’t even answer the door.

Let’s do one more. This is fun! How about:

4. Anything by Isaac Asimov. To be honest, I am not sure where this one comes from because I do not know really anything about Asimov other than I dislike him and everything I imagine he stands for. I know as a scifi-ish writer myself I am supposed to apparently love Isaac Asimov and everyone’s always talking about how he predicted the future and his laws of robotics and etc blah blah blah, but I can’t be bothered. I’m not even sure what Asimov is supposed to have written. Foundation, I think? I’d go look it up but I’d rather my browser not have a history of searching for Asimov stuff. Even I am cooler than that. I think Asimov wrote that story that got made into I, Robot, starring Will Smith, and can we as a society really take an author seriously anymore if Will Smith likes his stuff? I’m also pretty sure that in reality there’d be no way robots could be programmed not to harm humans, which I think was a ‘law’ of robotics Asimov pulled out of thin air and made people believe was a thing. It’s so dumb: suppose I was being held hostage by Chris Pine and Jennifer Lawrence and the only way I’m getting out alive is if C-3PO (do NOT get me started on R2-D2!) snipes them both with a laser rifle from across the road. OH WAIT there’s a LAW that he can’t kill them, only if he DOESN’T, then he’s harming a human by letting me die, right? That is NOT how laws work, Isaac Asimov. You don’t see gravity only holding people down if it’s nonparadoxical.

In closing, you’ll note that the only people I picked on in here are people who are dead, or who don’t matter, or who are Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pine and so deserve it. I don’t have to worry about anyone overreacting or calling me crazy or taking me to task for these entirely unfounded and ill-informed, and yet still 100% correct, opinions. Don’t forget to mention in the comments how much you agree with me!

Something I don’t hate: My book, Codes: Robbie had an ordinary life, until she walked into Gravity Sling. Now he’s seeing coded messages everywhere, being chased by shadowy big-corporation goons, and questioning literally everything about the world as he knows it. Some questions need answers. This Phillip K. Dick style debut science fiction novel raises questions about how people use technology and each other.

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Buy Codes on
Golden Fleece Press’ site:


  1. Thanks for getting this up! I look forward to everyone saying "My gosh, he's right about all this stuff and probably everything else he ever thought."

    1. Briane: It is usually better to hate things you have absolutely no experience with. The hate can be so pure that way.

      I did, actually, try the first episode of Walking Dead. It was so dumb I could feel my brain begin to rot while I watched it.

  2. Looking forward to picking up the book, Briane. :) I have no interest in The Walking Dead, found the Star Trek movies interesting, but nothing compared to the original storylines on TV, think The Hunger Games are okay, nothing better or worse than a lot of stuff out right now, and Isaac Asimov....? Opinion withheld until I actually read and remember a story I've read by him. :P

    1. Alex H: The best thing about the new movies is how the actors so impeccably captured the originals, especially Karl Urban.

  3. So I'm not alone in not knowing why Isaac Asimov is supposed to be a big deal. *whew*.

    Our middle kid, "The Boy," keeps after me to watch those new Star Trek movies, but I'd rather not have my opinion clouded by facts.

  4. I don't like Asimov either, but unfortunately I've read some of his books.
    Never heard the list term before. I can use Internet terms but I try to avoid acronyms.
    Congratulations on the release, Briane!

  5. Thanks, Alex.

    I had no idea so many people were anti-Asimov. Now I'm starting to feel bad for the guy!

    1. Briane via Alex C: You don't have to worry; I do like Asimov. He was brilliant, and what he did with his stories, if you look at how he wrote them, was amazing.

      Now, you can get back to your hating.

  6. HATE ON.

    I can't believe how few comments I got. You get like 900 comments a day. I guest post and people are all "Oh, it's Pagel better go look at pictures of cats or something." Or is it that hate doesn't sell?

    Thanks for hosting this.

    1. Briane: Wednesdays tend to be a low day for visits and comments. There's a good chance there will be more tomorrow, too.

    2. Well, you know, you could have at least used ONE hilarious cat picture to illustrate your point. I'll help.

      Grumpy Cat hates The Walking Dead too

  7. Best of luck to Briane on the latest release!

  8. For not having read it, I don't hate your book either. I'm downloading it to my wife's Kindle as soon as the thing finishes charging, so don't give me a reason to hate it, yeah?

    I don't think I have to tell you that I don't like the Hunger Games either. As we posted about it before, we agree that the premise just doesn't make sense. So there's a government that forces children to kill each other and thousands of people just sit there accepting it until Jennifer Lawrence suddenly says "hey guys, what if we DIDN'T kill each other?" and then everyone says "hey, you know what, she's onto something!"

    So if Codes is like that in any way, expect hell.

    1. ABftS: Belief can only be bent so far before it breaks into little, tiny pieces, which is smaller than just tiny pieces.

  9. Well, I guess I can join you in hating Asimov because I have no idea who he is (I had to Google him) and he just looks like someone I should dislike…or not…maybe he was a cool guy that just looks like a jerk?

    I'm not a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence either. Pine was "okay" as Kirk but really, no one can replace the original Star Trek cast. But, I'm willing to admit that I love that Simon Pegg found his way into the new ones. I love him.

    Best of luck with your book!

    1. Elsie: See, I actually thought Pegg was the weak link as far as capturing the original characters. Not that I think it was his fault; they just took Scotty too far out of his element.

  10. This is funny. I'm not one to jump on board bandwagons and often I'm on the road little traveled. I haven't seen any or many of the things you've mentioned and what I've seen I don't remember too much. I'm not sure I've ever read anything by Asimov though I do have a copy of Foundation Trilogy that I keep meaning to read. I've had that book for something like 50 years now--maybe I'll read it next year.

    Internet terms are annoying but a lot of language stuff is annoying these days. In fact I have a post about this coming up in a couple of weeks.

    I wish you well with the book.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    1. Lee: Foundation is great, but you can't really appreciate what he did in a grand sense unless you also read the robot novels and the Foundation books that he wrote that came later.

  11. For the record, I own two machetes, though I use them for hacking down briars rather than zombies.

    Remaking the Wrath of Kahn???? Just no. no no no. Nooooo.

    Hunger games: sigh. Also: no.

    And I'll hop on the Asimov hatewagon. Not that I've read any of his books, but I've read a lot of books, and that whole huge Asimov hogging section on the top row of every book store always annoyed me as a teenager.

    The book sounds good, Briane. I wish you glorious sales.

    1. Jean: Um, they already remade Wrath of Khan. It was called Into Darkness.