Tag Archives: scifi

FREE BQB BOOKS!

I’m Crazy BQB and my prices are insane!

My prices are so low I should be put in a straight jacket and shipped off to the funny farm but I don’t care because I’m passing the savings on to you!!!

For the next 5 days you can get my 2 self-published books for absolutely free!  That’s zero dollars!  That’s no money!  Nada! Zilch!

3.5 READERS: OK, BQB, we’ll get your free books.  It’s the least we can do.

Well, the most you could have done was to have bought my books at full price to thank me for the many years I have been entertaining you with this fine blog for free but that’s ok, I love you, 3.5 readers.

But if you could go on over to Amazon and grab my free books, that would be awesome.  If you could leave a review, that would be great.  If you could share news of my free books on your preferred time wasting social media website, that would be perfect.

FRIENDS OF MY 3.5 READERS: Oh great, the 3.5 readers are going to share yet another boring lunch photo and what?!  They’re posting links to BQB’s awesome free books instead?  Hooray!  The 3.5 readers are the best!

So, what will you find for free from BQB?

First, The Last Driver – Episode 1 just dropped like it’s hot (that’s so 2000’s) on Amazon.  Someone bought a copy within the first hour and thank you to that person.  The rest of you need to get your priorities straight.

Next up, you can also get BQB’s Big Book of Badass Writing Prompts, for FREE as well:

Now, 3.5 readers, I don’t know what time it is in your neck of the woods, but this sale is scheduled to start tomorrow.  What time that actually kicks in I don’t know.  I’m going to assume midnight.  Obviously, if you go on over before October 26, you’ll have to pay full price, and if you want to do that, I’d appreciate it, because damn it, keeping the lights on at BQB HQ is no easy task, let me tell you.  By the way, do you have any idea how much yetis eat?

But if you are cheap-o skinflint, I totally understand as the Baby Boomers have been selling us all down the river for years and don’t even get me started on the post-2000 economy.  I understand.  You can’t go around spending your cash on every book offered to you by a magic bookshelf caretaker.  Ergo, you can wait until the sale starts on the 26th and get both books for FREE!

Thank you for your support, 3.5 readers.

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BQB’s Twilight Zone Reviews – S2, Ep. 17 -Twenty-Two

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Are dreams real?  Can they tell us anything about reality?  Can we ever be sure when we are dreaming and when we are awake, what’s real and what’s not?

Liz Powell (Barbara Nichols) is such a famous stripper, er…uh, dancer, that she even has an agent, Barney (Fredd Wayne.)  In fact, she’s been so overworked that she’s in the hospital for exhaustion.  Yeah, ok…just go with it.  If you can buy that premise, then you can buy the fact that she was allowed to relax in her hospital bed, not in a patient’s gown but in a dress that was, well for 1960s standards, kinda naughty.  Today, not so much but I’m sure in those days it turned an eye.

SIDENOTE: Nichols had that stereotypical Brooklyn floozy/blonde bimbo of the early 1900s voice.  Today, you might call it a “Harley Quinn” voice.  Nichols often played bar girls, dopey dames, gangster’s molls, and so on…so it makes me wonder if she might have had an influence on Harley’s style.

Anyway, every night, Liz goes to sleep only to wake up thirsty.  She reaches for a glass of water but then she gets up, heads to the lobby, goes down an elevator and walks to the morgue, where a mysterious looking nurse (the ever so exotic Arlene Martel) ominously states, “Room for one more, honey.”

There’s room for one more in the morgue?  That’s not news that anyone wants to hear.  Her doctor, who is never given a name but is played by Jonathan Harris of “Lost in Space” fame (“You clinkin’ calamity of bolts!”)  insists this is all in Liz’s mind and it’s just a bad dream.

I did wonder why the doctor didn’t have someone keep an eye on Liz to see if she actually was getting up to go to the morgue or if she was just dreaming it, but I suppose that would have ruined the story.

OK, that’s it.  I won’t go further because if I do I’ll ruin the twist.  But it’s an interesting question, where do dreams end and reality begin?  Do they intermingle?  Is the universe trying to send messages to us through our dreams?  Should we pay attention to what’s in our dreams at all.

Have you ever changed your life based on a dream, 3.5 readers?

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BQB’s Twilight Zone Reviews – S3, Ep. 24 – “To Serve Man”

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If aliens ever arrive on Earth, will their intentions be good or evil?

Such is the question that plagues the United Nations when an alien race called, the “Kanamits” land on our home world.

They’re nine feet tall.  They have big heads to house their big brains.  They speak through their minds rather than their mouths…and they swear their only purpose is in coming to Earth is to serve man.

In fact, they offer new technology.  Specifically, they offer a method of making soil more fertile and can even turn desert wastelands into fertile fields full of crops.

Huh.  Is it me or are these intergalactic travelers really concerned with making sure that humans have enough to eat?

Lloyd Bochner stars as Michael Chambers, the government translator assigned to decipher a book left behind on a table by the alien ambassador.  Does it hold any secrets?  Can these aliens be taken at their word?  Do they have more sinister intentions in mind?

And why do they want to make sure all the humans get fed?  Hmm…curious.

This episode is one of this show’s best, containing a line that serves not only a twist but also as a piece of pop culture history that has been parodied and paid homage to over the years.  Further, it sets in stone that time honored sci-fi trope, namely, that if aliens come bearing gift horses, said horses’ mouths should be checked thoroughly.

 

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BQB’s Twilight Zone Reviews

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Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I have avoided watching “The Twilight Zone” for many years.  There are a few episodes that are key, the ones where if you ask anyone, they’ll bring those up – the killer doll, the killer ventriloquist dummy, the woman who has surgery to “look beautiful” only to end up hideous because she looks beautiful but in a world full of pig people she looks ugly, the one with the guy who thinks there’s a monster on the wing of his plane, the little boy who can do all sorts of crazy shit with his mind if any adults ever think unhappy thoughts so all the townsfolk just put up with it because everyone’s afraid to say anything to him, etc.

Plus, the theme song, or rather the “doo doo doo doo” always seems creepy.

But, I finally broke down and checked it out on Netflix and I’m hooked.

My main observation is that either a) this series was far ahead of its time or b) that it paved the way for all the scientific tropes that are pretty standard today – that machines might take over, that maybe one day we’ll meet aliens and it won’t work out as well as we hope, that inventions to improve life will inevitably screw us over, that screwing with time travel could mess up our entire existence, etc.

But keep in mind, the show doesn’t just explore the scientific but also the paranormal – deals with the devil that don’t go well for the person who signed on the dotted line, attempts to cheat death that go badly, etc.

The special effects pale in comparison to modern films, though at times, a dude in a creepy mask is a lot more frightening for some reason.  It could be that good writing goes a long way and as long as the suspense is built up, the audience can forgive the fact that the baddie is a dude in a costume and not a CGI character.

Anyway, from time to time I’m going to pop up reviews of individual episodes because dang it, I need to fill this blog up with something.

What’s your favorite episode, 3.5 readers?

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Has Your Butt Been Probed By Aliens?

Your butt.  You must protect it from danger at all times.

Has your butt been probed by aliens from another world?

Only this BQB Top Ten List can help you know for sure.

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Movie Review – The Shape of Water (2017)

If there’s a better movie out there about a woman who fucks a fish monster, I’ve yet to see it.

BQB here with a review of the Oscar front runner, “The Shape of Water.”

I don’t think the line above counts as a spoiler.  If you check out the poster for this film, it shows a woman locked in a passionate embrace with a fish man sooo…I mean I don’t know about you, but when I saw that my immediate reaction was to realize that this movie was probably going to feature some human on fish man fucking.

Beyond that, I can’t begin to discuss this film without mentioning SPOILERS so if you don’t want to read SPOILERS then don’t read on below.   SPOILERS!!!

Here’s the deal, 3.5 readers.  I’ve been a movie buff for as long as I can remember.  I have seen so many movies that I deserve an honorary degree in film studies.

I’m usually able to collect my thoughts after I see a film…but I’m not sure what I saw here.

It was good.  I’m just unclear as to the point of it all.

Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer play Elisa and Zelda, a duo of cleaning ladies who keep a top secret 1960s Cold War era research facility spotless.  They dust satellites and clean bizarre machines and are aware that their continued employment (and freedom) requires them to keep their mouths shut about anything they see.

That’s easy for Elisa as she’s mute – unable to speak.  Elisa lives on the periphery of life, always enjoy movies and television, which she watches with her elderly, unemployed neighbor, a mopey ex-advertising artist named Giles (Richard Jenkins.)

Elisa is content to stick with the same old life until she learns that one of the lab’s test subjects, a fish man comparable in appearance to “the Creature from the Black Lagoon” is regularly tortured by Strickland, a clandestine CIA type played by Michael Shannon.

Long story short, Elisa feels sorry for the fish monster, so she enlists Zelda and Giles to participate in an breakout scheme.

And then once the creature is free, he and Elisa fuck.  Oh my God.  There is so much fish monster on human woman fucking its crazy really.

Sooo…I’m unsure of a number of things.  My first thought is surely this film, about a woman who falls in love with and fucks a fish man, must be a dark comedy.  The Academy never touches sci-fi, but the film makes use of typical French romance music, so one is left to wonder if this is all just a parody of classic romance films, but instead of two French people who lose their ennui after they meet, this is about….human on fish man fucking.

There are definitely dark comedy undertones yet there is a lot of drama and in many parts, a serious tone.  What exactly is the overall theme?  The best I was able to come up with is that it is very difficult to find true love so when you find it, you must embrace it, even if you and your partner have differences – say, differences in race, religion, background…or you know, if one of you is a human and one of you is a fish man.

From a writer’s standpoint, I am amazed.  I write so many outlandish, ridiculous, absurd things but never once would I dream of having a woman and a fish monster get it on.  Honestly, take out the French romance music and some of the dramatic flourishes and serious scenes and this movie could double as an April Fool’s episode of the X-Files where the producers decide to let their hair down and be silly.

Meanwhile, Michael Shannon is skilled at playing psychos and he excels here.  This is his best performance since “Boardwalk Empire.”  I was left to believe that he really wanted to apprehend the fish man at all costs and was not moved by the romantic undertones of human on fish man coitus.

Jenkins also deserves recognition.  I bought him as a sad sack whose only friend is Elisa and thus he’s willing to do anything to retain her friendship.  By the way, don’t get old because if a woman has to choose between an old man and a fish man, she will choose the sushi penis every time.  Scaly balls, yes.  Wrinkly balls, no.

Is it worth an Oscar?  I mean, I enjoyed it, I had a good time, it did make me think about love and how it can bloom in the strangest places under the most unexpected circumstances.

Is it better than the other nominees?  I’ll have to think about that one, though I’ll note that at this point, I really just want the news to be talking about how a movie about a woman who fucks a fish man was made best picture and to the best of my knowledge, none of the other films feature a woman banging a fish man.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  If you ever figure out what it’s about, tell me.

 

 

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The Last Driver – #455 on Wattpad SciFi

I’ve ventured into science fiction, 3.5 readers.  “The Last Driver,” my testosterone fueled tribute to 1984 and Fast and Furious, is set in a world where self-driving cars are the norm.  That seems like a boon to the intrusive dictatorship, the One World Order.  What better way to keep tabs on the citizenry than to have their cars report where everyone is going?

In a world where everyone has forgotten how to drive, the last man who remembers how is ready to start trouble.

If you’re on Wattpad, I’d appreciate a vote, a comment, whatever you can spare.  Thanks!

CLICK HERE TO READ ON WATTPAD

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Top Ten Ways You Can Become a Mad Scientist Just Like Dr. Hugo Von Science

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Hello 3.5 readers.  BQB here

Have you ever wondered how you can become a mad scientist, just like my former mentor/current frenemy, the illustrious Dr. Hugo Von Scientist?

Of course you have.  Therefore, from BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Ways You Can Become a Mad Scientist, Just Like Doctor Hugo Von Science:

#10 – Laugh Maniacally Over Everything…

…especially when the world gives you the slightest advantage.  Drive-thru gave you an extra large fry instead of the small you ordered at no additional cost?

That’s not just a win.  That’s a reason to laugh maniacally.  “Yes, with the energy these extra fried potatoes, I shall conquer the world!  Muah ha ha ha!”

#9 – Always Monologue

It’s not just enough to laugh maniacally.  You must also spell out the advantage you received that made you laugh in a maniacal manner.  See above where you explain why getting extra fries helps you.

#8 – Always Have a Plan for World Domination

Mad scientists often begin as regular scientists who feel their genius is unappreciated.  After years of study, they tend to receive years of neglect with no one giving them so much as a pat on the back for a job well done when it comes to their science-ing.  Thus, they become jaded and turn their science skills toward evil instead of good.

In fact, hug a scientist today.  You never know.  You might just stave of a plot for global domination by doing so.

#7 – Have a Lair

Could be your basement, an abandoned warehouse, any rusty old claptrap will do.

#6 – Have Many Bubbling Potions

It’s not really a good idea to leave poisonous chemicals lying around, but you should at least give the appearance to the world that you don’t give an F.  Maybe just fill up some beakers full of Mountain Dew and Diet Shasta Orange.

You know what?  Skip this part.  Don’t do it.  Don’t mess with chemicals or even pretend to.  My lawyer says I can’t afford that kind of hassle.

#5 – Be German

The best mad scientists are always German.  Stereotype?  Maybe.  Leftover fear of Nazi experiments gone awry?  Surely.  All I know is that if you are German or can fake a good German accent, you will move up to the very tip top of the mad scientist game.

Deny all you want but you’ve never heard of a famous mad scientist who sounded like he was from North Dakota, have you?  “Ohh yah, I’m gonna take over the world, don’t you know?”

Nope.  Never happens.

#4 – Have Crazy Hair

Dr. Hugo does not have crazy hair but you should.  The crazier the better.  Your hair should always look like it was destroyed by your latest experiment.

#3 – Have a Pet Sidekick

Really, a mad scientist is not complete without a chimpanzee nearby waiting to hand him all the instruments of destruction he needs.

#2 –  Never Be Seen Without Your Lab Coat On

Can you think of a good mad scientist who didn’t wear a white lab coat?

#1 – Do Crazy Science Shit

This goes without saying.  Obviously, for legal reasons, I can’t advise you to use science for the purposes of global domination but…you know, it’s pretty much what mad scientists do so…you know what?  Forget this.  Don’t break the law.  Don’t be a mad scientist.  Be a nice, sane scientist.  Use science to help people.  Don’t be like Dr. Hugo Von Science.  He sucks.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 86

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The gang assembled in a study room at the Sitwell Community College library. Professor Elliot Lambert launched into an impromptu class on toilet dwelling animals.

“You see,” Professor Lambert said. “The average speed for an alligator is approximately ten miles per hour. However, the alligator we are dealing with is not average whatsoever. Given his length and muscle mass, I’m willing to wager our reptilian friend can move at speeds upwards of seventy miles per hour if he really pushes himself.”

“Hell,” Rusty said. “I’m surprised he didn’t get me then. I don’t run that fast.”

“An athletic human running at a vigorous pace can reach twenty miles per hour,” Professor Lambert said. “But tell me, was the alligator doing anything else while he was pursuing you?”

“He stopped to snap his jaws at us,” Rusty said. “And roar. He roared a lot.”

“Well there you go,” the professor said. “Multi-tasking slows this beastie down.”

The Professor drew a rough outline of the state of Florida on a whiteboard. “Remind me, Agent Walker. The first murder where Countess Cucamonga took her final curtain call, so to speak, that happened at what time?”

“Witnesses put it a little after 9 p.m.,” Sharon replied.

Professor Lambert put a dot right around where Miami would be. “And the death of Herbert Hogan?”

“Around 10 p.m.,” Sharon said.

The Professor put a dot on Boca Raton. “And when did Mr. Becker leave us so soon?”

“After 11 p.m.,” Sharon said.

The Professor connected the dots. “All and all, a one hundred and thirty mile trek, completed in three hours.”

“Doesn’t sound so impossible,” Rusty said.

“Not if you have a lead foot,” Sharon said. “And if you’re lucky enough to not encounter any traffic, which never happens in the greater Miami area on a Friday night.”

“And if you don’t have to stop at three separate locations, sneak through security, murder three separate people and then leave undetected,” Cole added.

“A human never could have done this,” Sharon said. “We’ve had our heads up our asses the entire time.”

Professor Lambert said. “Do not be too hard on yourself, Agent Walker. When it comes to the unknown dangers of the animal world, humans have had their heads up their asses for quite some time now.”

“Gordon had theorized that a cult might have been at work,” Sharon said. “Multiple people committing murders in different locations within the same timeframe.”

Rusty stared dreamily off into space. “So much wisdom behind that man’s kind eyes.”

“What?” Rusty asked.

“Nothing,” Rusty answered.

“My new friends,” Professor Lambert said. “I know this comes as quite a surprise, but I have literally spent my entire life studying the impact of aquatic animals who commit toilet murder.”

“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” Rusty said.

“You actually kind of look like the type of guy who would be obsessed with toilet animals,” Cole said. “No offense.”

“I stopped taking offense years ago,” Professor Lambert said. “When I realized my research was too important for the future of the human race to ignore. Sure, I could have gotten into a more reasonable line of work but you know what? They scoffed at Columbus until he proved the world was round and I have resigned myself to the sad fact that people will make light of my labors until they realize the cold, hard truth that when they sit their butts down on toilets…their butts are not alone.”

“That video should give you all the vindication you need,” Rusty said. “Say, why didn’t you tell me about all this the day we met?”

“Would you have believed me then?” Professor Lambert asked.

“Nope,” Rusty said. “And no one believed me until the video.”

“Such is the life of a believer in toilet animal related phenomenon,” Professor Lambert said. “Humans are so close-minded that they rarely believe anything that they can’t see with their very eyes. And don’t think for a second that murderous toilet animals don’t take advantage of this lack of faith.”

Maude lit up a smoke.

“Oh, there’s no smoking in here,” Professor Lambert said.

Maude blew smoke in the Professor’s general direction. “And yet, here I am.”

“Well,” the Professor said as he pulled a joint out of his pocket. “If it’s that kind of party.”

The scholar lit up, then caught a glance of Cole’s disapproving eyes. He grew frightened, like he’d just made a big mistake.

“It’s fine,” Cole said. “I’ve been fired.”

The Professor turned to Rusty.

“I quit the force.”

Finally, the Professor turned to Sharon.

“I have bigger problems.”

Convinced no one was about to arrest him, the Professor noted to the group that his habit was strictly medicinal, then took a question from Maude – “How does someone start studying toilet animals? You go bananas or something?”

“A fine question,” Professor Lambert said. “When I was a young boy, my parents were missionaries in South America, working to bring the first sewer system to a very impoverished region. When the project was completed, I was given the honor of taking the first shit.”

“Academy eat your heart out,” Maude said.

“All was going well until I felt the slightest pinch on my bottom…”

“Catholic priest?” Rusty asked.

“A sandwich restaurant chain representative?” Maude added.

“Neither,” Professor Lambert said. “I jumped off the bowl to find a rather menacing looking snake had crawled up through the pipe and attached itself to my bottom. I passed out immediately, as the snake’s venom was highly poisonous. Luckily, a brave fellow sucked all of the poison out of my backside in time.”

“Catholic priest?” Rusty asked.

“A sandwich restaurant chain representative?” Maude added.

“Guys,” Sharon said sternly. “This isn’t a joking matter.”

“Agreed,” Cole said.

Maude threw up her hands. “Well excuse me all over the place!”

The old lady looked at the Professor. “Don’t they teach people how to puff, puff pass at this school?”

The Professor nodded and handed his joint to Maude. She stubbed her cigarette out on the old oak table, completely uncaring about the likelihood that some poor janitor would be called upon to buff out the mark. She then proceeded to suckle the doobie and suckle it good.

“Does she know that smoking isn’t good for a person on oxygen?” Sharon asked Cole.

“She doesn’t give a shit,” Cole said.

“I do not,” Maude said. “And I’m right here.”

“Anyway,” the Professor said. “At that moment, I realized how vulnerable humans are while they sitting on the toilet. Humans have come to assume that their bathroom time is one of the safest times of day. They’re in an enclosed space, they think they are all by themselves but oh no, at any given time, there may be hundreds if not thousands of sewer dwelling animals in their general vicinity, any one of which might crawl up and give an unsuspecting human a nasty surprise indeed.”

“But Professor,” Sharon said. “This is where I’m stuck. How does a great big alligator squeeze its way up through the small pipe that connects a toilet to a sewer?”

“Bone displacement,” the Professor said.

“Excuse me?” Sharon asked.

“Take the average bat,” Professor Lambert said. “It can literally dislocate its bones and smush its body together until it can fit through the tiniest crack in a homeowner’s abode.”

Moses piped up for the first time in this meeting. “That happened to me when I was a young boy once. I’d like to tell you that I reacted bravely but in fact, I hid under my bed until my father caught it and threw it out the front door. For the rest of my childhood, I was convinced he might have contracted vampirism and frankly, I’m still not entirely convinced he didn’t.”

“Your father died five years ago,” Cole said.

“Did he?” Cole asked. “Or did the CIA…”

Cole threw made a stop motion and pointed it at Moses before turning to Professor Lambert. “Continue.”

“Like humans, not every animal within a given species is the same,” Professor Lambert said. “Most fear pain. Most fear death. But some, they are willing to overlook these negative outcomes in order to push their bodies to the limit if it will get them closer to something they desire. Dislocating your bones to the point where you are able to squeeze yourself up a pipe like some kind of backed up ooze has got to be incredibly painful, but they’re willing to do it if will lead them closer to a butt sitting on a toilet they wish to consume.”

“Do all animals have the power to displace their bones?” Sharon asked.

“Not as such, no,” the Professor said. “At this time, I estimate that a small minority of animals have this ability. However, according to Darwinian Theory, these animals may continue to procreate until they dominate the Earth.”

Rusty shuddered. “A world full of killer toilet animals.”

Maude laughed as she puffed on her ganja. “Bullshit! This is so farfetched that if I ever read it in a self-published e-book, I’d give it a one star review and a pithy, passive-aggressive comment.”

“You shouldn’t do things like that, Madame,” Professor Lambert said. “Self-published e-book writers are the backbone of today’s book industry and they should be treated as such. I’m sorry to digress, but I spent so many time self-publishing my toilet animal studies that I feel the pain of any self-published e-book writer.”

“I’d demand my money back too,” Maude said. “Bone displacing toilet animals. Bitch, please!”

Rusty held out his hand. “Yo, Maude! What happened to puff, puff, pass?”

Maude flipped Rusty the bird. “Get your own supply, Narc!”

“Can we steer this conversation back on topic?” Cole asked.

“Yes,” Professor Lambert said. “Many individual animals will often display traits that help them stand out above and beyond their peers. Mr. Yates, you, for example, told me earlier that it seemed as though the alligator in question was communicating with this Buford fellow, that two were locked in a squabble.”

“Sounded that way to me,” Rusty said.

“Sometimes animals will stand out above their peers when it comes to intelligence,” Professor Lambert. “When these animals breed, they added smarter versions of themselves to their species gene pool. The collective IQ of a species grows smarter as a result.”

“Until the entire world is run by damn dirty gators?” Rusty asked.

“It’s not an impossibility,” the Professor said.

“Shit,” Rusty said. “I don’t want to be a slave in a world run by damn dirty gators.”

“Meh,” Maude said. “I still smell bullshit.”

Rusty waved the air away from his face. “I think that’s the dank bud.”

“It’s Mississippi Mud Bud, actually,” Professor Lambert said. “And Madame, I assure you, this is not bullshit. My many years of research have taken me all over the world, where I have encountered toilet piranha, toilet walruses, toilet dolphins…”

“Yeah, yeah, I remember your rant,” Maude said. “Toilet sharks, toilet whales…”

“A toilet whale?!” Sharon asked.

“A killer toilet whale,” Professor Lambert said. “In India. I believe that was the case though I never proved it. I have, however, documented the activities of many toilet animals the world over. My self-published studies are filled with photos of toilet animals engaging in toilet related activities. And, I’m proud to say, they’re often rated with a gentleman’s three star review.”

Maude jerked her hand up and down, pretending to jerk off rather than listen to the professor.

“You scoff, Madame,” the Professor said. “But I’ll have you know that alligators are the masters of toilet murder. They, above all other aquatic creatures, have utilized sewer systems all over the world to take down their enemies though I must admit, I have never encountered a toilet gator as intelligent, organized and vindictive as the one you are all describing.”

“Professor,” Sharon said. “You’ve explained how a toilet gator can sneak through a pipe, but how does it become big again so that it can…”

“Eat the victim?” the Professor asked. “Simple. It reconstitutes itself within the small space, grows too large for its surroundings and bursts out of it, just in time to catch the unsuspecting toilet user in its jaws. A pity really. The toilet user never truly grasps what is going on until it’s too late.”

“Then it shrinks and escapes down the pipe, the same way it came?” Cole asked.

“Precisely,” Professor Lambert said.

“Leaving police none the wiser,” Cole said.

“I can tell you I have spoken with authorities all over the world who were left baffled by this phenomenon,” the Professor said. “Many as skeptical as Miss Fuller here, if not more so.”

“You got any more of this?” Maude asked as she held up the joint.

“Not for free,” Professor Lambert said.

“Bah,” Maude said. “Lousy cheapskate.”

“This is literally the perfect crime,” Sharon said.

“Indeed,” Professor Lambert said.

“Professor,” Sharon said. “I have to say, the way the academic world has treated you is a shame. I mean, here you are, conducting pioneering research in an incomprehensible yet apparently very real field and yet here you are, stuck lecturing at a community college when you should be teaching at Princeton or Yale or…”
“Oh,” Professor Lambert said with a chuckle. “You think I was tossed to the bottom of academia for researching toilet animals?”

“You weren’t?” Sharon asked.

“Of course not,” Professor Lambert said. “All of my research into the world of toilet animals was sponsored by several big name universities. Institutions of higher learning are often willing to jack up tuitions in order to fund all sorts of silly, navel gazing research. Why, I have a colleague who was given full funding to study the mating habits of East Peruvian tree mold spores.”

“Tree mold spores have mating habits?” Rusty asked.

“My good man,” Professor Lambert said. “Put a few tree mold spores under a microscope, dim the lights, play a little 1970s disco music and you’ll swear you’re staring at a scene straight of Studio 64.”

“Sorry I asked,” Rusty said.

“They why are you teaching here of all places?” Sharon asked.

“Justin Bieber,” Professor Lambert said.

“Justin Bieber?” Sharon asked.

“Indeed,” Professor Lambert said. “I am a big Belieber. I know, it’s odd, a man of my intellect and age, to be a fan of such a frivolous young man but what can I say? The lad can carry a beat.”

“He sure can,” Rusty said before he caught himself. “So I’ve heard.”

“In the early days of Lifebox, I wrote a post about how I quite enjoyed Justin’s Beauty and a Beat video,” Professor Lambert said. “The elegance, the choreography, the pageantry, all made to look like it was spontaneous footage of a pool party. Oh how I loved it and watched it over and over. Alas, I didn’t quite understand the far reach and permanent nature of social media at the time and became an instant laughing stock. Only this and one other college would have me after that.”

“Which one?” Sharon asked.

“Arizona State,” Professor Lambert said.

Sharon shuddered. “Yeesh. You picked right.”

The door to the study room swung open. Natalie Brock and Walter walked into the room. “Professor Lambert, they said at the front desk that I could…”

Natalie looked around the room. “Oh, hello everyone.”

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Writing Choices – 10 Cloverfield Lane and Keeping the Audience Guessing

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here with another “Writing Choices” column.

We’re writers.  We have to make choices, so make them already.  No big whoop.

Today I want to talk to you about 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane starring John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.  It’s been out for over a year but if you haven’t seen it yet, beware reading on for SPOILERS ABOUND.

Do you want to keep your audience in suspense?  Cool.  Try posing a question to them at the very beginning of the tale.  Then, take them down different paths, throw out some red herrings and presto, your audience will have no choice but to keep watching (or reading) until the question is finally answered.

At the beginning of this movie, Michelle (Winstead) gets into a car accident.  When she wakes up, she finds herself in a bunker owned by the incredibly disturbing Howard (John Goodman).

Howard informs Michelle that he found her on the road and brought her to his underground bunker.  Oh and also, he did so just in time to avoid an alien invasion.  That’s right.  An alien invasion.

Sorry, Michelle, but you can’t leave the bunker now because if you go to the surface, you will become alien food.  Sigh.  I bet you ladies wish you had a nickel for every time a fella tried the ole, “You gotta stay in this bunker with me to avoid the alien invasion” routine.

Show, don’t tell, right?  Here, the folks behind the film hope you’ll start asking questions.  “Hmm…an alien invasion seems implausible.  The more plausible explanation is that Howard is a pervert who kidnaps young women to bring to his pervert bunker.  Then again, what if he’s right about the aliens?”

As the movie progresses, the audience is fed little bits and pieces of information, along with some red herrings.

  • We find out that Howard, through his government work, was in a position to know about incoming aliens.
  • We find out there’s another person in the bunker.  Surely, a second person wouldn’t be putting up with this unless there really had been an alien invasion.  Then again, the guy is easily duped and stupid, so maybe Howard tricked him.
  • Howard seems incredibly weird and a big conspiracy theorist.  Perhaps he’s a weirdo who made a bunker and just lucked out when aliens came?
  • Howard seems to want to control everyone’s every little move.  Maybe he really did just make up the stuff about aliens.  Maybe he is just a perv who kidnaps people.
  • Howard may have done some evil shit regarding a previous bunker inhabitant – thus a new question – maybe Howard is right about the aliens but he’s still a psychopath that you don’t want to share a bunker with anyway?

That’s how to do it, 3.5 readers.  Start with the question – “Are there aliens outside this bunker or is Howard a lying pervert?”  Then, start throwing nuggets of info at your audience and soon, their brains will fill up with all kinds of theories and questions.  It will soon be worth their while to stick with your work until the conclusion.

SIDENOTE:  I think the Academy really dropped the ball here by not giving this movie some love.  At the very least, John Goodman could have gotten a Best Supporting Oscar nomination.  The screenplay deserved some recognition as well.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT: In the comments, tell me about a movie or a book you liked that kept you guessing.

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