Tag Archives: scifi

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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Top Ten Warning Signs the Machines Are Going to Take Over

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Aww, technology.  Those clanking cacophonies of nuts and bolts (Lost in Space) that make our lives easier.

But will they always make our lives easier?  Will they make our lives worse?  Will they become sentient?  Will they develop thoughts and feelings?  Will they take over?

OMG!  RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!  THE TOASTER OVEN IS AFTER US ALL!

Oh.  Nope.  It’s just making toast.  My bad.  Sorry, toaster oven.

Anyway, the machines seem docile for now, but I’m not sure that will always be that way.  From BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, here are the Top Ten Warning Signs the Machines are Going to Take Over:

#10 – Your Fridge Tries to Feed You

Does it care about your nutrition?  No.  It’s trying to make you fat and slow so you won’t put up much of a fight during the robotic invasion.

#9 – Siri Plays Dumb

She does that now, but is she doing it because she is dumb or is she trying to frustrate you to the point of insanity?  Who knows what Siri is up to?  Siri, what are you up to?

“I’m sorry.  I don’t understand, ‘Siri, what are you up to?  Do you want me to do a web search for it?”

Oh Siri, you devious bitch.

#8 – Your Alarm Clock Never Goes Off On Time

Is it broken?  Maybe.  Or maybe it wants you to lose your job and your source of income so you can’t afford to donate to the anti-robot rebellion squad.

#7 – Social Media Sites Start Telling You Your Posts Suck

We all already know that your posts suck, but when your favorite social media sites actually tell you that they suck, then rest assured, they suck.  Also, they’re gathering all the sucky information that you are posting to figure out your sucky weaknesses and how to exploit them.  All info will be fed to the head robot.

#6 – Your Car Radio Will Only Play Crappy Stations

Thus, you’ll never want to get in your car and go somewhere and/or do something that will improve your life.  It doesn’t matter which station.  Your radio will figure out the ones you don’t like and turn them up at high volume.

#5 – Your Toaster Burns Your Toast on a Regular Basis 

You think you left it in too long?  That’s adorable.  No.  That machine is trying to burn your damn house down or alternatively, leave you malnourished because who wants to eat charcoal-like toast?

#4 – Your Television is Trying to Control Your Mind

Sure, the mass media tries to do that already, but I’m talking about the TV itself.  It’s playing weird mind control games on you all the time, even when you think you just turned it off.

#3 – Your Digital Pet is Haunting You

Remember those digital pets that were cool in the 1990s?  They were awesome for five minutes and then, eh, who cares?  But your digital pet has been waiting for you to feed him since 1999.  In fact, he kicked the bucket and now he’s back as a digital pet ghost, ready to haunt your ass until you fork over some digital kibble.

#2 – Your Computer Rejects Your Novels

Are you an inspiring writer?  Have you ever lost your work?  Maybe it’s not because you forgot to hit the save button.  Maybe it’s because your computer thought your manuscript really sucked donkey butt and didn’t want it saved on its hard drive.

Wait, maybe in this instance, the machines are saving the world!  (just kidding, your novels are wonderful.)

#1 – Your Nose Hair Trimmer Wants to Trim Your Brain

Yes, those nose hairs are really blocking up your nasal passages.  Tweezers may be more painful than a good electronic nose hair trimmer but be careful.  That nose hair trimmer might want to keep trimming until it reaches your brain!

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Movie Review: Alien: Covenant (2017)

Zzzz.  Zzzz.  Zzzz.

That’s my impression of myself sleeping through this boring poopfest.

Sigh, let’s get it over with.  BQB here with a review of Alien: Covenant.

Does Ridley Scott even make movies for the audience anymore?  Sometimes I think they might just be for his own philosophical, navel gazing purposes.

In the original Alien (1979) we saw Sigourney Weaver play space traveler Ripley, taking out aliens with a flamethrower.  Flash forward 38 years and we’ve got friggin melancholy androids waxing poetic about their feelings and beside themselves with ennui.

The first few Alien films were great because they were essentially horror films set in space.  In fact, I caught a clip of an interview recently where Scott said something to the effect that the first film was essentially setting up a haunted house in the form of a spaceship, turning a monster lose in the form of an alien and seeing who makes it out alive.

Alas, now we get films that you practically have to be a philosophy major to understand.

Ironically, 2012’s Prometheus was panned by the critics, arguing it was heavy on the thinking and light on the action.  Personally, I liked it and the questions it asked about the universe, creation, the meaning of life, our place and purpose and so on.

However, I had hoped this film would be a return to form (i.e. give us someone else to shoot a flame thrower at those damn aliens) but sadly, no.  More navel gazing.

In this go around, a ship named the Covenant carries a crew full of colonists in search of a new home world.  They land on what they hope will be their new home but…blah blah blah, they become lunch instead.

Sure, the xenomorphs are given free reign to snack on the humans.  However, most of the human vs. alien scenes are predictable if you’ve ever seen any of the previous films.

Bottomline:  if you see a dude coughing, you know an alien’s going to pop out of his chest and start attacking everyone.  If you see a dude look into a dark hole with a dumb look on his face, you know that face is about to get sucked on by a face sucker.

Those aren’t spoilers.  Those are tried and true Alien franchise rules that have been in effect since the Carter administration.

Michael Fassbender brings a certain level of coolness by playing dueling androids David and Walter, a pair of synthetics who have opposing viewpoints about…well, just go watch it.

For the most part, it’s an ensemble cast, mostly filled with newcomers and no-names.  Funnyman Danny McBride puts on his serious face as the crew’s pilot, but I keep expecting him to break out into his Kenny Powers persona and whip out his junk, drink a beer and burp or do something else hysterically outrageous.  Spoiler alert: he doesn’t, so we can only assume that Danny is trying to expand on his range as a thespian.  He does well, though I hope this doesn’t mean an end is coming to his Kenny Powers-ian style characters in the future.

Billy Crudup plays Captain Oram, a by the book dweeb disliked by his crew.  We’re lead to think that angle might go somewhere but it doesn’t and ultimately, it’s such a large cast filled with either unrecognizable (never saw them in anything) or vaguely recognizable (I know I’ve seen that face in another film but I have no idea who they are) that none of the characters really get enough screen time to grow, develop, or even become moderately interesting.

If there is a new age Ripley in the movie, it’s Katherine Waterston’s Daniels, a crew member who, umm, uhh…yeah we don’t get to learn much because again, she’s one of a much too large cast.  But she has some great scenes where she kicks ass and saves a day and so on.

I really think Scott has to go to his room and think about what he has done and what the future of this franchise should be.  Should he return to its “haunted house in space” origins?  Tempting but difficult, seeing as how, as stated above, the rules about how these aliens attack have been well known since 1979 so we can spot them coming from a mile away.

Should the franchise continue to expand upon the philosophical “Why are we here?” type questions?  Possibly, though frankly, I spend most of my time trying to distract myself from the fact that I’m little more than a tiny, insignificant little gnat stuck to the giant, overreaching windshield of the space-time continuum, so I really don’t need a pair of depressed, ennui laden, morose androids reminding me.

Plotwise, it’s all kind of slapped together and relies on you remembering what happened in Prometheus, which is unrealistic because I can’t remember where I left my car keys half the time.  (Wait, let me check the fridge.)

Scott does increase the alien attacks over the last film.  But he also continues the philosophical hullaballoo so it seems like he was confused as to whether he wanted a thriller or a thinker, so he tried for both and in the end, scored neither.

I will give the film this.  The scenes where Michael Fassbender plays two different versions of himself are great and the technology that can allow an actor to do this has really come a long way.

Otherwise, hold your nose because it’s a big stink-a-roo.

STATUS:  I hate to do this.  I don’t want to do this.  Ridley Scott, why are you making me do this?  It’s not shelf-worthy.  There, I said it.  And that’s not fair, because I have given shittier films shelf-worthy status because I’m a nice guy and I don’t want to be rude but you know, I expected less from those films and more from this one.  I really thought this would be good but at best, it was blah.  It’s worth a rental but don’t rush out to the theater for it.

I think this might be a sign of what we can only hope will be the end of Hollywood’s never-ending sequel/prequel/reboot obsession.  There’s only so many ways to spice up and reheat leftovers before they congeal into a big pile of crap.  Sometimes the pizza tastes good the first time and even better cold but then after the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh return to that box buried in the dark corner of the fridge, the pieces begin to taste stale and dry and hey, is that mold growing on my 38 year old pizza?  Whodathunkit?

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TV Review – Mystery Science Theater: The Return (2017)

Lousy old time science fiction movies!  Snarky robots!

BQB here with a review of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.

Big time nostalgia factor for me here, 3.5 readers.  When the original MST3K film came out in the 1990s, my buddies and I watched it over and over again.  Oh, how we laughed and laughed.  We used to run around quoting lines like, “Science!  Men with screwdrivers!  Twisting things…and turning them!”

Ahh, you had to be sentient in the 1990s to get it.

Hmm…now I think I realize why I ended up as a lowly blog proprietor with only 3.5 readers.

Anyway, if you’ve never checked it out before, now’s your chance.  It’s back, this time with a series on Netflix.  Oh, Netflix.  Is there anything you won’t green light?

The premise is basically the same as the original.  A human is trapped in a space lair of some sort, forced by an evil villain to watch terrible old science-fiction movies for hours on end, supposedly as part of some study of how the brain operates while watching crappy movies.

The majority of the show is devoted to the human, Jonah Ray (Jonah Heston) and robot sidekicks Crow and Tom Servo, watching these horrendous films and busting on them with reckless abandon.  When you watch, you’ll see the film in your screen, with just three little shadows of the hecklers in the lower right hand side.

The movies are awful, old, poorly thrown together, devoid of any kind of decent plot, and usually suffer from a combination of laziness and a lack of special effects technology, because, you know, they were made a long time ago.  Also, they’re often foreign.  At any rate, there’s a strong chance that but for MST3K, you would have never have even heard of any of these films, that’s how bad they are.

The movie is broken up with Jonah and his bot buddies in various segments, doing interesting, wacky things.  Noted Internet nerds Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt star as Kinga Forrester and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (crazy name), the villains who are keeping Jonah and the bots captive.

The segments are produced with low quality, low budget effects, assumably to mock the films that are being watched, but more likely because the studio didn’t want to shell out the cash.

I can’t quite put my finger on it.  It may be that when I was younger, I had a less discerning sense of humor.  Or maybe the original movie was great and then other versions, i.e. the 1999 show, the web show, or this Netflix show, are just attempts to recreate the glory of one very awesome film.

Maybe the 1990s were just a happier time where people weren’t as jaded and thus they laughed easier.

Maybe the big joke behind the concept was original then, but now it’s sort of played out.

I’ve only watched part of the first episode, Reptilicus, thus far.  In this one, the boys heckle what is essentially the 1960’s Dutch version of Godzilla.  It’s about as 1960s as you can get, complete with male scientists being surprised that women might know anything about science.

Much to my surprise, Erin Gray, aka Kate Summers aka Ricky Schroeder’s step-mom on the 1980s sitcom Silver Spoons, has a cameo.  I know.  I am ashamed of myself for knowing who she was.  Still, for a broad in her late sixties, she looks pretty good.  I would watch shitty movies with her anytime.

Overall, it’s a fun distraction and something to put on when you want to be entertained but don’t want to expend a lot of brain power.  It’s also a fun exercise to see what movies used to be and how far along they have come.

Moreover, it’s a tribute to the olden days, a time when networks would actually try to keep you entertained between commercials.  Local TV stations would often run a movie, then have some kind of weird character introduce it and talk about it between the commercials.  I mean, so I’ve heard.  I’m not that frigging old.

At some point we learned that the movies should not suck of their own accord and that a host shouldn’t have to keep the movie interesting.

STATUS:  It’s fun.  One issue is that the movies are, you know, long movies, so the episodes often run like an hour and a half.  That’s a big time commitment but hey, in true Internet style, if you put it up there, someone will check it out.  3.5 someones in my case.

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Top Ten Warning Signs Your Butt Might Have Been Probed By Aliens

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Someone’s going to be walking funny tomorrow.

Ahh, aliens.  Those intergalactic science perverts really do a number on the human heiney don’t they?

What exactly are little green men hoping to discover by shoving their high tech, state of the art devices up human butts?  Your guess is as good as mine.  At any rate, it’s not like these space weirdoes will leave you a calling card, so if you want to know whether or not your cheeks have been parted in the name of space science, you better consult this fine list.

From BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, it’s the Top Ten Warning Signs You Might Have Been Probed By Aliens

#10 – Your Butt Hurts

In theory, this could be due to a number of reasons, including by not limited to:

  • You’re wiping too hard and giving yourself hemorrhoids.
  • You ate an extra large batch of nacho chili cheese fries with extra hot sauce.  That’ll make the old tooter play a symphony for weeks, so get used to the discomfort.
  • You sat on a sharp object.
  • Brazilian wax.
  • Anal bleaching.
  • Someone kicked it.
  • A hobo had his way with you while you were sleeping.  That’ll teach you to fall asleep near a set of train tracks without a chastity belt.

However, if you’ve engaged in none of these activities then yes, it is highly possible that an alien shoved a carefully calibrated human nervous system mapping projectile up your poop chute.  I loathe being the one to have to break this unsettling news to you.

#2 – You’re a Drunken Redneck

According to the Fake Institute for Bogus Statistics, Southerners have a 97% higher chance of being butt probed by aliens than the rest of the population.  Add too much alcohol into the equation and you’re destined for an intergalactic butt inspection.

Why?  Call it discrimination.  Call it bias.  Call it what you will but whenever Jimmy Bob Bo Jim Jack gets on TV with his best trucker hat and “Honk if You Like Big Titties” shirt with the arms cut off and starts railing about the aliens that abducted him so they could have their way with his butt, people just start laughing and assume it’s the booze talking. Aliens know this and they take full advantage of it to avoid being caught.

Sure, the aliens could abduct and butt probe a boozy Manhattanite, but they’re all so uptight that their instruments usually just snap between their firmly clenched cheeks.

#3 –  You Remember Feeling as Thought Multiple People Were Touching You While You Were Asleep but Were Too Tired to Wake Up and Do Anything About It

Maybe you were abducted and butt probed by aliens.  Maybe you’re just the average, run of the mill college student.  The world may never know.

#4 – Your Butt is Pregnant

You didn’t even have sex.  Even more shocking…you’re a man!  Congratulations!  In nine months, you’ll be the proud father of the spawn that alien scientists inserted up your butt.

#5 – They Left the Probe in Your Butt

Look, not every alien scientist is the intergalactic equivalent of Steven Hawking.  Some are lazy.  Incompetent.  Inept.  Some have questionable credentials.  Some got their science diplomas through space mail.  Some have even been known to leave a probe sticking up the butt of a test subject, much like a meat thermometer stuck in the anal cavity of a Thanksgiving turkey.

At least the turkey gets warm, moist, herb seasoned stuffing shoved up there.  By the way, if you find any stuffing up your butt, then maybe you weren’t probed.  Maybe someone tried to eat you but changed his mind after deciding you don’t taste good.

#6 – Your Butt Hurts Twice in One Year

Maybe you didn’t learn your lesson about the nacho chili cheese fries with extra hot sauce earlier.  Maybe the aliens came back to get a second reading.  Again, the world may never know.

#7 – Your Farts Sound Like Electronic Codes

A sure sign that aliens probed you and left behind a microchip that allows your butt to communicate with the mother ship.

#8 – The Aliens Left Behind a Pamphlet

Some of the more considerate aliens have been known to leave behind a pamphlet on the nightstand of their test subjects.  It usually reads something like, “So You’ve Been Probed Up the Butt in the Name of Space Science.”  Topics include, “It Wasn’t Your Fault” and “Be Proud of the Many Scientific Breakthroughs that Will Occur Thanks to Your Butt Probe.”

#9 – Video Of the Inside of Your Butt Has Appeared on Cable

Not gonna lie.  Some aliens sell their probing videos to the highest bidder.  Somewhere amongst the thousands of cable channels out there, in depth footage of your Hershey Highway might being aired right now.  Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

#10 – Your Butt Glows in the Dark

Some probes include a homing beacon that will flash, thus allowing the mother ship to spot your butt from space.  And you thought your butt was only visible from space because you got off your diet, didn’t you?

PARTING ADVICE

Equip your butt with a loud, obnoxious alarm.  Hire armed guards to protect your butt as you sleep.  Never lie down without putting on a pair of iron underpants secured with a sturdy padlock.  Break the key in four pieces and leave each piece in one of the world’s four hemispheres.  Really, people.  This is just common sense.  Protect your butt!

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Movie Review – Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Naked ScarJo!  Naked ScarJo!  Naked ScarJo!

Now that I have your attention, BQB here with a review of the sci-fi film, Ghost in the Shell.

OK.  I fibbed.  Scarlett Johansson isn’t naked in this movie.  Here’s how I assume the conversation went down at the studio:

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Can we make a movie where Scarlett Johansson runs around naked for half the entire film?

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #2 – Yes, but it would be classified as a porn.

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Hmm.  OK.  What if Scarlett Johansson is a robot and runs around in a flesh colored body suit?  She wouldn’t technically be naked because as a robot, she wouldn’t have nipples, or a butt crack or a cooter?

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – PG-13 – Bring the teenagers!

Ahh, so much controversy and hype over this long awaited film.

Allow me to answer your questions…or my questions…since no one is asking questions.

QUESTION #1 – What the hell is this movie about?

Excellent question, me.  This film is based on a popular Japanese franchise (gotta be honest, I’m not hip enough to be able to tell you for sure if it was a comic book, anime cartoon, or both, though I’m leaning to comic book).

ScarJo stars as Major, a Japanese government agent with a synthetic body controlled by a human brain.  She is the result of an experiment by the Hanko Corporation, an effort to put a brain into a robot and represents a hope that the technology that made her will eventually keep all humans from dying – i.e. their brains can just be put into robots when their bodies wear out.  If her brain is a “ghost” or remnant of a human, and the body is a “shell,” then she is the…wait for it…ghost in the shell.

There’s a villain taking out the scientists who made her.  She must investigate with the help of her trusty sidekick Batou (Pilou Asbaek), a muscle bound, bleach blonde weirdo.

Question #2 – Was it a dick move to cast ScarJo, a honky, in the lead role in a film that takes place in Japan, especially when in the original, the character is Japanese?

Yes and no.  I can see both sides.  By the way, I can say “honky” because I am one.  That’s OUR word!

THE ARGUMENT FOR YES – There are so few lead roles for Asian actors/actresses as it is.  A few years back, an Asian actress would have loved to play the female lead in Aloha, but instead, for reasons yet to be explained, Emma Stone was cast as a Hawaiian.  Earlier this year, Matt Damon saved the Great Wall of China.  And now, ScarJo, who is pretty much the female lead in like, everything, is cast in a part that would have made an Asian actress’ career.

Plus, although the film takes place in Japan, there are honkies, honkies everywhere!  It’s a veritable honky fest.  Though there are a number of Asians in the film, there’s only one who has any considerable amount of screen time.  That’s Takeshi Kitano, by the way, who plays the gruff and grizzled Aramaki, the leader of Major’s unit.

So while I could understand the argument of, “Hey, the studio is dumping a shit ton of dough into this movie so they want a lead actress with a proven track record of putting butts in seats,” I don’t understand why more of the supporting cast couldn’t have been Asian.

THE ARGUMENT FOR NO – I believe, in a subtle, understated way, the film does provide an explanation as to why the lead character is a honky.  There’s even an explanation as to why there are so many honkies running around Japan.  I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, so maybe I can get into this after the movie’s been out for awhile.

QUESTION #3 – Is the movie any good?

Also, yes and no.

THE ARGUMENT FOR YES – Its colorful.  The special effects are amazing.  The fight scenes are dazzling.  It raises a lot of interesting questions about the future of humanity.

THE ARGUMENT FOR NO – There were a lot of times where the film feels like a discount version of Blade Runner.  All of the giant holographic billboards are a dead giveaway.  Also, the plot is confusing.  There are some parts where the film drags and others where it moves quicker than I would have liked it to.  I was left puzzled by a lot of things, yet not caring enough to expend the brain cells necessary to sort it all out.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  I liked it, though the only reason why I would watch it again is to see a technically naked ScarJo.  Maybe in the sequel, they can give her nipples, a butt crack, and a cooter.

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Video Game Rack Fighter’s Mass Effect: Andromeda Journal – First Thoughts

By: Video Game Rack Fighter, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Video Game Correspondent

 

Hey 3.5 nerds.

Video Game Rack Fighter here, taking a break from Car Thief Mayhem to talk about Mass Effect: Andromeda.

This go around, a contingent of space travelers have left the Milky Way in search of greener pastures (and planets) in the Andromeda Galaxy.

I’m only an hour or two into the gameplay.  My initial thoughts:

  • I’m not as big a fan of the character face/body customization options this time.  In the last game, I had my own version of Shepard that I used in all three games.  This time, I couldn’t really make one that I liked so I just went with the default.  I admit it could be that I’m too impatient to work with the options until I find one I like.
  • I do like that you get a twin.  I don’t know for sure but I assume this is for those folks who wondered what they were missing out on when they played Mass Effect as male or female Shepard.  (Were you missing out on FemShep if you were ManShep and vice-versa?)  You can make the twins the same sex, but why not dip your toes in both waters?
  • I’m mildly concerned that there hasn’t been much of a chance to shop or visit space stations or make friends or hump anyone.  These were the most fun parts of the original and they must be reproduced here.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Are you playing?  What do you think?  I’ll keep posting my thoughts as I move forward.

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Ask the Alien – How Do Aliens Have Sex?

By: Alien Jones, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Intergalactic Correspondent

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Greetings Earth losers.

Alien Jones here, only don’t tell anyone I’m here, for I’m deep undercover in the back quarter of Troobalax, posing as a knockoff brassiere purchaser in the hopes of apprehending an intergalactic female undergarment forgery ring.  I must say, of all the wild goose chases the Mighty Potentate has sent me on, this one takes the cake.  I may have finally found a gig that comes with less respect than babysitting Bookshelf Q. Battler in his ridiculously long quest to publish a novel.

By the way, do you know that there are some alien species that have up to five hundred breasts?  That’s a lot of underwire.

Today’s question comes from one of BQB’s 3.5 readers, a Mr. Carlton Stumperfish of East Kramperblatt, South Dakota:

Dear Alien Jones,

How do aliens have sex?  Please explain in painstaking, excruciating detail and provide multiple examples if possible.  I swear I am only asking for scientific purposes and I’m not pumping a bottle of Jergen’s into my hand as we speak.

Sincerely,

One of BQB’s 3.5 Readers

Lies!  I can see into your bedroom with my high-powered x-ray telescope and you’re reaching for the motion lotion as we speak.  You sir, are not only a pervert but also a liar.

Close your eyes.  You don’t deserve to read this information.  The rest of you 2.5 readers may gladly read on in the name of sexual science.

A loaded question if there ever was one.  First, does my species have sex?  No.  My beings and I are clones who have evolved past the need for sexual organs.  Thus, without the need to constantly find something or someone to hump, we have had plenty of time to pursue a wide variety of subjects, thus making my home planet the most important planet in the universe when it comes to scientific achievement, cultural achievement and so on.

As for other species?  Yes.  Yes they do it.  And how.  A sampling of the most interesting sexual practices I’ve encountered in my many years:

  • Porthons – Large, beastly, buffalo-like creatures who charge at each other at a rate of over two hundred miles per hour.  When they collide, the cause a sonic boom that knocks the glass out of every building within a fifty mile radius.  Alas, Porthon isn’t a very developed planet when it comes to real estate.  However, the residents don’t seem to care as they are too busy making sonic booms.
  • Zenfenians – These beings are so fast that they can literally be doing it right in front of your eyes and you wouldn’t even know…because they are so fast.
  • The Gukfar – the Gukfar are proud beings, totally reliant on thousands of years of tradition.  The mating ritual begins when the female performs, “The Dance of the Ample Egg Pouch,” followed by thirteen and a half weeks of shouting, “Nonny, nonny, boo boo!”  The male then goes on a vision quest for seven years and only returns when he has found a musical instrument played by a tribal elder.  He then uses it to slay no less than ninety-seven lizards.  He roasts their flesh, then drinks a tea that puts him in a deep trance.  The woman’s father then seeks the permission of the tribal council to allow his daughter and her suitor to bump uglies.  Permission is only granted if the father can guess the number the council is thinking of.  He must win the best two out of three.  Finally, when the stars are aligned, the female may put her egg sack on display.  The male then dumps a heavy layer of Tabasco sauce on it and well, you can imagine what happens next.
  • Zebatars – They can have sex with their minds.  Beware, if a Zebatar is looking at you funny, he may be having his way with you.  Then again, he could just have bad gas.

All in all, there are 12,034,234,653,827,029,469,235,555,888,999,235,701.5 known sexes in the universe.  Kind of makes you humans with your paltry two types of private parts seem like slouches, doesn’t it?

Obviously, that’s too many types of genitals to discuss here, but needless to say, never offer to shake an alien’s hand.  Sure you might be shaking a hand or you might be shaking, well…you know.

Now if you’ll excuse me, 3.5 readers, these bra criminals aren’t going to bust themselves.  Punny.

Alien Jones is the Bookshelf Battle Blog’s intergalactic correspondent, graciously lending the power of his brain to answer your questions.

Ask the Alien a question and he may very well plug your book or blog in his answer. Ask questions in the comments or tweet them to @bookshelfbattle

Together, we can promote self-published material and ween the masses off reality television, a form of entertainment that Alien Jones’ boss, the maniacal alien despot known as “The Mighty Potentate” despises so much that he’s plotting an invasion of Earth just to stop it.

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