The Cocktail Waitress is the final “lost” novel of James M. Cain(Double Indemnity) published by Titan Books Hardcase Crime imprint. It is a quick solid read full of vice and vigor.
Cain never finished The Cocktail Waitress. Years later it was compiled from different drafts and compiled notes into the finished tome. You’d never guess it by reading the book though – it feels just as complete as if Cain were alive today. That is except that the book is rooted in the time period it was written.
The waitress in question and the protagonist of the book is the down on her luck widow Joan Medford. The book begins at her husbands funeral, though Joan doesn’t consider it a sad occasion. Her husband was abusive, and although he’s out of the picture his death is just the beginning of Joans problems. With her husband gone she has no income, her power is off and worst of all her son, Tad, has been taken custody of by her sister in law. The same sister in law who calls the police to falsely accuse Joan of murdering her late husband so that she will be able to keep Tad. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if it weren’t for the rookie cop who is investigating the murder who wants to find a case where there isn’t.
Desperate for work she finds a job as a waitress at a local bar. While there she makes friends and thanks to her striking looks – her legs are described more than a dozen times – a few admirers. There is the good looking Tom, or the rich but old Mr. White, both trying to woo her. Joan has to decide what is important to her, or if she can’t do that how she can play both sides.
Joan is a strong and selfish character who will do whatever she can to get her son back, and have a good life.
It’s a good setup and rarely is there a dull moment in the book. The characters are pretty one note, besides Joan. That said Joan herself is a conflicted and interesting character.
I’m not a big crime reader but from what I know characters with a very specific almost mechanical purpose are par for the course in the genre. The plot is interesting but in my opinion it leaves too many of it’s twists and turns for the very end, but it is quite an end.
The prose was occasionally odd sounding but it never got in the way of enjoyment. The book is pretty quick to read, at around 250 pages.
The afterword is also a good read. It describes the process of putting together the novel from its pieces as well as some of the things that a contemporary reader might miss(trust me it puts the last chapter into a whole different perspective.)
Speaking as someone who does not have a lot of experience reading crime I can not compare The Cocktail Waitress to other books in the genre, but I can tell you that it was an entertaining read. It was enjoyable, solid, and surprising in moments. However it was not a spell binder – none of the characters really connected to me and I was never compelled to keep reading just one more chapter.
It is a good read; if you’re a fan of the crime genre I would say pick this up just as a piece of history if nothing else and you’ll have a fun time reading it as well.
If you are not a fan of the genre but the description intrigues you, I’d say give it a shot and see if it grabs you.
If you aren’t familiar with the fantasy novel Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay here’s a brief synopsis. The story relates a resistance movement in a peninsula with 8 provinces. These people are oppressed by two foreign empires, who split their peninsula in a balance of power. One of these provinces gets cursed, meaning it’s name is destroyed from history. Their art, and entire culture are destroyed. A group of men and women work to take back their name. It’s a story of love, of change, and of memory, both how it is a gift and a curse. Here’s my short review. I may write an entire review in the future:
This book is amazing. Pretty slow start, but then so was my last 5 star book. Once you’re about 70 pages in it gets good. Then it gets real good. Then it gets so good I wanted to tear my hair out because the characters were so complex, and the story so rich with themes and emotion.
As far as I know there is no plan to adapt Tigana into a film. That’s fine, but I think it would make a great film, or mini-series. So assuming there was to a movie of Tigana(uncomfortable sex scenes removed) who would I cast? Well first of all I will not be covering all the characters as their are more viewpoint characters than a George R.R. Martin Book up in here. But I will try to cover the characters who are most key and with the most “screen time”.
Second, I’m not the best at this so please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong and who should be playing these characters instead.
Finally before we begin I must mention this cast would probably be impossible due to the number of big stars. Oh well, what do I know.
Devin: First let me say it’s not as weird as you would think to read a book with your first name as the main characters. And this may be a let down but I’m going to say: go with an unknown. I couldn’t think of actors who would work in this setting and sing well. So just find someone we haven’t heard of. If you know someone who fits the bill let me know.
Catriana: Amy Adams. Our female lead. She needs to be fierce and cute and red-headed. All of those things I saw in The Fighter. She might have to work at making sneering faces, but she could totally do it.
Alessan: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Throw a beard on the guy, put him in some armor. Dude would be a great Alessan. He has the charisma, now they just have to teach him how to play pipes.
Beard: I know there’s some one perfect out there for Beard, I just can’t put my finger on it. Until then I guess Jeremy Renner will do. He’s a hot action star now, and we all know he’s pretty hot with a bow. Now I’m not going to cast teen Beard, but they’d have to do that too.
Sandre: I was looking for someone big, tough, and old. So as I’m watching Breaking Bad right now my mind immediately went to Jonathan Banks, who plays Mike on that show. Now Mike never makes jokes in Breaking Bad, but I think he could pull it off. And it’d be interesting to see that nose in the makeup.
Rovigo: Bryan Cranston. Oh! My Breaking Bad is showing. Cranston has shown that he can play sweet father in Malcolm in the Middle and to some extent in Breaking Bad(though he’s usually lying through his teeth to them). Basically I wanna see Cranston play a good guy in a drama for once.
Alais: Dakota Fanning. She’s still young, can still act like a mofo and would honestly really look the part.
Alberico: Our asshole of a villain would be played by Hugo Weaving. Slap some makeup on the guy. Maybe it’s trite to cast him as a villain, but whatever he’s good at it. Plus can’t you just picture is eyelid twitching!
Brandin: Micheal Fassbender. He showed us he could play a sympathetic villain in First Class which is exactly what Brandin is. Plus he’s got those looks.
Dianora: Charlize Theron. She’s freaking beautiful, and is around the right age. Dianora is my favorite character in the book, her tragedy is grande, and I think Theron could pull it off. And we’d get to see her swim in a loose dress. If that’s not worth making this movie then I don’t know what is.
So that’s it. Was I completely off the mark? Completely on? Please let me know who you would cast in the Tigana film in the comments to below.
I recently got a Kindle, and due to my being very poor, I have been trying to get as many free (but good) books as I possibly can. The ones I most recommend are listed below.
The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
This was the first book I got, and it is fantastic. Known by most for being the first book to put forward the idea of time travel as we know it today, it is regarded by as a Sci-fi classic. It tells the story of a man (just called the time traveller) who goes to the distant future where the world is entirely different. This book uses some very unique narrarating techniques, and at roughly 100 pages, it’s not a huge task to read it.
Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
Now I’m sure most of you recognize this from the awful Brendan Frazier movie adaptation, but don’t let any negative feelings about that stop you. It’s an interesting story about people going to the center of the earth, and having some wacky sci-fi adventures. Also it’s Jules Verne so you can’t really go wrong.
2 B R 0 2 B – Kurt Vonnegut
All though this is the shortest story on this list, I still have to recommend it. Kurt Vonnegut is probably on the top of my list of “authors I want to check out” and this is what brought him to that list. Similar to Harrison Bergeron, it’s a dystopian story that takes place in the future where old age, disease, and population control have been conquered.
The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka (Only iBook store)
This book is rather short, but I definitely think it is interesting enough to read. It is about a salesman who wakes up as a human sized cockroach and has to deal with it. On the Kindle store and Nook store it’s about 99 cents, but I would still recommend you get it.
The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
The second book by H. G. Wells on this list is a story of a scientist who turns himself invisible, but cannot turn himself back. Something interesting about many of these novels is that they are simply a “what if” scenario, and then the characters dealing with the situation. H. G. Wells is a great author, and this is another great read.
So there you go. If you know of any good free books out there please comment below!
On the Sword and Laser show, and goodreads forum they mentioned a tool to check your reading speed. I took the test, and got from 260-310(I took it twice with two different passages) which is slightly above average.
People on the goodreads forums were getting anywhere from 400-700 words per minute. Now I started feeling a bit inadequate.
But one of the posters brought up an important comment, that how interested and how energetic the reader is drastically changes the reading speed. Based on my wpm the site suggested that I could read War and Peace in around 35 hours. OK I thought, seems about right. Then it suggested that I would be able to read 1984 in 6 hours, which is something I didn’t do. It took me much longer than that.
I’m thinking that this is because the book(although I enjoyed it) was not good at keeping my attention for long periods in most sections, and I usually read it at the end of the school day when I was wiped. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it took me 10 hours to read that book.
And that’s OK I think. I’m completely comfortable being a slow reader, although I wouldn’t mind being faster. I read about a technique that speed readers use in which they no longer hear the words in their head(if that makes sense), but that sounds horrible to me, at least in the context of reading a novel. I love making voices for characters in my heads to read their dialogue in(and that usually just happens in good books). And I feel I would lose a good deal of the enjoyment I get from the books I chose to read if I threw that away to be able to read more. Because I’m not reading for anyone else, am I comfortable reading slow and enjoying it for myself.
A larger topic I’ve been mulling over recently is just that: you should read only for yourself. Unless of course you are reading something for a job or school.
I used to finish books no matter what.
Now I’m comfortable putting a book down if I’m not enjoying it after a sizable portion hasn’t grabbed me. It’s the same position then that I’m taking with reading speed. Of course I would like to be able to read more books in the limited time I have, but the reading experience I have is one I cherish. I implore you to think about your reading habits, and remember that in the end you’re doing it for yourself. So do what makes you happiest.
I have now read the book, and it’s pretty good. I never expected to like The Hunger Games as much as I did just because my thought process was that any book super popular with teens couldn’t be that great.
That said it is not without problems. I’ll be popping SPOILERS and references to the film adaptation so if you don’t want to be spoiled go read/watch it.
The first thing that hit me as I read the book was that it is told in present tense which is an odd choice in my opinion. Especially since there are some sentences where it seems to forget that it’s a present tense book. It’s also told in the first person which works well because it allows the reader to see Katniss’ thought process which is something that I felt was missing from the movie. In my opinion the book tells a better story than the movie tells, but I also think the movie does what it sets out to do and does it wonderfully. In fact we do get some extra story in the movie with the Gamemaker and the President having larger roles.
I was sent the 30th anniversary edition with a new afterword and a new time-line of events written by fans of Farmer’s work. The book is newly available from Titan Books for 9.95.
It is 208 pages in length.
This book is part of a larger body of work known as the Wold Newton Universe which is Farmer’s way of containing all of the British fantastical heroes like Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage in one universe. You don’t need to know that to understand the novel as there is nothing intrinsically Wold Newton about it, in fact the connection was only hinted at until the revised edition told how the book is connected.
My friends over at Good Girls Gone Geek wrote an article about what to do now that your favorite TV show is on hiatus. Maybe the seasons over or maybe it’s at a mid-season brake(why do those exist).
Basically, your bored.
You don’t know what to do.
Your just sitting around, it’s summer. Maybe you know you should be doing something but you just aren’t.
So what do you do?
Let me tell you! There are no, and I repeat no ends to the things you could be doing right now.
It’s awesome. Most of it you can do completely free too.
Ready Player One is a fantastic book, but its not for everyone.
Ready Player One
Writer: Ernest Cline
There’s a fair chance that if you’re on this site, that this book is for you though. Ready Player One follows Wade, a teenager in his quest to complete a huge digital scavenger hunt. Sounds weird right? But the book is also chock full of obscure 80′s trivia which is sometimes reason for the book to get a little wonky in parts. Read More…
My list is going to be a bit strange considering most of the time I get to things a little later than most people. So I spent a good part of the year watching old doctor who episodes, and reading back issues of Fables instead of getting to the new stuff. So because there is still a ton of stuff I want to get too and since this list would be pretty sparse with out them I’m going to include a few things that did not come out in 2011. Also keep in mind these are not compiled into a specific order, I can’ t choose my babies, or brats in case of worst.
Worst: Let’s get this crap out of the way!
Stupid Autotune pop radio songs
Yes! Every bodies booing this song tonight… Seriously, you guys stop listening to this shit. I’m subjegated to stuff like Party Rock Anthem, Sexy and I know it, and possible the best(ie worst) Moves like Jagger. Wasn’t Maroon 5 an actual rock band at some point? For those of you out their that like this music. I’m not attacking you, I’m just saying their are better songs in these genres, and that they get waaaaaaaaaaay over played on the radio. And no I’m not choosing to listen to the radio. What kind of person do you think I am.
Christmas time stage productions
Yes, I think its time for the stage production to go the way of the dodo. If your not Broadway or an actual professional British theater then I don’t think you belong any more. Yes its a bit harsh but they just can’t compete with TV or Movies. I’ve yet to go to a production that wasn’t under or overacted. You know why? Because you have to overact in theater, you have to almost scream everything. But what am I talking about specifically here? Well for the past few years I have been dragged along to Christmas time…things. The first was Zoozoo. Yep Zoozoo. What is a Zoozoo? Well I’m glad you asked. Basically its a group of gymnasts or something that dress up as animals and…move around. Either I’m crazy or I just read a quote from the New York Times saying “delightful…just watch!” . Maybe I’m just missing what makes this such a “delightful” experience, but to me watching dudes jump around in frog suits for over an hour, at the nice fee of $25 is just crazy. I mean whats the internet for?
Ok so now we get to the second production was an actual play. The Christmas Carol. Oh a classic, they can’t mess it up can they? What am I saying of course they can! I wish I could find a picture of their poster, because if you saw it you would think, “Hey, that looks like the Christmas Carol. Its got the knocker, man is that like blood, looks kinda dark.”
Then you would get to the play, and your treated to what is basically a) a mockery of the creative proccess, and b) akin to those really bad really dumb dreamworks animations where you cringe at each joke. And its like 2 hours long. At least Zoozoo had the decency to let me leave after about an hour.
My own god damn ambition
As you can put together this ones my fault. And I don’t even think its that bad of a thing, except it tears me in all these different directions. So over the course of 2011: I have started this blog(yes the one your on right now!), started 5 let’s plays(2 unrealeased and still not very far in but still), swam in the swimteam 10 out of the 12 months, taking mostly advanced classes in highschool(there are some that don’t have an advanced option, like health and its Laserdiscs for example),started to write a novel(la?),started to learn the C programming language, and I think finally start to learn pixel art at the very end of 2011. We will see what sticks around in 2012, and I’m planning on posting about what 2012 holds for us here at WeGetGeek.
Best: Whew let’s get to the good stuff
The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim
What is it about the Elder Scrolls games that makes them so damn fun? Sometimes I wonder that myself. It doesn’t have an amazing main story, or great combat, or super stunning visuals(unless your talking about those vistas, cause damn). No in one of the best years in my video gaming life its almost in spite of these things that Skyrim is such a spellbinding experience. The way that the world is presented, as a living breathing world is something you just don’t see in any other game except maybe the other games that Bethesda has worked on. The scope of Skyrim while being intensely captivating at the same time is almost too much at times. I’ve played a rough 50 hours in my main character not to mention the time I’ve spent with Ezekial everyone’s favorite gray Orc and I have yet to even enter some of the major cities. That’s right and each city has dozens and dozens of quests to complete. As an example I just entered the hold of Windhelm, and picked up a quest about solving the murders of three girls, by questioning witnesses and collecting evidence. There are no other quests like this one as far as I know. That’s super cool!
Also Colonel Tigh is in it as, you guessed it a general. Poor guys going to be typecast for the rest of his career.
Bastion is an inspiration. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played and it was made by five people. The art is beautiful, the game play snappy and fun, and the music FU**ING awesome. It’s a cool, surprisingly emotional story narrated brilliantly to respond to the players actions. I seriously can’t say enough about this game, its one of the smartest games I’ve ever played.
Mass Effect 2
What is there to say? Mass effect may end up being my favorite sci-fi universe when its all over. It’s got the crazy looking aliens from star wars, along with force like powers without all the spiritual crap. All the alien races have interesting developed cultures, and histories, and science. That’s right if you want to there are hundreds of pages on breeding, development, technology, species relations…you name it they thought about it and its in the game. But enough about the fiction, what do you actually do? Well, early in the game your put on a task to assemble the greatest team in the known universe. So you fly around recruiting these guys like Mordin up their. At its core its a shooter, with RPG mechanics backing it up. Besides guns characters also have tech powers, and biotic(see force like) powers to throw around. The gameplay doesn’t get in the way of what’s really important, and that’s the characters and setting.If I’ve not made my point clear Mass Effect is awesome. The first game is pretty clunky, and you can skip to the second and piece together what went before without losing out on too much, so do it.
The Morning Stream
A morning show? No thanks. That was my response upon hearing about the Morning Stream even though I listened to a bunch of other podcasts done by the host Scott Johnson. So I didn’t listen to it. Finally after I kept hearing about it on their shows, I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did, four days a week Scott and Brian take me through the day with stupid news stories and “celebrity poop”. I love hearing their stories like Brian’s son, who got his ipod stolen. Then Brian tracked the phone, staked out the place and discovered it was his kids friend from school. Tell me that didn’t sound like a sitcom’s plot. They are geeks to the biggest degree, and are the reason for me getting into A Song of Ice and Fire. Their nearing their one year anniversary so you can bet some crazy stuff is about to go down.
So bringing updating fairtales for the modern times is nothing new, especially after the recent glut of them, however Fables did start over ten years ago. Plus its so much better executed then everything else. The fables have been exiled to the human, or Mundy world and have to try to keep a low profile while fighting off an impending invasion from the Adversary, and no spoilers but apparently there are hints as to who it is withing the border of the first few issues of the book. I’m not their yet, but I think that the Adversary was revealed around issue 100, if that’s not good foreshadowing then what the crap is. Always surprising, always entertaining Fables is a must read.
A Song of Ice and Fire
Did somebody say must read? This one slides in close, because I didn’t finish reading the book till late December. Plus I have yet to see the show, because I don’t have HBO and they take forever to put out their dvds. A year…seriously? Whatever it just gave me time to catch up with the book, and figure out my own pronunciations of the characters names, so that when I watched it I could yell about how my pronunciations are better. The book has one of the best mid-book twists I can think of, and the only think I can really say bad about it is that it doesn’t really end. It just stops. But whatever there are four more ~700 page books out and I can’t wait to read them.
I saw this movie in the theater, which is pretty rare for me, but I’m glad I did because there are moments that just don’t play the same outside of the theater. Like the train sequence, it was just soooooo loud it freaked me out. Not in a bad way. I love the feeling this movie gives me. It’s not a dark, depressing movie and I love it for that. And come on its the Goonies meets E.T.
Like the sign says Powerful Ambition and Poor Impulse Control. I’ve played this game once, and it was one of my favorite roleplaying experiences ever. Plus its great for anyone out their who is afraid of RPG’s because of their genre trappings, or because you don’t know anyone who can DM. Fiasco is generally set in modern times, and there is no DM! The rules are simple and are only their to facilitate your groups crazy antics. Let me tell you what happened at my game. Now if I remember correctly I died at some point, my mom’s character thought she was psychic, two people were animal right activist radical terrorists and I think one of them turned out to be a vampire at the end. That’s just the kind of minds we have I guess, but it all started as a group of researches at an Antarctic research facility.
The first episode I watched was the D&D one. I watched it again pretty much right after I had finished. Then all of season 1, hooked Tim, and Season 3 started coming out. Still haven’t seen all of Season 2 but the discs should be here any day. Season 3 has been pretty great aside from what I thought was a lackluster halloween episode especially after the first two. But you should know that Community is awesome, and if you don’t now you do. So don’t let them cancel it. The second half of the season is going to be airing sometime this year(people are predicting summer) so tune in. Go Human Beings!
Yes, the music swells and we all get teary eyed…but seriously this.THIS right here has been one of the best consistently fun things this year. The relationships that I’ve acquired(You know who you are, and yes you can say you were on a best of 2011 list now) from doing this here thing have been great, and I have more faith in the internet because of it. I’ve done a lot of crap over the year and shared a lot of the crap up here, and…here’s to another year of crap!
The Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion is a pretty fantastic addition to the already great savage worlds system.
Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion
Writers: Shane Lacy Hensley, Clint Black, Piotr Korys, and Paul “Wiggy” Wad-Williams
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Price: 14.99(digital), 19.99(hardcopy)
Chances are if you’ve been on the site before you have seen a Savage Worlds Heroes posts , so you can guess that I like the system a bit. This book adds more standard super powers. Their were rules for super heroes in the original rules, but they did not fit the setting that well. They worked if you wanted really low powered supers, but they couldn’t let you play a green lantern for example. I’m going to look at the book a chapter at a time, and I’m also assuming you know a bit about Savage Worlds. However the quick and dirty is your skills and stats are a dice from d4-d12+blank and that for most acts a 4 is the target number to roll above.
Chapter one covers character options and creation with the exception of the superpowers themselves that are in chapter 4. There are a few new hindrances that cover stuff like having to snap your fingers to turn your powers on to having a weakness to yellow(If thats your thing). There is also an interesting one that gives your hero(or villain) a condition that could cause him to die any session. I really like it. It has potential. There are 4 new edges but really only 3 since one just gives you super powers, and that’s practically required.
Chapter two is special setting rules that are all completely optional, but some of the coolest stuff in the book. There are rules to adjust the power level of the game from standard, to Street level, where your spider-man types would be, to Cosmic level, who are your guys are flying through space having intergalactic wars all the time. There is a option to get rid of Guts, but I think that’s just a standard rule now so you can ignore that. There is an option to start with all your powers and not get any more as you get experience points. There is a heroic bennies rule that add a new type of benny that you can use for any role including damage, or to add a d6, but it gives the Heroic Hindurance to all the PC’s. There are rules to allow you to be slightly or majorly under-powered in relation to your peers.
The gear is mostly the same as the core rules with the exception of special weapons that include stuff like the Foam Thrower, which lets you in case people in fast hardening foam. Sounds snazzy huh? There are more vehicles that you would expect people like Shield(from marvel) would have. This chapters not very notable.
This is the most important chapter in the book and it delivers. The super powers edge gives you 10 points to spend on getting the super powers you want. Unlike the savage worlds spell system, you don’t spend power points to use the powers in fact you can use the powers as much as you want with no penalty which is really nice because it gets rid of a lot of un-fun point management. The powers cover all the major powers that you could want. Of course you can think of something weird that it won’t be able to do, but in my opinion it does enough to do what you would want to do with it. It covers stuff from like super strength or other stat to a power that let’s you cause electronics to malfunction. So it does get pretty broad in its power spectrum. There is also a power that lets you buy extra edges and skills.
Is about creating HQ’s for you heroes to hang out in. You can acquire it via edge or power points that you would otherwise spend on super powers. You can create a garage sized thing to a justice league style satellite in space. The HQ if enough points are invested can be very good thing for the heroes. With stuff like holding cells, labs that give a bonus to skills, training rooms, teleporters ect. In fact this system could be employed for non-supers games very well. Something like torchwood(its on the brain) would work very well with this HQ system.
Chapter 6 is a whole smorgasbord of supervillains to use as opponents in you game. They are generally really cheesy and silver age esque which is great if you’re into that kind of thing, and if your not they are easily re-skinable to be the kind of bad-guys you want. The real boon is the stats and the immense quantity of them.There is a good 70 pages of them at about 15 pages or so per rank. There are probably around a hundred guys for you to play with, and with names like Octaopon, Uberfrau, and Striptease how can you go wrong? HOW ?I ask. There are also a few pages of henchmen/robot/giant monster’s that you can just plug in as mooks.
And that’s it. There is a small index in the back, but that’s it. If savage worlds is your thing, and super heroes is your thing and you don’t care about necessary evil which includes most of these rules(although I think a few powers are missing and the HQ rules) and the super villain gallery then this is the book for you. In fact I have used it to run a urban fantasy game similar to the dresden files and it works extremely well for that. I’m sure you could find some other uses for it as well.
I whole heartedly recommend this to any savage worlds fan who any of this sounded interesting to. If you do decide to purchase it, you could help us out by clicking this link, and buying the book from drivethrurpg.com!