The Final Cattle of Farmer Geddon

Little Fears Presents JanuaryB January

Written by: Peter Edwards

Publish by: Independently published

Copyright:  © 2017

Puns, discovered on eon old Sumerian cuneiform writings, are some of the oldest forms of humor known to man. Humor does not get any lower than a pun. To pun is to groan. I do love puns.

Peter Edwards delivers non-stop punnery paired with zany ink scratches, providing much needed levity to counter the daily dose of  fishstressing current events in Little Fears Presents January. A lively and quick read, delivering your daily dose of groans.

A fleeting and final dose of groans from the 2017 O. Henry Pun Off winner, Southpaw Jones:

Tomorrow’s Mother’s day, so give me a wide birth from this gestation, period. Not to bore children, crown around, or stirrup trouble, but to breech a little spermon induce labor-ious minutes for my mom and all Lamaze newborn not. I’m gonna trimester to come to term with it all, but I’m tearing up already. Mom, thank you for giving me womb to grow, for halloweening, for a family of huggers & huggies, for protesting any sign that cesarean section, for soup when I had a cough. You didn’t just cervix. For the what do you colicky to the door of life’s intercourse that fallopian tube be walked through. You managed to fetus on coo & fundus too, made sure my heart had love and lactate, pushed me to gamete my obligations, spit up straight, egg cell in school where I’d stretch marks as high as onesies. We went to church for maternal soul the grand canyon. That time engorgement so much kayaking. I had faith in utero me to shore. Now, as zygote through life, uterus-t me to live the values you placenta me. What to kn-OBGYN the world am I a letdown? Embryo-iled in crime. I know what it sounds like when a hormones. It was a centimeter and my athlete friend, I sold hemorrhoids. I feel like a real heel prick when we fight. It’s like a doula something, but if I umbilical cord-ially, I know you’ll VBAC on my side. I know lots of parents diaper season, but I object! Permanence, please! I don’t wanna feel that morning sickness. So live long and dilate. There’s a postpartum. Oh! And a mother thing. I love you, Mom!

Groan On.

God Will Come When We Become Gods

Childhood’s End

Written by: Arthur C. Clarke

Published by:  Harcourt, Brace & World

Copyright:  © 1953

B Childhood's EndArthur C. Clarke, or imposing proper reverence, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, was an avowed atheist, dancing, contradictory, with the concept of God through all his great works; notably Childhood’s End, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: Odyssey 2, 2061: Odyssey 3, and 3001: The Final Odyssey. At times he was adamant about his beliefs, “I don’t believe in God or an afterlife”; and on other occasions absolutely flippant, “Any path to knowledge is a path to God—or Reality, whichever word one prefers to use.”; which is remarkably similar to his third law; any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

His chosen god-given paradise was that of an evolutionary, transcendent transformation to a higher order; not necessarily a gift from an omniscient being but that certainly is a conceivable end point of several of his utopian narratives.

Childhood’s End begins with humans not worthy of traveling further into that celestial ether but our progeny are trainable to receive that gift. Earth is taken over by a race of space aliens known as the Overlords, that have come to suppress our worst instincts and desires, prepare and guide us, towards the enlightenment of the Overmind.

Childhood’s End is considered Clarke’s greatest novel and he certainly thought it his best, and it definitely sent him on a trajectory to further explore concepts of transcendence in later works culminating in his hugely successful Space Odyssey series.

Noir Righteousness

The Big Nowhere B Big Nowhere.jpg

Written by:  James Ellroy

Published by: Mysterious Press

Copyright:  © 1988

Life it seems, will fade away
Drifting further every day

Deathly lost, this can’t be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel

(Partial lyrics to Metallica’s Fade to Black, ©1984. Songwriters: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Cliff Burton, Kirk Hammett).

When there are no heroes, no good guys, no morals worth fighting for, then you’ve walked into The Big Nowhere.  There are no prizes here so Sam Spade took the night train out of L.A., and Mike Hammer’s 45 would have melted by the 9th chapter, leaving a rather skinny book with a sloppy ending. No one, no thing is redeemable in this novel, possibly not even the reader, who is captivated, disheartened, engrossed, disgusted on the raw truth presented as living without a soul, trying to make sense of this hell on earth, wishing never to come anywhere near The Big Nowhere.

…thinking Coleman’s Upshaw fixation would break him down on his homosexuality, stymie and stalemate him.  He was wrong. Coleman picked up Augie Duarte at a downtown bar, sedated him and took him to an abandoned garage in Lincoln Heights.  He strangled him and hacked him and ate him and emasculated him like Daddy and the others had tried to do to him…

Everyone deserves to die, sooner rather than later, in this l.a. l.a. land; the protagonists, if there are any, the antagonists, the groupies, the followers and the hanger-ons, everyone.

The Big Nowhere is the second, and likely the best, of Ellroy’s L.A. Quartet which includes:

  1. Black Dahlia © 1987
  2. The Big Nowhere © 1988
  3. L.A. Confidential © 1990
  4. White Jazz © 1992

Don’t miss this one.

War in Paradise

Tales of the South Pacific B South Pacific

Written by:  James A. Michener

Published by:  Curtis Publishing Company

Copyright:  © 1947

James Michener, an adopted child of a Pennsylvania Quaker, instilled his fictional Tales of the South Pacific from his garrisoned experiences as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy during the latter half of his WWII tour of duty. From 1944-1946, he was stationed mainly on Espiritu Santo, a small island on the eastern edge of the Coral Sea, as a naval historian, but he frequently visited other tropical islands in the area.

The short stories collected in this book, which Michener won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, probe the symbiosis and bonds between the American G.I. and frequently, female Pacific Islanders. The tales revolve around mostly the same characters, with a commander generally filling in as the first person narrator, and a few common plot lines such as a forthcoming, but fictitious island invasion.

Michener’s descriptive prose can be captivating and luxurious, sometimes almost hypnotic, such as the sketch of the local song birds on the protagonist’s lover’s plantation in the poignant love story, Our Heroine:

…Their harsh cries were modified by the delicate chirping of a graceful swallowlike bird that flew in great profusion among the cacao trees. This gracious bird was sooty black except for a white breast and belly.  Gliding and twisting through the shadows it looked like a shadow itself. Then bursting into the sunlight, its white body shone brilliantly…

The composition is good, probably better than anything else he wrote later in life but it does not reach the level of a master story-teller such as what Joseph Conrad attained in his Heart of Darkness or a Jack London story, for instance: All Gold Canyon:

…The red-coated many-antlered buck acknowledged the lordship of the spirit of the place and dozed knee-deep in the cool, shaded pool.  There seemed no flies to vex him and he was languid with rest.  Sometimes his ears moved when the stream awoke and whispered; but they moved lazily, with foreknowledge that it was merely the stream grown garrulous at discovery that it had slept…

Tales of the South Pacific is the antithesis of Michener’s future product; short stories versus monstrously thick and wordy novels, crisp and straightforward plot lines versus cloudy and cumbersome themes, and finally a compassionate acknowledgement for his reader’s attention rather than a dismissive condescension for those not willing to commit to consuming his turgid volumes of fictional excess.

Michener wrote one good book: Tales of the South Pacific.

Amidst the Mole

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Tinker Tailor

Written by:  John le Carré

Published by: Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated

Copyright:  © 1974

David John Moore Cornwell, alias John le Carré, a son of a con-man, whose father was a sometimes Rich Man, Poor Man; worked for British Intelligence in the 1950s and 1960s but was betrayed in 1964 to the Russians by Kim Philby, a British KGB double agent working within the MI6.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the fictionalized tale of the hunt for Philby, nom de guerre Gerald, by retired British spy, George Smiley. Smiley, the physical antithesis of James Bond; is an overweight, over the hill, myopic, failure in love; but intellectually superlative, standing shoulder to shoulder with Sherlock and Columbo.

The title of the book comes from a children’s counting rhyme that traces back to at least the late Renaissance:

Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Sailor,
Rich Man, Poor Man,
Beggar Man, Thief.

and was used for assigning code names to one of the five suspected Soviet moles in British Intelligence. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Poor Man and Beggar Man were all senior intelligence officers within the Circus, an euphemism for British Intelligence, with Smiley being Beggar Man.

John le Carré writes with heavy characterization to the point of distraction along with frequent time and space jumps that will often bewilder. The opening sentence “The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn’t dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood’s at all.” is absolutely critical to the plot development but remains a complete mystery for most of the tale. Read carefully but do not tarry.

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