Friday, April 7, 2017

Anything But New Book Review: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor

Welcome to another anything but new book review. These are reviews of books that are typically past their best-seller days, some of which may be languishing forgotten but are still worthy of a good read.

Today's anything but new book is If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor

Hail to the Chin, baby.

 I have always been at least a minor fan of Bruce Campbell, though as of late my interest in his movies has grown, so as soon as I found out he wrote an autobiography back in 2001 (with a reissue/update in 2002) I tracked it down. The book flows fairly well, beginning with his early childhood as well as what motivated him to become an actor before moving quickly through high school and off to his first feature film The Evil Dead.

Whereas it easy for an autobiography to come off as dry or disingenuous If Chins Could Kill gives us a peak behind the scenes of Bruce Campbell’s career while entertaining us as the reader.
Bruce Campbell as narrator of his own life is both charming and self deprecating with, we can see this with passages like:
“Waiting for that big call is where you second-guess yourself to death and play all of the ‘would have/should have/could have’ games over and over. I had two choices: wait be the phone and be tormented by every ring, or get as far away from it as I could. I chose the latter, and wandered the hills behind my house in southern California until the big verdict came down about thirty-0six hours later. Paramount had found their man and it was . . . Billy Zane.
Do not pass Go. Do not collect $100.
I was surprised at how well I took the news. It was more of a relief than anything, because I was tired of all the games I had to play to get that far. To quote Rocky, I ‘went the distance’ and it was good enough for me.”
Bruce Campbell is entertaining while being informative. My only real complaint is that after reading the book I may know about his career but I don’t really feel like I know the man. After watching hours of YouTube videos featuring Bruce Campbell I find that talking to us about himself without ever really telling us much is something he excels at. We only ever really get a hint at his politics and never really know much about his personal life. Perhaps that is for the best. By staying focused on his career Campbell has provided an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to get into the arts.

Who should read this book?

I try and avoid a straight up ratings system because they are so unreliable and open to interpretation. What you consider a 2/10 I might consider a 9/10. Instead I try and focus on who would enjoy this book, or at last benefit from it. If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor is great for those who want some insight in what it takes to become a working actor as well as what is involved if you want to try and reach a level of celebrity that Bruce Campbell tried to achieve briefly but quickly eschewed it when he realized he would rather be a working actor than go through the toil of attempts at celebrity. This book is great for ANYONE who wants to work in the arts. It shows the tenacity needed to push forward, and  though his path to become a working actor can’t be replicated the lessons he learned and shared can be applied to any field and by anyone.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Scrymea: The Northern Kingdoms

Scrymea is my personal setting. Most of my fantasy work will take place in the world of Scrymea, even if they do not call the world by its name. After all how often do you mention that you are on planet Earth?  My goal is to post all the different aspects of the world that I come up with, and when I have enough gather them into one single reference. It will be primarily for me, but available to whomever else has taken an interest. That won’t be for a while.

The Northern Kingdoms
The first region I am focusing on is the Northern Kingdoms.  The Northern Kingdoms are located on the north western most portion of the largest continent of Scrymea.  The climate of this region is primarily temperate, or at least it should be. In a world where powerful wizards and truly devout priests can call upon powers to change the weather, climate is more of a rough guide. This region experiences summer, winter, spring, and fall. 

This is a land of contradictions. At any one time one kingdom will be warring with another. Their borders change so often that they are rarely shown on any map.  About the only thing that unites the Kingdoms is the threat of the ever expanding Panthic Empire to the south, not shown here. Also not shown on the map is region of Rock Darr. Rock Darr was once a powerful kingdom, one to rival the Panthic Empire, and some even believed that it would rival fallen Eldara of old. Whether or not that was a possibility no one will ever know for sure as the kingdom was overwhelmed by undead and a vicious species known as lebrigs. Some describe the creature as an oversized gerbil with an oversize and carnivorous appetite.  Occasionally undead and lebrigs make their way west, and the kingdoms in their way have become more than experienced in how to deal with them. 

The threat of conquest from the south and painful death from the east has shaped the peoples of this region in such a way that they are among the few that dare sail the Kraken Sea. If you wish to Travel to the Druid Isles or the Lands of Frozen Wealth you’ll need to pay for berth on a northern vessel.  It is this source of trade, as well as the line of forts and fortifications known as the High Guard Line that discourages the Panthic Empire form bringing its full might down upon the region. 

The High Guard Line and the High Guard who man the forts are yet another contradiction as they seem to be a uniting element within the Northern Kingdoms. The High Guard are a monastic order dedicated to keeping the Northern Kingdoms safe.  As such they have free rein wherever they travel.  When a High Guard speaks a king listens.  The High Guard accept recruits at any of their fortified abbeys, in addition to always keeping an eye out for potential candidates through the great cities and small towns of the north.  Of all those who petition to join only one in ten survive the training. 

This is a small portion of what I have so far, changes will happen as well as focus on more specific areas as I write more and more within the setting. As always comments and critiques are welcome, keep them polite but honest.