Monday, July 25, 2016

Plottastic! Attack of the Blood Bay Lamprey Zombies




By Ray X


Sometimes my creative genius surprises me.

I'm all set to work on a screenplay for the ultimate SF horror movie.

Plot:  An international athletic competition is being held in a major South American city.  (For legal reasons this competition isn't the 2016 Summer Olympics and the city isn't Rio, Brazil.)  The city abuts a large body of water that some call Blood Bay.  This bay has been used for countless years as a sewer, the locals dumping in all sort of environmental nasties – garbage, chemicals, sewage, etc.

The South American host city assures the international athletic committee that the bay will be cleaned up before the games begin, especially those occurring in the water.

So what if some human body parts wash up on the beach area set aside for the volleyball games.  Just a fluke.  Anyway the bay will be in good shape.  Trust us.

But when the games start the pollution reduction is only partially completed. The international athletic organization doesn't mind, the games must go on, too much money will be lost.  Anyway the aquatic athletes are tough, especially the swimmers.

The host city thinks that everything should be OK, nothing to worry, even if the whole world is watching.

The swimmers, blinded by the glory of gold and silver prizes, decide to compete.

So during one competition a group of swimmers encounter green glowing glop floating on the surface.  (I forgot to mention that radioactive waste also gets dumped, a fictional detail needed for the SF angle.)  The swimmers enter the mutagen spot and are paralyzed, sinking to the bottom.

A search is launched but the bay is so polluted the bodies can't be found.

Then a couple of nights later strange creatures rise up from the water, walk onto the beach.  They look human but their faces are replaced by a large circular sucker mouths ringed with fangs.  They enter the city, attack people people, turning them into lamprey zombies.  The contagion quickly spreads –

OK, this won't fly.  Why?  Suspension of disbelief.  Too unbelievable.

No one will believe that an international athletic organization would allow swimmers to be exposed to such pollution.  And the swimmers would never enter the water knowing they risks they would be taking.

And what major city would allow the world to focus on its polluted bay, especially with a multitude of critical articles in the media about its insalubrious state.

All of that – no one will buy it.

Scratch this screenplay.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

XR #121


The latest edition of Ray X X-Rayer is hot off the digital press.   If you prefer my writings in ezine form:


   http://efanzines.com/RXXR/index.htm

And if you want to receive RX XR via email:

   http://www.tinyletter.com/RayX  

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When Smoke And Scales Get In Your Eyes


There's a plethora of videos over at YouTube purportedly exposing the reptilian shape-shifter conspiracy.

They live among us.  Cruel treacherous alien humanoids who appear to be one of us until their disguise slips, their true reptilian form briefly revealed.

Of course a few of these must be put-ons, hoaxes.  But after researching conspiracy theorists of the wacko kind one is amazed what others actually believe despite the illogic and blind faith.


For eXample a video entitled “Reptilian Hybrid Gets Mad On Dating Show & Shapeshifts - ALIEN SHAPESHIFTING” (see image above.)  The woman has an unusual quirk: she can close each of her eyelids independently like a lizard.  Weird but probably a rare genetic trait, not proof of monsters hiding among us.

In another video a CNN reporter in slow motion shrugs her shoulders, briefly expands her neck, and sticks her tongue out.  More frog-like (amphibian) than reptile to this viewer.

And racism plays a factor with a Euronews video about anti-nukes activists in Japan.  A scene is frozen to have a red mark point to a protester’s eye.  It’s called an epicanthic fold, moron. 


This same video – entitled “Reptilian disguised as a Human Right [sic] Woman on Euronews” – trots out the usual Illuminati conspiracy tripe, Free Mason symbols and the eye within the pyramid on the dollar bill.  All part of the mega-conspiracy.  But what appears to be a ultra-right-wing Xtian diatribe – warning about God’s Wrath-Satan-Evil etc. ends up in the end quoting the Quran.  Someone out there spoofing?

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Originally published in Ray X X-Rayer #119

http://efanzines.com/RXXR/index.htm

http://www.tinyletter.com/RayX  

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Fandom As A Global Village




Bill Burns: Who's he?

Here I am getting my zine published on his site and I know very little about the guy.  I've never been deep into SF fandom but through his site, eFanzines.com, I'm meeting new people outside of my usual readership of ufologists, conspiracy theorists, and supernatural investigators.

In the old days I would have to conduct an interview via telephone.  ThanX to  email I learned about Bill and the history of eFanzines, getting the story in his own words without the labor of writing transcripts.  (I try to be a stickler about direct quotes.)

The impetus for eFanzines dates back to November 2000,  the early days of the internet.  The time when dinosaurs and dial-up roamed across the earth.  Downloads would lumber, taking seemingly forever to complete.  Email size restrictions forced a sender to divide a large file into separate emails.  

Most fanzine publishers didn't have their own personal web space.  Cloud storage like Dropbox?  Didn't exist. 

One of Bill's fellow fans, Marty Cantor, was stuck with the inefficiency of email in those days.  All Marty wanted to do was send the PDF version of his paperzine, No Award, to other SF fans online.

Marty bemoaned to Bill about the inefficiency. 

As Bill explains: "As I already had a webserver and the time and ability to run the project, it made sense to start a central site to host fanzines for editors who didn't have their own on-line space."

After Marty signed up others soon followed. Initially growth was slow but the word got around and today eFanzines hosts 300 titles with almost 5,000 issues.

Bill: "Initially I saw the site as just a service which would relieve fanzine producers of having to worry about the mechanics of hosting PDF editions of their primarily paper fanzines.  But almost immediately I was asked to host electronic-only fanzines, and I realized that eFanzines could also be a venue for editors who didn't want to deal with the ever-increasing costs of producing and mailing paper fanzines."

With his lifelong interest in science fiction it was natural for Bill to become a publisher/webmaster helping other fans.

 Bill recalls: "I grew up in England in the 1950s, and like most proto-fans at the time (and quite possibly still today) I was an early and voracious reader, with the SF books in the children's section of the local library being my favourites."

At age eleven he found new authors -- Heinlen, Asimov, and many others -- thanks to a library card giving him access to the adult section.  Around sixteen years old he joined the  BSFA (the British Science Fiction Association) after seeing ads for the organization in back issues of the British magazines News Worlds and Science Fantasy

Bill continues: "Soon after, in the summer of 1964, the stallholder at Salford market put me in touch with 'a couple of lads who do their own magazine', which was the Salford-based fanzine ALIEN. I joined the local group, was persuaded to go to the Eastercon in Birmingham in 1965, and have been attending cons and involved in fandom ever since."

Bill left England in 1971; he now resides in the New York City area.  And how did he end up here?  Fandom, of course.

In 1970 he was working for the BBC.  In the summer of that year American fans on their way to the Worldcon in Heidelberg had a London stop.  Since the 1950s London fans hold a monthly pub meeting and sometimes an additional meeting is scheduled for special events.

Bill explains: "With a hundred or more Americans in town the pub was crowded, but I made the acquaintance of two New York fans of about the same age as me, saw them again in Heidelberg -- and ended up marrying one of them a year later."  

Bill and his wife Mary still attend SF cons in various countries, their first meeting an example of fandom as a global village. And it all began many years ago and miles away with the SF books in the children's section drawing the interest of a young library patron.



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Originally published in Ray X X-Rayer #120.

http://efanzines.com/RXXR/index.htm

http://www.tinyletter.com/RayX  


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Paperless Zine


Back in October 2015 I wrote a post, Paper Cut,  announcing the end of the Ray X X-Rayer paperzine.  No more dead tree format sent via snail mail.

I lied.

Actually I didn't lie, I decided to not to give up.  I managed to get my computer printer back to more-or-less normal operation.  But the same problems remained beyond the printer.  For over 20 years with my paperzine I've printed, collated, stapled, and folded  copies followed by addressing envelopes, stuffing envelopes, sealing envelopes, stamping envelopes and then dealing with the US Postal Service by dropping my zines off at the main post office since home service on my street sucks.

With my infernal printer I sometimes waste five sheets of paper to get one good copy.  I don't have auto-duplexing and I'm tired of doing double-sided copies manually.  The printer is still shit: it likes to jam or suddenly decide to print out 100 copies I never requested.

With the last mailing I spent over an hour getting it out, time I could have spent researching and writing.  That doesn't include the time spent formatting my zine to fit a paper format and also handling details like adjusting the images so they didn't look like grayscale crap.

I don't make one cent from my writing.  I lose money.  I can't afford to also lose time.

Enough.  With the last paper editions of RX XR I mailed yesterday I included a note saying no more paper.

My zine is still available online at two different sites:

http://efanzines.com/RXXR/index.htm - PDF format

http://www.tinyletter.com/RayX  -  You can subscribe via email or read archived issues.

Sorry to all the paper-loving Luddites out there in meat space.  The stress isn't worth it.  I have enough crap with my online versions.



Comments?  Click on the time stamp/permanent link below or email me: raypalmxAT gmailDOTcom.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Magic Bullet Holes Affair


Somewhat noticeable damage.

I think it's a goof, at least a distracting detail.

I noticed it when rewatching The Man From U.N.C.L.E. TV episode The Four-Steps Affair.  One night a wounded U.N.C.L.E. agent (one of the good guys for those not aware) seeks help at a secluded home in the countryside owned by the seductive Angela who is really a Thrush agent (one of the bad girls.)

Angela has a portrait studio on the second floor with a large sliding window.  Angela lures the U.N.C.L.E. agent in front of the window, urging him to sneak away on the roof. As soon as he slides open the window bright studio lights snap on, silhouetting him, the perfect target.  

A Thrush agent waiting outside opens fire with his automatic weapon, bullets drilling into the doomed U.N.C.L.E. agent and everything behind him.  An array of large holes erupts in the wall.  Shelf splinters.  Cups shatter.  Water sprays.  Palette suffers a few flesh wounds.

Top U.N.C.L.E. agent Napoleon Solo drives out from New York City into the Hamptons looking for the missing agent. I don't know how long it takes before he appears on the scene.  According to Google travel time from the Big Apple to the Hamptons is about two hours.  I'm assuming that along the way Napoleon stepped on the gas to get there sooner.  Traffic would be lighter late at night.  But let's say it takes him two and a half hours before he meets Angela.

She tries the same window trick with Napoleon, this time pointing to a shadowy figure outside that she claims is the missing agent.  Of course the second time ain't a charm and she ends up being swiss-cheesed.

I have a problem after Napoleon enters the room.  What happened to all of the bullet holes from the previous scene?  He doesn't notice anything out of place?

OK, maybe there was enough time to fix the intense damage.  The Thrush Clean-Up and Repair Rapid Response Team did the job in record time.  Including scrubbing the floor to erase any evidence of major U.N.C.L.E. agent bleeding

But didn't Napoleon notice the shiny new plaster, the smell of fresh paint, the immaculate condition of the floor?  Sherlock Holmes would and he ain't any superspy.

It's impossible to suspend disbelief when it tries to suspend you like a noose around your neck.

I still enjoy the first season of U.N.C.L.E., owning a DVD set.  But that doesn't stop me from saying "Oh, c'mon!"

For example in the first episode Thrush knows that a tailor shop serves as a secret entrance into U.N.C.L.E. HQ.  Thrushies penetrate the HQ in an attempt to kill the director.

So if that front is no longer a secret why do U.N.C.L.E agents still go through the routine of entering through a hidden door in the tailor shop's dressing room?  Trying to dodge bill collectors?


Friday, May 27, 2016

Pick A Procreator




Venus needs men.

After the last one dies off it's decided to restock on fecundating males.   Assigned to this mission are Gamma and Beta, two curvaceous babes in swimsuit space suits.  They rocket off into outer space to fill the reproductive needs of Venusian women with ticking biological clocks.

In case you're unaware women on Venus look just like women on Earth -- well, that is,if all terran females filled the requirements to win a Miss Universe contest.  But the main point is that Venusian women are completely similar to Earth humans, ergo, no compatibility problems with DNA and interlocking body parts.

So with the right stock next door one would think they would go to Earth and grab what they need.  Instead Venus sends its rocketship to Mars and other worlds, rounding up four different bipedal bizarros.

There's Taugul who looks like a radiation-deformed Kewpie doll, his brain swelling outside his skull.  Next is Uk, a fanged critter with one eye in the center of his forehead.  With a flexible stalk Uk can move his eye into various positions, even extending it.  Venusian women:  Do you know where Uk's orb has been?

Any arachnophobes on Venus?  Apparently not because this dubious selection of ET males includes Crassus who looks like a cross between a tarantula and a fright wig.

Saving the oddest for last is Zok, the walking dinosaur skeleton.  That's right, no flesh.  So how will he impregnate a Venusian woman?  Apparently they pulled a boner with this one.  Then again, maybe they did pull a boner and he passed the test.

Further details can be scraped up by watching the 1960 Mexican film, Ship of Monsters,  a singing-cowboy-alien-babes-monsters-on-the-loose-blood-sucking-vampire-sci-fi-horror-comedy train wreck available online via YouTube.   Or you can save time by finding reviews through Googling that succinctly describe the plot.  A good example can be found over at the Atomic Monsters site, http://www.atomicmonsters.com/lanavedelosmonstruos.htm.

Thus fully informed you can decided which one -- Taugal, Uk, Crassus or Zok -- will provide the best genetic material.  I rule against Crassus because his arachnid factor might only produce Venusian females of the black widow type.  Thus Venus runs out of men again.


(A tip of the space helmet to Dave Heran who introduced me to this goodbad film, i.e., a movie so bad that it provides good entertainment.)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Don't Fokr Closed Captioning


(C) 2016 Ray X

Yes, I'm still using steam engine technology, a VCR.  And until my budget situation changes I'm stuck with videotape for recording TV programs.

But the VCR includes closed captioning which can be activated.  My hearing is a bit off. Instead of blasting the audio from cult movies, disturbing other renters around me, I hit CC and follow the story that way.

But note it's hard to understand what is happening with the captioning is nothing but garbled nonsense.  "Godzilla is stomping Tokyo" becomes "gxR metyT ghhu."

So I'm watching "Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle For Earth" (1992) and when I switch on CC it's the worse indecipherable crap I've ever seen.  For example check out this image from the movie:

(To enlarge click on image.)

Of course all the ads are OK, perfect captioning.  But I don't think a G-Fan with a hearing impairment wants to know about the latest douche product as opposed to following the movie's plot.  Why bother to caption when all you provide is meaningless text?  Enough of this fokring around.

Diversity Or Cynical Capitalism?



An image from the first Fantastic Four movie, the never-released-to-the-public low budget 1994 version by Roger Corman.  Despite its great flaws it got the FF basics right.  And unlike the three that followed it, this movie is entertaining  (in its own way.)

I won't waste time writing a disparaging review of the latest Fantastic Four movie (2005).  I wasted enough time watching it.

Instead I want to focus on one controversy that erupted before the movie was released.  The FF are a superhero family even though only two of them are related by blood.  Susan Storm (Invisible Woman) and Johnny Storm (Human Torch) are brother and sister, blond-haired Caucasians.

For the 2015 FF movie it was decided to make Johnny Storm black.  No problem there per se; in this new version Susan was adopted by Johnny's father.

But why was this change made?

Over the years I've heard many cynical stories about dumb decisions made by movie studio executives.  There's the story of a Superman fan turned author trying to pitch a script for a movie about his comic book idol.  During his discussion with an exec with thumbs-up-or-down power the author mentioned the name "Kal-El" a few times.

The exec asks: Who is this Kal-El you're talking about?

But it's not just superhero movies.  The first film version of the Poseidon Adventure (1972) was a big hit, raking in tons of money.  Studio execs -- for humanitarian reasons, of course -- wanted to make a sequel.  They approached one of the original movie's stars, Gene Hackman, to be in the sequel.

Gene Hackman asked the execs:  How can I return?  My character died in the first film.

Simple, replied the execs.  The survivors of the Poseidon disaster are lifted by helicopter from the wrecked ship to terra firma.  When the they debark Gene would run up and say: "What happened to my twin brother?"

I wonder regarding the recent Fantastic Four film disaster what the studio execs were thinking when trying to fix the unbroken FF concept.  Two baby-faced barely-weaned studio executives hold a private meeting. Before they got their jobs via nepotism they had worked the line in a sausage factory, an appropriate background for their present roles.  Neither one reads books, even comic books, because reading hurts their brains.

Maybe the meeting went down something like the following.

*  *  *

EXEC  #1:  The survey came in.  There's money to be made by appealing to black viewers.

EXEC  #2:  That survey was done by the same company that said a majority of consumers preferred new Coke over Classic, right?

EXEC #1:  Yes, I heard they do great work.  Anyway we got to make one of the FF black to draw in those extra bucks.

EXEC #2:  How about the Thing?

EXEC #1:  He's orange.  If we make him black it'll screw up the trademark and the toy line.  According to a survey people like orange.  It's a sunny happy color.

EXEC #2:  How about the Human Torch?  He'll still be red when he's on fire.

EXEC #1:  OK, that could work.

EXEC #2:  I got a brilliant idea.  The Human Torch says "Flame on!" when he goes into action.  But we could give him a better cry, one more edgy.

EXEC #1:  Such as...

EXEC #2:  A great slogan I heard about from the 1960s.  "Burn, Baby, Burn!"

EXEC #1:  Yeah, that sounds sexy.  More so than that stupid "Flame on."  No controversy there.

*  *  *

Then the execs move to another topic, discussing a survey claiming there is great profit potential in appealing to old Jewish movie goers.  Ergo, Woody Allen as Conan the Barbarian.

Whatever the execs really decided about the FF I doubt promoting diversity was at the top of their list.

Diversity should be genuine, not part of a greedy marketing ploy.