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Ithaqua
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11/12/2012 1:13 AM

    I really like Deathlands and all of the characters, I'm going through them in order and just began book 80. I started reading the books at 0. I have also been go through these at about one a week so I have to admit that I am getting the stories much faster than those who had to wait for the release of the books over decades.

    Anyway, there are a few plot types and tropes where I am starting to groan when they pop up.

    Companions jump to a location in a wasteland with no signs of life, food or water and then instead of jumping out they leave the redoubt for no good reason. Everything that happens after that point makes me want to say "What did you expect morons?". Hell, if they care so little for their well being in these stories, why should I?

    Companions come to a ville, the baron is a dick and forces them to do something against their will. Yes most barons are dicks but its a tired idea to base anpther dl book on. There have been some really good stories with this plot in the series, all I'm saying is no more for a while.

    Doc losing his mind. No more, please. It was an interesting idea that he is unstable, but the character trait is so randomly used as to be almost meaningless.

    Mildred being a sort of Deathlands Google. Is it too much to ask that there are things from the 20th century she doesn't know about? I know she functions as exposition device to explain things to the reader but after reading about her it's less likely that she came in second in the olympics for shooting and more likely that she was the biggest winner ever on Jeapardy. Can't she just say "I don't know." once in a while. She's the party's very own Cliff Clavin. I like her as a character but she can be a bore.

    Stickies. Cool idea but lets get some common ground on them. Are they stupid but cunning animals or can they speak English? Do they have arms or tentacles? Are they drawn to fire or not? I buy that there can be different types of stickies, but the companions never really comment on the differences when encountering them for the first time. (A good editor or at least one who cared would have caught this long ago.)

    Ryan's scarf. Does he have it still or not? In some books he does, in most books it's never mentioned. He also rarely uses it even if it is mentioned.

    I really miss the continuity of the older books. Though, I like many of the newer stories better. The old books hinged on being too dark for my tastes. Many will argue with me on this I'm sure.

    Minor points really considering how much enjoyment I'm getting out of the series.

    Also, why the hell is it not more popular? I work as a game designer/illustrator and have worked on properties way less interesting and fleshed out than Deathlands. Look how popular Fallout is, and now Wastlands 2 is getting made. All Deathlands got was one bad made for tv movie. As a property it has a lot more value than that. Does Gold Eagle just not know how to expand the market or are they happy with where it's at?

     

     

     

     

    Maximus
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    11/12/2012 12:00 PM

    I agree with everything you wrote.

     

    But, reading all these books back-to-back, you will burn out faster, and see all the issues you mentioned. 

     

    I actually like a break between books, unless it was one that was outstanding. Or, like some of the authors have done well: trilogy's or duologies. That hasn't been done since Alan Phillipson's fantastic Xilbaba storyline.

     

    Ithaqua
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    11/15/2012 12:22 AM

    The other side effect of going through the books so quickly is that I now say "Fire Blast!" and "Dark Night!" more often than I should.

     

    Ithaqua
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    11/15/2012 12:22 AM

    The other side effect of going through the books so quickly is that I now say "Fire Blast!" and "Dark Night!" more often than I should.

     

    )3az )3aziah
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    11/16/2012 6:35 AM
    even when you post...



    Jim

    ===============================
    Billy Fish: He wants to know if we are gods.
    Peachy Carnehan: Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing.


    Please check out my FLICKR photos
    Ithaqua
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    11/16/2012 1:13 PM
    Well played British Bloke.
    )3az )3aziah
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    11/17/2012 2:51 PM

    Posted By Ithaqua on 11/16/2012 1:13:09 PM
    Well played British Bloke.


    You're welcome.

    And welcome aboard.

    Jim
    ===============================
    Billy Fish: He wants to know if we are gods.
    Peachy Carnehan: Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing.


    Please check out my FLICKR photos
    Kerrick
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    11/18/2012 12:54 AM
    The one that really bugs the crap out of me is #1: The wasteland. Sure, making a double-jump is hard, but seriously? Just wait around a day or two. There's absolutely no reason they should go wandering through a wasteland for what could be days on end (Salvation Road) with no destination in mind.

    Stickies are the victim of multiple authors and no common source of knowledge (as in, many authors didn't read the early books either because they didn't care or couldn't find them). Sad, but understandable.

    Ryan's scarf kind of fell by the wayside, another casualty of Multiple Author Syndrome. Even LJ rarely used it, so it's no surprise that it was forgotten.

    I'm not sure that the older books were "darker" so much as "grittier". LJ definitely had a vision of what DL was supposed to be, and he was pretty consistent with it. For a post-apocalypse series, it worked well.
    Ithaqua
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    11/18/2012 2:22 AM
    It should be noted that everything I write here is just my opinion for the sake of conversation.

    It is barely excusable for an author not to be familiar with the world in which they are writing, it is inexcusable for an editor to be likewise ignorant of that world. I put the blame right smack on the editors of DL. At any of the companies I have worked for it would have been inexcusable to make so many mistakes as far as the basic IP went. But again, I can only speculate that the publisher doesn't really care about DL aside from the barest of oversight. If they did, DL would be a bigger property.

    By "darker" I meant really much more time spent on torture and the killing of innocents. It seemed to have more child and baby killing just to show the bad guys are bad. I get it, they're bad. No part of me enjoys the details of child killing...that's just not entertainment to me. I've had friends stop reading the books because of it, which is sad, because they really are fun reads. I just finished book 80 and sure there were kids mixed in with the "fodder" sent to die in the raid on the ville, but they're deaths weren't lingered over in perverse detail. Oh and having Doc sex up pigs? That would never happen in todays deathlands books. I think it's a move for the better. It's just not what I want in a pulp story. Conan never sexed up pigs, Doc Savage never sexed up pigs, The Shadow? No pig sex there either. Doc was messed up enough by losing his family, throwing in the pig sex was just gratutious and way over board. While I'm on the subject of Doc...the way Lori Quint was written out of the stories seemed rushed and really out of character. To have her turned into a total cheating bitch out of the blue just didn't wash with me, it made no psychological sense.

    I'm loving the books though and at one a week up to book 80 so far I am nowhere near burning out on them. I do read other books inbetween them though. I just finished the Newsfeed series by Mira Grant, Awesome post zombie apocolypse series, very original.
    Maximus
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    11/18/2012 10:13 AM

    I like this new member.

     

    Welcome aboard you insightful, intelligent, and not afraid to type your honest feelings on the DL series. There are not enough of us here.

    All your points are valid. Since you are only on book #80, I am glad to inform you, that you have some GREAT DL books coming your way soon that will somewhat surpass the original. (May the great and vastly talented author of Laurence James rest in peace!)

     

    But what are your thoughts on the Outlanders series? I suppose you haven't gotten around to trying those?

    Ithaqua
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    11/18/2012 11:55 AM
    I love Mark Ellis' work and I'm looking forward to getting to the Outlanders series. I was sad to hear that "suits" mucked it up with their thoughtless bad editing choices but I remain hopeful. I like the premis.
    )3az )3aziah
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    11/19/2012 6:48 AM

    Posted By Ithaqua on 11/18/2012 2:22:35 AM

    ...Oh and having Doc sex up pigs?

    ...Doc was messed up enough by losing his family, throwing in the pig sex was just gratutious and way over board.

    ..the way Lori Quint was written out of the stories seemed rushed and really out of character. To have her turned into a total cheating bitch out of the blue just didn't wash with me, it made no psychological sense.

    Greetings,

    Doc and the pig thing was put in by Laurence to show just how sick, perverted and Sadistic Strasser was. Doc arrived in DL from the past, a past that was not his and into a world he understood less than the one he had been passed on from. He was mixed up, unstable and as a result an ideal "fool" for Strasser to act out his sick ideals on.

    As for Lori, she was the result of a last minute rewrite by Laurence after submitting the original draft and being told by the powers that be that she had to go and in that book. Laurence had some interesting ideas for the group that GE just ignored and forbid him from doing. Had he been allowed to continue with his ideas -and had he not got ill and had to retire from writing, DL as we know it would have been totally different to what is now is.

    Jim

    ===============================
    Billy Fish: He wants to know if we are gods.
    Peachy Carnehan: Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing.


    Please check out my FLICKR photos
    Maximus
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    11/19/2012 9:15 AM

    I think the 'pig thing' was gross, but it didn't turn me off to the series. I always expected, and at times, was surprised at the carnage and sickness - but thats what I expect in a cruel and twisted world such as this one.

     

    That's why they don't call it 'Semi-cruel and sadistic Lands.' 

     

    What changes, if he were allowed, would Laurence James have done, then?

    )3az )3aziah
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    11/19/2012 1:08 PM
    Im replying with my phone here and will post a proper reply tomorrow.

    Jim
    ===============================
    Billy Fish: He wants to know if we are gods.
    Peachy Carnehan: Not gods - Englishmen. The next best thing.


    Please check out my FLICKR photos
    Ithaqua
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    11/19/2012 9:36 PM
    Once again, it seems the publisher is the main reason for the series' problems.
    The pig thing didn't turn me off of the series, it just turned me off...but I don't enjoy the overly sick parts, it's just my opinion. I like horror, but not torture.
    What James did with the series was awesome, he layed a fantastic ground work and I am in his debt...there are just parts of his style I don't like.
    I am dying to know what the series would have been.
    Kerrick
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    11/19/2012 9:50 PM
    Re: The "darker" thing... I think it's as much a product of the times as the author. Things were a lot different in the 80s (I don't know if you're old enough to have lived during that time) - we had the Mad Max movies, Rambo, the Chuck Norris Vietnam flicks, ninja moveis, the Cold War... in that culture, a grim and gritty DL fit perfectly.

    The series has shifted over time to be a little lighter and less depressing... less brutal, I guess you could say. Again, a product of the times - we're more poltiically correct these days, the Cold War is long over, and the US has become much more... companionable, I guess, with the rest of the world. These days, grim and gritty novels or series are few and far between, even post-apoc ones. Newsflesh is a perfect example - the zombie apocalypse happened, but we survived and continue to live more or less normal lives (unlike, say, Dawn of the Dead or Resident Evil, which are just hopeless battles for survival).

    On a side note, the Newsflesh trilogy is almost a metaphor for the US today - we suffered a major terrorist attack that forever changed how we live, but we survived and continue to persevere, despite all the inconveniences we have to deal with. I seriously doubt she intended it that way, but it's oddly appropriate.
    Ithaqua
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    11/19/2012 10:03 PM
    Oh, my time was the 80s. I graduated in 84. I LOVE dawn of the dead, both of them. I also am a fan of most of the resident evil movies. I just don't like torture or the current trend of "Torture porn.". That said a torture pron series that tortures the 1% I could get into.
    Ithaqua
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    11/19/2012 10:47 PM
    I worry that I may come across as a hater, but trust me, after 81 DL books I am not a hater. There are just some obvious flaws and personal opinions that I feel like commenting on. Deathlands is now tied with Doc Savage as my favorite pulp series.
    I don't use pulp as a dirty word either. Pulp is like a good tv show...many creators and writers.
    Why isn't Deathlands a major property?
    Ithaqua
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    11/19/2012 11:45 PM
    To push your analogy further Kerrick, I think Mira Grant (not her real name) may have intended it. The government after all perpetuates the horror of the apocolypse for it's own end...patriot act anyone? The miltary build up is not to protect the homeland, it's to back corperate interests abroad (look up Smedly Butlerm it goes back a long way). The patriot act is to silence any dissenters as terrorists. We in America already live in horrifying times. Rome, France, Russia...and soon America.
    Maximus
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    11/20/2012 4:02 PM
    Yeah, we've been spouting about the editors here until its run out our ears.
    And no, you don't come across as a hater. Just someone with gray matter betwixt their ears.
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    DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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