Overheard or spoken

“Yeah, you can send H to fix that. Or you could tell her when you go to the office next week. Save you the trouble of sending an email.”
“Why do something face to face when there’s the option not to?”

“So I went over to Marty’s–”
“Oh, Marty.”

“Yeah, I was very impressed. He had 91 [x] on the ground, and he had 91 x on the books.”
“I know, right! He was pretty surprised, too.”

“Well actually what happened…it gets weirder.”

“We are awaiting her arrival…off of the island of Vanuatu.”
“What’s she doing there?”

The Riders of Skaith’s Top 23 Search Terms of 2021

Or, at least, the top 25 that excludes everything in Russian and stuff I didn’t want to include.

love and destiny11Starting from Episodes 1-5, I watched and recapped this during early 2020. It, along with The Romance of Hua Rong, helped keep me sane while surrounded by crazy people and tigers.
scott adkins ninja10Review here! This one was fun to watch!
ninja 20097Not to be confused with the Scott Adkins Ninja of the same year (but I totally did), this one stars that Korean guy, Rain, and that girl who plays the police girl in all the movies.
tiger art png5I can direct you to my Big Cats tag, which is largely but not entirely photos I took during my internship at a large animal sanctuary, 2019-2020.
the romance of hua rong5For your convenience and pleasure, I can direct you to this summary post! This show is amazing and I will defend that to my dying breath.
inside the mandalorian suite3It’s Brendan Wayne, and although I’m lukewarm on the show, he had interesting perspectives to share.
romance of hua rong3Aw, yep.
edward norton those who wisj3Turns out it was actually discount Edward Norton, I’m sorry to say.
marnie terry holbrook character2I’m more amazed that I got two hits on this than anything else. Book review: here.
frank frazetta2Stick around, I do these every Friday.
why do people dislike peace talks by jim butcher1Because they’re morons. I actually prefer Peace Talks to Battle Ground, needless to say.
rhfcrb b nuh1Huh.
siege in fog summary1The book was actually OK! Just not very good. The drama started out well and then turned boring AF.
romance of hua rong drama episode 1 recap1Bless your little heart. Here it is.
veronica lake in boots1When you find it, let me know, huh?
the mountains call . caitlin brennan1Horse girls aren’t a very demanding audience but your fantasy horse novel should still have a plot.
theridersofskaith sky empire1Sorry, friend. I have no idea. Sounds cool, though!
riders of skaith xu kai1He’s that guy in The Legends / Ostentatious Zhao Yao, right?
wandavision s01e031It was just beginning to show its true colors at that point.
oriental odyssey drama who marries the prince1The heroine, of course.
house of assassins summary1Well, I reviewed it.
skot adking  ninja1Dude, really?

ReReview: The Shadow No.1 – The Living Shadow

So here’s a review I did originally way back in 2017ish, when I first encountered the master crimefighter himself…..and wandered away again. Another review will go up once I finish my re-read (which is going to to cover the first three novels, which strictly speaking are a trilogy and don’t stand very well on their own.)

The Shadow #1
Author: Walter Gibson

Wikipedia offers a publication date of 1931 and original title of “The Murder in the Next Room,” which might go a long way towards explaining why this story contains only incidental Shadowyness.

Our narrator is Harry Vincent, a despairing, penniless, washed up…something or other…who is saved from committing suicide by the Shadow, and indighted into service. He receives orders–in this book by telephone call–via the extremely foolproof method of the speaker’s accenting certain words more than others. Whatever, Harry is soon informed to WATCH – THE – MAN – IN – THE – NEXT – ROOM.

Harry is rather better at this than one might expect someone literally pulled off the street to be, and soon ascertains that the man in the next room is likewise being followed by someone else. He even manages to eavesdrop on on their meeting, that evening at the hotel, and is an earwitness to the ersatz-titular murder in the next room. So far, so good. Even better, he, and not the police or the murderer, finds what the murderer wanted: a golden coin with a strange, Chinese character on it.

Unfortunately, the story then takes a hard turn (to my opinion) for the boring with the introduction of the actual criminals: hard-boiled gangsters Steve Cronin, and his buddy Croaker. Out of respect to the author’s hard work, I will omit sarcasm quotes. Cronin is small fry and Croaker is even smaller; but Cronin has caught wind of a payoff of some sort being made to a Chinese kingpin, whose name I will hazard a guess is Woo Lung or something, on the east coast, by a Chinese kingpin, whose name is Soo Ling, or something, on the west coast. Or something. All that hardboiled dialogue made my eyes water a little. Meanwhile, they are being watched by a shadow.

Harry Vincent receives orders to report to a man named Fellows. Fellows is actually kind of an interesting character. He doesn’t know who the Shadow is, or what side he’s on, or what they’re ultimately doing, or what happens to the other agents–and he doesn’t care. It’s a job to him; he does it with some professional pride, but an utter lack of concern or curiosity. Now, this attitude is a) seen from Harry’s point of view, b) I think, changes some in the next book; but, after long exposure to the comicbooky heroes who fight alone, work alone, play alone, investigate criminal leads alone, and then complain about being alone and overworked, while the well-minioned villains are moving in…

The comparison is not very flattering to more recent works.

Moving on. The Shadow, via Harry, tries his hand at sending Harry in to Woo Lung’s place, carrying the coin-key. It doesn’t go well; but Harry is rescued from the time-release guillotine Woo Lung has in his basement (Big Trouble In Little China assures me they come standard), by….someone with small, slender hands. I’d make a joke about that, but this does seem to be a distinguishing mark to pulp heroes; the Scarlet Pimpernel has has very pale, feminine hands.

Anyhow, Harry Vincent is given new orders: to passively investigate the recent murder of a local millionaire, some distance away from the city. He is to loaf around in the character of an out of work author, observe, and report any findings to Fellows.

Harry observes someone in roughly the same position he is; someone who is lounging around, watching…and waiting. This guy’s name is Joyce; he’s contacted by Ezekiel Bingham, a lawyer who provided the critical witness testimony in the mystery of the murdered millionaire. Ezekiel needs a code broken, and Joyce is to do it for him.

At this point I totally lost interest and skipped to the end.

[editor’s note: wow, at least I was being honest.]

The prose is good; it’s simplistic and doesn’t actually approach purple, getting the job done without intruding.

The characterization is weak. The main character is boring to the point of being offensively so.

The action is scant, and I’m not sure whether to mark it down or not because I was skimming extremely hard at the point when I happened across the car chase that was the only example.

Final analysis: an interesting idea with a weak execution.

Rated: one bullet in a five-chambered revolver.


“No sh–kidding?!”

“It does not go away, glitter is the herpes of craft supplies.”
“Oh, I know what I’m getting you for Christmas.”
“If you glitterbomb me, I will burn your house down, C!”

“C, how’s your back doing?”
“Well, I can feel my legs now!”
“I have feeling in my legs and I am now in control of them again!”
“Considering that you are driving that is very good news.”
“Oh, she was driving the whole time anyway.”

[to a recently-married coworker] “Have you gotten good at apologizing?”
“….only when I’m wrong….”
“You’re gonna have to get over that.”

overheard, over time

“I guess you can’t blame them that the camel and the ostrich both got struck by lightning.”
“The ostrich deserved it.”

“I think the technical term is ””””fluffy.”””'”
“What do the adults look like?”

“[$] That’s a real bulldog, two classic cars and an epic road trip.”

“So, when you use the c….ch….the spray thingy on them–“
“This stuff?”
“Chlorhexidine! Yeah. That stuff! It was trying to come out as chlamydia for some reason and I knew that wasn’t right.”

State of the author: blessings

shadow52fcPrimus: This is supposed to be a sci-fi/fantasy review blog. I swear, I have at least three posts upcoming on that theme:

  • Moms in SF,
  • a review of Jawbreakers: G0d-King,
  • and…since I’m now at The Shadow #59, The Crime Master, which is superb…there’s going to be a review of probably that one,
  • and definitely a review of The Circle of Death, which was also superb.

Secondus: Count your blessings. A gratitude habit / journaling or recording things you are grateful for each day, with specifics, is a powerful tool for improving mental health and resilience. And the amazing thing about being specific in numbering out your blessings is that they will multiply before your eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.