Posts Tagged ‘Dean Koontz’

So, you’ve probably heard of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. If you haven’t, let me give you some background, because it’s important to talk about. So, Winnie the Pooh predates Disney and was originally some stories written by AA Milne. Some of those stories became public domain back in 2021, so now anyone can make a story about Pooh Bear so long as they don’t use anything exclusive to the Disney version. A British filmmaker took advantage of that to make a horror film based on the characters, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. And ever since its announcement, this film has gotten a ton of buzz, so even if it’s terrible, it’s likely going to make bank.

I’m actually going to see it at the one night screening at my theater. I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, not all of the buzz is positive. Recently, one of the actresses in the film, Danielle Roland, said the cast and crew got a lot of hate for being part of the film. Rhys Frake-Waterfield, who directed and co-produced the movie, even got emails saying he should die. You can read the original article here.

Now, I can understand if people are upset about this film being made, let alone the phenomenon it’s become. Winnie the Pooh is a popular character and childhood icon for many people around the world. Seeing him and Piglet used in a horror film might be upsetting. But death threats? That’s going way too far! You’re threatening to kill someone over a fictional character! Might as well threaten to kill someone over the Easter Bunny!

And here’s the thing: no one is forcing any of these people to watch the film. It’s not like men with guns are going to go into people’s homes and kidnap them to the movie theater for the one-night screening, or force them to put it on their various streaming platforms to watch in their living rooms. If you don’t want to go see it, don’t see it. Even better, pretend it doesn’t exist! You can continue to enjoy your childhood bear without having to acknowledge the one that’s going to be taking an axe to a bunch of college students next month.

Unfortunately, death threats like this, as well as over-the-top reactions to fictional media of any sort, have become more and more commonplace over the year. Or maybe they’re being reported by news outlets more. Either way, it’s bizarre to read about. When I was in college, I read about people threatening to ruin Charlaine Harris’s career or kill themselves depending on what she wrote into one of her Sookie Stackhouse books. After college, when Marvel had a storyline in the comics where Captain America was revealed to be a Hydra agent, I read articles about people threatening Marvel’s writers for this storyline. One person alleging to be a Marine even said he was going to abandon all his values because of Cap’s betrayal and even become a killer (I seriously hope that was hyperbole). In 2020, when The Last of Us Part II released, people review-bombed the game based on leaked plot points. Part of this was fueled by homophobia (several of the characters in the game are openly LGBT), but a lot of this was due to fans hating the supposed direction of the game. Not only that, but one of the actresses for the game received death threats for playing a villain.

People got way too upset over this one scene.

And now people are threatening to kill folks associated with this new horror film because it’s about a beloved childhood character.

I don’t care about the circumstances or the reasons why. I don’t even care if the people making the threats are serious. I’m more concerned that anyone thinks reacting like this is appropriate. No matter why, you shouldn’t threaten people’s lives like that.

Let me share you a story from my high school days. Back then, I worked for my gym teacher selling tickets to volleyball and basketball games at the door. When I wasn’t taking tickets, I did homework, ate dinner from the snack bar, and read. It was a good gig. One day, however, I was steamed because I had just finished a Dean Koontz novel and absolutely hated its resolution. After the game, I was picked up by my stepmom, who proceeded to drive me home. And as I’m complaining about the book’s ending, my anger radiating off me like heat from a space heater, my stepmom turned around and said, “Rami, it’s fiction! It’s not real! Don’t get so upset about it!”

Well, that shut me up. And it turned out to be very helpful for me, because it made me realize something: as much as I love stories and characters, none of it is real. The absence of these characters and stories from the world wouldn’t change much, let alone their presence. And among all the things to get mad about in the world, a book resolution or how a character is portrayed isn’t one of them.

Since then, as wrapped up in fiction as I get sometimes, I don’t allow myself to get emotionally out of hand because I don’t like the direction. Yes, I’ll share my thoughts on it, but I’m not going to threaten people over it! And if I really dislike it, I just won’t have anything to do with it. My stress levels stay down and everybody stays happy.

And I wish more people would react that way. Or maybe not react at all. If they did, I guarantee we would all be much happier.

I would like to¬†blame thank my good friend Kat Impossible from Life and Other Disasters for tagging me in what clearly looks to be a ton of fun. It’s the Burn, Rewrite, or Reread Book Tag, which doesn’t actually involve burning but is like a book version of Kiss, Marry, Kill.

Alright, here are the instructions:

  • Randomly choose three books.
  • Choose which of these three you would burn, rewrite, or reread.
  • Do three rounds of this, and then tag someone to do the book tag as well.

Alright, here I go. Let’s see what I come up with:

ROUND ONE

Burn:¬†Day Four by Sarah Lotz. Oh my God, what a book that promised to be good but ended up being a great waste of time. Sure, it started out okay: cruise ship stalls in the middle of the ocean, everything’s in chaos. Quick pace and lots of interesting stuff going on. But then when it slows down after the initial chaos (because things can’t always be quick-paced after a ship breaks down), it just gets boring, with little to no clear direction of where the autor wants the story to go and an ending that is just bizarre (and not a good way). It’s enough that I probably won’t ever read a book by Sarah Lotz again (and considering the reviews online, I’m better off not).

Rewrite:¬†A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. If you read my review of that book, you know that I liked it but I wish it could’ve been a bit scarier. Especially since Stephen King recommended this book to me (why, Your Royal Scariness? Why did you say it was so scary? It wasn’t!). Anyway, if I could I’d rewrite this one and maybe make it a bit more on the scary side. How? I don’t know, some changes in atmosphere, a few more parts where the older sister acts like a creepy possessed girl. It’s a thought.

Reread:¬†Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. You know what I just realized? All the books in this round I’ve listened to as audio books. Also, I’ve actually reread Battle Royale already, but that’s because it’s one of my favorite novels. The language is flowing, nearly every character in the fifty-or-so large cast gets really fleshed out, and it really makes you think on a while bunch of different levels. Plus it does in one book what the Hunger Games wishes it could do in three. So I’ll probably end up rereading (or re-listening to) Battle Royale¬†again someday.

ROUND TWO

Burn:¬†The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. No offense to Sister Souljah, I admire her work, but I did not enjoy her debut novel, about the daughter of a big-time drug king¬†who suddenly finds herself without money or connections and tries to come out on top as her world falls around her. Not only was the main character totally unsympathetic (imagine a novel narrated by an even more annoying Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and you have Winter Santiaga), but it’s basically one big morality tale about why you should walk the straight and narrow and stay away from drugs and hustling and all that or it’ll come back to haunt you. Yeah, I think there are a few memoirs out there that told that story better.

Still, I will say that the book’s language influenced me when I was writing Reborn City and I wanted to really show the dialect of West Reborn. That’s one thing I’ll always be grateful to Sister Souljah for.

Rewrite:¬†Destroyer of Worlds by Mark Chadbourn. This was the last book in a trilogy, the trilogy itself being the third trilogy in a trilogy of trilogies that took our modern world and placed it into a mystical universe mixing Celtic mythology with Eastern philosophy. It’s a wonderful series, but the last trilogy had its problems. Especially the last book, which felt rushed to the point that characters who should’ve gotten some character development got none at all, barely a mention in one case. I really think this book could’ve used a hundred or so more pages to really tell the story the way it should’ve been told, and if I could I might help out with that.

Reread:¬†The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. If you liked Harry Potter, you should love the Bartimaeus trilogy, which is kind of like Harry Potter but is told in three books (plus a prequel) and is slightly more grown up than HP. The story of a magician’s apprentice who summons a demon to help him get revenge on another magician and the mayhem that ensues when he and the demon get embroiled in a plot against the British government is pure fun, with a wisecracking demonic narrator and a world that is beautifully constructed and mirrors our own in interesting ways. I’ve reread the trilogy before, and I’m always entertained when I do. Check out the first book. You might just find the same gem I found as a kid.

And finally…

ROUND THREE

Burn:¬†Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Honestly, I’ve had to read this novel twice for classes, and each time I wasn’t¬†at all¬†surprised that Emily needed a review by her famous sister Charlotte to get this book noticed by people, because it sucks! Not only is the narration and style annoying, but the story drags, and a lot of what happens makes you scratch your head. Seriously, did the Lintons never consider calling the local sheriff when Heathcliff kidnapped his niece and tried to marry her off to his sickly son? Like I said, I’ve read it twice, and I don’t plan to read it again. It may be a classic, but it’s a classic that never should’ve been one.

Rewrite:¬†Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz. Koontz has written some great novels–I love the Odd Thomas series, though I’m behind on the books, and The Face would make an amazing movie, it’s that good–but this one really got me angry. It started out with promise: guy who made money off the Internet needs a heart transplant, but he’s very low on the donor list. His new doctor gets him put high up on another list, and he gets a new heart. Thing is, the person who gave up their¬†heart for him might be coming back for it. Yeah, sounds like a ghost story, but it turned out to be some weird spy thriller tied up in a Christian morality tale. I kid you not, if Koontz had stayed with the ghost story element instead of switching things up about two-thirds in with the spy twist, I might’ve really liked this novel. And now you know how I’d rewrite it.

Reread:¬†The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is a wonderful novel about following your dreams and fulfilling your personal destiny in this grand world, as told through the eyes of young shepherd Santiago as he goes on a journey to Egypt after having a dream about finding treasure at the pyramids. I read it as a teen and it blew me away. If given the chance, I’d love to reread it again, because it’s such a beautiful story that gets you on so many different levels. If you haven’t read it, this is definitely one you should check out, especially since it’s been translated into so many different languages. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

And now, the people I tag:

Have fun! And make sure to link back to me when you post these.

That’s all for now, I’ve got a busy day ahead of me and I’m going to get to it. Wish me luck, my Followers of Fear!