ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gary Stu Reviews and Twicrap Opinions

Everyone has their own opinion. I shouldn't be surprised, especially after such a divisive American election year as 2012. Yet I still find it funny when someone hates something of mine which so many other people love. It sort of makes me want to hold a psychological board to discern what it is about them that created within them an optic so different from other people. The result could possible be that we'd discover how to make a work of art everyone would love, but that hasn't happened since the first issue of Mad Magazine, which in and of itself was lightning in a bottle.

So I get google alerts when my name is mentioned. Most of the time I don't have time to check them, but on this occasion I did. And I learned two new words. Twicrap and Gary Stu.

From Simon Branford, Evolutionary Biology Researcher at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading comes this notation:

Twicrap Award for Worst Book - Blaze of Glory by Weston Ochse. I decided to give a couple of the indie e-book bundles a go. It was a fairly predictable outcome – some books were OK, most rambled on for too long, and a couple were dreadful. This one was the worst – a Gary Stu monster apocalypse.

Twicrap seems easy enough to understand, but Gary Stu? I looked it up and it's interesting. I think it's a specifically English reference, because I've never heard it before, and I do get around quite considerably, but then again I might not be traveling in the right Mary Sue circles.

According to Wikipedia, Gary Stu is a variant of Mary Sue and it goes something like this:

Mary Sue stories—the adventures of the youngest and smartest ever person to graduate from the academy and ever get a commission at such a tender age. Usually characterized by unprecedented skill in everything from art to zoology, including karate and arm-wrestling. This character can also be found burrowing her way into the good graces/heart/mind of one of the Big Three [Kirk, Spock, and McCoy], if not all three at once. She saves the day by her wit and ability, and, if we are lucky, has the good grace to die at the end, being grieved by the entire ship.[4]  
 Interesting. I don't think it fits my plot at all, but interesting. My protagonist is really just a garbage man with a passion for survival. He's really not good at anything. The use of this word along with the mentioning of the authors he actually likes (noted in the link on his name) made me realize that good man Simon reads YA books. Blaze of Glory is decidedly not a YA book. Maybe that's where some of the breakdown occurs.

Take for instance Adam Cesare. He's a self-professed reader of adult horror. He reviewed Blaze of Glory and loved it.  Among many things he says -

    Blaze of Glory is a first rate literary creature feature, it’s got an eclectic and likable cast of survivors, some thoughtful allusions to the sub-genre’s past, and a host of creatures that are both creepy and original.  Oh, and it’s also got Dylan Thomas poems being recited while our protagonists douse salt-sensitive monsters with Supersoakers.

Is it as simple as a reader not knowing what he was getting into? After all, the cover even warns HERE THERE BE MONSTERS.

Probably not. And will probably never figure it out.

All of the above twicrap is nothing but sophomoric sophistry. Although I'm still left wondering what it was that made it Master Simon's Worst Book of the Year, I'm sure this is something I'll never really know. And perhaps I shouldn't. After all, there are things I don't like that a lot of people seem to really appreciate. Like Strawberry Lattes.

Liking and hating is what makes us all different. Maybe Master Simon is as I type this conducting evolutionary research on the subject. We can only cross our fingers and hope.

But Master Simon did do me a favor. He taught me the term Gary Stu. I'm going to use that. Like the word Slacks. And when I whip it out-- the word --people are going to look at me cross-eyed wondering what the hell I said. And in that moment, I will channel Master Simon and stare at them in my best interpretation of an Evolutionary Biology Researcher, and they will think me wise.

Now peel your Gary Stu asses away from my blog and do something useful, like shopping for some bell-bottom slacks.


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