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Justified Literary Misogyny (or, A Review Of As The World Dies: The First Days) by Ray Printer Friendly

The thing is, this was almost a rant about how chick authors suck. I was going to generalize and stereotype and rant and rave.

I had gift cards, you see, to Half Price Books, which is pretty much my favorite store in the whole wide world. Both my sister and my mother got me gift cards this year, and between birthday and Christmas, I ended up with a hundred bucks to spend. A hundred guilt-free bucks.

I finally managed to get to the book store today, and I went wild.

Six hours and $125 later, I came home with two bulging bags of paperback books. The great thing about having a shitpile of giftcard cash to blow is that you aren’t nearly as afraid to check out new authors. As well as some tried and trues such as Terry Pratchett and Cormac McCarthy, I also picked up some authors I had never heard of. At some point, maybe I’ll post a complete list, along with what I thought of each book. I don’t know, though—that seems like a lot of work to go through just to show to people who don’t really give a shit about my opinion, anyway.

Here’s how I shop when I go to Half Price Books: I immediately walk to the horror section. I slide my finger along the book spines, and when I come across one that I don’t know, I pick it up and read the back cover.

I skip over V.C. Andrews, because I’d rather drink my own piss than read her stupid shit. I skip over Stephen King because I already have all of his books. I skip over Dean Koontz because I tired of reading this: guy has dog, guy meets chick, they overcome adversary and they take the dog and live happily ever after. Formulaic bullshit that never changes, except that sometimes the dog has superpowers. I skip over Anne Rice for the same reason I skip over V.C. Andrews. I skip over John Saul because his books read like a spike through my penis.

Those are the authors who always have a ton of shit on the shelves at Half Price Books. Sometimes there’s stuff by Laurell K. Hamilton, and I skip over that shit, too, because I’m sick and fucking tired of women authors.

I almost stopped picking up books written by women today. You know what stopped me? Curiosity. I’d see it was a woman’s name on the cover, I’d make a little bet with myself, “Is this one about the girl who was unpopular in high school, or about the woman who can’t get her love life together and is confused by the mysterious stranger that appears?”

Fifty/fifty odds, because no matter what, the back covers said one of those two things. Every one!

Look. I know that what I write isn’t for everyone. I know that a lot of my stories have the same theme, and that a lot of them are told in the same voice. I try to change it up, but I’m kind of a shitty writer, man—what are you gonna do?

And I know there’s a market for this numb-fuck nonsense. Yeah, yeah, you’re the freaky weird chick in high school, but that doesn’t mean the popular handsome boy won’t fall for you.

You know what, though? It does. Because high school boys are horny and shallow. You want to be the popular girl? Lose twenty pounds and learn how to give great head. Then give that great head to some forty year old guy who is going through his mid-life crisis, blackmail him, and when you have a great body, all kinds of money, nice clothes, and a place to party on the weekends, that’s when you’ll be the popular girl. Dressing in black and acting like a sand crab will not make you the popular girl.

I ain't sayin' it's right, but I am saying it's the truth. The world is a shallow place, and to believe any different is to lie to yourself.

But I digress…

Every time I turned over a book and saw something about high school or about how the heroin of the story was bad at relationships, it made me want to rip the pages out and dirty them with my asshole.

Because it’s crap, kids, plain and simple.

Say what you want about Stephen King, but most of his stories are different. I mean, you have a car that kills someone, you have a little girl that kills a ton of people, you have the dead pets coming back to life, you have the end of the world, you have a clown that kills the shit out of little kids, and the only way to save future generations is to have sex with a pre-pubescent girl…

It’s fucked up, but at least it’s different.

Imagine you’re in a book store, you pick up a King book, turn it over, and read, “Jason’s a nerdy guy who never gets the girl. When he finds the golden staff of light, he thinks his luck has changed—he finally gains respect in the halls, Mallory Chase has agreed to go to prom with him, and his rich uncle has agreed to finance his new dream idea. But trouble awaits,” blah blah fucking blah. I can’t even do this shit in parody.

But then you pick up the next book, maybe this one is by Koontz, “When Jerry finds the silver cube of light, he can’t believe his luck. He has always been the nerdy guy who never gets the girl. But now, that might change. Heck, he already has a date to the prom with Sharon Richards! And his rich uncle from out of town,” and blah and blah and blah.

It’s all the same, is what I’m saying. And it’s all as dumb as pigshit.

I understand I am not the demographic, I do. But I read, man. I will read almost anything, and I’ll read the entire anything because I’m obsessive. How obsessive? One time, when I was like eight, probably, I was watching Simon & Simon. One of the characters was having a dream where he was in a swimming pool, swimming towards the grate at the bottom. There was creepy music, and I got scared. I changed the channel. I still, to this day, think about that on an almost daily basis. Like, what did he find? Was it scary? Was it jewels? I don’t know. I’ve looked, but even the mighty internet has given me no answers.

Point being, if I start reading a book, I will generally finish it, no matter how bad it is. I couldn’t even get through the back covers of some of these chick books. I mean, holy shit.

Remember how I told you this was almost a rant about how chick authors suck?

I came across a book tonight. It caught my attention because I saw the words, “A Zombie Trilogy.” Fact: I will buy any book I see in Half Price Books that has the word zombie on the front cover or spine. So I nabbed this one.

Honestly, it looked like it might be a P.O.D. book (which isn’t a bad thing).

When I got home, I realized it was a chick writer.


“What?” My princess asked, concerned that there might be an actual problem with something.

“This book I bought…it was written by a girl.”

“That’s terrible!” She cried out in mock exasperation. “They’ve learned to write?”

She brought home like ten books today, all of them written by women. She doesn’t feel my pain.

“Horror books by chicks blow,” I told her.

I was perfectly willing to explain to her my theories and research on this subject, but it was apparent that she didn’t care. She gathered her books and went off to read.

I stared at my huge pile of books, trying to decide which I would read first. I eventually decided on the zombie book, written by the Indie chick author.

And you know what?

It was pretty badass.

I mean, I tried to resent it because it wasn’t a major writer, I tried to ridicule it because it was written by a woman. I tried to hate it.

But it was good. It was good enough that I read the entire thing and then came out here to write about it.

It’s called As the World Dies: The First Days, by Rhiannon Frater, and if you feel like droppin’ a little dough to support a starving writer, you should buy my books and then go buy hers if you have any money left over.

But seriously, this is a pretty groovy zombie story. Her characters are interesting, and the story trucks along at a good speed. There’s gore and death and all that other fun stuff you expect from a zombie story, but there’s also an actual story, so it isn’t just a bunch of people you don’t care about getting chased by dead things. She gives her characters different personalities, and they interact with each other in different ways, making the book really easy to fall into.

I liked this book enough that I went to her website to see if the other two were done yet (one was scheduled for release at the end of 2008, the third Spring of 2009). Sadly, the only other book I saw was a vampire one.

I’ve sworn off vampires stories for the time being because, frankly, vampires are huge douchebags. I mean, maybe they started out cool, but either time or shitty women authors have ruined the entire genre for me. So for the time being, I will not buy Rhiannon’s second book. Or what I assume is her second book. The vampire one, I won’t buy it.

Anyway, that’s me not ranting about how terrible female authors are.

posted 1/12/09

Entered By Dave Riley From Unknown
2009-01-12 09:33:13

Of course I clicked the prepubescent sex link. Jim Thompson's novel "The Kill-Off" predates "It" by about 30 years. Not only did Thompson present an at-the-time innovative narrative, he's infinitely more fucked up than that wildly overrated prissy asswipe Stephen King.

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-12 16:05:41

I will for sure have to check out Thompson. I agree that Stephen King is overrated, but I felt I had to be honest about reading his stuff while trashing so many other popular authors. I think his stuff is excellent brain candy--no nutritional value, a bunch of empty calories, but still a great guilty pleasure. And in retrospect, maybe that was a badly placed link; I just wanted to show that kids having a gang bang actually was one of his plot points. One of his plot points that always creeped my shit out.

Entered By Dave Riley From Unknown
2009-01-12 22:40:26

RE...badly placed link... Not at all. And PT Barnum couldn't have conjured better text.

Entered By Kimberley R. From Canada
2009-01-13 06:56:40

I'm not sure whether I should be offended on behalf of female writer's everywhere or secretly pleased that one of us proved you wrong. :)

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-13 16:47:32

Kimberley--A general rule of thumb when dealing with me is to just get offended. And to be fair, I like quite a few female authors. I just think that 98% of the time women involve themselves in the horror genre, it sucks hobo ass. Because romance is a different genre than horror, and most chicks don't seem to get that.

Entered By Karen From Indiana
2009-01-14 03:48:39

When you're done reading all those books, maybe you'll find the answer to Simon & Simon here? http://www.hulu.com/videos/search?query=Simon+%26+Simon And way to go, suggesting we buy your book first, THEN buy hers.

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-15 04:40:13

Karen--I've decided to be even MORE of a self-centered asshole in 2009. So far, I'm doing a bang-up job.

Entered By rik From Unknown
2009-01-15 13:43:39

OK, I don't read horror because I don't like the remote possibility of being scared. (Being your friend means never having to read Stephen King.) But outside of horror and romance (because I would rather read horror than the crap that passes for romance books), I highly recommend that you read Susanna Clarke's novel: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. (If it makes you feel any better, Neil Gaiman wrote a raving blurb that's included in the front of the book.)

Entered By Rhiannon Frater From Austin
2009-01-16 01:17:38

I have the biggest grin on my face right now. I'm glad to have proven you wrong and hopefully other female authors will step up and consider to do so. But I would be the first to admit that most of us are stuck putting out horrible dreck in an effort to be published and popular. Hence why I went the Indie route. By the way, I wrote Pretty When She Dies: A Vampire Novel because I'm SICK of lameass vampires, but I understand if you want to skip over it. There are necromancers and zombies in it, but if you find vampires completely intolerable, I, again, totally understand. There is a free preview online at my Scribd page so you can read the first four chapters and figure out if you want to risk it or not. As for the second book in the As The World Dies trilogy, it will be out within the next two months. It needed more overhauling than we originally thought, but it will be worth the wait. Thanks again for letting people know I don't suck. --Rhiannon Frater

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-16 02:02:58

Holy crap. Did I totally just get busted, or what?

Entered By Glenn From Tennessee
2009-01-16 02:05:28

Dude! I've added your page to my favorites, if for any other reason than the fact that you ARE offensive, overbearing, and and outright ass! I love it!!! Keep up the good work. And if the rest of the public doesn't like it, the hell with 'em! By the way, I'm a huge fan of Rhiannon's and thought that your review of her book was dead on. Have a good one.

Entered By Glenn From Tennessee
2009-01-16 02:07:30

Yeah, you got busted lolol!! She also posted a link to your blog on her Permuted Press page. LMAO!

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-16 03:53:33

rik--I'll check that book out. You know how I like those Neil Gaiman blurbs. I would give your left ovary for a blurb by Gaiman on my book. Even if I had to take said ovary by force. But I shouldn't have to, because we're friends, and you should really just give me your left ovary. And your right one, too, because I could maybe get some cash for that one.

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-16 03:59:33

Glenn--I never really thought of myself as offensive. That's just...man. That's weird. You've given me a lot to think about. I'm going to go kick a priest in the nuts now, and then expose myself at the library, and then maybe I'll get drunk and piss on a bakery. And while I do that, I'm really go to try to figure out why you would think I'm offensive.

Entered By Glenn From Tennessee
2009-01-16 22:17:59

Now don't get too down on yourself there Ray, all that I said, was meant as a compliment. Don't just sit there in the corner and dwell on all of your problems or failures, it'll only make you sad. Just take the compliment and keep on plugging away (of course I say this with the respect that I'm sure you think is due to you ;) )

Entered By Diane From NH
2009-01-17 20:37:28

Dude. Smack down on the female authors and you get more comments than anything in the last 6 months. I gotta smile with that one.

Entered By Ray From Austin
2009-01-22 03:45:03

Assholery works in my favor yet again.

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