Between Episode 3: Here There be Tygers

Between Tumblr page headerThe third episode of Between, titled Crossing Lines, could just as easily been called Here There be Tygers. Since the Stephen King short story has to do with school children and fear of the unknown, also a tiger, and the opening sequence of this week’s show features a “man” eating tiger. Of course the brilliant shot of the youngster’s blood stained shoe was never beaten in the rest of the episode or the series for that matter, but the feline predator does make an appearance later on in this show.

This week has Chuck gunning for Ronnie, literally, since he believes that Lana was murdered by the drug pusher of Pretty Lake. It also has a contrite, at first, Wiley thanking Adam for saving her life. This feeling of gratitude does not last long and changes to anger when, saving her life once again, Adam inadvertently blows up the girl’s money.

The kids of the quarantined town have learned that burning the bodies got them nothing but video coverage on the news. The Prime Minister shows the footage and then reveals that there is something in the air at Pretty Lake so, despite the promise made last week, the fence will stay up. Not long after this announcement the power goes out.

Meanwhile Ronnie asks Stacey, who is having an affair with him, to tell her boyfriend Chuck that he did not kill Lana as he was with her when it happened. She refuses at first and then relents. The two head to town and the second they see Chuck, and his armed goons, she hits Ronnie and lies to Chuck.

Back at the farm, Frannie has been left to milk and feed the cattle on her own. Gord leaves to stop Chuck from killing Ronnie. In a stand-off at the Creeker’s residence, the power is cut and Chuck’s boys all begin firing. Gord is hit and ends up staying in town overnight. The tiger finds its way to the farm and Frannie. She has a life and death confrontation with the animal and emerges the winner.

Adam and Wiley decide to cut the fence and escape now that the power is off. Finding a section with no guards, he makes an opening and they crawl through. Spotting a sign that warns of a minefield, the two stop. She wants to chance it and Adam throws Wiley’s backpack into the field. The instant the bag hits the ground it explodes in a shower of damaged money.

By the end of the episode, Adam and Wiley have gone their separate ways and Chuck has jettisoned his cheating, lying girlfriend. Amanda fesses up to setting the supermarket on fire and Mark finally shows up, driving a beer truck and declaring that he is Santa Claus.

Since Ronnie has been cleared of Lana’s murder, it will surely be only a matter of time before accusatory fingers begin pointing Merk’s way. Wiley has decided to grab the baby and leave her older sister to look after the other children. In a way, the title of Crossing Lines is quite apt. Everyone, it seems, spent the entire episode crossing those boundaries that should be left alone. Although the tiger allegory is also omnipresent in show as well.

It should be mentioned that the best bits of the show were the ones with the tiger in. Especially the battle between the animal and Frances.

There really has not been a whole lot of improvement overall and the show may never make it to a second season. None of the characters are that likable so far and as pointed out before the story has not been set up very well. Still, this is one of those shows that fits the bill if there is absolutely nothing else on the telly.

5 June 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

Taken by Adam Light: O. Henry Eat Your Heart Out

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Adam Lights short story Taken throws a different light on the usual tales of abduction. Here is a  protagonist whose secret trauma is not revealed until the very last of the story and it helps to give an O Henry ending that quite surprised me.

I have only just discovered the delights of Adam and Evans Light and their twisted world of horror and the unique way they write about it. I’m rapidly becoming a fan and I’ll be continually dipping into their new books as they write them, like a literary humming-bird darting into their different stories for a taste of sweet sinister terror.

Both the authors can be found in the realms of Goodreads and what a pleasant discovery they are. If you aren’t familiar with their work, check out the Goodreads site and keep your eyes peeled for some of the special deals that these two talented writers are a part of. Kindle  deals abound and you can sample the terror filled treats that are becoming a staple of the two brothers.

I’ve only read two of the brother’s work and as I mentioned above, I am rapidly becoming a fan of their original ideas and very different story lines. I know that the title of this post is somewhat deceiving in that it looks like I am going to be addressing the story Taken its own. But being a short story, I would give way too much of the plot away.

I will say it deals with a long distance driver who loves his stay-at-home partner too much. So much in fact that he’ll do anything for her. It’s a great read and entertaining.

Check both Adam and Evans stuff out, if their stories were edible, I’d say, “They’re finger-licking good.”

Author Adam Light.
Author Adam Light.

A definite 4 star tale just for the unpredictable twist at the end.

 

 

Blaming Violence on Video Games and Guns

Call of Duty


Well it did not take long for someone to make a tenuous connection between the Sandy Hook Shootings and video game violence. The Independent (one of the less tabloid-like newspapers in the UK) featured the following headlines on their website:

Adam Lanza: A head full of video games and a house full of guns

Journalist David Usborne writes that, “ He [Lanza] is said to have been a fan of computer games featuring warfare and killing. Did he cross some line from the fiction of these games into some twisted, self-realised reality last Friday?” and that ” Ms Lanza [the first victim of son Adam’s killing spree] also had a significant gun collection. Why? Tragically, it was from there that her son took his weapons.”

It didn’t take very long for the “nay-sayers” to drag out the modern all-purpose scapegoat of video games. No doubt this will garner a lot of attention from the same folks who scream that films and television are too violent. According to these ninnies, our youth are being traumatized by all this violence and are having a hard time distinguishing from the fiction of the game world and reality.

I am sure that there are some “twisted” young (and not so young) individuals who do have a blurred line between fiction and non-fiction. But video games did not cause it.

I remember when I was a teenager in high school in the seventies church groups were handing out pamphlets and getting on television and the radio and screaming to high heaven (pun intended) about horror movies and how they were damaging our youth. The same groups completely ignored the fact that most of the films that they were complaining about (slasher films) were actually modern morality plays. In a “slasher” film, if you did things you weren’t supposed to you died. Underage drinking – death; promiscuity – death; smoking – death; basically if you weren’t a sober, virginal non-smoker your clock was cleaned in a pretty gruesome fashion.

Sure people are influenced by the media. Television went through a Salem witch trial in the 1970’s as well. There was a glut of cop shows and detective shows. You had Colombo and MacMillan & Wife to name just two. Because of the outcry against violence being shown on the telly, shows were not allowed to show acts of violence. In one episode of McCloud you had a scene where a bad guy walked up behind his victim with a monkey wrench in his hand. You saw him raise the wrench over his head and…Commercial break. When the commercial break finished you came back to the body of the victim lying on the floor (if you were lucky) or you never saw the victim again. This had the effect of leaving you wondering just what the hell had happened.

The thing that started the whole “violence on TV is ruining our kids” was two events. One was a made for TV movie called Born Innocent where a young Linda Blair is sent to Juvenile Prison and is raped with a mop (or broom) handle by a gang of prison girls. Right after the movie aired the crime was repeated for real by a group of kids who cited the movie as giving them the idea. The second event was the television airing of the movie Fuzz.

Based on Ed McBain‘s 82nd Precinct series it was adapted for a “comic” cop movie starring Burt Reynolds, Raquel Welsh and Harvey Keitel. The basic plot of the film (as in the book) was that someone was going around pouring gasoline on homeless people and burning them alive. Just like Born Innocent, right after Fuzz aired on the “Movie of the Week” on TV somebody got the bright idea to copy the film’s plot. Also again, when they were caught, the perpetrator’s cited the movie as the source of their action.

So the American television networks had to “censor” their channels and their output. Did this action stop the crazies from performing heinous acts of murder, mutilation and rape of their fellow-man? I think we all know the answer to that one.

There was a similar movement brought against comic books in the 1940’s and 50’s where the industry had to tone down some of their more gruesome comics. Tales of the Crypt was just one comic that got “white washed” in an effort to protect America’s youth from corruption.

Rock and roll had a similar problem, on television Elvis Presley could only be shown from the waist up because of his “promiscuous” gyrating hip action while he sang. Heavy Metal bands were accused of putting Satanic verses on their LP’s that could only be heard when the record was played backward. The list goes on and on.

Books dealing with violent themes and horror fiction in particular have been given short shrift by a public who were desperate to pin the blame on anyone but the criminal who actually committed the violent crime.

But now we have the video game to blame for all the violent crime that today’s youth are committing. Too many hours spent playing Grand Theft Auto or Hitman or *insert game name here* and your child will turn into a homicidal maniac.

Of course Usborne doesn’t just infer that video (he actually uses the term “computer” games) games are to blame, but the fact that Momma Lanza had a gun collection is thrown into the mix as well. Of course that was the lethal combination. Never mind that Lanza’s own brother stated for the record that Adam had mental problems.

But rather than accept that something in the kid snapped that had nothing to do with violent video games and that this something had obviously been building up for some time. The sad thing is, that while people are playing the “blame game” and trying to come up with a palatable reason for Lanza to have gone out and murdered an enormous amount of adults and children, they are ignoring the plain and frustrating truth. We will never know why he did it because he’s dead.

The Independent trying to make a link between “computer” games and the guns that Lanza took from his mother is just despicable. It is attempting to milk a bit more out of a horrible situation without waiting for all the facts to be gathered. By printing the article by Usborne, who is after all only doing his job as a journalist, the paper is adding more fuel to an already touchy subject.

The fact that the games industry has been self policing their games for some time now; putting recommended age restrictions on the games that they release has not impressed anyone. It is a lot easier to point the finger at the games the companies produce than to point the finger at the parents who do not monitor what their underage children are playing.

If anyone has played any of the Call of Duty (COD) on-line multiplayer games they will notice that some of the other players are so young that their balls have not dropped yet squeakily cursing you for killing them.

So the first question that comes up, after I’ve told the kid that his “momma is calling for him” is to wonder where the hell his parents are and why they let him buy, let alone play, a game that is not intended for little kids.

But I digress.

I think that if the media is going to try to make this story run a bit longer, they need to look at the whole situation as the facts become available and not add to an already eager public’s desire to find a scapegoat.