Thursday, March 15, 2012

John Carter Review and an observation on free promos for KDP select

I took in John Carter this past Saturday evening, the 3D Imax experience, in Century City, California which borders Beverly Hills. I was fortunate that I did not encounter massive crowds; surprising because according to the IMDB (International Movie Data Base), John Carter came in this weekend at No. 2 at the box office, garnering some $32 million dollars, and a good chunk of change overseas. But lo and behold, I was able to obtain prime seating. The film thus far has received lukewarm to moderately okay reviews from so-called professionals; as an avid sci-fi enthusiast, I would like to consider myself a fair observer to science fiction fare in general, be it film or novel.

Edgar Rice Burroughs created John Carter even before Tarzan, a hundred years or so ago. The movie, I think, rather cleverly utilizes Burroughs as a character in the movie, and ostensibly, the autobiographer to John Carter as a real human being that lived, and chronicled his journey and adventures on Mars (Barsoom)to the locals. Some criticized the murky beginning to the film, but I rather enjoyed the luxury of getting into the Carter character, an ex-Confederate soldier, dealing with the aftermath of the Civil War in 1868 (3 years after the war ended), antagonistic ex-Union soldiers out in the west killing Indians, and bloodthirsty Apaches. All this preamble to the main story leads John Carter (Taylor Kitsch is the appealing actor) to a cave where he is transported some 40 million miles to Barsoom for kicks and giggles and a helluva lot of swordplay with the natives, and some slap and tickle with the planet's feisty princess (played by the very attractive Lynn Collins) of Helium (the token democratic city on Mars that is looking out for the welfare of the planet in general).

The plot can easily be discerned by checking out, and I shall spare the reader needless details of story. Suffice to say that hardcore science fiction buffs will not view this movie unkindly. The CGI is rather spectacular, enhanced by the 3D facility, and surprisingly (for me) the acting was above par, for this kind of matinee tent-pole extravaganza. To be frank, I did not recognize the film's only two journeyman stars, Wilem Dafoe or Thomas Haden Church, under all the 'Thark' make-up. Tharks, by the way, are 14 foot tall natives to Mars that boast wild boar-like tusks.

Disney spent a helluva lot of coin to promote the picture, and spared nothing in production as well. Kitch as John Carter does a fine job as the young, tragic hero who has lost a wife and child in the Civil War, and suddenly finds his butt transplanted to Mars. To complicate matters, he falls in love with the one and only dateable pneumatic princess on the planet - the fetching Princess Dejah Tharis. This fable, at its heart, is a love story, between Carter and the Martian princess, with a backdrop of two opposing cities at war for supremacy over the planet. This will probably be a franchise, and a good one. I highly recommend that you all give it a gander.

On a final note, I tried Amazon's free promotional opportunities to re-introduce my science fiction novel, Mars, The Bringer of War, this past weekend. The book was offered, again, as free for one day. Mars enjoyed over 3,000 downloads, and I thank all the readers for their interest. Please feel free to comment, good, bad, or okay, as your sensibilities dictate. The promotional resulted in Mars currently occupying the #22 position of top 100 Amazon science fiction novels sold over the past five days, so I believe these promos work (this commentary is made mainly for 'newbies' to publishing on Amazon, not for veterans, who already recognize the benefits of free advertising).

My new book, The Art of Whoring, Adventures in Prostitution, is ending its free 2 day trial today, which commenced on March 14 (this past Wednesday). It is unlike any book you'll ever read or have read. The download response has been terrific, and unexpected, given the no-holds barred subject matter. Not for the meek of heart

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