Friday, May 30, 2014

Library Card Gifts

Apparently, Zazzle is hosting a contest of sorts to show off their die cut invitations (Which are not invitations etched onto 20 sided die. Unfortunately).

I ignore those e-mails typically, but as I looked at their die-cut examples an idea popped into my head. (I later learned that the finalists get decided through a pinterest popularity contest so I don't stand a snowball's chance in phoenix.)

The template was surprisingly easy to create. It's recognizable to those older than 25 and has a vintage hipster vibe for the typewriter crowd.
As you can tell by the names on the card, I wasn't taking it all seriously. Even assassinos need Save The Date cards. But I came to like the template so much I wondered how it would look on other things.

A whole lot of other things.

A light switch cover for your library!
 A pillow for your napping library bed (people have those, right?)

And a t-shirt for wearing. What else are ya gonna do with a t-shirt?
But what makes it really fun is that I did all the customizing work for you. All you have to do is head to the site, put in your favorite book and author, add in a few made up dates and you can have any of those objects personalized to your reading taste. The possibilities are endless.

If you know a librarian or book reading friend, this would make a good gift, assuming they're not naked Morlocks who recline upon rocks. If they are, you might want to get them an Eloi giftbasket instead.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I am not a prize to be won!

Once again, a man has decided that rather than it somehow being his own fault that women of the world will not throw themselves upon his feet, it's the fault of 51% of the population. And, he took it to the point that he would rather slaughter innocents than face up to his own shortcomings.

This is a tale that's been told over, and over, and over, and over again.

"Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." 
--Margret Atwood

And once again, people are racing to find excuses for this monster. Oh he's mentally ill, he's not really a representative of the PUA/MRA asshole community, it's all a false flag. He probably wanted to kill men as well. He was attacking the privileged society in general.

People don't want to do the hard work to change things. They want to bury it in a shallow grave and forget it ever occurred until the next one occurs. Because it will happen again as long as women are treated like the toy in the happy meal, the prize in the crackerjack box, the guarantee any man has for being born with a Y chromosome.

Men, you're not entitled to sex, or a relationship, or even a fucking smile. We're not here for you.

And yet, one needs barely look at media to see the same story told over and over again. The men are the ones who save the galaxy, the women are the gift they're given for fulfilling their prophecy. Women are only put into mainstream books, movies or tv to be the one relationship, the one guarantee that the hero, no matter how much of a raging asshole or completely undeserving person he is, will get her.

And why? Not because he's a good person, kind to animals, shares the woman's same interests and is attractive? No! It's because he's the guy! And by dint of his penis, he deserves her. That's the way it's always been.

Women aren't people. They're a bundle of hair, and soft skin, and fatty tissue in the right areas that only exist at the whims of the men around them. Admitting they're thinking and feeling human beings with their own voice would alter the course of society.

A society that thinks women's work is worth 77 cents on a man's dollar.

A society that thinks women's health and the right to choose if and when they have a pregnancy is not her right.

A society that thinks rape is something women make up and even then it isn't that big of a deal.

A society that thinks a woman's voice is as worthless as a drink of water in a rainstorm.

Trying to change that is scary and too much work. It's easier to maintain the status quo and occasionally act shocked when once again a man decides he deserves women to the point of kidnapping and holding them in his basement for decades. Promptly forgetting it ever happened a few weeks later is far easier than trying for change. 

The old deflections are already rearing their head. Not all men murder women because they won't sleep with them. No, but enough men do. Enough men think they have the right to end the life of anyone who they perceived to rebuff them, enough men think they have the right to fuck any woman they want, enough men think they have the right to whistle and catcall any woman they want, enough men think they have the right to demand a smile from any woman they want. Enough men do all this that women spend their entire lives learning how to deflect, how to prepare, how to fight off all this bullshit just so they can get through their day.

Women are taught how to not get raped instead of men being taught not to rape. Because some men will always rape, is the argument of why. Because some men will always kill women, so why bother trying to stop that? Once again, blaming the victim for existing is easier than trying to alter the idea that men deserve that vagina.

I'm sure billions of words will be spilled blaming the PUA culture, or the MRAs,  or even women for being too picky about who they spend their time with; trying to compartmentalize it all down to "Someone Else's Problem" as if there aren't a million little boys taught that they're better than girls just because. That they deserve this or that, that they're the saviors of the world because they have a penis, and that penis means they're rewarded whatever vagina they want.

Because this will happen again, over and over, until we stop treating over half of the population like an aberration on the default setting of human.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Launch Day!

It's finally here, the day I've been putting off like crazy. The official everyone please go buy my book, please oh please!

To celebrate, the ebook version originally $4.99 is only $2.99 today. 

Available at amazon.

I also have TerraFae free for a week. It sort of fills in some history left a bit vague in The King's Blood that only a fanatic would care about.

And finally, if you want to feel the actual spider smashing sized book in your hands, you can enter to win a free copy from Goodreads. I have no say in who gets chosen, so you can't blame me.

Giveaway to enter

Now, dump the boiling oil on the Visigoths! Or, are we not doing that? Fine!

Monday, May 12, 2014


I flamed out, tumbled off a cliff, and exploded at the bottom of a ravine a few weeks ago about book marketing. (A week of nothing but rejection will do that) But with that magic launch date looming it seemed a good time to re-energize and talk about that writing stuff. (Don't worry, I've put some fun pictures in to pass the time if the words are boring)

Kris Silva sent me one of those author chain letters that are less about how eating this one food will travel back in time and kill your grandmother and more about the process. So away we go.

1. What am I working on?

I'm in the midst of the research, plotting, sitting around daydreaming stage of a novel novel idea I have (ba-dum-tish). After plumbing the depths of fantasy, then YA fantasy, then sci-fi fantasy I decided to stick with what I knew best and jump to an historical fiction idea.

To give the roughest of sketches, the setting is in 1500 Granada, Spain right after the end of the reconquista when the final vestiges of Islam were kicked out by Isabella and Ferdinand. Right around the time when the ghettos and inquisition started up.

But it's also a chance to tell the tale of a roguish highwayman, a morally grey robin hood of sorts, who's actually a highway woman. She's been hiding as a man for years so she can operate her little den of miscreants to raise coin. Never one to tread in politics or join a cause, she is swept up into the riots boiling through Granada.

The nice thing about a historical piece is that, instead of having to come up with food choices/culture/holidays everything that makes a setting, I can just research them. The bad thing is that I lose myself chasing down answers that may no longer exist. Trying to find maps, recreate mosques long torn down and built over with cathedrals; I'm not certain which horse is the prettier color at this point.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Assuming fantasy genre since the historical fiction is little more than a gleam in my brain stem, the satire comes to mind. If there is a trope or cliche, I will pick on it. I like to think of it as loving, but I probably ruffle a lot of feathers with it.

I use fantasy a bit differently than others. For some it's an excuse to make a world where up is down and birds are our masters and overlords. I like to tweak an expectation, a norm in culture and see what havoc that wreaks on my characters. It's all about messing with the characters. I'm so god awful at plots, but I do love making some twisted and complicated characters.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Oh crap, I think I already covered this. I didn't read ahead, I swear!

Human foibles fascinate me so. I want to know why people do what they do, what drives them. And if I can throw a dragon or two in while they're having an existential crisis about accepting the unforgiving role of hero or fallen savior, all the better. (Note, I will never actually write a dragon story. To me, sending in a few soldiers to fight a dragon is comparable to five people armed with sticks attacking an aircraft carrier. I don't see anyone getting out of that alive.)
Fantasy and sci-fi are the perfect arenas for playing. It's much easier to alter a society to fit your themes than to try and mine it in some obscure setting in the real world. Also, cell phones ruin everything.

4. How does my writing process work?

That implies that it does, in fact, work. Let's see, I begin with an idea. Usually it's a small scene of two people having a conversation, reaction, or fight. I do a lot of action scenes in my head because when in doubt, stab someone. That idealet blooms as I chase after why someone would act that way, what would push someone to make that choice, what consequences are there for the actions.

Then I start to fill in those pesky plot details, finding the beats for action and respite, pick a setting; all the dressing for the side of the character salad.

Trolling baby name websites is one of the important stages. I suck at naming things, characters will go through multiple options before I pick something. Even then, names can change on a dime. Originally, Aldrin was named Andrin - a real name - but it took maybe a chapter before his name altered in my brain. It has to zing, has to flow from the tongue. I'm very much in favor of you need to be able to pronounce whatever crazy fantasy names you make up for something, unless that's the joke.

After that, it's just scooping out all the ideas in my brain and ladling them across the page. Maybe then making a gravy to go with.

Now to pick some people to get to dance to my bidding. Mwhahaha.

I believe I shall begin with Tony Noland. Author of a superhero novel where they use grammar powers to fight! (so cliché) and tweeter friend.

Monica Marier, who's still working on that Linus book we're all waiting for. Patiently. *hide the pitchforks guys*

Mandaray, another twitter friend I forced to read and review my book.

And finally, Brian Schwarz, a fellow winner in the WriMo contest who has a dystopian sci-fi thriller dropping soon. 

You all get to answer those same questions I did, then find four new people to infect with the virus. Fly my pretties!

Friday, May 9, 2014

We'll be fine

Because drag racing and smoking are passe, the olds need something new to freak about that all the kids are doing to destroy society.

Technology's always been a favorite sticking point. Change is scary and humans would dig nails deep in until blood dribbles down rather than adapt. Enter this meme:
Never mind that in order for someone to take that picture they also had to be ignoring their companions, because who cares about logic. This is all about outrage!

What do you think the chances are that right after that picture was snapped, some of the people would turn to their companions, share a video or picture they found, laugh together over an e-mail, or inform someone of the bad news they were waiting on?

Pictures lie. We want to pretend they don't because they build such a beautiful, easy to manipulate narrative. But one second taken of crowds of people could mean anything. Take that first image. Where some would rather see a bunch of people sitting at a table ignoring their "frens?" "ferns?" (I have no idea what the hell a fren is. Is it a frenemy?) I see four very stressed out people who seem to be watching their phones for bad news.

Perhaps they learned that a friend of theirs in another part of the world is caught in the middle of a terrible storm and they're glued to look for any updates. Or they're sitting pins and needles to hear that a relative survived a surgery. You do not know. I do not know. That's how easily pictures can be flipped and used for someone's angle.

The narrative would rather people return to the good ol' days, when sharing information was so much slower and controlled by those who got to say who is and is not an idiot. Amazing how often those people declared non idiots were straight white males.

Should we go back to the pony express as well? Or perhaps give up all mail services and rely upon some wandering merchant to pass your letters if she gets out that way? Can't ignore your friends around you for someone else you never speak to anymore because they moved two towns down.

Humans love interacting, they need companionship and groups. If they didn't we'd all have cool stripes and be tigers. So when you see another "OH MY GOD, NO ONE TALKS ANYMORE AND IT'S RUINING SOCIETY!" meme, calm down.

We'll be fine.

Edited to Add: I didn't touch the stupid idea of Einstein even saying that because it was so ludicrous to begin with. He was afraid of technology, specifically the atomic bomb that he helped to create. That seemed to do a shit ton more damage than a cell phone.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dwarves in Space: The Untold Saga

Aka, I got my free copy of a book that no one else will ever see or own.

Once again Lulu offered a free hardcover and I figured, what the hell.

I already had the front cover image that I made back in August or whenever I was hiding from writing.
For the back cover, I just slapped on some space images and an old synopsis I threw together for a failed query (Failed Query is the name of my embittered punk garage band).
I got a bit fancier with the title page because what the hell and found some decorative clip art and tossed it all together.
I also got a chance to reuse the poster I made again for reasons of hiding from writing:
And for the inside book art itself, I went a bit goofy what with it being a goofy book. A planet sword combo on the top odd page and stars around every page number.

The Chapter Title graphics are actually a bit prettier than I should have used but I liked them. And if anyone wants to use them for a real book just ask. They're gathering dust.
And that's my super secret collectors one-of-a-kind edition of a book no one gives a shit about.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Good, The Bad, The Arrow

As 5,000 comic book movies open each blockbuster, pre-blockbuster, and post-blockbuster season, a blowback is inevitable. Humans were engineered with the shortest entertainment attention span so that capering idiot who can do a back flip didn't get all our bananas. You want to keep eating? Come up with something new, but it better be almost the same as before but better and more awesome.

Last year The Arrow premiered on the CW, a channel I don't normally watch as I don't fit in their vampire demographic. (I suspect somehow even Mary, Queen of Scotts is going to turn out to be a secret witch-vampire) It was obvious the creators came to the studio and said "We want to make a Batman tv show." After the execs stopped laughing because the rights to a live action Batman tv show are so screwed up, you cannot secure them unless you unlock the six assassin tombs across the globe, they pulled out their comics and said "He's a vigilante. He's rich. What about Green Arrow?"

This review of Arrow will be heavy on spoilers so if you care I'm not sure why you're reading this. If you want to watch it, watch it. If you don't want to watch it, but still care about spoilers, you're weird.

The very first episode establishes this insane world we've entered. Oliver Queen, gabillionaire playboy, is on a boat that somehow implodes off the coast of China. What were they doing off of China? Who knows, but he manages to survive along with his dad and some nameless guy. After days bobbing on the waves, as they're all getting real sick of singing the piña colada song, his Dad whips out a book (Why he thought to only save a book and not say a canteen of water, we'll never know) and says that it is very important Oliver survives to take out every name written in lemon juice. Then he shoots the nameless red shirt on the boat and himself, proving that this man knew nothing about his son.

Upon crashing onto the island, Oliver crumbles into a big ball of useless (which he spends the first year of the island as) and is saved by the proto-Arrow, a Chinese general that was sentenced to live on this prison island. A strange approach to justice, but perhaps the Chinese government were secretly hoping the island was full of radioactive lizards that would take care of the problem for them.

The island sequences are told in flashback as current timeline Ollie is rescued five years later and comes back to Starling City (yes, they really called it that. Oh DC, when it came to your titular character's homebases you just threw up your hands and shouted "I don't care, uh central city. Good, go!"). After five years on a chinese prison island you'd expect Oliver to be sent off to ten years of therapy, but Starling City must be owned by Scientologists. There is nary a mention of a therapist, or mental health or of Ollie being anything but hunky dory after five years on an in theory isolated island without even a volleyball to talk to.

After a confusing sequence where he has to declare he's still alive in open court (Starling City has the strangest approach to the justice system), Oliver's free to take out his father's book and start killing everyone on it. Kind of. They sort of dance around how Ollie's a killer, in that he'll take the henchmen's lives but tends to leave the big baddies, who again are just names in a book, alive if not a couple million dollars short.

As Oliver tears through his book, then forgets he has it for a month and goes on wacky adventures with Huntress *shudder*, he decides that he needs his own Arrow cave. Rather than do the smart thing and build it far from civilization, he buys or finds (it's confusing as hell) an old factory of his father's in The Glades (aka the Poors section) and decides he should build a nightclub on top of his secret base of supervigilante operations! Not once does he or the writers think that a pair of drunk idiots could stumble down the elevator and straight into Arrow Central! There's even a bit where somehow they were able to hide the secret Arrow Cave by putting a few boxes around. Though this was during a surprise inspection, so I guess they cover it up every night. Must get exhausting.

The Hood, as he's called (which always sounded like the Clitoral Hood to me), gets his first side kick in the form of his bodyguard, Diggles. I love Diggles. He is the only one who makes any god damn sense in the first season, calling Ollie out for all the stupid shit he does. It takes about three or four episodes before Oliver reveals his big secret alter ego to Diggles, after the most incompetent sniper in the history of snipers fires wildly into a crowd after missing his target, and then shoots Diggles with a poisoned bullet. Why does "I always hit my target" Deadshot need to poison his bullets? How would poisoning bullets even work? Wouldn't the friction denature any poison he coated across it? Shouldn't shooting someone be enough? We will never know.

Having failed already at the first rule of superhero club, Oliver uses Diggles to do all his dirty work. This includes quite possibly the stupidest plan ever, where he supposedly lets cameras catch him doing something suspicious like yanking a bag out of a trashcan so he can change into his Arrow costume. Ollie's big plan to get the heat off him is to force Diggles into his stanky hoody so he can jump around and bust up a drug ring of aspirin smugglers. Not once do the cops wonder why this Vigilante never fires arrows and seems to prefer shooting the criminals, but if the law side of justice in Starling City makes no sense, the police part is trying their damnedest to be incompetent.

No one, except for Detective Lance -- father of Laurel, Ollie's ex, and Sarah, the girl Ollie "killed" on the boat -- gives a flying batfuck that there's a guy running around killing henchmen who are probably down on their luck therapists that became one of the 50,000 bodyguards in Starling City. They all seem to throw up their hands and go, eh, so he's killed about 30 people, call us when it breaks 100.

Though, considering the fact that Count Vertigo (do not ask) killed about 56 people perfecting his pain increasing drug (again, don't ask) and no one -- not the police, not the FBI -- gave a shit, I'm getting the impression everyone's just waiting for Starling City to implode in on itself and save everyone the trouble.

Mister Vertigo is also our WTF introduction to Felicity Smoke's superpowers. An IT girl who rambles because that's how we do awkward in TVland, Oliver hands her a sample of water and asks her to figure out what tap it came out of. First off, unless there's something about computers I really don't understand, I don't think your typical computer repair lab is gonna have an HPLC. Second, there is no fucking way in the history of CGI magic-science that you can figure out what sink a sample of water dribbled from. Though, if Vertigo had shown some dedication to the health and well being of the people he was killing and used distilled water, Felicity never could have used her magic tap guessing powers to catch him. Sloppy, sloppy work.

It takes Oliver all of a few more weeks to reveal his "secret" identity to Felicity. She's understandably skittish, given that she's now an accessory to over 30 murders, but she agrees to help him as long as they search for Walter -- Oliver's kidnapped step-father. She promptly forgets about Walter and his kidnapping for about 4 months.

In an interesting twist at the start of the season, they tried to go all Hamlet on us and fool you into thinking that Walter was evil but it was actually Ollie's mother who was all plotting and squinty eyed or something. But rather than keep with the Mom's been a super villain the whole time, she's been kowtowed by the real big baddy of the season, Merlin. He shall henceforth be known as Ra's Al Barrowman.

Ra's Al Barrowman is father of Tommy, Ollie's best friend. (Nepotism is the name of the game in Starling City) Despite the fact that Oliver, Moira -- his Mom --, and Thea -- his incredibly dense sister -- should be rather familiar with the father of Oliver's best friend, they act shocked and scared whenever they see him. This is to establish that he's sinister, but it makes no sense. If Moira knew he was bad news, you'd think she'd maybe insist Oliver not spend so much time with Tommy. You know, her son she just got back after he was "dead" for five years. Though, Tommy couldn't hurt wet tissue paper.

Established first as the playboy Oliver wishes he could be, Tommy is the kicked puppy of the season. He goes from billionaire bad boy to simpering "why won't anyone love me?" so fast I wonder if there wasn't smoke spitting off the producer notes. Tommy is there mostly to be sad. He's sad that his father won't love him. He's sad that Laurel, who they really really want us to give a shit about, is still hung up on her ex instead of getting with him. He's sad that his dead best friend is the Hood. Oh yeah, Oliver told Tommy his secret identity too. Other capes, never ever tell the Green Arrow who your alter ego is unless you want it written in 40 foot tall letters across every building.

Perhaps now is a good time to discuss Oliver Queen himself. If one were to replace the man with a cardboard cutout of the Green Arrow I doubt any of his closest friends would notice. This is particularly confusing because he shows some emotion and life in the island flashbacks, but apparently the creators of the show wanted a dead eyed, serially shirtless man as their super hero. It sort of works if everyone around him is interesting and a funnel through the blank slate, but then they try to shoe-horn in a love interest and Oliver has to try and have an emotion. That's when it all falls apart.

I have a theory that the first season of Arrow was written by two groups of people who HATED each other. One would come up with an elaborate plot involving the book of names, the next wouldn't mention the book at all. The first gave Oliver a lady love in the form of a cop and introduced the idea of a mole in the police. The second shot her, shipped her off to the Flash's city and never mentioned the mole again. One set wrote the Huntress and should be punished for all of eternity for that abomination. Thankfully the second hated the Huntress just as much and she wasn't spoken of until it was that first ones turn again.

It was like there were two shows happening congruently with the same characters. One wanted to explore vigilante justice and the toll it takes on those around you, the other watched a shit ton of Teen Titans and really wanted to do Batman. In a behind the scenes bit the writers proudly proclaimed they had ADD and it shows. Plot points aren't so much dropped as abandoned in a factory they later destroy with an earthquake machine. But here I am, getting ahead of myself.

Back to Merlin, and the thin silver of plot. After Oliver's remembered about his little book and killed off another 20 guys he assumes are evil because his dad said so, we learn the truth: Merlin's plotting to destroy the Glades in the most insanely super villain way possible. Apparently some 5-6 years prior, Ra's Al Barrowman got it in his head to gather his friends together for a time share meeting. He showed a few charts about how his plans to fix up the Glades were to purchase buildings cheap, encourage gentrification, and force the poor from the rising land. No, wait, I'm sorry, his plan was an earthquake machine. Seriously, an earthquake machine.

Now, you may be wondering who in the hell makes an earthquake machine? Why would anyone do that? How would you even test it? Good question, and apparently it was one it took Merlin 5 years to solve because after passing out the party bags containing the books filled with a list of the fellow men who sat through the time share but had nothing to do with Merlin's insane plan, he promptly did nothing. It was incredibly lucky that it wasn't until Oliver bothered to get his ass back to the states, that Ra's Al Barrowman got a reminder that his earthquake machine was done and he could pick it up at his convenience.

This reveal also raises a lot of questions the show never bothers to. They seem to establish that Ra's Al Barrowman was working alone, he blackmailed the Queen family into making his earthquake machine (but since they can also trace water with GPS levels of tracking, I guess it's possible), but otherwise it was all him doing his crazy plans. There's even a subplot about the other conspirators trying to off Merlin so he can't accomplish his insane plan. Does this mean that Ollie was actually killing what were basically innocent people who sat through an insane plan from a sick man and nodded along with it because who hears "I'm gonna build an earthquake machine and destroy parts of the city" thinking it'll go anywhere? It seems less like his father was doing something noble, and more he wanted his drip of a son to clean up his mess.

I haven't talked about the island flashbacks much because I've been saving the best for last. Okay, it takes Oliver all of a day or two to get his ass captured on the island by the most insanely perfect man I've ever known. His name is Fyres and he is the boss from hell. Despite them being on a prison island they had to all fly on a plane to reach, he orders his men to wear ski masks. (Which Oliver does by shoving his nose through an eye hole. It is humor perfected) He regularly catches Oliver, acts like he knows who he is, loses Oliver, catches him again, has no idea who he is, then forces the kid to fight to the death. He does this with all of his ski mask wearing henchmen to "build moral."

Once, he catches the proto-Arrow -- his real prize apparently -- and says he's ordered 3,000 bows and wants the Chinese general to teach his men to fight the way he does. This is never ever mentioned again. None of the men learn to fight, they mostly get easily tripped up by a college student who can barely tie his own shoes and fail to find a crashed plane on the island. It was at this point I was beginning to suspect this prison island was actually Australia. Time to introduce Slade!

For reasons no one ever explains, the Australian government sent two agents to secure the Chinese general on prison island. They sent Slade Wilson and Billy Wintergreen and made them wear the stupidest two toned masks because periphery vision is overrated. I suspect Australia was really trying to get rid of them and probably sabotaged their plane themselves. After it crashed, Bill Wintergreen promptly dumped his best friend for Fyres. Why? Who cares. It gives Slade motivation and he kills the Deathstroke *snicker* stand in and then accidentally rescues Oliver.

I adore island Slade. He's grouchy, he's gruff, he's competent, and he calls Oliver on his shit all the time. I know there seems to be a pattern of me loving people who tell Oliver when he's being a moron, but so often the main character becomes the infallible god, it's great to have those willing to put them in their place. I would so watch a show of just Slade and Diggles. But since Slade's really Deathstroke, we know eventually he'll turn evil. Sigh.

A red herring on the island is the hanging planter of "who is gonna teach Oliver to fight?" At first you think it'll be proto-Arrow because he makes Ollie kill a chicken for dinner but he gets captured (then freed, then captured again a few times. See paragraph about Fyres). Then you think it'll be Slade. But he seems to see how absolutely useless Oliver is. Aside from a few moves when they have some plan to infiltrate and steal an airplane (Oh yeah, this island is large enough it has a runway) Slade gives up on Oliver. Just as we figure Oliver will learn his arrow skills from a bunch of Errol Flynn movies that washed up, in comes Shadow. (I think her name is actually spelled something stupid like Shadoe, but since I don't have to worry about trademarking it, screw it)

Shadow is the daughter of Chinese General and Fyres kidnapped her while she was getting her doctorate in America. I'm guessing. She breaks away from Fyres because everyone does that at one point, (I suspect there was a scene cut where Fyres escapes from himself) and joins up with Slade and Ollie. Finally, someone to teach him some skills. Which she does by having him slap a bowl of water for hours.

I assumed this was so Shadow and Slade could wander off and have crazy sex while Oliver's slapping the bowl of water, unaware of the world around him.

Sure, it'll make you strong. Why not. *snicker* There's no way he knows what we're up to. Come on.

To tie in with the big earthquake reveal, we learn that Fyres great plan on the island (when he can remember who he is) is to shoot down any planes flying into China. This raises a lot of logistics questions. From what we saw, old Crazy only has one surface to air missile launcher, yet there are far more planes landing and taking off from the entire country of China than he could ever hope to shoot down.

Also, part of his plan is to force the Chinese General to claim he's the one behind hit. Interesting tactic, seeing as how you're also on the island the Chinese government sentenced him to, so in theory all they'd have to do is bomb the shit out of that scrap of land and then fly back home. Done.

In a fit of only Fyres brilliance, while he has Ollie, Slade, and Shadow hostage he gets the proto-arrow to read his stupid script (probably while the General mutters under his breath how fucking dumb this plan is) then, rather than killing one of the hostages, shoots and kills the General.

Okay, send the message out.
Uh, Sir, we didn't quite pick up the audio right. We'll have to do it again.

Oh Fyres, your madness was not long for this world. Now that the rage has been induced, Oliver finally does something useful and, by sheer force of screen writing, manages to shoot Fyres in the head while he's holding Shadow hostage (even though she'd been shown to break out of that shit easy peasy earlier). This was despite an earlier scene when he failed to hit a tree with a bow and arrow; a tree that was maybe 30 feet away. I assume Oliver was actually aiming for the guy behind Fyres. And that wraps up what happens on the island.

Back in present time, Oliver and company (man, he'd be so much more adorable as an orange cat) are working to stop Ra's Al Barrowman and his earthquake machine of DOOM! They do this in the most convoluted way possible, by sending Detective Lance to stop the machine while Oliver gets his ass almost killed by a mid-40 year old man. (Seeing as how Tommy's got to be in the 25 range, and Barrowman looks so damn youthful anyway, it was a weird as hell relationship to see) Oliver stabs an arrow through himself to try and kill Barrowman.

Yeah, I have no idea how that was supposed to work. Plus, they've given him ties to the League of Assassins and the Lazarus pit, so you know Ra's Al Barrowman is coming back. Well, by the magic of computer SCIENCE Felicity is able to find a manual on the internet for an earthquake machine no one knew existed and talk detective Lance into disarming it. He succeeds but...plot twist!

There were two earthquake machines!

Because, if you're going to go stupid you might as well go big. The second one goes off, Tommy in a pique of super sad runs through the building Laurel refused to evacuate because she's an idiot and saves her. In the process, he gets an I-beam through the gut and dies, sad in the knowledge that no one ever loved him.

And that's season one. I had intended to talk about season two, but this got long. Next time, for I have much to discuss with this years Arrow.

My point, Arrow is a fun show if you want the surface stuff. Billionaire playboy, (who's not Batman) hunts down criminals vigilante style (who's still not Batman) with a crazy gallery of sidekicks (I can't believe it's not Batman).

But it's really great when you stop and watch for the plot holes large enough to lose a crashed plane in, or the pure insanity of what has to be a show conceived and written by aliens basing their knowledge of the justice system from a few old Matlock episodes.

I'd still kill for a Slade show, but first season Slade. What they did to him in season two makes me weep sad, Tommy-like tears.