Bleeding Fool

Leaving Ford for Waugh

Over the last several weeks I've been re-reading Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End series.

I've now reached the final book, The Last Post and it is just as disappointing as I remember.

Ford's series follows the pre-war and wartime experiences of Christoper Tietjens, a Yorkshire aristocrat with an unhappy marriage and outdated scruples.  He's an amusing, well-drawn character and the books are chock full of amusing social commentary.

The first book, Some Do Not- is a bit long-winded because Ford tends to jump back and forth in time and indulge in lavish description punctuated by lengthy internal monologues.

The next two books - which center on World War I itself - are much better.  They are focused, funny but also poignant.

Taken as a trilogy, it's an excellent work, which is why some critics (apparently including Graham Greene) cut the fourth book out of the series.

I agree with that assessment.  The Last Post is nominally about what happens to the characters after the war, but it is told from the point of view of Christopher's eldest brother Mark, who has grown so disgusted with the world that he has faked a stroke and now lies mute in bed, moving only his eyes.

He thinks a lot, though, and we get to follow his thoughts, which loop back and forth, and repeat themselves in a very tedious manner.  The whole book could have been condensed into a short story, but Ford is indulging himself, introducing the perspectives of Mark's wife, the gamekeeper, handyman, maid, etc. 

All of which is painfully detailed and rendered into various dialects.

I simply can't get into it, so I'm quitting early and turning back to one of my favorites, the Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh.  I intend to write a lengthy comparison between the two books because they are very similar.

Given my work and family schedule, I've abandoned serious writing for the time being.  I've begun a series of pieces for that will run on a weekly basis and I'll let you know when they go live.


Behind the curve on Bleeding Fool

The publication of Long Live Death left me a bit distracted, so I forgot to link to my two latest posts over at Bleeding Fool.

Those who remember my fondness for North and South will be amused to see that I've broached the topic over there - albeit in a shorter, funnier format.

Going back almost a month ago, I did a fun nostalgic romp on Zardoz.  Embrace the strangeness while you still can!

Apologies to anyone who missed out, now you can catch up!

Riding out the quarantine with Cowboy Bebop

After a lengthy hiatus, I've got a new article up over at

Cowboy Bebop was something I heard about, but never watched.  Largely this was a result of my distrust of anime.  I'd seen some of it in college and it was just odd.

After a couple of films it seemed that it was obsessed with demon rape and schoolgirls.  I not only wasn't interested, I distrusted men who were.

In any event, while Cowboy Bebop does feature some weirdness, as well as obligatory scantily-clad women, it's a far cry from the weird stuff I saw back in the day.  Check out the article if you want to learn more.

In other news, I'm not writing much, but I am thinking about writing, which is the vital first step.  I write entirely for pleasure, and while I'd love to make more money, the pay isn't good enough for me to force things.  Since I already published my required book this year, I'm in no hurry to come up with another one.

Another harsh take on Star Wars

I've already written my latest Star Wars anti-review, but over at, I go a bit farther and ask the question that leaves me increasingly frustrated:  When will people stop making excuses for these terrible Star Wars movies?

There's a bonus reference to Rise of the Alliance, since the movie's title is so similar. 

Check it out!

Which version of Blade Runner is the best?

I know, it's kind of an esoteric question, but it can lead to a heated debate for fans of the 1982 classic.

I think that the original cut is clearly the best, and my latest column at explains why.

One element that I brought up in the article are the conventions of film noir, which Blade Runner clearly is.   I'm a huge fan of the genre, and after binge-watching a bunch of it, it's clear to me that Blade Runner is actually a better fit in film noir than sci-fi.

Mark Hamill and the death of fandom

My latest column is up over at Bleeding Fool.  The response has been sharply divided, which is not unexpected, but discouraging.

It seems everything in political now.  I try to keep this blog away from such things, but unless people are willing to stand up on principle - even for people they might disagree with politically - things are only going to get worse.