Michaeldgriffiths's Blog
One's man Chaos is another person's Entertainment

Jan
17

The Cyberpunk anthology Cyberfunk which was edited by Milton J. Davis was recommended to me by one of my friends living in Boston. Cyberfunk is an anthology which explores the paths Cyberpunk heroes and villains can take with an Afrocentric flavor. Nineteen Black Speculative Fiction authors came together under Milton’s guidance and produced the entertaining and interesting takes on the not too distant future.

Genre:  Cyberpunk

Publisher: MV Media

Released:  2021

Stars:  4.5 Star

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Jarla Tangh had the shortest but perhaps the most introspective and emotional tale which focused on Mufai and his interaction with an AI as they try to help feed the future’s poor.

I liked Playing the Odds by the book’s editor Milton J. Davis quite a bit. I certainly do not hold it against him that he tossed one of his own stories in here, because it gives the reader a wild ride. I wonder if this story gave him the idea for the whole anthology in the first place.

In his story a high-tech battle cyborg finds out he is now owned by a new company, and they consider him more product than man. He is forced to battle through several attempts to capture or kill him. He quickly finds he needs to help of a female tech runner, but even with her assistance he might have a hard time going up against a mega-corp.

Another memorable tale is The Walker’s Alchemist by T.C. Morgan. In this story an alchemist who was just murdered is quite surprised to find himself awake and alive, but there is a catch. He is not in his body, or even a he. Instead, he discovers he is in the body of a wife and mother. His consciousness was accidentally put into this body by her husband. Still the baby is hungry and must be fed. Yet how can he continue with such a mismatched life?

I have read a few cyberpunk anthologies over the years, and I think this might be the best one. I read most of it in the car while waiting for my kids at school and the pages breezed by and a few times I had to hurry to the gate because I just wanted to read two more pages. Not much mud to fling at this one. If you enjoy cyberpunk adventures and dig science fiction short stories, this one should be a ‘must grab’ for your bookshelves.

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Dec
30

I knew a gal who found a great book to help her get to a new level on Twitter. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered Get 10,000+ Twitter Followers by Cathy Turney must not have been it. I had a bad gut reaction to this book, but bought it anyway, I will try not to do that again.

Genre:  Social Media

Publisher: Real Estate Success Press

Released:  2018

Stars:  1 Star

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Where to start.

Length: Barely over 80 pages and this includes blank pages, half filled pages in the middle of chapters, huge font, and useless pictures.

Editing: I have seen typos

 like this has in novels, but I have never seen corrections to mistakes left on a page. How lazy does someone have to be to not take the time to fix the corrections they already made? Or better yet, how little do they care about you, the reader, to not do so?

Content: This is really basic stuff gone through here. I guess it would have helped me for about a month in 2009.

Warning: Do not make my mistake. If you have so much as your profile picture up on Twitter, you are pretty much past what this book has to offer.

Bonus Annoyance:  Twitter is a free service but one of the first things the author suggests is we sign up for these programs which cost money, which leads me to believe she has not figured much out about Twitter at all and just solves her ignorance by throwing money at the problem. It must be nice to sell real Estate in San Fran….. rrrr. I have never said this before but… Okay Boomer.

Yeah, this has been my meanest review in probably five years because this book is a money trap. Buy it for your grandmother if she wants to join Twitter, but only if she is older than 80. I hope Bookman’s will buy this one.

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Dec
15

Canyon Calls by Michael Just is a fiction anthology which focuses on events occurring in and on the edge of the Grand Canyon. This smaller than average sized book contains nine stories and I enjoyed them all. There were not any real stickers here and the author kept up a steady level of quality throughout this anthology. I bought this book from him at a book festival in Flagstaff over ten years ago and it is even signed. I know I waited a long time, but I seriously have a lot of books. Still, it feels good to knock out some of these older ones which have been sitting around for a while.

Genre:  Fiction

Publisher: Zumaya Publications

Released:  2009

Stars:  4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Some people might not know the Grand Canyon is the most dangerous national Park in the Untied States. More instances of death and injuries requiring first aid are reported in the Grand Canyon than any other park in this country. So, it makes sense to explore the dangers, both human and natural, one might face in the region which is often juxtaposed to the impressive beauty over-present in the canyon.

I enjoyed The Bridge quite a lot. In this story a man rescues a woman from Asia who was drowning in the Colorado. He needs to get her up to the rim for her own safety, but she is acting odd, angry, and does not speak English.

The Cache is a story where a guide finds himself involved with a man with anti-social personality disorder. I like the beginnings of this one, but the end gets a little convenient.

The Gender Gap proves the author’s versatility for it is a more comic tale of two lovers each working on a different side of the canyon who must decide if they are going ‘All In’ with their relationship or going to call it quits.

The book is a little light on pages, and I was able to guess the ‘plot twist’ a couple of times, but overall, this book was an enjoyable and fast read. This book would be perfect to read on a trip to, or hike into, the Grand Canyon. This would also transfer to any other camping or exploring experience. A good one to pick up before your next extended foray into the wilds for sure.

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Dec
09

The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Hurst is an innovative fantasy novel set in a world where magic can only be controlled through bones. The Bone Workers are rare, but these adepts can use bones to create moving constructs, foretell the future, and create heroic actions such and great speed and strength.

Genre:  Fantasy

Publisher: Harper

Released:  2021

Stars:  4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Kreya is one of the five heroes who vanished the evil manipulator of bones, Elkor, but she lost her husband in the final battle. Over the years she has discovered some of the dark magic Elkor used and is able to resurrect her husband but only for brief intervals. After almost getting killed, she shallows her pride and seeks out her old friend and former hero, Zera. Together, in a quest to resurrect her dead husband, they discover Elkor may not be as dead as they thought.

The friends suffer great assaults and survive dangers which would stop a hundred men, but with the use of Zera’s bone magic they survive and try to reassemble their team. However, Elkor has beat them back to the Capital and all but controls the Bone Worker Guild.

This later part of the novel is where the reader leaves the more standard fantasy fair behind and instead follows the heroes while they use intelligence and charisma over violence and strength while the attempt to counter Elkor stranglehold on their home. I enjoyed this part a great deal. I found when Elkor foiled the heroes plots again and again it built up more tension than many battle scenes.

This is a powerful novel of friendship and love. It does take a strong hard left away from mainstream fantasy. If you need elves and dwarfs this might not be for you, but I think almost every fan of fantasy will enjoy the wild journey Kreya goes through. Love, loyalty, emotional scars, and friendship mix to give this one a powerful punch.

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Nov
29

The Plague was written by the introspective Algerian author, Albert Camus. Camus is a well-respected author from the first half of the 20th century. I had never read anything by him, and since we are still living through a pandemic, I figured why not read his classic work, The Plague.

Genre:  Literary Fiction

Publisher: The Modern Library

Released:  1947

Stars:  4 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

Camus explores the subject of how humans react when their structured society is knocked on its side by a horrid plague. People are not prepared to be faced with the sudden deaths and quarantine. Free travel is suspended and most employment ceases. He delves into how humans react when their organized life is thrown a chaos curve ball.

The story digs deeper into several human archetypes and themes. Does absence make the heart grow fonder? What is the effect on man when continuously confronted with his mortality? How can religion be flexible enough to justify its existence during such times of misery.

One of the more profound messages for me was the gentlemen who attempted suicide early in the novel. The layers of his rigid culture had left him unsatisfied and unable to move on. Yet as the plague began, and normal expectations were put on hold, he flourished. Later when the rules and normalcy returned, he rebelled and could not return to that ‘real world.’

This novel is a classic, but for modern readers it might seem a bit slow. Characters come and go throughout, often without their experience completely explained. The messages are profound, but not obvious, and finding their meaning does take some work.

I found this older view on the plague compared to how people are reacting to Covid an interesting look at how much our cultures have changed in less than a hundred years. Might be a good book to dive into before Covid is over. Sigh, if it ever will be.

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Nov
21

In 2011, in the wake of the Famous Flagstaff Cube Attack, the survivors of this alien assault took to the hills in a frantic hope to survive. During this struggle Alex Bone received a message to meet an odd miner living in the mountains. This miner, William Lynn, claims he knew the truth about the origin of these attacks and who was behind them.

So grabbing his baby and cameraman, Alex Bone headed deeper into the Colorado Rockies in the hope of unraveling this mystery. Was he able to do so or would he just end up running out of beer in the middle of the alien infested forest?

Please take a moment to discover the truth behind the alien invasion and make yourself prepared to defend the Earth!

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Grab move Comedy Videos here and Search for the Truth in Quest form.

Nov
12

The Atheist Handbook to the Old Testament by Joshua Bowen is an extensive review of the first half of the Old Testament. I first learned of this publication when Bowen was interviewed by atheist YouTuber Shannon Q. The interview impressed me and since I have been debating theists lately, I went ahead and ordered myself one.

Genre:  Atheist/Theology

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Publisher: Digital Hummanurabi Press

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Released:  2021

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Stars:  4.5 Stars

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Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

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Bowen has created a textbook geared for the atheist to dive into biblical debates with knowledge regarding some of the more illogical and fictitious parts of the Old Testament outlined and ready for them to use. Bowen reviews both the history and archeology of the Levant and Babylonia. He also tackles the question of which authors wrote the Torah, correctly dates the book of Daniel, and explains why several prophecies, such as the destruction of Tyre, have been proven false. Then Bowen ends with a biblical discussion on how both Jews and Christians endorse slavery through their holy books.

This book is extensive, useful, and intense, but be prepared; it is a textbook. Bowen focuses on subjects which would be most likely to be argued by apologists and where their assumptions are more vulnerable. Reading it gave me a few college flash backs because it is so packed with well researched, and often, complex information.

Bowen takes on a momentous task here and collects a huge amount of data spread over multiple disciplines and books and gathered them all in one place. This could be a barrier for some readers who should be ready to dig in deep if they wish to read this. This might not be for beginners, yet I also do not see how any theist could read through this textbook and retain their religion, but this is just my opinion.

This book helps disprove the legitimacy of the Old Testament. It could be useful for talking family members and friends away from the myths they follow by illustrating how these old stories are just fables collected by dozens of authors over hundreds of years. Whether you want to sharpen your ability to debate with theists, your critical thinking, or use it as a tool to help others overcome their outdated belief systems, this book could be a very valuable tool.

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Nov
04

Ten years ago, the heroes of Search Truth Quest took on the mantle of protecting the citizens of Arizona from the horrors of things unseen, unproven, and unfunded. This ‘Lost Footage’ was recently uncovered when two Flag Brew employees had an intimate staff meeting on the top of their manager’s desk.

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In this uncovered footage, which later came into light during the lawsuit, we discover the results of the Search Truth Quest making one of their first attempts to get free beer by mystically cleansing a pub.

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After many failed attempts to get free ale, they heard a tale of a murder, a ghost, and the manager’s alibi. Hoping to prove his innocence, the manager gave us his keys right before stumbling off into the day.

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Search Truth Quest refilled their beers, jumped into action, and this is their story.

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You can experience the wonder of more Search Truth Quest Vids right here!

Oct
14

In a rare twist of fate, I decided to order books online. Since I was already getting a few books, I tossed YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis into my purchase. Just a quick background on my interest levels here. I’ve been involved with the team of comedians called Search Truth Quest and we have been hosting a comedy channel on YouTube for about a decade now. (Check it out here if you feel inclined) YouTube is one of those areas where someone can learn a vast amount, yet still be a novice in some ways. So, I figured what the heck, maybe I will check out what some successful people know about the subject.

Genre:  Non-Fiction

Publisher: Loincrest

Released:  2018

Stars:  3.5 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

In a rare twist of fate, I decided to order books online. Since I was already getting a few books, I tossed YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis into my purchase. Just a quick background on my interest levels here. I’ve been involved with the team of comedians called Search Truth Quest and we have been hosting a comedy channel on YouTube for about a decade now. (Check it out here if you feel inclined) YouTube is one of those areas where someone can learn a vast amount, yet still be a novice in some ways. So, I figured what the heck, maybe I will check out what some successful people know about the subject.

Sean Cannell and Benji Travis are very successful on YouTube. For them vlogging has gone beyond a hobby, and like so many others, producing videos on YouTube has become their full-time job. There are many who would love to follow in their footsteps and if you don’t know much about YouTube, I think their book would be a great resource. The book is divided into 7 primary sections courage, clarity, channel, content, community, cash, and consistency. The authors do a great job of reviewing the basics of YouTube video promotion as well as inspiring the reader to go out there and follow in their footsteps.

As a person with a reasonable amount of experience in this area as well as an individual who watches YouTube for more than 95% of his television viewing, I feel I can reasonably comment on the contents and its usefulness. This book would be great for the beginner, in fact I would recommend it for anyone who is beginning on their journey of acquiring subscribers and views and all the jargon YouTube attempts to stick into our brains. For advanced users, and frankly I am not that advanced, I think they might find this book less useful. I received some information I did not know and other tidbits which may aid me but again I think this book is more focused on the beginner and anybody who has been You Tubing for a while probably knows about 90% of what is within these pages. However, if you are serious, that 10% could be useful to even a mid-level vlogger.

A few other things bothered me about this book. The first was their continuous reference to churches and congregations. I guess they get to use YouTube like everybody else, but I am not impressed with concepts like, “Hey, YouTube is a great place to promote your weird niche cult.” Also, if you are contemplating purchasing this book it is only 180 pages and those are hard earned with at least a dozen blank pages and triple spacing between every written paragraph.

Again, this book would be invaluable for anyone who has not learned much about the ropes of YouTube and even those who know quite a bit. These guys are on it, and they do know what they’re talking about but most of it you can also learn on your own but hey it is a few bucks. I found it entertaining and worth the price.

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Oct
09

Last Summer the Search Truth Quest team demanded we go to Bisbee to find the reptilian Thunderbirds, then canceled and removed their funding. This is the story of the two men stupid enough to head down there anyway.

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It started, like usual, with Mick Zano busting through our Southern Arizona Search truth Quest headquarters’s door with crazy ideas and an even more insane mission. We were to head to just this side of the border and discover the truth about all the Thunderbird sightings which have been happening in the region since Wyatt Earp’s days in Tombstone.

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Soon, however, things went sideways and we discovered Zano was not only puling his funding for the trip, but wouldn’t even be accompanying us. When Cokie, Les Moore, and even the Ostrich Nephew backed out, all I had was my cameraman, Tony Ballz,, two young children, and my wits to see this through.

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The Search Truth Quest guest Room, opps I mean Lab.

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Despite being unable to find Doug Stanhope, we managed to secure a roof over our heads, but only in exchange for preforming a dark task and…

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Castle Rock, Bisbee Arizona

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Did you hear that? Something scratching at the window. The lights are flicking. I might not have long to post this. So quickly, light some candles in case the power goes out and make sure your device is charged so you can watch us… Hunting the Bisbee Thunderbirds!

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You can see all our videos here and please like and subscribe if you can and maybe one day we’ll be a real boy and I might be able to get enough gas money to go back to Bisbee and pick Tony up.

Search Truth Quest Page

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Thanks for lending me your E-eye or is it ear?

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