I have a bone to pick with any author/director/game maker that ends a story/film/game with lameness that leaves the fan feeling cheated. I’m not talking about an ending that you disagree with or even one that you personally feel could have been better. Oh no. I mean the ending that totally irritates you. The ending that you absolutely know sucked. One that the author simply took the easy way out and mailed in the ending without trying to work it out. The kind of ending that makes you throw the book across the room or render the DVD into small plastic shards. But even worse is attending a first run flick with a sub-par ending. Leaving you with the desire to find the manager of the theater and demand your money. In short, a colossal boondoggle of a book/movie/game. In this installment of RJs Rants I will highlight a TV series, a movie and a game to install in my You Call That An Ending? Hall of Shame.
First up is the series finale of Lost. Some may say that this was not science fiction but the series had all the elements of the genre and then some. The fan base followed every episode of every season with great interest and fervor. The followers would blog comments back and forth about the meaning of each turn in the show. Every character in the series had their fans and detractors. Even the show creators followed the blogs and commented on many of the nuances of the series while trying not to give away what would come next. They promised not to cop to the “passengers all died and are now in Purgatory.” Holy bad ending Batman! That would be a dissapointment indeed. But the creators eschewed that path and even claimed that the end would be surprising and novel. This lead to a huge response in the fan base as the final shows ticked down to the end.
What was the end you ask? The entire series was a death dream of Shepards. It was a fever dream while the lead protagonist lay dying on the beach? How was that different from the “purgatory option”? How was that unique and surprising? Almost to a person the fan base continued to insist that the shows writers and deciders would never do anything as lame as “Purgatory!” To take a ground breaking TV series and end it with that finish is beyond understanding. Either the creators of Lost actually thought that their spawn was an original end or they were so creatively bankrupt that they lacked the necessary understanding of irony to end the show with a bang. Either way they suck. And so did that ending. I am sure that late at night in the privacy of their beds, they feel true shame.
Next up is the major award for taking great science fiction and treating it so badly that the author had to sue so that Hollywood would remove his name from it. I am speaking of Dune. The motion picture directed and so thoroughly screwed up by none other than David Lynch. I’m not sure if Lynch read or understood the story. I’m not even sure he cared one snippet for the author or the fan base that elevated the Dune Series into a classic. But almost unanimous loathing followed the release of the film. Most fans of Frank Herbert’s epic series gag when you mention this abomination. As a matter of fact as a reviewer I have to plagiarize a review done in a sitcom by quoting, “…not since the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 has a bomb of this magnitude been detonated above ground…” If the lame script, acting, troublesome editing and poor effects weren’t enough to cause real fans of cinema to step back in shock and dismay there was the ending. A rainstorm on Arrakis! Huh? A rainstorm on the desert planet? And this, after two hours of extremely questionable and inept storytelling? Depending in how fowl a mood I’m in, I can equate Dune as edging out Plan 9 From Outer Space as the worst scifi film ever made. But the ending in particular causes almost every Dune fan to walk away shacking their heads and wondering if the apocalypse is drawing neigh.
Ending this screed on vile endings we turn now to the SciFi gaming world. Fans of “first person shooters” or FPS games have long held the Half-Life franchise in true awe. When Half-Life 2 came out the gaming media hailed it as one of the ten best FPS games ever conceived. I was among that crowd. And since its release I have played this game from start to finish at least 20 times. When Valve, the creators of Half-Life 2, decided to release the next expansion of the story in three separate installments, few of the fan base complained. It was enough to have Gordon and Alex continue on. And let’s face it, if you’re a fan this story unfolded like being inside a movie. To me, that’s what made Half-Life 2 a nearly instant Best Game title holder. Even after Half-Life 2, Episode 2 ended, and what an ending it was, fans waited patiently for the release of Episode 3. And we waited, and waited, and waited and … You get the idea? Half-Life 2 Episode 2 was released in 2004. Nearly ten years ago! And still we wait for Episode 3. Not that its ever coming. Apparently Valve and its brain trust decided that this franchise is not valid any longer (along with that the fans). However, the fan base still waits for the release. I’m serious. If you surf the web you can easily find references to hoping that Episode 3 will be released. It’s kind of like the two old geezers in the play Waiting for Godot. The third episode will never come, but we wait, always hopeful that it will show up and we can see the ending. So instead of giving Valve the Hall of Shame award for a bad ending, we bestow upon them the “Oh Shit! We Forgot To End The Series” award for bad endings.
That’s enough vitriol for now. There are many examples out there that belong in my Hall of Shame and every now and then I’ll list some more stinkers in the science fiction genre. If you have any examples you wish to share, send them in and we’ll list them. Bye for now.
News and Such
We got an email from Camille Buckles asking to bow out of the third book cover. Camille created the iconic kark for our series as well as both novel covers and we are very grateful to her. Her design work is taking a bite out of her time and doesnt leave much for freelance work. We understand and wish her the best. Thanks Camille. Be sure to go to her web site, http://camilleb.com to view her work.
Taking over the next two books will be Devon Devereaux. Check out his stuff on http://devondevereaux.com and a couple of the ones here on the blog. I think you’ll like his work. His bio reads “Devon is the artist for The Little Bitch, written by David Quinn, published by sellers books… he has shown in galleries worldwide including Los Angeles and Osaka, Japan.” We look forward to the cover for Convergence and the up coming Trilogy.
Next blog Grick will return and we hope to have a couple of chapters from Book 3 available as a download from our web site. Until then.