Monday, December 26, 2011

Omitted Stories

My brother: Number one on your list is Star Wars, right?
Me: Well... it didn't cross my mind what I was writing the article.
My brother: What!?
[A minute of reading later...]
My brother: Oh, okay. A worthy replacement.


A week and a half ago I wrote an article called the Top Ten Stories of All Time. I highly recommend you read it.

Unfortunately, there were some key stories omitted from the list. Either due to my forgetfulness, or because they just barely didn't make it on. Here are three of the omissions, in no particular order.

0. Star Wars
I don't know whether to go with the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, both combined, or everything combined with the Expanded Universe. I believe that Star Wars is, by a long shot, the largest franchise ever made. The films have a pretty great story, but they barely begin to compare to the vastness of the Expanded Universe, which consists of hundreds of novels. I have read many, but in reality I've only read a drop in the bucket. How this failed to get onto the list, I do not know.

Some people call it a bunch of little kid's toys, but I call it one of the most-overlooked fantasy series of all time. Heck, I don't care about the toys. The story is just awesome. As a young kid, (I'm guessing when I was about 9-12) I absolutely loved the books. The BIONICLE Chronicles, BIONICLE Adventures, and BIONICLE Legends series used to be my favorite books of all time. It's true, they're written for young people, but they're still pretty dang awesome. I've been a fan of BIONICLE since the beginning in 2001, when I was five years old, and still forever I'll stand up against people who claim it's "just a bunch of kid's toys." My favorite books in any of the series are Voyage of FearTime Trap and Legacy of Evil.

0. The Patrick Bowers Files
The Patrick Bowers Files by Steven James are my all-time favorite crime novels. James himself is my favorite author. It was omitted from the list due to other amazing stories placing higher than it, but it really is a masterpiece. You can't help but love the main characters, and the story grips you and draws you in like few stories can. If you're into crime novels, definitely check these out. But please, please, read the books in order. My favorites in the series are the first one, The Pawn, along with the third one, The Knight.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reuben's Ramblings: Christmas Day/Eve

"Merry Christmas!"

Remarkable, isn't it? The amount of people posting on Facebook the day before Christmas to wish everyone a Happy Holidays? I get up in the morning to check my social networks and email and see, "Merry Christmas!" "Merry Christmas Eve!" "Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!" "Happy Holidays to all!" "Merry Christmas!" This leads me to ask a question.

Why is everyone saying "Merry Christmas" when tomorrow is Christmas Day?

Today is Christmas Eve; I'll give them that much. And for many who live in other countries, it really is Christmas today. Somebody gave me the argument that people want to spend time with their families on Christmas Day rather than spending time on Facebook, but I'm thinking they'll get on Facebook anyway. It doesn't take much to sign into Facebook, post a message and get off.

And what's also interesting is that tonight, I felt like wishing everybody a Merry Christmas as well. How quickly my viewpoint changed. This was just a random ramble anyway. One of far too many that will be coming in the days, weeks, months and possibly even years to come.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THE HOBBIT Movie Trailer

It's finally here! The initial trailer to the far-too-long-awaited film adaptation of the renowned father of all present-day fantasy, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien! As a huge fan of the legendarium, I absolutely can't wait. The trailer just looks spectacular. I have seen the films of the trilogy dozens of times and I've certainly read The Hobbit myself. Yes, this is going to be one amazing journey! My main complaint is still having to wait a year... and then another year after that for Part 2.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Featured Shtuff: The Force of Fiction

Howdy, world! I'm starting a new "Featured Shtuff" article series. This is where I give shout-outs and feature blogs and the like of friends of mine or other amazing people who deserve much more traffic than they have been receiving.

The Force of Fiction is a review blog run by my good friend Adam Bolander. He is the author of the self-published novel Legends of the Saloli: Approaching Storm. At present he is looking for a literary agent and publisher for the novel and series, as almost nobody knows of its existence at this point. I have read it myself, and it is definitely worth the read.

This is where Adam posts his reviews of select media he enjoys, such as books, movies, video games and the like. This is similar to my blog, but his is more strictly devoted to reviews. In addition, I find him to be much better at writing reviews than I am, and overall he's a great writer in general.

If you enjoy good fiction, definitely check out his website. He is a very talented man and a great friend.

Click here to check out The Force of Fiction

Friday, December 16, 2011

20 Random Facts About Me - #2

So you think you know a lot about me, do you? Probably not, but here are 20 more facts that you might or might not have known.

  1. I am a very, very slow reader.
  2. My favorite school subject is Geometry.
  3. Right now I have no income whatsoever.
  4. My dream is to become a full-time fiction writer.
  5. My favorite author is Steven James.
  6. I can't swim.
  7. A New York Times bestselling author is naming a character after me.
  8. The only words I can write in cursive are my first and last names.
  9. My favorite candy is either Runts or candy corn.
  10. I am not a psychopath. (No duh?)
  11. The first true work of quality fiction I have ever read is Showdown by Ted Dekker.
  12. I have a passion for 2D platformer video games, which are extremely underrated.
  13. I win two or three book giveaways every week on average.
  14. My favorite comedy TV series (the only one I actually like at all) is Hogan's Heroes.
  15. If I ever have I son I will not name him Guy. (It's a real name.)
  16. My favorite singer is Dennis Schunke of Van Canto.
  17. I used to be a total Star Wars geek. Now I'm only sort of.
  18. My favorite channel on YouTube is FreddieW.
  19. I have never seen The Lion King.
  20. I find people's reactions to the above fact so hilarious that I don't plan on seeing it anytime soon.

I'll talk to you all later!

Click here for 20 Random Facts About Me - #1

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Top Ten Stories of All Time

I was given the choice of being a part of a group of bloggers who would all on the same day—December 15, 2011—post an article on their blog about their top 10 favorite stories of all time. This would include books, movies, video games, and heck, even songs! Entire series could count as one story, as they technically are the same story. The only downside is that there are many book series and video games that I haven't read or played that apparently have amazing storiesbetter than most I have experienced. So say my brothers, and I believe them. They have been trying to get me to read The Sword of Truth or play Tales of Symphonia for several years now. So don't expect this to be the only Top Ten Stories list I ever write. There may be another in a few years once I can read through that many super-long books and play through that many super-long games. I've already started playing Alan Wake and Chrono Trigger, but unfortunately it would be a little against the rules to add them to the list without finishing them. So, without further ado, enjoy!

10. Metroid
As one of my favorite game series of all time, I find the story intriguing and, frankly, pretty awesome. Metroid: Other M ruined it for me a little, but with that omitted I've found the story is quite amazing. I highly recommend you play at least one of the games in the series.

9. The Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is one of few ancient classics that I truly appreciate. It's hard to get through, as are most classics, but the story itself is intriguing and actually quite ingenious. It is quite hard to write an enjoyable allegory, but Bunyan was able to do just that.

8. I, Robot
The novel, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, was a spectacular novel that I enjoyed very much, but this entry is of the movie adaptation. More often than not movie adaptations are horrible compared to their book counterparts. Many, I, Robot included, have very few similarities to their books. However, this is one of those almost-nonexistent number of movies that are just as good as their books, if not better. In this case, the movie's story far outweighs the book's, and it is one of my all-time favorite movies.

7. The Bourne Trilogy
I have not read the books, but the movies, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, make up one of the best film series I have ever seen. I have heard that the original books by Robert Ludlum are different but just as amazing. One reason I loved the movies as much as I did is because I believe antiheroes are often the best true heroes.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series has always been a favorite of mine. My favorite novel in the series is The Horse and His Boy, and I am very strong in the opinion that everyone should read the series in original publication order instead of chronological order.

5. Immanuel's Veins
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and Ted Dekker's Immanuel's Veins is a mixture between historical fiction and the amazing degree of fantasy he's known for. In addition to being a spectacular novel with a great story, it loosely ties into Dekker's fantasy mega-series, the Books of History Chronicles.

4. A Change of Seasons
The song, A Change of Seasons by Dream Theater, is the story of a man living through his life. It starts when he is young, moves through hardships and depression, hate and love, faith and mistrust, and ends with the man at the end of his life, much wiser, having learned from his mistakes. The reason this story is on this list is not that the story itself is amazing. It's the way the story is presented. Dream Theater paints a beautiful picture: you can see the colors, feel the emotions, sense the seasons passing by. It is impeccably well-done, and is one of my favorite songs of all time. When people complain that metal bands have bad lyrics quality, I just point to Dream Theater. The band is made up of some of the most talented musicians and songwriters ever to walk the face of the earth.

3. The 13th Tribe
This was coincidentally the latest book I finished. The 13th Tribe was an amazing story; it awed me and even made me tear up a few times. There are few words that can tell how much I loved this story. One reason it is so high on the list is because I just recently read it, so obviously I still love it a lot. Give it a few months and it'll definitely drop, though that will just be because time will have passed since I'd read it. Another reason is because it truly is an amazing story. I very highly recommend you read it when it releases in April.

2. The Lord of the Rings
The are absolutely no words to explain how much The Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium means to me. The languages, races, worlds... everything the story did... how it changed the world of literature, specifically fantasy... and even how it inspired my own writing. The Lord of the Rings is possibly the greatest epic ever written, and it is absolutely spectacular. There is almost nothing that comes anywhere close to The Lord of the Rings in my book, no pun intended (not referring to my actual book I'm writing). It is... it is... I can't even describe it. IT IS.

1. Mirror of Souls
Mirror of Souls is a song written and performed by Theocracy. It is my all-time favorite song, and at present my all-time favorite story. When people argue with me that the rock genre is better than the metal genre, I ask them, "Have you ever wept after listening to a 20-minute rock story song?" Let me tell you this now: do not go to a site such as YouTube or Grooveshark and look up Mirror of Souls. If you're going to listen to it, do it right. That would be in a dark room with your eyes closed and no distractions. That's how I first listened to it, and I cannot describe the experience I had. I said that for the past few entries on this list, but it's true. If a person cannot describe the amazing experience of a story, then it truly is a good story. Without doubt..

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo

The 13th Tribe, Immortal Files Series #1

You start out on your adventure with a feeling of... "What the heck?"

The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo is one of the most unique novels I have ever read. The beginning completely throws you off track and you have no idea what is going on. Slowly, as the book progresses, things become more and more clear, and the pieces come together. It's a very fun process.
It began when Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Tired of waiting on the One True God, the twelve tribes of Israel began worshipping a golden calf through pagan revelry. Many received immediate death for their idolatry, but 40 were handed a far worse punishment—endless life on earth with no chance to see the face of God. 
This group of immortals became the 13th Tribe, and they’ve been trying to earn their way into heaven ever since—by killing sinners. Though their logic is twisted, their brilliance is undeniable. Their wrath is unstoppable. And the technology they possess is beyond anything mere humans have ever seen. 
Jagger Baird knows nothing about the Tribe when he’s hired as head of security for an archaeological dig on Mt. Sinai. The former Army Ranger is still reeling from an accident that claimed the life of his best friend, his arm, and his faith in God. 
The Tribe is poised to execute their most ambitious attack ever and the lives of millions hang in the balance. When Jagger’s wife and son are caught in the crossfire, he’ll stop at nothing to save them. But how can one man stand against an entire tribe of immortals?
The story of The 13th Tribe centers around a group of people who call themselves just that: the 13th Tribe. It turns out that they were formed around 3,500 years ago around the time of the Book of Exodus. They were cursed with immortality, forever destined to stay the age they were when their band was formed, whether infant or old weakling. Originally numbering forty, only eight members have stayed true through present day to carry on what they believe to be their mission: to eliminate those who would bring harm to the innocent. Or, in short, sinners.

As a mixture between historical fiction, science fiction and modern-day thriller, The 13th Tribe kept my attention until the end, though all of the mishaps, plot twists and stunning showdowns. Few writers can write hand-to-hand combat as does Robert Liparulo, and few can make their characters become so... alive. Through the entirety of the story you will grow to sympathize and love or hate each and every character, and in the end the main protagonist, Jagger Baird, became one of my all-time favorite fictional characters.

The book surprisingly had the occasional feel of a self-published novel, but that was for the mere reason that I read a pre-edited copy—the author's first draft, if you will. The novel releases to stores in April 2012, and I definitely recommend picking it up.

In conclusion, The 13th Tribe is a spectacular adventure of a sort I have never seen before. It contains plot twists and surprises that you really don't see coming, and when they're led up to you can almost feel your eyes growing bigger. It is full of action, drama, adventure, and just plain awesomeness. For sure, it was one of the best novels I have read this entire year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cake Blogs

A cool feature with Blogspot blogs is that you can look up how readers found you or your blog posts: the exact URLs, the sites at which said URLs are location, or even words that people searched on Google on found you.

What I found particularly interesting was the fact that according to my records, since I started my blog in October 2010, six people found links to my blog by typing "cake blogs" into Google. I'm not lying; here's a screenshot:

What I found even more interesting was the fact that all six of those were in the past month, three of which in the past week. Eager to see what blog post people found by searching for dessert on Google, I searched "cake blogs" myself. Unfortunately, I found nothing. At the end of page 78, it stated:

In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 780 already displayed.If you like, you can repeat the search with omitted results included.

Well, of course I clicked that button and started again with the omitted results. Aaaaaaand... they were the same. 100 pages, and no Reuben Horst's Blog. I was disappointed, but then came up with an idea.

Send this blog post to as many people as you can. I'm not doing this to get popularity, I'm doing to so I can get more hits by people who search for "cake blogs" on Google! If you can get as many people as you can to view this blog page, eventually it'll get onto Google for every person who searches for cake blogs! Come on, let's make this happen!