BEIJING — Apple, Gucci, Tesla. Many Chinese shoppers love their top-shelf brands.
But another big slice of the population goes gaga for a 40-cent pair of earrings, a $1.50 wireless smartphone charger and 50 rolls of toilet paper for $4.75.
These are the shoppers on Pinduoduo, a Chinese app that drew close to 350 million customers in the past year, more than the entire population of the United States. Its parent company is expected to list shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday, just three years into its existence.
The lightning-fast ascent of Pinduoduo (pronounced a bit like “PING-daw-daw”) suggests that China is not done producing high-flying internet upstarts, despite the vast reach of incumbents such as Alibaba. It also illustrates the clout of an underserved category of Chinese consumers.
They live outside the country’s prosperous megacities, in the cities, towns and hamlets that over a billion Chinese call home. They skew older, less internet savvy. And they absolutely cannot resist a bargain, even if the stuff they’re buying isn’t exactly top of the line.
In the southern city of Foshan, Li Tianqiang and his wife sell rice noodles and other breakfast food out of a three-wheeled truck to hungry factory workers. Over the past two years, Mr. Li, 45, has bought nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise on Pinduoduo — the equivalent of around two months’ income for him. Among his purchases: an inflatable paddle boat, a fishing bag and a cherry-red motorized car for his young daughter to drive around.
Mr. Li knows he is a little addicted. And regretted purchases? He has a few.
Some were made out of curiosity. In other cases, the items were of such lousy quality that he threw them out after they arrived. The toys he has bought for his daughter — including dolls, a violin and a keyboard — have been particularly bad, he said.
It is all so inexpensive, though, that he said he didn’t mind the occasional misfire.
“It’s nothing, really,” he said of his spending on the app.
For many years, China was a byword for shoddy goods produced at mass scale. But that is changing. Wages are rising, forcing manufacturers to compete on quality. Communist Party leaders want to nurture brands known globally for their innovations. Gadget makers such as Xiaomi and Huawei are investing heavily in design, chasing cool and cachet.
To shop on Pinduoduo, however, is to be reminded that many Chinese consumers still check prices first, and that low-end suppliers remain a big part of the country’s economy. The Pinduoduo app’s main page is a bottomless cascade of groceries, fast fashion, household sundries and electronic bric-a-brac — all carrying wildly improbable price tags.
A pair of stretchy, “Playboy”-brand men’s pants: less than $3. Eleven pounds of rice: $4. A four-pack of boxer briefs printed with an image of a wolf’s head: $2. A purple water kettle with “LOL” written along the bottom: $3. A pink, around-the-neck smartphone stand that lets you lie down and watch videos at the same time: $1. A vibrating electric belt that goes around the midsection and supposedly helps shed fat: $6.
Shipping is always free.
Pinduoduo wants shoppers to involve their online friends in the process. Group orders receive discounts. New users who persuade others to sign up are rewarded with one of a selection of free purchases. Tiny pop-ups within the app provide relentless, real-time updates on what others are buying, creating a sense of urgency. Everyone is getting great deals and you are not.
Between the deliriously strange product selection, the next-to-nothing prices, the barrage of coupons and deals, and the ease with which purchases are made, the experience feels less like shopping and more like playing a shopping video game. In regulatory filings, the company calls the app “a combination of Costco and Disneyland.”
Pinduoduo started operations only in 2015. The app is a platform for merchants to sell products: Sellers pay for their wares to be promoted on the app, and pay a fee for each sale. The company, which is based in Shanghai, has grown swiftly enough to attract powerful backers including the venture firm Sequoia Capital and the Chinese internet giant Tencent. It expects to raise $1.4 billion in this week’s share offering. That would give the company a valuation of more than $20 billion.
Because it offers so much cheap stuff, however, Pinduoduo is still way behind its rivals in the total value of goods sold. The company, which is unprofitable, said that its average shopper spent less than $90 on the platform last year. That translates into revenue per shopper of a dollar and change.
“This is the lowest quality of traffic you can get,” said Steven Zhu, an analyst in Shanghai with the research firm Pacific Epoch. And if older people are driving Pinduoduo’s popularity, Mr. Zhu added, then its prospects for long-term growth are grim by default.
The platform has also been accused of being awash with knockoff products. Last week, the company was sued for trademark infringement in the United States.
Pinduoduo declined to comment. But in its filings with stock regulators, the company said it immediately removed counterfeits from the app. And this year, the company’s founder, a former Google engineer named Colin Huang, described his philosophy on price versus quality to the Chinese business magazine Caijing.
His own mother complained to him when two of the nine mangoes she had bought for $1.50 on the app turned up rotten, Mr. Huang told Caijing. Still, he said, she continued to use Pinduoduo. “If you can buy seven good mangoes for $1.50, you’re not losing out,” he said.
For the most part, Kang Xia agrees. Ms. Kang, a 52-year-old retiree in the southwestern city of Chengdu, has used Pinduoduo to buy shoes, clothes, gadgets — “quite a lot,” she said, although the quality isn’t always great.
This spring, she got stung by two bad purchases. First, there was a $5 wardrobe with colorful fabric panels and a “real wood” frame. One touch was all she needed to realize the thing was no good. Then she bought a chiffon skirt with a floral pattern — less than $6, including a yellow T-shirt to wear with it — that arrived with a jagged tear down the side.
Ms. Kang said she is now less likely to buy things on Pinduoduo solely because they are cheap. But she still looks at the app every day.
For the established big shots of Chinese e-commerce, it is unwelcome news that many shoppers will buy very nearly anything if the price is right.
To retain customers and avoid regulators’ ire, Alibaba, which served more than 500 million buyers last year, has fought sales of fakes on its Taobao marketplace. The retailer JD.com, which had around 300 million buyers, has courted upmarket brands and cultivated a reputation for reliability.
“From time to time, there are new players, but the question is whether they can sustain themselves,” Alibaba’s chief executive, Daniel Zhang, said at a recent event in San Francisco. “We are also climbing.”
Terry Yao lives in Dandong, a small city in China’s northeast. After looking at some sneakers on Pinduoduo — pairs that should retail for more than $100 were going for a tiny fraction of that, he said — he made up his mind about the authenticity of the platform’s products.
“China has developed so much,” said Mr. Yao, 28. “But if residents of these third- and fourth-tier cities can only use things like Pinduoduo, it feels to some degree like a big failure. We’ve gone backward.”
But Pinduoduo does not have to be stuck in the bargain bin forever, said Tian X. Hou, founder of T. H. Data Capital, a research firm in Beijing. Now that it has used low prices to attract so many users, it can do as Alibaba did and go premium.
“Once you have this trust, you can grow out of the current business and create a new business,” Ms. Hou said.
That might turn off the most fervent deal hunters. But it could raise Pinduoduo’s profile among other consumers.
Zhang Huajin, 34, a manager at a tech company in Guangzhou, bought an iPhone 7 Plus on Pinduoduo this month. Or he thought he did. What arrived was a smartphone, but it was not made by Apple.
Mr. Zhang got his money back, though. And if Pinduoduo improves quality control and helps big brands sell directly on the app, he will probably buy from there again, he said.
Taobao managed the transition, he said, and shoppers’ expectations shifted accordingly. On Taobao, Mr. Zhang said, “everybody already knows what kinds of product should be sold at what price.”
Zhang Tiantian and Claire Fu contributed research.
Follow Raymond Zhong on Twitter: @zhonggg.
How did Annie Gaybis get famous?
In Hollywood circles, Annie Gaybis is what’s known as a triple threat. Known for her work in American film, stage and television productions, she has worked with everyone from Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton to acclaimed directors Orson Welles and David Lynch. She’s had a storied career full of fantastic roles, sold out shows, and the kind of insider stories most people “in the biz” only ever dream of.
But it wasn’t always like that. Like anybody else in show business, Annie had to put in the work before she could appear in productions like Waterworld, or work a stage with the likes of Little Richard or Frank Sinatra Jr. When there was work to be put in, Gaybis was right there, ready to give it her all. Join us, today, as we take a short look at a genuine legend in Hollywood stage, film, and television acting, Annie Gaybis.
Annie Gaybis came into the world to Myer and Laura Helen Gaybis. Born in Maryland, her father told her from a young age he dreamed of her growing up to become an oceanographer. Her mother would sadly pass away when she was still young, leaving her to be raised by her father, grandfather, and a friend of the family.
From an early age, Annie was already getting started in the exciting world of acting. She would receive her Actors Equity Card as a young child, for her roles in childrens and teenage theater with the Center Stage repertory company. Her dance studies began at the age of six, with her first role in ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ at the age of eight. Moving from intensive dance classes with Goldie Hawn’s trainer to dance and singing work in New York, the list of mentors present in Annie’s early years would set her up for greatness, later on.
In 1973, Annie kicked off her film career in the way of all great actresses, with a series of smaller parts on her way to more leading roles. Whether playing girl #1 or a Central Park Hitgirl, she would soon be on her way to four roles in the space of 1976. She would go on to perform alongside the likes of Martha Reeves, Professor Irwin Corey, Rory Calhoun, John Saxon, Dudley Moore, Harry Morgan, and Apollonia.
In 1982, she took on a role in Friday the 13th Part III as well as The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, alongside Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. 1983 saw her working with Orson Welles on his reissue of Necromancy, entitled, The Witching. Working throughout the 80s, she would eventually go on to play roles in 1995’s Showgirls and Waterworld, and still worked in film and television to this day.
Her acting work doesn’t stop on the silver screen, however. Gaybis has worked extensively with local syndicated television stations across Los Angeles and NYC for several high profile events. She also had a guest appearance on syndicated Baywatch, circa 1992 and a role on Bakersfield PD from 1993 to 1994.
Her stage work took her from her early years of her career as a Playboy Bunny working in Boston, through an exhaustive cabaret career, throughout the mid ‘70s, opening for Milton Berle and Pat Henry, as well as future collaborator, Skip E.Lowe. During this time, she would travel the world, taking her show from the United States and the Playboy Circuit to men’s clubs across England. She was actually awarded a Certificate Of Esteem from The United States Government for her work with the USO show during this time.
She has also taken to the stage in several high profile acting roles over the course of her career, and has worked with notable directors and stage names. Some of her most recent work has included roles from such acclaimed writers as Noel Coward.
Annie Gaybis: In Conclusion
If you measure success in Hollywood by who’s seen and done it all, Annie Gaybis is a name you can’t put aside. Whether it’s her acting chops, ability to command a room from onstage, or the plethora of high profile names she has worked with, we’re glad she’s still going strong in show business, and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.
Rockstar Reconciles: Read Dead Online Economy Fixed?
Read Dead Redemption has been online for over a week now with lots of great reviews. Though one situation lays at the heart of the Red Dead Community’s biggest problem with the game. That is the Red Dead Online Economy Problem. Before Yesterday, The games economy had been suffering due to the lack of reward for completing missions, and the high cost of weapons clothing, and upgrades. And since Red Dead Online Beta Launched, the community has given its fair opinion on selling a $30 real life gun for $1000 in game.
All this commotion over the economy has prompted many to find alternate ways of making the most money. Check out this article HERE to find out about how you can make the most out of the time you spend in Red Dead Online.
But Rockstar has been listening to its player-base. Many of the prices for weapons have gone down in cost by almost half of their original prices. Not only that, but the insurance cost for horses is no longer in gold, but in regular dollars. Although the price is still somewhat high, it beats the gold standard by far.
Gold payment in missions has also gone up. players recieved .02 gold nuggets per showdown series and none per stranger mission. the only other way to obtain a good amount of gold was by ranking up and recieving periodic treasure maps holding good amounts of gold bars and cash.
The Red Dead Online Economy Problem has temporarily been solved though. There is no telling what the economy will be like and how balanced it will be when the gold store comes out.
Rockstar has supplemented this patch by giving “Reconciliation Payments” in which players are given a sum of money, around $200 and around 15 gold bars which cover many expenses in the game.
With the money I received I was able to buy two new guns and some customization for them as well.
The Direction Rockstar is going seems to be completely opposite of other game developers. In an age where money is becoming the center of what developers want, it looks like Rockstar has made a turn for the better, prizing player experience overall.
Check out this new method of getting the most money in Red Dead Online
5 Things to Know Before Finishing an 80 Lower Receiver
Despite the name “80%” lower, there are actually quite a few parts you need to complete an AR 15.
An AR 15 build kit is one of the best ways to ensure you have all the parts necessary. An AR 15 is divided into several parts categories, and you’ll need them all. You’ll need an 80 lower receiver, an upper receiver, a lower parts kit, a buffer assembly, a stock, and if you want to shoot your gun accurately and effectively you’ll need a set of sights, and at least one magazine.
2. Do You Have the Right Tools?
In order to complete an 80 lower, you probably know you’ll need a milling tool of some kind. You’ll also need the proper tooling to mill aluminum – any old bit or end mill won’t do. Cutting fluid is also an absolute lifesaver when you start milling, as is a depth collar.
That’s just for milling the receiver. An armorer’s wrench to attach the buffer tube is very nice to have. Roll pin punches are also a delight to have when building the lower receiver. An AR 15 pivot and roll pin installation tool is also quite handy.
3. Forged or Billet?
80 lower receivers come in a variety of flavors, most of which can be dialed down to forged or billet. These is, of course, how the receiver is made and will have some effect on your weapon. Operationally, there is almost zero net effect.
Forged lowers tend to be both lighter and more durable. However, the durability rating is a mere technicality, as neither will break with normal use. If you started taking a sledgehammer to them, the forged would bend a little less.
Billet lowers tend to have a very clean and unique appearance. The lines straighter, tighter, and cleaner. They are heavier, but do look better overall.
4. How Many Rifles are You Going to Build?
Building rifles from 80 lowers is kind of like eating potato chips. You can’t just have one. If this is your first build, it’s understandable to be cautious. However, most people keep building and keep buying. Buying in bulk is possible, and is a good way to save some cash. If you are thinking about building multiple rifles or even pistols, buying a “3 pack” is typically the best way to go to save money as a beginner.
5. Do You Know the Completion Phases?
When building the kinds of AR 15 kits available from Thunder Tactical for example, you typically do it in phases. It is important, as you build, for you to complete each phase in one sitting. The weapon can be completed at different times, but the individual phases should be completed in one sitting.
Phase 1 is milling the 80 lower. This is best done in one sitting because once you get your groove going with milling it’s much simpler and easier to continue. Plus, trying to guess where you stopped can be a pain. For a beginner, it takes about two to three careful hours to finish an 80 lower.
Phase 2 is installing the lower parts kit and buffer assembly into the 80 lower. This step is essentially assembling parts where they should be. However, the first time you do it can be tricky. Expect this portion to last an hour or two with proper tools.
Phase 3 is assembling the upper receiver. Most of the time upper receivers are assembled, but if you choose you can assemble your own. This is not extremely difficult, but can be a challenge. Allot at least an hour, but first timers can take up to two hours depending on rail system, gas block, and other small details.
Thunder Tactical: Better Gun Parts for Better Builds
Going into an 80 lower build is a lot easier if you know what to expect, and what you’ll need to finish the build. A little knowledge goes a long away once the tools are out. For high-quality 80 lowers and AR15 kits that also won’t break the bank, visit Thunder Tactical today, and get building!
Bay City Monsters Movie Deal
This weekend, a book movie deal announcement set everybody at Web Stark Media on edge with excitement: Bay City Monsters, the hit horror comedy novel from Duncan Reyneke is being made into a movie.
The indie novel sleeper hit from the South African author made waves earlier this year when it hit shelves with its combination of cringe violence, bizarre sex, and pop science fiction. And now, according to representatives from the author’s camp, the book has officially been picked up by an Atlanta film studio for a film adaptation in 2019.
Needless to say, as fans, we’re excited. In today’s list, we break down the three parts of this unique novel we’re most looking forward to.
Ready to get weird? Good – let’s go!
Large parts of Bay City Monsters are centered around our heroes, Paul and Cheri, trying to outrun a giant zombie by the name of Orson. Though nobody’s quite sure who he is or why he’s so very angry, he’s at the center of a lot of the crazy stuff going on in this novel. And, whenever he’s not on screen, he’s closely tied to a series of grisly murders taking place in Port Elizabeth.
What we’re trying to say is: this is a classic horror fiction movie bad guy, made huge, and we couldn’t be any more stoked to see him come to life in this movie.
Expect terrifying chase scenes, emergency fire axes, and lots of fire (does anybody remember that punch scene? OMG OMG OMG). Moreover, from what we’re being told, we’re looking forward to a dripping, screaming zombie about the size of the Hulk, and that’s something we can get behind.
Those Sex Scenes
Now, as Reyneke himself puts it, a big part of this novel is some of the truly “weird sex” he splashes around like a drink thrusting his glass of vodka around at a party. And, if you haven’t read the book yet and are worried about some “50 Shades of Grey” style misleads, trust is: Bay City Monsters goes all out.
Looking for a hero who lets women pee on him? Jonesing for a scene where two old people with their hearing aids out bang each other gimp style while a hotel worker desperately tries to get their attention? A science fiction book to read with a dash of anal beads? From pegging to public oral sex, all your old friends are here and ready to play in some wonderfully colorful ways.
Reyneke’s preoccupation with taboo sex is responsible for some of the more shocking and amazing parts of this novel. Our only real concern, since the news last week that his book will be getting a movie adaptation, is whether or not the studio will actually have the balls to follow through on any of these scenes. We’re hoping yes, as this is the kind of “out there” approach that made us fall in love with this book in the first place.
Black Magic Everything
The last part of the (un)holy trinity that makes Bay City Monsters one of the best books of 2018 is the brash, colorful splashings of occult crap that litter its pages. In spite of his love of science fiction books, Duncan Reyneke loves a scary story or two, it’s quite clear.
For those waiting to see it on the big screen, you can look forward to Pet Sematary-style questions of death and undeath, earnest scenes between our heroes and real-life Gods, wizards, monsters, and folklore with a pitch-black heart. This is really what gives BCM so much of its forward momentum, with scenery dripping with spooky black magic.
This may also be one of the more difficult parts of the book to translate to the big screen. BCM features scenes heavy on special effects, from blasts of destructive power to giant, hairy, horned, screeching monsters. It says something about your story when a giant black hole slowly eating a hotel is one of the tamer special effects at play in any given scene.
That said, I mean, the book’s been picked up, right? I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what they do with this crazy science fiction horror gift of a book.
Get in on the action, before Bay City Monsters becomes the next big Hollywood thing based on a book you haven’t read yet. Check out Duncan Reyneke’s hit novel on Amazon Kindle and hardcopy, and brace for an out-of-this-world adventure.
Spider-Man Ps4 not in MCU and that’s Great!
Don’t get me wrong, the MCU is probably the greatest thing that ever happened to the film industry, but for Spider-Man Ps4 its not so good. heres why:
Less Focused on Spider-Man
In a Spidey game, players want the full experience of what it feels like and means to be Spider-Man. in the last Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, it was a Spider-Man centered story, but every fifteen seconds there was a nod to one of the other avengers, like a constant reminder that it is not only spider-man in the universe.
However, in Spider-Man Ps4, the world is a marvel world, and all of those characters exist, but not in the magnitude that they do in the MCU, leaving the stage complete for our friendly neighborhood web-head.
Spider-Man Ps4 is Not Movie Licensed
Being made into a movie licensed game is one of the worst start offs for a game. There was only about one good movie Licensed Spider-Man game and that was definitely Spider-Man 2 for the Ps2.
Since Spider-Man Ps4 is not a movie licensed game, it can focus more time on a story that is unique and not an extension of a movie but an extension of the fans who make it and want to play it. Movie licensed games often fail to capture the essence of what makes a game fun and immersive in order to focus on how much money they can make. and it is a good thing that Spider-Man Ps4 is not on that train.
The MCU is great.
Spider-Man Ps4 is great because it is not tied to the MCU but still acknowledges marvel characters and lore.
It is not held down by a movie license which gives it the ability to thrive as a true videogame.
Curious to see how good Spider-Man Ps4 looks? Search no further!
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gameplay: map size and an inside look on what to expect
With a setting as big as Ancient Greece, Ubisoft has a huge responsibility in making Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gameplay meet its status with such a vast era and location. Let’s take a look at how this is done!
In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey we are taken to the height of Greek culture as we get to experience a vast open world in Ancient Greece. With a map size over half the size of its predecessor, Assassin’s Creed Origin’s, There will surely be no shortage of fun and mystery to be a part of.
The map will contain seven different regions :
With a map as diverse as this, the gameplay in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey has a lot to live up to in terms of diversity. And thankfully diversity and the ability to be a Demi-God seem to be the names of the game. Even as you trail along the open seas, upgrades to your character and your ship are all meant to fit a play-style that YOU choose.
Check out the Latest in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Gameplay:
The new Assassin’s Creed Odyssey gameplay looks like its going to be addicting!
The Elements of All Good Science Fiction Books
Human beings are strange. We love things, and when we love them, we try to perfect them until they’re just right. We’ll go to incredible lengths to find the most metal heavy metal band possible, until all we hear is distortion and squealing. We’ll walk to the end of the earth to find the perfect Cubano, when, really, you probably only need to go as far as Key West.
In the quest for the perfect science fiction books, mankind has gone from futuristic dystopian earths to the very depths of space.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at what it takes to make one of these mythical beasts. Spoiler warning: it takes less than you might think.
Science Fiction Books: Where Is The Line?
In any scientific test, it’s important to get your base measurements right. For the sake of this article, we’ll start by pointing out the most sciency science fiction fan who ever fanned himself over some science fiction. We refer, of course, to the very dear Mr Neil deGrasse Tyson – famed Pluto killer and science fiction home player. Tyson has taken issue with many modern movies, and actually come under fire in recent years for being “a bit of a spoilsport” in his reviews of various science fiction flicks. Whether it’s in pointing out that BB8 wouldn’t have been able to roll properly on Ray’s home planet of Jaku (which was later disproved) or the matched-rotation docking scene from Interstellar being too fast, he can be a little hypercritical over some of our favourite movies?
But what is it that turns us off about this kind of commentary when it comes to science fiction books and movies? I mean, all things aside, he’s right, isn’t he?
The Ugly Secret: Storytelling Is Always More Important
Whether we like it or not, a lot of this comes down to how malleable we as an audience are when it comes to good movies. Storytelling is an art that’s designed to bait human brains along, no matter how smart or analytical the people who own them might be. They do this by telling us stories that take certain paths that are, themselves, as old as we are. Joseph Campbell’s idea of the monomyth says that we look for specific signposts in every story we hear. A hero. A challenge. The realization that what they wanted might not be what they needed. We see it in every story, from evil AI units in deep space to adorable little robots on trash planets.
This applies to any genre, and the basic idea is always the same, even if certain signposts aren’t always as important as others. We as humans like a good story, and if it obeys its own internal logic while telling a compelling story with deft plot points.
And that’s not to say that’s all any of us want. Just that, for those more focused on the science in science fiction books, there may always be more to find just over the next horizon.
Science Fiction Books: Still Literature At Heart
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with being a fan of something in the “fanatical” sense of the word. This kind of love for anything from black comedies to science fiction is what keeps literature going from year to year. It’s the “real” fans that bring our favorite books back.
But does every genre need to be completely “pure” to be worthwhile?
I think you already know the answer.
And, speaking of black comedies and science fiction…
Duncan Reyneke is the author of Bay City Monsters, a chaotic comedy about love, sex, portals to hell, and accidental amputation. As far as science fiction books go, it probably isn’t one in the traditional sense of the word, but it is damn good storytelling. Be sure to check it out!
Our Top Five Science Fiction Shows (For A Break From Reading)
Of course, as much as we all love a good Sunday afternoon curled up on the couch with a stack of science fiction books, sometimes your eyes get tired. Or you just feel like staring at something that moves for a few minutes to an hour.
Whatever the case, we’ve assembled our list of the five best science fiction books to take your mind off the science fiction books you should be reading.
A bold anthology series with every episode presenting a self-contained story, it’s hard to argue with the brilliance of this British sci-fi TV juggernaut.
If dystopian worlds full of robot dog hunters, clones with artificial memories, augmented reality, and VR landscapes are your flavor (among others), we recommend it. We recommend it so very hard.
An unexpected dark horse in the sci-fi TV race, Westworld took television audiences by storm a few years back, the high-concept adventure and dense story-telling of this season-long (so far) show speak leagues about its future. With unraveling mysteries left, right and center, and the second season already underway we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the citizens of our favorite VR frontier city, this year.
Rick And Morty
It’s safe to say few TV shows right now have as much sway over their fans as Rick and Morty, science fiction be damned. With its irreverent potty humor, lava floor of pop references, and horde of pseudoscience plot points, Rick and Morty is basically printing money for its creators, Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. Clearly a great indicator of the public’s thirst for good sci-fi with, yes, a dash of poop jokes thrown in for good measure.
A classic, this sprawling science fiction show has run the sci-fi gamut from deeply introspective and engaging to ridiculously shallow in recent years. Whatever your feelings, though, having just recently come back for an entire new season, the X-Files is clearly going nowhere soon. When you consider the mark it left on pop culture alone (once again, apart from sci-fi), it’s not hard to see why
Possibly one of the greatest exports from the UK in modern history, Dr Who is a convoluted, crisscrossing time travel science fiction masterpiece that makes no apologies for being ridiculous. It also does not try to shy away from time travel, opening itself up to plot holes it manages to handle with surprising ease over its multiple-decade run. Oh, and bowties are definitely cool. Definitely a favorite of ours.
Science fiction really is the genre that keeps on giving. For more on one of the hottest science fiction horror novels on the market this summer, Bay City Monsters by Duncan Reyneke, be sure to check out this link.
A Horror Fiction Novel, By Way Of Sci Fi, Comedy, And Erotica
Bay City Monsters is a horror fiction novel
That’s simplifying things a bit – the truth is it’s a bunch of things. Like your best friend from high school who played football but also liked to wear fishnets and listen to in a hotel room on the weekends. You know, Dave,
Speaking of kinky shit, the book’s got a lot of that, as well.
But the horror fiction stuff, that’s what really sticks. Body mutilation, demons, hell portals and ritual murders abound in the sleepy town of Port Elizabeth, and every step further into blood-soaked depravity takes our hero further into the depths of
Wait, it’s funny, too?
Huh – so maybe genres have become less rigid since the Clive Barkers and the Stephen Kings of yore. Used to be a time you couldn’t mix your horror with too many laughs, lest you be called a soft Edgar Allen Poe ass poser by all the cool horror writers. Same goes with too much sex or even a little sci fi.
Wait, Reyneke put sci fi elements into this thing, too?
Alright, maybe we should take a closer look at what genre is, and what we could possibly expect from this weird ass book.
A Horror Fiction Novel, By Way Of Sci Fi, Comedy, And Erotica
First off, this novel is straight up horror fiction. Undead killers stalk the unlucky city of Port Elizabeth, murdering prom queens, strangling unsuspecting jocks, and leaving a bloody path of destruction in their wake. There’s dismemberment, monsters, Hell, and apocalypses aplenty in Paul Goddard’s beloved PE, and that’s just for starters.
But it’s also unexpectedly funny for a book about a series of gory murders. The characters are delightfully human and more than a little poorly behaved. The stories they share and the binds they land so pathetically in are some of the most disarmingly hilarious we’ve read in a long time.
But Wait: There’s More
Of course, where there are good stories to be had, someone’s having weird sex. And Bay City Monsters, for a book that’s horror fiction at its core, has a lot of odd sex. From bondage to scat fetishes and way (way) beyond, this book’s going to make a few of you blush, and some of you others very happy indeed.
Add a healthy dose of science fiction tropes, wormholes, and mystical, Buffy the Vampire Slayer-style magical mcguffins, and it’s not hard to see why Bay City Monsters is one of our most eagerly awaited releases of 2018. Make sure to get yours, today!
How To Choose A Fiction Book To Read in 2018: An Author’s Guide
Are you looking for a fiction book to read, but it’s been so long since your last good book that you don’t know what you feel like reading? Maybe you never knew, to begin with. A surprising number of grown Americans are admitting to having never read a book from beginning to end (at least for fun).
And it makes sense if you think about it. There’s a misconception about reading books that it’s this chore some extremely academic people choose to do for self-abusive fun. That if you don’t “get it” you’ll never get it.
It makes sense, but it’s not true.
Join us today, as we bring you three great tips for choosing a fiction book to read in 2018. Because it’s a process, and if you just go through it, you’ll unlock an entire world of great entertainment you can call on during down seasons of Game of Thrones.
1. Look For Things You Enjoy
People tend to mysticize the act of reading a book. They think about going into a library and picking something off a shelf as something that “hardcore” readers do. Something limited, where they could choose one of maybe ten boring old dusty genres.
Fantasy books about old-fashioned heroes fighting predictable villains.
Historical fiction about Anne Boleyn or Winston Churchill.
Depressing autobiographies about eighty-year-old Holocaust survivors.
These books, though they are certainly popular with many readers, can seem like a chore to someone looking for a book who isn’t a history buff or a Dungeons and Dragons fan. But the dirty little secret is, there are some wild books out there. Some incredibly modern, super specific books with stories in them about as far away from a snoozefest epic about sea monsters as you can get.
Looking for Pride and Prejudice, but with zombies in it? Want a story about a dirty cop and his talking intestinal parasite? How about something with a giant monster, some old people banging, and about a dozen fart jokes?
Every one of those books exists, and about a million variations in between them. Crazy stories that would make your English teacher furious and the dirtiest kid from your high school blush.
The trick is to look for them. Ask around, read reviews, and go into it with a clear head. A story out there exists that will knock your socks off with how much it speaks to you, even if what you like is out of the ordinary and non-traditional. It’s up to you to get out there and find it.
2. Explore Your Reading Tastes
As with any other skill, the more you do it the more chances you’ll get to discover better, more interesting ways to do it. If you start reading science fiction because you know you like that genre, what you might learn is that you like futurism. Or aliens. Or conspiracy narratives.
Alternatively, a little bit of each one.
You might also learn you actually prefer straight up monster fiction and sci fi isn’t as fun as you thought it was. The more you read, and the more open you stay to new experiences, the more opportunities you’ll find for new experiences. One novel in your favorite genre may feature elements from something you’ve never read before.
The best advice, here, really is to just keep reading as often as possible.
3. Get A Professional Opinion
What you did by coming to this article is a great first step in figuring out what kind of books you should be reading. And it can be a lot of fun (if this wasn’t).
Check out some of the leading websites out there for readers, and see what’s topping the list of best sellers, hot reads, wild lit rides or whatever else qualifies for top-of-the-pops status right now. It sounds cynical, but if it works for 12 million other millennial working class non-English grads normal people, the chances are you’ll at least like it somewhat.
People like to imagine they’re unique, but once you embrace the fact that you can be who you are without having to shrug off every popular book on the market right now, you can find some truly great reads.
Try some of the following on for size:
Ultimately, reading really does come down to your own personal tastes. But that doesn’t mean you have to hang out drifting in a sea of options, figuring out everything for yourself. Like picking a favorite band or the best movie of the summer, there are simple factors that influence what you like. Relatability. Complexity. How much fun it is, honestly.
Choosing A Fiction Book To Read: Now You Know
Hopefully, today’s article has given you what you need to come to one important realization: reading’s fun. Not just for readers, but for anybody looking to do something new or interesting. It’s a party literally everyone is invited to, and there are snacks laid out for everyone. You just need to know what you’re in the mood for. Hopefully today we’ve given you the tools you need to choose a fiction book to read.
Duncan Reyneke is the author of Bay City Monsters and Nails in the Sky, a pair of crazy adventure books full of sex, monsters, fistfights, magic and weirdness. If you’re in the market for something way out of the ordinary to read, you can order yours today!
For more on finding fiction books 2018, check out this other fantastic new article!