Update: Demonworld 6 and Heavy Metal Thunder App

Dear readers, I know it seems like the world has grown dark and all Kyle B. Stiffs have been lost. In an endless labyrinth of enslavement, the tale of Wodan has become only scattered fragments, a faded poster on a broken down bus, a chipped action figure clutched by a skeletal hand on the edge of a battlefield… you get the idea. Oh, the frustration that Demonworld Six is not yet available to the public!!!

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Well, here’s one piece of good news. My gamebook, Heavy Metal Thunder, is being turned into an app complete with music and illustrations by Cubus Games. I’ve been hard at work beating this thing into shape and making it worthy of the attention of the human species. We’re hoping for a release date at the end of June for all iProducts.

As for Demonworld Book Six: The Love of Tyrants, progress is being made, I assure you! I have to interact with the outside world more than I used to, but I’m researching ways for introverts to sustain and preserve their energetic life-force so that after an introvert clocks out he can truly unleash his New Age juices onto worthwhile projects. Demonworld Six is a beast, a monster, what people in the industry call “a large book”. It’s taking all I’ve got to keep things on track (note: things haven’t been kept on track very well), but I’m hoping it will be available by the end of the year.

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In the meantime, if you’re already a fan of Demonworld, then tell someone else about it. There’s no need for people to be reading a bunch of ridiculous nonsense written by jokers who don’t really care about their fans and, let’s face it, have probably written less than fifteen books before they started picking up massive checks and going on long vacations. And if you haven’t tried Demonworld yet, then… what gives?! The first book’s free!

Turns Out Harry Potter is the Hero of the Harry Potter Series

I’ve seen a lot of stuff on the internet about pulling your head out of your ass and finding out that Hermione Granger is the hero of the Harry Potter series, or Ron, or that kid that swung the sword around at the end. I’m not a scholar of the Harry Potter series. I read a couple of the books and watched the movies, and that’s it. However, I do know a great deal about storytelling, so I can say with some amount of confidence that Harry Potter is in fact the hero of the Harry Potter series.

How can I say something so utterly unenlightened and completely uninteresting? I’ll lay out my points.

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ONE. Harry is a rebel, and a hero have a very wide rebellious streak. In the beginning, when Harry is coming up with outlandish plots and batshit shenanigans, Hermione and Ron almost always argue against him (rational arguments from Hermione and outright cowardice from Ron). The general trend of any and every story ever told is that you can’t save the day by following the rules. You have to break the law to save civilization. Sounds counterintuitive, but that’s the way heroes think.

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TWO. It doesn’t matter that Harry was a jock and Hermione was a brilliant nerd. That point only matters to bookish internet types. Having high “stats” in multiple areas, like a really good role-playing game character, only makes you better able to handle various situations. It doesn’t necessarily make you the hero of the narrative you’re working within. See point one for further explanation.

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THREE. Just because neither Hermione nor Ron nor the kid who swung the sword around at the end were the main hero does not rob them of their importance. You don’t have to be the hero in order to be important. It’s egomaniacal to think so. That sort of thinking leads to the production of corporate pamphlets and posters that say things like, “THE SCENERY ONLY CHANGES IF YOU’RE THE LEAD DOG!” Just because Hermione wasn’t the hero doesn’t mean she will be rewarded with looking at an asshole for the duration of the series.

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FOUR. Harry Potter endures a death and rebirth ritual. This is another counterintuitive point, but all heroes must die and be reborn. This is symbolic of the fact that as we go through life, our ego must “die”, or be diminished, so that we can grow. Problems can’t be solved by the same mode of thought that created them, you have to lose yourself to find yourself, et cetera and all that.

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FIVE. “But Harry’s dad was an asshole and Harry didn’t do anything to deserve being the hero!” Doesn’t matter; life isn’t fair, and heroes usually need more than a drop or two of cruelty in them anyway. True heroes have to go beyond concepts like “good” and “evil” and embody all sorts of elements in themselves, even elements that make normal people uncomfortable, in order to accomplish something beyond rational devising.

 

X-Men: Kyle B. Stiffs of Future Past

Spoiler-free Thoughts by Kyle B. Stiff

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Sometimes all it takes is a scene from a blockbuster to wake your soul up from a dream of endless death!

The scene in question involved the Professor Xavier of 1970-something speaking with the Xavier of the distant future. The Xavier of the past needed to accomplish a certain goal, but he was a screaming hot mess. His chick had left him, his best friend turned out to be a total turd, the Kickstarter campaign to fund his school for gifted youngsters fell short at the last minute, the only person who could stand to be around him was a dufus trying to invent crystal meth for mutants, plus he was being harassed by a muscular Canadian goon covered in so many veins that his entire body looked like a dick. Times were tough. Xavier wasn’t the giant he was destined to become… he was just a sad sap with a degree in feeling sorry for himself.

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But he ends up in a situation where he gets to meet a much older version of himself. A version of himself who ran a school full of horny superpowered freaks (no easy task), then planned the logistical nightmare of fighting a war against an unstoppable foe (also not easy). The future version of himself didn’t have time to cry over pictures of a girl while listening to The Cure. He would never consider butting heads with his best friend because he knew they needed to work together despite their voting preferences.

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But the thing that got to me during their meeting was the idea that the same person could hold two different perspectives in mind. The young version of Xavier saw his problems as all-encompassing. There was “nothing” he could do, no way to pull through. He was a failure and would always be a failure and no one could help him, not now, not ever. The future Xavier, however, had already pulled through a million challenges. None of them had been worth worrying over, not really. The future Xavier was able to shake the younger version’s perspective with a few wise words dropped while sitting with the posture of one who simply cannot be stopped.

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This scene got to me because recently I felt despair over my writing. Not the quality, of course; every day  I slam-dunk the finest prose and pull three-pointers from the beginning of the game until the buzzer sounds and they pry the ball from my hands and put (yet another) trophy in its place. No, I felt despair because my Demonworld sales took a nosedive some time ago, and now I have to work fulltime. Sometimes I’m so brain-dead by the time I get home that I can’t even write; I can only stare at my notes for an hour or two until I realize that I can’t comprehend what I’m looking at, then I’ll look at the clock and instead of numbers I’ll see something that looks like a ballsack going into my mouth. The other night I found myself in a pile of empty bottles with heroin syringes hanging out of my neck and ass and a poorly written suicide note explaining that I don’t have the energy to finish Demonworld. While I explained my situation in a whiny, high-pitched voice, my wife stood over me and said, “You’re not being very heroic right now.”

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She was right!

Seeing Charles Xavier going through a similar situation really got to me. Imagine if you could go back in time and see yourself when you were a child. What if you had been worrying over something as silly as giving a speech in front of class? At the time, you might have been puking your guts out or quietly shitting yourself. But would the twenty or thirty or forty year old version of you ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying over that same speech? No, you wouldn’t. That seemingly insurmountable challenge would be yet another slam dunk in a long journey of endless slam dunks that made up the whole of your life.

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This idea is just the inspiration I needed to get through endless days of enslavement and use what little time I have to finish Demonworld, Heavy Metal Thunder, and all the other projects I want to make for you guys. It took a real badass to inspire me to keep on keepin’ on… an old guy who lives in a future we can hardly imagine, a hardass who’s forgotten more about writing than most writers will ever learn, a fighter whose hands are super soft because he doesn’t do anything but touch keyboards, peel bills, and pet cats, and a wise old wizard who, like me, bears the burden of knowing how Demonworld ends, but unlike me, he knows all the strange and surprising ins and outs that happen along the way.

And, of course, that future badass goes by the name… KYLE B. STIFF!!!

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Movie review: X-Men was a blast, eighteen thumbs up, unless someone has left a mysterious rainbow-colored egg in your house and you want to stay home because you think it’s about to hatch, go see it and cry like a baby just like I did.

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Story synopsis: In the distant future of 2015, Galactus threatens to destroy the world and Wolverine has to go to space to suck him off and distract him while Professor X and Gambit take everyone on earth to a planet that is identical to earth (buildings and everything) and they get away before Galactus destroys the original earth. Wolverine loses the adamantium on the left side of his body but then he gets it back without too much trouble.

DEMONWORLD: DEADLINE

This is it my beautiful babes! Last time I checked, the Kickstarter for the Demonworld covers was down to 70 hours. That means we have three days to take the legendary icepick of wealth and use it to chip the ice away from my tender, gently-vibrating heart.

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Pretend you’re in a SAW trap, and the only way out is to put a knife to your wallet’s throat and bleed it on the altar. What happens if you don’t have the will to sacrifice your wallet? I’ll tell you what happens… look out your window. Do you see the awful, gray, nightmarishly mediocre landscape out there? That’s no magical vision of hell, my friends – that’s a world in which Demonworld never got professional-looking covers and thus I never made any freakin’ money, which means the series will be relegated to obscurity, then oblivion. Horrifying? Yes! Possible?! Most definitely!!!

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Demonworld on Kickstarter!

Nobody gets excited about psychedelic records because they come in brown paper bags. I want nice covers for Demonworld just as much as the next guy. Enter: Kickstarter.

If you want to take part in the battle to give Demonworld a face-lift, or just stop by to see Kyle B. Stiff awkwardly flail about and beg for money, then go here.

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Begging for money 21st century style. If you thought starving artists were sexy before, wait til you see Poverty 2.0!

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Kyle B. Stiff Gets Robbed!

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about how I’m getting “robbed” by not drowning in money from Demonworld sales. No, I’m writing this to let my precious readers know that Demonworld Six is going to face delays because my little hobbit house got broken into by a gang of meth-crazed goblins. Rich people live only a few blocks away, but I think the thieves could sense something amazing going on in my little hovel. Fortunately they didn’t find my computer (sometimes it pays to be paranoid), but they cleaned out just about everything else of value. Me and my wife are doing everything we can to move to a more secure location, which is no small feat when your budget looks like it’s about ready for an autopsy. I can already see that I’m not going to get a lot of writing done for the next couple of weeks. Forgive me, dear readers!

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But here’s how you can help. Just send money to… no, wait. Scratch that. If you really want to help, take the padlock off your reinforced gun cabinet. Dust off that old set of body armor you made so long ago. Put your superhero cloak on and hit the streets. Hit the streets HARD. Look for anyone walking around saying things like, “This Xbox 360 I stole is the greatest!” or “What kind of idiot hides his money in a jar with the rest of his loose change?” Take no prisoners, readers! Hunt them down! Let the world know what happens when you rob a poor writer and delay Demonworld Book Six!

Don’t you worry, dear readers. They better bring a bazooka if they want to put an end to Demonworld!

Demonworld: PERMAFREE

Holy hell, it looks like Demonworld finally went PERMAFREE on Amazon.

Believe me, this book will make your balls drop, it’ll put your eggs in the microwave, and from now on it won’t cost a DIME to light your Kindle on fire with this thing. If you like reading about monsters getting shotgunned to death or guys with ritually mutilated bodies or she-demons having sex with big lizard creatures but you don’t want to pay one single cent for any of it, or if you just want to hang out with a brutal mystic on a spiritual journey through what can only be described as Hell (a.k.a. Earth), NOW’S YOUR CHANCE. Just click HERE or HERE or even, God willing, HERE.

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Or you can get your hands on almost any of my writings HERE. Who loves you but me?

A Mind-Blowing Encounter with Synchronicities

By Kyle B. Stiff

 

I had an incredible series of synchronicities that was like a peek behind the curtain which revealed evidence of a Director in charge of this strange production we find ourselves acting in.

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Some background: I listen to a lot of podcasts at work, mostly fringe theory or paranormal type stuff and a totally, totally grounding dose of video game news shows, too. One show called Hidden Experiences is all about some guy trying to come to terms with his life going off the rails of the mundane. He talks about synchronicities, so I’ve been thinking about them a lot.

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One day while thinking on this matter, I started listening to an unrelated podcast while walking down a hallway, and it just so happened that my butthole started to itch really bad. I thought about walking to the bathroom to take care of things, but I’d already been fucking around and needed to get back to my desk, so I decided to risk scratching deep up in my crack right in the hallway. As I turned to make sure no one was behind me, somebody on the podcast I was listening to said, “I can’t live my life looking over my shoulder.” Now, that’s not the mind-blowing synchronicity that the title of this piece is referring to, but it certainly impressed upon me the nature of this wild and unbelievable stuff!

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So anyway, the other day I was listening to Hidden Experiences and there was a discussion about the “playfulness” of synchronicities. According to the interviewee, it was almost as if some intelligent force was practically wanting to be seen.

When I got out of work and was walking to the bus stop, I listened to a video game podcast called Rebel FM, in which they discussed the new FORZA racing game and the new Xbox One. My mind drifted because I can’t get into racing games, so I thought about synchronicities. A strange impulse came to me; I wanted to see a synchronicity at that moment. It wasn’t like I was a “skeptic” with his arms crossed and his face puckered up saying, “Alright, let’s see this so-called phenomenon!” No, the impulse was stranger than that, both headstrong and dreamlike.

Anyway, as I leaned back against the bus stop shelter, someone on the podcast said, “… laid back.”

I thought that was pretty cool, but it didn’t exactly blow my hair back. It could just be a coincidence, right? Anyway, I smiled to myself, then thought, “Would it be possible to have another synchronicity?” Immediately some guy on the podcast said, “You can’t turn it on and off.”

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Now I was really feeling it, riding on a wave that existed somewhere outside the norm. Sensing that the universe itself was looking directly at me, waiting to see what I would do, I wondered, “I know I’m pushing it, but how about something now?

At that moment someone on the podcast said, “You have to know how to actually play the game.”

Of course this was just too much. The idea that the universe was playing a game with me made me giddy, overwhelmed by a sense that the physical world was unreal or, at most, a sort of high-end video game constantly being patched and updated by its maker. I turned about on the sidewalk because I couldn’t sit still for this sort of thing, and as I moved the strange sense came upon me again. I was facing traffic and saw many oncoming cars, and at that moment the podcast said, “You see the people facing you are driving…”

The King of All Cosmos by pinakaguwaping on deviantart.

The King of All Cosmos by pinakaguwaping on deviantart.

Four of these things in a row – are you kidding?! I began laughing uncontrollably, and just then the podcast said (and I shit you not), “You’re laughing, and it sees the appreciation on your face…”

BLAM! Five demonstrations of inscrutable other-worldly machinations brought about by mixing two channels, all in a row!

I realize that a lot of you won’t be interested in this sort of thing. Until the dust gets knocked off your pineal gland by a few encounters with unbelievable strangeness, this sort of thing means nothing. For years and years I was a hardcore materialist, so I get that. But from where I’m sitting, it looks like the universe is totally A*L*I*V*E*!

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King of All Cosmos by yiannisun on deviantart.

King of All Cosmos by yiannisun on deviantart.

Hey readers! If you like to see the veil of reality pulled aside, even if only temporarily, then be sure to check out my piece about Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and its basis in the tarot. That piece can surely suck a bowling ball through a garden hose!

You should probably check out my books, too. I’ve got an epic series called Demonworld, which is equal parts Mad Max and Lord of the Rings (think “science fantasy”), and a much-loved gamebook series called Heavy Metal Thunder which is currently a hyperlinked Kindle book but will be a fancy phone app any day now. I just recently released the second volume of Heavy Metal Thunder, which is called SOL INVICTUS.