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The Awesomely Awful '80s, Part 2


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This book was a long time coming.

It's a tie-in to the Awesomely Awful panels that I and my fellow Awesomelys have presented at Phoenix Comicon and other events since 2013. They're about our guilty pleasures, films or TV shows that we know kind of suck but we love anyway.

Originally, I planned to expand into book form so that I could explore decades other than the '80s and the '90s, which are the current nostalgia point for Phoenix Comicon, but I'm getting to do a little of that now at science fiction/fantasy conventions like LepreCon and CoKoCon, where we choose films from the '30s to the '00s. So now it's an opportunity for me to cover a lot more films than I can at conventions and at more depth.

Initially this was supposed to be just The Awesomely Awful '80s, covering a variety of films from that decade, but I came to realise that the vast majority of my choices were from the second half of the decade. So, I focused in on 1985-1989 and chose five films from each year.

That also meant that I could call this Part 2, without having written a Part 1, which is a great icebreaker.

I'll be writing more Awesomely Awful books, but I'm not sure where I'm going to go next. Maybe it'll be The Awesomely Awful '80s, Part 1, but that seems too predictable. Maybe I'll explore the '70s or the '30s instead. Maybe I'll write The Awesomely Awful '80s, Part 2 II, because again, hey, I can.


I had two obvious groups of people to dedicate this book to.

The first group are my fellow panelists, the people who make those panels not just possible but varied enough to be interesting.

That list starts with the Brass Bells, who put our original panel together in 2013, but then moved to Portland, so haven't been part of the group since. Mainstay Jim Miller was with them and me on that original panel, as was Heather Rice, who sadly passed away in 2014. Michael Flanders joined us in year two and has become a pivotal part of the team ever since. Nick Perillo and Liz Manning both joined us for a year. Britt Rhuart was our supersub, an Awesomelys fan who stood in at the last minute when we were down a panelist, before joining us as a regular. Alyssa Provan is our most recent recruit but she's already an integral part of the team.

The second group are our fans, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. It still stuns me that some of them come to Phoenix Fan Fusion to see us, with everything else secondary. It's a great feeling to see so many regular faces at our panels and, while this sounds totally clichéd, it just wouldn't be the same without them. The audience have always been part of our panels but that's more so now that we've started to include panels where we choose from their recommendations.

So thank you, fellow Awesomelys and Awesomelys fans. This one's for you.

Films Covered

Here's a complete list of chapters which detail the films included:

1985: Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Crimewave, The Last Dragon, Water and Gymkata.
1986: Back to School, Howard the Duck, Maximum Overdrive, Solarbabies and Trick or Treat.
1987: The Gate, Adventures in Babysitting, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Deathstalker II and Blind Date.
1988: Bloodsport, Hell Comes to Frogtown, Dead Heat, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Action Jackson.
1989: The Horror Show, The Wizard, Robot Jox, See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Road House.

Cover Art

I had little idea what I wanted from this cover, even after I'd finished writing the book, so I chatted with April Grady-Reyna, a local artist I'd admired for a while and whom I knew I wanted to paint a cover for me at some point, to see if she'd be the one for this book. She came up with a great and unusual idea, of a line-up of shoes, something I'd never have imagined myself.

She delivered the art to me at Phoenix Comic Fest (the intermediary name between Phoenix Comicon and Phoenix Fan Fusion) and I proudly displayed it to people at my table. I loved it, but we struggled for a while trying to get the text right. It never seemed to work, though I was completely unable to improve on it, so eventually I went to Jason Drotman, because graphic design is a particular talent of his. He was the missing element here that put the whole thing together.

What you see here is art by April with an overlay of graphic design by Jason. The back cover blurb, of course, includes hints to the contents, as that worked so well for my previous book.

Layout Notes

I wrote this book in LibreOffice running on Linux (Ubuntu with MATE) because I like free software (free as in both beer and speech), so naturally I laid it out in LibreOffice too.

It's typeset in Gentium Plus, which is a newer version of the Gentium font I used in my first four books. It's the same great font but the spacing is much better. This is an source font, released under the SIL Open Font License, which means that it can be used, modified and redistributed for free.

Creative Commons

Current copyright law in the US tells me that I should be able to profit from my work until 75 years after I've been buried. I don't buy into that because copyright was always intended to benefit the public (not creators) by ensuring a constant flow of work into the public domain where the public could do whatever they liked with it. It's how Disney got famous! To ensure that creators kept creating, it also gave them a temporary monopoly on their work, which was originally 14 years. If I can't make money off a book in 14 years, then let the public have their turn.

I toyed with the idea of copyrighting my books for 14 years and then releasing them into the public domain, but quickly realised I'd never remember to do that. Instead, I chose to license my books through Creative Commons, using the CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 copyleft license. That means that you are legally allowed to copy and distribute them, with my blessing, as long as you:

  • clearly identify that the work is mine (attribution)
  • don't make money by doing so (non-commercial)
  • keep this license intact (share-alike)

Free Download

So please download a PDF of The Awesomely Awful '80s, Part 2 from the link below, read it and share it with others so that it can reach as wide an audience as possible.

Please feel free to upload it to peer to peer networks, translate it into your own language or read it aloud and circulate it as an audiobook. Just obey the licensing terms above.

Remember, piracy is not the enemy; obscurity is the enemy!

Buy a Print Copy

Of course, I don't get paid anything from a free download so, if you enjoy the book, please consider buying a print copy to show your appreciation and help me pay my bills. If you don't have room for dead tree products, then please consider buying a print copy for a friend or donate one to a library instead. Either way, I get paid and someone gets to read a good book.

New copies are available for $14.99 at Amazon.com.

If you're in the UK, the book is £11.99 at Amazon.co.uk. It should also become available from the various other Amazon sites; it's €13.99 in Europe.

Signed copies are available from the Dog Eared Pages used bookstore in Phoenix. Trust me, it would not be a hardship for me to travel to a great used bookstore to replenish my stock!

Review the Book

Even if you only read the free PDF, please consider writing a review of it on Amazon.com. Reviews are like gold at Amazon, who will promote books which have obtained enough of them. Getting fifty reviews at Amazon would be like a Christmas present to me.

Of course, the same goes for other independent authors too. If you review their books at Amazon as well as mine, you can help to make it Christmas every month in indie world and we'll love you all the more!

Other Details

The Awesomely Awful '80s, Part 2 is my sixth book. Other technical details are:

Catalogue Number: ALP006
Publication Date: May 2019
Page Count: 268
Dimensions: 8.5" x 5.5"
ISBN-10: 0-9894613-6-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-9894613-6-8

Last update: 19th September, 2022