Saturday, November 9, 2019

Awful



I know. I've been away for a while. Things have been awful, and I'm not just talking about national and international awful. The empowerment of awful people is, apparently, the only real "trickle-down."

Please don't tell me that it's material. I know that it is a mine of sorts, but I'd rather that it was formed from imagination and not from real life.

Just know that I'm crawling across the shore from the wreckage and that I am working toward a better day. When I'm on the other side of things, I have plans. It's going to be wonderful again.

Things are awful. They won't always be.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

SHOCKTOBER!!! Film Fest!

"They're coming to get you, Barbara, and they dressed so nicely."
Well, Halloween is upon us and SHOCKTOBER is drawing to a close for the year. If you're on the fence about what to watch tonight, I've made a little list of several of my less-well-known favorites. Watch one tonight, if you can find it, or have your own film fest next year.

Dead and Buried (1981): In a coastal town, mobs of townsfolk are murdering the tourists. Then those dead tourists start appearing around town as if they've lived there all along, which they did, before they died, but ... well, just watch it. It's fun.

Willard (1971): Disturbed young man befriends rats. Rats love the disturbed young man and do his bidding. His bidding involves revenge and murder. You might believe that this movie was remade in 2003 and starred Crispin Glover. It wasn't.

Night of the Living Dead (1968): I know. I know. Not obscure. You've seen it. Well, I'm here to tell you that unless you've seen the NotLD HD version currently streaming on Amazon (free with Prime), you, good sir or madame, have not seen this film, nor have you heard it. The sound and picture are so sharp you might just cut yourself. I actually heard all of the dialogue for the first time.

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972): Bob (Black Christmas, Porky's) Clarke directed this under a thinly-disguised pseudonym from a screenplay that he co-wrote with the film's star Alan Ormsby. While it starts out as a bunch of silly college kids goofing in a graveyard, this ain't no Porky's romp, son. What it is, instead, is a real "wait for it" film. It's worth the wait.

Peeping Tom (1960): If you have the chance to see this film, see this film. Yet another disturbed young man takes his love of film much too far. Don't we all? Guys?

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976): Alice is a quiet 12-year-old living in New Jersey. When her sister is brutally murdered in their church, Alice becomes a suspect. As the bodies pile up, even those who can't believe that Alice is the killer begin to doubt their belief. You should probably avoid this one if you're a practicing Catholic. Just sayin'.

Strange Behavior (1981): This one isn't obscure to you if you had cable television in the Eighties. That said: Young folks are being murdered in a small, midwestern town. Sounds familiar, right? Well, it gets weird. The weird also seems familiar, but it will still surprise you.

Sisters (1972): Brian (Dressed to Kill, Blow Out) DePalma's debut and his most Hitchcockian film. That's all I'm going to give you. See it.

Little Shop of Horrors (1960): Maybe you've seen it. Maybe you have only seen the cute musical version. If you and I ever have a beer together, ask me about this film and I'll tell you how it changed my life. In the meantime, see it. Roger Corman and I will thank you for it.

Have a happy Halloween, and if you're not feeling like a film tonight, why not download a copy of "The Comeback" to your favorite Kindle device or app, curl up under the sheets, and get your fright on? At $2.99 it's a cheap thrill! Click the link below to get started.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reader Mail!*

N.E. of Satchamagoo, NY asks: "Should I read 'The Comeback' this Shocktober, or should I stick my head in the mud?"

N.E., I can't tell you what's best, but let these Amazon reviews of "The Comeback" be your guide:





*Any resemblance between N.E. of Satchamagoo, NY and any persons living or dead would be weird since that person and place are figments of my imagination. Now, go buy my book, whydon'tcha? Also, tell a friend and leave a review and you'll be entered into a contest to win my eternal gratitude! Act now!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Knowledge is ... Something. Umm. What is Knowledge Again?


Remember when you left that glowing five-star review of "The Comeback" on Amazon? I do. Remember how I immediately left a comment thanking you profusely for taking the time to leave your thoughts and feelings re: "The Comeback"? Yeah, neither do I. My sincerest apologies.

At the time I didn't know (somehow), that I could comment on reviews. Today, I left a grateful comment for every review on the page. Thanks again for the many kind words left on my Amazon page for "The Comeback" and, again, my apologies for the comment delay. BRAIN BOY LIVES!!!

Speaking of "The Comeback," if you haven't already, click the "Buy 'The Comeback'" link in the sidebar to the right (or the one below), and give yourself some cheap thrills this Shocktober. If you leave a review on Amazon, I promise to leave a nice comment (or answer any questions that you may have after reading my story).

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Trick


I'd been ready for it for a while. The last few reports I'd read about Harlan had said that his health was poor. I suppose that you can only be Harlan for so long before your body craps out on you. Maybe I knew that the long silence around Harlan meant the end was coming soon. I'd carried the sorrow around like a tumor for some time. Perhaps that's why I'd started playing the game version of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream again. Even as the voice of the monstrous AM it's still a connection to the man, I suppose. I'm currently stuck in a blimp wondering if I'm supposed to kill my character to get out of the level. Harlan might find that amusing.

Anyway, I got the news today. I'm down another hero.

It's not a word I throw around. Maybe Harlan would have liked the idea. Possibly not. Still, I can count my heroes on a single hand and have fingers left over (Hint: One's in the middle). When I use the word, I mean it, and I mean it deeply.


It all started with something I'd read about him in, I believe, F&SF. That lead to my purchase of these two books from The Science Fiction Book Club. Then I found out he'd written (in a way) the best episode of Star Trek, and A Boy and His Dog, a favorite SF film I'd seen at the local drive-in. The next thing I know, I'm tasked with writing an essay for my (fourth? fifth? sixth? grade) class on my hero. I chose Harlan, of course.


I chose Harlan because he fought for what he felt was right, even when no one else agreed. I chose Harlan because although he may have been afraid, he was fearless. I chose Harlan because he was unique and reveled in that uniqueness. I chose Harlan for the beauty and horror and depth and humanity of his writing. There is a virulent clichè in SF reporting/reviewing that goes like this: "it's a story about what it means to be human." It's lazy writing, every bit as lazy as "SF writers try to predict the future" and just as nonsensical. It's a fallback phrase that people just nod at and move on. Harlan likely hated it, though his work came closer than anyone's to fitting the description.

The Executioner of Malformed Children from the collection Shatterday
I'd played with being a writer from a young age. The words that Harlan put upon pages shored up that play into a conviction. Harlan has been on my shoulder through everything I've ever written. Make that both shoulders.

Excerpt from the short story Shatterday
“The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.” 
― Harlan EllisonStrange Wine

Harlan inspired me to fight for what is good and true and right. Harlan inspired me to fight for what is mine. Harlan inspired me to write and to write well. For better or for worse, Harlan's words had made me a writer. The trick, as he'd said, was that it was up to me to stay a writer.

Now he's gone. Like Anthony Bourdain, a great and powerful voice has left a void in a world more in need of them than ever. I'm down two heroes. At least I have their words to keep me warm in these chilling times.


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Pulse


My heart's still beating. I won't go into what I've been up to as anyone reading this already knows, can guess or, hell, just ask.

If you've already bought my book, many thanks. If you haven't, now's your chance. If you're wondering what to give me, a review on Amazon or Goodreads is most welcome.

I hope you're all having a great Holiday Season. I am. Cheers.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

No Spoilers: "The Omega Men: The End Is Here"



After a month of reading a chapter or two as I had time, I finished the trade paperback of the much-lauded Tom King run of "The Omega Men." While my final opinion falls more into the "like" category than the "love," I admire its depth and ambition and found that it was worth the time I could invest in the story. If the book's sales were as high as its praise, I 'm certain that one of my biggest issues with the book (that it felt rushed) would have not been. Still, rushed or not,  I'm glad that DC saw fit to allow King's tale to play out to its conclusion if not its entirety.

Other issues, however, were baked in from the start. I found the central MacGuffin difficult to swallow, even in a tale as fantastic as this, and, while we're at it, the balance of reality-based themes and fantastic elements wasn't always so balanced. That, and a tendency to fall back on cringe-worthy tropes detracted from what was otherwise a page-turner.

Barnaby Bagenda's art, while wow-worthy at times, might have better served a different story. I found it too cool at emotional and dramatic peaks, and at times it muddied the story. I frequently found myself breaking from the narrative to decipher a panel. This, however, may also have been corrected had the story been allowed to play out longer.

All of that said, it was nice to engage with a thoughtful and timely space-spanning tale that wasn't A) a blockbuster cross-over event or B) a space-spanning tale designed to sell toys/is a glamorization of  Nazis (*cough*).

Is "The End Is Here" the best graphic story ever told? No, but it's close and well worth your time and attention for its successes.