Miscellanea, plus Hereditary Creativity

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

My fiction reading over the past couple of weeks has consisted primarily of re-reading a series I published under another pen name. I’ve also been reading my usual batch of non-fiction, but those are (generally) overly detailed and kinda boring. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.

I did finally manage to write a review for Richard Parry’s short story Sleepless, which is published online at Alternate Realms Magazine. Yes, ARMag is another one of my babies, still in its infancy.

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Miscellanea, plus Eclipse Fever

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

We’ve been on a movie kick this summer.  Ok, we’re always on a movie kick, but this summer has been fairly good for that.

Naturally, one of the movies on our list to see on the big screen was The Dark Tower. I can’t fault the actors’ performances, but the story skimmed the surface of the story as it’s depicted in the novels. My son has never read those, so he enjoyed the movie immensely. I was a bit less pleased with the translation, but not to the point that I’ll never watch the screen version again in the distant future.

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Behind the Scenes: Intersections

I’ve finally finished the first story for Romancing the Weird, a collection of short, oddball romances.

“Intersections” is a fairly hefty 9700 words long, which makes it technically a novelette, rather than a short story. It’s told from the perspective of Livy, a young woman who has visions of a man every time their paths cross.

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Miscellanea, plus Painting

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

I finally finished Alien: Bug Hunt. A few of the stories in this anthology really wowed me, including entries by Rachel Caine, Yvonne Navarro, and Larry Correia. I had to skip a couple, but thankfully, most are enjoyable and entertaining, which is exactly what I hoped for when I picked the book up.

Just started reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (the author’s preferred text). So far, so awesome, which is what I’ve come to expect from Gaiman.

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Miscellanea, plus the Fatal Flaw in Superhero Movies

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

“Viral Video” by Adam Gaylord (Phase 2 Magazine, Issue 1) is one of the best flash fiction pieces I’ve ever read, and most definitely the highlight of the magazine in which it I found it. It’s so short and tightly written that I can’t even give a synopsis without giving the whole thing away.

It’s blockbuster movie season, and I have happily seen my share, sometimes more than once: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (twice), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (twice, because Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, and Djimon Hounsou), Alien: Covenant (twice, because duh), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (once, thank goodness), and The Mummy, which I mostly regret seeing.

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Miscellanea, plus Current Projects

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

An anthology of Czech Speculative Fiction, edited by Julie Novakova for last year’s EuroCon, is available as a free download. Old news, but good news.

I’ve been on an odd movie watching run here of late, sparked by an email from an Aussie friend. First up was Last Cab to Darwin about a cabbie who learns his cancer is incurable. After seeing a news report about an assisted suicide machine, he drives to Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia) to end his life “with dignity” in his own way. Ok, this movie is only peripherally SciFi, but it was a good movie and well worth watching whether you’re interested in this issue or not.

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Miscellanea, plus Defining Horror

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

I just learned about the new Alien movie. Alien: Covenant is set to release on May 19th. I will be there with bells on.

If you’re looking for an Alien fix before then, Aliens: Bug Hunt, an anthology containing fifteen stories set in the Alien universe, is being released on April 18th. The headlining authors (i.e. those on the cover) are Heather Graham, Scott Sigler, Rachel Caine, David Farland, and one of my favorites, Larry Correia.

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Miscellanea, plus The Handmaid’s Tale and Women’s Rights

A roundup of the weird, the interesting, and whatever else has caught my attention.

Stories

Richard C. Dellinger’s debut novel Dr. Mosquito was released on March 27th. It’s billed as a cross between “Michael Crichton’s clever techno-thrillers and Stephen King’s nerve-shredding horror novels.” Hmm. Interesting.

Has anyone seen Ghost in the Shell or is everyone boycotting it?

I saw Life not long back. Alien it ain’t. Nope, not even close.

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Romancing the Weird

I’m putting together a short story collection as an exclusive perk for newsletter subscribers. The collection will be called Romancing the Weird and will feature at least five (and probably more) slightly-off-to-downright-odd short stories, each containing a strong romantic plot or subplot.

The stories aren’t ready for release yet, but as soon as each one is finished, it will be released exclusively to newsletter subscribers, a process I anticipate will take six to twelve months. I’ll blog a reminder when each story is ready, I promise, but if you want to be in on this from the get-go and automatically receive the stories in your inbox, subscribe to my newsletter here.

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Review: The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) by Stephen King

Stephen King was an oft-read author during my teen years, primarily because he’s one of my father’s favorite authors and his books were in our home library. King’s dark imagery has the infinite power to draw the reader in, like a spider luring a fly, and snare the imagination in the vividly drawn worlds he creates.

The Gunslinger in its revised and updated version is no different. While King readily admits in prefatory comments to updating the language of this, one of his earlier works, the story itself, at its core, remains the same.

Roland, the titular character and the primary narrator, is a gunslinger whose attitude and manner echoes the bygone era of the Old West. He is the last of his kind, a remnant of a higher culture, forced by fate and circumstance only partially explained in The Gunslinger to journey alone in search of the Man in Black and the Dark Tower.

The Man in Black is a sorcerer who assumes many forms during the drawn out chase. In flashbacks, he is the man cuckolding Roland’s father and the same’s murderer. In the story’s luridly described present, the Man in Black is a setter of traps and the servant of the entity ruling the Dark Tower.

Roland and the Man in Black are by and large the most well crafted and, therefore, most easily understood characters populating The Gunslinger. Other characters fare almost as well, like Alice, the owner of a saloon-esque establishment who becomes Roland’s lover for a time. In Alice, King captures the futile desperation of life for a woman living in a remote settlement, cut off from the society of decent folk and men.

Other characters are shortchanged. Jake, an orphaned child yanked out of time and place by the Man in Black, is by turns loved and hated by Roland. His past is teased out through hypnosis and his emotions are evident, but he is only a tool within the plot rather than a fully drawn character.

And that tool to the plot feeling lingers in other important characters: Roland’s parents, high society hobnobs who deliberately and otherwise distance themselves from their only child by having him trained as a gunslinger, in a manner similar to the Spartans; Roland’s early ka-tet, his training group with whom he should have the most in common, but from whom he remains separate; and other characters whose roles seem to be in spurring Roland toward his ultimate destiny rather than having any internal or external motivation of their own.

In spite of this and the often overblown descriptions, The Gunslinger is a wonderful introduction to a story world that is by turns surreally antithetical (in its reversion to an almost feudalistic treatment of individuals) and eerily similar to our own. Recommended to all readers of Fantasy and fans of Stephen King. (Paperback, Kindle)

Review originally published on Dreaming If.

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