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Dunkirk and Valerian

I'll start with Dunkirk even though it was the second movie I saw this weekend.

Dunkirk made a strong claim for the movie of the year for me. Similar to Fury Road from a couple years back, this is an exercise in sustained action and tension. Its story, although cleverly folded up within three time frames, is remarkably straight forward. The characters in the movie are either trying to get off Dunkirk beach before it is overrun by Germans in 1940 or they are trying to help those attempting to leave. This basic story is told through three threads, land, sea, and air as essentially anonymous characters work to survive. Other than a few blurry shadows and the strafing of dive-bombers, the human enemies are not pictured on screen. It is rather nature itself: water, wind, fire, and steel which closes in on the characters, snuffing out one life after another. A reoccurring image is the screen filling with water, as though the camera gives the audience the POV of impersonal, crushing doom.

Recent posts

Wrapping up "Agent Shield and Spaceman"

After more than a year, it's finished!

I started "Agent Shield and Spaceman," last year after listening to another writer talk about the rewards and challenges of self-publishing a novel. I got excited about the possibility of telling a complete story one chapter at a time, releasing it to the public, and telling the story I wanted to tell.

I can without reservation say the experience was rewarding for me personally. I've gotten into a nice pattern of writing short stories, submitting them, and seeing a few published. But to be in charge of the process from word go has been incredibly liberating and also terrifying. The best of "Agent Shield" is also the best of me as a writer and I hope at least some of what I've written has diverted and entertained you.

So, what's next?

I definitely intend to collect all of the chapters together for an e-book edition of the novel. I'd probably sell it through Amazon or Smashmouth, we'll see what sort of ho…

Story Announcement!

I'm overjoyed to announce that my story "Machinery of Ghosts," will be appearing in the Gehenna & Hinnom "Transhuman SF" anthology! "Machinery of Ghosts" is a SF thriller set in a decaying space station in the grip of a nano-technological cold war. Thank you to C.P. Dunphey for giving this story the perfect home! (https://gehennaandhinnom.wordpress.com/our-authors/accepted-stories-for-transhuman-sf-anthology-thus-far/)


I've also got another acceptance to announce in the not-so-distant future but I'd like to wait until we're a bit closer to the publishing date before I talk about that.
Also, in publishing news, August will see the release of my story "Promontory" in the "A Breath from the Sky" anthology from the Martian Migraine Press. I'm hoping to make the book release party at Providence, RI's Necronomicon. Hope to see you there!

July Review Grab Bag

After looking over my notes on a few prospective Ancient Logic posts I realized that I am hopelessly behind schedule. The current WIP and the web fiction I write, "Agent Shield and Spaceman," have taken up almost all of the energy I usually devote these 'side projects.'

Anyway, in the past couple of months, I saw (in order of recall) Wonder Woman and Spiderman at the theaters, Magicians, American Gods, and the current season of Preacher on the small screen, and finished reading Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140. The last item will get its own review but here are some quick thoughts on the others: 

Wonder Woman: This remains my favorite superhero flick this year. Yes, Guardians was a lot of fun and Spiderman (which I'll get to) was one of my favorite recent Marvel films, but in terms of consequence, and meaning, and shear mythological epic-ness, Wonder Woman takes the cake. As others have noted, some of this impact surely comes from how little the typical f…

What I Read in June 2017

I think the theme of the stories this month would be identity and love. Most of the stories below involve, in some respect, the forces necessary to draw two people together. I wouldn't exactly call these valentines but each story spoke to me about where love is between people in this early point of the 21st century. I hope enjoy reading them as much as I did!

Hero by Damian Aw: (DSF) I really dig it when an incredibly short story can fold up so much drama inside its narrow narrative. This flash piece takes from concept to stakes to consequence in an admirably brief tale. A man goes from movie to movie, correcting all of those tiny tragedies essential for a certain kind of story-telling. I was reminded of some of the closing themes of "Red Shirts," by John Scalzi: the obligation writers owe to their creations. Marcel Proust, Incorporated by Scott Dalrymple. (Lightspeed) Interesting pharmapunk speculation. What if a drug promoting the retention of memory had the drawback t…

What I Read in May 2017

May brought a deluge of amazing stories. In particular I think these works captured my mood throughout this month of revelations, disgust, and hope.

Look, this is meant to be a post about art - short literature specifically. However, I don't think you can understand art in isolation from politics, society, or whatever else is going on at a particular moment. A writer cannot help but weave elements of what circulates through their brains during the writing process (or at least I can't). Editors and publishers cannot help but respond to things that speak to a moment in time. Do I know for 100% that these stories reflect the situation in this country? No, I do not. I do think each has something to say about this moment.
"Machine of the Devil" by Maria Haskins. I've praised Haskins work before in these monthly round-ups for her well-crafted, tightly wound short fiction. This flash piece highlights her talent for embodying large themes in very small packages. In a story…

Volume 2 Bonus Track

As it turns out, I have a bit more to say about the second Guardians of the Galaxy film. After a rewatch I'd rate the movie a notch or two higher than what I wrote in my previous post, mostly because its craft and attention to detail became more apparent the second time around. 



CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD!

First of all, the use of "Brandy" in the film approaches genius and just that little bit of foreshadowing really helps sell the way Ego manipulates his son. Later in the film Ego tells Quill that he is a 'sailor,' and that while he loved his mother, he also knew that Meredith Quill would 'steal him from the sea.' In his first discussion, Ego suggests that the 'sea' is simply a metaphor for his need to travel, his urge to explore. The idea of a planet-sized celestial seizing upon the ethos of ramble-rock makes a twisted sort of sense but that metaphor as simply a step up to Ego's true intention. What Ego thinks is that the 'sea' is really …