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Showing posts from July, 2016

Post-convention

I really don't want to spend much more time thinking about this election but with both conventions wrapped up, the moment calls for some comment.

I'm voting for Hillary.

I doubt this will come as surprise to anyone who's met me or read much of this blog but this isn't even close. I hear those who feel as though they cannot vote for Hillary because their views conflict with hers or they don't trust her or whatever. I find such arguments utterly unmoving. As Bernie himself once said, "On her worst day, Hillary is 1000 times better than Trump."

By now, the truth of those words must be obvious to anyone willing to look at the situation with clear eyes. The man has no shame, no sense of decency, and no ability to change. He is what he is.

If that was it, and his opponent was some random Democrat I would relish the chance to vote against him. I consider that act to be a powerful affirmation of everything I want this country to be and stand for.

But after Philad…

New Chapter for Web Fiction

The next chapter is now available for my serial espionage thriller "Agent Shield and Spaceman." Attention returns to Frankie Two-Eyes as he employs unsavory means to find a way inside the Thulewaite Ranch.

I was happy to get a little feedback on the series this week from a few trusted readers, and for the most part it was encouraging. As I said at the outset of this project, "Agent Shield" is not meant to be all that serious. I like a great deal of it and the parts I'm not so fond of I'm doing my best to clean up. I am okay with the idea that this might be the first time you've read any of my work. I don't normally write weird espionage thrillers but what I do write is pretty similar. So if you like this web serial, please, give some of my other stories a try.

Anyway, today's installment of "Agent Shield," returns to Frankie Two-eyes. Frankie's a tough character for me. He keeps clawing his way into every version of this story and …

Reading Neverwhere Out of Time

I'm wrapping up a listen to Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere," and it's reminding me of a particular type of sorrow I have, from time to time, experienced. The Russians call the sadness of longing with nothing to long for toska, which can mean ennui, deep regret, and also nostalgia. Nostalgia fits as well as anything in describing Neverwhere, as its intricate web of imagined undergrounds and subtle horrors reference a version of London now gone except for a few hidden patches. It also sums up my feeling of nostalgia for an idealized experience which I never experienced.



I should have read this book when it was released, in 1996. I think it could have easily become the source of significant obsession on my part if I had been so lucky to have encountered it then.

Maybe I'm older now and in less need (I suppose) for an alternate world of angels, droll cut-throats, and forgotten subway stations. It's also true that this is a work with a huge impact on the fantasy li…

Star Trek Beyond

Setting aside hype and concerns, I think my basic reaction to the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek Beyond was, oh so that's what a decent Star Trek episode would be like as a movie. Your reaction to the new movie will probably depend a great deal on whether or not you can make your peace with Star Trek as a summer sci-fi thriller.



When the first trailer for Beyond dropped earlier this year, I told friends that this was exactly what I thought a trailer for a movie directed by the guy from the Fast and Furious franchise would look like. I was not excited.

Having watched the movie, I would say pretty much the same thing but add that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Justin Lin has a rep for focusing on ensemble character interactions and kinetic action sequences. That's what you get in this movie. Beyond is strongest when the superb cast is together in various combinations, talking, arguing, and working to solve their problems. It gets a little muddled as the scale of action incre…

Stranger Things on Netflix

I am HOOKED on Netflix's "Stranger Things," the exclusive mystery/horror series released last week. Seriously, folks, this is a good show - and probably one of my favorite things I've seen on the small screen this year.


Everything, from the retro-style of the production, the smart casting  choices (Winona Ryder is fantastic), to the intriguing "Demigorgon" monster works so well. The Duffer Brothers (Matt and Ross Duffer) deserve credit for much of this, having woven together the spectral and mundane elements of the story with confidence and style.
It helps that the nostalgia this show mines is congruent to my own experiences as a child of the mid-80s. Without being annoying about it, the show hits all of the right notes - from the awesomely boxy cars, to the amazement shown a 22-inch television screen and a Laz-E-Boy, to the inspired soundtrack choices. This feels like the 80s.
Better yet, this retro setting doesn't feel like a gratuitous move. The stor…

Review: "Stone Work" by Dominic Stabile

I received a preview copy of "Stone Work" in order to complete this review.

Mirror Matter Press' "Stone Work" is a collection of three novellas written by Dominic Stabile, all concerning the travails of a disfigured assassin/bad-ass named Stone. The world Stone inhabits is one part Blade Runner and one part Mad Max with a helping of Steven King for good measure. For aficionados of pulp horror thrills this anthology brings the goods. Stabile writes in a hyperbolic and pop-literate style that emulates the splashier elements of a Frank Miller graphic novel while giving nods to horror, science fiction, and noir classics from the last century.



The final and longest story, "Godless City," is my favorite of the collection. It has the most interesting set-up; a man hires Stone as a bodyguard as he tries to bring a sacrilegious documentary to light. I dig world-building and this story explores in detail an intriguing element of Stabile's world. In the nightm…

New Chapter of "Agent Shield and Spaceman" available!

The eleventh chapter is now available over on "Agent Shield and Spaceman." I update this serialized espionage thriller two to three times a week. In today's installment, Frankie Two-Eyes meets with his handler and learns the Section Starfire mission is an offer he cannot refuse.

The world of politics is blowing up! Movies are blowing up! There are some many good television shows and they are all blowing up!

I'm having trouble prioritizing today and I really do have some work to get done so I'm going to try an inoculate myself with a blog post on...POLITICS!

First off, the one thing I was willing to cede to Trump was that he knows how to put on a show. I figured that with his years of monetizing spectacles, he would know how to create an epic convention for himself. I resigned myself to a massive post-convention bump that would send all of the talking heads scurrying for a thesaurus to find different ways of writing "Clinton Campaign in Trouble."

And hey…

New Ghostbusters Movie

"Ghostbusters" is an silly, good-natured summer movie that just so happens to be based on/rebooting one of the most beloved of all comedy horror flicks - "Ghostbusters." One of the first movies I remember watching, part of me still considers the original a masterpiece, a basically perfect encapsulation of high, middle, and low humor mixed with old-fashioned thrills and chills. So, I get it, the new movie comes with a lot of baggage. There are people who are even more wrapped up in that mystique than I am and to them, the idea of rebooting the movie is and continues to be a non-starter.


To me, that's a shame because most of what made the original movie fun has survived the translation to 21st century. Instead of four really funny men, we have four really funny women. Like the original, this movie draws most of its comedic potential from workplace struggles. Ghost busting is a messy, unappreciated job and running a small business brings a lot of frustrations both…

Tenth Chapter for "Agent Shield and Spaceman"

The next chapter for my ongoing web fiction "Agent Shield and Spaceman" is now available.

I am currently reading Alastair Reynold's "Chasm City," a follow-up to "Revelation Space," a cyberpunk space opera I enjoyed very much when I read it nearly a decade ago. I'm also enjoying "Chasm City," as it contains much of what I suspect earned Reynold's his reputation. Although he paints on a very large canvas, he is very economical in his writing. He skillfully focuses on the perspective of a single highly motivated character, for example, rather than rope in a large number of extra characters right of the bat. He also employs an interesting technique to get some other perspectives in what is essentially a first person perspective: infectious spiritual memories. Lastly, knowing what I do about the hellscape the book is ultimately destined to describe, I respect the patient and methodical approach Reynold uses in world building. No concept i…

New Chapter for "Agent Shield and Spaceman"

A new chapter is now available for "Agent Shield and Spaceman." As new team members join the Tiger Snake mission, tensions appear within the team.

Finished Ramsey Campbell's "Ancient Images," last night. Prior to this novel, I'd only read two other works of Campbells', "Influence" (which I loved) and "Nazareth Hill" (which confounded me). This most recent novel concerns the hunt for a copy of a long lost Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff movie called "Tower of Fear," which appears to be involved in a great many unexplained deaths. Ramsey's writing is consistently amazing but written with a peculiar halting quality that alternately fascinates and frustrates me. The plot of "Ancient Images," is straight forward enough - a young editor interviews the surviving cast and crew of the movie as she darts around the small towns and villages of rural England. However, there always seems to be something else going on with his…

Chapter VIII of Agent Shield and Spaceman

The next chapter of Agent Shield and Spaceman is now available.

With Chapter VIII I've now reached the part of the web fiction that motivated me to revise and publish this work - the Burmese Tiger Snakes. Honestly, I'm not sure where these creatures came from but once they sunk their fangs into my head, nearly a decade ago, they never really let go. I'm reasonably happy with the Smithsonian episodes and hopefully a reader is beginning to notice some forward momentum in the plot. For better or worse, these chapters are more representative of the rest of the work than the four chapters before it.

As always, I greatly appreciate you reading this web fiction and your comments are welcome.

In other news, I am currently listening to "Micro," Michael Crichton's last work. Man, I read just about every single novel from Crichton back in middle school and high school and I still get a comfy glow of nostalgia listening to his stories now. Crichton's project, updating H…

What I Read in June:

I read only a handful of new short fiction stories last month - I'm going to blame all of the awesome anthologies I was catching up with from the past year. In any case, here a trio of short stories well worth your effort to track down.

First off, finding "Great Black Wave" by David Tallerman on Nightmare was a real pleasant discovery. A very cool blend of military sci-fi and horror this is a story to read for a unique and well-described setting. A contingent of American soldiers descend upon an obscure Afghani village in search of a bomb maker. To examine a forbidden cave they employ a spider like, smart-drone. The apocalypse the drone unearths supplies the title of the story. A story like this really thrives on attention to detail, which Tallerman provides effortlessly.All the Hippies are Dying by Gwendolyn Kiste. Most of the stories I've read from Kiste are weird horror or dark fairy tales. This is a bit closer to a slipstream vignette. As usual the author uses spa…

New chapter for Agent Shield and Spaceman

The next chapter for "Agent Shield and Spaceman" is available. Marcus and Spaceman interview Dr. Duchampski about the contents of the Anti-Cerebrist vials and learn about one of the most fearsome of all cryptozoological creatures - the Burmese Tiger Snake.

In other news, Gwendolyn Kiste published an interview with me on her blog yesterday. I have tremendous respect for Gwendolyn's talents as a writer and fan of weird fiction and enjoyed her questions greatly. Check it out if you get a chance and while you're there read some of her work and the other interviews she's posted. Great stuff!

On more of a personal note, I have finally finished the door to my chicken coop. In terms of tool-use, I rank somewhere between an Australopithecus and H. Habilis, but by repeatedly banging heavy objects into slats of wood, this crude contraption some how resulted. Plans to open my own boutique catering to aficionados of crappy post-apocalyptic carpentry are in the works.


To mix t…

Chapter VI now available

Now that I've returned from camping for the Fourth, I've got a new chapter up for "Agent Shield and Spaceman."

How was my Fourth you ask? Perfectly patriotic, of course. My wife and I stayed at the Great Bay Camping grounds which is a little north of the border in New Hampshire. Beautiful location, impressive fireworks (which freaked Finn out thoroughly), and - for the most part - chill fellow campers. I hope wherever you found yourself this weekend you were with family, friends, and plenty of good food.

I used the occasion to write ahead a few chapters in the web fiction as well as get some details ironed out for a new short fiction piece I'll start later this week. I also finished reading a Lovecraft anthology "Future Lovecraft" which I can partially recommend for fans of Mythos literature. Personally, my preferred mode of Lovecraftian writing is cosmic horror clearly inspired by HP's work, not slavishly devoted to it. My favorite stories in the co…