Monthly Archives: November 2015

Captain America…Eff Yeah!

So, if you haven’t gleaned it yet, I am a big comic book fan.  I don’t read or collect them anymore, but they were a solid foundation of my childhood, and I have a huge soft spot for the characters I loved back then–Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, The Vision, The Thing, The Human Torch, The Sub-Mariner, Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Wolverine, Colossus…and, of course, Captain America.

Every time Marvel unleashes a new movie, my inner 10-year-old squeals with delight.  Back then, I was happy with my comics and the occasional Mego action figure.  Now, sheesh…what a great period of time to be a kid with all the Marvel stuff out there.

Anyway, next year is a crazy film year–Star Trek: Beyond, Batman VS Superman, Dr. Strange and Captain America: Civil War.  And here’s the first trailer.  Looks awesome.

I’m in The Best of Grey Matter Press Vol. 1…Twice!


Grey Matter Press, that smart, swanky publisher up in the far northern wilds of Chicago, just announced some of its 2016 schedule and believe me, it’s a doozy.  And keep in mind, this is just the stuff they can announce right now–still in 2015.  I guarantee you that there is much more afoot.

The first book on GMP’s 2016 agenda is the aptly named DREAD: The Best of Grey Matter Press Vol. 1.  This collection will be published in the Spring, and will feature stories taken from GMP’s first volley of anthologies:  Dark Visions Vol. 1, Splatterlands, Ominous Realities, Dark Visions Vol. 2, and Equilibrium Overturned.  But here’s the pretty neat part.  GMP didn’t select the stories featured in DREAD–just 20 stories from the 70 published in these five volumes.  Readers did.  Readers voted for their favorites from these anthologies, and those are the 20 stories that appear in this Best Of… volume.

OK, here’s the pretty neat part, part deux.  I have two, count ’em, two stories in this book.  So, of the 20 stories selected for DREAD, readers voted two of my stories–“Show Me” from Dark Visions Vol. 1 and “Angie” from Ominous Realities–as “best of” from the 70 possible stories.  That’s awesome…at least I think so.  Only one other author, the remarkable Ray Garton, has two stories in this collection.  That’s some damn good company to be in.

GMP also announced its first novel, John Foster’s thrilling Mr. White (I’ve read it…it’s fantastic!), the big-name antho Peeling Back the Skin, and hinted at a host of other novels and novellas to come.

Also they announced I Can Taste the Blood, the shared-world (sort of) novella collection featuring me, Joe Schwartz (his new book, STABCO, is a fantastic read), Erik T. Johnson (he’s up  to something new, I understand), J. Daniel Stone (get his new novel, Blood Kiss, soon from Villipede.  I read it, too, and it’s moody and awesome) and the peripatetic Josh Malerman (second blockbuster on its way).  More on I Can Taste the Blood later…but I can promise you, this collection is gonna blow you away.

Anyway, go here to read GMP’s full release and watch for more news soon.  And, for the love of all that’s holy and unholy, support the independent press.  Support the people who are putting out some of the best dark speculative fiction available…and for the most part, it ain’t the big press.  Publishers like GMP, who work hard to bring you the very best authors and fiction out there, deserve your support, especially if you want to read quality work.  And, frankly, right now, no one is doing this better than Grey Matter.  Period.

2016 is going to be fucking awesome, my friends.  Are you ready for the ride?  I know I am.





OK, I Enjoyed The Martian. So There’s That…

Not a long post, cuz I’m working on stuff right now, but I figured I’d share that me and the lovely Deb went out and saw The Martian last night…and enjoyed it.  Well-made, straightforward SCIENCE fiction.

I guess if I’d have one criticism–and of course I have, Jesus, I’m a curmudgeon–it was that there wasn’t a great deal of tension in the story because, well you kind of knew going in that he wasn’t going to die.  I mean, why make a movie called The Martian, if the lead character, the Martian, dies?  So, there’s that…

Anyway, it was good…go see it.

And, I swear, if I have to hear anymore about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I might scream.  Never a huge Star Wars fan, and I am eager to see the movie…but, jeezly crow, no one’s that eager.

Well, except my eldest son, and I think he’s just eager to see it to hate it.  Oh well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Do I Like Anything Anymore?

The lovely Deb and I saw Spectre last night.  Now, I am a James Bond fan since…well, since I was very little.  My dad was a huge Bond fan, in the Connery/Moore days.  He had all the Fleming books–still does, the original sixties mass-market paperbacks–and we kids and my mom were taken to every new Bond film that came out.  I have a great love for those old Bond films.  Connery was and will ever be Bond, but Moore (early on at least) was a pretty good Bond.  Dalton was a great (if prickly) Bond, Brosnan was a good sort of cheesy Bond.

When Daniel Craig came along, I was a little skeptical, but Casino Royale wowed me.  Quantum of Solace was somewhat of a letdown, not Craig’s fault.  Skyfall…well, I didn’t like Skyfall much.  But compared to Spectre, Skyfall is a classic.

Spectre is two and a half hours of bad exposition, long, boring chunks, and characters doing stupid things to advance the plot, all strung together with manic action sequences.  This time, though, Craig seems bored, diffident, as if he’s just walking through the scenes.

And the idiotic things that are said, the idiotic things that are done, the supremely lazy and stupid writing of this story is almost insulting.  What they’ve tried to do–and this is going to get necessarily a little spoilery–is tie up all of the villains and stuff that’s happened in Craig’s previous three movies into one nice little package.

Great idea, potentially, but not here.  Instead, what we get, is the introduction of a classic Bond villain, but this time given a personal spin relative to Bond…somewhat literally.  But the motivations for the villain’s deeds are murky and ill-defined, to say the least.  And really, they seem small and petulant when examined outside the framing of the film.

The end, as with Skyfall, is stupid, and is predicated completely on (again as with Skyfall) people doing stupid things so that the plot can advance.  Oh, and the other thing, the secondary villain driving much of the Double-O Program’s existential angst is so transparent and ridiculous, that if you don’t guess what’s going on in the first 10 minutes or so, then you’ve pretty much never seen a Bond film.  Or a spy film.  Or a film.  Period.

This could be Craig’s last outing as Bond, and that would be too bad, as he does a good job when he’s engaged in the plot.  But the current franchise has been a slow ebbing away from the kick-off of Casino Royale.  Hopefully, if he comes back, it will be to send his version of Bond off on a high note.  Then, let’s get Idris Elba in as the new Bond.

Now, the headline.  I feel as if I complain a lot about things.  Many, many movies I see (and I love to see them) leave me cold these days.  My mother says that Deb and I don’t like any restaurants, because we’re constantly going out and not liking places.  I guess this can be construed as getting old and cranky or really, really picky about things, or just being a chronic complainer.

Well, I am getting old, and I am fairly cranky.  I also am not embarrassed to say that I am pretty picky if I’m laying down money for something–whether it’s a meal, a movie, a book, an album or whatever.  Why shouldn’t you be?  If you’re spending real American dollars on stuff and it’s not up to par, why not be honest about it?  Why is it such a big deal to some that you might have the temerity to ask for a little quality in the things you consume?

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Now, get off my lawn.

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