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Book-To-Movie: ‘The Lawnmower Man’

Credit: Pixabay Warning: This review may contain spoilers. In past Book-To-Movies, we’ve reviewed several movie adaptations of books and short stories by famous science fiction and horror authors. All those films have stuck to the plot of the original work to at least some recognizable degree. But this week’s Book-To-Movie will be the first to review a film that does a poor job of staying faithful to the original plot. The film is 1992’s “The Lawnmower Man” which is based on Stephen King’s short story of the same name. Even so, the movie is a really good one. So then what’s the problem? The problem is that it’s hardly an adaptation and so more its own story simply with the title of King’s short work slapped onto it.  ‘The Lawnmower Man’: The Short Story Stephen King’s “The Lawnmower Man” originally appeared in “Cavalier” magazine in 1975 and was then collected into his book of short fiction, “Night Shift” the following year. The story’s protagonist is a middle-aged husband and dad by t

Interview with Author Jacqui Murray

Photo Credit: Pixabay   As a science fiction writer, I’ve always had a fascination with the prehistoric. It’s often been the subject of pulp fiction and b movies and so, more often than not, has been romanticized with human and dinosaur existing side by side, almost never harmoniously. Such stories can be considered what we now call alternative historic fiction, or in this case alternative pre historic fiction. This is because science has proven that humans did not come along until millions of years after the dinosaurs went extinct. Yet, there are a lot of great books and films out there that depict early humans in a much more realistic manner than the pulps and b films. For example, there’s Jean Auel’s novel, “The Clan of the Cave Bear”, which was adapted into a 1986 film. There’s also Jacqui Murray’s “Dawn of Humanity” series of books, the latest of which is “Laws of Nature”. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jacqui for tonight’s post.  Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jacqui Murray "

Insecure Writers’ Support Group: Writing Around a Day Job

  It’s the first Wednesday of the month and so it’s time for another Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG)  post! In an IWSG post, we writers bring our writing challenges and problems out into the open to share with each other and try to offer solutions. Making Time to Write When Working a Day Job After four months, I finally returned to the work place of my day job yesterday! I had been teleworking part of the time during those four months and the rest of the time I was either in the hospital or recovering at home. It was so good to get back to my place of employment and see the familiar faces that I had missed during my time off.  But with a day job comes less writing time. Generally, “day job” is defined by us artists and writers as a job unrelated to our creative and artistic work. When I was teleworking I was doing so on a limited schedule and so had more time to write, but since I’ve returned to my workplace and regular schedule I have less time. So, I have to be very thorough a

‘Alien’ TV Series; Newsletter #2; Smashwords Summer Book Sale

Credit: Pixabay.com I received my second dose of the Covid shot yesterday. Even though I didn’t get sick from it like some people have, I woke up with muscle soreness this morning and have had it all day. So, I’m going to take it easy today and keep this post short with a little sci fi news and updates. Also, it’s a holiday weekend, so we all deserve to take at least a small break. I’ll mostly be working on my short stories for my upcoming   collection throughout the weekend. ‘Alien TV Series in the Works Noah Hawly, producer of the Hulu series, “Fargo”, is coming out with a TV series based on the “Alien” movies. Like “Star Wars”, The original 1979 “Alien” spawned an entire franchise of sequels, prequels and retail items. The franchise came out with action figures, bubble gum trading cards, games, comics and even prose fiction books. And now, also like the “Star Wars” franchise with its “Mandalorian” series, it’s finally coming out with a TV series. According to Hawly in a “Vanity Fai

Book-To-Movie: Hammer’s ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’

Credit: Pixabay No, I’m not reposting the Book-To-Movie from three months ago. This week’s Book-To-Movie is reviewing a different film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles”. Last time, we reviewed the 1939 adaptation starring Basil Rathbone. This time we’re reviewing Hammer Studios’ 1959 version starring that other big name in horror, Peter Cushing. Last time, I said I hadn’t seen this version. But only a week ago I came across it on the streaming video website, Tubi . It was under the category of movies that are “Leaving Soon”. So, I thought if I wanted to see it for free then I’d better watch it right away and so did. (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always go cheap. But, hey, who doesn’t like freebies?) This movie wasn’t a bad adaptation of the book. In fact, it only fell short of matching the quality of the 1939 film by a couple details.  The Book Because we went over the book, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, in the earlier Book-To-Movie, I’m only going t

We Need the Humour of ‘60s Sitcom ‘The Munsters’

Credit: Wikimedia Commons All this week I’ve been trying to catch up on my writing projects, especially my upcoming short story collection. I had lost a lot of writing time while I was in the hospital for several weeks. So for the past week I’ve been mostly writing the first draft of a story I want to include in the book. I’ll keep you updated on the collection but in this post I want to talk about Rob Zombie’s upcoming movie reboot of the 1960s sitcom, “The Munsters”. And I can tell you right now that I probably won’t be seeing it when it releases.  Some of you, especially if you’re a fan of popular movie monsters of the mid 20th century like me, are probably familiar with “The Munsters”. It was a TV sitcom about a family based on some of Universal’s classic monsters such as Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula. The series ran from 1964 to 66. During that same year that it was canceled, a movie directly based on it called “Munster, Go Home” released in theatres. In later decades, a few

IWSG: What 'Abandoning' the First Draft Can Do For You

 It’s the first Wednesday of the month and so it’s time for another Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG)  post! In an IWSG post, we writers bring our writing challenges and problems out into the open to share with each other and try to offer solutions. IWSG Question of the Month The IWSG question for this month is: "For how long do you shelve your first draft before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?"  I don't have a precise amount of time that I shelve, or in my case file, the first draft to a story that I write. However, when I file a draft in a folder that I keep first drafts of fiction in, the time that it sits in there often averages from four to six months. I've set up my own rule to let a first draft sit in my filing cabinet for at least two weeks if it's a short story. If it's a longer work, which I seldom write, I'll let it sit for longer, at least about two mo

Book-To-Movie: 25 Horror and SF Films Starring Vincent Price

Credit: Wikimedia Commons Well, finally, I'm back from that hiatus that I had said I was going to take. With the nice help of family, I got my bedroom cleaned of the paper clutter that dominated it. But that wasn't the only thing I was busy with that kept me from my regular writing schedule. I was in the hospital for three weeks, a follow-up from the last time I was there. The doctors had to remove the benign tumor they had found in me the time before. They had to take me apart, limbs, head and torso, and stitch me back together again like Frankenstein's monster. Okay, I'm exaggerating. Like really exaggerating. They only had to make one incision that they had to stitch up (with staples). The surgery lasted one day but the recovery lasted three weeks. I still have to limit my activity here at home, but I've been feeling well and enthused enough to at least give you this Book-To-Movie review for the month!  I decided to take a deviation from our usual Book-To-Movie

Paper Piles; Blog Hiatus; ‘Circa Sixty Years Dead’ at Smashwords

Credit: Pixabay.com My posts have been late these last few weeks. Instead of posting on late Saturday/early Sunday like I normally had been, I’ve been posting on Mondays. I apologise for this inconsistency but the month has been busier than usual. One of the things that have kept me busiest is a major paper accumulation in my house, let alone my bedroom. I’ve been cleaning out paper junk in my bedroom for the past couple weeks. And I haven’t even cleaned out a quarter of it done yet!  The problem with being a writer, at least for those of us who still like to write on paper and print out our work, is that paper accumulates easily and quickly. We initially don’t know when we will need our old drafts and outlines and so we hang onto them. Print copies of our stories also build up. And these are just a small percentage of the total paper excess in my house! In addition to these, bill notices have piled up over the last ten years, administration paper work and records from my college days

Publisher Puts ‘Amazing Stories’ on Hiatus

Credit: Pixabay Back in September, I ordered a subscription of “Amazing Stories” but not simply because I’ve always loved the magazine.  I also ordered it because I wanted to support the continuing success of its revival after it had been out of publication for several years. Editor Steve Davidson restored it to publication less than a decade ago. So far I’ve only received one issue which was the summer 2020 one. It’s supposed to be quarterly so there should have been a fall and winter issue. I never received them. And it’s no wonder. According to Davidson in a news release last Thursday April 8, the magazine’s publisher, Experimenter Publishing Company, has been facing licensing agreement issues. Because of that, Experimenter has put the publishing of “Amazing Stories” on hiatus.   “Amazing Stories” has been one of the longest running science fiction magazines. Its publication was born in 1926 during the pulp era. It went through several relatively short publication lapses. After its

IWSG: Making the Protagonist Go to the Extreme

  It’s the first Wednesday of the month and so it’s time for another Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG)  post! In an IWSG post, we writers bring our writing challenges and problems out into the open to share with each other and try to offer solutions. Question of the Month The optional question of the month for April is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work? Overall, I’m already set in my own style of writing which I can’t really define, it’s just that it’s my own personal style. So, I wouldn’t say I normally take risks. There are times where I will go to an extreme in writing a scene, making it perhaps more sexual or more graphically violent than I normally would. However, I think the most risks, or what comes close to them, that I take in my fiction is with my protagonists. I’ll sometimes have them do anti-heroic things just to develop the character and so make it more believable. But

Book-To-Movie: ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’

Credit: Wikimedia Commons I apologise for posting outside our regular post-day which is late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. However, I got behind on several things last week and so had to postpone the post to today.  I’ve been a reader of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books ever since I was 11. What I’ve always liked so much about the series is that, like a good horror story, the stories often take place in dark settings and involve bizarre cases. Conan Doyle’s novel, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, definitely contains these elements. It’s a detective story that crosses over into the gothic horror genre. Several movie adaptations of the novel have been made that go as far back as a 1915 German silent film. In 1959 Hammer Studios released a version starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. As much as I’m a fan of the Hammer horror films, I have not seen that one yet. The only one that I’ve seen so far is the 1939 adaptation starring that other big name in classic Bri

The Blogger was Out and Under for 2 Weeks

Credit: Pixabay I apologise for missing posting the last two weeks but yours truly was out and under during that time. That is as in under the weather and not necessarily unconscious, although he was that a few times too. I was in the hospital for nearly two weeks and wasn’t discharged until a week ago this past Friday.  It was the first of the month when I had went into the hospital. It was near or just after the witching hour when I went to the kitchen to get some ice peach tea. After taking two sips I became really nauseated so I walked to my bedroom to lie down. Before I could make it to the bed I collapsed onto a bag of books on the floor. I called 9-1-1. Sometime between then and when I got home almost two weeks later, I learned that Frankenstein’s Monster partly saved me from my fall. The Doritos/Pepsi cardboard cut-out ad of Universal’s classic monster is still leaning, partly bent, in the corner of my room where I fell. I think I can smooth it back into its original form; the

Book-To-Movie: ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’

Credit: Wikimedia Commons /Harry Clarke   Warning: There are unavoidable spoilers in this review. The only way to avoid them is not to read the review (until you’ve read the book and seen the movie, of course). Edgar Allen Poe is not only known as an early author of American horror but also America’s first detective writer. His short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, combine elements of horror and detective fiction. The story contains gothic elements, a killer ape and methodical crime investigation. The earliest full-length movie adaptation of the story is Universal’s 1932 version directed by Robert Florey. In this movie adaptation a mad scientist is added to the story who does more of the killing than the ape, yet the original basic plot is maintained. The Short Story Poe’s “Murders in the Rue Morgue” involves a couple of gothic amateur detectives, one by the name of Auguste Dupin and the other the narrator who, as with many of Poe’s stories, is mostly left unnamed. The two men