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Showing posts from 2021

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

Credit: 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

From Sci Fi To Sci Fact: Ferret Cloned; “The Running Man” Remake

Credit: Cloning has been a theme in a lot of science fiction and horror. However, it became a reality more than ever during the past week with a ferret clone. Also new this week is the announcement of a remake of the ‘80s movie, “The Running Man”. (Yes, another remake. Or is it?) Dead Ferret Cloned Into a Live One This week the ideas of “Frankenstein” and “Jurassic Park” became more science fact than science fiction. Thursday, the US Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) disclosed to the world that they successfully cloned a black-footed ferret that had been dead for more than 30 years. The ferret’s cells had been frozen through the decades. Then, recently, scientists developed an embryo from them and placed it in a living ferret that, in turn, gave birth to the clone Elizabeth Ann. She is the first clone of an endangered North American species. CNN   says that scientists cloned the dead ferret for reasons of rescuing the black-footed species from going extinct. FWS plans to pro

Science Fiction Author Said to Have Inspired SETI Dies

Credit: Pixabay/Alexas_Fotos   During the week, people the world over have been partying like mad for Mardi Gras/Carnival. At least as much as the plague (Covid-19) will allow. And, depending on where they can gather, this year everybody celebrating is probably required to wear masks (if you know what I mean). Myself, instead of partying like mad, has been working like mad to catch up on some projects such as my newsletter and one of the short stories that I plan to include in my upcoming book of short fiction. More on that in a bit. But I wanted to talk about an author who died in late December who I just discovered and found really fascinating--James E. Gunn. James E. Gunn Although many media outlets announced it only earlier this week, James E. Gunn died back on 23 December 2020 in Lawrence, Kansas. He is not to be confused with the director of “Guardians of the Galaxy” who also holds the same name only without the middle initial “E.”. James E. Gunn, the author, was best known for

IWSG: Friends From the Blogosphere

 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 A lot of times blogging is referred to as a kind of social media. And it often is that. We don’t only post our content to show to other people and gain exposure but we also inspire and contribute to discussions. We reach out to each other to share our thoughts and exchange knowledge. We also form friendships even if they mostly remain online. As this month’s IWSG question puts it, “Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?” And my answer is yes.  I’ve met plenty of people in my blog’s comments box. However, not all of them are frequent visitors. I think what has helped me make friends, and

Book-To-Movie: Poe’s ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’

  Credit: Wikimedia Commons   /Arthur Rackham Warning: This review may contain spoilers.   It’s time for our monthly Book-To-Movie! For those of you who are just tuning into this blog, a Book-To-Movie  is when we review a work of prose fiction and its movie adaptation. Normally, we do a Book-To-Movie every fourth weekend of the month. However, because it was necessary for me to make a sudden change of story and movie for review, I had to postpone this month’s post in the series to this fifth weekend. My apologies. This month’s book and movie review is Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Pit and the Pendulum” and the 1961 movie adaptation directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. I truly believe that no one can adapt any of Poe’s gothic horror stories to film in a way that does those stories justice. However, many of Corman’s films come close to doing so. One of his best adaptations of Poe’s short stories is “The Pit and the Pendulum”. Why this movie adapts Poe’s short story

Writing Resolutions and Plans for 2021

Credit: I apologise, but I have to push down the Book-To-Movie  to next weekend. The movie that I thought was on YouTube wasn’t. So, I had to look for another that’s based on a book I’ve read. I found two, one of which I will watch tonight and have the review of it for you next weekend. This weekend, I thought I’d show you what’s coming up in my writing projects for the new year. Often it takes me a couple of weeks to come up with a list of new year resolutions. So below are two lists: one of resolutions to improve my writing and another of plans for upcoming writing projects.  New Year Writing Resolutions Ease Off of My Demands for Success: Throughout the previous year I was getting frustrated with myself for not completing projects in the time frames I had set for myself or for not selling the number of books that I felt should have sold. But I realised that when I get too demanding of these successes I wear myself out, become moody, and sometimes don’t even enjoy produc

Martin Luther King, Nichelle Nichols and ‘Star Trek’

  Credit: Pixabay A new year brings new hope and Martin Luther King Jr. was definitely a man of hope and a new vision, especially with his “I Have a Dream” speech. I did a post on King several years back and on how his vision of a better future for all races served a function similar to that of science fiction. I said that this was one of the few things about him that connected with the genre. I underestimated. He had another big connection with science fiction. I’ll show you what that was in a little bit. Also coming up in this post: news about my newsletter in progress and an upcoming “Frankenstein” movie.  Martin Luther King Was a Fan of a Very Famous Science Fiction TV Series  In the post on Martin Luther King that I mentioned above, I said that he did not have many connections to science fiction except for his vision of a progressive future. However, I only found out yesterday while reading over an article at that he was a regular watcher of the original “Star Tr

Disgusted With Disgust for Disgust’s Sake

  It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and year, 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. A new year always presents new opportunities. That includes new opportunities for reading books we’ve never read before. And so many of us make resolutions to read a certain number of books through the new year. Yet, there are some things that would make me deliberately break such a new year’s resolution. And so that’s where the answer to this month’s IWSG question comes in. The question: Being a writer, when you're reading someone else's work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people's books?  I can deal with bad writing as long as the story and pacing of it is good. I don’t prefer poorly written books but I can deal with them as long as they mee