Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mammoth by John Varley

So I finished the book today. There were a couple of spots where I worried that I might not like the story. But in the end I did like it. I'm looking forward to discussing it with everyone this next Sunday!

So. Um. How far along are the rest of you?

(Shoot. That sounds like I'm being nosy about a pregnancy.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Buffy Lives! (again)

Comics Continuum reports a new comic based on Buffy, written by Joss Whedon, picking up where the last season ended. Targeted for a March release. Which proves once again there's just no keeping a good slayer down.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Book of Lost Things

Every once in a while we come across a book that's just kind of magical. Memorable characters and villains, kind of "transports" us to another time or place, and we end it with that kind of sigh that means we wish it hadn't ended as soon as it did. That was my reaction to John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things, a new fantasy coming out in November. (I was lucky enough to land an advance reader's copy of this one.) It's the same way I felt about Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and Kindred recently. Just kind of swept away, couldn't put it down.

This falls in the adult fairy tale realm, reminiscent of the writing of the late-great Angela Carter, or higher praise yet, Isak Dinesen, one of my all-time favorites (if you've never read Seven Gothic Tales, you really owe it to yourself to pick it up, but that's whole other entry...), or even Neil Gaiman. It's the story of a boy in 1940's London who enters an alternate reality after all the books on the shelves start whispering to him, and he has a mythic destiny to work out. Beautifully crafted, with vivid episodes throughout and a very satisfying ending -- and all this from an author who is known for his mysteries. Go figure. If you get a chance, and your stack of "to be read books" isn't too high, you'll definately want to check it out. So far, and for what it's worth, this easily gets my vote for Favorite Book of the Year.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Children of Hurin

Have you heard about the unfinished work by Tolkien that his son has finished? Not sure what to think of that.

Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on The Children of Hurin, an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned. Excerpts of The Children of Hurin, which includes the elves and dwarves of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and other works, have been published before.

"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the Children of Hurin as an independent work, between its own covers," Christopher Tolkien said.

Regardless of my reservations, I'm sure I'll be picking it up...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oct & Nov Selections

October 1st discussion = Mammoth

November 5th discussion = Three Days to Never

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sunday the 17th

See ya Sunday!

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I chatted with Brandon Sanderson again today at a signing in Murray, and he asked how everyone was, and how the group was going. Thought I'd pass it on. A genuinely nice guy. I picked up Mistborn but haven't started it yet. It has been added to the stack waiting to be read.

Brain-candy from DH Press

If you ever got a kick out of the classic Universal horror monsters, you might enjoy the new line of novels being published by DH Press (Dark Horse Comics). I've read two of them so far, Dracula: Asylum, and The Shadow of Frankenstein, and you know what, they were surprisingly well-done and entertaining. Surprisingly because my expectations were low. C'mon, new novels based on Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and even The Creature from the Black Lagoon?? When I first heard of them, I thought they must be graphic novels. But, no, these are full-fledged novels picking up where the original movie storylines left off. Fun. Allright, maybe I'm just a sucker for those classic characters... so you gotta problem with that? Whatsamatta with you? I know you probably have some cheesy manga hidden away that you love to just roll around in your brain once in a while, or maybe a Dark Shadows novel or a Buffy book or two?? C'mon, what's your brain-candy?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Happy 40th Star Trek!

This evening on my drive home I listened to a great tribute to the 40th anniversary of Star Trek on NPR -- and I thought how cool it was that I kind of grew up with ST. I watched the syndicated repeats of the original series in my youth (for years it was every day at 5pm -- so while mom was in the kitchen cooking dinner, my brother & I were usually parked in front of the TV), saw the animated series on its first run on Saturday mornings, and then the evolution of the feature films, the spin-off series and the novels. It's sort of been ubiquitous in my life. And even though I don't own a Starfleet uniform or rubber vulcan ears, I have been to a number of cons, have a bunch of autographed photos and even a whole set of the collector's plates packed away in a box somewhere -- so I guess I qualify as a trekkie. I still get a kick out of rewatching the episodes I've seen countless times over the years, and love lots of the music. The optimistic future of ST is a great fantasy, and one that is still refreshing. On a sidenote, I saw today that Paramount is finally going to release the complete animated series in a DVD boxed set (Nov. 21st, in case you're interested) and I'll probably be parking myself in front of the TV on Saturday morning to watch it. See? Some things never change.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Obit: Joseph Stefano

There are a few TV shows from my childhood that I remember so clearly, I can almost feel the sofa I was sitting on... The Outer Limits is one of them. Writer/producer Joseph Stefano just passed away, who worked on the original 60's series (often called the best anthology series ever done -- and if you're looking for cool creature-features rather than any sentimental endings look to The Outer Limits rather than The Twilight Zone). Also the screenwriter of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho among others. Who could forget the Harlan Ellison story (doh! ...there's that name again!) Demon With a Glass Hand, The Mutant with his freakish fried-egg eyes (that scared the hell out of me when I was a kid), I Robot, or The Zanti Misfits! Thank goodness these shows are now securely on the DVD shelf for generations to come.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Son of Gojira

Just in case any of you forgot about Godzilla's progeny, Gojira no musuko (which begs the question, where was Mama-Gojira... probably better off not knowing). Only wish I could include the sound effects here. But if you want the Mosura (Mothra) theme song sung by the miniature native fairy-girls, let me know...

Speaking of Godzilla...

...and Forry Ackerman, and Famous Monsters of Filmland... I vividly remember buying this issue of FM (issue #114 dated Mar. 1975 -- I was in sixth grade at the time) at the gift shop in St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, AZ thirty-one years ago (ohmagod) when I was there because my brother had been in a very traumatic life-threatening motorcycle accident. While my parents were in my brother's room waiting to see if he was going to pull through or not, where he literally looked like something out of a Hammer Frankenstein movie -- all very colorfully bruised, swollen and stitched together -- I was out in the waiting room devouring the latest issue of FM, with articles like "Monsters From Japan," "The Manster," "Frankenstein Conquers the World," and "The Return of Ghidrah." Believe it or not, I still have my original issue #114 along with every other issue of FM that I ever bought, now in protective plastic envelopes... more than you ever wanted to know. My brother pulled through fine, with the scars to prove it, and obviously so did "Japan's Monsters!"

Gojira desu ne!

Finally, the ultimate B-movie monster stomps into view in the original Nipponese version on DVD this next week... so we can now watch the subtitled version where the actors' lips will actually match the dialogue. And all the atomic bomb/anti-war subtext hasn't been squashed and edited out for an American audience. Forget Raymond Burr -- this is the real deal. From the advance word I've read, my guess is that we haven't seen the real Gojira until we've seen this special edition. Fry up some good yakisoba, crank up the Ifukube soundtrack, and settle in for the 1954 classic (pre-Son of Godzilla silliness -- good grief, remember that?). Yosh!!