Archive for the ‘to read’ Category
Filed Under agatha christie, giant monsters, horror, pinups, planet of the apes, poirot, steampunk, to read
Kill All Monsters!-Related
I wished I lived in Independence, Kentucky.
Ooh! Agatha Christie comics! (Found via Kevin Melrose.)
Maybe I’m just in the mood for naked women, sunken treasure, wealthy villains, and undersea horror… What am I saying? I’m always in the mood for that. Sounds like Dark Gold is just the thing.
Here’s a very cool Planet of the Apes resource site.
Brass Goggles has an intriguing review of Starcross, the second book in the Larklight series. I’m Wish Listing the first one right now.
Rather than try to categorize new artists I’ve learned about by some sort of arbitrary art genre, I figured I’d just start a new category. To kick it off, the whimsical drawings of Dave Perillo.
Hey, Oscar Wilde, It’s Clobberin’ Time is an awesome site full of various artists interpreting their favourite literary figure/author/characters. I may have linked to it a long time ago in one of its other incarnations, but it’s certainly worth revisiting. It’s searchable by artist and subject now which makes it an engrossing place.
Cool flickr gallery of Gil Elvgren pin-up art.
Filed Under christmas carol, horror, jj abrams, mystery, scifi, star wars, steampunk, to read
As Bookgasm says, “Hard Case Crime editor Charles Ardai doesn’t just publish great crime fiction – he writes it.” Actually, I haven’t read any of it yet, so I’m taking their word for it on the “great” part, but the set up to both of his books (so far) certainly sound great. In Little Girl Lost, “John Blake, an NYU dropout turned PI, is stunned to learn that his high school girlfriend, Miranda, who he thought went to medical school and then on to lead a tame life in the Midwest, actually became a stripper. Even more shocking—she’s been murdered.”
In the sequel, Songs of Innocence, Blake gets involved with another girl with a seedy occupation, and she winds up dead. According to Bookgasm, “it looks like a suicide, but Blake knows better. Her mother doesn’t believe she offed herself, either, and she wants Blake to look into it. He refuses to take her money, referring her to someone else, but only so he can follow leads without her meddling.” Maybe it’s the great reviews about the writing style; maybe it’s that Blake sounds like just the kind of pathetic hero I’d like to see catch a break, but I’m looking forward to checking this series out.
My favorite ghost story is A Christmas Carol and I’m always excited to hear about a new version of it. And I’d expect to be extra excited to hear that Disney is doing an animated feature based on it. I already watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol every December as part of a massive Christmas Carol marathon and I’m willing to add another version to the list. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a Robert Zemeckis-directed, motion-capture, CGI movie like The Polar Express. Even more unfortunately, it’s going to star Jim Carrey as Scrooge and all the ghosts. The only way this could work is for Carrey to pull off the acting job of his life and give each character distinctive personalities rather than play them as the goofy caricatures that I expect he will. And even then Zemeckis is going to have to work equally as hard to have the characters not be as creepy as the ones in The Polar Express.
The teaser trailer that ran before Transformers for the J.J. Abrams movie is causing quite a stir. IMDB isn’t at all helpful, revealing only that the fake working title is Cloverfield. A couple of websites have sprung up that folks thought might be related to it, but Abrams denies that, saying that the real movie site is 1-18-08.com.
I love the steampunk, and Jay Lake’s novel Mainspring about the world’s being run by a gigantic clockwork that’s about to run down is just begging to be made into a movie that I want to see on opening night.
This is rumor, but The Disney Blog is linking to supposed details about an upgraded film for Disney-MGM’s Star Tours attraction. TDB’s John Frost says he’s also “hearing rumblings of improved relations between George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company” and speculates that that could possibly mean a whole Star Wars land at the Disney-MGM park. How cool would that be?
Stuff Nobody Cares About But Me
Besides A Christmas Carol, my two favorite Christmas movies are Ernest Saves Christmas and White Christmas. A while back, I heard about a theatrical version of White Christmas and wondered what force on Earth could possibly make me go see a version of it that didn’t have Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen (not to mention Irving Berlin) to carry me through my annual anger over Betty Haynes’ knee-jerk rejection of Bob Wallace. Mark Evanier let his curiosity get the better of him and paid the price. For which I’m thankful, because now my curiosity is sated too without my having had to endure it myself.
Filed Under airboy, domino lady, fantasy, film noir, horror, jason copland, jericho, kill all monsters, mystery, narnia, shannara, sherlock holmes, spies, the phantom, to read, vampires
Still catching up.
- CBS rules. Jericho has been renewed.
- Play Dead — about a dog who witnesses a murder and the lawyer who tries to keep him safe – isn’t at all the kind of mystery I usually read, but that might be part of the attraction I’m feeling.
- I don’t know anything about Domino Lady, but I do love a crossover and a good femme fatale, so Moonstone’s collection of Domino Lady stories — featuring her meeting folks like Sherlock Holmes, The Phantom, and Airboy — sounds worth checking out.
- My Kill All Monsters! collaborator Jason Copland has an interview out on Newsarama about the thriller he and A. David Lewis did called Empty Chamber. The first issue was fantastic and the second one should be out soon (next week, I think?). Update: In the comments, Jason says that he just heard from Silent Devil that it’ll be out July 27.
- I’m not expecting much from it, but Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien vs. Predator) is directing a movie based on the Spy Hunter video game. The Rock was previously attached as the film’s star a couple of years ago when John Woo was going to direct it. No word yet on whether he’ll still be in it.
- Warner Brothers wants to turn Terry Brookes’ Shannara books into a movie franchise. Wisely, they plan to skip the first novel in the series, the Tolkein rip-off Sword of Shannara, and begin with the second book, The Elfstones of Shannara. As much as I complain about Brookes’ style and the derivative plot of Sword, I really do have a fond place in my heart for these books and I’d love to see them done well as a series of movies.
- It’s been a while since I’d heard news about the next Narnia movies. Sounds like the next one, Prince Caspian, comes out next summer, with the third one, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, coming out the summer after that.
Blogger’s acting weird, so I think I’m going to have to finish this in a separate post.
Filed Under barbarella, batman, comics, flash gordon, meme, mystery, scifi, star wars, superheroes, to read, writing is hard
- I don’t know Christa Faust, but we have some mutual friends, so I was immediately curious about her new novel Money Shot coming out next year from Hard Case Crime. The cover is amazing (as Hard Case covers are), but the sample chapter and the plot description are what got me: “It all began with the phone call asking former porn star Angel Dare to do one more movie. Before she knew it, she’d been shot and left for dead in the trunk of a car. But Angel is a survivor. And that means she’ll get to the bottom of what’s been done to her even if she has to leave a trail of bodies along the way…”
- Not really sure what category to put this under, but since it’s a shirt that spoils the twist endings to a lot of movies and books, I’ll put it here. Careful about clicking the link though. Even though most of the movies are older, there are a couple that I haven’t seen yet, and you might not have either. And if you’re watching the Harry Potter movies, but haven’t read the books, well… you’ve been warned. Still, it’s a great shirt and worth checking out, even if you’d have to be kind of jerk to wear it around.
- Disney-MGM has some awesome ads for their Star Wars Weekends event this June. Fer instance:
- The Barbarella remake has a director and he’s a good one. Now I just gotta get in touch with him about having Duran Duran do the theme song.
- Entertainment Weekly has some dirt on the Sci Fi Channel’s Flash Gordon show. I’m undecided about some of the changes they’re going to be making. Earth and Mongo’s being connected by a wormhole instead of spaceships will take some getting used to, but it does make a lot more sense than having Mongo flying all over the galaxy under its own power. I’m glad to see that Ming will be fleshed out into a villain with deeper motivations than just Wants to Rule the Universe. I’m disappointed though that Flash and Dale are exes. One of my favorite parts of the old serial was watching them fall in love (especially with Princess Aura around to complicate the process) and I feel cheated that we’re not going to get to see that in this version.
- I wasn’t sure whether or not to link yesterday to the site with the image of Heath Ledger as the Joker from The Dark Knight. There was some question about the site’s authenticity, so I just let it go. Shouldn’t have though, because apparently it’s for real. I’ve read some criticism about the makeup and how it’s not accurate to the comics, but whatever. This is far scarier than anything the comics have ever been able to convey. Congratulations to Christopher Nolan, the make-up artists, and Heath Ledger. I’m still a little creeped out.
- I haven’t done these comics meme things before, but I’ve wanted to. The Invincible Super-Blog is responsible for this one:
Writing is Hard
- One of the most useful (and entertaining) blogs for writers for the last two years has been Miss Snark’s. I’ve only discovered it in the last few months, but I was still very disappointed when I visited yesterday and learned that she’s closing it down. I’m going to miss her daily wisdom and humor, but I totally get her reasons for needing to call it done. At least she’s keeping her archives open for those times when I really gotta know something.
- Maybe The Rejecter will be able to fill the Snark-sized hole in my Reader.
Filed Under adam strange, comics, cryptozoology, eli stone, fantastic four, fantasy, jericho, mystery, scifi, spider-man, star wars, superheroes, terminator, to read, writing is hard
- Taking the sting out of Jericho’s cancellation, Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment, responded to huge fan outcry by saying, “Thank you for supporting Jericho with such passion. We truly appreciate the commitment you made to the series and we are humbled by your disappointment. In the coming weeks, we hope to develop a way to provide closure to the compelling drama that was the Jericho story.” No word on if that means a mini-series, a TV movie, or something else, but it’s cause for hope.
- I’m trying not to comment on any of the promised Fall TV shows yet, because I’m still not over some of my favorites getting cancelled this season and I’m certainly not ready to start welcoming in their replacements. But I’ve mentioned before that I’m curious to see Victor Garber’s new show, Eli Stone. Even though the premise didn’t immediately grab me, it’s Victor Garber. His Jack Bristow from Alias is the one guy I’d put up against Jack Bauer and not immediately know which to bet on. But anyway, any hesitation I had about the premise is now completely gone thanks to this trailer. Oh, man, I can’t wait to watch this show now.
- Jason Brannon’s crytozoological thriller The Cage sounds really really good. Sort of like Day of the Animals meets The X-Files. “A Wendigo, Bigfoot, El Chupacabra, The Jersey Devil (think horned horse and awfully mean), The Dragon of Bone Island and a little somethin’ somethin’ called The Beast of Exmoor” attack a small, family zoo and everyone in it.
- I liked Pan’s Labyrinth pretty well, but I don’t think I’d consider buying it if the special edition didn’t have “animated DVD comics (one-page stories with floating captions), beautifully illustrated by Guy Davis, Jason Shawn Alexander and Mike Kaluta, that provide interesting back stories to the mythical characters Ofelia encounters in the labyrinth: The Faun and Great Toad (Davis), Pan (Kaluta) and The Fairies (Alexander).”
- This could also have gone under Superheroes, but I’ll keep it here. I really liked DC’s 52 series, but one of my regrets about it is that I wanted more Adam Strange, Starfire, Animal Man stories. DC read my mind and launches Countdown to Adventure this August.
- Lucasfilm has released a look at the art from its upcoming Clone Wars CGI series.
- My local theater had a showing of the first Terminator movie on the big screen last week. Seeing Linda Hamilton even as the whimpy version of Sarah Conner made me less excited about FOX’s upcoming The Sarah Conner Chronicles, but maybe my prejudice will ease off between now and next January when Chronicles kicks off.
- If you read superhero comics at all, you’re aware that Mary Jane Watson’s first words to Peter Parker were, “Face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot.” But if you’re like me, you don’t know the context of where that line came from. I’ve been confused for years about why those would be the first words out of someone’s mouth when she’s meeting you for the first time. Fortunately, Comics Should Be Good helpfully recaps the story for us.
- Fox and the Franklin Mint have teamed up to release a limited edition Silver Surfer quarter to promote the new Fantastic Four movie.
- I gave up on Heroes about six episodes in and decided that if I was missing out, I could always catch up on DVD. Well, now the DVD is scheduled for release on August 28th and I’m still having a hard time mustering excitement for it. Some of my friends tell me that it got better as the season progressed, but I haven’t yet read a thorough review that acknowledges the show’s early flaws and explains how it corrected for them. I need convincing.
Writing is Hard
- Bestselling author Brad Meltzer shares some tips for getting published. Some of it’s old news if you already read agents’ blogs, but there’s some good, new info too, like the caveat to Miss Snark’s “Query widely” advice where Meltzer suggests you only query ten agents at a time in case you decide to rework your query letter after the first go-’round.
- Another good advice list. This one on developing effective writing habits.
- I suck at titles, so any source of ideas for them is welcome. I totally want to write a comic called Stab!
Filed Under arturo perez reverte, le corsaire, pirates, to read, writing is hard
So, after my mini-freak-out yesterday I went to Amazon and quickly decided that it’s not a great resource for what’s current in the marketplace. I absolutely love Amazon and it’s my primary source for buying books, movies, and music, but for browsing? Not so hot. Nothing is categorized by genre and there’s not an easy way to search for, say, recent pirate fiction. There’s not even a great cross-referencing section so that I can find books similar to ones I already like.
Take Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell, for example. I mentioned it yesterday because it’s got a pirate theme to it, even though it’s set on another planet. Amazon will show me other books bought by people who also bought Crystal Rain, but that’s of limited use. Those recommendations are all for other scifi books. Not at all what I’m looking for. You can also search for other books with particular Key Phrases, but those tend to be proper nouns or what Amazon calls “statistically improbable phrases.” “Pirate fiction” isn’t a statistically improbable phrase.
A little more useful is the Customer Tags feature, but if I search that for “pirates” I get 229 items including Pirates of the Caribbean movies and a book called The Alphabet of Manliness. There are also reference books, pirate dictionaries, The Goonies… but it’s hard to drill down to what I want.
A quick Google search for “pirate novels” was also unhelpful. There’s actually a book called Pirate Novels, so I got a lot of links for that. Wikipedia has an entry on Pirates in Popular Culture, but of the six books they list, only three of them were written in the last decade: a Tween series, a self-published print-on-demand deal (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not a good indicator for what publishers are currently buying, you know?), and a series that looks absolutely hilarious but isn’t at all like what I’m trying to do. Of the six books on Wikipedia’s Pirate Books page, the most recent was published in 1988 (although that one sounds very much like what I’m trying to do with Le Corsaire).
After reading yesterday’s post, my friend Shara suggested that I also search LibraryThing, which is a great idea. Searching their tags is going to be a little easier than searching Amazon’s because there aren’t any movies and CDs to filter out, but it’ll still be challenging.
All is not lost though. I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday to do some browsing. I checked out the Young Adult and the Fantasy/SciFi sections to see if there’s anything new there that looks like me, but there isn’t. What I did see though, in the Fiction and Literature section, was something that reminded me of an Arturo Pérez-Reverte book, and everything clicked for me.
Comparing myself to Pérez-Reverte is pretty frickin’ arrogant, so let’s just say that he’s the guy that I dream of sitting next to on a bookshelf. I may never be that talented, but he’s writing exactly the kind of stuff that I want to write. A little swashbuckling, a little mystery, a little fantasy… I’ve already got The Club Dumas and The Flanders Panel at home, so I left the store with a copy of Captain Alatriste. And that reminded me that there is actually a sub-genre that’s doing what I want to do. For the last year I’ve been Wish Listing what I call Historical Mystery titles off of Bookgasm. Stuff like Napoleon’s Pyramids, The Conjurer’s Bird, The Poe Shadow, and The Historian. And as I’m perusing my Wish List to remind myself of these books, I also remember that if I want something specifically pirate-themed, there’s always The Mark of Ran. And, of course, Crystal Rain.
So now I just have to start reading them.
Filed Under historical, mystery, to read
You know how I love the historical mysteries, right? Well, this one’s got a swashbuckling hero with connections to Ben Franklin, a cursed Egyptian medallion (won in a card game, no less), Gypsies, spies, scantily-clad women, murder, and world-hopping adventure. And it’s all wrapped up in a package that Publishers Weekly calls “unbeatable.”
Found via Bookgasm.
Filed Under adventure, to read
Yeah, you know that Lester Dent created Doc Savage and had crazy adventures with Walter Gibson. But did you know he also wrote zeppelin stories? It’s true!
Airships are undeniably cool. Except for maybe the Hindenburg, but that’s a special case. Who doesn’t love the idea of a sky full of giant blimps floating from skyscraper to skyscraper as they deliver mysterious passengers and secret cargo? And now there’s a book full of stories about them, all written by the guy who wrote Doc Freakin’ Savage. And there are pirates!
Found via Bookgasm.
Filed Under horror, to read
Linda H. Davis has written the first biography of the Addams Family’s creator Charles Addams. It’s called Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life and according to Publishers Weekly, it “dispels the myths surrounding the cartoonist and challenges facile assumptions that Addams was the archetype of his own creepy creations.”
Addams was apparently more James Bond than Gomez. He got a kick out of perpetuating a spooky persona by furnishing his home with macabre items like crossbows and torture devices, but his real passions were for things like Aston Martins, cigars, liquor, and dating beautiful women like Greta Garbo and Jackie Kennedy.
PW criticizes the book for not including critical analysis of Addams’ work, but I don’t see that it claims to be anything but biography. It’s not really fair to judge it for not being something it doesn’t intend to be in the first place. A critical look at Addams’ stuff would be awesome, but we’ll have to wait for that.
In the meantime, this volume does contain previously unpublished artwork, photos, and sketches, so for Addams fans, it’s a must-read.
Filed Under mystery, to read
Another recommendation via Bookgasm. Guillermo Martinez’ The Oxford Murders is a “high-minded mystery” about a murder that was predicted before it happened in a letter that contained “a time, an address and a bizarre symbol.”
When a math legend decides that the symbol has mathematical origins, and another letter with a new symbol arrives, the story’s protagonists determine to try and predict the next murder. It all sounds clever and fun, but what really got my attention is that it’s a “compact” book at less than 200 pages. I’m becoming impatient with overly long, wordy books, and as Bookgasm’s Rod Lott says, “it’s refreshing to see a novel – and a complex mystery, no less – that says what it needs to say and gets out.”