The poster grabbed me, but what really made me excited about this film was seeing it was being directed by Kasi Lemmons of EVE’S BAYOU fame. One of my favorite films, just such a magical, yet somehow easily beautiful little film, that defies easy genre labels. If she can bring that deft touch to this ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ tale of HARRIET TUBMAN, we could have something very special here.
Intriguing poster and trailer, but the jury is out on this.
THE TERMINATOR franchise has largely been a case of diminishing returns since the second one. And while I have no great interest in a new one, with Tim Miller at the helm, I’m intrigued to see what he can do.
THE EXPANSE is one of the best scifi shows(full blown space opera) to arrive on the scene since FARSCAPE. Not sure if we are getting a new season but the existing three seasons are a brilliant self contained novel, ala BABYLON 5 and DEEP SPACE NINE. If you have not watched it, watch it. You’ll find it time well spent.￼
UNCANNY – B+ Uncanny DVD on Sale!
For those of us who grew us with the Star Trek mythos, the trailer doesn’t particularly scream Star Trek. It feels like something decidedly different and I for one think that’s a good thing. With sequences shot in the 70mm IMAX format (not with the IMAX 3D cameras) it should be a great film to see on a REAL IMAX movie theater.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS (would it have killed them to put a ‘The” in there?! 🙂 ) hits theaters on May 17th.
Okay the following contains spoilers for the episode (as well as a smattering of risque adult themed humor :)), now you regular readers know I typically avoid spoilers like the plague, but there is no way to really sell this episode and not describe its reveals. And it is still a great episode, even when you know what is coming.
However, jump to the last paragraph if you want to avoid any spoilers (or avoid tasteless humor :)).
For the rest of you… into the mystery.
This 4 part episode works in large part because of the villain of Eldrad played by Judith Paris. A silicone rock based creature who is one of the first scifi gender-bending characters I’m aware of. This alien menace starts out off camera as a dude, becomes a dudette, and in the final episode returns to a dude form. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t see the whole serial as a kid, as my young mind may not have been able to compute all that. But as an adult I can appreciate the entire serial.
But yeah the first three episodes, and much of the fourth are just great, and again largely it’s because the villain of Eldrad is such a rich and complex character. Powerful, a bit violent, but also a bit vulnerable, it’s just a well written part, that Judith Paris I thought performed the heck out of.
It didn’t hurt at all that she was drop-dead gorgeous. Between her and Catwoman in the Adam West Batman reruns… I knew puberty had arrived. 🙂
Wait did I say that out loud?!!
What can I say that woman was frigging gorgeous. Okay there were slight problems, she was an alien menace, and she was made out of rock. Okay I see that being a minor hiccup, but hand me my ‘Ben Grimm’ condoms and cry ‘Clobbering Time!’, and I’m good.
(Heh, Heh! That joke is only for fans of the FF. Yes, I am evil! 🙂 )
Okay getting my mind out of the gutter (I’m telling you, I’m going to find that costume and put my girlfriend in it— wait… did I say THAT out loud?!! DOH!!) it’s just a great 4 part storyline, right up till the last episode, when Judith Paris’ Eldrad gives way to a male version.
Now, I’m not a sexist, and I’m not going to hate on the rock dude villain, because he’s a dude, but I am going to hate on him because… he is effing rubbish! Eldrad turns from a complex, intriguing, nuanced character, to this blustering, shouting, scenery chewing, mustache twirling stock villain… yeah.. it is just disappointing; a glaring combination of bad writing, and horrendously bad over acting.
But thankfully the screen-time of the male Eldrad is brief, and the episode ends on one of the pivotal scenes between the Doctor and his companion, Sarah Jane Smith. It was a good four part-er that really showed how well these two work together and what they mean to each other, which made the ending all the more… bitter-sweet.
All in all it is not a perfect episode of Doctor Who, largely because of dropping the ball with the demise of Eldrad, but that aside it’s a beautifully directed, and well performed episode that comes highly recommended. Plus the DVD offers a commentary with the cast, so it’s worth getting for that alone. Grade: B/B+.
Proof positive I do this blog to educate myself as much as entertain anyone else, is this post on Hugh Holton.
I knew Hugh Holton was a high ranking, highly decorated Chicago Police Officer.
I knew he was a fantastic writer from owning and reading three of his books.
I knew he had passed in 2001.
I did not know he had as many books, above and beyond the ones I own. Given his responsibilities as one of Chicago’s Top Cops, that he was able to be as prolific (and going by the novels I’ve read, as consistently good) as he was, is quite amazing.
So without further ado, today’s Recommended Writer is HUGH HOLTON:
Police Lieutenant Hugh Holton was a twenty-nine year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He authored several bestselling novels, including, Time of the Assassins, The Left Hand of God, and Violent Crimes. At the time of his death, at the age of only 54, Hugh Holton was the highest ranking active police officer writing novels in America.
1994. Presumed Dead
1995. Windy City
1996. Chicago Blues
1997. Violent Crimes
1998. Red Lightning
1999. Left Hand of God, The
2000. Time of the Assassins
2001. Devils Shadow, The
The following three titles were published posthumously, which is why they came as a surprise to me when researching this post. I’ve heard REVENGE was an early discarded rough draft of his, so it’s not up to Hugh Holton’s high standards. It’s something he would have tweaked/perfected had he known it was being published. So take that into consideration when reading it. It’s basically just an early draft, the publisher decided to put out there, so judge it as such, and not as representative of Hugh Holton’s usual great work.
I was turned onto Hugh Holton’s fantastic Larry Cole mystery series a while ago, and they are pulse-pounding procedurals and thrillers, grounded by the experience of someone who knows intimately the facts behind the fictions… he writes about.. My personal favorite of the three novels I’ve read so far is the juggernaut-like TIME OF THE ASSASSINS. In terms of pacing, and just keeping you racing till the end, it’s the strongest [the others I own are WINDY CITY, and VIOLENT CRIMES].
It was a great starting point for me to the excellent body of work Hugh Holton left us with, but I think I’ll now go back, pick up all the books I’m missing and read them all chronologically.
REVENGE, by all reports should not be considered part of the chronology, it’s something that (again according to reports) was not ready for publication, and was put out as a cash grab by the family and the publisher. It’s a curio, at best, and I would have less problem with it if the family had put their name on the novel(his Daughter I believe signed off on this version), rather than just Hugh Holton’s.
Being a writer, the idea of assigning sole responsibility to me, for something I didn’t have the chance to proof/edit… well that would bug me even in the grave. A writer’s books are his reputation.
And Hugh Holton has a well earned, and well deserved reputation as a great writer. Try the books for yourself at the links below! And tell’em HT sent ya!!!
“Fortune nodded pleasantly at those who acknowledged his presence. There were many who did not. A significant number of who had enjoyed the hospitality of Fortune’s gambling ship and had drunk champagne with him and laughed at his jokes. But here, they looked right through him as though he simply were not there.
Fortune wasn’t offended. Despite his wealth, his obvious culture and intelligence, he was still a Negro and therefore, even though his wealth afforded him access into company such as this, he would never be truly accepted by them.
And showing up at a function such as this, even though he was invited…well, most here would treat him as a novelty and others as a bounder. And as for having a white woman on his arm…there were some here in their finery and jewels and aristocratic bearing who cheerfully would have hung Fortune from the nearest tree for such an insult to their delicate sensibilities. But the bottom line was this: he was providing them a service. An outlet to indulge themselves at night but deny in the light of day. And providing that service discreetly was armor more protective than any forged by the finest of iron workers.”
— The Adventures of Fortune McCall
Derrick Ferguson hails from Brooklyn, NY which as all right thinking people know is the true and proper Center Of The Universe. The son of Leroy and Corine Ferguson, he was introduced by them to movies and books which soon became the twin passions that ignited his desire to tell stories of his own. Inspired to become a rule-breaking writer, he dedicated himself to learning the rules so that he might break them more fully and artistically. Derrick’s manic obsessions are carefully monitored by his wife, Patricia.–Bio
With interests that range from old radio shows to classic pulps to comic books to science fiction to movies, as well as being a pioneer in the fields of pod-casting (as co-host of the fun film pod-cast BETTER IN THE DARK with Thomas Deja) and E-books, Derrick Ferguson is a writer and creator who combines the best of the old, with the sophistication of the new.
And I was honored to have him consent to the following. He is a wealth of knowledge, and it all comes across in the great answers provided below. Check the links as he gives a clinic on great writers, books, and films for you to search out and get. Enjoy!!
“Written in the fashion of the classic pulp novels made popular by characters such as Doc Savage and The Shadow, author Derrick Ferguson has created a new adventure hero whose toughness and bravado will be long remembered after you finish reading this book.”- GOOD READS on the Dillon Books
HT: What is your favorite genre or genres?
DF: Well, quite naturally, given the stuff I write my favorite genre is pulp action adventure. I’m also a lover of science fiction, western and detective/spy fiction.
HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written?
DF: Right now I’d have to say that “Dillon and The Judas Chalice” which is in the anthology FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON is my current favorite. I’m usually not entirely satisfied with my work but that story I point to with pride and say without any hesitation that it’s a damn good story.
Four Bullets for Dillon
HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?
DF: Lester Dent. Robert R. McCammon. Charles Saunders. George C. Chesbro. Robert E. Howard.
[Lester Dent created and wrote pulp hero DOC SAVAGE, some books by or about him are:
George C. Chesbro is known for:
Shadow of a Broken Man
HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered that impressed you.
DF: Wayne Reinagle: He’s emerged as one of the truly distinctive voices of New Pulp. He writes truly epic stories spanning generations of adventure. He writes the New Pulp equivalent of “Gone With The Wind” and as good as the books he’s already written are, I believe that he’s got even better books ahead.
Paul Bishop and Mel Odom: These two gentlemen are singlehandedly bringing back the boxing pulp genre with the FIGHT CARD series. When most people think of Pulp, they think of characters such as Doc Savage, The Spider, Conan or The Phantom Detective. But a multitude of genres came under the umbrella of pulp adventure and boxing pulp was one of the most popular.
Milton Davis: a writer and editor of enormous drive, talent and passion who I feel is the natural successor to Charles Saunders in the field of Sword and Soul. For those of you who don’t know, Sword and Soul is heroic fantasy fiction based on African culture, history and mythology. In recent years Milton Davis has been tireless in expanding this genre and bringing it to mainstream attention.
Valjeanne Jeffers: she’s an important voice that has brought me back to reading science fiction which I’ve been neglecting for some time now. But her work isn’t just science fiction. She blends fantasy and horror in a wonderful mixture of truly well-written and compelling prose.
HT: Going along with the above name an author or authors (either new or old) who you think don’t get the attention they deserve, and everyone should be reading?
DF: Robert R. McCammon has never gotten the credit he deserves. He is quite simply one of the most amazing writers I’ve ever read. His SWAN SONG is easily just as good as Stephen King’s THE STAND. STINGER is a book I’d have sold a kidney to be able to write. And THE WOLF’S HOUR is one of the best pulp adventures written in the past fifty years.
George C. Chesbro is a writer who through his own work which blends the hardboiled detective/spy genre with mysticism, science fiction, mystery, martial arts and the supernatural taught me not to be afraid of mixing genres together.
Charles Saunders is a creative powerhouse that I frankly am in awe of. His IMARO series should be required reading for anybody who wants to write heroic fantasy/sword-and sorcery.
HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror short stories.
DF: Robert E. Howard’s “Pigeons From Hell”
Stephen King’s “The Jaunt”
Ray Bardbury’s “Mars Is Heaven”
And here’s my five favorite films. At least for right now. Ask me the same question a couple of days from now and you’ll probably get a completely different list. Here goes:
“The Ten Commandments”
“Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom”
“Once Upon a Time In The West”
HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers producing genre fiction?
DF: First and foremost, writers should write whatever they feel compelled or driven to write. To do otherwise would not be true to the desire of their particular creative muse. And there is a considerable number of writers… who are producing genre fiction. It’s just that readers aren’t reading it. And that’s not an indictment against readers at all. Money is tight and times is even tighter. Writers… are struggling against other forms of entertainment such as video games, the Internet, cable/satellite TV with 500 channels, Netflix, Hulu… you get my point.
HT: And finally in closing with a little less than 11 months left in 2012, what are you looking forward to?
DF: Sleeping less and writing more.
I want to thank Derrick Ferguson for some excellent insight into the medium, and introducing myself and others to voices we might otherwise have missed. And please show your support as well, by using the links and treating yourself to some great films and books including the following:
AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: THOSE WHO WALK IN DARKNESS by John Ridley, Read by Patricia R. Floyd
This is the first book in John Ridley’s SOLEDAD series. Set in an alternate world where superheroes aren’t just real, but have fallen from grace like pop stars or athletes, and are now considered terrorists and are hunted and killed if found in America.
Our protagonist, Soledad, is a member of the special LA unit that hunts and kills super powered beings. It’s capably read by Patricia R. Floyd, who gives the characters distinct voices. The issue isn’t the reading.
The problem is trying to do a super-hero pastiche/deconstruction is a bit of an uphill battle in any format, just because it has been done so well, by so many in comic-book/graphic novel form. From WATCHMEN to KINGDOM COME to MARVELS it’s this huge history of mankind dealing with beings they do not trust. And it has been done, exceptionally well, in the medium that is tailor-made for these types of stories… comics.
Now John Ridley brings this tale of a mutant hating cop into novel form, and it’s not badly told, even exciting in places, it’s just from scene one it feels dreadfully familiar and by the numbers. Bigoted cop and this tale of redemption, either because she sees the good some ‘mutants’ can do, or perhaps learns she’s part mutant. And if there’s no redemption, that’s even worse. That’s spending time with an unlikeable character that stays unlikeable, ie a David Ayer movie (Not a fan, hated his TRAINING DAY, didn’t like his HARSH TIMES any better).
I don’t know, point is by the third cassette, I just don’t care. I’m just not interested. It just feels like a chore to slog through. Cop shoots Angel, and tries to justify it. Yada, Yada, Yada. It’s just hundreds of words in and I don’t feel any fresh ideas.
Possibly someone who brings no superhero experience to the novel will get more out of it, though I find it hard to believe if you have no interest in previous superhero items you’ll for some reason find this of interest. And those who do bring a history with the concept, will just find it, like myself, marking time till it gets out of first gear.
I couldn’t tell you, because I just could not be bothered to go any further. Only the excellent reading by Patricia Floyd kept me going this far, reading the paperback I would have become severely disinterested quite a bit before.
My recommendation… stick to John Ridley’s earlier pure mystery/pulp fiction novels. He’s a good writer I just don’t think he brought enough engaging or captivating to this story. FINAL GRADE: Rent something else.
3. Zdzislaw Beksinski- I’m putting this on the list even though this isn’t a 2011 publication. Finally managed to pick up this 1992 English Language House Arkady (love that name) printing of BEKSINSKI.
1. REBUS- My number one artbook of 2011 comes from Chronicle Books, and is the drop dead gorgeous James Jean’s
REBUS. Having had this for a month I do not get tired of flipping though those stunning red gilded pages. The book is a work of art just in terms of design, even before you get to the art within, which is masterful, and beautiful, and disturbing. Just simply gorgeous. Trust me, If you at all have an interest in artbooks, you need to own this one. Highest recommendation.
There you go. Come back next installment as I start looking at 2012 artbooks to put on your must buy list! Price your copies by clicking on the links below:
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