Monthly Archives: March 2014

Review: Doctor Who: Dead Air

Doctor Who: Dead Air
Doctor Who: Dead Air by James Goss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I just don’t think I like Doctor Who books all that much. The story on this one wasn’t too bad, had some interesting ideas but it certainly feels different than the show. The other, rather weird, thing about this particular story is it was read by David Tennant, the 10th Doctor himself. Except when he was reading the Doctor’s lines, he didn’t sound like the Doctor. He did when he was reading narration, but the actual dialogue it felt like he was using a put on voice. Very odd.

I’ve listened to other Doctor Who stories read by him and they were fine. I realize this one involves a monster who eats sound and can mimic voices, so Tennant might have been making a conscious choice, but still, sounds strange.

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Review: The Serpent of Venice

The Serpent of Venice
The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the Serpent of Venice, Christopher Moore once again visits the physical world of Pocket the fool and the literary world of William Shakespeare (with a slight touch of Edgar Allan Poe thrown in for good measure). This time around, instead of King Lear, the source material is a mash-up of Othello and The Merchant of Venice, only set in the late 13th century and Pocket is embroiled in a battle to save Venice from itself while at the same time, helping the course of true love… all while dealing with his own depression over the loss of his queen Cordelia. Oh yeah, and there’s some sort of sea monster roaming around the Venetian canals wrecking havoc an death on whatever comes across its path. Continue reading

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Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | theguardian.com

Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | theguardian.com.

Mostly I’m putting this here for me. There are some great bits of information here, things which any writer could and should hear from time to time. Some of this is motivational, some is good solid advice and some is funny (but funny because it’s true).

And while I was going to close with a Neil Gaiman quote, that’s a bit cliche at this point so instead, I’ll sum up with probably the best advice one could ever get, this one coming from Richard Ford:

“Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.”

Categories: On Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Ringworld

Ringworld
Ringworld by Larry Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like a majority of Niven’s books, this focuses more on the concept than any type of tangible story. We get really cool technology, awesome aliens, some pretty cool thought experiments but at the end of the day, there’s really not much more than that.

And that’s okay. Continue reading

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Why we do it…

 

Last week, as class ended, a student came up to me and handed me a small box of chocolate, saying “this is for you.” I said thank you and asked why. “Just because.” was the answer.

Inside was this note.

Letter

This is why I do what I do – to try and keep the stories moving forward.

Categories: Personal, Writing | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Banished Words and Unicorn Hunting!

unicorn trappedThe late W.T. (Bill) Rabe, known for his clever PR stunts from his days as a Detroit-area publicist, created the Unicorn Hunters in 1971, shortly after he was hired as LSSU’s Director of Public Relations. Bill, with the assistance of LSSU Professors of English Peter Thomas, John McCabe, John Stevens and others, came up with the Hunters as a way of garnering more publicity for LSSU, which had just established itself as an independent school after being a branch of what is now Michigan Technological University. The Unicorn Hunters made the news often for activities and events including: the annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, burning a snowman on the first day of spring, World Sauntering Day, International Stone-Skipping Tournament held annually on Mackinac Island, Unicorn Questing Season and Teacher Thank You Week.

Like the Beloit Mindset list, this is an amazing example of the way a university zeitgeist can enter non-academic worlds and have a profound effect. Personally, I think we need more Unicorn Hunting! The regulations seem pretty fair and equitable to me and hey, the license itself is free.

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Hello, I Love You. Won’t You Tell Me Your Name?

This is really a phenomenal piece. The awkwardness and passion, the downright humanity on display, is enough to make me really happy today.

There’s a part of me that wants to know the follow up story, did the pairings become couples, become friends, but I guess that’s the writer, the storyteller in me. I want to know the rest of their story. But then there’s another part which thinks this is perfect the way it is. We don’t need to know what happens because the only that matters, in this case, is the present.

The fact they all had a connection seems to me to be the most wonderful thing of all.

UPDATE: Turns out this is a clothing ad. Not sure how I feel about that. As a marketing bit, great. it gets everyone talking. And it’s certainly not the first time viral marketing has been used to sell a product. But then I guess this is what everything has become – there is no are anymore, it’s all commerce. I still like the piece for what it represents, but no longer for what it shows. They say the people (all of whom are “personalities” of some sort) really didn’t know each other and the reactions are genuine, but at the same time, as performers, there’s a certain amount of expectation they’re bringing to the project so I can no longer trust them.

Ah well… until the next time we’re all taken in by something which tugs at our heartstrings only to get at our wallets.

Categories: Art, Personal | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Independence Day, Lietuva

Lietuva

24 years ago today, March 11, 1990, The country of Lithuania declared its independence from the Soviet Union with the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. It was the first of the satellite nations which had been occupied by Russia to stretch its wings and test the limits of Gorbachev’s glasnost policies.

This declaration was not immediately acknowledged and was even declared illegal by Gorbachev, who demanded the Act be rescinded. 10 months later came the “January Events,” when soviet forces invaded Vilnius’ TV Tower, killing 14 and injuring hundreds more.

Eventually, in February of 1991, Iceland became the first nation to recognize Lithuania’s independence. The United States followed September 2, 1991 and on September 6, 1991, Russia acknowledged it as well.

Lithuania served as a model for other nations and ultimately led to the collapse of the USSR.

A much more detailed, on the ground report can be found here, courtesy of 15min.lt

Lithuanian Flag

Happy Independence Day to my adopted home! In light of recent events, let’s keep this flag waving high and remember all who fought to get it there!

Categories: Cities, Europe, History, Personal | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Calling August Everywhere…

Calling August Everywhere...

How have I never seen this book before? I really need to write a new Skids Poppe adventure, huh?

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Categories: Personal, Skids Poppe, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Knights of Badassdom

knightsofbadassdom-firstposter-fullI’ll be honest, I’ve been dying to see the Knights of Badassdom since I first about it. I mean, seriously, what’s not to love? It’s got Peter DinklageSteve ZahnDanny PudiJoshua Malina and Summer Glau with Ryan Kwanten in a lead role and Tom Hopper as a completely over the top gamer. There is enough geek cred here to make a Wil Wheaton blog post jealous and the trailer was just over the top enough to keep my interest piqued.

Continue reading

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