News, Updates, and Stuff

I know, I know - I don't post often enough here. But I've got a great excuse: I've been writing.

The first draft of book five is now done. You read that right - book five. That's two complete novels written this year, and we're not even halfway through 2016. In case anyone's curious, this is definitely the most productive I've ever been in my life.

Of course, I've still got a ton of work to do on book three, A Unique Sickness of Spirit, between now and the fall. So I'll be taking some time off of writing to revise that and work on the cover before I dive into book six, which is an installment I've been dying to tell since I started this series.

Lindsay and I went hiking a few times already. We didn't go anywhere we've never been before, but we did get to one of our all time favorite trails: Lake Serene (hence the pictures).

What else? Well, I've been to the movies a few times recently. In April, I saw Jungle Book, which was a major achievement in both technology and storytelling. If you want more details, check out my full review over here.

If you thought I'd wait longer than opening day to see Captain America: Civil War, you don't know me all that well. It was my second favorite movie in the MCU, behind only The Avengers (and even then, it was close). After the poorly constructed Batman v Superman, it was a joy to see a superhero movie on this scale made by people who understand what they're doing. You can find more of me using Civil War as an excuse to bash Zack Snyder in my review.

Just this past weekend, my wife and I went to see Shane Black's 70's comedy/noir, The Nice Guys. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, though I was a little disappointed to find it staying a little too close to Black's earlier work.

We're also experimenting with a new review format over on Mainlining Christmas. Our test subject is Home, a CG comedy/SF kids movie that came out last year. It had just enough holiday elements to earn a spot on the site but not enough to take up our time in December. If you have a few minutes, head on over and let us know if you like the "discussion" format.

That's it for now.

True Story About Movies

This happened five, maybe six years ago, back when I was still in New York. If you've ever visited the city, you probably know the subway system can be daunting, even for those of us who lived there. I won't take you though the details, but I wound up missing a stop, grabbing the wrong train, and - long story short - I found myself in a space beyond space, sort of a nexus between parallel worlds.

Right. If you're not up on your quantum mechanics, the reality we know is but one of many sharing a multiverse of... you get the point. This isn't a physics lesson - this is about movies.

There's a bunch of us there waiting for different trains; mostly people in the same situation I was in, but we were all from different worlds. So while I'm waiting for an N train, I run into this guy, a little older, but kind of nerdy like me, and we get to talking, like you do. We realize pretty quickly we're from similar worlds, but not exactly the same; like, his New York has four boroughs instead of five, and conspiracy nuts say there's a monster in Lake Michigan but he's never heard of Loch Ness. That kind of thing.

Then, out of the blue, he says to me, "I've always wondered if it was just my world, or if others had this happen. Back in the late seventies, there was this movie that came out, called, 'Star Wars'. The trailers looked amazing. Well, they did to me, at least. I guess not everyone thought so, but there were space wizards and lasers and robots. It just looked incredible.

"Anyway, I made sure to go see it the day it came out, even though I read a review that said it was a waste of time. And I loved it. It was just... it was something to behold; a sort of jumble of different story types and ideas. It was part space opera, part adventure, part fantasy, a lot like those old serials from the 30's. I'd never seen anything like it.

"I remember thinking this was going to change everything. That a generation of filmmakers was going to be inspired by it, that there'd be sequels, and this was going to be all anyone talked about.

"The theater was maybe half full, and most of the audience really seemed to like it. Then, I don't know. Nothing happened. There were more negative reviews, not a lot of people went to see it, and it just kind of quietly left the theaters. Years later, it came out on VHS, and a few more people saw it. It sort of picked up a cult following, but mostly it was just forgotten.

"Every now and then, I wonder what could have happened. I'd have loved to see a sequel or two or something. I don't know... you have anything like that where you're from?"

I glance up at the sign and see I have three minutes before my train's going to pull in. Not a lot of time, but just enough to answer his question. So I smile, nod, and say, "Let me tell you about a movie called Speed Racer...."