Pre-Order “Clockwork Dragons” Now!

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Promotional image for “Clockwork Dragons”

Featuring my short story “The Mechanical Dragon.” Find it here. Available January 15, 2020.

 

Why Is It Hard To Make a “Superman” Movie?

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What happened to the Man of Tomorrow? (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)Getty Images

Just finished reading an interesting article at Forbes called DC Films Still Doesn’t Know What To Do With Superman. Apparently, the relatively recent successes of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and now Joker haven’t rubbed off on the Man of Steel.

In fact, Dani Di Placido, who wrote the Forbes story said:

But the future of Superman is murky, the studio reportedly unsure how to make the character “relevant to modern audiences.”

Like my previous commentaries on Captain America and particularly my two on Superman, HERE and HERE, he appeals to audiences across time because his values are timeless. How does “timeless” ever become irrelevant?

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Charlie’s Angels 2019: A Brief Commentary

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Promotional photo from the 2019 film “Charlie’s Angels”

First of all, I haven’t seen the 2019 version of the movie Charlie’s Angels in theaters now, so this isn’t a review. I might have seen the 2000 movie, or some part of it, starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, but I don’t have a clear memory. I definitely saw multiple episodes of the television series in the 1970s and 80s, originally starring Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett (then billed as Farrah Fawcett-Majors), and Jaclyn Smith. I don’t remember the show being terrifically good, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen an episode.

The current incarnation stars  “angels” Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinksa along side a plethora of “Bosleys” including Patrick Stewart.

The main reason I’m writing this is that I came across a scathing review called Why ‘feminist’ films flop on what appears to be a pretty conservative news outlet. I mean the author Maren Thom really pulled out all the stops. That made me curious about the movie (I wasn’t before and in fact, I didn’t even know it was in the theaters until I looked it up), so I started doing some reading.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2019

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© James Pyles

I haven’t had much to say lately. Too busy, for one thing. Had a rare day off and, as a Thanksgiving tradition, the family, including my elderly mother this year, went to the local convention center for an event called The Festival of Trees. I took the photo above as I was approaching the Grove plaza where I met my son and grandson. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving afternoon.

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Included in “TREASURE CHEST: Selected Short Stories”

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Promotional image for the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “Treasure Chest.”

This was a nice (almost) surprise. Zombie Pirate Publishing, which has been in existence since 2017, has featured some of my stories in their anthologies, and is producing a “round up” anthology of their favorite tales in Treasure Chest: Selected Short Stories. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now, to be downloaded to your Kindle device December 1, 2019 (a terrific Christmas gift, by the way).

My classic SciFi tale Joey is featured in its pages.

Joey was first published in the ZPP anthology World War Four back in March of this year, along with many other fascinating tales, including best selling science fiction author Neal Asher‘s novelette “Monitor Logan.”

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of “Joey”:

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Telling Someone Else’s Story

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Screenshot of J.K. Jemisin from YouTube – Found at Vox.com

Once again wandering around File 770’s Pixel Scroll, I came across item 5 “Writing About a Different Race.” I was ready to read and cringe, imagining how white, male authors were going to be targeted as racist, misogynistic, insensitive, and so on.

Fortunately the Vulture article Who Gave You the Right to Tell That Story by Lila Shapiro wasn’t particularly cringe-worthy. The subtitle is “Ten authors on the most divisive question in fiction, and the times they wrote outside their own identities,” and one of them is triple Hugo Award winner N.K. Jemisin. She’s one of only two people (that I’m aware of) who has blocked me on twitter (the other is Rep. Steve Cohen who didn’t appreciate my saying he had a “fast food body” after he tweeted a photo of himself eating KFC chicken as a snub to Attorney General William Barr). Oh, I can log out of twitter and see their tweets fine, I just can’t tweet to them.

Anyway, Jemisin, who is a woman of color if you didn’t see her photo above, discussed her experiences in writing characters who are unlike her. She states in part:

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Book Review of “Hyperion”

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Cover art for Dan Simmons’ 1989 novel “Hyperion”

I have to admit that I’d never heard of Dan Simmons or his award winning 1989 novel Hyperion until both were mentioned on Mike Glyer’s File 770. Actually, it was specifically the mention that he dared to insult the much vaunted teenage climate change icon Greta Thunberg. I agree that Simmons went kind of overboard on his twitter commentary, but attacking a teenager aside, criticizing Thunberg for any reason has become pretty much the worst thing you can do besides being a “denier.”

Anyway, I became interested in him and his novel, so I checked it out of my local public library and started reading. It wasn’t what I expected, but then again, I didn’t know what to expect.

Hyperion has been loosely compared to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories about seemingly unrelated people. I can kind of see that. Simmons, a former teacher, spared no effort in shoving tons and tons of literary references, many of them aimed right at Keats, into his stories. I’m sure many of them sailed way over my head. I don’t think they added much to the novel.

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My Short Story “The Mechanical Dragon” to be Published in “Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology”

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Announcement graphic from Zombie Pirate Press

I’ve been waiting a few days to be able to brag about this one.

About a month ago, I had hit a dry spell, and decided to “loosen up” by participating in a writing challenge, not something I do a lot of these days. I was considering writing a story for an open submission, but I didn’t know how to approach it.

So I crafted the 150 word tale The Clockwork Dragon.

That got things moving and I was able to forge ahead with the actual story. A few days ago, it was accepted for publication by Adam and Sam at Zombie Pirate Publishing for their upcoming anthology Clockwork Dragons: A Fantasypunk Anthology.

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Eleanor Merry Presents: “Dark X-Mas” Anthology Now Available for Pre-Order

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Promotional image for the anthology of drabbles “Dark X-Mas.”

Not the news I had hoped to deliver by now, but I just found out that “Eleanor Merry Presents: Dark X-Mas is now available to pre-order both at Amazon US and Canada for delivery on your Kindle device December 1, 2019.

Here’s the “blurbs” again for the two drabbles I have featured within its virtual pages:

Christmas Feast

For centuries, the innocent belief of children breathed life into Santa Claus, bringing him into the homes of millions every December 24th, laden with gifts for precious cherubs. But the world changed and children changed, and finally there was too little faith left to keep the old elf going and he expired.

But this year, Santa’s chief servant Alabaster found ten wee ones he could spirit away from their cozy beds at the stroke of midnight in order to supplicate themselves at the grave of St. Nicholas. These children desperately want Santa back, but what horrible sacrifice will they be expected to make to resurrect a very different Santa from what the world has ever known?

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Another Mysterious Announcement

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Image found at compellingreads.co.uk – no attribution given

This morning, I received another bit of good news, but I’m sworn to secrecy, at least for the next 24 hours or so, until it becomes official. All I can say is that the email made my day, especially since I was up at a quarter til four in the morning because I couldn’t sleep.

Actually, it gave me time to do the research on a short story submission due in about ten days or so. I’ve been struggling with this one until inspiration seized me, as it usually does, when I’m trying to get some rest.

I spent the early morning working Google into the ground, collecting links, beginning to create characters, and I was starting to outline the plot when the clock told me I only had an hour left before I had to leave for my day job.

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