Revisiting the Fantastic Schools Anthologies

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Promotional materials for the Fantastic Schools series.

You may remember that my fantasy short story “Sorcery’s Preschool” was published last fall in Wisecraft Publishing’s anthology Fantastic Schools, Volume 2. It’s the tale of a four-year-old girl and the day her grandmother takes her to a very unusual pre-school, one for gifted and very young (and potentially dangerous) magicians.

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Review of “Doom Patrol” Season Two

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Promotional image for the second season of Doom Patrol

I finished watching season 2 of the Doom Patrol TV show last night. As I mentioned in my review of season 1, the show is available as a set of DVDs at my local public library.

The show remains heavily based on many of the later issues of the comic book, which means it’s even more bizarre than when I was reading it as a kid in the 1960s and 70s.

Season 2 picks up where season 1 left off with the “Patrol” including Cyborg/Vic (Joivan Wade) and the Chief’s/Niles Caulder’s (Timothy Dalton) daughter Dorothy (Abigail Shapiro) shrunk down to “Ant-Man” size after their escape from Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) in the “White Space.” They end up living on Robotman’s/Cliff’s (Brendan Fraser) large model race car track which includes tents and various other structures.

The team is still shaken by the revelation that the horrible accidents that left each one of them disfigured, ruining their former lives, were directly engineered by the Chief in his attempt to uncover the secret of immortality. They are all just failed experiments.

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Nightfall on Danny Street

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– Source unknown – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge 373

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Walking across the bridge spanning the freeway, Matt was startled to see a young woman leaning back against the rail. He was momentarily aroused and then embarrassed when he looked at her breasts projected forward thanks to her arched back. Was she going to commit suicide? He stopped and almost reached out. Instead he said, “Excuse me.”

She lifted her head so he could see her face. For an instant, he hoped it would be different, but, of course, it wasn’t. Like everyone else, he couldn’t see her face, just the forehead to chin mask everyone wore these days. Even though most of the city had complied with the vaccination order, the CDC had issued yet another order continuing the mask mandate for another year “just in case.”

“I help you with something?” Her voice was muffled but still carried an annoyed tone.

Matt made eye contact hoping to communicate his sincerity, but he felt like he was invading her privacy, while her gaze uncomfortably bored into his soul.

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Review of “Doom Patrol” Season One

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Promotional image for season 1 of “Doom Patrol”

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Okay, so I just finished watching Season 1 of the Doom Patrol television show. I noticed that seasons 1 and 2 of the show were available as DVDs at my local public library and I thought, “what the heck?”

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My Greatest Adventure issue 80.

Actually, as a kid, I really enjoyed the old Doom Patrol comic book. First featured in “My Greatest Adventure” comic title issue 80 (June 1963), it chronicled the saga of three misfits forged into a superhero team by scientist/genius Niles Caulder, also called “The Chief.” The original team was made up of Robotman (Cliff Steele), a race car driver who was in an accident so horrific that only his brain survived. The Chief put that brain in a robot body. Elasti-Girl was originally actress Rita Farr who, filming on location, was exposed to a volcanic gas enabling her to grow to giant size or to shrink into a tiny form. Negative Man was test pilot Larry Trainor who flew his rocket plane into a radiation belt. The plane crashed, and Larry discovered that not only was he permanently radioactive, but for sixty seconds, he could project a negative image of himself that could travel at the speed of light and had amazing abilities. The only trick is that N-Man has to get back inside Larry’s body before the minute is up or Larry dies and N-Man disintegrates.

In looking up the full history of the comic book (see above link), I saw that it had gotten a whole lot stranger than it first started out.

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Return of the Space Princess

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Promotional image for the “Dejah Thoris” comic book series by Amy Chu (Author) – Based on a character from the Edgar Rice Burroughs “Barsoom” series.

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Screenshot from the comments section of the Mallard Fillmore comic strip.

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Just so you don’t miss the important quote in the above conversation:

The Superversive Literary Movement is in opposition to wokism, saying that any politics in a work of storytelling should serve the story, rather than the woke commandment to ensure that the story serves woke politics. The Space Princess Movement is a subset thereof.

That exchange occurred in the comments section of the conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore written and penned these days by Loren Fishman but occasionally featuring the work of its creator Bruce Tinsley.

You can find the comic strip at ComicsKingdom.com though I warn you that the topics are indeed supportive of a conservative viewpoint and the comments are from pro-conservatives with pushback delivered by counterprotesting trolls “under-the-bridge-dwellers.”

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Book Review of “Caliban’s War,” the Second of the “Expanse” Series

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Promotional artwork for the novel “Caliban’s War”

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Not long ago, I reviewed the first book in the “Expanse” series Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (pen name for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). Almost always when I read and review the first book in some series, I tend to wander off in a different direction afterward. I did that for N.K. Jemisin’s Hugo award winning The Fifth Season, for David Weber’s On Basilisk Station, for Martha Wells’ All Systems Red, and in fact, for just about every book I’ve reviewed, regardless of how well I did (or didn’t) like them.

However, “Leviathan” really hooked me, so much so, that I immediately checked book two out of the public library. I just finished reading Caliban’s War and absolutely loved it. The quality was just as high as for “Leviathan.” I was reintroduced to familiar characters such as Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos as well as new characters such as Prax, Bobbie, and Avasarala.

It begins on the Jovian moon Ganymede, the “bread basket of the belt,” which is the best location to grow the food needed for the colonized asteroids. It’s the best place for pregnant women to gestate to term. It’s also, apparently, the best place to spawn protomolecule monsters.

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Interviewed by Blackbird Publishing for my story: “No Place Like Home”

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Promotional image for Blackbird Publishing’s “Wild Magic Story Bundle”

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As part of the Wild Magic Bundle promotion from Blackbird Publishing, I was interviewed by Jamie Ferguson. You can find the interview on their website, twitter account and Facebook page.

The interview starts out:

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How a Tweet on Trying to Prevent “Zoombombing” Got Me Suspended on Twitter

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Screenshot from my email.

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Yesterday, I put up a tweet on twitter questioning the security of the app Zoom and a link to a source I found on LinkedIn showing how “zoombombing” was used for anti-Semitic purposes. Today, I found I was suspended from twitter because of that tweet, but twitter won’t tell me why.

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“The Wild Magic Bundle” is Coming Your Way!

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StoryBundle

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As some of you may know from reading my blog, my short story “No Place Like Home,” which is loosely based on the ending of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, is featured in Blackbird Publishing’s fantasy anthology Magicks & Enchantments edited by Jamie Ferguson.

That anthology is now part of The Wild Magic Bundle. According to the blurb:

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Hugo Admin Team Members Resign, But Why?

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Found at io9.gizmodo.com – No image credit available

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Over the past several years, I’ve watched WorldCon repeatedly implode.

Well, not exactly. It imploded in 2018 in a very spectacular way. WorldCon 2019 didn’t exactly implode, but then again, Jeanette Ng’s “acceptance” speech of the John W. Campbell award (now renamed “Astounding”) was her long awaited stab at a long-dead science fiction icon which spawned more of her displeasure at the “stale, pale, male crowd,” as well as a long list of other award renamings. The irony is that Ng also won a “Best Related Work” Hugo for 2020 because she complained about Campbell the year before. A rant wins you a Hugo. Who’d have thought.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, famed writer George R.R. Martin was accused of racism at the totally tanked WorldCon 2020. On top of that, the World Fantasy Con in the same year wrought its own disasters. If you read those blog posts, you’ll see the collection of “usual suspects” who complain about everything and anything that’s even a hair out of place compared to their high and mighty expectations.

Now we come to this, which I found online at Locus Magazine, a small article called Hugo Administration Team Resigns.

In the words of the prophet, WTF?

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