Clockwork Dragons: The Full Cover!

Just thought I’d throw this one in. Remember, CLOCKWORK DRAGONS: A Fantasypunk Anthology is available now for pre-order to be delivered to your Kindle device on January 15, 2020.

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How Ricky Gervais Offended Everyone in Hollywood and Restored My Faith in Comedy

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Ricky Gervais hosting the 2020 Golden Globe Awards – NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images.

Perhaps you’ve heard of comedian Ricky Gervais, or rather his hysterically scathing commentary on Hollywood, including some of the most famous icons alive. This happened at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards last night, and quickly became a social media hit.

The only place I could (quickly) find the full video of his intro to the “Globes” was on Caleb Hull’s twitter account. I promise, it’s not to be missed.

I’m writing this because, as you know, I’ve been critical of awards ceremonies, particularly in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I’ve made numerous commentaries, including Jeannette Ng’s Campbell Award Acceptance Speech and Here We Go Again, Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?, The Hugo Award Will Not Be Renamed and Why Are All Conservatives (seemingly) Called Alt-Right?, and Once More On Awards And How Your Heroes Will Never Be Perfect.

I’ve suspected more than one awards ceremony has been politically rigged to bias heavily in one direction (left), and last night, Gervais illuminated his live and television audience with just how true this mess in Hollywood is (as if we didn’t know, but it’s nice to have confirmation).

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Book Review: “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century”

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Cover art for the anthology, “The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century

Note that I’ve previously reviewed individual stories presented in this anthology, such as Brad Linaweaver’s novella Moon of Ice, Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Lucky Strike, and Susan Shwartz’s Suppose They Gave a Peace. This review applies to the entire book.

The Best Alternate History Stories of the 20th Century is a 2002 anthology edited by Harry Turtledove with Martin H. Greenberg. As the title suggests, it’s an eclectic collection of short stories and novellas crafted by various science fiction luminaries over a span of nearly fifty years.

As with all anthologies, it is pretty uneven.

Ward Moore’s “Bring the Jubilee” was the toughest to slog through. It’s depressing and seems to be overly long, including details that may not have been necessary to tell the core story. Also, it’s hard to believe that the Confederate Army could have won the Civil War based on a single engagement, one that our hero managed to change by sheer ineptitude.

Both “The Lucky Strike” by Kim Stanley Robinson and “Suppose They Gave a Peace” by Susan Shwartz were anti-war stories, the former being Robinson’s wish fulfillment of a world with no nuclear weapons, and the latter, an alternate history that bore little difference from the actual one, as told through the eyes of one family.

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DVD Review of “Spider Man: Far From Home”

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Promotional image for the 2019 film “Spider-Man: Far From Home”

I can now officially say I’ve seen every Marvel Studios film ever made. As I’m writing this, I just finished watching Spider-Man: Far From Home.

First off, between the memorial in the film’s beginning and the first end credits, two of my favorite pop hits were featured: I Will Always Love You performed by the late Whitney Houston (video) (and I was surprised it was written by Dolly Parton) and Vacation performed by the Go Gos.

I confess, I’ve known about the story including the mid and end credits scenes for sometime, but knowing is not the same as experiencing. It’s after the “blip,” the return of all of the people, half of Earth’s population, Thanos (Josh Brolin) snapped out of existence in the movie Avengers: Infinity War (2018). All of the “blipped” high school kids who reappeared five years later had to take a whole year of high school all over again. This includes Peter Parker (Tom Holland), his best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), and MJ (Zendaya). Even Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) was “blipped” reappearing in her apartment now rented to other people.

But we’re eight months past that and May is heading up some fundraiser, presumably to help the “blipped” regain their former lives.

We see early on that May and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) are in some sort of relationship, but they’re not the only ones.

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“Dark Valentine Holiday Horror Collection” Available for Pre-Order Now!

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Promotional image for the forthcoming anthology “Dark Valentine”.

As you know if you’re a regular reader, three of my stories were accepted in the Dark Valentine Holiday Horror Collection: A Flash Fiction Anthology. What you don’t know is that it’s available for pre-order right now, with auto-delivery to your kindle device on February 1, 2020.

The link above is universal to Amazon, but here’s more:

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Cloverdale

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Cloverdale Picnic (www.midbarrach.com) date unknown

“Been coming here to Cloverdale for a while now, Taklishim.” Alan Tupper stood in front of the abandoned general store, almost all that was left of the ghost town in southern New Mexico.

“You have been my good friend since you were a boy.”

“I’m twenty-six now and getting ready to get out of the service.”

“I thought you liked the Army.”

“Talking to you every year since that last reunion changed me.”

“You have never taken life unjustly.”

“But ol’ Captain Tupper did.”

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Why Is Kylo Ren a Hero?

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Promotional image of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from the 2019 film “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

A day or two ago, I saw a YouTube video on Mara Jade’s twitter account commenting on a Bounding Into Comics article titled Fans Threaten J.J. Abrams and Report Mental Breakdowns Over Kylo Ren’s Ending in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Frankly, I was amazed. I guess I shouldn’t be. As a fan of the television show Smallville (2001-2011), I watched fans on social media tear each other apart over which female lead should be in a relationship with Clark (Tom Welling). I watched the show for the superhero stuff, even though it really was a teenage/millennial soap opera.

So why shouldn’t Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) be any different?

However, the more I read the outrageous comments being supposedly made on twitter (to read them, click the appropriate link above), the more I became curious. Are these people real?

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Patron exclusive “CLOCKWORK DRAGONS” advanced sneak peak story

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Promotional image for “Clockwork Dragons”

Zombie Pirate Publishing is running a promotion on Patreon. Sign up for as little as one US dollar, and gain exclusive access to their soon-to-be published CLOCKWORK DRAGONS: A Fantasypunk Anthology.

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Stop Me From Falling Published in “The Devil’s Doorbell”

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Promotional image for the Hellbound Press anthology “The Devil’s Doorbell”

It’s been out for over a month, and I never heard a peep from the publisher. My “signature” vampire romance is one of 16 tales told in Hellbound Books Publishing’s The Devil’s Doorbell: An Anthology of Darkest Romance. For those of you in the UK, here’s where you can buy it.

Plus, here’s an excerpt:

“I’d hoped it was over.”
“I didn’t come here for you, I…” It was another in an endless stream of lies. “I had to see you. Something won’t let me end it. Why won’t you let me go?”
“It makes no sense to be falling. You’ve got her, I’ve got him, you shouldn’t even be calling.”

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“Bloody Valentine” Acceptances

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Promotional image for the forthcoming anthology “Dark Valentine”.

Dear James

Thank you for your submission to the Dark Valentines Flash Fiction Horror Collection. These are the perfect amount of dark and depraved and we loved your entries. We are pleased to let you know that your story(s) Reaper, Playtime and New Heart have been accepted. Congratulations on your acceptance!

Remember Dark X-Mas? The same publisher is producing something called Dark Valentine. They accept up to five stories between 100 and 500 words long. I submitted stories called, “Reaper” and “Playtime,” which previously appeared on this blog in different forms, and a completely original story called “New Heart.” All three were just accepted.

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