What the Heck is a “Neffy Award?”

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Screen capture of a portion of Mike Glyer’s online fanzine “File 770”

Having (finally) successfully subscribed to Mike Glyer’s File 770 online SciFi fan newzine, I find that most of what this rather prolific blog puts out doesn’t catch much of my interest. Of course, with WorldCon Dublin coming up next month, a lot of the content is focused there. They also put out a tremendous number of articles about various awards, again, most of which I don’t have an interest in.

However, I did pause to read Neffy Award Ballot Is Out. I’d never heard of the Neffy Awards, so I looked them up.

But before that, I took a look at the ballot, which lists science fiction and fantasy works nominated in a number of categories. They include Best Novel, Best Shorter Work, Best Book Editor, Fanzine, TV Show, Movie, Anime, and so forth. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize any of the names and most of the category entries. Oh, I have heard of “Game of Thrones” and I used to watch “Supergirl,” but that was about it. This reminded me that as a “fan,” I’m probably really lacking in keeping up with what’s current (to find out what I’ve been reading and watching lately, go to my Reviews page).

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Film Review: Captain Marvel (2019)

cm

@James Pyles

I finally got around to watching Captain Marvel (2019) last night. I said previously, I probably wouldn’t view this film until it came out on DVD, which is exactly what happened. I reserved it at my local public library but had to wait until over 100 other people, who also had it held, watched it before it was my turn.

Even before I saw the movie, when it was still out in theaters, I wrote commentaries about the controversy surrounding the film thanks to actress Brie Larson’s (who stars in the title role) injecting her personal issues into the public marketing of both this movie and Avengers: Endgame (2019). I’ve tried to the best of my ability to be objective in my review, but unfortunately, Larson’s “personality” sometimes got in the way. As it turned out, so did Disney’s/Marvel’s apparent viewpoint.

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Book Review of “Reviver”

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Promotional cover image of Seth Patrick’s 2013 novel “Reviver.” Note: Not the original cover or title.

I probably wouldn’t even have read Seth Patrick’s novel Reviver (2013), but I noticed on the back cover a small review by SF author Neal Asher. I’m familiar with Asher’s work and even share the Table of Contents with him in a recent SciFi anthology, so naturally I was intrigued.

A few weeks back, I was at the local branch of my little public library, and although I was already reading two books, found myself stuck there with my books and my beloved laptop still at home. So I started wandering the stacks. This library is small enough not to differentiate between general fiction, science fiction, and fantasy, so they are all intermixed. I was randomly strolling through, occasionally picking up and reading the summaries of various novels, when I happened upon “Reviver” and noticed Asher’s name on the back cover. I figured, what the heck.

This is Seth Patrick’s very first novel, and I can only imagine he went through quite a few iterations before he arrived at the final product I consumed. It was a terrific mix of horror, mystery, and a hint of speculative fiction. I know there are purists who detest that sort of thing, but I never was one for the extreme blood, guts, and gore of modern horror. Yes, there is graphic imagery in the novel, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and the psychological horror totally hooked me.

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The Superversive Press Anthology “Impossible Hope” is Available Now!

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Proposed cover for “Impossible Hope” anthology

The Superversive Press anthology “Impossible Hope” is now available, but not at Amazon or any other well-known retailer.

28-year-old Bonnie Oliver was diagnosed with Complex Chiari Malformation, Craniocervical and Atlanto-axial Instability and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome type three in 2018. It has been a long and wearisome road to these answers, and her family has watched her health decline for over a decade, with a marked downturn over the past six years. She can’t leave her home without help from a walker and preferably one or two helping hands, and even with that level of support she cannot be out for long.

In order to help Bonnie and raise funds for research into these terrible disorder, A.M. Freeman organized the “Impossible Hope” project. She asked any author who was willing to donate a short story to the anthology which would be sold to raise such funds. That’s why you can’t find this book on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel. You can only get it by donating on Bonnie’s GoFundMe. Donate to help us reach the goal of $110,000 for her surgery, and then download a digital copy of the book. Couldn’t be simpler.

A.M. Freeman

A.M. Freeman as found on her blog.

I’m actually pretty honored. My first introduction to the idea that it might actually be possible to be published was through Superversive Press (though this is the first of their books in which a story of mine is featured). I finally get to share a table of contents with my teacher L. Jagi Lamplighter and her husband John C. Wright. Others with whom I’m acquainted who have donated of their talents are Dave Higgins, Frank B. Luke, Ben Wheeler, Denton Salle, and particularly Sam M. Phillips from Zombie Pirate Publishing (one of the two indie publishers which first published one of my works).

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Another Milestone for “Impossible Hope”

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Proposed cover for “Impossible Hope” anthology

I mentioned Bonnie Oliver’s Impossible Hope last February and again in May. Here’s A.M. Freeman’s description of Bonnie and the purpose of the “Impossible Hope” project:

For over a decade, Bonnie Oliver has gone from doctor to doctor seeking answers to her worsening physical and neurological symptoms. It has been a long and wearisome road, and her family has had to watch as her health declined to the point where, at only 28 years of age, she can no longer leave her home unaided, and even then for only short periods of time.

The idea was for authors to donate short stories to an anthology project called “Impossible Hope” so it could be published and sold to fund Bonnie’s surgery for https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/ (click the links I’ve provided above for more).

The project required:

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Can I Write a Novelette in Seven Days?

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Screen capture of the Zombie Pirate Publishing Facebook page.

That’s the challenge from Zombie Pirate Publishing. Actually Adam and Sam have given us less time than that since according to the JavaScript counter on their main page, I’ve got (as of this writing) just a hair over 5 days and 21 hours. So far I’ve hammered out 2,180 words, but the target word count is between 12,500 and 15,000, so I’ve got a bit of work to do, including plotting the story as I go along.

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Disney’s Wonderful Opportunity in Casting an African-American “Little Mermaid”

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Credit: Bailey: Rex/Shutterstock: Mermaid Snap/Shutterstock

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how 19-year-old R & B singer Halle Bailey has been cast in the role of Ariel in Disney’s live action remake of the 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid. Certainly, a generation has grown up watching and delighting to this film.

More recently, Disney has taken to reimaging many of their 1980s and ’90s animated successes into live action films. I guess “the Mouse” has just plain run out of ideas. Actor Will Smith played the genie in the Aladdin remake, which I haven’t seen, but it’s hard to imagine Robin Williams not being the genie. Actually, I haven’t seen any of the remakes, and probably won’t unless its with my grandchildren (and so far, the next movie my ten-year-old grandson wants to see in the theater is Spider-Man: Far From Home).

According to multiple news outlets including SBS.com.au and The Root, there’s a huge amount of white outrage and a “Big Mad” over (hashtag) #NotMyAriel in twitter. Conservative commentators, including Matt Walsh claim otherwise, and the battle over social justice once more reigns in the news and social media.

Meh.

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Amélie Wen Zhao’s Fantasy Novel “Blood Heir” Available November 2019!

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Cover art for the novel “Blood Heir” by Amélie Wen Zhao

If you read my February blog post “Blood Heir” and Social Justice (or is it vengeance) which echoed many other voices on the web, you’ll recall how author Amélie Wen Zhao was bullied on social media to pull her book Blood Heir from publication over what Slate.com author Aja Hoggatt called accusations of racism and being “anti-black”.

Tablet Magazine called her detractors a twitter mob composed of what’s been referred to as “YA Twitter:”

an online community composed of authors, editors, agents, reviewers, and readers that appears to skew significantly older than the actual readership for the popular genre of young adult fiction, which is roughly half teens and half adults.

The Tablet article goes on to say:

As Kat Rosenfield, a Tablet writer who is herself a published YA author, wrote in a deeply entertaining Vulture feature on The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter, in the summer of 2017, “Young-adult books are being targeted in intense social media callouts, draggings, and pile-ons—sometimes before anybody’s even read them.”

Even though the author defended herself and explained the cultural context (her own) that inspired her novel, she was dragged through the virtual gutters and intimidated into indefinitely delaying the release of her book. She’s an excellent example of having apologized when, objectively, she really didn’t do anything wrong except cross paths with the YA twitter “powers that be.”

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Freedom Day

new beginnings

– Gabriel Isak

No one thought the Fields of Shantara would be the decisive battle against the tyranny of the Verbeni. For a dozen generations, the invaders of the colony world of Grazoria had ruled the human race with cruel efficiency, and although the resistance fighters were outgunned and out manned, they were courageous. Their harassment of the enemy gave the populace hope, until their exploits became legends for their children and their grandchildren.

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My Short Story “Retired” is to be Published by HellBound Books

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Promotional image for the HellBound Books upcoming horror anthology “Toilet Zone”

I just got word from the folks at HellBound Books that my short story “Retired” will be appearing in their forthcoming horror anthology Toilet Zone. No, wait! It’s not what you think. Here’s the blurb from the submissions page:

…no, don’t panic, we are not looking for lavatory-themed tales of terror – although should your short story involve the smallest room in the house, we’d be more than delighted to read it! The theme for this anthology is short horror stories that will make an ideal sit-down read, just long enough for those extended stays at the convenience, and terrifying enough that they really are best read whilst over water….

This anthology will be compiled by the incomparable author and filmmaker Bret McCormick, so be sure to write to impress!

We have based story length upon the average time spent upon the convenience (10-15 mins) and the average reading speed (200-250 words per minute), so that the stories within this exceptionally unique anthology will be the perfect ‘per visit’ length!

Needless to say, I’m thrilled.

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