© James Pyles – photo of DVD case for the movie “Escape from L.A.”
I saw John Carpenter’s 1981 film Escape From New York starring Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, and Adrienne Barbeau when it was first in the theaters and then a few times on disc later. It’s what I consider a “high functioning B movie.” That means it’s a lot of fun, but in spite of the quality actors in the movie, it would attain no higher level than “cult classic.” It’s a good way to waste two hours.
I’ve been aware of the 1996 sequel Escape from L.A. for years, but never had the desire to see it. However, yesterday at my local public library, I found it on disc and figured “what the heck.”
Actually, given the quality of the story of the original, and that sequels almost never live up to the original, I expected to either be bored or to hate it.
Cover of Weird Tales magazine 1935
Shadows in Zamboula is a classic Robert E. Howard tale of Conan the Barbarian. I read it to get my head in the right space for crafting a “Sword and Sorcery” short story, and I wasn’t disappointed. Howard’s Conan is the best version of the character ever, even after eighty or so years.
The tale was first published in 1935, and I accessed it as a free eBook through The Gutenberg Project (yes, the original cover of “Weird Tales” in which the story appeared is provocative by today’s standards).
Howard’s popular barbarian is lured into trouble once again by a beautiful woman, that is after being nearly captured and consumed by cannibals. His adversaries are black Africans (as we’d understand them today), and relative to the mid-1930s, the description of them might be considered racist (in the 21st century). That aside, the story is high adventure all the way. The swordplay is at its finest, and at the end, Conan outsmarts as well as outfights both his enemies and his supposed allies.
Promotional image for “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)
I watched Thor: Ragnarok (2017) last week and loved it. It wasn’t the perfect film, but of the three “Thor” movies, it was clearly the best.
Things I Liked
I really liked the dynamic, both between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and between Thor and Banner (although, in a way, it’s the same thing). I’m glad that Thor not only was able to hold his own against the Hulk, but actually beat him, that is until the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) cheated by triggering Thor’s pain-inducing device.
They ended up being “odd couple” buddies, which brings up another point.
The two previous Thor films and just about any solo movie version of the Hulk have all been pretty blah. These are characters who have successfully carried their own comic book titles for decades. Why don’t they translate well to film?
Replica collar from the original Star Trek series episode, “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” Found at the “Star Trek Prop Authority” website.
Chapter 3: “It’s a good thing the biotrace found him.”
Landon heard a familiar voice, a man’s voice. The Master? Where was Buddy?
“Yes sir. Another few minutes and his signal would have faded forever.”
It was Carmen Ramsey, Landon’s doctor; the one who treated his wounds after one of the Games, the Roman’s sword. Yes, he remembered.
“Without the collar, he was free of our influence, and in his case, the ability to use sorcery was restored. He is too valuable a contestant to lose. Besides, if he ever freed the dragon…” The Master abruptly stopped talking.
“Wait. He’s coming to.” Carmen put her hand on his forehead.
Found at whygoiceland.com – no image credit available
Stop! If you haven’t done so already, read The Quest to Save Landon, When Hell Boils Over and Boiling Point first.
Asmodius, the King of the Demons of Hell and Buddy the Ambrosial Dragon, were literally battling tooth and nail in a fight to the death at the shore of a bubbling cauldron sea of sulfur and lava, both of them bleeding from a dozen wounds, though the dragon was getting the worst of it.
Hundreds of nearby demons flew or ran to them, forming a semi-circle near the combatants, setting up lawn chairs and sitting down with soda and popcorn to witness the fight.
Buddy had been thrown back by the demon and both paused, heavily breathing the fetid air of Hell.
“So, allies you call. In Hell all cheat.”
“Not so, dragon. What need of I with allies. In Hell, I’m supreme. I’ve got the home town advantage. They just like to watch.” The demon audience cheered for their champion, and Asmodius took a bow.
black-and-white-person-train-motion-42153 Pixel photo
He didn’t look a day older than the last time I saw him, but that was over forty years ago. He could still pass for a kid of nineteen, but I was almost seventy. I couldn’t believe it when I got the phone call telling me to meet him here. He stood alone as the BART train that brought him to East Oakland pulled away in a blur.
“Why me? Why now?”
“Because it is who I am and what I was born to do. I saved you in a war halfway around the world, and now you’ll return the favor.”
“Who the hell are you and why aren’t you old? You pulled me out of that firefight in Nam. You were shot seventeen times. I never asked about it then. How are you even alive?”
“My earliest memory is of Masada. I don’t know how I escaped death there either. I only know that the lives I’ve saved over the ages have always been called upon to save others. This is your calling, Derek. For nearly 2,000 years, I have been called the Saint. There isn’t much time if we are to avert a nuclear holocaust. Come with me.”
I wrote this for Week 27 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 199.
I have certain characters and scenarios living in the back of my mind. One of them in “The Saint” (with apologizes to Leslie Carteris, Roger Moore, and many others), who is either a medevac helicopter pilot saving the lives of wounded soldiers during the Vietnam War, or an immortal being saving lives so that at a later date, they could save others.
This being the American Independence Day, I felt like I should write about someone heroic.
Oh, the The Siege of Masada occurred from 73 to 74 CE, but the curious question is was “the Saint” one of the Romans or a Jew?
To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.
As I’ve mentioned before, this link up needs a lot of love. Please consider contributing your own story here.
Happy Independence Day to you and yours.
Goat Island (now Yerba Buena Island) in San Francisco Bay.
“A child’s eyes light up when they see their Grandpa.” –Catherine Pulsifer
“Where is she? Are she and Leah well? Don’t just sit there man!” Isaiah was as frantic as Keisha had ever seen him during the short time they’d known each other. At the first mention of his Mom’s name, Josiah rushed over to his Dad. The teenager from another universe stood and waited.
The lighthouse keeper was rapidly writing on a pad and then put the pencil down. “She’s ceased transmitting. A moment, Isaiah.” Joachim began tapping at the telegraph key. Grandpa had taught Keisha Morse Code when she was little since one of the projects they’d worked on was building a working signaling system, but Rosenstein’s finger was moving too fast for her to understand the message. Then he stopped and listened.
“Sorry. I think she was cut off in the middle of her transmission. She’s not answering now.”
Isaiah put his arm around his son and took a deep breath. “Can you read out what you got?”
Pin by Kyle – Found at Pinterest
“I’ll burn my ass off if I use this thing.”
“Have a little faith, Keisha. The uniform is fully heat-resistant, and besides, the thrusters work in combination with the Barsoonian charge infused in the rocket pack, so the amount of energy required to lift a person is much lower than it would have to be in your world.”
“You’re a great one for faith, Isaiah, but like I said, it’s my ass on the line.”
“I see a year away from our relationship, as you have lived it, has done nothing to improve your manners or your language.”
Sixteen-year-old Keisha Davis opened her mouth and shut it again. He was right about several things. Only a year had passed since she had last seen him, but for the engineer, it had been two decades, and he was now pushing sixty.
She trusted that he was also right that the rocket pack she was supposed to strap on her back wasn’t inherently dangerous, at least not because the thrusters sat just behind her behind. In the movies, these things looked impressive, but they’d also severely burn or kill the pilot without the mother of all protective panties or a liberal application of one million sunblock.
Photo: Discovery Channel
A grandpa is someone you never outgrow your need for… –Anonymous
Isaiah Covington stared death in the face, and her eyes were cold, glass buttons peering out of two tons of a nearly mindless eating machine. Sweat beaded on his face as she drew closer, her gaping mouth revealing grim rows of pointed, serrated teeth designed to tear and rend flesh.
He thought of the torch on his belt, but the heavy clumsiness of his undersea suit’s gloves made it uncertain if he could bring it to bear and ignite it in time to use as a weapon.
He looked into death’s eyes while muttering a prayer to the God of Daniel, Peter, and Paul, and death stared back.
With less than two meters between them, the Great White Shark suddenly veered off to her left and vanished into the murky waters of the Bay.
“Keep praying, children. She may come back.”
Isaiah thought his son’s voice sounded meek and uncertain in his ears, but Lord knows he had good reason for it.
Found at WickedHorror.com
“More and more, when I single out the person who inspired me most, I go back to my grandfather.” –James Earl Jones
At first, Keisha thought she was blind, but then she remembered the lights went out. She was alive, but she wasn’t sure Isaiah or Josiah were. “Hello?”
It was definitely Isaiah. He didn’t want her to make any noise. They had been depth charged. Whoever was on the surface of the Bay wanted them dead. She remembered the sound of the propellers of their ships coming through the speakers. It probably went both ways. What if someone were searching for them by listening? That’s why she couldn’t talk.
She listened more carefully and could hear both Isaiah and Josiah breathing. It was amazing how much your ears could pick up when there wasn’t a lot of noise to get in the way. The spray of the damaged pipes was gone, but she could hear dripping from above. Then she realized she was wet. Actually, her shirt was soaked. It was the first pipe that had started leaking. What happened to the others?
Her head hurt, like she’d hit it against something. Had she been unconscious? It would explain a lot. The last thing she remembered was it felt like the sub hit something, but they had still been traveling at full speed. Now they weren’t moving at all.