Film Review of “The Abyss: Special Edition” (1989)

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© James Pyles – DVD cover for the 1989 film “The Abyss”

I hadn’t intended to watch a film on Sunday evening, but saw a DVD of the 1989 film The Abyss and said, “why not?”

Actually, this is the special edition, so it’s expanded quite a bit from what folks saw in the original theatrical production.

The movie opens aboard the USS Montana, an Ohio-class U.S. Navy sub. The sub encounters some strange light apparition near the Cayman Trough and, caught in its wake, is dragged across a rock formation, fatally damaging the sub.

With Soviet ships closing in to salvage the nuclear submarine, the Navy commandeers a private, underwater drilling platform operating near the Trough that’s led by Foreman Bud Brigman (Ed Harris) and crewed by a bunch of roughneck oil drillers.

Brigman’s estranged wife Lindsey (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who designed the drilling rig, accompanies a group of Navy SEALs commanded by Lieutenant Hiram Coffey (Michael Biehn) down to the rig just before a hurricane hits, in an attempt to reach the Montana and search for survivors.

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Well, That Was Fast – “Tales From the Southwest” Featuring My Short Story “The Strangers” is Published.

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Promotional image for the anthology “Tales of the Southwest.”

Right now, as the editor/publisher John Green says, all roads lead to Lulu.com. He says if a book gains enough interest, he’ll publish a digital version on Amazon, but the authors don’t make much from that. If you like western stories, classic and otherwise, please buy and read. Let me know what you think.

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My Short Story “The Strangers” is Being Published in “Tales of the Southwest”

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Promotional image for the cover of John Green’s anthology “Tales of the Southwest”

Yes, “The Strangers” is the eleventh story accepted for publication in an anthology this year and it has a slightly unusual history. I originally wrote it for a different publisher and it was rejected. “Ouch,” yes it always stings. However, I read that John Green was looking for stories to be included in his “Tales of the Southwest” anthology on Facebook. I happened to casually mention that I had a story that might fit but A) it’s set in Idaho (not exactly the southwest) and B) it has aliens. He told me to send it to him anyway.

He liked the story, but asked if I could change the location from Idaho City, Idaho to Cedar City, Utah. I did the research and although the presence of the Mormon church in late 19th century Utah complicated things a bit, I made the edits.

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Review of Joanna Maciejewska’s Short Story “Black Eyes, Luminous Monsters”

springSince I’ve received my copy of The Cloaked Press science fiction anthology Spring Into SciFi 2019, which features my short story “The Recall,” I started reading some of the other stories. The first one was “Black Eyes, Luminous Monsters” by Joanna Maciejewska.

Okay, I hated the title but loved the story. We are taken into a world at war, but it is between the human colonists on the planet and a strange and highly lethal alien biomass called “The Anomaly.” Trapped in a bunker, a medic named Kyara is tending to a wounded and likely dying soldier when the Anomaly attacks. The only way to escape is to retreat to the evac zone, but the biomass grabs Kyara and she knows she has only seconds to live.

The humans have a single defense, beings called Stabilizers or “Stabs” which have the ability to combat the Anomaly. The problem is that the Stabs are just as dangerous, and spending any time in the presence of one could also be deadly. During the fight between the Anomaly and the Stab, Kyara passes out, sure that she’s about to die.

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Review of Rich Rurshell’s Short Story “Subject: Galilee”

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© James Pyles

I’m continuing my slow review of the stories in the Zombie Pirate Publishing SciFi anthology World War Four (which also features my short story “Joey,” but right now, that’s beside the point). Today, I highlight Rich Rurshell’s tale “Subject: Galilee.”

Much of the symbolism echoes Christian themes, but Rurshell’s story takes place in the far future. A war is raging between two corporate factions, Liberty West which uses robotic warriors called “Romans,” and Zhang Industries’ human combatants. In between them and a village of peaceful people as well as defected soldiers, is the mysterious armored and cloaked being known as Galilee. He came out of no where, possesses enormous, almost god-like abilities, reprogramming the Roman machines to serve him, his armor all but invulnerable, and seems to be the savior that the world needs, that is until both corporations decide to make him a target.

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Film Review: “The Predator” (2018)

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Promotional poster for the 2018 film “The Predator”

I have a confession to make. I’m a fan of the original 1987 film Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, and a ton of other fun tough guys. No, it’s not even close to the best movie ever made, or even the best Schwarzenegger film, but like I said, it’s a lot of fun, relative to 1980s action, blood and guts movies. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

I’ve seen all of the other Predator sequels including the various “Aliens vs. Predators” movies exactly once. They aren’t as much fun, but still a way to kill a couple of hours.

So when I saw the 2018 The Predator at my local public library, I figured “why not?”

Like the original, it starts out in a jungle environment (that is, after the whole “chase through space” sequence), but that’s not where the main action takes place. Also, this movie is really a sequel to all of the others (not sure why they didn’t mention Aliens) and naturally, after a spaceship crash, a secret U.S. government project called “Stargazer” captures the pilot and calls in evolutionary biologist Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) as a consultant. Of course, all hell breaks loose and the Predator escapes.

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James Pyles’ “Joey” Featured in “World War Four”

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Promotional image for my short story “Joey” featured in the Zombie Pirate Publishing anthology “World War Four.”

I just found this promotional image on the Zombie Pirate Publishing Facebook page. Yes, the “blurb” is mine. All of the authors were required to provide a bio and “blurb” about their stories. Less than a week-and-a-half away until it is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook format. Pre-order today.

Book Review: Contest

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Cover art for Matthew Reilly’s novel “Contest.”

Sometime last summer, I wrote a short piece of fiction on this blog, and one of the comments made about it was that it was vaguely reminiscent of Matthew Reilly’s novel Contest.

Intrigued, I discovered that my local public library system had a copy, so I checked it out and started reading (however, I forgot to write a review until now).

Actually, the novel was originally self-published in 1996 when Reilly was age 19. Then Cate Paterson, a commissioning editor from Pan Macmillan, found a copy of in a bookstore and subsequently signed Reilly to a two-book deal. Apparently, Reilly had success with later novels as well.

Reilly is an Australian, but he chose to set his tale in New York City, specifically the main branch of the New York City Public Library (which was featured at the beginning of the 1984 film Ghostbusters), and his main characters are New York natives, which is where he starts to get into trouble.

Actually, I liked the book, but he introduced plot holes big enough for me to walk through, and he occasionally called things like the trunk of a car “the boot,” not keeping it straight in his mind that the people thinking these thoughts were American.

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The Last Invader

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Exterior shot of the Suyash Cybercafe in Mumbai, India

Twenty-seven-year-old Alicia Vasquez rapidly manipulated the keyboard in front of her at the cybercafé in Mumbai, not far from Mahim Bay. She’d left Ranbir at a local cinema watching that superhero movie while she arranged for the two of them to join the next Chadar Trek. The fellow who’d died of a heart attack a week ago in Ladakh had put off most of the tourists, at least temporarily, so she was able to get a discount.

However, that man, wasn’t just a man, he was resistance, like her, and his death wasn’t accidental. Alicia would use Ranbir as a pawn, planting an electronic signature on him indicating he was the agent, not her. If the ancient alien machine hidden in the Tibb Cave detected the sign and attacked, she’d have time to plant the detonator, ending the ancient alien invader’s resurrection forever. Long live the human resistance.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 148.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Mumbai, India. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, has such a long and rich history, there are many stories that could be told. I looked up news items for Mumbai and came up with Dead trekker’s family urges caution from “The Times of India.” Apparently, a 35-year-old man participating in the Chadar Trek, a ten-day hike across a frozen river bed at extreme altitudes with temperatures reaching -35 degrees F, and with hazards such as oxygen deprivation, perished of a heart attack near Tibb Cave.

With no disrespect to him or his grieving family, I used this as the jumping off point for my wee tale of the potential revival of an ancient alien threat and the long-lived human resistance attempting to eradicate the last strongholds of the extraterrestrial machines.

Find out more about the trek at MountainIQ.com.

Oh, I used the Suyash Cyber Cafe as the scene for my story.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

By the way, now that my first two short stories have been accepted for publication, I’ll probably have less time for many of these online challenges, as I’m redoubling my effort in creating tales to submit to anthologies and periodicals. I’ll still be around from time to time, though.

Being Published in the Anthology “World War Four”

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Promotional image for Zombie Pirate Publishing’s “World War Four” anthology

Fantastic news. On the heels of receiving an email saying that my first story was accepted for an anthology on Sunday morning, yesterday, I received the following:

Thanks for contributing to WORLD WAR FOUR. When we started Zombie Pirate Publishing in 2017, we could not have guessed at the enthusiastic support we would get from writers around the world. WORLD WAR FOUR received more than forty submissions. We thank you for your contribution.

We really enjoyed your submission Joey and would like to inform you it will be included in the publication released March 1st. Congratulations!

Yes, Adam Bennett and Sam M. Phillips at Zombie Pirate Publishing accepted my short story “Joey” for their World War Four (yes, you read that right) anthology, due to be published March 1, 2019.

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