Film Review: Aquaman (2018)

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Promotional image for the 2018 film “Aquaman.”

I happened upon the DVD of Aquaman (2018) at my local library and couldn’t pass it up. The film has gotten rave reviews, and given the DCU‘s relatively poor track record compared to Marvel, I decided they were due for a win.

First of all, I love Jason Momoa as Arthur/Aquaman. Even as a kid, the blond, orange shirted Aquaman of the comic books seemed pretty silly to me, especially when compared to Marvel’s Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, so Momoa’s interpretation of Aquaman is an incredible improvement and a joy to watch. I also loved Temuera Morrison as Arthur’s Dad Tom and Nicole Kidman as his Mom Atlanna. An additional treat was the appearance of Willem Dafoe as Vulko.

All that said, I thought the movie was “okay”. Oh sure, plenty of action, thrills and chills, but it didn’t really stand out. There are already plenty of films about reluctant, exiled kings and their rise to power against evil. Frankly, Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) did it better, although it’s tough to compare the two characters.

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Haven’t Seen “Endgame” Yet and Other Updates

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Promotional poster for “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

No, I haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame yet, and unless I go with my sons and grandson, I probably won’t see it in the theater. Yes, I’ve heard it is THE film to see, blowing away all of the other Marvel superhero movies, so I’m certainly stoked. I know my ten-year-old grandson is stoked. Hopefully, if I see it while it’s in the theaters, I’ll find a way to sit through a three plus hour film without a potty break.

I’m not particularly interested in spoilers, but given various complaints about how last year’s Avengers: Infinity War ended, I did write a commentary with a few predictions, though of course, I wasn’t (very) seriously suggesting that my crystal ball was any better than all the others.

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Signal Boost for “Magical Reality”

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Created at the imgflip meme generator

The fine folks at Superversive SF have honored me with a Signal Boost of the Pixie Forest Publishing anthology Magical Reality which features my short story “The Dragon’s Family.” According to Urban Dictionary, a Signal Boost is:

Posting to a community forum (mailing list, social networking site, discussion board) in hopes of getting more attention for an event or cause. This is not the primary or first announcement, but rather one of many auxiliary posts or cross-posts to communities with individuals who are likely to take interest.

This will hopefully be the first of many since no one can read your stories unless they know where to find them.

Click the LINK and please pass it along.

Oh and yes, L. Jagi Lamplight Wright, who wrote the signal boost, was the teacher of the online writing class I took last November.

The Reviews of My Anthologies are in

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From cover image for “1929: A Zimbell House Anthology”

I didn’t think this would happen so soon, but the three anthologies I’ve been published in so far this year have started to get a bit of buzz.

Pixie Forest Publishing’s “Magical Reality” featuring my short story “The Dragon’s Family” has three 5-star reviews (and ratings on goodreads) on Amazon and goodreads.

Zombie Pirate Publishing’s “World War Four” containing my short story “Joey” has a total of 29 goodreads‘s ratings (no reviews so far) with a total score of 4.93 (out of a possible 5.00).

And even though it only became available for purchase yesterday, Zimbell House Publishing’s “1929” received a single 5-star rating on goodreads, although to be fair, the rating was from the publisher.

1929: A Zimbell House Anthology is Now Available

1929: A Zimbell House Anthology

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Promotional image for Zimbell House Publishing’s anthology “1929”

My short story “The Devil’s Dilemma” is featured in the Zimbell House Publishing anthology 1929, which includes six tales in multiple genres, all set in the year 1929.

Sixteen-year-old Timothy Quinn grew up in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, working as a “printer’s devil,” an apprentice in a newspaper print shop since age twelve. One day, the teen and would-be boxer starts hearing strange news announcements on the radio that seem to come from the future. Then he learns that in the next seven weeks, a ten-year-old girl will be kidnapped and murdered by a notorious serial killer. No one believes his wild tale, so he sets out to confront the killer himself, but will he succeed in saving the life of an innocent child only to sacrifice his own?

“1929: A Zimbell House Anthology” is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Back cover of the Zimbell House Anthology 1929

“Magical Reality” In My Hand

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© James Pyles

Yes, it arrived in the mail yesterday. I’ve been out of town with my wife visiting my Mom about an eight-hour drive away. Even though we got back a day early, we were occupied all day yesterday and into the evening with grandchildren/family, so I haven’t been online much. It was a real pleasure to finally see a story of mine in physical print. I’ve been a published author of information technology textbooks and self-study guides for about fifteen years, but this is the first fiction story I’ve been able to see and touch. Hope this is just the beginning.

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© James Pyles

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© James Pyles

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© James Pyles

The Back Door Out of the Wizard’s Saloon

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© Sue Vincent

Long centuries ago, when “The Wizard’s Saloon” had first been established, the population of its visitors, many but not all from Britain and the European nations on Earth, were illiterate, or read and spoke languages not native to the proprietor. The sign, a conical wizard’s hat mounted in a frame atop the roof, communicated very well across cultures and species just what sort of proprietorship was within its gray stone walls, and behind the large, oaken door, and stained glass windows.

Kyle Logan, a refugee from the realm of Nightmare, and a minor vassal of Dormammu before that, cautiously gripped the tarnished brass handle and pushed in. He looked human enough, just shy of six-foot tall, tangled brown hair draped over his forehead and ears, sharp green eyes scanning left and right looking for any hint of trouble, dressed in mismatched jacket and trousers (gray and brown didn’t go well together) over a wrinkled black t-shirt. His Air Jordan 13 Retro shoes were the only thing that was new, but only because he had stolen those last, having gotten lucky enough to materialize momentarily in a 1984 Los Angeles shoe store.

“Greetings, stranger.” The figure behind the bar at the other end of the room was almost a head taller than Kyle, but also three times as wide as the skinny youth. Amazingly, the body-length apron over the long-sleeved gingham shirt (because of the bar, Logan couldn’t see below his waist) managed to obscure the man’s abundant girth. “Welcome to the Wizard’s Saloon. Come for lodging or just a drink?”

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First Review of “Magical Reality” Anthology

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Screenshot of goodreads review

My short story “The Dragon’s family” is featured in the Pixie Forest Publishing anthology Magical Reality and guess what? It got its first review, both on Amazon and on goodreads. Yes, five-star review praising ALL of the stories within its pages, which includes mine. Yes, I’m thrilled.

Keep ’em coming, readers.

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Screenshot of the “Magical Reality” page at Amazon

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Screenshot of Amazon’s “Magical Reality” page including author’s list and review details

Author Pages Update

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Screenshot of my Amazon author’s page

As you can see, I’ve had my Amazon and goodreads author’s pages updated to reflect my current publications in the World War Four and Magical Reality anthologies. The one for goodreads is a little deceptive since goodreads doesn’t let me sort my books by most recently published, so in reality, they are way at the bottom of the list. Not only that, but getting my name listed as a contributor on goodreads is a tad more difficult than doing the same thing on Amazon, since I’m not the editor or lead author. Still, it’s a nice little piece of marketing. Now I can’t wait for people to start reviewing these books in both venues (hint, hint).

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Screenshot (edited) of my goodreads author’s page

I’ve Just Been Interviewed by Author Jensen Reed

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Image from the Author Jensen Reed blog

Jensen Reed is co-owner with Donise Sheppard at Pixie Forest Publishing, and in three days, their latest anthology, Magical Reality will be published in paperback and ebook format at Amazon (available for pre-order today). It includes my fantasy short story “The Dragon’s Family.”

To read the full interview, visit Magical Reality Blog Tour- James Pyles.

Edit: Here’s the promotional poster for my story.

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Promotional poster for the my short story “The Dragon’s Family” published in the Pixie Forest Publishing fantasy anthology “Magical Reality.”