What the Heck is a “Neffy Award?”

neffy

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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Is Harrison Ford The Only Indiana Jones?

indy

Promotional image for the 1981 film “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

This morning on the radio, I heard a clip from an interview with actor Harrison Ford where the host asked him who he’d like to see play Indiana Jones after Ford retired from the role. Ford replied no one. When he goes away, Indy goes away, too.

The fifth and last Indiana Jones film starring Ford is slated to come out in 2021, though after 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I think Indy’s getting a little long in the tooth for this sort of thing.

The DJ on the radio program I was listening to thought Ford was being arrogant in making such a statement, but I think he’s spot on. It’s not just that Ford originated the character and is terrific at it, but the first Indy movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in 1981, and the only other Indy movie worth a damn (in my opinion) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade hit the theaters in 1989.

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Haven’t Seen “Endgame” Yet and Other Updates

endgame

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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Audrey of the Sewers

 

sewer

© A Mixed Bag 2014

“Hey, kid.”

Twelve-year-old Jeff Edwards was crossing the street when he heard it.

“Down here.”

He looked down at the sewer drain.

“Come a little closer.”

“What the…?”

“Wait! It’s not what you think.”

Jeff stopped. The drain was securely grated so he figured nothing could get out. Then he felt something. A little vine had wrapped around his ankle. He pulled but was stuck.

“No, stop!”

“C’mon, I haven’t had a descent meal in forever. Getting tired of rats, mice, and dead goldfish.”

“Somebody help me!”

The vine got stronger, growing sharp spines.

“Just a few toes, I promise.”

“Ka-chunk”. Jeff saw Old Man Henderson slamming his ax down on the vine cutting it in two.

“Run, boy.”

Jeff jumped to the sidewalk.

“Figured this thing’d grown back by now.” He was wearing a metal tank on his back. The sexagenarian grabbed the tank’s hose by the nozzle and sprayed liquid into the grate.

“No. Please. Crap, that hurts. Stop.”

The plant’s voice faded. Jeff looked and saw nothing green was there anymore.

“Damn plant,” cursed Henderson. “My neighbor Seymour dumped it in the sewer but the alien keeps coming back. Herbicide’ll put it down. Best run along, Jeffy.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for 12 November 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

When I saw the sewer grate, I immediately thought of the 2017 film It based on Stephen King’s novel. I’ve never seen the film and never will (mainly because I don’t find being scared to death entertaining), but I’ve seen the advertising and the image of the clown peeking out of the sewer drain in the gutter is iconic.

However, I didn’t want to just re-write the same story and seeing a bit of plant life growing out of the grate, I took a look at the 1986 version of the movie Little Shop of Horrors based on the off-Broadway play and starring Rick Moranis as florist Seymour Krelborn.

In that movie (which I’ve never seen either), Seymour used an alien plant he named Audrey II (the original Audrey is his girlfriend) to draw business to his florist shop before realizing that the plant liked to eat human flesh and blood. The film ended when Seymour electrocuted the plant which destroyed his shop. Subsequently, he and Audrey married and settled down in the suburbs. However, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in the front yard in the movie’s last scene.

I decided to extend that idea, having Seymour find the bud and flush it down the toilet. Audrey II survives, but old man Henderson, having discovered the carnivorous plant and realizing what it was, keeps it in check each spring with his ax and a tank of herbicide. He’d been working in his yard when he heard Jeff scream and, knowing what happened, grabbed what he needed and put Audrey II down for another year.

I just wrote this tale for the fun of it, mixing a serious horror movie with a horror-comedy musical.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Relic

predator

© A Mixed Bag

“Wow. Where’d you get that?”

Thirteen-year-old Jess had been a fan of the Predator movies ever since he watched the original when he was nine.

“My uncle. He made it for a display at ComicCon to promote next year’s reboot.”

Bobby was Jess’s best friend and they shared a special love for horror-based science fiction. It was great that Uncle Bill designed costumes for movie studios.

“Ha! I bet the Predator in the reboot will be a lot scarier.”

“Probably be CGI, though, Jess. There’s a real art to making a costume for a human actor.”

Bill Owens was listening from the kitchen. He was glad to help his nephew score extra points with his friends, but their conversation was paving the way to the future. Computers could often create more impressive visual effects than models, costumes, and make up, but a whole century of film making had depended on people like him. Bill was due to retire soon, a relic from another age.

Written for today’s Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long based on the image above. My word count is 164.

One of my guilty pleasures is the 1987 original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers. I’ve seen most of the other films in the franchise including the Aliens vs. Predator movies, but this is my favorite. I was tempted to write an actual “Predator” story, but I figured everyone else would do that, so I went in a different direction.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.