Thursday, October 20, 2011

The World Is Ending - Postponed From Earlier Date

You heard it here.  Of course, chances are if you are reading this post after Friday, October 21, 2011 the prediction was wrong.  I'm sorry, I mean it might have just been postponed....again.  You may remember the predictions of radio preacher Harold Camping who said Judgment Day would come May 21, but when it didn't happen, he said that was just the spiritual judgment day.  The world will end more quietly Friday October 21.  So should we waste time continuing to write and edit, or just have fun in our last 24hours (plus or minus).  I mean, I have some work deadlines coming up from my paying job. 

You know what really sucks about this prediction?  If it's true, I'll miss the opening of Avengers.

Sometimes these "news" stories are odder than any fantasy or sci-fi story and makes me think about doing something like a short story with such a theme.  Although, I think it works better for a comedy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Was the Kraken Real?

The answer is - maybe.  That's right.  One of our favorite mythological monsters, and the ship crunching pet of Pirates of the Carribean's Davey Jones, may have really existed  according to an article on 

While direct evidence of this creature hasn't been found, there has been some evidence of its existence based on markings on the bones of ichytosaurs - 45-foot long water dinosaurs that might have been prey for the possible monsters during the Triassic period.  The key evidence seems to be in bones found in one location that most likely didn't die at the same time - indicating this could have been the kraken's lair.    If such creatures weren't soft bodies there might have been more fossilized evidence, but unfortunately all we have is theories and a possible location of the Kraken's dining room.  Following discoveries like this can give some credibility to stories with related monsters or themes.  I mean a REAL monster that snacked on 45-foot long dinosaurs makes for cool stories.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Real Steel Armor Has Kinks (Spoilers)

Since I had the day to myself, I thought I'd check out Hugh Jackman's new movie Real Steel.  Overall, I have to say that it was entertaining, but it had a really slow start.  Worth going to, but try to save a couple bucks by going to a matinee.

Overall Strengths:  Hugh Jackman put on a good performance to me.  In the first few scenes, I didn't like him or sympathize with his problems.  However, that was probably by design.  Obviously he became more likable as the movie progressed.  To me, the pivotal scene for him was when Bailey Tallet (played by Evangeline Lilly) was talking to Max (played by Dakota Goyo) about Charlie's boxing past and one of his best fights in his boxing career. 

The special effects.  That goes without saying.  They were great.  There were a few views of the star robot, Atom, where one repair weld on his face looked almost like a mouth.  I almost expected Atom to smile.

Chemistry between Charlie and Bailey.  This was credible and not overdone.  This is a mild spoiler (bigger spoilers below), but I liked Bailey's line to Charlie "1,200 miles for a kiss?"  Nice.

Doing the robot.  When Charlie saw Max dancing with Atom, I liked how he spun it.  Making it a gimick for the show.  Smart and funny.

Overall Weaknesses:   Max.  Sorry, but I really didn't like the kid.  While you saw flaws in Charlie and Bailey, this kid seemed too perfect.  Not perfectly behaved and all.  More like too mature, too smart, and too "right."  The kid seemed to have all the right answers.  His character didn't seem real to me at all. 

The opening scenes were way too predictable for my taste.  So many cliches and overused ideas.  While the opening was a bit of a surprise (the fight at the fair), you knew exactly what would happen the moment the competitors were announced.  Pretty much the same thing with the next fights.

Some of the tech that made Atom special also was a flaw in the movie.  (Minor spoiler) The ability to mimick someone.  Wouldn't that have been picked up more?  Give human fighters a chance to compete through the robots.  Only giving that one here because it is in most of the trailers.  More below in Spoilers.


The robot fighting a bull?  Could have been better, but when Charlie started getting arrogant and paying more attention to the cute girls in the stand than the bull, I was hoping the bull would knock the robot through the fence and right onto Charlie.  Besides, why wasn't the guy who set up that fight arrested for cruelty to animals?  I mean the bull tore the robot up, but that guy who set it up would have been jailed for trying that.  But then he couldn't have come back to kick Charlie's @ss later.

Max - annoying.  Again, the kid was too perfect and too smart.  From his ability to speak Japanese to his negotiating more money to the

Atom's ability to mimic was one thing, but his ability to absorb punishment and keep functioning.  Again, why didn't other, newer robots have that?

When the aunt was trying to console Max by telling him about all the toys she had for him to play with, I almost laughed.  He never once seemed like the type of kid interested in "toys."  It gave me the impression she knew as much about the boy as his father did.

Zeus running low on power.  Come on.  Okay, maybe they operators were so used to winning early they didn't see a point in giving enough power for a full fight, but that did make the fight a little anti-climactic.

The final fight, from the very beginning reminded me so much of Rocky, I half expected Zeus to start chanting "Zeus in 3..." 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Editor Picked My Submission Pointing Out The Good and The Need Work

It seems like it's been so long since I updated my blog that some might think I'm dead.  I'm not and here's some proof.  I know that I've mentioned the online critique group Critters a few times.  Well, I'm also using another online group - the online writing workshop for science fiction, fantasy and horror (OWW/SFF).  One big difference this group has from critters is you pay for OWW/SFF, but they have professional editors on staff who review and publish comments on submissions each month.

I was thrilled around mid-September when I learned that my current submission to the OWW/SFF web site, Legacy Soldier Ch 11, was picked as the editors' choice for science fiction and a review was written up in the OWW/SFF newletter (link below). It is a critical review pointing out several areas where the chapter could be enhanced. I couldn't really argue with the comments even though I think some implied questions would be answered if the person had read from Ch 1 - Ch 11. Not saying I dissagree. What I like is that the editor (a professional editor) gave some specific examples where the chapter could be firmed up and made some overall positive remarks like:
"These opportunities weren't quite fulfilled in this chapter, but the attempt is still competent, the bare bones of it there, and the idea of drafted kids with telepathic abilities, while not new, is still plum to explore. The personalities of the characters are diverse enough to provide great potential for natural conflict, and there are a few great turns of phrase that enhance this (like "telepathic friendly fire")."
And the ending:
"Overall the punctuation needs work and the chapter ended in an odd place, but the set up as a whole -- the plot and the characters -- all have potential; the foundation has been laid. The conflict is inherent and interesting, and that is the main requirement to drive any story forward."

Overall, I'm happy with the review.  It shows me that I'm on the right track and that my story mostly needs clean-up work.  Now I just hope I can get the time to do that!