Celebrating the Chaotic Energy of The Mummy

I went to see this under duress when it came out, somehow thinking it was based on the Anne Rice novel, and I remember the exact moment it totally won me over: 
"Hey, O'Connell! Looks like we've got all the horses!"
"Hey, Beni! Looks like you're on the wrong side of the river!"

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Past Tense, Part I”

There haven't been any comments on this episode since the 2016 election, so let me be the first to say that it's no longer difficult at all to imagine this future actually arising in the next...wow, only seven years. In fact, it's almost likely, given the wealth disparity, tolerance for racism and rise in fascism. If anything, the society depicted in the episode is probably much more civil (no drug abuse shown, for instance, and the security forces are overworked but not overtly brutal) than what the future will likely be. And that's the world our kids will inherit.

Let’s Rank All the King Arthur Movies to Find the True Once and Future King

I wrote an Arthurian novel a few years ago, which meant I read a ton of books and watched as many Arthurian movies as I could to research it. There's really no choice: Excalibur is the top version, flaws and all, because it tells the entire story, grounds itself in the myth(s) (there's no central text, after all), and presents image after image that could be inspired by both Waterhouse and illuminated manuscripts. Arthur was never meant to be an historical figure; he inhabits a netherworld, and Excalibur shows that beautifully. 

That said, Robert Bresson's Lancelot du Lac and Eric Rohmer's Perceval deserve places on this last far more than shoddy TV movies like Prince Valiant and Merlin and the Sword. 

In Space, Sigourney is Too Cool to Scream: Why Alien Endures

I was lucky enough to see Alien on its initial run, and yes, everything you mention is true. But there was (and remains) one huge Ripley-related flaw, and the sold-out audience I was in that long-ago night felt it: we were totally with Ripley right up until the point she went back for the cat. You could feel the audience's empathy snap free, and from that point on we watched, but we weren't involved the way we had been. It has nothing to do with not caring about animals; it's about priorities

Finding the Perfect Monster for Your Fantasy Novel

dwcole, it was designed by the Tor art department, and I was very, very happy with it. They've done great covers for all my books.

God Product

Wow. Just...wow. So much emotion, with so few words. Amazing.

Is the World Ready for a Post-Watchmen Tick?

Not to be crude but does EVERY M***********G THING have to be grimdark now? The Tick was always silly, and the various incarnations supported that. Now we have a Tick who might be mentally ill, an Arthur who IS mentally ill (and might just be manifesting the Tick as part of that), and absolutely sadistic superhero violence in the service of...what? "Fun"? 

I know, I know. Get off my lawn.

Music Inspired by Last Song Before Night

The tune is beautiful, and so is the book. A perfect match!

Gritty Power/Rangers Fan Film is a Wonderfully Dark Reboot
Can we not leave children's things to children? What does it say about us that we love taking innocent children's shows and retooling them with adult sensibilities?
Evil Eighties: The Paperback Horrors of John Farris
ALL HEADS TURN AS THE HUNT GOES BY is one of those titles I wish I'd thought of. I remember it from seeing it on the book as a teen.
CBS’ Supergirl Will Be a Crime Procedural Crossed With “A Female Empowerment Story”
Wait. "She's got to be an every woman," but, "She's got to be specific"? Does dude realize how he's contradicting himself? And why exactly do we need superhero shows without superheroes again?
Balancing on a Precipice: The Gothic Reach
Tangentially, I just finished reading Alexandra Styron's memoir Reading My Father, and its insight into the life that produced the magnificent Gothic Reach you mention was striking.
Star Wars: Episode VII Cast Announced!
What, no Lando? Was it because of that "Dancing with the Stars" routine?
Tom Baker Talks About Filming in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special
I'm not sure anyone can ever embody the Doctor in the public consciousness the way Baker did. In that sense he's like Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, or Sean Connery as James Bond. It was great to see him in the 50th with that same quirky timing and deadpan delivery.
Shall We Gather
Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone. And RevSandy, I especially appreciate yours; what you mention is exactly what I hoped to get across.
8 Essential Dinosaur Movies
I feel I must give a shout out to The Valley of Gwangi, for audaciousness of concept and Jerome Moross's awesome score. Not to mention dinosaurs by Harryhausen, including the tiny eohippus. I'd swap this for Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend any time.
“As You Wish…” Eight Unabashedly Romantic SF/F Love Stories
What about Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers? Not only does Steve love Jaime (and eventually marry her), he muscles through the program that makes her, like him, bionic. And then, when she loses her memory of their love, he WAITS. He doesn't go crazy, or do something stupid. He waits, through the end of both their series, some pretty bad TV movies, and a cameo by Dave Thomas of "Wendy's" fame, for her to fall in love with him again. That's romance.
“Come Sail Away”…With Me?
Thanks for all the comments (and musical suggestions). It's amazing how passionate we can be about music from our youth-hoods.
Tor UK Top Tips: Our Authors on Writing
I can't agree with Mark Charan Newton's comment enough. But I'm trying.
Harry Potter Actor David Bradley to Play the First Doctor
Sounds like good casting. I'm really looking forward to this: I adore Hartnell's Doctor.
J.J. Abrams, Star Wars, and the Homogenization of Geek Pop
I agree with almost everything you say here, Ryan. Oh, hell, I admit it: I agree with everything you say here.
Watch the Full Trailer for World War Z
Yawn. Which I know, sounds cynical and jaded, but when that much money (and Brad Pitt) are thrown at something, the first things to go are anything interesting and/or original.
Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker! Everyone’s Still Re-Writing Your Book.
I re-read this every year before Halloween. Clearly I don't have Emily's problem with "pop culture bleed," but I do agree it is a problem, and that's an awesome name for it. But like those students who don't like Hamlet because it's full of cliches like "To be or not to be," Dracula simply requires a leap of imagination by the reader before s/he even gets started. You have to read the book that's there in front of you, and block out all the media permutations of the last century or so. When you do, you find that you don't really know the story, that there's more here than you expect, and that if you open yourself to what Stoker did, rather than what a hundred years of pop culture mutated it into, your experience is much more rewarding. In my opinion, that is. Your mileage may vary.
It’s Always Been Fast Zombies. Wayne Simmons on Night of the Living Dead
Nicely put. I saw the movie on a Sunday afternoon TV broadcast out of Memphis, and it scared the daylights of me, even in daylight. Years later in college, I discovered there was a whole group of us who'd seen this exact same broadcast and been similarly affected. It was my introduction to the concept of nihilism, even if I didn't yet know the word.
The Astonishingly Non-Nonsensical Plot of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I don't think RHPS would have lasted, or even broken out at the time, if these subtexts weren't there, even if they were unconscious. Art will often unify itself even without letting its creators in on it. Kudos for pointing all this out, Emily, and I'd be very curious to read a similar analysis of Phantom of the Paradise.
This Year’s Halloween Discovery: Grave of the Vampire
Kenny, I'm curious about the quality of the print Netflix is streaming; thanks for the head's up. And Wizard Clip, you're right.
Let The Snazzy One In. Rewatching 1931’s Dracula
The real issue with this Dracula, for me, is that after a tremendously cinematic first act, it turns into a filmed play. As you mention, every manifestation of Dracula's powers takes place offscreen, and has to be described--exactly like the play it's based on. And I've always found it timid in a way Frankenstein was not: Dracula is even killed offscreen, with only a groan to mark his demise.
Beetlejuice: A Ghostly, Gothed-Out 80s Fairy Tale for the Ages
Beetlejuice and Big Fish make an interesting contrast: one (as you point out) celebrates childhood, the other adulthood (and it's Burton's only film to do so). Both center on a child coming to terms with his/her parental figures, another recurring theme. What makes Beetlejuice different is that this understanding opens the way for a different and better parent/child relationship, while in Big Fish, it marks the end of it.
Monster of the Week: Trolls
I live in the Troll Capital of the United States (Mount Horeb, WI). We even have a Trollway, with wooden sculptures of the beasties all over town. I have yet to encounter one practicing the sort of aggressive mimicry you describe, though. And believe me, I've looked.
Christopher Lloyd Gives Me Hope for the Future; Might Really Be Doc Brown
Damn, and I wasn't there to ask him to say, "It's not my goddamned planet, understand, monkey boy?"
Reopening The X-Files: Fight The Future
This movie was the point that I no longer believed Carter, et. al., knew where the hell they were going. I was a huge fan, loved the mythology and eagerly awaited the pay-off, which...never...came. You say it could've been worse, and I suppose that's true, but it also could've been better. And it's kept me away from other serial shows (Lost, Battlestar Galactica), which has also saved me from their disappointing climaxes as well. So I guess I should be thankful. The real indication that the movie was insubstantial was in the first episode of the next season, when it only took a couple of clips to recap for new viewers.
Adele Will Sing Skyfall Theme Song
She can sing, but there hasn't been a great Bond theme since "Goldeneye." Here's hoping.
6 Great Sean Connery Sci-Fi/Fantasy Roles
Have to side with DemetriosX on the omission of Robin Hood. Not only is he legitimately good in "Robin and Marian," but he fights Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robert f*cking Shaw! Red Grant! Quint, for God's sakes. And even though there's no element of magic or supernatural in it, any film with Robin Hood has to count as fantasy.
Sherlock Season 3 Episodes Revealed
Given how Season 2 ended, Season 3 pretty much has to start with their version of "The Empty House," doesn't it? I mean...doesn't it?
Looks Like You Picked the Wrong Week to Break Off Your Engagement! Rewatching 1954’s Gojira (Godzilla)
It would take until 2001 and a film with the extremely unwieldy title Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack before Godzilla again represented something significant. It's also the only film besides the first one in which Godzilla is actually scary. The scene with the girl in the hospital still gives me chills.
A Tribute to Sara Douglass
Sad to hear this as well. Her nonfiction book The Betrayal of Arthur was a huge influence on my novel Dark Jenny.
Chinatown: Noir Meets the Family Melodrama
Just to save myself an ass-whooping, let me state up front this might be spoiler-y. The (IMO) underrated sequel The Two Jakes builds on the "family" angle, but in the context of how the past affects the present. Jake Gittes finds himself trying to protect Evelyn Mulwray's daughter, who he hasn't seen in years and has had no contact with; the other Jake (Harvey Keitel) is trying to do the same thing, for his own reasons. For most of the movie we believe they're working at cross purposes, and it's only in the final scenes that we understand the truth. The final line ("The past never goes away.") may not be up there with "It's just...Chinatown," but it carries its own considerable power.
The Big Rewatch of The Big Sleep
Love this movie. Besides Faulkner, one of the screenwriters was SF/mystery author Leigh Brackett; you can see the attempt to add this level of banter to the Han Solo/Princess Leia relationship in "The Empire Strikes Back," the final script on which she worked. And if you pick up the DVD release, there's an earlier "preview" version of the film that includes a scene with the DA in which Bogart and his cop pal lay out who did what to whom pretty clearly. This was cut in the release version, and replaced by the Bogart-Bacall horse-racing scene. A fair trade, as far as I'm concerned.
Kiss Me Deadly: The Blade Runner Before Blade Runner?
Mark: I have faith. :-) Jvstin: Thanks! cybernetic_nomad: you're right about Repo Man. I cut that part out of my original piece for length. Darren: the link to Blade Runner is that this film, like BR, is an SF/detective mashup. Gerry: regarding Tarantino, fans see homages, haters see rip-offs. I think it's safe to say he peppers his works with allusions to other films to a greater degree than most filmmakers, and the suitcase light as an image originates (as far as I know) with Kiss Me Deadly.
The Middleman: America’s Doctor Who?
Wow, thanks for all the comments! It's spring break here, so the boys are underfoot and I can't get online to respond like I should. But I appreciate all the kind words! Some quick specific replies: Rowanmdm: You're dead right about the "color-washing." I had not encountered that term before, but it's now firmly in my lexicon. Tedd: Good point about the "neverending" quality. EllenC: I hope Javi is right. Any incarnation is welcome. Thanks again, everyone!
How The World of Star Trek Taught Me to Write
Neil: The later edition has an added section on the first three Trek movies, but I don't think the prior text was significantly changed. "The Unfulfilled Potential" doesn't reference the movies, so I think the changes were add-ons rather than revisions.
How The World of Star Trek Taught Me to Write
Howard: We've still got all the Blish books as well as the Alan Dean Foster adaptations of the animated show. One of those, in fact, got me beaten up by my cousin when I was twelve. I'll have to blog about that sometime. Sharat: At least the way Gerrold writes about it, the lesson is fun. James: Brevity is hard to learn, and then to overcome. Between Gerrold's book and my newspaper writing experience, it's a wonder my books aren't only ten pages long. Hoodedswan: Agreed.
How Captain Kirk Led Me to Historical Fiction
I think the innate optimism of Trek inspired a lot of its fans to explore (no, I won't say it) things they might otherwise not have, even if they were technically unrelated. I wonder what the legacy of the current dystopian SF series will be?
Review: Dracula the Un-Dead, by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
I'm with Sandikal. Ironically, I reviewed the book on my blog the same day (http://downinluckytown.blogspot.com/2009/12/belatedly-dracula-un-dead.html) but to a vastly different conclusion. Whatever the intent (and the cynic in me is skeptical of that), I feel the result is dire.
Beyond Sherwood Forest: The Fantasy of Robin Hood?
This was the first 2009 SyFy movie I've watched all the way to the end. And considering it's November, that's not a good average. But it was nice to see the werewolf girl from "Ginger Snaps" transform into something inhuman again.
To boldly go where…ah, to hell with it
The thing is, the Trek franchise doesn't need "reimagining." That term is just doublespeak for translating proven ideas through the prism of whatever's popular now, which is not the same as actual creativity. Continuing Star Trek is fine: bring in new characters and situations, a whole new original movie franchise, even. But this is insulting at best, pandering at worst, and plays on the belief that the audience will swallow anything if it's shiny enough.
Please Stop Staring at My Delicious Head
Does anyone remember from, gosh, twenty years ago, when Weird Al Yankovic was on MTV and had John Carradine read from a "children's" book called "The Littlest Pumpkin"? I'd kill for a video of that (well, I'd kill a pumpkin, that is...)
Tintin Movie Hits a Snag
I remember reading the odd installment of Tintin in the magazines at my doctor's office when I was a kid, and that was an awfully long time ago. And even then their European sensibility struck me as odd and off-putting (this was in Tennessee, though). Spending $130 million-plus on this character for a contemporary American audience seems somehow...off kilter.
Moving Beyond Your Comfort Zone
I'm a huge fan of Faulkner, and try to re-read Go Down, Moses with some regularity. I've been working my way through the works of Southern novelist Jesse Hill Ford, and Scottish writer Kevin MacNeil's The Stornoway Way, which has some of the most quotable lines since Douglas Adams. And I always fall back on my personal trinity of Chandler, Hammett and Parker (Robert B.).
SF Theatre: There Will Come Soft Rains
Since I live nowhere near NY, I can only comment on the general concepts, but I agree with Liz that SF and theatre should be much more amenable than they seem to be, since both rely on suspension of disbelief to a degree unmatched in most other fields. Accepting the reality of time travel isn't that different from saying, "Yes, those three artificial bushes are Burnam Wood come to Dunsinane." We did at least have a production of Urinetown here (Madison, WI) last year, and it was awesome, although nothing in the advertising or commentary really mentioned its post-apocalyptic SF appeal.
Michael Whelan and Scott Fischer exhibit
On our honeymoon, my wife and I found an original Whelan B&W cover sketch in, of all places, a junk store in Door County, WI. It's now proudly displayed in our dining room.

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.