A Tale of SF/F/H at Its Best, and a Thank You

PACIFIC RIM

To read the news (and the blogs, and the social media posts), you’d believe that the science fiction, fantasy and horror community is made of up of crying man babies who freak out at the slightest deviation from what they believe a property, or a person, should be. From remaking The Last Jedi to trolling Leslie Jones, from complaining about … Read More

Music, identity, and the teenage heart

Record and iPod

I just finished Whiskey Bottles and Brand-New Cars, a 2017 biography of Lynyrd Skynyrd by Mark Ribowski. I was 14 when the core of the band died in a plane crash on October 20, 1977, the real “day the music died” for my generation. I’m familiar with the broad strokes of the Skynyrd story, and even once saw the Rossington-Collins Band, one … Read More

When you make a spectacle of yourself…

70s glasses

My ten-year-old son recently got glasses. It’s not a surprise: my wife and I both wear them. And while two wrongs don’t make a right, apparently two nearsighteds make a farsighted. I was nine when I got my first glasses. I was in third grade, my first year in the old, long-gone Gibson Elementary School in Tennessee. Now, with the … Read More

Out of the Theater Defeated, Into a Defeated World

Thanos

SPOILER ALERT for Avengers: Infinity War (and The Empire Strikes Back, if anyone truly needs that now). Although I’m far too late for this to qualify as any sort of “hot take”–is “tepid take” a thing?– I’ve put a lot of thought into what bugs me (to put it mildly) about Avengers: Infinity War. And just to be clear, I’ve … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 3

Night Streets issue 4 cover art

You can read part 1 of this series here, and part 2 here. I’m old enough to remember when comics were considered strictly for kids. The very term “comic book” implies the immaturity and humor of the earliest examples. Comic strips in the newspapers were even grouped together on what was called the “funny pages.” The idea that one day comics would … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 2

Night Streets Book Two

Previously in Part 1, I wrote about the eighties comic Night Streets, which ended at issue #5, promising a storyline conclusion in issue #6, which never appeared.  The unresolved cliffhanger is a special kind of torture. If you’ve ever gotten emotionally invested in a story—whether a movie, TV, comic, or novel—the idea that there will never be a resolution can … Read More

Revisiting Night Streets, Part 1

Night Streets issue 4

With every bit of information and history seemingly at our fingertips, it can be hard to recall that once, finding out things was much harder. Occasionally, though, you run across a topic that hasn’t been done to death on the web, and for which there’s virtually no information. Then you have to roll up your sleeves and start digging. So … Read More

Serendipity, Saragossa, and Moonshine

Moonshiner 1904 title card

When first pondering the story that would become The Fairies of Sadieville, my initial idea was one of form. I’d just read Jan Patocki’s The Manuscript Found in Saragossa and seen the Polish film adaptation, The Saragossa Manuscript. Both novel and film are “nesting” or “frame” stories, in which a tale is told within another tale, which is told within another … Read More

Finding the rhythm of another time and place

ancient writing

While revising The Fairies of Sadieville (available in two weeks!), my editor pointed out that some dialogue, for a subplot set in prehistory, sounded a bit too “modern.” When I stepped back and looked at it objectively, I had to agree. I had these primitive people speaking with the cadences, and more importantly in the syntax, of modernity. It was deliberate, since as always, I don’t want … Read More

Dark as a Dungeon: the music of the miners

Dark as a Dungeon CD

Part of The Fairies of Sadieville takes place in 1915, and involves two specialized occupations: making silent movies, which I’ll cover elsewhere, and coal mining. Sadieville is a new coal boom town, and I was determined to get it right. I did a lot of book research on it, to get accurate technology and terminology, but to get the feel, I turned, appropriately, to … Read More