Monday, May 22, 2017

The Rock of Bronze

It's official, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will play the titular role of Doc Savage on the big screen.  Apparently, it's been official for a while now, and I'm late to the party.  My guess is that the news washed over me because I have so little faith in Hollywood.  Much as I love the series and the concept, it's hard to feel anything other than resignation when you read the Rock's announcement:

HE'S A F*CKING HILARIOUS WEIRDO! Confidently, yet innocently he has zero social graces whatsoever due to his upbringing so every interaction he has with someone is direct, odd, often uncomfortable and amazingly hilarious.
That in and of itself isn't so bad, but once you start pulling on the string the whole thing starts to unravel.  I have two fundamental objections:

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but what I read between the lines there is that the production team is planning one of those 'hilarious' deconstructions.  This isn't a case of making a perfect specimen of mankind and then giving him the glaring weakness of having zero social skills, it's a case of taking the perfect specimen of mankind and mocking not just him, but the idea behind him.  The underlying message of Doc Savage is one of aspiration - this could be you.  The underlying message of this movie seems to be, "don't be this guy".

My second objection admittedly relies on a meta-analysis of the situation.  The dozen or so Doc Savage novels that I've read focused on the Fab Five.  Doc gives them something to look into, they bumble around, figure it out, have varying levels of success, and then Doc shows up near the end as a walking personification of the deus ex machine and sets things right.  You don't pay The Rock 20 million dollars for 20 minutes of screen time.  That means this Doc Savage movie will be all about the doc, with the Fab Five given supporting roles.

It may well be true that there are a number of books where Doc was featured from cover to cover - there were 181 of the dang things after all - but the one's that I've read and enjoyed were all about the Fab Five, and until I see that cast list and see an indication that they won't be given short shrift, and that this isn't another Land of the Lost - The Mockening, I'm withholding my excitement.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Available Now: A Moon Full Of Stars

With only a month left in the hunting season, a young man faces the final days of his rite-of-passage.  Rome always dreamed of being a hunter for the village.  The hunters are daring men who get to explore the world beyond the small mountain valley that shelters the village, but to become one a boy must prove his skills by consistently returning with sufficient meat to earn a permanent place among the hunters.  If he fails, then he will be consigned to work the fields as a humble farmer.  For an adventurous youth like Rome, that would be a fate worse than death.

But fate is fickle and one day while returning with his best kill ever, Rome discovers that monstrous raiders have ransacked his home and carried off his friends and family.  Now, with only the aid of his chief rival, Rome must head west into the irradiated lands to seek out powerful artifacts that might give him the power to rescue his kinfolk from the hands of the mutant slavers.  And so Rome embarks on a journey that takes him farther than his dreams of being a mere hunter ever could.

This post-apocalyptic story features the sort of action and heart you've come to expect from my stories, including a healthy dose of adventure, exploration, romance, and the sort of bonds of brotherhood that are so often overlooked in today's sci-fi literature.

The official release date for A Moon Full of Stars is May 23rd, but you can pre-order your copy at today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

StoryHack, Issue Zero

Bryce Beattie recently put out the first issue of his action/adventure magazine as a proof-of-concept.  As a contributing author, for me to write a review of the magazine would be a bad idea.
But I'm going to do it anyway!

First, thought - don't take my word for it - download and read a copy for free.  Then you can decide for yourself whether the second issue KickStarter is worth backing.

StoryHack Action and Adventure has two things going for it:

1.  A central focus on action and adventure.  The contents cross genre lines with the first issue including pure fantasy, magi-tech, biblical fantasy, sci-fi, and even one story set in the contemporary real world.

2. Bryce's own vision.  One issue doesn't provide enough data to get your arms around Bryce's tastes, but you can get a feel for it.  My guess is that, as with Cirsova, after a few issues are out, regular readers will be able to point to a story and say, "That's a Bryce story."  The edges will be fuzzy, but there will be a certain feel to the kind of story that might appear in StoryHack.  Based on the limited size of the data set, it looks like they will be fast, furious, and fun, with just a hint of deeper meaning or passion to them.

The decision to include stories from a variety of genres was brilliant.  As a 'page one and straight on through til morning' reader, it was fun not knowing what each kind of story was going to be.  You may want to take a page from Cirsova and include a one sentence teaser before each story.  I never read them, preferring to go into each story blind, but (particularly when you've got a cross-genre magazine) a lot of readers appreciate that little warning about what to expect.  The hard copy/pdf has a blurb in the table of contents, but you don't have that in the Kindle version.

StoryHack: Year Zero also includes a few unexpected laughs in the form of Bryce's own advertisements.  In a normal magazine, these would be considered filler, but in Bryce's hands they provide a laugh, and more importantly, they provide a chance for the editor to engage directly with the reader.  What could have been wasted ink becomes a way for the reader to get to know Bryce a little better and begin establishing a relationship with him. 

That may not seem like much, but consider that most collections are a reflection of the editor.  The best magazines were synonymous with their editors, and you know from the editor's name what kind of story you're going to get.  Gernsback was pure pulp.  Campbell was men with screwdrivers.  Damon Kinght was lipstick smeared pigs in fancy ball gowns.   Both Gernsback and his stories were bold and daring.  Both Campbell and his stories were smart and technical.  Both Knight and his stories used pseudo-intellectualism to hide his incompetence. 

Pretty soon we'll have Bryce Style fiction, and that fiction will be a reflection of Bryce's personality. This is one reader that hopes those little injections of Bryce won't disappear once every column inch is bought and paid for.