Sunday Night Movie: Son Of Frankenstein

sofLast night I was in the mood for something classic and genre so I popped into the player my favorite of the original Universal Frankenstein films, Son Of Frankenstein.
Son Of Frankenstein was the last film in which Boris Karloff played the creature. The story follows Frankenstein’s son as he arrives at the family castle with wife and son in tow and becomes seduced by the brilliance and madness that destroyed his father.
This film is a joy to watch if you are fan of the comedy, Young Frankenstein. It is clear that Gene Wilder loved the original Universal movies and many of his gags work best if you have seen these movies.
Basil Rathbone plays Wolfgang Von Frankenstein — and I think this is the first film to give him the title of Baron, but I could be wrong about that — and the performance is really one to watch. Wolf is a man for whom nature holds no terrors. In his book fear exists where there is ignorance and misunderstanding. Armed with knowledge a man fears nothing in nature. Naturally a man with this sort of hubris is heading for a fall. Wolf’s life takes a turn for the worse when he meets Ygor, played by Bela Lugosi, a criminal who’s survived a hanging and now uses the Frankenstein monster to visit revenge on the men who sat in judgement on him. Ygor manipulates Wolf into restoring the monster to health. (It was only wounded by the fantastic explosion at the end of the last film.) Countering these two conspirator is the police inspector Krogh, played by Lionel Atwood, who would in the next film in the series be a scientist that causes the tragedy to continue. Krogh is a wonderful character and he is lampoon marvelously in Young Frankenstein by Kenneth Mars.
This is a Frankenstein movie where the monster is an invalid for two of the three acts, yet it is my favorite. I particularly like watching Rathbone’s performance as Wolf cracks as the situation spins dangerously out of control.


Interesting movie news

So according to this post over at aint-it-cool, Steven Spielberg is interested in making a HALO movie.

There has been talk for years of making a film based on the very popular video game franchise. It came close to fruition when Peter Jackson got involved but then fell apart when the studio kept cutting the budget and Jackson felt that the new lower budgets did not support the production the film required.

Spielberg certainly has the pull to get any budget he wants. It isn’t clear if this is something Steven wants for himself or for another person to direct. Either way it’s a hopeful sign for us HALO fans.

Out in theaters next week is District 9, and this article clued me in that the director of District 9 was the man Jackson had tapped to direct HALO. Now I really want to see District 9 next weekend.

Spielberg may be interested in a Halo Movie.


Movie Review: G.I.JOE: The Rise Of Cobra

On an impulsive lark I decided today to go see G.I.JOE:The Rise Of Cobra.
While I am not counted among the numerous adult fans of the 80’s cartoon series I did watch it from time to time and enjoyed it for its good natured cheesy fun. It had the usual hallmarks of a cartoon series that was designed primarily as an extended commercial for toys. There were lots of characters and new ones introduced regularly. (Gotta have action figures, both good guys and bad guys.) There were also lots of vehicles and tons of equipment. (What good is an action figure that doesn’t have lots of extra stuff?) The bad guys never won, the good guys never compromised their ideals, no one ever died, and a lesson was usually learned.
Despite all that the series could be fun to watch. They sometimes delved into interesting character development and I rather liked the interesting power dynamics that happened among the leaders of the bad guys, Cobra. ( I confess to once wanting to run a strategic level RPG with the players taking the roles of various Cobra Leaders. I reserved Cobra Commander and the Baroness as NPCs. The game never really happened, but it would have been fun.)
Continue reading Movie Review: G.I.JOE: The Rise Of Cobra


Head Handing

So one of the pleasure in being a writer is in interacting with other writers. Writing is often seen as a lonely profession but in fact writers tend to get along well with other writers. We love to chat about what we have read and the hows and whys of our craft. Writers are also invited to review and critique each others work.
Even a lowly semi-pro like myself will have the chance to read and comment on another aspiring author’s work. Frankly I think a writer should be willing to comment and critique as much as he or she is able, (Still, one needs to be careful. It’s easy to watch your valuable time being sucked away until you’re doing no writing at all.)
Today I had a chance to spend an hour or more with a friend and co-worker giving her a critique on a techno-thriller she had written.

I am not going to comment directly on her story or writing, that was for her and now general distribution. However the real value in critiquing is not in the critiques you receive but in the ones you give. Nothing helps you work at and understand the craft of writing then trying to dissect a piece and understand why it does or does not work. I wrote a 3400 word critique of her novel and went over it with her. I referred to it as handing her her head. (Though luckily I did it politely enough she did not feel as though I had handed her her head. I did, just wrapped nicely and present with courtesy.)

I have received the gift of critique from others and from professionals who have donated their time so I am happy to pay it forward whenever I can.


I expected better from Jerry Pournelle

Over at his blog Jerry wrote the following.

In Italy, Mussolini built the Fascist movement, but Mussolini was a socialist from the beginning, and died a socialist.

Quoted verbatim from The Doctrine Of Facism, by Benito Mussolini the author and founder of Fascism.

Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the ” right “, a Fascist century.

The Fascist negation of socialism, democracy, liberalism, should not, however, be interpreted as implying a desire to drive the world backwards to positions occupied prior to 1789, a year commonly referred to as that which opened the demo-liberal century.

Such a conception of life makes Fascism the resolute negation of the doctrine underlying so-called scientific and Marxian socialism, the doctrine of historic materialism which would explain the history of mankind in terms of the class struggle and by changes in the processes and instruments of production, to the exclusion of all else.

Fascism is therefore opposed to Socialism to which unity within the State (which amalgamates classes into a single economic and ethical reality) is unknown, and which sees in history nothing but the class struggle.

Mussolini died a socialist? Really?


today no real posting

I was going to write up something today and talk about the atomic bombing for Japan in WWII, but I was unable to get the work done.
For some reason quite unknown to me the arthritis in my knees began acting up today. They hurt when I walked to work, they got worse as the day went on and by lunch time I was limping quite a bit.
At lunch I needed to go a couple of blocks to a US Post office — to send Araceli off to a magazine — and by the end of lunch I was in real pain.
Luckily a co-worker offered me a ride home at the end of the day saving me quite a few steps.
When I got home it was pain killers and ice packs for me.
I’ve watched TV and very little more.


A dilemma

I have a short story that I think is fairly well written. If I submit it to the Writers Of The Future contest I think there is a decent chance it will place better than ‘Honorable Mention.’ The problem is that I am not a patient man and the quarter for Writers Of The Future doesn’t end until September 30th.
They do not begin judging until the end of the quarter and the first results are now averaging three months after that. If I submit it to Writers of The Future I will not hear back until late December or early next year.
I could submit it to a paying market before then, but then I miss out on Writers Of The Future unless I can find a market that replies in less than seven weeks.

Grrr, the worst part of the aspiring writer gig is the waiting.
I’m terrible at it.


eBook reader purchased

So, to celebrate my first national sale — even though it was just to a semipro market — I placed an order today for an eBook reader.
I purchased the EZReader Pro.
It has a smaller screen than most readers, jus 5″ vs the usual 6″, but it has a faster process, comes with a crush-proof case, and like an Hanlin derived device reads a large number of formats.
It’s supportive of open-sourced material and it’s not tied to any one supplier for book formatting.

They are supposed to ship at the end of the month and I am looking forward to getting mine.

Baen free eBooks here I come!


Pending sale

Well, I have a sale pending.
I’ve signed the contract and will be sending it back to the editor tomorrow.
Once everything is final and I know the dates the short story will be published in the Magazine site I will let you know.

It is semipro, but my words will getting out to infect people.


An Author’s Obligation

A common discussion topic is, what do artists owe their fans?
I am an author — though one without fans at this time — so I am going to chip in my two bytes on the subject.
An author does not owe any far or reader a signature, a signed book a reading, critiques of unpublished stories or ideas. Some author do these things, but it is not an obligation it is what they want to do and I suspect what they like to do.
An author doesn’t owe anyone personal appearances, club meetings, or courtesy any not expected in just normal human interaction. (Sadly, courtesy is falling in disuse among people in general.)

What an author does owe his readers and fans are two things.

One, a complete story.
Two, that the story is written to the best of his ability,

I did not read any of the Harry Potter books until the final one had been published. I did not want to start a story without knowing if the author was going to finish it. (I once read a very good book series where the last book written ended in a cliff-hanger and now seventeen years later it has yet to be completed.)

This is all a writer owes his readers, but unfortunately there are authors who fail in even these simple requirments.


Literary Saboteur

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