This week over at Scriptophobic, I talk about the fragility of ideas in storytelling, the value of test pitching ideas to friends, and the importance of protecting those ideas during the first draft writing process. Check it out!
Stan Lee has died at age 95.
This man meant so much to me. Not only was he one of the first creatives I was introduced to (by way of comic books and Saturday morning cartoons), but his creations made a kid like myself not feel so small or alone. His work made my imagination run wild -- still does. It's difficult if not impossible to imagine a pop culture world without Stan Lee's influence on it.
I knew this day was coming but didn't want to believe it. RIP, Stan.
It’s Election Eve in America. This is the most important midterm election of my lifetime – probably yours, too! And I am begging you to please get out to vote. Get your significant other to do the same. Bring your grandma along, too, why not? Don't believe the polls. Don't think your vote isn't needed. Show up, wait in line. Vote. We need you.
America is standing on the edge. The government is openly flirting with fascism and authoritarianism. The Republican Party has shown zero interest in reining this in and is happy to look the other way as the president drags us into the mud pits. The country is divided, this is true. Trump wants it that way. Almost everything he says or does pits one group of us against the other. He wants us to fear, to hate, to distrust one another. And sometimes that message is heard loud and clear by the unwell among us, resulting in mayhem and sometimes death.
We have a chance to check the president’s power. We have the opportunity to say, ‘No more. This is not who we are. We SEE what you’re doing and we’re sick of it.’ And the way to do this is to vote. The only way this stops is if we make it stop with the vote. And it won’t end this election, even if every Democratic candidate wins. It’s going to be a long process to rebuild what was broken and educate those who have been lied to for years. But we do it one step at a time. One vote at a time.
I just want us to be good and decent again. I want political crimes to be met with consequences. I want to look towards the future with hope rather than dread. And we can work toward these simple, attainable goals by electing people who believe in our values. Vote for people who will defend women’s rights and the rights of minorities. Vote for people who believe in science and the threat of global warming. Vote for people who believe mass shootings should be met with serious discussions about guns in America rather than just a ‘gee, what can we do?’ shrug. Vote for people who believe in stamping out corruption in government. Vote for people who aren’t racists or fascists. These political candidates will represent us for years. Make sure they’re REALLY representing us and what we believe.
And please don’t stay home because your candidate doesn’t pass your personal purity test. In Illinois, the candidates I favored in the primary didn’t make it to the general election. So what, I voted for the next best thing, which in this case is Democrats all the way down the ballot (I voted early). In a better time, maybe we could decide to vote for a third party candidate to send a message, but that’s not where we’re at right now. Every vote counts. Wasting votes on folks who can’t win or not voting at all = a vote for Trump.
I’m going to wrap this up by saying that I know it’s unpopular among some people to see political views expressed too strongly online, especially by creative types who want you to buy their book/art/movie/music/whatever. But this is more important than that. I want every book sale I can get but I will give up a book here and there for the ability to have my say about the things important to me. Besides which, I think you’ll find a lot of my personal politics in my books, anyway. Hell, my kaiju novel has to do with refugees being met at a supposed safe haven by gates that refuse to open, so… yeah. If my views expressed online are going to make you reconsider reading my books, chances are you weren’t going to like them anyway.
If it sounds alarmist to suggest that you should vote as if your life depends on it, then at least vote as if your freedoms depend on it. That’s the plain simple truth. Voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights, basic American rights are all on the ballot this year. Protect them. Vote Democrat.
I watched so many movies this October. I took part in HoopTober, a Letterboxd horror movie scavenger hunt, and reviewed 31 movies. You can find them at the link. In addition to all the horror movies, I also caught some other good stuff. Here's a few faves. (As always, click the art and you'll find my affiliate link to Amazon if you wish to purchase one of the films.)
The 2018 Halloween is the best Halloween sequel since Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982). And it might even be better than that film, too. It’s a great horror film anchored by a wonderful dramatic performance by Jamie Lee Curtis and no shortage of scares. I would’ve liked Halloween more without a dumb, short-lived subplot, but I still love the movie for what it is. Brutal, funny, and not lacking in something to say, it’s one of my favorites of the year.
You can read a full, detailed review of the film at CityOnFire.
Holy shit. I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie so full to the brim with dark, depressing, horrific imagery. You hear of movies that are an 'assault on the senses' well this was an assault on the soul. It's also an amazing piece of storytelling and a fantastic film. I doubt I will ever watch it again, though.
I think we need a new movie like Threads and The Day After to remind modern audiences of the horrific cost of nuclear war. Not to exploit our fears but to inform and upset us. The threat of nuclear holocaust has not diminished since these films were made. In many ways, the threat has intensified with bigger bombs and crazier world leaders. People need a reminder now and then of the threat these weapons pose.
Upgrade is the definition of cool. Creative camera work, badass action, and a dark sense of humor. It's the movie that the live-action Ghost in the Shell should've been. Oh how I wish I'd been able to see it in theatres. Instant cult classic.
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
Sorry to Bother You is amazing. Like post-Ferguson Vonnegut. Funny and also heartbreaking. Sci-fi America and immediately recognizable 2018 America at the same time. It's an entire world in 2 hours. A must see film. Don't let anybody spoil it for you.
First Man is great -- love the back-and-forth between thundering noise and complete silence. A Simple Favor is one of the most delightful surprises of the year. A Star is Born is a beautifully acted drama that's going to win a ton of statues. The Hate U Give is one of the year's most important films and features what should be a star-making performance from Amandla Stenberg.
At CityOnFire, I reviewed Jeremy Saulnier's chiller Hold the Dark, Gareth Evans' badass horror movie Apostle, and the kickboxing/prison true story A Prayer Before Dawn if you wanna give those reviews a look.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of fiction and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
Blog notice: mostly this blog is for sharing my thoughts and talking about my books. From time to time I will also comment on books, films, music, sports, and/or videogames. During these times I may use images of the creative works under discussion. I'm posting the images under the "fair use" allowance, for purposes such as criticism, comments, reporting, teaching, and research. If you have any issue with images used on this blog, please contact me and the images will be removed.
I am not paid for my reviews and I do not take book review requests at this time.