I'm a pastor and writer in the greater Chicago area. When not preaching about Christ's call to offer compassion, justice and acceptance to all people, I write stories about robots, aliens, and eldrich horrors from the dawn of time.
Some people seem to think that's an odd combination. Go figure. :)
I saw this a few days ago and loved it. It's rare to find something that manages to be a nostalgic thrill and cutting edge entertainment at the same time. Into Darkness channels the spirit of the original Star Trek better than... well, better than just about anything since the original series. It also manages to combine the optimistic spirit of Gene Roddenberry with the darker and grittier tone that modern audiences demand.
There's not a whole lot I can say without spoilers but if you're a newbie to Star Trek but like intelligently written, fast-paced SF adventure, you should like this. If you've seen the first of the new Star Trek reboot by J.J. Abrams you'll appreciate it more, and if you've seen the original series and the first few movies you'll appreciate it a lot more. The casting is perfect, the villains (and there are plenty of surprises about who the villains and allies are) are excellent.
My only real reservation about Into Darkness is the same problem I had with Iron Man III, The Hobbit, and a lot of other blockbusters. The filmmakers are so in love with their digital FX that the characters and the story are overshadowed. Possibly worse, the long strings of impossible things that FX allow you to do makes the world, and the danger. seem much less real. In other words, the rollercoaster thrills can actually undermine the story.
I'm looking forward to the day when directors decide that they've been overdoing it with the FX and pull back. Until then, movies like Into Darkness, that have solid storytelling and good characters as well as dazzling effects will are always welcome.
Roaring Heart of the Crucible, Moonstone Books' third anthology of stories featuring the Avenger, is out. It's so new I haven't even had time to read my contributors' copy yet.
My story, "The Iron Phantom", was a lot of fun to write, and includes the appearance of some other characters who I think will make fans of classic pulp adventures happy. More on this soon.
Two more stories of mine are out.
My story "Rabid Season" is in the long-awaited Times of Trouble from Permuted Press. The collection is edited by Lane Adamson and includes some seriously impressive talent. Authors include: Peter Clines – Craig DiLouie – Brian P. Easton – Stan Timons – Jason S. Hornsby – Thom Brannon and Rob Pegler – Lane Adamson - Stephen Gaskell - David Gullen - Michael C. Lea - Jeff Drake - Rakie Kieg - Aaron Polson - Wayne Helge - Frank Farrar - Mark Harding - Joshua Reynolds - Timothy Martinez - Ruth Nestvold - Gregory L. Norris and Frank Summers.
Children's author Mauricw Sendak died at 83 last Tuesday. My main memory of his books is encountering "Where the Wild Things Are" in first or second grade. It was both disturbing and fascinating to see Max meet the huge, terrifying monsters and become their king. My Mom said she could see why i liked the book because I was a wild thing myself (a lot of kids are at that age.)
Sendak loved the "wild rumpus" side of children and thought that books that portrayed them as meek and innocent were dishonest. He once received a clever illustrated letter from a young fan and sent the child a personal response complete with his own original illustration. He got a reply from the boy's mother some time later saying that her son liked the drawing so much he had eaten it.
For Sendak, there could be no higher praise.
I got my copies of Sherlock Holmes, the Crossover Casebook today. This was the last book edited by Howard Hopkins before his untimely death and promises to be one of Moonstone's best volumes ever.
My story, "The Adventure of the Ethical Assassin" pits Holmes and Watson against characters from Jack London's The Assassinations Bureau, Ltd..
I'll hold off on recommending the other stories until I read them. Having seen the stories by Joe Gentile, Win Scott, Eckert, and Richard Dean Starr though, I can guarantee this volume is something special.
I was out of town when I heard this news: Howard Hopkins, a writer and editor who I knew through his work with Moonstone. I was stunned to hear that he suffered a heart attack at the age of 50.
Howard was a talented writer and one of the best editors I've ever had. He was friendly and helpful but also uncompromising in what he asked for from writers. That is an amazing combination of qualities in an editor and helps writers to be their best.
Howard was a good guy and I wish I'd known him better. He leaves behind his wife, Dominique. Unfortunately, he also left behind some staggering medical bills.
At the request of Howard's wife, Dominique, Chuck Juzek has passed the following info along to the pulp fan community. Due to a mistake by their insurance agent 6 months ago that Dominique only became aware of after Howard's death, Howard's life insurance had lapsed at the time of his death. As a result, in addition to everything else that his passing means to her, she's now scrambling in order to find the funds to pay for his funeral expenses. If you have the ability, she's accepting donations to help pay for those expenses; at her request, below is her address for anyone that wishes to contribute.
Dominique Hopkins 2 McKee Drive Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064