Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Catch-up or ketchup? Offerings for all the senses.

For my Awesome Lavratt fans and fans of tongue-in-cheek space opera in general, I'd like to give you the opportunity to hear an excerpt from a new story in the Awesome Lavratt universe. Listen at Broad Universe. It's part of the August Broadpod.

Judge Dredd, baby!

Minister of Chance Episode Three rocks! If you don't know what I'm talking about, you must be new to my blog or just missed a few key posts. I LOVE Minister of Chance. If you are a Doctor Who and radio play fan, you'll LOVE it, too. It stars Jenny Agutter (Logan's Run), Lauren Crace, Paul Darrow, Beth Goddard, Tamsin Greig, Peter Guinness, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann with Julian Wadham in the title role.

Please read these posts if you missed them. You can listen to all three episodes now and you'll be transported to a world of intrigue, magic, war and impossible portals between worlds. And humor. Trust me on this one.

Episode one reviewed.

Excerpted from a previous post:
I know my loyal readers are getting sick of me going on about the abfab sci-fi radio drama The Minister of Chance, but, well, deal. I love it! Here's an interview with cast member Jenny Agutter (I remember her from Logan's Run, one of the few good sci-fi films from my youth).

And part two of the same interview is here.

RUSH fans - listen up! This from Kevin J. Anderson (Dune novels)--
Clockwork Angels: The Novel is written by Kevin J. Anderson and RUSH drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, and based on the new Rush album, it's a steampunk fantasy adventure full of exotic travel, gadgets, pirates, lost cities, and encounters with heroes and villains. The hardcover, ebook and audio all go on sale on September 1. The novel is in full color, with illustrations by Hugh Syme. Neil himself reads the unabridged audio version, and there’s a brief afterword read by me. The ebook is available for every platform.

A little late (they weren't - I was), but not if you act fast --

Phoenix Picks' Free Ebook for August 2012 is the Prometheus Award winner, Pallas by
L. Neil Smith.

The coupon code is 9991494 and will be good from August 2 through August
31. Links for downloading the book will be available, as usual, from our
online catalogue page, www.PPickings.com .
Brief description of the book:

Ex-U.S.-Senator Gibson Altman rules the prison colony where everyone is
expected to live by rules that govern every aspect of their lives.

The inhabitants of the experimental colony survive in a society plagued by
crime, corruption and despair, toiling endlessly at tasks they are
appointed to. Altman lives a life of luxury, ruling the lives of the souls
trapped within his experiment and brooking no opposition to mandate.

However, Pallas, the terraformed asteroid, is also home to Curringer, a
society in stark contrast to Altman's prison. It is a community where
individual freedoms are championed and men and women are free to live as
they please.

Emerson Ngu escapes from Altman's prison colony and becomes a hero of
Curringer. Altman is driven by a deep hatred of Emerson and his triumph
and will do anything to get his revenge on him. But in the process will he
also destroy his own daughter and even the world of Pallas?

Here's the skinny on a comic-based web series.

August 15, 2012


LOS ANGELES, CA – California Pictures has inked a more expanded deal with M2’s Adam Martin and Eben Matthews and their producing partner, Geller Entertainment Group's D. Matt Geller and Adam Lerner to exploit the widely-popular graphic novel property, Boondock Saints. The plan is to produce a series of motion comics for multiple platforms. Jason Leibovitch, Vice President of California Pictures, made today’s announcement.

“Boondock Saints is a multi-million dollar franchise that we’re excited to expand upon with our producing partners,” commented Steven Istock, President of California Pictures. “The property has a huge fan base and lends itself well to various platforms of release worldwide. We’re looking forward to working with M2 and Geller Entertainment Group to offer an extension of the property to fans across the globe.”

One of the biggest cult hits ever - The Boondock Saints was filmed in 1999 and completed in 2000. Blacklisted from theaters due to a backlash against violent films after the Columbine Incident, the film never received a proper theatrical release. Instead, the film found its fan base on DVD spawning an international sensation that continues to grow.

"In Nomine Patris," a six-part comic book series, was released in May 2010. The series is written by Franchise Creator/Writer/Director, Troy Duffy and Comic Scribe, J.B. Love, and focuses on the untold story of Noah MacManus - 'The Original Saint' - the Brothers' father, known as Il Duce. The Brothers MacManus are also on tap, in Boston and Ireland, doing what they do best in a series of brand new adventures. The series answers fans' long-standing questions about how the 'Saints' came to be by revealing the origins behind the 'Saints' bloodline of vengeance.

“Like so many other fans I discovered ‘The Saints’ on DVD through a friend,” commented M2‘s Eben Matthews. “The moment I saw it, I knew it should be a comic series. But the end game with this story was always to do what we do best and make it into a motion comic series. We knew that’s where this new chapter of the Boondock mythos would really come to life.”

M2’s Adam Martin added, “The films already have a tremendous following and the comics were quite successful as well. We believe that telling this story, in this way, is the perfect complement to the films and will deliver something fresh and dynamic that will absolutely delight the fans and add to the mythology of the franchise.”

For local horror fans or fans of spooky and haunted houses. . .

Listed as the Travel Channel’s 2nd most haunted place, the Winchester Mystery House® award-winning, interactive, maze returns with new thrills and an updated flashlight tour more terrifying than ever

Pre-sale tickets now available for a limited time

SAN JOSE, CA, August 16, 2012 – Just in advance of Halloween, the award-winning Winchester Mystery House® attraction "Fright Nights" returns for a second year kicking off on Friday, September 28, 2012. The world-famous mysterious, rambling and reportedly haunted home of Sarah Winchester has more thrills and exciting additions to last year’s award-winning Maze and Mansion tour.

Throughout September and October (see complete schedule below), the grounds of the Winchester Estate will be transformed into the world’s most terrifying Halloween experience. Filled with haunted walk-through attractions, roaming scare performers, and nightmare inducing tales, “Fright Nights” will once again be an event visitors won’t want to miss.

“We are excited to bring the Winchester Mystery House® ‘Fright Nights’ back to life for a second year,” said Brett Tomberlin, President of Imagination Design Works. “To give visitors even more, we are stepping up the 40-minute maze by adding over 100 spine-chilling characters and surprises around every corner. The Mansion ‘Flashlight Tour’ is also ramped up in a way that will shock and awe visitors.”
Maze Length: 40 Minutes
Guests at Winchester Mystery House®“Fright Nights” will have the exclusive opportunity to experience the revamped “Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze” – an interactive, multi-sensory gateway between Heaven and Hell which will be opened exclusively for visitors of “Fright Nights.” Reports have said, that for a lifetime, Sarah Winchester built and rebuilt her house to avoid a treacherous curse and to escape the legacy of death. Those who perished by the Winchester rifle seek revenge and are ready to torment souls.

Visitors find themselves trapped inside an estate that is empowered by the undead as they travel through the Corn Fields of Winchester Mystery House®, into the haunted ruins of the family Graveyard and ultimately, to a showdown with Sarah herself as she presides over one of her infamous séances.

Tour Length: 35 Minutes
Tour the mansion as you never have before - on your own.

Since Sarah’s death, millions of people have visited her home and many have reported sighting ghosts. Do the phantoms Sarah communed with, or does perhaps Sarah herself, still lurk nightly in the maze-like corridors of the Winchester Mystery House®?

You'll tour the rambling, mysterious mansion with only the moonlight, a souvenir flashlight, and your imagination to provide illumination through the bewildering labyrinth of rooms and stairways.


WHERE: Fright Nights at Winchester Mystery House®
525 S. Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128
Phone: 408.247.2101

TICKET INFO: Pre-sale tickets from Aug. 1 – Sept. 9: $35 or $50 VIP
Two-pack tickets available at any Northern CA Costco from Sept. 10 – Oct. 31: $54.99
From Sept. 28 – Oct. 14: $40 or $55 VIP
From Oct. 15 – Nov. 3: $45 or $60 VIP
Tickets now available
*VIP tickets include front of line access – Limited quantities available
*Regular and VIP tickets include access to the Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze and Walk with the Spirits Flashlight Tour


September 28-29
6:30pm – 12:00am
September 30
6:30pm – 11:00pm
October 7, 29, 30
6:30Pm – 11:00pm

October 14, 18, 21, 25, 28
6:30pm – 11:30pm
October 5, 6, 31
6:30pm – 12:00am
October 12, 13, 19, 20
6:30pm – 12:30am

October 26, 27
6:30pm – 1:00am

November 2, 3
6:30pm – 12:00am

Friday, August 17, 2012

Webtainment Taking Over? Is TV dying a slow death?

I haven't posted a conversational entry in, well, I can't remember when. I now feel the need. For those who follow me as Ann Wilkes the sci-fi writer, this year has been a bit of a sabbatical on that front. I have written what I think is an awesome flash this year, got an article which I wrote last fall published and have kept the blog going. Other than that, I've been a dancing fool, going out dancing five or six times a week. The divorce from the non-dancing husband was final in January and I've been making up for lost time. So, I'm still expressing myself, but with a different medium. ;) Besides, it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing... du wop, du wop.

But you didn't come here to read about my dancing exploits. You came here because you love sci-fi. I have an opportunity to get back into writing with a vengeance. I'm so excited about this project that I can hardly contain myself. But contain myself I will. Suffice it to say I'd be teaming up with a big name in the animation industry. Y'all keep your fingers crossed for me, you here? Meantime, I'm going to start shooting the stories back out that need to find their first or second homes. I've also been chairing a local sci-fi contest. The winners will be announced in September. And I'm volunteer coordinator for the Sonoma County Book Festival. So, I haven't been idle. Just not writing much new fiction. I guess I'll have to give up a couple dance nights to work it back in.

For now, I have a question for my readers. Are we going so digital that TV will be a thing of the past in the near future? I keep seeing new web series sprouting up and the quality of some of them is pretty awesome. Do you envision a day very soon when we'll just watch our entertainment on our computer monitors, laptops and handheld devices? Would you switch to this willingly, or kicking and screaming? What about the quality and quantity?

I watched shows on Hulu for a while, until my Internet access went south. It's great that the commercials are shorter, but at least watching shows on the DVR, I could fast forward through them. Online, I can neither do that nor mute them as easily as I could on the TV.

Check out this pilot for a web series before you weigh in. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Steaming Hot Cup of Holmes, Please!

Back in January of last year, Lady Ann Wilkes of SFOO wrote of her generational run from the Pinkertons dating back to the turn of the century which you can read about here. Another famous detective is getting the same Steampunk treatment and it’s none other than Sherlock Holmes! Noble Beast, LLC is the publisher and seemingly using Steampunk Holmes to look to the future of publishing while relishing an alternate past. I love folks who think forward and it seems that Noble Beast has done just that. Steampunk Holmes is in development as an interactive iPad app, but if you’d like to quench your thirst for all things Steampunk Holmes there is an e-book version available now.

Other app features that are in development include:

* 31,000-word steampunk adaptation of the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story: "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" (c.1912)
* Interactive story with audio, illustrations, and animations
* Pop-up diagrams of devices in the story
* Pop-up portrait and biographies of characters
* Interactive map shows landmarks and character locations at any point in the story
* In-app catalogue featuring music and other steampunk-themed items for sale

Written by Argentine, PC Martin, Steampunk Holmes: Legacy of the Nautilus takes us on a journey to find the Nautilus after news reaches Holmes of his sister Mycroft being kidnapped. Along with Doctor Watson (who dons a bionic arm) they embark on a worldwide journey that spans the works of Verne, Shelley and Wells.

The art by Daniel Cortes is dazzling and screams of an action-packed story. I’d strongly encourage you to keep track of the development of this project as it seems as promising as it is “exciting”!

Leonardo Ramirez is an author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Visit leonardoverse.com for more information. Jupiter Chronicles is a Steampunk Children’s series available in September. Click here to order Jupiter Chronicles!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Awakenings - A superb debut

Edward Lazellari
Tor 2011

Review by Clare Deming

Awakenings is the debut novel by Edward Lazellari, and although it is filled with many classic fantasy elements, it approaches these in a unique way. Cal MacDonnell is a policeman in New York City, happily married, with a five-year-old daughter and another child on the way. However, his life is marred by frightening and sad dreams and the amnesia he suffers. He cannot remember anything prior to thirteen years ago, when he was found inexplicably wandering in a field. Even so, his life has been otherwise normal and there is little to suggest the truth about his forgotten past.

On a routine nighttime call, Cal and his partner pursue a suspect only to fall into an ambush by a troll, a giant, and a vicious swordsman. Faced with these impossible monsters, he begins to remember pieces of his shattered past. Cal is a reluctant hero, and as he learns more about his memories, they bring him into conflict with the new life he has established since his amnesia. Even his wife and child may stand in the way of his former life's goals, but as he remembers his true identity, he cannot completely resist those older responsibilities.

There are several plot lines in this book, and the second most important one is that of Seth Raincrest, a down-on-his-luck photographer with an abrasive disposition who became my favorite character of the bunch. Seth's problems begin when an eccentric and beautiful woman arrives at his apartment. She claims that they went to school together, but Seth has the same problem as Cal - he has no memory of anything prior to a fire that killed his parents thirteen years ago. Irritated, but also intrigued, Seth goes along with the woman, Lelani, and this soon brings them to the rescue of Cal and his wife and child.

The final two storylines follow the antagonist, Dorn, and a teenager in foster care, Daniel. All these different plot threads are woven together a bit at a time until a picture of the entire situation starts to emerge. The manner in which this story is approached is unique. I mean at its heart, it really is a tale in which the succession of an alternate world fantasy kingdom is in dispute. However, by looking at things from our world, from the point-of-view of characters that have lost all memories of the situation there, it lends the trope a fresh perspective.

The antagonists are ruthless and terrifying and have the advantage that they know who they are and why they need to act. However, they were ill-prepared to travel to our world, while Cal and Seth have lived here for thirteen years. I liked the way the truth emerged to Cal and Seth, and I also felt like they acted in a realistic fashion for people who have had their lives thrust into such chaos.

I enjoyed most of this book, but by the time I neared the end, it was obvious that this was only the first book in a series. I had hoped to see Daniel's storyline merge with the rest, and it never did. His story felt isolated by this, but from the rest of the book I can easily see where he fits in. The action did lead up to a pivotal confrontation at the end, with particularly interesting magic, but just don't expect too much to be resolved at the conclusion. That being said, this was a fun book and I'll be looking out for information on when the next volume will be available.