dance scene from SUCKER PUNCH

Zach Snyder‘s 2011 film Sucker Punch was a deep disappointment to me. It has a downer ending and all the action sequences are dreams or fantasies, making the victories meaningless. Still, it had some fun dance sequences (available only on the Blu-ray Extended Cut version).

Here is my favorite, performed by Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac. It reminds me very much of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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MURDOCH MYSTERIES – CSI in turn-of-the century Toronto

Murdoch Mysteries is a Canadian crime show which may appeal to a lot of sci-fi/fantasy readers. The hero, William Murdoch, solves crimes on the cusp of the 20th Century in Toronto.

He often invents new machines and technologies to help him, or adopts ones just coming into service. This includes “finger marks” and black light to detect blood traces. Some stories revolve around inventions created by others, such as motor cars, airplanes, rockets, and robots.

Along the way he often encounters historical figures from the period, such as H. G. Wells, Thomas Edison, Bat Masterson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, and Winston Churchill. The star (Yannick Bisson) is ably supported by appealing actors playing several recurring characters: medical examiner Dr. Julia Ogden, his boss Inspector Thomas Brackenreid, and Constable George Crabtree. The constable is a prodigious reader and is always ready to suggest a fantastic or SFnal perpetrator of a murder, such as werewolves or Martians.

The latest season is now out in Blu-ray and DVD. It can also be streamed via Amazon Video. As can all the other seasons. (Click the images to preview and order.)

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New RING OF FIRE book available

One of my favorite series of books is the RING OF FIRE series by Eric Flint. The first book was 1632, and seems to have been intended as a one-off. It follows a group of modern-day Americans who lived within roughly ten miles of the West Virginia city of Grantville. Mid-day it was transported to 1632 in the middle of what was to become Germany, during the horrible Thirty-Years War.

Both “up-time” and “down-time” people and their situations were brought vividly to life by Flint, and they proved to be fertile ground for later books. Flint enlisted the aid of several capable authors to co-author or author follow-up books which he did not have time to write by himself. For updates and more info on the series see the Eric Flint web site.

The latest book is 1636: The Chronicles of Dr. Gribbleflotz, by Kerryn Offord and Rick Boatright. It follows the early and middle life of Phillip Theophrastus Gribbleflotz. An alchemist and possible great-grandson of Paracelsus, he struggles to survive and in the process helps to create and grow the modern chemical industry of the 17th Century. I spent several happy evenings with the book and look forward to a sequel is there ever is one.

Preview Amz B&N

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ULTIMATE EDITION Batman v. Superman surprisingly enjoyable

Desperate for entertainment, I got the ULTIMATE EDITION of Batman v. Superman. And was pleasantly surprised.

This edition has 30 extra minutes which fills in some of the background info. Thankfully this is in short bits placed so they don’t slow the film down, though the last five minutes afterstory scenes do move too slowly for my taste.

One of the more pleasant parts was a bit better understanding of how Lois and the Supe manage to have a romantic relationship. Another was how the writers managed to come up with a way for a mortal to actually fight an immortal, which was why I stayed away from the film in the theaters.

But best of all was the integration of Wonder Woman into the story; she doesn’t just appear for a few minutes to save the day at the end. That was the highlight for me and why I’m happy that my desperation made me see the film. Now I’m REALLY looking forward to Patty Jenkins’ WW prequel next summer.

Amz B&N


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terrific new WONDER WOMAN trailer

Hard to imagine any of you have not seen the new Wonder Woman trailer, but here it is just in case.

The action starts at 1:11 minutes.

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Great new CASTAWAYS IN TIME book

Just finished a terrific addition to the old “castaways in time” books which started with Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. The book by Michael Z. Williamson is a bit long on the details of how the main characters adapted. This might bother a few but I enjoyed them. You can always skim if a book seems slow to you, but I might have felt cheated if the author had left them out.

From the book’s blurb:

“Ten soldiers on convoy in Afghanistan suddenly find themselves lost in time. Somehow, they arrived in Earth’s Paleolithic Asia. With no idea how they arrived or how to get back, the shock of the event is severe. They discover groups of the similarly displaced: Imperial Romans, Neolithic Europeans, and a small cadre of East Indian peasants. Despite their technological advantage, the soldiers only have ten people, and know no way home.”

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interview Gal Gadot, star of WONDER WOMAN movie

Gal Gadot and her Wonder Woman co-stars will be at Comic-Con on July 21-24. As part of the publicity for their attendance, Gadot (pronounced Guh-dot, according to her) gave an interview in Entertainment Weekly.

Below is the first of four images of Gadot in her costume. Click the first to go to the gallery.

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Anything new from fave author Lois McMaster Bujold is a cause for celebration. The latest is her second novella in her Penric and Desdemona series set in her World of the Five Gods. It takes place four years after events of her first Penric story.

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DEATH’S BRIGHT DAY by David Drake – terrific military SF

Just finished the latest book in David Drake‘s Republic of Cinnabar Navy series. He hasn’t lost the touch. I stayed up late and long to finish it. Totally wrecked the work schedule I’ve crafted so I can finish some of the damned books I’m writing!

Short term, not good. Long term – renewed my love of writing. Already I’ve banged out nearly a 1000 words on one of my books. Only now have stopped to catch my breath and run out to my favorite burger place to get fast food so I can dive back into writing.

The one on the left is the first in the series – which can be gotten FREE. On the right is the latest book.

Preview Amz B&N FREE

Preview Amz B&N

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WONDER WOMAN rethought – new beginning

Often after we finish a book we put it away to work on something else. Then when our intense focus on it has faded we look back at it – and see aspects we did not see before. I recently did that with my Wonder Woman Rethought book, Star Woman. And in the first chapter I noticed that it starts in the wrong place.

I fixed that chapter, and the second chapter since the fix affected it. Both they and the three following chapters are now online. Click Chapter 1 – Revelation to read the first chapter, which will lead you to the following ones.

A book should speak for itself. But a few of you may enjoy knowing how my Star Woman is like her inspiration, and unlike her. First, the look is different. It’s more grounded in reality. Really, what crime fighter wears a star-spangled bikini and high heels?!

But I love the look, silly as it is. So I wondered, how would a young woman who’s suddenly acquired super powers change her look? Maybe not at all, if one of the powers was to clothe herself in an invisible but super-hard force field. Which also let her fly.

Click either image to see the full-size version. (Why two images? I couldn’t decide which I liked best. Let me know your feelings.)

Anna in Air stormy bkgnd CROPPED.Anna in Air sunny bkgnd CROPPED

The force field shield dispenses with the need for those silly bullet-bouncing bracelets. Really! A heavy machine gun fires 60 rounds a SECOND. Each the size of our thumbs, weighing a tenth of a pound, and moving at over 2000 feet per second. Wonder Woman would have awfully sore muscles after deflecting a magazine of those bullets!

And the tiara? What use is it? In the comics it’s a status symbol and a boomerang-like weapon. In my version it’s a super-supercomputer, communicator, and “gravitar” sensor suite. And it can be invisible so she can use it without anyone knowing she has it. Oh, and it helps her sense if someone is telling the truth or lying, so no need for Wonder Woman’s golden lasso.

Which brings us to the greatest difference of my Star Woman from Wonder Woman. I always thought the Greek gods origins of Diana Prince really stupid. I opted for a sci-fi explanation: she’s an alien. Hey, if it’s good enough for Superman, it’s good enough for Wonder Woman!

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