Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Movie Review - How to Train Your Dragon


How to Train Your Dragon - without a doubt the best movie I have seen this year!

First I have to say that Dreamworks outdid themselves with the animation. Every object had such incredible texture, and you could even see the hairs on the arms of the Vikings. The flying sequences were breathtaking but not nauseating, and the scenery vivid and detailed.

Not that I've praised the animation, let me get to the story. The movie opens with a dragon raid on a Viking village. The whole village aspires to be dragon killers, believing every dragon should be killed on sight. And then one day the village leader's son befriends the most dangerous dragon of all...

Despite the angle taken by the trailers, this is not a silly film. It's more of an adventure than a comedy, and a little somber in parts. How to Train Your Dragon is a coming of age film - a young man's quest to find his place in life.

The dragons (and there many breeds) each possess their own personality. While the dragons are fierce, they are more like dogs than anything else. Wild dogs I might add - it takes the young hero, Hiccup, quite a while to earn the dragon's trust.

The feel of this movie will resonate with you for a very long time. I highly recommend you catch this film in 3D - especially before this Friday's release of Clash of the Titans forces it out of the 3D theaters...

Monday, March 29, 2010

eReader News and More

Entertainment Weekly features a column from Stephen King and this week he discussed eReaders. Mr. King loves his Kindle and states "Gadgets fascinate me, particularly if I can think of a way they might get weird." However, even he doesn't feel that eReaders can fully replace books.

I have agree with that statement. There's something about a physical book - the feel of the pages and knowledge that I hold a tangible object. ITunes may be my favorite store for music, but I often burn my downloads to disc, just in case.

Now, with all that in mind...

I pre-ordered my iPad this past weekend!

Yes, the pressure was too much. I had to possess the new gadget. And on April 12th, a Wi-Fi 64GB iPad and case will leave the Apple warehouse, destined for my address. So expect a comprehensive review of the device by the last week of April...

In other news, I received CASSASTAR back from my publisher after a round with the editor. So I will be busy with edits, rewrites, and polishes on my book this week. I also saw another rough draft of the cover art and it's really coming together.

And thanks to everyone who visits my blog on a regular basis. I appreciate the encouraging words and comments. I was even more stunned when science fiction author David J. Williams left a comment last week! I felt honored and humbled. (And I'm really looking forward to his next book, The Machinery of Light.)

Thanks again - and movie review tomorrow, I promise!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Awards and New Look For Blog

From Summer at And This Time Concentrate!

The Soulmates Award. This award originated with Christi Goddard at A Torch in the Tempest and is one part gift, one part social experiment! Fun!
The rules:
1. Choose five followers/commenters that 'get' you
2. Write something fake (preferably not too mean) about them
3. Link to them, and link back to this post to comment your receipt of the award.

This is what Summer had to say about ME!
"Alex J. Cavanaugh has dated both Kate Beckinsale and Kate Winslet; obviously, he has a thing for women named Kate. Just stay away from Kate Gosselin!"

I think two Kates are already more than I can handle!
I pass this on to:

Michele at Southern City Mysteries who secretly hates mystery
Galen at Imagineering Fiction who really has no sense of humor at all
Falen at Falen Formulates Fiction who is secretly seeing Sting on the side
Diane Spunk On A Stick’s Tips at who secretly hates cats
Dez at Hollywood Spy who really doesn’t love anyone


The second one is the Quest Award from B. Miller at B. Miller Fiction, who had nothing but nice things to say about me. Thanks, Miller, I hope I continue posting informative stuff with lots of movie info!

I pass the Quest Award on to

Marvin at The Old Silly who is on a quest of peace and humor across the web!

And let me know what you think of the new look for this blog!

Friday, March 26, 2010

How We Watch Movies

I caught this article yesterday about Blockbuster video and their financial woes - Blockbuster is Bleeding to Death

I'll provide a summary:
Blockbuster is one billion dollars in debt. In a last-ditch effort to avoid declaring bankruptcy, they are in the process of placing Blockbuster kiosks across the nation, have signed a deal with Warner Bros. Studios to offer those movies one month before NetFlix, and have launched mobile movies through T-Mobile. However, this may still not be enough.

Most of the video store chains have vanished. Will Blockbuster be next?

The way we watch movies is changing - fast.

I can't remember the last time I rented a DVD from a store. Most of my 'rentals' come from NetFlix. Shows I watch on Hulu. Occasionally I watch a movie on one of the movie channels. Soon I will have the adapter for my Bluray, and I'll be able to watch NetFlix movies on my TV as well. A NetFlix app for the iPhone is in the works, and it won't be long before mobile movies are available on every phone.

Of course, my first choice is still the movie theater. With the advancements in 3D, it's an incredible experience and the theater is the only place to see it... or is it? The first 3D movies are now hitting the market, and this June several stations will begin broadcasting in 3D.

Has the way you watch movies changed in the last 5 - 10 years? Are you a NetFlix junkie like me? Will you purchase a 3D TV within the next year?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dudespeak

I was inspired by B. Miller's post yesterday regarding romance. Seems he was experiencing some challenges with the romantic aspect of his novel.

Don't worry, Miller, I would feel challenged as well! Don't think I could write a love scene. My 'romance' would sound stilted and awkward. I only know 'dudespeak,' so coming up with soft, feminine words would be difficult.

I don't notice details as much, either. Perhaps I should say some details. I can pick out the notes in a guitar solo and understand computer programs. But what color are the dishes in my cupboard? I'd have to go look! And what did I have for dinner last night? I think it was chicken... But women can remember what they had for dinner three years ago and on what color plate! Trying to place all that detail stuff a female character would see appears a daunting task.

I think every writer experiences difficulty in one or more areas. The trick is playing on our strengths, not our weaknesses. I knew details and romance from a female point of view was not my strength. So, call it cheating, but there's virtually no female characters in my first book. I decided I needed to find my voice and style first, and then expand from that point.

What do you find challenging? Do you have a difficult time seeing things through the eyes of the opposite sex? Do you struggle through this or just play on your strengths?

And if anyone has any tips for Miller, please bop over to his site and help him!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Science Fiction Cover Art

I was in the bookstore recently and noticed a new Star Wars book. Now, I haven't been following this line, and the cover sure didn't make me want to pick it up, either:
Most of the Star Wars books have been what I would call "iffy" in the cover art department. So I wondered what other awful covers existed out there.

I found several sites that listed bad science fiction covers. Rather than disgrace my blog with a ton of bad art, I'll just give you the links:

IO9 - these are indeed awful!

Cracked - some more questionable covers.

Good Show Sir - and this blog shows nothing but below-average covers.

I've also noticed a trend in covers - main character or characters standing in front of a window or glass. Anyone else noticed this...?

After viewing some of those monstrosities, can you name any science fiction book covers that stunned you with their awfulness?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Great Science Fiction Movies You May Have Missed

Some science fiction movies that may have slipped under your radar...


A dystopian look at the future…

Equilibrium 2002

Staring Christian Bale, Sean Bean, William Fichtner, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs

In a futuristic world, a strict regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death. Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a top ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist the rules. When he misses a dose of Prozium, a mind-altering drug that hinders emotion, Preston, who has been trained to enforce the strict laws of the new regime, suddenly becomes the only person capable of overthrowing it.

Time travel and an aircraft carrier - what more could you want?

The Final Countdown 1980

Staring Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Charles Durning

The USS Nimitz, a modern-day nuclear aircraft carrier, is drawn through a time warp from 1980 to a couple days before the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, and the crew must decide whether to launch a preemptive strike against the incoming Japanese carrier fleet with their more advanced air wing, or allow history to take its course, which might not happen since they had rescued Senator Chapman, who disappeared shortly before the attack, from his death.

Space man + Vikings + space creature = great time!

Outlander 2008

Staring Jim Caviezel, John Hurt, Ron Perlman

During the reign of the Vikings, Kainan, a man from a far-off world, crash lands on Earth, bringing with him an alien predator known as the Moorwen. Though both man and monster are seeking revenge for violence committed against them, Kainan leads the alliance to kill the Moorwen by fusing his advanced technology with the Viking's Iron Age weaponry.

One of Cronenberg’s earliest and best.

Scanners 1981

Staring Michael Ironside, Patrick McGoohan

There are 4 billion people on earth. 237 are Scanners. They have the most terrifying powers ever created... and they are winning.
Darryl Revok is the most powerful of all the scanners, and is the head of the underground scanner movement for world domination. Scanners have great psychic power, strong enough to control minds; they can inflict enormous pain/damage on their victims. Doctor Paul Ruth finds a scanner that Revok hasn't, and converts him to their cause - to destroy the underground movement.

Bizarre mind trip of suspense…

Cube 1997

Staring David Hewlett, Nicole de Boer

Six total strangers awaken one day to find themselves alone in a cubical maze. Once they meet, they work together using their given skills and talents to survive the deadly traps which guard many of the colored cubic rooms. Using Leaven's mathematical skills, they press forward, upward, and downward through the hatches to try and find the outer shell.

Alex Proyas’s intricate and incredible masterpiece.

Dark City 1998

Staring Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, John Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland

John's life has become a nightmare. He is hunted by the police for a series of murders he knows nothing about, a woman who claims to be his wife is after him, and so is a mysterious "doctor". But his worst trouble is the strangers, a series of vastly powerful beings who seem to manipulate just about everything in the city, and want him because of the extraordinary powers he manifested. John decides to find out what is happening in his city; why is it always night? And why can nobody tell him a way to leave the city?

Science fiction writing at its very best!

The Lost Room 2006 mini-series

Staring Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies, Kevin Pollack

A Policeman uncovers a key while working on a murder case. The key can open every door and take him into a motel room, but if you leave there something that doesn't belong to you- it will be gone as soon as the room "restarts"... He discovers that there are objects hidden in whole the world. They don't look special, but they have special powers. When his daughter is kidnapped and he is framed for killing his partner, he must find a way to bring her back from the room, while working with different groups and men searching for all the objects. But who can he really trust when everybody goes crazy once touching the objects...

And in case you missed this outstanding Terry Gilliam flick – funny, quirky, strange, and with little people!

Time Bandits 1981

Staring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelly Duvall, Ian Holm, David Rappaport, David Warner

A young boy's wardrobe contains a time hole. Through this hole an assortment of short people (i.e. dwarfs) come while escaping from their master, the supreme being. They take Kevin with them on their adventures through time from Napoleonic times to the Middle Ages to the early 1900s, to the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil.


What else would you select? What outstanding science fiction film has not been seen by the masses or enjoyed a decent box office take?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tech Stuff - XBox, iPad, etc.

Just a quick update on some devices!

The Xbox 360 will soon possess USB storage. (Caught this on Attack of the Show, who credits Joystiq.) The softward update is scheduled for this spring and allows users to store Xbox Live Arcade. Live Indie games, etc. On the down side, the USB device used will only allow one to use 16 GB once formatted for the Xbox.
As they noted, Playstation 3 has always had USB capability!

Attack of the Show also reviewed the Dell Adamo laptop, which at .4" is the world's thinest computer. (That IS thin!) With 4 gigs of RAM and a pricetag of $2000, they gave it a four out of five.

And in the world of the iPad...
Presales started last weekend and the device goes on sale April 3. Helen over at Straight From Hel had posted earlier this week that Barnes & Noble announced an app for the iPad that would allow users to read B&N eBooks on the unit. That also becomes available on April 3.
And yes, I have decided - I'm buying an iPad! Probably not the day it comes out, but sometime in April. Can't wait for version 2. What if they never put Flash on the device?
Need my tech stuff!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beyond the Story...

Prologue, Forward, Appendix...

These are all things that are in addition to the main story of the book. (There's also footnotes, indexes, etc. but I'm not going there right now.)

Lynnette at Chatterbox Chit Chat posted about prologues on Wednesday. (If you don't follow her, read her Post and the ensuing conversation.)

But it got me to thinking about prologues, forwards, and appendixes. Authors will include them, but do they matter and do we read them?

I usually read prologues. I figure they're there for a reason. Once in a while I come across one that appears to have no bearing on the novel itself, but most seem to matter.

Forwards - okay, I never read these... I think they are boring. Maybe that's just me.

Appendixes I tend to refer to at least once during the course of the story. Often these appear in science fiction or fantasy - genres that tend to include a lot of 'odd' names and devices. Sometimes they help with pronunciation, too.

So what does everyone else think? So you read these things or skip?

And for the record, there is a prologue in my upcoming novel. I wrote it at the suggestion of my publisher. Now that it's in place, I can see how it really enhances the story. So hopefully people read it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cool Bookstores and Other Bookish Stuff

I found a website with some really amazing bookstores and libraries from around the world.

I'd love to be able to browse through a large bookstore right now. I am in need of new reading material. I keep seeing all these great books reviewed and I started making a list... Now there's so many, I have no idea where to begin! Anyone recommend a really good science fiction book? One that's available now? Seems half of my list is for upcoming releases...

In addition to selecting a new book or two, I'd like to be able to explore the sci-fi section for some great cover art. I need some ideas for my next writing project. A single image often sparks my imagination.

Here's some of those amazing bookstores. Links to visit the website for more are below.


Visit the Mirage Bookmark's site to see more of the Most Interesting Bookstores and check out the Most Interesting Libraries, too!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland review & actor updates

Finally caught Alice in Wonderland this weekend. I wanted to catch it while it was still offered in 3D.

Now, if you've never liked the storyline of Alice in Wonderland, nothing about this movie will change your mind. It's very familiar and offers nothing really fresh or new. I've never cared for the tale and after seeing this movie, I still don't. Lewis Caroll was on some serious drugs when he created this world.


Tim Burton's visual style is amazing. Alice in Wonderland is a beautiful looking film, full of atmosphere and lushness. The Jabberwocky is realistic and the battle scene well done.


Mia Wasikowska does a fine job as Alice, and she is the real star of the film. Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter is a supporting character at best, and I was not impressed with his take on the role. He really wasn't that mad. The other characters did a great job and I especially liked the Cheshire Cat, voiced by Stephen Fry.


The 3D was cool, however... I think I am getting used to the effects now, so the 3D needs to be something spectacular. Now that Avatar has broken new ground with complete and total immersion rather than the sense of things simply 'being in 3D.' I'm looking for more of the same.


The movie had some fun moments, some dark moments, and was a visual feast - if you enjoy that sort of thing, you'll enjoy this trip into Wonderland.


Now, what really caught my eye was the number of interesting actors in this movie...


Michael Sheen was the White Rabbit, and he will be in the upcoming Tron: Legacy. He's also rumored to be in Underworld 4. (Fingers crossed.)


Alan Rickman was Abosolom and will of course return as Snape in the next Harry Potter movie.


Red Queen Helena Bonham Carter will also return in the next Harry Potter movie.


Crazy Crispin Glover's next project is Hot Tub Time Machine.


And Johnny Depp is of course making another Pirates of the Caribbean movie. (As long as they make money, Disney will keep pumping them out.) He's also rumored to be in Sin City 3.


And there you have it! Anyone know of other upcoming fantasy/sci-fi movies for these actors and actresses?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Movies, Tech, and Stuff

The Apple iPad is available for pre-order this Monday.

Now, the more I hear about it, the more tempting it becomes. However, there's still that pesky Flash issue. I've got to wait until they fix that!

My friend John wrote a song about this issue - about the 'blue Lego.' It's hilarious - go check out the lyrics at Sci-Fi Songs

Sony announced the Move, a motion-sensitive controller designed to compete with the Wii's controller. Available this fall for $100, it will work with games that involve guns, swords, bows and arrows, and more. It's supposed to work with current games as well as new releases designed specifically to use the device. We shall see...

The new poster for Tron: Legacy is out, courtesy of Slashfilm:
Hoping the movie is as cool as the posters and trailers!

Also saw that Charles B. Pierce died this past weekend at the age of 71. He did The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown.

Still bummed about the Oscars. However, as you can see from the running total in my sidebar, James Cameron is laughing all the way to the bank...

And two people passed along awards to me this week.

Michele at Southern City Mysteries gave me the Writers Know Award for my completed manuscript.


Yay! Thanks a bunch, Michele!


And Helen at Straight From Hel thinks I am a Sugar Doll.

Don't think she knows me very well...

Thanks, Helen!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Interview With Author Wolfe

I'm happy to welcome fellow author L. Diane Wolfe!

When I first found out my book would be published this year, I panicked. Ms. Wolfe was nice enough to give me some guidance, prodding me to start this blog. I've bugged her so often, the least I can do is feature her as she prepares for her next book launch. This is also my first ever interview. (So bear with me if my questions were dumb!)

Please welcome Diane:

You told me that you grew up reading fantasy and sci-fi. Why the fascination with those genres?

When I was younger, I read to escape. Fantasy and science fiction books provided the perfect avenue.

As I grew older, I began to appreciate what goes into such stories. It requires a vivid imagination and the ability to convey both a sense of wonder and realism. I think those who write in these genres work harder than other authors because it requires the creation of more than what already is known to us. It also entices readers to stretch their own imaginations.

Do you intend to write sci-fi or fantasy?

I don’t know if I could write a science fiction book, especially as action is not my strong suit. However, I do have an idea for my next fiction piece that would involve those genres, probably with an emphasis on urban fantasy.

Who is your favorite sci-fi author?

My first sci-fi book was The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey, and I just fell in love with her style. Her books are very character driven and focus on relationships. Those are my favorite aspects of any story. The sci-fi element pulled me completely into another world, which was like icing on the cake. I’m hoping one day very soon they will make movies based on her Dragonrider series.

Do you have a favorite sci-fi movie then? Or fantasy movie?

I still love the original Terminator. Saw it three times in the theatre, too! Pure genius for its time. And it’s a touching love story.

As far as fantasy, I loved all three LOTR movies. But, there’s a special place in my heart for Legend. Such an incredibly visual film. I’ve seen both versions and prefer the USA one. The movie loses so much without the Tangerine Dream soundtrack. And Tim Curry was excellent as Darkness!

Do you consider yourself a geek, then?

No! Just because I used to play D&D and Call of Cthulhu and I love Star Trek and yes I’ve been to a Star Trek convention… Okay, well, I guess I AM a geek! But it’s a great quality, especially in a woman. My husband said he’d never met a girl who enjoyed sci-fi, horror, D&D, and metal before meeting me.

What do you see as the next big trend in books?

More urban fantasy and steampunk - and hopefully fewer vampires!

Thanks Diane!

Please check out her book, which comes out next Tuesday.

The Circle of Friends, Book V...Heather
By L. Diane Wolfe

When confidence turns to frustration…

A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings. The position at Clemson means she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball. Heather is ready to focus on her duties, using sheer force if necessary to prove her independence.

Sadly, her triumph is hampered as her father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of responsibility or achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player who resembles her in every manner challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience.

Heather’s life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him, and despite his gruff nature shows a great capacity for compassion. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…

Release date: March 16, 2010, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
$19.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 282 pages, Fiction/YA
ISBN 978-0-9816210-5-0 / 0-9816210-5-8

Winner of FlamingNet Reviews’ TOP CHOICE Award - a perfect 10

“Heather deals with real life and real situations - 5 Stars”
- Teens Read Too

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association. “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK! The Keys to Leadership & Goal-Setting”, ties all of her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together into one complete, enthusiastic package. Her YA series, The Circle of Friends, features morally grounded, positive stories that appeal to both teens and concerned parents. Ten years associating with a motivation training system and experience as a foster parent gave her the in-depth knowledge of relationships, personality traits and success principles. Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, manages an online writer’s group, and contributes to several other sites.

Diane's Websites:
The Circle of Friends
Spunk on a Stick
Blog

To purchase her book:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Dancing Lemur Press

Book Trailer:


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

EBooks vs. Physical Books

I just found out it was eBook week, so thought this would be a timely subject to discuss.

What is your preference?

There's no doubt eBooks are on the rise. Publisher's Weekly states that eBook sales rose 176.6% last year. Now that's only a handful of publishers reporting, but that's still an impressive figure. But will eBooks replace print copy?

I like the idea of eBooks. I have the eBook app for my iTouch and I can take them with me. (I also have a laptop that tends to travel with me as well.) I'm a gadget kind of guy, so I like the technology. Not ready to buy an eReader yet, but when they upgrade the iPad next year, I'm sure I will buy one.

I like print books, too. I have quite a collection of dog-eared paperbacks and pristine hard covers. At home, I'd rather grab a physical book and give my eyes a break from the computer screen. I for one hope physical books never vanish.

What about you, my blogger friends? Which do you prefer and why? Have you made the switch, refuse to change, or rest somewhere in between?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Movie Review - Triangle - and a Star Wars spoof

TRIANGLE

Synopsis: (From Rotten Tomatoes) Feelings of déjà vu, suspicion, and dread punctuate this psychological thriller from SEVERANCE director Christopher Smith. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT’s Melissa George stars as Jess, a woman on a yacht with a group of friends. When a storm comes up, they are forced to leave the yacht and move to a cruise ship, but there appears to be no one on board. Soon enough, Jess’s worry is revealed to be founded when someone begins killing her friends.

Based on the synopsis, I assumed that this would be a run of the mill slasher movie. But this movie was a pleasant surprise, more akin to a twilight zone episode or a well-crafted Star Trek time paradox episode, than Friday the 13th. Christopher Smith made the most out his meager budget, with interesting effects and a tightly crafted story that will leave you guessing (although I had my suspicions) throughout the running length. With the exception of a few glaring plot holes, the movie tightly weaves a bizarre story full of twists and turns. I have purposefully remained vague on the details so as not to ruin the strange journey. Not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but Melissa George gives a very good performance and the movie is intriguing and thought-provoking.



Also, if you like Star Wars and parodies (and the Family Guy), I highly recommend "...Something, Something, Something, Dark Side." A sequel to Family Guy's first Star Wars parody "Blue Harvest," this movie is quite simply "The Empire Strikes Back" with Seth MacFarlane's offbeat sense of humor. With liberal references to 80's pop culture, this parody has some immense belly laughs in its short (48 minute) run time.

In the end, when Leia finally tells Han she loves him, his response literally had me rolling on the floor!


Enjoy!

And yes, I was bit disappointed with the Oscars...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mind Boggling Video

Originally posted by John over at Grasping for the Wind, I was stunned by the complexity of this device. Attack of the Show on G4 also featured this video and interviewed the designers. It's not high tech, but it's wild!




Also a big thanks to Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs for the Maximus Award!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing and Music and Oscar Scandal

First, the scandal - the Academy has barred "Hurt Locker" Producer, Nicolas Chartier, from attending Sunday night. Chartier sent emails to certain Academy voters, asking that they vote for his movie and not a $500 million dollar film. (Meaning Avatar.) The Academy stopped just short of removing "Hurt Locker" from the running.
Of course, if it does win, it will be like Barry Bonds' HR record - tainted.
What was Chartier thinking?
Sunday night will be interesting...

Okay, now on to my regular post!

Music is an inspirational art form. I enjoy listening to it almost as much as I enjoy playing it.

Most writers don't listen to tunes while writing for fear of distraction, but I always write to music. While working on my book, Cassastar, there was always music playing.

I like metal and progressive rock, and the fast tempo of bands like KillSwitchEngage and Shadow's Fall kept action scenes flowing. Guilt Machine's "Green and Cream" was perfect for space battles! I could almost see the Cosbolt fighters in action, diving down on the enemy with lasers blasting.

The story centers around a war, which meant there were moments of tragedy as well. Channeling emotions isn't my best trait, so I tried to play slower pieces during those scenes. I'd play some Redemption or older Dream Theater during those times.

For the writers who follow my blog, even if you don't listen while you write, is there music that inspires your work? Has a song ever revealed a story or scene to you? Or is it just my obsession?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Upcoming Releases with Cool Cover Art

One thing I really enjoy about sci-fi is the amazing cover art that graces the covers.

The following books are set for release - either new, paperback, or rerelease - this year, and while I don't know if I would pick up the book, the cover definitely catches my attention.
The Noise Within by Ian Whates, April 27

The Machinery of Light by David J. Williams, May 25


Eye of the Storm by John Ringo, June 8


Path of the Warrior by Gav Thorpe, June 29


Shrapnel: Hubris (Vol 2, Book 3) by Nick Sagan, July 20
Nemesis by James Swallow, July 27

The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, July 27


The Ragged Man by Tom Lloyd, August 24


Fear The Alien by Christian Duna, August 31

Starplex by Robert J, Sawyer, September 15

Monday, March 1, 2010

Movie Review - Year One and Avatar Poll Stuff


First the results of the Avatar Poll I had in my sidebar:

At the moment, Avatar is about to cross over $2.5 billion. But, will it have enough momentumn to reach $2.7?

Now on to the movie review of Year One...

Okay, have you ever been just so damned tired that you lacked the energy to turn off the TV? That's my excuse for sticking through this travesty.

Let's start with its good points:
It was better than Caveman.
Michael Cera had some really funny lines, helped by his great delivery.

Okay, now the bad:
Jack Black played an unfunny version of... Jack Black.
Jokes were of the bathroom humor variety.
Scenes were like bad SNL skits - they started with a premise and then just tapered off into nothing.
Oliver Platt was... creepy and disturbing.
Overall, a huge disappointment from director Harold Ramis.

I've seen him in several other films and Michael Cera will recover.
The rest of the crew? Not so sure.
Except #13 from House. She'll be fine.

My verdict? D+

Fortunately, I balanced that out with a good movie - Duplicity. A solid B for that one.

Next time, someone please help me reach the remote!