Showing posts from October, 2011

Arkham City

After playing the first game together, the wife and I were excited to play Batman: Arkham City . She was especially stoked for the sequel since Catwoman is a playable character. So as soon as we could, we pre-ordered it from Game Stop, and I picked it up on my way home from work the day it was released. In a lot of ways, it’s almost a fantastic game. Almost, even though it’s gorgeous. The city is beautifully rendered. You could easily spend hours just wandering around and looking at the environment. Sometimes to your detriment. You’ll find yourself getting lost a lot at the beginning of the story, until you learn the landmarks and how to maneuver around the crowded, gothic skyline. Almost, even though Kevin Conroy returns as Batman and Mark Hamill reprises his role as Joker. Virtually every character from the Batman universe shows up at least once. All are well-acted. The voice-over work is excellent, easily up there as the best I’ve ever heard. Almost, even though t

Dispatches from Mu

Mu is a mythical continent that began as vaguely convincing pseudo-science and morphed into full blown silliness. Depending on how nutty you like your peanut butter, Mu was: the source of Mayan civilization, a colony founded by survivors of Atlantis, home of the Secret Masters, or under control of fascist lizard people who still direct the New World Order and psychically eat your brain. Mu exists in multi-genre dimensions, rising from the waves as fantasy, science fiction, and ancient occult gobbledygook. The dead civilization ghosts through comics, short stories , novels, cartoons, anime , and music . Even Led Zepplin conjures the mystical spirit of Mu—Robert Plant’s feather symbol is supposedly one of the "sacred glyphs. " Mu is here. I don't just read crime fiction. I certainly don't just watch cop shows or heist films. I couldn't image resigning myself to one particular genre for my entertainment any more than I could imagine listening to a single s

The Letter

Patti Abbott sponsored a flash fiction challenge based on the paintings of Reginald Marsh. Every story written earns $5 for charity. For complete details of the challenge go here . For a list of entries go here . For mine, keep reading. The Letter Two Girls On Boardwalk The fighting wasn’t done but they sent home three and a half weeks ago with a ruined leg. He’s spent the last two on the boardwalk with the letter that arrived the day the machinegun nest cut his squad to chunks of meat in some city he can’t even pronounce. Just sitting there with her letter in his front pocket and his gun in his back, watching the children and the girls and the women and men to old to fight walk by. Watching and waiting for her. Sometimes wishing his head would stop hurting, but mostly waiting and wondering if her hair was still dark or if she had finally turned blonde.   She had talked about it before he shipped out. She was in love with the actress. The one everyone seemed to like but h

All The Pissing

I'm finally setting down to read George R.R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons,  the fifth book in his seven part (please, let it only be seven) A Song of Ice and Fire series. I write mostly crime fiction, but fantasy was my first love. As a kid I devoured fantasy novels, reading the good stuff (Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock) and the shit (the Dragonlance series and R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden books). I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons . I made maps of make-believe worlds and played amateur linguist. I grew out of fantasy. Discovering Andrew Vachss and Shane Stevens helped, but it was also because as I matured I realized that 99% of the fantasy genre is utter and complete shit. Just badly-written Tokien rehash after rehash. Very little of it is imaginative. And there's a subtext to "high fantasy" that I find repellant , much like the vast majority of "military SF". Whenever I thought I had found a new savior for the genre, they alway

The Cool Dead

Back in September , I mentioned Warren Miller's 1959 novel, The Cool World . It's long out of print, but my university library dug their 1st Edition copy from the vaults. I got it a couple weeks ago and it's a surprisingly beautiful copy: light-blue hardback, title written in hep-cool-kat font, spine's sharp and switchblade straight. Been considering writing an essay connecting Miller's The Cool World with Shane Steven's Go Down Dead . Both novels share a similiar premise and structure. Both novels are written by white authors about the "black experience" in Harlem. But more importantly to me, each book is social commentary hidden in crime fiction's bloody clothing.  Still from 1964 film version. Never released on DVD.  Nearly finished with Cool and it hasn't disappointed. It's an engaging book with excellent pacing. Miller manages to switch between plot-chapter and memory-chapter without bogging the narrative. He's an exce

Especially From Me.

I've been quiet lately. It's due to a lot of things: work has been one stressful thing after another, issues with Maria's sighted eye continue, and a few short days ago it was my birthday. I try not to do anything on my birthday. One of the biggest reasons for going dark and the radio silence is I've been working on finishing up a project. (No, it's not the Shane Stevens book--though I have made a find recently that, assuming all the pieces fall into line, should prove to be quite the spotlight on our secretive author.) I haven't discussed the project yet and I'm still not quite ready for it. I want to get just a little bit closer to completion before the big reveal. I will say, it's something you probably didn't see coming. Especially from me.

My Dark Pages

Over at Dead End Follies, you can check out My Dark Pages where I talk about discovering Andrew Vachss and Shane Stevens. Big thanks to Benoit for having me.