Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Geek Monthly on End of the Century

The good folks at Geek Monthly have reviewed End of the Century in their January 2009 issue (that's the one with Janeane Garofalo on the front cover, if you're interested), and this is what they have to say:
“What do a soldier from the 6th century, a sleuth from the 19th century and an American teenager in 1999 all have in common? They are all characters in Chris Roberson’s ambitious quest for the Holy Grail that intermingles all three ages to truly entertaining effect.”
Geek Monthly appears to do relatively few book reviews, so I'm really jazzed they covered the book. And considering that in this issue there are only reviews for new comics by Jaime Hernandez, Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell, and Tom Neely, and novels by Jonathan Carroll and little old me, I'm delighted to be included in such a lineup of heavyhitters.

Update: Allison insists I'm a dope for not sharing a scan of the review, so here it is.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Year in Review

Over on the Post-Weird Thoughts blog, Fábio Fernandes has been running down his favorite reads of 2008, and this morning he's up to part 5 - The Novels. And hey, look at that! Along with such stalwarts as Gaiman, Gibson, Chabon, and Scalzi (and Pyr stablemates David Louis Edelman, Ian McDonald, and Joe Abercrombie), I'm surprised to find myself cropping up, with The Dragon's Nine Sons and End of the Century both on the list. Thanks, Fábio!


Checking In

Hey, internets. What's happening?

We're briefly back at headquarters, in between rounds of holiday travel. I'm slowly catching up on correspondence and blog feeds, noting items of possible interest for later investigation. Here's a few I thought well worth sharing:
So how are your holidays going so far, everybody? Get (or give) any good presents?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


A Venture Bros Xmas

And then James Urbaniak said...
The annual Venture Brothers Christmas song is now online. Enjoy. (Relive Christmases past here, here, here and here.)


Happy Holidays

Whatever your holidays of choice--Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Yule, Newtonmas, Festivus, Bodhi Day, Smekday, or none or all of the above--may they be happy ones.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Secret Saturdays toys

If you've got kids of toy-buying age (like me), or can justify buying them for yourself (unlike me, more's the pity), Jay Stephens has some good news to share. Mattel is going to be doing a line of Secret Saturdays toys.
Although viewers can expect the typical array of figures of the main cast of characters--Doc Saturday, Drew, Zack, and ever-present villain V.V. Argost--Mattel, Inc. is sure to work on the fantastical nature of the cryptid creatures as well. The mysterious, mythological, and altogether marvelous creatures that populate The Secret Saturdays; from flesh-eating wolf beasts to volcano-dwelling cannibal giants of Chile, the cartoon has plenty of unique animals to offer.

The toyline based on The Secret Saturdays is currently slated for release in Fall 2009. Playsets and role-play items are also on tap for development by Mattel, Inc. The adventure animation, which debuted on Cartoon Network this past October, is likely to see production through that period as well.

I know one little girl who is going to be very happy about that. (And her dad is pretty geeked about it, too...)


Venture Bros. 3rd Season DVD

Behold the awesomeness that is the Venture Bros third season DVD set (ganked from the announcement here), due out in March 2009.


TV's Sci-Fi and Superhero Characters

Longtime followers of the Interminable Ramble may recall me raving about the awesomeness of Dusty Abell before. Last year it was his group portrait of Classic Seventies Action Figures. Earlier this year it was his portrait of Saturday Morning Action/Adventure Television Characters.

This morning over on his deviantART gallery, he shares "stage one" of his latest work in progress, TV's Sci-Fi and Superhero Characters.

Here's how he describes it:
This is stage one of my huge attempt to draw a little bit of every cool science fiction and superhero television show I ever watched growing up in the 70's. There had never been such an amazing diversity of programs like these and they all did their part to expand my love of both genres. These shows had it all, drama, fantasy, high adventure, amazing production design (notably Space 1999 and the original Battlestar Galactica) great actors and actresses, wonderfully designed creatures and aliens (Dr. Who's Zygons come to mind immediately), incredible special effects and in the case of the Incredible Hulk the most haunting theme song ever recored in my opinion. Well, I still need to color this beast but I wanted to show it off at this stage because I'm so damn proud of this one, its taken me an age to reference all the costumes and ships, I just kept adding stuff, if I missed one of your favorites I apologize, Marvels 1978 Dr. Stange almost made it in and so did one of the moon girls from the great old Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series UFO! I could have put in almost every villain from Dr. Who and its almost criminal Davros didn't make the cut but there you go, you got the Supervoc SV7 robot and hes pretty cool too! Let me know what you think, cause I'm dying to hear, of course I hope all you 30 to forty somethings out there have some fond rememberances of some or all of these shows, and i'd incourage anyone unfamiliar with them to give them a shot sometime, see what all us old timers are always carrying on about. Happy Holidays guys and gals!
So how many can you name?


Escape from Hell! review

Ken over at Neth Space has reviewed Hal Duncan's Escape from Hell!. He sums up his review by saying...
Escape From Hell! is a wild ride through the literal Hell – a pulp adventure and angry condemnation. I suppose that some may consider it blasphemy – I consider it brilliant fiction. It’s rare for me to think such, but Escape From Hell! would make a great movie, if anyone had the guts to make it. 9/10

Monday, December 22, 2008


New Review

Thanks to Google alerts, I learn on my return from visiting Duncanville (for the "Roberson family Christmas," which is kind of like Christmas, only more conveniently scheduled) that the Library Journal has reviewed the forthcoming End of the Century. Behold...

In sixth-century Londinium, young knight Galaad follows his visions to the castle of King Artor and the search for the Holy Grail. Victorian London houses consulting detective Sandford Blank and his assistant, Roxanne Bonaventure, who hunt for a serial killer whose motive is the location of the grail. In 20th-century London, American teenager Alice Fell is on the run, pursuing strange visions that lead her as well to the sacred cup of the grail. Inevitably, the barriers between time and place deteriorate, bringing a group of seekers together in a cosmic confrontation between good and evil. The author of Here, There & Everywhere and The Voyage of Night Shining White blends high fantasy, Victorian mystery, and urban fantasy into one mesmerizing story that refreshes the Arthurian legend. For most fantasy collections.

Less spoilerish than the Booklist review, which I'll quote in January when the review is published, but at the same time not entirely accurate. Still, a fairly positive review, I think. So thanks, reviewer at Library Journal!


Friday, December 19, 2008


Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender - It Aint Over Till The Plush Lady Sings

For any of you who might have enjoyed "Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender," here is "Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender - It Aint Over Till The Plush Lady Sings."

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Over the Horizon

Mmmm. What could this be, I wonder...?


The Custom Toys of Bruce Ross

I've got Eric Orchard to thank for pointing out the work of Bruce Ross. Ross makes custom toys, action figures, and such, and you have to see his work to believe it.

Look at this pair, Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tars Tarkas and John Carter:

And check out the detail work on this figure of Dave Stevens's Rocketeer:

It's in the rear view that you can really see the care he took with this:

This Lord Chamberlain from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal, though? Uncanny.


Happy Birthday, Michael Moorcock!

The man himself turns 69 years old today. Happy birthday, Mike! And many happy returns of the day!

Incidentally, John Picacio has some great gift suggestions:
I suppose the best b-day gift an author can receive is for folks to buy his/her books, and since we're in the gift-giving season, the new Del Rey editions of Mike's classic ELRIC work make excellent stocking stuffers. :) The first three of a six-book series are available here, here, and here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Season 2 Online Premiere - Flight of the Conchords

If you're fortunate enough to live in the US (and really, I pity those benighted foreigners who aren't), the premiere episode of Season 2 of Flight of the Conchords is available online in its entirety.

And look, here it is!

Season 2 Online Premiere - Flight of the Conchords (US Only)


Space Crash - my first novel

In keeping with yesterday's post about finishing coloring books I started when I was 9, here's a little oddity I've been meaning to share for a while. Many people know that my first published novel (Here, There & Everywhere) was not my first novel, and that I'd actually released a few more as POD titles in the years before. A smaller set of people know that the first of those POD titles, though, wasn't my first novel either, and that I'd actually written something like five or six (or seven or eight? I don't remember) novels before that, dating back to college, which will never see the light of day.

But few people know that the novels I wrote in college weren't my first novels, either. In fact, I wrote my first novel nearly three decades ago, at the age of nine.

It ran to 426 words on three and a half handwritten pages, and it was entitled Space Crash.

Here, for your delectation, is that novel. (Click the images to embiggen, or just read the transcript below if you can't make out my nine-year-old cursive penmanship.) In transcribing this epic, I have left in all misspellings and typographical errors, including the (bafflingly) misspelled title on page 1.

Also note that the following in no way bears any resemblance to any theatrical films that might have been released two years before in 1977. No resemblance at all.


Space Chrash
by Chris R.

In our future there is a place in time and space. On Venus two there is a boy named Jim Spacerider, and his father Bill Spacerider. They live in a dugout in Cantena Five. They were rebel troopers. Jim’s mother died in a *Space Crash near Cantena Five. He and his father were okay, but she was dead.

They then joined the rebel gorillas. There were a princess named Mary Wildsun and she was beautiful. She was on the rebel force. The empire was evil and strong but the rebels were strong, too. Later Jim and Bill went to the

rebel statoin on Valtar in the Crab Nebulae. They went there in Star Fighters. “Were in the Crab Nebulae, now,” said Jim cheerfully! The empire leader was named Dick Vaber.

He was evil and strong. The leader of the rebel’s was Ben Vaber, they were brothers to blood, not heart or brain. Ben was smarter. Ben had seven medals. Dick had five. Ben had one hundred five stations, Dick had ninety nine. Ben had 2,340,798,910 men.

Dick had 530,102,803. But Dick was the strongest man in the univirse. Ben used his wits instead of strength. Jim and Bill went to see Ben Vaber and Marywildsun and a friend named Brooke Starraider. Brooke had a droid named Jenny and she looked like Shirley Temple. Nobody knew it but Dick had captured Jan, mother of Jim

wife of Bill. Everybody thought she was dead, but she was captured by Dick. When they got to Valtar the search began to find what happened to Jan. Mary, Brooke, and Jenny took galaxy Five and Four. Bill, Jim, and Ben, Two and Three. They took Laser bows and Atomic arrows. “Nothing,” cried Bill who was mad at Dick for killing Jan. Brooke, Mary, and Jenny had found Dick’s base on Saturn Four. They went inside and saw a small planet inside an outer false planet, which was unusual.

It was the only one like it. They contacted Jim, Bill, and Ben to come, but the startroopers trapped them. The other rebels came to fight back. Whith laser gun’s in there hands, the startroopers lost the battle. Then

Ben saw Dick and said “So we meet agin brother.” They both drew Atomic arrows and Laser bows, and they had a battle. Ben won and Dick died. Jim saw a cell and opened it and saw Jan inside. They called Bill, Ben, Brooke, Mary, and Jenny and they got away to fight another day.

the end.
And to complete the set, here's the back cover.

Admittedly, the plot tends to wander a bit. In my defense, though, the addition of my three younger siblings as supporting characters (Brooke Starraider, Mary Wildsun, and Jenny the droid who looks like Shirley Temple) was at the insistence of my dad, as I recall, an early example of editorial interference.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The Ten Doctors

(via) On the forums of comic publisher IDW, Tony Lee has shared a little Christmas joy. Here's how he sets up the clip.
A few months ago - in fact pretty much a year ago, when I first spoke about the story I was about to start writing called Doctor Who: The Forgotten, I said the following line.

"And it will have a double page splash in issue #6 that will hopefully go down in history as one of the most downloaded Doctor Who pictures/Wallpaper ever."

Big words indeed, and people thought I'd mispoken, that I actually meant the double page of the Doctor's costumes that was seen in #1, an image that has since appeared in a variety of different places, most recently on news sites talking about who would be playing the next Doctor.

But no. You see, I had a better page. A double page that would lay to rest the rumours already flying around that although I mentioned all ten Doctors in the first five issues of the six part story, the Doctor? He never actually meets them. Not at all. No, no way whatsoever. There's no way that the BBC would allow that. Nuh-uh.

Well... You've been reading the comic? All four issues out so far? You're looking forwards to #5, out on New Years Eve? You're eagerly waiting for #6, out on the 21st of January, because with the previous Doctor's stories all ending in #5, something special must be happening in it? Well, you'd be right. Something special does. Something magical. Something never thought possible. Click on the segment of the page shown below to see the full, double page spread from #6 that I spoke of, a year ago.

And here's the image he's talking about.

I've been reading and enjoying The Forgotten since the first issue, and I've found it to be one of the best Doctor Who comics to date, and certainly the best in ages.

(Didn't RTD famously say in an interview that, so far as he was concerned, such a meeting was impossible and would never happen? I remember reading that in the last year or so, but can't find it anywhere now.)


My New Project

Yesterday I sent in the script for the sixth and final issue of Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, and barring rewrites and tweaks (and there will be rewrites and tweaks) I'm effectively finished with the project, for all intents and purposes. Took a little longer than expected, starting the first issue in early September and finishing the last in mid-December, but still respectable.

I'm spending the next few days getting my head back in Warhammer 40K mode, to work on the outline for my next project for Black Library. The book hasn't been formally commissioned yet, so I don't know if I can talk about what it is yet, but for those following along at home I suppose I can say that it features an established Chapter of Space Marines. (And I just got an early copy of Dawn of War II yesterday, and I'm really pleased how it turned out. More on that later.)

After I finish the Space Marine outline, I'm spending a few weeks working on some fantasy stories, that will ultimately be part of a sprawling epic fantasy project that I'm not sure I've talked about here. The first one will probably be titled "A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows", and feature a group of kick-ass ghost-hunting ninja-monk-morticians fighting zombies in a graveyard. Probably. More on that later.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you some samples from my other new project.

See, my daughter Georgia, who turns five in a couple of months, loves to color and draw. I've posted a few examples of her work over the last few months. Coloring and drawing is great for parents, you might say, because it is this completely self-directed activity that kids can do on their own, freeing parents up to do whatever needs doing around the house--dishes, cooking, straightening up, checking Google Reader, what-have-you. You might say that, but you'd be wrong. Georgia loves to color, but she loves company while she does it, and so is always begging me or Allison to come color with her. Since Allison is the real breadwinner in the family and is, subsequently, often busy actually working, it most often falls to me to sit and color with Georgia.

Well, for most of the last year I've been busying myself coloring pages out of her coloring books--Littlest Pet Shop, Tinker Bell, Curious George, Bolt, Wall-E, you name it. A few weeks ago, Georgia and I were digging through an old box of my papers and such that I'd brought down from the attic, when I happened to find a gold mine--a half-dozen or so coloring books I'd bought between the ages of seven and nine, or thereabouts. A couple of Flash Gordon, and one each of Spider-Man, Battle of the Planets, Disney's The Black Hole, and Batman. In every case, as kids will, I'd colored a few pages with great care, a few others partially completed, and most of the pages completely untouched.

And that's when I hit upon my new project. No, not a project, but a mission. I would finish all of these coloring books. Since I'm sitting at the kitchen table coloring several times a week anyway, why not use this time to finish the work I started more than thirty years ago, rather than just coloring another page of Littlest Pet Shop animals?

I'm starting with the Batman book, for no particular reason. Here it is.

Batman: Tent Full of Trouble. I mean, come on? How can you not love Batman at the circus?

I quickly had to establish a few rules for myself. My goal here is to maintain consistency with the work of my nine year old self. (I'm guessing that I did most of the work in this one in 1979, having purchased it at a school book fair in that year, if the "Central Cyclone Book Fair" stamp and indicia are any indication.) That means that I can only use Crayola colors that I would reasonable have had access to as a kid. And that, as much as possible, I would try to adopt the same coloring style I used back then (ie. a single color for each bounded space). And, perhaps trickier, I would try to match the colors used on the already completed pages when doing the unfinished pages.

Here's me at age nine, for reference.

Yes, that's Robin capturing a clown. This is a story about Batman and Robin foiling the plans of a group of crooked clowns to steal the jewels worn by the circus bareback rider, Lady Adele. Really.

Okay, so here's the image from the opposite page, begun and finished this last weekend.

(Parenthetically, this is the kind of thing that Batman doesn't do enough of these days. Wrestling bears, I mean, while evil clowns try to slip away. Of course, for all I know that could be the plot of next week's Batman: The Brave and the Bold.)

As you can see, I'm dating each new page in crayon at the bottom, to keep track. Undated pages are those I finished thirty years ago.

In some cases, though, there are pages that I began but left unfinished at age 9. In these cases, I finish the work, trying to make it as seamless with the original colors as possible.

Here's the next page in the book, for example. In this instance, I had colored all of Robin but his right glove and shoes, with the rest of the page undone. (As you can see, the dating at the bottom reflects the amount of time taken to finish--in this case, almost 30 years.)

Georgia has been wanting to color a lot lately, so I've gotten quite a few pages done in the last two weeks. But at the rate I'm going, it'll still probably be another month or so before I color the last page of Tent Full of Trouble. After that I'll probably move on to one of the Flash Gordon coloring books, more than likely.

And if anyone is concerned about what happened with Robin and the bear (and don't try to figure out how the bear escaped the clutches of Batman--it's left vague in the original narrative), here's the next page.

That's right, it's the circus's animal trainer, briefly glimpsed early on, come to the rescue. As tasty as Robin might be to a bear, clearly a bucket of fish is that much more appealing.

In any event, that's my new project.


Escape from Hell! contest

Hey, if want to win a free copy of Hal Duncan's new novella, Escape from Hell!, head over to BookSpot Central. They're giving away 5 free copies in a drawing later this month.

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, December 15, 2008



A few quick updates:

(1) Was unable to post to my blog for most of today and yesterday, after I stupidly forgot to update the IP address at Blogger after a server migration.

(2) Typed "The End" on the script for issue 6 of Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love.

(3) Posted some thoughts over on the new Clockwork Storybook blog.

(4) Put on a third layer of clothing. It is damned cold here today!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Clockwork Storybook group blog

Just a quick note to say that there's a new group blog with my fingerprints on it. The new Clockwork Storybook blog will feature discussions on the craft of writing in comics, prose, and elsewhere with the five members of the CWSB writers' group--in alphabetical order, that's Mark Finn, myself, Matt Sturges, Bill Williams, and Bill Willingham. So far I've only contributed a quick comment to another's post, but the two Bills have kicked off an interesting discussion about pacing, editor-driven comics, and more.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Holiday Favorites

Or should that be "favourites"...?

Paul Cornell has polled a bunch of sf/f types on the topic, "what is your favourite Xmas film?" (he used that extra "u" of course) and collected the results on Day 2 of his 12 Blogs of Christmas.

Respondents include John Scalzi, John Picacio, Mike Carey, Mary Robinette Kowal, Lou Anders, Stephen Segal, Shanna Swendson, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, C.E. Murphy, Steven Moffat, Sean Williams, Kim Newman, and my own humble self. (If I had it all to do over, I'd probably have switched to Lou's answer, truth be told.)

How about you nice people? Got a favorite holiday flick or special?

Friday, December 12, 2008


Space Chimps

I added this thing to my Netflix queue ages ago, after reading somewhere online that it was watchable and mildly entertaining.

Well, we watched it last night. Wall-E, it is not.

Georgia's comments aside ("This is a good movie," she said several times), it was neither watchable nor mildly entertaining. And this is a movie that features chimpanzees in spacesuits having adventures on another planet. Getting that combination right isn't exactly, oh what's the term, rocket science.

(Having enough trouble with the logic of the narrative itself, I won't think about the bad science. I mean, at one point I'm pretty sure a character refers to "Einstein's Unified Space Theory." Did no one on the production have access to Google?)

In any event, if I can ever remember just where it was that I read the somewhat positive review of this thing, I'm going to go and demand that they return to me the 80 minutes I wasted watching it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Idle Thought

Just out of curiosity, does anyone happen to know whatever became of John Francis Moore?

The last I recall seeing of him was one of the titles in DC's shortlived Focus line, Touch, and don't think I've seen his name mentioned since. In the late 90s, though, Moore was responsible for some of my favorite comics, all of which have really held up as I've revisited them in the years since--Chronos, the best treatment of time-travel in a superhero book to date; Superman: The Dark Side, which took what could have been a trite idea (Kal-El lands on Apokolips) and owned it; and in particular the 100% awesome Elseworld's Finest, which reimagined the DC Universe as a Depression-era pulp adventure in letter-perfect style.

Google fails to find any news of him. Does anyone know more?


40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes

(via) For some reason it seems like I've done nothing but post YouTube links all week. (Oh, you mean that is all I've been doing?)

That'll change shortly, I promise. I've got a few more entries to go in the Secret Services, and I've been thinking a lot about pulp heroes and such, too. But I've got a few more days' work to go on the last issue of Cinderella, so I'll be keeping my head down for a little while yet.

With that in mind, I give you what could well be a scene from the greatest movie ever made--if this was one scene and came from a single movie.

(Stick with it. There are some genius juxtapositions in here.)

My hat is off to Matthew Belinkie, who cut this together. Nicely done!

If you're interested, here's the complete "transcript" of the inspirational speech:
"Shame on you. This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you're going to let it be the worst. And I guarantee a week won't go by in your life you won't regret walking out, letting them get the best of you. Well, I'm not going home. We've come too far! And I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause. A day may come when the courage of men fails... but it is not THIS day. The line must be drawn HERE. This far, no further! I'm not saying it's going to be easy. You're going to work harder than you ever worked before. But that's fine, we'll just get tougher with it! If a person grits his teeth and shows real determination, failure is not an option. That's how winning is done! Believe me when I say we can break this army here, and win just one for the Gipper. But I say to you what every warrior has known since the beginning of time: you've got to get mad. I mean plum mad dog mean. If you would be free men, then you must fight to fulfill that promise! Let us cut out their living guts one inch at a time, and they will know what we can do! Let no man forget how menacing we are. We are lions! You're like a big bear, man! This is YOUR time! Seize the day, never surrender, victory or death... that's the Chicago Way! Who's with me? Clap! Clap! Don't let Tink die! Clap! Alright! Let's fly! And gentlemen in England now abed shall know my name is the Lord when I tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our Independence Day!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Mystery Team

(via) Check out the trailer for Mystery Team, which will premier at Sundance 2009.

I want to see this flick now...


Silent Star Wars

(via) This is awesome, and surprisingly effective.

Monday, December 08, 2008


István Madarász's "Sooner or Later"

(via) Here's a nice little Hungarian short film, subtitled in English, about a Nazi experiment in the last days of WWII. Written and directed by István Madarász, and featuring the talents of Péter Albert and Illés Nyitrai. It turns to right around eleven minutes, but is worth it if you've got the time to spare.


Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

You can file this under Things That Make Me Burn With Envy.

I have a post on a private mailing list to thank for pointing me towards Tim Byrd's Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, forthcoming from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in May 2009.

Here's the flack from the official site:
Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom is an adventure yarn in the old tradition. It gets that reading is an intellectual activity, and that an adventure, to be really good, has to engage the reader’s brain. I love a smart book!”
—Daniel Pinkwater

To the world at large, the Wilde family is an amazing team of golden skinned adventurers, born to daring escapades and globetrotting excitement!

Doctor Spartacus Wilde, world class scientist and inventor, physical exemplar, ultimate warrior, and loving dad!

Brian and Wren Wilde, the worlds most swashbuckling kids, able to survive the most perilous situations through quick wits and the intensive training and astonishing gadgets that are their birthright!

Aided by their dashing majordomo Phineas Bartlett and their loyal driver and pilot Declan mac Coul, the Wildes crisscross the Earth on a constant quest for new knowledge, incredible thrills, and good old fashioned adventure!

The Frogs of Doom…

Now, with adventurous Grandpa Wilde missing, the Wildes confront the deepest mysteries of Dark Matter, penetrate the tangled depths of uncharted jungles, and come face to face with the likely end of the world in the clammy clutches of The Frogs of Doom

If you are catching a whiff of Doc Savage-y goodness from this, you're not alone. And check out Byrd's list of inspirations, from the book's acknowledgments:

For inspiration, I affectionately acknowledge the spinners of countless adventure stories I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid, folks like Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Alexandre Dumas, Paul Dini, Karl Edward Wagner, Rafael Sabatini, Walter Gibson, Ray Harryhausen, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, Norvell Page, Michael Chabon, and Robert B. Parker.

I owe a special debt to two writers from the pulp magazines of old, Lester Dent who, under the nom de plume “Kenneth Robeson,” brought the world the extravagant adventures of Doc Savage, the original superhero, and H.P. Lovecraft whose spooky stories warned of eldritch horrors lurking just outside our world waiting to devour it. Lovecraft’s work is always readily available, and as I write this, all the Doc Savage stories are finally being reprinted in beautiful editions by Anthony Tollin and Nostalgia Ventures (

That's not a bad reading list, if you ask me.

I'm really looking forward to checking this out. Of course, my first reaction wasn't quite so charitable. You see, for the last few years I've been shopping around a middle-reader adventure series called the Young Explorers, the main character of which is--among other things--the grandson of pulp adventurer "King" Carmody (though that connection doesn't come out till much later in the series), familiar to readers of Cybermancy Incorporated. Along with his classmates at boarding school, the young Carmody travels all over the world, seeking knowledge and adventure. Sound familiar? In the last month or so it looked like Young Explorers had a better than average chance of getting picked up, but the project fell the last hurdle, so now we've had to move back to the starting blocks (though things aren't entirely without hope).

In any event, it wasn't just that our two series have similar ideas and themes that made me so envious to read about Byrd's forthcoming book, it was the title of the first installment, too. The title of the first novel in the Young Explorers series?

The Young Explorers and the Monkeys of Doom

Not identical, I know, but still... D'oh!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


"Two Pigeons," by Georgia R.

When it comes to kids' picture books, we are all big fans of Mo Willems in our household. (At the moment, he is rivaled only by Adam Rex in our collective estimation, if anyone is keeping score.)

Before heading out to Duncanville for Thanksgiving last week, I chanced on a lot of great printouts on the Pigeon Presents! site, including a "How to draw Pigeon" tutorial in the "Pigeon's Teacher's Guide" (found in the "boring Grown-up stuff" section of the site). Georgia spent most of the three hour drive north from Austin coloring all of the Piggy, Elephant, Leonardo, Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, and Edwina stuff I'd printed out for her, and when we got to my folks place she set up shop at the kitchen table and kept right on going. When she finally got to the How To Draw Pigeon page, I read it aloud for her as she followed the steps (you know the kind of thing... "Step 1, draw a circle. Step 2, draw a smaller circle inside it for the eye."), and then she started drawing pigeons. Or, to be more precise, Pigeons. So far, she hasn't stopped.

The following example was probably the third and fourth pigeons she drew, respectively, at the point when she'd started coloring them. And of course, she has to sign her name, hence the "Georgia R." at the top. (The Santa and mincemeat on the upper right and left are magnets adhering the paper to the refrigerator in my parents' house, where it is on exhibit.)

Not bad for a four year old, eh?

Saturday, December 06, 2008


"Evil Under the Sea!"

A quick note about last night's episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, "Evil Under the Sea!" Georgia and I watched it this morning (and as I've said about Secret Saturdays, really these are shows meant to be watched on Saturday morning), and both of us loved it. The episode features Batman jetting down to Atlantis to check in on his buddy Aquaman (who may be my favorite interpretation of the character ever), when Black Manta attacks and hijinks ensue.

The best part? When Batman is forced to fight a giant squid... inside a mind-controlled whale. That's pure awesome, right there.

Friday, December 05, 2008


RIP Paul Benedict

I've just learned from James Urbaniak's blog that Paul Benedict has died.

Growing up in the 70s, I saw a lot of Benedict on television, but I think it's his bits on Sesame Street as the "Mad Painter" (also featuring Stockard Channing and Jerome Raphel) that I remember most fondly.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Good (Secret) News

Got some good news today. Nothing I can talk about for a while, I'm afraid, but rest assured that when I can talk about it, I'm certain that at least a handful of you are going to agree with me that it's pretty damned cool.

Cryptic enough for you?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Newsarama on Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love

Newsarama has just posted an interview that Vaneta Rogers did with me, discussing the forthcoming Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, if anyone's interested in checking it out.



Prop 8 - The Musical

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Geoff Ryman's "The Film-makers of Mars"

Stop what you're doing, and go over to to read Geoff Ryman's short story, "The Film-Makers of Mars." It's an intriguing little story, reminding me a bit of Howard Waldrop at his best.
The films just started showing up, everywhere, old forgotten silent movies turning to jelly in warehouses all over SoCal: Anaheim, Burbank, Tarzana.

I got a call from Al at Hannibal Restoration. “They’re mindblowing!” The old hippie.

Eight reels of a film about Santa Claus from 1909. Filmed in Lapland. And forty reels of a film it says was produced by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In 1911?
(When I finished reading, I couldn't help myself, but had to look up "Herman Blix." I found this, about the real-life Herman Brix, if anyone's interested.)


Catching Up

Hey, internets! I'm finally back at home after Thanksgiving, bleary-eyed and overweight, trying to get my brain to start firing again.

So what did I miss? Here are a few items of personal interest that have cropped up online in the last few days, at least as per my Google Reader feeds.

Rudy Rucker reminiscences about writing the Hollow Earth

The BookSpot Beat talks with Hal Duncan about Escape From Hell!

SF Signal looks at Iron Jaw and Hummingbird

Oh, and we went to see Disney's new animated flick Bolt with Georgia over the weekend, and Allison and I were amazed to discover that it was one of the best movies we'd seen in ages. (Georgia liked it, too.) Highly recommended.

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