By George R. R. Martin
Publication Year: 1980 (illustrated edition 2018)
Tags: Science Fiction, Horror, Overrated
An academic research crew of nine boards a star-bound freighter called the Nightflyer in search of the volcryn — legendary beings who have existed for millennia, passing through the galaxy at sub-light speeds, a mystery hinted at in the writings of many civilizations but never yet proved. As the journey proceeds, the researchers come to wonder more about the ship itself instead of the object of their pursuit. What they’re searching for may be far less of a mystery than what is taking them there.
***SPOILERS AHEAD*** Continue reading “Nightflyers”
(1974, Rated R) Lee Marvin (Sheriff Bascomb), Richard Burton (Breck Stancill), Cameron Mitchell (Butt Cutt Cates), O. J. Simpson (Garth), Lola Falana (Loretta Sykes), David Huddleston (Mayor Hardy Riddle), Linda Evans (Nancy Poteet), Luciana Paluzzi (Trixie), David Ladd (Flagg). Music: Stu Gardner and Dale O. Warren. Screenplay: Millard Kaufmann and Samuel Fuller, based on the novel by William Bradford Huie. Director: Terrence Young. 112 minutes.
Tags: History, Drama, Terrible
Notable: A train wreck on and off the set; Italian actress Paluzzi wasn’t a good choice for a Southern girl.
In a small Alabama town, where the mayor is just another good ol’ boy Klansman, a sheriff has to balance presumably small acts of racial violence with keeping the peace in a powder-keg of personal and political tensions. Tempers flare when a black man is accused of raping a white woman, and an angry man resorts to vigilante justice. As outsiders arrive to cover the story of a civil rights rally, the KKK forms a lynching party, hell-bent on killing anyone — white or black — who gets in their way. Continue reading “The Klansman”
By Ray Bradbury
Tags: Mystery, Modern-Day Fantasy
[from the publisher] On a dismal evening in the previous century, an unnamed writer in Venice, California, answers a furious pounding at his beachfront bungalow door and again admits Constance Rattigan into his life. An aging, once-glamorous Hollywood star, Constance is running in fear from something she dares not acknowledge — and vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, leaving the narrator two macabre books: Twin listings of the Tinseltown dead and soon to be dead, with Constance’s name included among them. And so begins an odyssey as dark as it is wondrous, as the writer sets off in a broken-down jalopy with his irascible sidekick Crumley to sift through the ashes of a bygone Hollywood — a graveyard of ghosts and secrets where each twisted road leads to grim shrines and shattered dreams … and, all too often, to death. Continue reading “Let’s All Kill Constance”
(2009, rated R) Sharito Copley (Wikas van der Murwe), Jason Cope (Christopher Johnson), David James (Col. Venter), Vanessa Haywood (Tania Smit-van der Murwe), Louis Minnaar (Piet Smit). Music: Clinton Shorter. Screenplay: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchel. Director: Neill Blomkamp. 112 minutes.
Tags: Sci-Fi, CGI Bonanza, Xenophobia, Political
Notable: Inspired by incidents surrounding Johannesburg’s District 6, during the full reign of apartheid.
Twenty-some years ago, an alien spaceship comes to rest, hovering silently over Johannesburg, South Africa. The entire population of the ship — aliens who come to be called “prawns” for their crusty exoskeleton and mini-tentacles over their mouths — seeks refuge in an area referred to as District 9. Originally intended to keep them and humans separated for health reasons, the aliens become so disenfranchised that their area becomes something between a slum and a detention camp. There are now 1.8 million aliens in the encampment, and the Multi-National Union (MNU) intends to relocate them to a place some 200 kilometers away. The eviction, however, puts strain on an already tense situation, and when the head of that project, Wikas van der Murwe, appears to have become somehow “infected,” the entire project explodes into bloody warfare.
***ATTENTION: SPOILERS AHEAD** Continue reading “District 9”
By Ray Bradbury
Publication Year: 1990
Tags: Writing, Art, Life, Philosophical
“Every morning, I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now, it’s your turn. JUMP!”
Continue reading “Zen in the Art of Writing”
By Jen Blood
Publication Year: 2016
Tags: Avoid-At-All-Cost, Feminism v3.0, Thriller
Canine Search-And-Rescue (SAR) units find bodies, ghosts, and a serial killer in a haunted wood, thanks to persistent neo-feminists risking their lives and careers against male liars and evildoers. And that’s more description than this book deserves. Continue reading “The Darkest Thread (Flint K-9 #1)”
By Molly MacRae
Publication Year: 2013
Tags: Cozy Mystery, Series
Kath Rutledge is back, this time with her friends from a knitting group, all gathered together at a peaceful sheep farm to have one of their number demonstrate some yarn-dyeing techniques. When the group heads out to see the sheep, the beautiful spring day turns sinister with the discovery of two bodies spread beneath a tall tree… and worse, one of them is someone they know. Kath’s friends want her to investigate, as she did not that long ago (in Last Wool and Testament). She is reluctant at first, but when a third victim shows up, she calls on her home-grown “posse” to help her sort through the clues and catch a killer. Continue reading “Dyeing Wishes”
By Shirley Jackson
Publication Year: 1962
Tags: Thriller, Horror, Classic
The book’s beginning: “My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.” Continue reading “We Have Always Lived in the Castle”
(2014, rated PG) Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Amelia Brand), Jessica Chastain (Murphy “Murph” Cooper), John Lithgow (Donald), Michael Caine (Dr. Brand), Casey Affleck (Tom Cooper), Matt Damon (Dr. Mann), William Devane (Williams). Music: Hans Zimmer. Screenplay: Johnathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan. Director: Christopher Nolan. 169 minutes.
Tags: Sci-Fi, Epic, Dystopian, Special Effects Extravaganza
Notable: Various aspects of “hard science” heighten the film’s believability; a PG-rated film with a single f-bomb in it, which used to make a film require an “R” rating.
In the mid-twenty-first century, the Earth can barely sustain life. Cooper (McConaughey) is a former NASA astronaut, now trying to eke out a life as a dust-bowl farmer after NASA had been abandoned some years before. His daughter Murphy finds a strange pattern in the dust on the floor of her room, a pattern she blames on a ghost. When the pattern keeps recurring, Cooper deduces that it’s a gravitic anomaly, that the lines are actually a binary code for geographic coordinates. Following them, Cooper discovers Brand (Hathaway), his old boss from NASA, heading a secret facility that has been researching the presence of an artificially-created wormhole, an opening in space that could lead to a planet that could sustain human life… if they can get there. Continue reading “Interstellar”
By Jen Sincero
Publication Year: 2013
Tags: Self-Help, Unoriginal, Potentially Dangerous
I had this book recommended to me by someone who said that it changed her life. (She’s still working at a discount book store, so maybe other areas of her life were changed.) Short Form: Another self-styled Life Coach hypes herself as having THE ANSWER, using all of the worst self-help suggestions in the world, barely repackaged into modern, poorly-written tripe. To quote a favorite short review, “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it should be throw with great force.” (Attributed, without confirmation, to Dorothy Parker) Continue reading “You Are A Badass”