Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book promotion update

While I've already been tweeting about this, felt the need to post this here: DMQZ's free promotion got picked up by BoingBoing yesterday. Following that, the rank on Amazon's top free Kindle books jumped up, and it's hovered right above the overall top 100 free while staying in the top 10 in free science fiction for the last 24 hours. Too awesome!

If you haven't downloaded a copy yet, tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to get DMQZ free! Click here to go to the Amazon Kindle store.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Free eBook Promotion

I'm giving away my science fiction novel, DMQZ, for free through Friday!

Download a copy from the Amazon Kindle store:

In the wake of the global pandemic known as the "little dormouse," the line between the Safe Zone and the Quarantine Zone divides New York City. The shores and waters of the East River are the "DMQZ," the uninhabited area that separates uninfected Manhattan from the slowly dying borough of Brooklyn.

Jacob Hale is a Manhattan police officer rising in the ranks of the Safe Zone military government until a bank heist gone wrong lands him on suspension and under suspicion. On a quest to clear his good name, Hale finds himself drawn into a web of conspiracy, terrorism, and revolt - and into the orbit of a mysterious woman who may be the key to it all.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Improve the Dexter Finale (Spoilers)

Sunday night, Showtime's long-running serial killer drama finally came to a close. It's safe to say that a great many people were unsatisfied. Many shows end in a way that displeases fans - some notoriously - but a few quick fixes really could have made the finale a lot better.

Thorough, extensive spoilers for the end of Dexter below.

1. Get better weather special effects.
Hurricane Laura looked worse than Sharknado. After nine years, don't you think they could have spent a little more money instead of just turning down the brightness and contrast?

2. Up the body count.
For a show about a serial killer, the finale was light on the killing. The body count was just two - even that annoying political aide from the Killing lived!

3. Let the Brain Surgeon put up more of a fight.
Seriously, this guy was creepy. He looked like Ryan Gosling crossed with Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt) and had the crazy-eye thing mastered... but then he gets taken down in one second by Angel.

4. Shut up little Harrison.
Why can't anyone write believable lines for kids? It's just painful watching every scene with the squeaky hair-sphere. Wasn't he supposed to be the second coming of Dexter?

5. Dexter remembers to weight Deb's body down.
Epilogue: Deborah Morgan's bloated, blue, half-fish-eaten corpse discovered on beach by small children. Just like she asked for in her living will!

6. Write better fake news.
Nothing takes you out of the moment like awkward fake news announcers saying the storm is over and everything is returning to normal, or reading the worst-worded online newspaper headline announcing that someone is NO SIGN OF LIFE.

7. Add a twist.
Any twist.

8. Penguins.
They tease little Argentinian penguins repeatedly and yet we never get to see any. Harrison should have been playing with a penguin at the end of the episode.

9. Dexter grows the beard earlier on in the episode.
That's a good beard. Why didn't he grow it earlier in the season?

10. Have Professor X recruit Dexter from that lumber yard in Canada.
Because he's Wolverine, right? That's what we're supposed to get from that ending.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mama Spoiler-free Review

Is it good?
Mama starts strong but finishes weak.

Is it technically good?
The cinematography is pleasantly professional, clean, and unstylized for the most part, and the special effects are excellent.
The acting is quite good by all involved, including Jaime Lannister, that lady who caught Bin Laden, and a couple child actors who have a lot of ideas to sell.
The film is really good and scary all the way up through the third act, until the resolution/climax… which is overdone and squanders all the horror and mystery that had built up over the rest of the movie.

What does it promise - and does it deliver?
Creepy kids, creepy gross mother issue creatures, and scares - it delivers, but then the ending makes you wish they ended things 10 minutes earlier.

If you liked these, you'll like this: the Ring, the Ring 2, the Haunting in Connecticut.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sleepy Hollow: First Impressions

Sleepy Hollow on Fox has officially set the new bar for "high concept" television. The pilot is essentially a giant infodump, and the fact that it still manages to be entertaining speaks well of its future. The show earns points for avoiding camp without going gritty and/or dark - although this is a show where heads get chopped off at a rate of 1 per 15 minutes. The overall tone that the show strikes is just about perfect; they've managed to find that precarious spot in between horror and comedy that Supernatural sits in. We'll find out how the weekly structure shapes up, but they could find a worse model.

Spoilers below.

Perhaps once we've gotten past the learning curve the characters will get a chance to breathe. As it is, we've got:

  • the legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • the legend of Rip Van Winkle
  • witches
  • dueling covens of witches
  • priests who are witches(?)
  • demons
  • probably the devil
  • the apocalypse
  • childhood flashbacks
  • 18th century flashbacks
  • conspiracies
  • the Revolutionary War as a cover for the timeless battle between good and evil
  • Starbucks jokes
If there was ever a time for this show, it's now. It captures the current American zeitgeist that obsesses over The Vampire Diaries and Once Upon A Time, laughs at Thor and Captain America confused by modern technology, and still wants a sequel to National Treasure even though those movies really shouldn't be entertaining. If there were a teenager or two onscreen this could be a CW show.

The one problem this show already has, of course, is the fact that they've set the stage for a seven-year arc (the timeline of the approaching end of the world)... and if Sleepy Hollow is any good Fox will cancel it in season two.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Top 5 Reasons to be Optimistic About the New Robocop

There is a lot of pessimism going around about the Robocop reboot that comes out next year. The biggest question that it faces is the inevitable "why" that reboots have to deal with. The original Robocop is a science fiction classic and a perfect snapshot of everything wrong with the 1980s. Why mess with it by remaking it? What can be added?

Those more existential questions aside, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the new film. 

1. Joel Kinnaman in the leading role.
For those of you who don't watch The Killing on AMC, Kinnaman is one of the biggest draws of the show. He's a dynamic actor, familiar with the urban-cop territory, and has the gravitas necessary for a leading man. There are a lot of people that shouldn't be in the metal alloy shoes of Robocop, but Kinnaman is a solid candidate to step up.

2. The supporting cast.
Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Ehle, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams... the list goes on. Sure, actors can make mistakes, but the volume and depth of talent in the cast indicates their confidence in the material.

3. The director.
If you're worried about the new Robocop movie, go watch Jose Padilha's Elite Squad & Elite Squad 2. They're almost like non-sci-fi auditions for a Robocop film. They have intense, meaningful violence, corrupt politicians and cops, conflict with a brutal underworld in an culture grappling with a gigantic class divide... the only thing they're missing is robots and Detroit.

Baruchel outlines his own process for deciding to be a part of the reboot as a fan of the original. 

If nothing else sells you, the trailer shows a lot of promise. The key themes of the original are definitely intact, the special effects seem solid if not mind-blowing, and they didn't make the new suit look stupid.

Calling it Rebootcop. Come on, you know you want to #hashtag #rebootcop. This is a good internet thing even if the movie is a disaster. Future tweets will proclaim things like "some1 call #rebootcop on this ninja turtles reboot."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Europa Report Spoiler-Free Review

Is it good?
It's pretty neat.

Is it technically good?
It uses a documentary-style approach (not just found footage, it includes testimonials and bumps) to get the most out of a small budget, but sacrifices investment in the characters by putting them at arm's length.
The acting is decent, with Sharlto Copley a standout.
The documentary format is applied to narrative at editing in a way that's more an interesting exercise than "good."

What does it promise - and does it deliver?
Realistic space exploration and scares - it doesn't quite deliver on either, but it tries hard and has good intentions.

If you liked these, you'll like this: Apollo 18, Lunopolis, Apollo 13.