You'll find this entry on JasonL's blog interesting. The first of a couple of interviews with former war fighters.
I've had a few submissions for the collected fantholoy later this year. (Yes, I just invented that word and I like it). Nemesis, by Don Goodrum runs to to more than five thousand words. This is just a taster from the opening pars.
Hero’s Log: Tuesday 2:24am CST
I stand watch over my city. Watching as the night chokes the tiny metropolis in thick dark folds like a blanket or a shroud. Watching as the light from the city fights its way upward like a drowning man fighting the current of a river. Watching as a gibbous moon casts a baleful eye across the stage below, waiting for the show to begin.
Watching. And the city watches back.
I am the Crimson Avatar. Defender of the Weak and Protector of the City of Pensacola, Florida, I patrol these mean streets, stopping crime; turning back evil; making the world-
-making the world a better place. Safer, cleaner-
“Seriously Doug, are you in there? Are you awake?”
And unfortunately, I don’t work alone.
I turned and looked at the person standing next to me on the roof of the Saenger Theatre, overlooking Palafox Avenue. Shorter and slighter than my own chiseled physique, he wore a yellow tunic with red piping and red pants tucked into matching red boots. Top it all off with a red domino mask and his own mop of curly red hair, he looked much like a combination between the original Kid Flash from the comics and the current leather-clad one on TV. A fact I’ve pointed out to him more than once.
“Cameron,” I said in a long-suffering voice. “Wildfyre. Haven’t I asked you at least a million times not to interrupt me when I’m making log entries? And you know the rule; we don’t call one another by our real names when we’re in costume. You’re putting our loved ones at risk.”
“What loved ones? What risk? When was the last time we did anything other than stand up on this rooftop like a couple of morons in their skintight suits telling lies to one another?”
“We stopped that mugger a few weeks ago,” I said, lamely. “And we work in the soup kitchen every Wednesday.”
“That mugger was a panhandler begging for loose change,” Wildfyre snapped. “And dishing up bowls of chicken noodle is not my idea of fighting crime.”
“We just need to be vigilant.” I said, trying to convince myself. “Sooner or later, our time will come. What we need is a purpose, a calling. What we need is a Nemesis.”
“A nemesis? You mean like Lex Luthor or the Joker?” Wildfyre got some kind of alert on his phone and pulled it out of his utility belt to look at it. “We can barely hold our own against a down on his luck alkie with brain rot and you want to go looking for a super villain? Give me a fuckin’ break, Doug.”
“I will not warn you again about the profanity,” I said sternly in a voice that sounded eerily like my mother. “And please do not refer to me by my secret identity.”
I waited impatiently for a response while he focused on his phone. “Wildfyre?”
He had least had the decency to look chagrined as he said, “Sorry Doug-uh, I mean, Avatar,” but it didn’t last. Brandishing his phone in my face, he said, “But have you seen what’s going on in New Orleans? It’s amazing!”
“You know what I think is amazing, Wildfyre? That you’re spending your time watching YouTube videos when you’re supposed to be keeping an eye on this city and its citizens.”
“But you gotta see this Doug,” he pleaded, sticking the phone right into my face. “There are monsters in New Orleans, man. Fuckin’ monsters!”
“Hey! Language, dude,” I barked, snatching the phone from his hand. “I told you, we don’t use that kind of language when we’re in – costume.” By this point my eyes had finally focused on the video in front of me. It was shot somewhere in the French Quarter, apparently; Bourbon Street or somewhere close to it, given the number of Mardi Gras beads everyone was wearing. But verifying the location wasn’t really on my mind just then; I was too busy looking at the hideous Lizard-Man centered in the frame. Standing at least seven or eight feet high, the creature wore what looked like leather armor and chain mail and carried a huge sword he was currently using as a street sweeper to clear the area around him. Fuck.
Hey, I didn’t say I don’t curse. I just don’t curse in costume. Out loud.
“You see, Doug?” it’s those same things they were talking about yesterday from that oil rig. Only this time there’s more of ‘em and there’s pictures!”
13 Responses to ‘NEMESIS: a Dave Vs the Monsters Story, by Don Goodrum’
Just did a really fascinating interview with a project manager. (Surprisingly enough, on commission for a feature in Project Manager magazine). It was fascinating because although this guy came out of the Navy and into mining and marine engineering, almost everything he said was directly applicable to managing a writing career, especially juggling a couple of different projects such as books, columns etc. For once, I'm actually looking forward to transcribing the interview.
15 Responses to ‘Project management and the arts’
I've been following two new shows on Netflix the last couple of weeks. Travelers and Van Helsing. Travelers is the smarter of the two, with a stronger cast and deeper script. It also seems to have more money, given it's clear advantage in production values. But I still enjoy both.
Spoilers follow. (Although mostly conceptual rather than narrative).
Travelers is a simple premise, a reworked cliche of people coming back from the future to prevent bad shit happening. That could be tedious in unskilled hands but it pays off with interest here if you're willing to ignore a couple of difficulties.
The tweak in Travelers is the way they move backwards. Unlike Smith and Cady they don't just conveniently jump into an era. Instead only the conscious mind can travel, and it can only insert itself into the mind/body of another human being, completely overwriting the personality, memories, and life of the previous occupant. For this reason the travelers take over the bodies of people about to die.
The pilot provides a series of WTF mystery moments as this process repeats itself again and again until you figure out what's happening. Things have gone horribly wrong in the far future and it seems all of the dwindling resources of mankind have been devoted to the Traveler program, to sending not just individuals back in time, but whole teams to carry out missions which will change the future and presumably Grandfather Paradox away all the bad mojo.
It could just devolve into a mission of the week series, but it doesn't. One of things that's hooked me is the prosaic difficulties the travelers have taking over the lives of people from hundreds of years in their past. Much of the drama comes not from the purely kinetic adventures, but from the lies they're forced to live and the compromises demanded of them.
It's great. Give it a look.
Van Helsing is different again. Based on a graphic novel it's more gloriously B-Movie inspired, although not as batshit B-grade as, say, Z Nation. A volcanic eruption which blots out the sun allows vampires to come out of the shadows and establish themselves at the top of the food chain. This could set up a standard Walking Dead rip off, except for the eponymous female lead: Vanessa Helsing, a woman bitten and killed in the early moments of the vampire uprising, but one who doesn't turn because of a pre-existing blood disease. Instead she becomes a sort of Buffy/Typhoid Mary imbued with vampire-killing physical skills and, more importantly, blood which is toxic to the biters. It turns them back into humans.
The first couple of eps are a bit wobbly, the acting a little wooden and even splintery, but by about six episodes in, the writers and actors have settled into their roles and it all accelerates nicely. It helps to remember that the source material is a graphic novel and that you should suspend your disbelief just that little bit harder.
But again, it's great escapist fun and well worth bingeing a couple of eps to get into.
12 Responses to ‘Travelers and Van Helsing. (Spoilers)’
I didn't want to build a website. When I decided to test the waters with a subscriber-only column I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
That idea crashed and burned on the laser turret defences of a couple of corporate firewalls and Gmail's aggresive spam filtering. Apparently too many clusterfuckturduckens in one email means I'm selling time shares in Nigeria.
So, I built an archive. Or rather, Dan did.
Any ASB subscribers can check out all the back issues at aliensideboob.com
Including today's transcript of how that phone call would have gone if Paul Keating had been PM.
17 Responses to ‘Alien Side Boob archive now open to subscribers’
Been a while since we've done one of these check-ins. I've been following Murph's swimming routine, and Jennicki's general awesomeness over on the Book of Face, and every now and then I run into a lean and hungry looking MonsterYuppy on the streets of New Farm. So some of you are fighting the good fight.
Myself, I'm about four kgs overweight and looking to cut that down this year. I had a very heavy publishing schedule last year, getting the ebook business up and running, which meant that I didn't get myself up and running, or lifting weights or doing much of anything that I should have been.
The saving grace? I wasn't drinking last year either, and now that I'm back on the booze, I'm keeping it moderate. I did wonder if that'd be impossible but it turns out that not drinking for a year teaches you how to keep a rein on your thirst.
I've also been grading for my brown belt which has recently meant a lot of ground work and hours and hours of throws. I wish I could wear a fitness tracker onto the mat, but that's verboten so I just have to guestimate the calorie burn. Heaps seems about right. We hit it so hard last Saturday that I couldn't really sleep that night. My body was shaking and aching too much. I felt every one of my 103 years.
Now the kids are back at school I'll revert to my usual routine of going to the gym at lunchtime 2-3 days a week in addition to the jujitsu training. Hopefully, with some chicken salads that'll get me back to my fighting weight by winter.