Jack Sparrow Shall Return

The name of the next Pirates of the Caribbean flick (with Johnny Depp returning as Sparrow) has been released:

piratesWait, what…?

On Stranger Tides? Isn’t there already a pirate fantasy of that name, as in the one called On Stranger Tides that I blogged about in my 1/8/09 entry “A Few Great Books“:

On Stranger Tides
by Tim Powers
Years before Jack Sparrow staggered into port on a sinking skiff, Tim Powers gave us the gift of a rousing swashbuckler of a pirate novel spiced with voodoo, zombies, and a Blackbeard infested with ghosts. This book has the distinction of being the one book on my shelf for years that I consciously planned to read to my kid when I eventually had one. And I did.

Anyone out there know if they’re adapting Powers’s book to the PotC milieu, or if they’re only just stealing his title…?


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Solomon Kane Trailer

Among the great pulp heroes created by Robert E. Howard, author of the only true Conan tales, was puritan swordsman against darkness Solomon Kane.

The complete tales are currently available in this beautiful Del Rey book:


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For the roleplaying games fans among you, one of the absolute greatest RPGs in years is this Savage Worlds gamebook by Shane Hensley:

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And this trailer for the upcoming cinematic adaptation looks very promising.

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Doc Wilde Review: “Everything I thought it would be, and more…”

As promised earlier in the week, here is the second Amazon reader’s review of my novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom I really wanted to share with you.

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5.0 out of 5 stars It was everything I thought it would be, and more…………, June 7, 2009
By Kelly C. Trogdon “KellyCochranDVM” (Atlanta, GA) –

I bought the book for two reasons: to support a local author, and to give my child something fun to read. I had no preconceived idea of the book, or its plot or style. Imagine my surprise when I read it AND LOVED IT !!

I grew up reading fantasy books like THE DARK IS RISING series by Susan Cooper. I wanted my 10 year old daughter to have the same sort of experience. To be completely immersed in the story, and carried along by it. She read it all in one day, and only put it down to participate in required activities. I, on the other hand, read it very slowly, to enjoy it, and to understand the nuances. It stood up very well to both tests!!

I am an avid reader but often find myself reading books and criticizing either a plot turn as predictable, or character development as being lacking, or worse yet sometimes the language usage or vocabulary is repetitive.
But in this case, I cared about these characters! Since my degree is in science, and I have a doctorate, I was pleased that an author could write such a plausible work of fiction about frogs as the “enemy” and include so much detail about the Wilde family’s curious inventions. Willing suspension of disbelief aside, I fell for it all: hook, line, and sinker !! Even gasped out loud at the two BIG plot twists !!

My only complaint is that I wanted to find out what happens next in the series… and that’s what Doc prescribed, right? keep ’em wanting MORE!!

9 Songs: Who Knew That Sex Is Dreary and Boring? (Review)

Matt, a young glaciologist, soars across the vast, silent, icebound immensities of the South Pole as he recalls his love affair with Lisa. They meet at a mobbed rock concert in a vast music hall – London’s Brixton Academy. They are in bed at night’s end. Together, over a period of several months, they pursue a mutual sexual passion whose stages unfold in counterpoint to nine live-concert songs.

That’s the capsule description of Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs. If it sounds interesting, trust me, it isn’t.

There are apparently two selling points for this film. The secondary one is that it has “exclusive” live performances of nine songs by various artists including The Von Bondies and The Dandy Warhols. These performances, however, are shot with artless camera work and bad sound, and are worse than many amateur bootleg concert videos you can find on YouTube.

The primary selling point is that in this movie, the actors playing the young couple in love actually have sex. And it’s shown in graphic detail. Quite graphic at times. Which means, I suppose, that it’s a porn flick, in spite of its indie pretensions at examining the fluctuations of a romantic/sexual relationship, but it’s a curiously passionless and unstimulating variety of porn at best.

Winterbottom’s characters are unlikeable, which is allowable, but also uninteresting, which isn’t. Watching them relate, in all ways, makes human relationships actually look off-putting.

There is little story here, and what there is is bookended around the song videos. It’s as if the writer/director had so little story he decided to use the songs as filler material. The result, at 71 minutes, is one of the subjectively longest damn movies I’ve ever seen.

Every few minutes I clicked up the onscreen display to see how much time was left. It always seemed far too much, even at only three or so minutes remaining. At one point, I realized I’d actually picked up a book and started reading without thinking about it. That has never happened to me during any movie before. It was like my brain was seeking to bandage a wound in its stimulation.

Consider yourself warned. 9 Songs, in spite of its dull sexuality (I started to write carnality, but there’s nothing truly carnal about it), is a complete bore. Watching a toaster will probably arouse you more.

I feel like my head’s been wrapped in plaster. Time to go find something to awaken my senses again, because I think they gave up on me while watching this thing.

Wrong Way Wilson and The Big Lie

After months of Republican rabble-rousing and misinformation, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-Crazytown) stepped up to the plate (with the usual batting accuracy of your modern GOP politico) during President Obama’s speech to both houses of Congress the other night and shouted “YOU LIE!!!” at the president.

Like most of the misinformation and realpolitik offered up by the Right these days, the specific information he was calling a lie (that illegal immigrants would not be eligible for free health care) is demonstrably true. It’s typed into the language of the health care bill in plain English, and should be easy to understand even for an obvious buffoon like Wilson.

In this video, Keith Olberman shows the evidence (the actual text from the bill), and points out that Wilson’s greatest sin wasn’t the awesome breach of traditional protocol that besmirched both him and his party, it was the fact that he, himself, was simply screeching a Republican lie.