But they will this year.
I've been waiting a long time to see these come into existence.
Also, they will be putting out some cherry-picked novelizations from the new series, which started in 2005.
Well, here we are.
I have no specific books listed for my 2021 reading. I do have some general goals of areas I want to cover.
First, I've been scrambling for so long, trying to catch up on things I've missed and new books releasing, that I hardly ever allow myself to re-read books. But that's silly. If a book is a favorite, no reason I shouldn't enjoy it. I've made a short list of favorites to re-read. I think I'll choose the audiobook route for those, just to be different.
I've really come to enjoy New Pulp. In addition to playing catch-up, via Derrick Ferguson's 100 New Pulp Book To Get You Started (no, I don't intend to read all 100 .. but I'd like to read a good sampling of the list,) I'd really like to keep up with New Pulp releases this year, so I can suggest informed nominations for the New Pulp Factory awards at year-end.
Speaking of reading, I have favorite writers who still have many titles I haven't read. First up, Glen Cook. And Fred Saberhagen. And Les Daniels series of vampire novels (there were 5, the first, The Black Castle, was great.)
More Sherlock Holmes, Solar Pons, and Tarzan. Continuing with the originals, of course, but I'm not ruling out pastiches, either. That will include the ERB Universe, too, as it rolls out.
And I want to ramp up on superheroes. I have a huge backlog of graphic novels I picked up on the cheap. And, superhero prose, too. Why? Reasons. Reasons that you will hopefully hear more about this year.
As to reviews; I'm of two minds. Sometimes I'm tired of feeling obligated to review everything. I used to read for the joy of it. I still do. But I never had to concern myself with reviews when I was done.
But, as a writer, I know what reviews mean to authors. So, my balance will be (continue to be) to review stuff I like. I'm not interested in negative reviewing. Secondly, expect short reviews. I don't think long-winded reviews posted to Amazon or goodreads really help. Long reviews should be reserved for blogs and articles. I've been gearing more toward short reviews that I can cut'n'paste and drop into goodreads and Amazon. The blog might have a few more statements around the core review, but don't expect more than that.
Writing. As of now, there are three short stories expected to see light of day this year. (We all know that can change.) I have no other short stories out in the aether right now.
There are a few open calls I am interested in. But, honestly, right now, I don't even have ideas that fit. We'll see if anything happens before the submission windows close. I had a low publishing output last year, so part of me wants to put stories out there. But, my main 2021 writing goal is to write the sequel to the novel I completed last year. If I'm not distracted by open calls and other opportunities that will dilute my focus, I won't mind.
Evan Portin is at a sad, scary place in his life. While taking a long walk to compose himself and figure out where to go from here, he encounters a young woman being mugged in a park.
When he tries to intervene, he discovers that she doesn't need his help. At all.
Her name is Harriett. She is very, very good at defending herself. Everything she owns is in a large backpack. She's never seen a cell phone. She's never been in a car. She's never really ventured into the outside world.
And she says she's traveling across the country to slay a Cyclops.
She's crazy, right? Evan is not in the habit of hanging out with delusional women he's just met. On the other hand, it can't hurt to offer her a ride out of town. And maybe this insane journey is exactly what he needs...
Strand is known for his horror comedy, and his straight-up horror. This novel is neither of those. It's a modern fantasy tale. It's a road movie in book form, with a cast of zany characters and bizarre situations.
Like the protagonist, Evan Portin, the reader is pulled along. Anticipation of "what could possibly happen next?!" kept me reading. And, of course, like Evan, seeing it through to the end just to know if there really is a cyclops roaming Arizona.
For me, the tale read like an A. Lee Martinez novel, and that is a compliment. It was a fun read I enjoyed immensely.
I don't want to end this year's blog on a rant. I'm not sure what else I might post before 2021.
So, just in case - have a great holiday season.
I can't promise I'll post more frequently or anything. But you never know.
(this was so long, I decided it was better as a blog post than a Facebook status update)
TL;DR – stupid decisions are stupid, First World Problem
|(Not actual gate)|
I’ve been getting allergy immunization shots since January. Shots did not require appointments. There were windows of time during the week when you could go--first come, first serve.
The clinic is located adjacent to the hospital. The parking lots are loosely connected. The hospital has a pay parking garage. The clinic parking, though it is a simple lot, was also pay. I assumed it was to help the garage loans and to discourage patients from parking for free and walking over to the hospital (if ambulatory enough.)
The system at the clinic had been a security guard in the booth, issuing tickets and taking money on exit. Once COVID appeared in March, there was a guard in mask for a couple of weeks. Then the clinic closed for shots.
I started up again in October. No more guard. Gates open.
Shots now by appointment. Super convenient for me because I work-from-home for the pandemic and I’m right in town. I pop over and pop back.
A month ago, the shack and gates went away. Open parking!
Then the islands went in.
Then the new-fangled automated gates went in.
And that’s when it all went to shit.
These kiosks are terribly designed. They’re awful.
Same units on enter and exit.
On enter, there is what appears to be a button. It’s round. It’s large. But, no, you don’t press it. It doesn’t press. It’s a laser, and you need to wave your hand in front of it to dispense the parking receipt.
Yes. A receipt. Like from a register. No, it is not a ticket or cardboard or heavy paper. Flimsy, barcoded receipt.
And did I mention the slot where the receipt prints out? The slot *way down at the bottom* that was clearly designed with Lamborghinis in mind?
You know what happens on entrance, now, right? The cars line up and the line barely moves because no one can figure out how to get their ticket, and when they do, most people need to climb out of their car to retrieve it.
Join me, won’t you? Over on the exit side now.
Yes. That *is* quite the line of cars, all backed up.
Grab your flimsy receipt.
(Oh, of course, you’re supposed to pay inside at the automated station or get your slip validated with a bar code sticker … you did that, right?)
No. No. Of course, you don’t hold your slip barcode up to the laser ‘button’ you used on the way in. Why, it’s clearly not wide enough to scan code. No, use the big scan window at the bottom where the *other* reader is. What’s that? It doesn’t have a big sign and arrow that reads “SCAN HERE” ? Well, maybe not. But on the screen above, it instructs “scan below” with absolutely no highlighting of the words so they will be readily noticed.
Shall we amp up the frustration? Let’s throw in hospital patients. You know, from all walks of life. Maybe some who aren’t familiar with written English yet. Let’s not forget senior citizens who get flummoxed at the slightest whiff of technology.
Why yes. I did get line line behind *two* cars the other day, each of which had to back out of the line because they couldn’t get the gate to open.
Did I mention to “call before you enter” stuff? See, now when you get to the hospital, you’re supposed to call from your car, answer COVID screening questions, and then they’ll call you to come in.
Did I also mention that they have an online pre-screen where you can answer all the questions before you leave home and it doesn’t matter because you still need to call and answer all the questions again, anyway?
Did I mention that new number is for the entire hospital and clinic? Yes, I can’t call the Allergy desk. I need to call the central hub, and when I’m done being on hold, especially on mornings just chock full of appointments, then I get put through to allergy. If they don’t hang up by accident.
That was fine. Until a month ago, when the simple message had a full minute preamble added to it about coming alone, no help unless you really need it, don’t come if you have COVID symptoms, etc.
Literally a one-minute message …. I need to sit through … every time I go.
I could literally drive over, get my shot, and be home in forty minutes, tops. (need to wait 30 minutes after the shot … if we don’t count that, literally, the task should take under ten minutes.)
Now, I need to add “traffic jam at the entrance” time, 5+ minutes of phone time in the parking lot, and “traffic jam on exit” time, to my personal scheduling.
Why? Why would you do this during the pandemic? Why not wait until next year?
The Writing Life: Reflections, Recollections, and a Lot of Cursing by Jeff Strand
Jeff Strand's journey through his life as a writer is full of anecdotes. New writers would be well served to read this book and watch for the pitfalls, and learn when to recognize your successes (they don't always show up in bright lights.)
You need not be a horror reader or writer to like this book. It is enjoyable throughout.
Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc., if you haven't heard, undertook the launch of two big projects this year.
First off, they are committing to a full collectible hardcover reprint line of *all* of ERB's original books, all with new commissioned cover art by Joe Jusko. I believe the total will be *84* books by the time they are done.
They've started with the TARZAN series.
That takes care of the past, but what about the future?
The future lies within the EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS UNIVERSE. New tales, new characters, old characters, and more.
Author Christopher Paul Carey joined the ERB Inc team, and is the creative director of the project. After some years of sporadic pastiche releases, ERB Inc now has a definitive vision of bringing the ERB canon into the 21st century. (Books which might be non-canon, are lumped under the WILD ADVENTURES OF EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS banner.)
Which brings us to the recent reads. CARSON OF VENUS: THE EDGE OF ALL WORLDS by Matt Betts and TARZAN: BATTLE FOR PELLUCIDAR by Win Scott Eckert are the first two novels in the "Swords of Eternity" super-arc.
I will confess upfront that I've only read the first original Carson novel, and the character didn't stick with me as much as Tarzan or John Carter. All the same, Betts delivers a good story that touches on of the Venus (Amtor) trappings. Betts wisely sets a up a central mystery that pulls the reader along with the headlong sword-&-planet action.
Win Scott Eckert's TARZAN: BATTLE FOR PELLUCIDAR is everything you could want. A new tale with an old friend. New characters. Dinosaurs, hollow Earth, monsters, and mysteries. Perhaps it was the various character reunions, but this story felt like an even stronger launch into the framework of the new ERB Universe. The best way I can describe it is that the tale is true to the ERB characters but with a new tone. That makes sense--only ERB wrote like ERB. I felt like this was akin to reading, say, a John Gardner James Bond novel after reading the original Ian Fleming novels. (that is *not* a negative criticism. I've enjoyed the few Gardner 007 stories I've read.)
I am looking forward to more ERB Universe stories.