Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Old Doctor Who is New Who, and vice versa

RE: new Dr Who TARGET Books
For those who don't know, many of the original Doctor Who stories' tapes were purged by the BBC, resulting in many lost episodes of the Hartnell-Troughton eras (1st & 2nd Doctor - and one episode of the 3rd--but that's another story.)
One of my first collector bugs was acquiring all the TARGET novelizations of those adventures. While I was at it--being a Dalek (and Cybermen fan)--I also grabbed all Cybermen and Dalek stories in the TARGET novelizations line, regardless of Doctor incarnation.
But a few were never novelized during the original TARGET run. Two came out via Virgin books later: POWER OF THE DALEKS and EVIL OF THE DALEKS.

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.

Between these books, and animated reconstructions of lost episodes, and the audio dramas Big Finish are doing with past Doctors (including, now, Christopher Eccleston signed on as the Ninth) it's still an awesome time to be a Whovian. (even if I'm not happy with the current broadcasting series.)

Saturday, January 2, 2021

readin', writin', and reviewin'


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.

Friday, January 1, 2021

recent read; CYCLOPS ROAD


Cyclops Road by Jeff Strand

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.