|Cover Art/Design: Bobby Nash and Jeff Austin|
New Pulp Author Bobby Nash’s newest BEN Books release, FRONTIER, a collection of pulpy sci fi and space opera themed stories is now available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook. It is also as a paperback from BEN Books direct, which can be found here. Paperbacks will be available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble within a week.
Frontier collects 9 sci fi short stories from Bobby Nash, author of Earthstrike Agenda, Evil Ways, and Deadly Games! Some of the rare tales presented in Frontier are reprints and others are in print there for the first time. The stories that make up Frontier happen on Earth, on alien planets, and in the deepest recesses of space. There’s action, adventure, horror, and even a little romance.
Stories included in Frontier:
In deepest space, a research vessel rescues a survivor who asks to be returned home. The catch: her planet lies at the center of a black hole.
Nathanial “Doc” Dresden wakes up in space, free floating above the moon. But he is not alone.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE MONSTERS GONE?
Nathanial “Doc” Dresden and his team investigate bizarre happenings.
A meteor storm damages Midway station, a museum storage facility and frees an ancient creature from its icy tomb.
JUST ANOTHER SATURDAY ON OUTPOST 9
When war breaks out between neighboring worlds, the Outpost 9 space station is caught in the crossfire. Dr. Erin Moonshadow tries to save lives as chaos reigns around her.
War. Ground troops are dispatched. Dropped from their starship, the troop transport is attacked and one of the soldiers is lost. Then things get strange.
NIGHTMARE IN AMBER
Are a young man’s dreams of an interstellar war a product of his imagination or a prophecy of things to come?
A survey crew discovers a veritable Garden of Eden. Is this paradise or is there a serpent in hiding, waiting to strike?
A JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY
A one-page story that was doubled as an advertisement for a convention where Bobby was a guest. A fun experiment.
Illustrations in Frontier are by Bobby Nash and Jeff Austin.
The author shares the contents of the book as well as an essay on the making of the book on his website. You can read Bobby’s thoughts on Frontier here.
Get your free Frontier ebook AuthorGraph here.
|Lee Houston Jr.|
From Elsewhere In The Multiverse:
If you yearn for the Silver Age, when heroes and villains were easily defined, Project: Alpha is for you. If you miss the old-school space operas where dashing men and beautiful women had two-fisted adventures on strange planets, Project: Alpha is for you. Lee Houston Jr.’s second series character (The first, Hugh Monn, is a hardboiled detective who plies his trade on a distant planet) is a super-hero/sci-fi mash up that will be a delight for those who want a gentler, less dark adventure for their heroes. I sat down with Lee to talk about the series, writing and how the face of mainstream comics has changed since we both were younger.
Read the full interview here.
Up next on Elsewhere In The Multiverse is Jeff Deischer.
|Cover Art: Bobby Nash and Jeff Austin|
Bobby Nash’s Frontier will be available as a paperback and in multiple ebook formats.
I was listening to NPR the other day – I think it was Leonard Lopate’s show – and the guest was television critic Alan Sepinwall, who used to write for New Jersey’s Star-Ledger and now has a regular column discussing television on Hitfix.com. Mr. Sepinwall is the author of the just published The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers And Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever, in which he hypothesizes that the same old same-old television drama in which the hero wears a white hat, the bad guy is in black, and truth, justice, and the American way prevails by the end of an episode, with all elements of the plot neatly wrapped up with a bow and placed under the Christmas tree (or Hanukah menorah) and with no messy, lingering thoughts to bother the viewer – is dead, gone the way of the dodo bird.
I found the conversation extremely interesting, especially as the shows Mr. Sepinwall believes are responsible for the new landscape of television drama are those usually associated with the word cult.
Cult, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, has several meanings, but in this case the one that applies is: a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad; (b) the object of such devotion; (c) a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion.
As in “the cult cop show The Shield.” Or “the cult science fiction show Battlestar Galactica.” Or “the cult teenage horror-fantasy show Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” Or “the cult late 1950s – early 1960s drama Mad Men.”
I think this usually means that the person describing these shows really thinks “I haven’t seen it, but my colleague/competitor is raving about it, so I’d better get on the bandwagon so I can sound just as cool and auteur as he/she does.” It can also mean “everybody is talking about it in the office, and I don’t want to sound like I don’t know what they’re talking about, so I’ll just go along with whatever they’re saying.” Or it can mean “I tried watching it, and I just don’t get it, but my wife/kids/best friend/boss loves it, so I better pretend like I do.”
It also usually means that the shows don’t have the greatest ratings, but the network executives love the prestige and the publicity and being thought of as brilliant by the television critics who rave about the shows. (Hey, who doesn’t love an ego boost?)
These are the shows that Mr. Sepinwall believes ushered in a new “golden age” of television drama:
Oz (HBO, 1997 – 2003)
The Sopranos (HBO, 1999 – 2007)
The Wire (HBO, 2002 – 2008)
Deadwood (HBO, 2004 – 2006)
The Shield (FX, 2002 – 2008)
Lost (ABC, 2004 – 2010)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (The WB, 1997 – 2003)
24 (Fox, 2001 – 2010)
Battlestar Galactica (Sci-Fi Channel, 2004 – 2009)
Friday Night Lights (NBC, 2006 – 2011)
Mad Men (AMC, 2007 – Present)
Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008 – Present)
Mr. Sepinwall also gives note to those shows he believes were the “building blocks” of this new millennial golden age of television:
Hill Street Blues (NBC, 1981 -1987)
St. Elsewhere (NBC, 1982 – 1988)
Cheers (NBC, 1982 – 1993)
Miami Vice (NBC, 1984 – 1989)
Wiseguy (CBS, 1987 – 1990)
Twin Peaks (ABC, 1990 – 1991)
Homicide: Life On The Street (NBC, 1993 – 1999)
NYPD Blue (ABC, 1993 – 2005)
The X-Files (Fox, 1993 – 2002)
ER (NBC, 1994 – 2009)
I never considered Cheers or ER or even The Sopranos cult hits. But reading the book, I understood why Mr. Sepinwall included them – all of the shows took chances, whether it was in the scripts or in the use of the production values such as camera work or even simple casting. I also found, as I read the book, that it was really not so surprising that so many of the people involved both behind and in front of the camera have intertwined histories, or that at one point or another in their careers they believed themselves to be “hamstrung” by the parameters of the shows with which they were involved, whether through executive interference or through mythology.
Ron Moore described the mythos of Star Trek as a “fly stuck in amber.” Bottom line, every single one of them, whether network executive or producer or writer or actor, had a desire, an eagerness, a need to break barriers. Sometimes it was because, as in the case of the WB and Buffy, a “what the hell, what have we got to lose?” attitude, as a network tried to establish itself as a viable competitor to the “Big Three” and cable. And sometimes it was because one executive believed in the vision of one writer, as in the case of Bonnie Hammer and Ron Moore.
If you’re a cultist like me (also known as a nerd or a geek), I recommend you read this book.
• • • • •
On a personal note… The Newells have been participants in an honest-to-God miracle.
My father suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve that progressed to continuous seizure activity. After four days in the hospital, with nothing left to do, we brought him home to die surrounded by the family he loved him.
On New Year’s Eve, he woke up.
He has no memory of that week. He has residual left side weakness, but he is getting stronger every day with the help of physical and occupational therapy. And he has the appetite of an elephant. Yesterday all he wanted was a pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard, which he ate vigorously.
He’s not out of the woods yet, but he’s got his throttle all the way open, and his nose up in the air and he’s pushing the envelope, chasing the demons that live in the sky.
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis
When the ship comes upon a seeming graveyard of spaceships and spaceship parts the crew is understandably curious and excited. For the first time they have evidence of life on other worlds. Sadly, as they are about to find out, it’s better off not answering certain questions, at least not at this time.
This is a VERY well written space adventure, and within its forty plus pages an entire story is told, and nothing is left wanting. I really liked this one a lot, even more than I expected too. It held my interest and the pace which started out slow built to a frenetic crescendo at the tales end. This is as much a horror story as it is Sci-fi, in the vein of ‘Alien’.
But therein lies the problem with this tale, to me at least. The end, while excellently and professionally written, felt a little too expected for me. The big surprise was pretty much what I expected to happen.
Gerry Anderson, creator of Thunderbirds, Space: 1999, Supercar, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe 90, UFO, Fireball XL5, Stingray, and many other science fiction and fantasy shows, has died at the age of 83.
Gerry was best know for his “Supermarionation” series, featuring detailed marionettes and a science-fiction based storyline. His ex-wife Sylvia collaborated frequently with him, most famously voicing Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward in Thunderbirds. The shows were a first step for many well-known actors and creators, including Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny in the early James Bond films), character actors Shane Rimmer and Jaremy Wilkin (Blake’s 7) and special effects master Derek Meddings (Star Wars and the James Bond franchise). He made successful forays into live action as well, with the series Space: 1999 and UFO, and the feature film Journey to the Far Side of the Sun.
Gerry suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease for several years, and spent much of his time as a celebrity ambassador for The Alzheimer’s Society, raising both funds and awareness for the disease. His condition worsened in the past six months, which limited his ability to both work for the organization, and to serve as consultant on a Hollywood remake of UFO.
Gerry’s son Jamie has requested, in lieu of other remembrances, that people donate to The Alzheimer’s Society via Just Giving. Our condolences to his family and friends.
Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode,The Snowmen.
Humanity’s natural response to the order “no” is “why?” Put up a sign marked “wet paint”, and count all the people who touch what it’s hanging on. And if you bury the devil, it’s a poor idea to put him on…
THE IMPOSSIBLE PLANET / THE SATAN PIT
by Matt Jones
Directed by James Strong
The Doctor and Rose land on a space base orbiting around a black hole (this is of course impossible), filled with writing so old the TARDIS can’t translate it (this is of course impossible). The crew of the base explain that there’s an ancient power source at the core of the planet so strong it’s not only holding the planet in place, but generating a safe path to and from the planet (this is of course impossible). After a bit of investigation, it’s discovered that a being who claims to be The Devil (The definite article, you might say) is imprisoned at the core, and this mad geostationary contraption is its eternal prison (this is of course, even if the other stuff was possible, which it isn’t, impossible).
The beast cannot escape his prison, but his mind can, and successfully takes over one of the crew, as well as its stock of alien slaves, the Ood. While The Doctor spelunks down to the cavern in the planet’s core, Rose and the crew fight the now quite violent Ood in the station. The Doctor is left with a terrible choice – destroy the beast’s prison and doom Rose, or let her and the crew escape, along with the beast’s mind.
A very moody episode, with a well-designed set that allowed for lots of corridor runs and corner turns. The Doctor even comments at the beginning that a lot of these bases look the same, and are made from kits. It’s got a very haunted house feel, which is basically what the classic sci-fi film Alien is, as are all tributes to it. The Doctor gets a number of very nice speeches about how amazing humans are, boldly rushing in where angels fear to tread, and wanting to do things solely because they’ve not been done yet. It’s a recurring idea for the Doctor, interspersed occasionally with his comments about how blind and small-minded they are. We’re clearly his favorite race, and not simply because humans are cheaper to portray in a TV show.
It’s the premiere of another new recurring alien, the Ood. They return a few time over the course of the new series, including a much more Ood-centric story in the Donna Noble season. The Ood are played as an unintelligent hive-minded race here, a “perfect slave race” as they’re described, and there’s simply no time for the story to address that. Rose makes a passing comment about it, but it’s quickly waved off, especially after they went all red-eyed and scary, and could be classified as a threat. It’s not until the next Ood story do we get a real idea of their situation, and a more proper addressing of their status as slaves.
An Ood appeared in Neil Gaiman’s story The Doctor’s Wife, mainly because they didn’t have money in the budget to make a new alien.
While The Doctor had never met the devil himself before, he’s come close. The Demoniacs, Sutekh, and other races were believed to have interacted with humanity in the past and give it the idea of devils. Tom Baker was supposed to have fought the devil, in the guise of Scratchman, in a film written by Baker and Ian Marter titled Doctor Who meets Scratchman. It had a mad throw-everything-at-it plot, but never got past the talking stage.
- A Doctor a Day – “Dalek” (comicmix.com)