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When the Screen got it Right

  This is my list of what I consider to be the best adaptations of science fiction/fantasy books to screen. These are in no particular order because if I tried to rank them, my rankings would change with my moods or what I had last seen or other unimportant motivators. Also, this is my list. It is not your list. Your list is going to be different than mine, and that’s okay. This is not a list of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy films (though some of them are on this list). It is not a list of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy books that have been made into films. This list is all about how good the adaptation was. As excellent as it is, you won’t find 2001: A Space Odyssey on the list because the film and the book were a joint project. The film was not an adaptation of the book. In order for it to be on my list I had to have both read the book and seen the movie or series. So, much as I loved the movie The Martian , I can’t put it on my list because I haven’t read Andy Weir’s book (note to self: re
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Getting Started

  Writing can change the world, but it is not easy. The hardest part of writing (for me) is getting started. So many times, I have tried to get motivated to write and the mojo just isn’t flowing. Or, I will have an idea, but be uncertain what to do with it. Do I proceed down path A, or path B, or path C? Or is there another even better path that I haven’t considered yet? There is a certain amount of fear of wasting my time, writing 10,000 words that wind up not going anywhere. Writer’s block is not always about difficulty in coming up with ideas. Sometimes it is about what to do with those ideas. The thing is, once I get started, I usually can keep the fingers flying. It is just getting over that initial hurdle that’s the problem. I know this about myself. You would think that would make it easy to push through the uncertainty blockage, and just launch into my next project. But no. Knowing about it does not make it easier. It’s not just me. Many writers have this problem or some va

Cute Fuzzies

  What is the best designed animal? Obviously not a legitimate question because one could argue that all species are well designed for the life and habitat where they live. It is also entirely subjective. So, in my entirely subjective and unscientific assessment, I am going to cast my vote for the otter as the best designed animal. Just look at the way they move. They are like self-powered slinkies. They are comfortable on land or water. Cold does not bother them. They are sleek and streamlined. I mean come on. They are just darn cute. You might think that the soft furry otters would be easy prey for large predators, but they are so well adapted for swimming that if they are near a body of water they can often escape. And they are not faint-hearted. I recently saw a nature program where a group of four otters scared off a large tiger from their watering hole. I think my affection for otters started with a Disney nature program I saw as a kid. Otters were playing and sliding down sn

That Moment when Everything Changed

  Have you ever had one of those moments when you are going along with your life and suddenly something happens that throws your life into reverse? Sure you have. Everybody has. You lose your job, or you get a bad medical diagnosis, or the unexpected death of a family member. You go from everything is fine, to everything seems broken. Books, movies, plays and songs are written about just such events. Young Hamlet must have been having a great life, he was the prince and would one day become king. He was living the college life away in foreign country. He was on top of the world. But then he gets news that his father is dead. By the time he makes it back home to Elsinore, his uncle has married his mother and has been named king. What a turn of events. Then his father’s ghost tells him that the uncle killed him. It’s enough to drive one mad, or to drive one to pretend to be mad. Sometimes the event that changes our world is a collective one. Everyone who was alive in 1963 knows what


  I have discovered that I have become obsessed with a Finnish metal band. If you don’t have the patience to listen to a middle age man gush about a rock band, then you had better move on, because that is the kind of blog this is going to be. First, I should state that there are many different flavors of metal music. Alternative metal, death metal, funk metal, black metal, Christian metal and more. The band that I am talking about is Nightwish, and they fall under the heading of “symphonic metal.” Most of the songs are written by the leader and keyboard player, Tuomas Holopainen who has proven himself a masterful composer. Whether he wants to take you on a rocket ride or plumb the depth of his soul, you will feel it. It doesn’t hurt that they often have the London Philharmonic Orchestra backing them up. Nightwish can rock out with the best of them or they can play beautiful lyrical productions that sound like they belong in a movie score. The band was started in 1996. That is a lon

The Rejection Letter

  I have had my share of rejection. Anyone who wants to pursue writing will become well acquainted with it. It is part of the game. You don’t let it get to you, or you will give up; one or the other. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling was rejected twelve times before a publisher finally accepted it. What if she had given up after eleven tries? I have a couple of novels that I tried and tried and tried to get published with no luck. But then I had one that was accepted on the first try. Was it better than the other two? I don’t think so. It’s a mystery. Either way, you learn to make rejection, if not a friend, at least something to be tolerated. Some authors get creative with their rejection letters. I heard of one who built a waste basket out of theirs. Now that’s creativity for you. A writer can take rejection very personally. If I get rejected, I need to remember that it is not me they are rejecting. It is not even my writing they are rejecting. It is only one sample of my writing that

Chronological Obsolescence

  You can’t get much more futuristic dystopian than the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. It practically invented the subgenre of dystopian science fiction.   It was written in the 1940’s when the year 1984 seemed like a long way off.  I was thinking about it the other day and realizing that the year 1984 was 37 years ago. A good chunk of the population of the world wasn’t even born yet when this “futuristic” novel was set. How are we supposed to feel about a book or a film that is set in a future that has already passed? Nineteen Eighty-Four is not alone in this quandary.  Back to the Future II (the one that is really set in the future) is set in 2015. The novel Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison which became the movie Soylent Green , was set in 1999. The film Blade Runner is set in 2019. Ray Bradbury’s the Martian Chronicles (in the original printing) was set over a range of years from 1999 to 2026. At least Aldous Huxley set his Brave New World far enough in the f