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23 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Finding Dory

Finding Dory is a 2016 Pixel animated children’s adventure film sequel to the popular 2003 film Finding Nemo.  I don’t think that you necessarily need to have seen the original film to be able to watch this one and understand it, though some tie-in scenes between the two as well as established character relationships may make more sense if you are familiar with the previous one.

The characters are all fish, and the story starts in the ocean with the main characters from the previous film: the clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), his young son Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence), and their friend a blue tang fish Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres).  As Dory will tell anyone she meets, probably repeatedly, she suffers from short-term memory loss.  She tends to forget what she’s doing, who people are, what’s happening, frequently and completely, though she is capable of remembering some things sometimes, such as recognizing and trusting Marlin and Nemo.

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29 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Sneetches: The Musical

I am a lifelong Dr. Seuss fan, so I was very excited to hear that Sneetches: The Musical. In case you haven’t heard of it, “The Sneetches” is a children’s story by children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss (the pen name of Theodor Geisel), published in the collection The Sneetches and Other Stories originally published in 1953 and still available in print.

The original Sneetches story was very short, but was one of Seuss’s most memorable pieces, about two groups of birds whose only distinguishing characteristics are that one group has green stars on their bellies and the other has none. The star-belly sneetches use this cosmetic difference as a reason to justify poor treatment of the poor-belly sneetches while the star-belly sneetches exclude plain-belly sneetches from all of their social events. This inequality continues unchanged until the shyster businessman Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes to town selling the use of a machine that will put stars on bellies, and then when the original star-belly sneetches complain about the injustice of it all he offers use of another machine that will remove stars from bellies, and the sneetches all run from one machine to another until all of the sneetches are bankrupt. McBean leaves town much richer than when he came, and the sneetches actually learn a lesson from the ordeal–all treating each other as equals.

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26 April 2017 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Moana

Moana is a 2016 animated comedy/action film from Disney.

Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is the chieftan’s daughter on the island of a Polynesian island of Motunui. The tribe has lived there happily as long as they remember, living off the bounties of the island the lagoon around. The ocean has been forbidden to them for generations, since the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) stole the heart of Te Fiti, the goddess who gave life to all the islands before himself being seperated from his magical fishhook that served as both a weapon and as the aid to his magical transformative power to turn into animals of the air and sea.

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21 April 2017 ~ 0 Comments

REVIEW: Hugo Short Story Finalists

Science fiction award season is here again, and the Hugo final ballot was announced for WorldCon 75 in Helsinki Finland. Lots of familiar names and publications on the list, and I’m looking forward to reading more of their work. Note that this year marks the instatement of some new rules by those who attended the WSFS meetings at the last two WorldCons, meant to counteract the voter collusion dominating the ballot in the last few years. First, although voters could still only nominate five things for each category, there are six finalists on the ballot instead of five. Second, there is a new nomination-counting procedure in place meant to weaken the effect of large groups of people voting for the exact same ballot, a rule called E Pluribus Hugo which I have researched and understood and then completely forgotten about several times since it was first proposed a couple years ago. And the rule changes do appear to have an effect–the ballot looks different than it has the last couple of years.

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17 April 2017 ~ 0 Comments

DP Fiction #26B: “The Long Pilgrimage of Sister Judith” by Paul Starkey

When she heard the call to prayer Sister Judith knew something was wrong, even if she couldn’t immediately identify what was amiss. As she was wont to do when she was anxious, she tugged at the rosary around her neck, and it was as she did this that her mind put two and two together. […]

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07 April 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Ray Bradbury Award Review 2016

The Ray Bradbury Award is given out every year with the Nebula Awards but is not a Nebula Award in itself. Like the Nebula Awards, the final ballot and the eventual winner are decided by votes from members of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (which despite the name has an international membership).

I like to use the award every year as a sampler of well-loved science fiction and fantasy movies from the previous year. I have been very happy with this tactic, and this year is no exception. I try to watch every movie on the ballot that I can find by rental (usually via RedBox, or occasionally from Comcast On Demand) and review them all within the voting period.

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17 March 2017 ~ 1 Comment

An Apology, Regarding Sunil Patel’s Story

On March 15th, I sent a story to Diabolical Plots publishing newsletter subscribers written by Sunil Patel. The story had been purchased and contracted in August 2016, before stories about Sunil’s abusive behavior surfaced (in October). I neglected to remove the story from the schedule and it went to the inbox of 182 subscribers of the newsletter.

This was not the right choice for me to make. Diabolical Plots is here to serve the SF publishing community, and I am sorry for my lapse in judgment. I can’t unsend an email, but the story will be removed from the publishing lineup scheduled on the Diabolical Plots site (and replaced with a different story if I can work it out). If anyone wishes to provide further feedback, please feel free to email me at editor@diabolicalplots.com.

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27 February 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Long List Volume 2 Ebook on Sale!

The Long List Volume 2 ebook is on sale for only 99 cents today! Get it at that price while you can!

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26 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Well-Told Tales

written by David Steffen Well-Told Tales was a pulp fiction podcast which also produced some short films, run by Kevin Colligan and which was active from about 2007 to 2009. They ran stories in the mystery, horror, and science fiction genres. That’s… pretty much all I know because the site itself is no longer maintained […]

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27 August 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Mike Resnick on “No Heavy-Lifting Sales”

Mike_ResnickGordy Dickson told me close to half a century ago that if you were good, and prolific, and an aggressive marketer, there would come a point 25 years into your career where you received a pleasant surprise (which is to say, a reprint or foreign sale) in your mail box every week, all for writing just those two words, ‘Mike’ and ‘Resnick’ on a contract.

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