Thursday, August 28, 2014

Update of Ultra Ultra Hip Classic Book and Movie Reviews

Guess, what? 

Are you guessing? 

Yep, you're right, they will be late again. 

At this moment life sucks. It was going pretty well until a few hours ago when things were starting to pick up but again, and isn't this always the case, pain gets in the way.

I'm a very private person and since it is the usual things that hurt the most, it's not worth mentioning because a) I don't really know you but want to thank for you reading the blog and b) I don't want to write about it because that would meaning thinking about it and it would only depress me and c) it's private. 

I have no idea when or if the two peices will be written. I usually give a heads up and that is what I'm doing here and usually it is posted within two weeks but to tell you the truth unless this thing I'm going through is fixed in two weeks I might not be writing or reading or watching movies or playing games or bathing or feeling much else but worry in those two weeks. 

I'll find happiness in the moments between the pain when I can. 

Don't worry. 

These things happen. In two years or months or weeks or days I won't care, I will be happy again, longer, in greater abundance. This is life, life goes on, my life will go on, pain and stress is apart of life and it will only make be a better person, a stronger person. 

Don't worry... it's time for me to follow the advice I just gave you. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: September

When is it time for you to read? For me it's everyday and I don't plan on stopping. 

But I'm not talking about me, it's YOU, yes YOU who must read more or I should say read better. It's time you put away thar copy of Rolling Stone, the WWE Magazine, The terrible Twilight Saga and get ready for some real literature. 

Am I being a real dick for saying this? 

You bet, and I can live with it. But, since your here now I want you to read a our three books you may want to pick up and try reading and see for yourself if you can enjoy them. What is the worst that could happen; yes you may hate it but it may also change your life. The first book I have to write about just to get out of the way. 

So, it's time for:

Three Books I Recently Finished That Will Pleasure Your Eyeballs. 

One: The Collected Works of William Shakespeare.'s not too bad...not terrible. 

...characters needed work...flowery prose...

...not enough explosions...

Are you freaking kidding! It's Old Willy Bard with a quill in his hand, his worst is my greatness. Actually, I never wrote ANYTHING that rivals his worst because for mere mortals, like me, it's too damn good. 

The material Shakespeare write is tragic as sorrow can be, as grand as any monument of Rome and funnier then anything expect maybe Richard Pryor on a roll or in prison and the guards won't let him go because he is too funny. It shows you want a human being can with with just words, and it is just words...that's magic my brothers and sisters. 

And yes, he was The Best Writer in History (Okay, maybe not, there might have been a janitor in a Wisconsin Truck Stop in the 1970's who was better) but even without the explosions Old Willy kicks your emotions like nothing before or since.

Yes, you should read it, not to just say you have but because great artist - and we only have few of those - are not just to be read or studied or revered but to be experienced. They are the ultimate weapons against things like ugly and stupid and sometimes evil. If that is true then Shakespeare is one of the best weapons we have and is power we should never lose. 

There, I'm done. 

Now, for a hellva segue.

Two: Tales from the Crypt Volume One: Ghouls Gone Wild by Don McGegor. 

Again, just to get this out of the way: it ain't Shakespeare but it is pretty damn good. 

The plot structures of this comic stories are as follow: bad people do bad things, the dead rises from the grave to take revenge on those who wronged them, end of story. 

Each Crypt Tale is like this and yet they have their own unique charm, sometimes different from each other in both artwork and dialogue. This collected edition is one of the newer publishing from the long ago canceled EC Comics Line but reissued with a new publisher Papercutz. The EC versions are much better, more thrilling and some of the best artwork ever printed in the medium. What is on display here is still good and for $7.00 you may feel you get your money's worth; I did. 

It's not deep, it's kind of dark and when it comes to entertainment for an hour or so you'll take this book and find some malevolent joy in reading about ghouls getting their creep on. 

It's a good old time I just couldn't get enough of. 

Three:  The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories by Lord Dunsany. 

One of the most legendary and wonderful collections of short stories from a man who inspired Tolkien, Borges and Le Guin, I found myself experiencing pure magic with each page of this book, sometimes each paragraph, each sentence. 

Irishman Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany published his third book in 1908. Welleran is comprised of 12 stories, some of them about Gods - in which Dunsany was an expert at creating - others about ghosts and long dead warriors. Most importantly, at least to me, were the writings of an ancient city so well explained, so full of imaginative thought out you'd think you're reading about the best local in modern or classical fantasy. 

There was no a single part of Welleran I did not enjoy and the best part was the language itself. If you do not pay attention to the story - which you would so yourself a great deserves if you do not - just listen to these sentences in your head, they will sing to you like an Angel of Absolute Beauty. 

Read this book, read it now. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Rating: ***

If my review of Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was based solely on Science Fiction/Fantasy esthetics it would be the best movie ever made. Unfortunately, it is has a story, a pretty lame one and while the effects and the fights scenes are more then glorious I can only recommend based on those two things. 

The film was directed by "Money Me, Money Me" George Lucas. It has been a number of years before he directed anything when he was began filming The Phantom Menace and while I can't say he is rusty with the camera he almost certainly is unable to write a script worthy of his vast visual eye. 

It takes place a good number of decades before the groundbreaking and still fun as hell A New Hope. Jedi's are still an institution but the Sith has plans for these enemies. While the Jedi have a multitude of learners and master the Sith only need two, and so enters what I think is the ultimate badass of the Star Wars universe, Darth Maul. 

Think about that name for a second, Maul, it sounds badass, physically, with his horns and his black and red skin looks badass but still he is never developed. I suppose you can say The Man Without a Name also didn't have a backstory too but the actor who played him gave a backstory with every stare and twitch. While the actor who played Maul (Ray Park), is a wonderful martial artist, he is no Clint Eastwood when it comes to characterization. Even Ray Park's voice is npt used for the part, he was dubbed and besides he doesn't say much anyway. 

But Park is just one if the more interesting parts of the film in terms of the story. His enemies in his film is Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, taking over the role first played by Alec Guinness). Of all things they are sent to handle a trade dispute with some disreputable, alien business men who in secret are working with Dark Sidious. Soon this Trade Federation sets of a planetary blockaded around the world of Naboo, home world of Queen Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman). The two Jedis meet the terrible character Jar Jar Binks, save the Queen, manage to break the blockade and land of Tatooine, where they find a young slave boy named Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) who is strong with the The Force and who later will become Darth Vader.

The whole point of this film and the two sequels preceding it is about Skywalker and how and why he comes the black suited, evil yet powerful Vader. It is interesting to see how he changes, where he goes wrong but I felt made one film might due instead of two, even though the two sequels are just as thrilling and filled to the brim with great effects. 

Yeah, yeah, I know, the first film started with Episode IV A New Hope and became a trilogy so they had to make three, right? Sure they can make three but why do the all have to be about Vader? Couldn't they have been two standalone films with different plots and only make one film about how Skywalker became Vader?

That might have been better. 

But, this is not what about what could have been but about what is. And yes, The Phantom Menace is a good film but unlike the original trilogy, it's far from great. 

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: July

I'm trying something new this month. Instead of reviewing only the books that I like (which I do more often) I will review books I both dislike and like. I'll see how this works out and then if it works for me, I will continue the practice. So, it's time for: 

Three Books I Recently Finished That May Pleasure Your Eyeballs. 

One: Son of Mad by William M. Gaines. 

Could I have outgrown Mad Magazine

I don't think so, Thank God, because if I did it would scare me. 

I'm older but I still collect toys, I still read comics, I still like cookies instead of liver and yes I still love fart jokes. 

Maybe I just require more of the greatness I'm accustomed to in Mad's pages, which is why this was such a bad, disappointing book. 

And no, it's NOT because it's older issues of Mad printed here. 

The soul of Mad is the same whether older or in the now: zany and for those who can understand that anything can be funny. 

In this book, they tried and I know they tried but it feels like they took all the wild misses at attempted humor and simply put them in a volume for kids (and kids who hate being called adults) who may or may not get a laugh. The jokes here weren't funny then and they're not funny now, even though usually they hit their mark, which is my stomach because it hurts from laughing at the glorious, genius, mind-rotting insanity that is Mad!

But again, not here. No jokes work, maybe one or two snickers and that is it. 

Not good, definitely not good. It's Mad, just worse.

Two: Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket is shoujo manga so sweet it almost gave me diabetes. Yes, it was tasty too but very, very bad for you which, like a lot of things in life, means very, very good. Yep, I will have seconds with Volume 2. 

O Jesus, I just hope I don't need insulin when reading more of this series.

The story is of a young, naive girl named Tohru, who's mother just died and lives tent so long as her guardian, her grandfather, is done with the renovations on his house. Eventually, Tohru meets a few boys living nearby, one whom she has a crush on at her high school and the boys just so happened to be spirits found in the Chinese zodiac, for which Tohru has a deep interest in from childhood, they can turn into different animals. 

Fruits Basket is about growing up weird and the book itself very weird. But it also has a lot of heart, and is never, ever, never boring. I could have finished it quickly but intensionally read it slowly, so I could savor the wonderful art and personality of the piece. 

It is one of my new favorite, sugar laced reads. 

Three: Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint. 

I'm probably not very cool for disliking Someplace to be Flying but so the hell what? It's suppose to be hip but I don't get it's jazz references or why I should care about people so uninteresting. 

Animal People, a wonderful idea taken from the Native American people, is a good premise for a book, let that be known. 

The novel follows Hank and Lily, who they meet and why they fascinated by strange folks but that is all. There are no surprises, there are too many characters, too much unnecessary dialogue, too much information told again and again and generally boring material in Somewhere to be Flying. 

I would discuss plot but this book is not really about anything but the people, too much in fact, which should have been cut out in the editing process or at least slimmed down, then de Lint may have had something. 

I read a 112 pages out of 384 of Someplace to be Flying, the book cost $9.99. Since I did not read the whole book I could not say I would have hated the rest but I would ask for, but won't be getting, my money back. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Evolve Delayed...Not a Good Day

Evolve, a game I just am dying play, a game I already paided off months - MONTHS! - in advance is not coming out in 2014. 

Instead, it's been pushed back to Febuary 10th In Year of Our Lord 2015 according to its publisher Take-Two. 

I don't know if this is a good thing. It could be Turtle Rock Studios, the maker of the game, needs to time to iron things out. If that's true, and why wouldn't it be, I say take all the time you want, I need a good-somewhat-bug-free game (all games have bugs, even the good ones). 

So, while I need the game now, I can just imagine what it will be like next year...probably a whole lot better. 

Today, to hear the news of what I think will be a killer game delayed, it sucks! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Update on Ultra Hip Movie and Book Reviews.

Dear Readers: 

Just a heads up, I wanted to let everyone know I will not be posting the Book and Movie Reviews at the end of the month as usual, they will be posted a week late. 

I've been a little busy with other things like life, death and life again. 

Yeah...whatever the hell that means but it's true. 

I will try and get them posted by at least the week I told you. Work and others things have kept me away and it's not right to you to rush two good pieces on the blog and screw everthing up just to time shake. 

It's about quality damn it! 

Anyway, I will be getting it done. Just seven days hence. 

Time to experience life in the meantime...hell I can always write about it and it's that all life is good for. 


Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Trailer

Here is the third film (first trailer) of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.


Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer

I have been waiting since 1985 for this sequel.

George Miller (Babe and the original Max Max Trilogy) is one of the best directors any artist I've watched and now, he comes back with the Max.

Here is the first trailer, directly from Comic-Con, of Mad Max: Fury Road. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just an Update...No, I'm Not Dead.

If you're wondering why I have not been keeping up with the blog lately, I've had some health problems over the past couple of weeks, mine and someone close to me, and I've not been able to update as much as I wanted. 

I won't go into details (My God do I hate giving morbid details about my life) but I will say everything is now hunky dory. I will be posted more in the next few days and weeks and months unless a kidney stone keeps me away, my eyes all burst blood or my toes grows some kind of alien fugus, which gets huge, becomes intelligent, takes hostages and makes my life a living hell...even then I'll do my best. 

I have been writing. Fiction mostly, not blog stuff that is why I'm here. 

I have been playing games and yet I haven't been posted about them, again: why I'm here.

There has been some good and bad news coming out of the literary world I love and hate to post about. I'm still going to have to post the newest info on the World Fantasy Award nominees & Locus Award winners (good news) and the recent passing away of Jay Lake (the bad news). 

I never met Mr. Lake but I heard he was a very wonderful character who loved to write. I only read a few works by him and they were damn fine stories. 

So, I'll keep breathing, keep writing, keep posting. Please, come back to the blog anytime you like, you are more then welcome. 

Peace out, 

Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting

Rating: ****

Boston Native Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has had an excruciating life. We know he was abused in some of the worst ways possible as a child and yet it is never explained exactly how, except for a few bits of dialogue. This makes it much worse in our minds because a) Will is a good person overall and b) it's usually just hinted at, never spoken, in the way Damon acts and reacts and why he is so tough of a kid he is because of the abuse. 

The script was written by Damon and his friend Ben Affleck who also plays Will's best friend Chuckie in the film. His friends love him and would kill for him. You could say their the only loyal people in his own short, and sometimes miserable life. 

Will is also a genius. He scribbles the answers, the proof to complex problems at MIT's blackboards where he works as a janitor. This catches the attention of a professor there played by Stellan Skarsgård who next finds him in trouble with law after assaulting both an old foe and police officers. The professor says the judge will let him out but on the understanding he will work with him at advanced mathematics and to see a shrink. 

It doesn't work out, at least not right away. He went to three physiatrist and each time offended them all. Two give up, one does not or refuses too, a man called Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), the professors friend, a Vietnam vet and widower. 

Sean's dead wife plays a role in Will development as he is counseled by Sean and the  stories the doctor tells is an inspiration in Will's own love life, a serious relationship with a pretty young woman named Skylar (Minnie Driver) who goes to Harvard. 

I guess if Will wasn't a genius he wouldn't get the second chance he got from so many people in the film. But it's not so much about his genius but his soul, torn and battered that it is, that makes Good Will Hunting into a great film. 

The work was directed by Gus Van Sant. It's a laid back kind of style that brings the characters to the forefront instead of well placed but not overdone shots. The screenplay on the other hand is genius. I've heard Williams say once he wanted to know who wrote this and when the people two young men showed themselves he couldn't believe it. Williams does the best work of his career in this film and Damon, who has done excellent work consistently for 17 years, this was the film that started that man's marvelous career, along with his friend Affleck. 

Good Will Hunting is an engaging and well written drama (or comedy, the film can be quite funny at times) as anything made in the 1990's. It created careers, changed lives but I'm not thinking about the success the actors had, I'm still wondering how is Will, does he still have a good life, or is he still struggling. 

As much as anyone who is in this world, real or not, I hope he discovered a new, better life. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: June

When they want to know what we were like a hundred years from now they will have books to truly find out. They will show us what we were really like, not just some photo or other artifact, but what was inside that made up the generation and the individuals we were once were. I have three books this month which will help you, and them, understand the people who came before and who are still alive in the human experience. It's time for: 

Three Books I Recently Finished That Will Pleasure Your Eyeballs. 

One: Chess The Easy Way by Reuben Fine. 

My father is a master at the game of Chess so, when he said this is the best Chess book, the book that got him on the road to being a master chess player, I listened. 

There are thirty rules in this book, for each section of the game (The Beginning, Middle and End) and if you memorize them, practice them (which means a lot of losing) and to train your mind to instinctively use them better then the person you're playing against, you WILL win. 

Reuben Fine was a physiatrist, living at one of the most excellent times it was to a chess player. He studied the game because he loved it and he wanted more people to improve themselves in the game because chess is a hard game, much like life, it is not for weak souls and yet if you improve, your soul may be improved as well. 

Chess is violent, crushing, more painful to some then a war hammer to the head. The better you get the more deeply your pain will be when you lose. But hope existences in the game, where the suffering can be dulled. 

Chess The Easy Way starts that hope.

Two: A Song for Lya by George R. R. Martin. 

Most people know Mr. Martin from his A Song of Ice and Fire series but before he wrote another song, this one is just as good. 

Two psychics are requested at a planet called Shkea, home of a human like race and colonist from many human worlds. The two are send to investigate why the people of this world, and now humans, are offering themselves to a parasite which will kill them in a Cult that promises eternal love. Soon, one of them falls under the unbearable lure of the parasite and in doing so we find that sometimes God is just a we can not turn away from. 

This is not really a novel yet I had to write about it because it holds more power and emotion then most novels tend to give over. You could probably read it in one sitting but if you're lucky you think about it for a lifetime. 

I was never a fan of Martin's short stories before, his novels are a different story. Finally, I found the one short tale of his I truly admired. It really is what people have been saying about it for years. 

I got it. I finally got it!

Three: The Big Bounce by Elmore Leonard.  

Plot, plot, plot...who the hell needs it?

Apparently, not Elmore Leonard. He knows plot is not what makes a story great, it's characters. 

Here we have every single character in Leonard's The Big Bounce who are full fleshed out. Most of them are not good people but then you don't have to be good to be interesting. 

A thief named Jack is deeply attracted to the trophy girlfriend - Nancy - of a local, shady business man. 

The girl is worse then he is. 

She likes being looked at, taken care of but she also likes the thrill of stealing, of breaking into people's houses, of making Jack want her. Eventually this leads to tragedy but who's tragedy and are they good enough to even feel bad about it. Sure, there is a little plot in the story, about a new robbery they are planning but eventually that takes a backseat to Jack and Nancy's most recent thrills. 

I bulldozed through The Big Bounce. It is a short, short read and yet it's a hellva novel. The people are what makes it interesting. 

Isn't that true for real life too?


Monday, June 16, 2014

Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Rating: ***

My favorite scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is not an action scene though there are plenty spectacular ones in this film. It begins when Indy, a Japanese child and a Night Club Singer are offered food in an Indian village full of people who are starving. The kid and the archeologist dig in. The singer, not rudely though, refuses to eat what is offered. 

"That is more food then these people eat in a week," says Jones. "They're starving, eat it." 

She offers it to the villagers. 

"Eat it. You're insulting them and embarrassing me." 

A look is given between the two and the singer reluctantly eats, not liking it one bit and Jones smiles like a husband who finally won an argument. 

This is a funny scene through it probably doesn't work too well on paper, it works because of good actors who make the scene more enjoyable and less offensive then it would be if played by bad actors and so that is what makes Temple of Doom unique: it's an action movie where the people are in serious trouble but are not stupid, just very scared and creeped out. As if anyone - except Jones -wouldn't be creeped out putting their hand in a whole full bugs.

While Harrison Ford's Jones is still the best part of the film I found myself often looking at the gorgeous and very talented Kate Capshaw the whole picture because a) she is glorious and b) because she is a good actor playing fish out of water, kind of bubbly, and very seldom helps Jones in any of the crazy situations he finds himself and makes things worse. For life that won't be a good thing. For an action movie like this it's perfect because trouble literally follows you. More trouble, better plot. 

The Temple of Doom is not a better film then Raiders of the Lost Ark and yet they are cut from the same clothe. This is a prequel to Raiders, what most think is a sequel but I guess it could work both ways. While I thought Raiders had more on the line: Nazis taking of the world with the Ark of the Covenant, this film is about finding a sacred stone vital to a village in India and saving children who are enslaved by a local Cult. 

Yes, both important but you have to admit world domination might take some precedents. 

The special effects, chases and wip-play are fantastic. I can say those are better then Raiders

I never seen Ford give a bad performance in any film let alone an Indiana Jones flick. Capshaw is wonderful as I stated before and the child actor playing Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) is a very, very good side-kick who you can tell loves Jones and loves being apart of his adventures.  

I might have wanted to see a sequel with those people again in same roles but I guess that didn't happen...I guess, it's all about Jones baby! 


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ultra Hip Classic Movie And Book Review

Dear Readers: 

Okay, the 3rd came and went and still no reviews. What the hell you say! So, now, I will now do something I hate to do, I will apologize:


I made a promise and I messed up. I've been very busy for the last week or two. Now, since I'm not so busy, I will write the reviews. It should be on the site in the next three days or so...really, they will. 


Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250) 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review and Book Review Delayed

Dear Folks:

Something personal just came up and I won't be able make the deadline for the Ultra Hip Book and Movie Reviews this month. Both should be available on June 3rd.   

Just wanted everyone to know if you were looking for them when they usually show up.


Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250). 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Layout...As You Can See.

New layout, new digs...I likey.

2013 Nebula Awards Nominees and Winners

A little late (been busy) but here it is: The Winners and Nominees of the 2013 Nebula Awards.

Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK) Winner!
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)


‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise’’, Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13) Winner!
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA AwardWi
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award
‘‘Wakulla Springs’’, Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee’’, Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun)
‘‘Burning Girls’’, Veronica Schanoes ( 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (; World Jumping
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)


‘‘The Waiting Stars’’, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky) Winner!
‘‘Paranormal Romance’’, Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass’’, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters’’, Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King’’, Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind’’, Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

Short Story

‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love’’, Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13) Winner!
‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth’’, Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers’’, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer’’, Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh’’, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Gravity Winner!
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’
Europa Report
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Pacific Rim

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central) Winner!
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award

Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award

Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award

Batman: Arkham Knight Gameplay Trailer

Nerdgasm Dos:

Here is something I am very excited about and like the last post it is comic book related:

Batman: Arkham Knight has a second trailer and it shows gameplay. Gameplay so damn good you would think it was a freaking cut scene!

Here it is, just watch and then preorder like crazy.

Batman Vs Superman Title's going to get crowded

Okay, I suppose the biggest DC Comics/Film/nerdgasm moment of the day (and there will be another one after I write this) is the news of Batman vs Superman movie title. 

Here it is, ready: 

It's called: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice., unless I see a trailer for this film, I won't be jumping up and down and until I see the film, I won't be laying in a puddle. 

Still, it is news, I guess.

Why the lack of excitement? Because, I don't judge a film based on a title or a possible franchise or anything until the film is before my eyes and I see it. 

I liked Man if Steel, despite it's lack of humor. Somewhere down the line I will review it. I just hope to God Dawn and Justice are just as well made as The Avengers but I'm sorta, kinda, not quite yet getting tired of comic book movies. I hope, I pray, it's a good film though because I never get tired of those. 


Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250, nerd and lover of good comics, movies and comic book movies.)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: Dungeons and Dragons

(Author's Note: Some Editing and Trimming Done. Thanks.)

Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: Dungeons and Dragons

Rating: *

Is it sad that I've seen this movie in a theater thinking I would get the same experience playing with my friends a role playing game I loved as a child? Is it also sad I have the same friends who try and tell me they 'get this' movie while I should just stop whining and have fun with it when I know deep in my gullet this film truly sucks?

Maybe I'm just a sad guy, maybe I'm just too sensitive to crap, maybe I can never lie to myself even when it's comes to something as trivial as a movie.

So, we got it, a movie based upon the Classic Role Playing game D&D and I say so what? It's fourteen years old and time has not made it better.

From a aesthetic standpoint I can tell the technical staff of this film worked hard on the special effects, costumes and sound. I can even say the performers tried their best even though some were ill equipment in the talent department and more appealing in the overly look-at-me-I'm-pretty dime and are given a script a mentally handicap squirrel could write, much, MUCH better. Yes, I think those people (even the writer of this snoozer) deserved their pay checks and the many thanks laid upon them. I hope in the fourteen years since this film came they found or made better material to show case their talents.

There is something about a map leading to a magic scepter, the Rod of Savrille, that needs to be found. Evil Mage Profion  (Jeremy Irons, talented but not here) wants the big ol' Rod so he can control red dragons and enslave the The Empire of Izmir and her empress Savina (Thora Birch), she controls gold dragons. Young attractive people (mages, warriors, thieves and comic relief) find out about Profion's plan when two of the thieves (Justin Whalin and Marlon Wayans) break into a wizard school but are attacked by Damodar (Bruce Payne), Profion's bitch who later gets a tentacle slug but in his head....just wow.

Anyway,  they are saved and teleported by a novice Mage played by Zoe McLellan and thrusted into a magical quest to save the land and defeat evil.

Of course we have a storyline about doing the right thing. 

We even have a hate-story-turned-into-a-love-story with the Justin Whalin disliking mages and the Zoe McLellan character who is a Mage and their eventual kissing.

We have a death scene that probably should not have made it into the movie because of the over acting involved. 

We have nothing, zero, no one shred of sincerity is in the whole film about the most things that are important in life which art is supposed to reflect.

Sure, the film mean well, it is trying but what we do have it a lot of tried material that has not work in a very long time in the fantasy or any genre for that matter. If they had gone about saying things in a different way with the same messages they wanted to convey it might have work but it simply does not in this film.

Here everything is about dragons and magic, good vs evil and while those things work well in better films they don't know why they worked in those films.

People, in any art form, matter more then spectacle. Here we don't know why Profion is evil, he just is. Why don't know why the thieves are brave and take it upon themselves to save the world they just do. It takes more then just plot to make film work, more then just theme even. They all must work together or you have a steaming pile like Dungeons and Dragons who bypass quality of emotion for quantity of look-at-this-ain't-it-cool moments which this film as in abundance and I couldn't care less because they didn't make me care more. 

A pal of mind once asked me, why I hated this film and I stay quite because I didn't want to hurt his feelings on the subject but I think I will say it here:

I don't hate Dungeons and Dragons, I merely pity it. Man, do I pity it. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: April

Books are the fingerprints of the soul.

When a sincere author writes anything and is brave enough to share it with the world they are exposing something so deeply within that sometimes the artist doesn't know those parts even existed.

They focus, train, and love what they do but the artist hasn't the slightest notion what might appear on the page.  This sometimes is very scary and what comes from this a kind of self-conscious torture. It would probably easier for them to be cold, shivering naked in a crowd of millions then to send out their work and no, not get rejected, no something much worse: accepted and seen by everybody.

That's them, that's me, that's you. The real you.

That is what these authors below have done. So be kind, be generous, take some pity for I will introduce to you to some brave souls who laid their souls out for you to snicker at, hate or maybe even love. It's time for:

Three Books I Recently Finished That Will Pleasure Your Eyeballs.

One: Dweller by Jeff Strand.

What makes a person evil?

That is the central question to one of the most horrific, tender, funny and heartbreaking of books called Dweller.

Is a person evil because of his actions alone? If that is true then everyone would be evil, there would be no good. But what if you're a good person inside but you've done terrible things, feel guilty about it, are you still evil?

Toby, the main character in Dweller, from a young child into adult commits vile acts of pain and suffering and I loved him.

I suppose if we never knew who he was we would stay Toby is quite evil but Jeff Strand does not know how to write a one dimensional character.

Toby finds a creature behind his house in the woods who he later names Owen. This beast turns bloodthirsty and kills again and again yet he is less evil then Toby because he can not control himself while his human friend can.

I suppose what makes this such a good book and reflection on life, death, monsters and murder is Toby and Owen is our friend, we love them. When the guilt starts piling up for Toby it hurts us. I'll admit, the last few chapters are very uncomfortable but that's only because Mr. Strand wanted to put me in an uncomfortable place. With the fewest of words he is able to thrust the reader, at any time, into an emotion situation that either make you laugh loudly or squirm to your bones. I've only read him once but from what I can guess Strand is an expert at doing the most with the less and that makes him a truly great writer, one I will read again.

Dweller is the first book of the year I truly thought the world of. It's going to be a tough one to beat.

Two: Captain America: Reborn by Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Jackson "Butch" Guice.

Sometimes a comic comes along that says to the other lesser comics, "You need definite improvement."

Here we have no little scenes, which I said was a bad thing in issues like The Mighty Thor/Journey Into Mystery: Everything Burns and still it manages to stun me with it's overblown art and writing because of what is on the page is brilliant and skilled, not cliched and skilled.

The story begins one year after Steven Rogers takes a bullet and dies at the hands of his lover Sharon Carter, although Crossbones and Sin, Red Skull's daughter, was very much apart of the assassination.    

Now, we learn Rogers wasn't exactly dead for the gun used on him is a special weapon and it thrusts him through time and space, a scheme employed by a Red Skull, Arnim Zola and later Doctor Doom. In a kind of temporal limbo, Rogers relives fond glories and terrible moments in his lifetime as a solider and friend. Cap can face almost anything, now he must face what scares him the most: his past.

This sounds like a huge, complicated story and but Reborn makes so much sense and is never confusing, always thrilling.  The creators of this particular comic know what they hell their doing, how to pull it off, and make you leaned forward in your chair, book in hand and say, "That shit is golden!" It brings back one of comics great heroes in such a style and grandness few comics ever rarely see. Sure, heroes came and went and came again but this one is truly a gem, one worth of attention.

After Batman, Captain America is my favorite superhero. I didn't think I could love him more then I did before.

Reborn proved me wrong.

Three: The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett.

Only a badass can write about another badass. Dashiell Hammett knew this and his creation Sam Spade is a badass done in perfection in the ultimate 20th Century Detective Novel.

Sam is far from turned into sucker by a pretty lady who comes into his PI office asking Sam to find her missing sister. Soon, he is thrown deeper into a world of thieving and murder, two things he knows something about. Then it gets personal, because his parter Miles is killed investigating the matter of the missing and Sam, while hating Miles, knows his honor and reputation is at stake if he does nothing.

The girl is good, real good and now it's Sam turn to learn that the situation is more then just about a missing person or murder. It will open up a quest men of history and power have never been able to complete for centuries, one that may hold the key to an artifact lusted and killed over. It will make the owner of such object worth more then the heights their lowly souls have ever reached.

It is glory personified. It is everything and nothing.

It is the Black Bird.


The 2014 Hugo and John W. Campbell Awards Nominees

This is way behind, about ten days behind to be more accurate. I've been too busy writing I forgot about the business of writing.  So, it's late but here it is: The nominees for the 2014 Hugo and John W. Campbell Awards.

Congrats to all those listed, winners will be announced in August at the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention.

Warbound, Larry Correia (Baen)
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Wheel of Time (complete series), Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson (Tor)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)

Best Novella

‘‘Wakulla Springs’’, Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
‘‘Equoid’’, Charles Stross ( 9/24/13)
‘‘The Chaplain’s Legacy’’, Brad Torgersen (Analog 7-8/13)
"Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)
"The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)

Best Novelette

‘‘The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling’’, Ted Chiang (Subterranean Fall ‘13)
‘‘Opera Vita Aeterna’’, Vox Day (The Last Witchking)
‘‘The Waiting Stars’’, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
‘‘The Lady Astronaut of Mars’’, Mary Robinette Kowal (Rip-Off! 2012; 2/13)
‘‘The Exchange Officers’’, Brad Torgersen (Analog 1-2/13)

Best Short Story
‘‘The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere’’, John Chu ( 2/20/13)
‘‘The Ink Readers of Doi Saket’’, Thomas Olde Heuvelt ( 4/24/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers’’, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love’’, Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine 3/13)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short

An Adventure in Space and Time
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’
Doctor Who: ‘‘The Name of the Doctor’’
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
Game of Thrones: ‘‘The Rains of Castamere’’
Orphan Black: ‘‘Variations under Domestication’’

Best Related Work

Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas, eds. (Mad Norwegian Press)
‘‘We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative’’, Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink 5/20/13)
Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, Justin Landon & Jared Shurin, eds. (Jurassic London)
Writing Excuses, Season 8, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler & Jordan Sanderson
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, Jeff VanderMeer with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)

Best Graphic Story

‘‘The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who’’, Paul Cornell; art by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013)
Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, Phil & Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
The Meathouse Man, adapted and illustrated by Raya Golden from the story by George R.R. Martin (Jet City Comics)
‘‘Time’’, Randall Munroe (XKCD)
Saga, Volume 2, Brian K. Vaughn; art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Professional Editor Long Form

Ginjer Buchanan
Sheila Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Lee Harris
Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Editor Short Form

John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Artist

Galen Dara
Julie Dillon
Daniel Dos Santos
John Harris
John Picacio
Fiona Staples

Best Semiprozine

Apex Magazine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Strange Horizons

Best Fanzine

The Book Smugglers
A Dribble of Ink
Elitist Book Reviews
Journey Planet

Best Fancast

The Coode Street Podcast
Doctor Who: Verity!
Galactic Suburbia Podcast
SF Signal Podcast
The Skiffy and Fanty Show
Tea and Jeopardy
The Writer and the Critic

Best Fan Writer

Liz Bourke
Kameron Hurley
Foz Meadows
Abigail Nussbaum
Mark Oshiro

Best Fan Artist

Brad W. Foster
Mandie Manzano
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles
Sarah Webb

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Wesley Chu
Max Gladstone
Ramez Naam
Sofia Samatar
Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer 3

I'm a little late with this one but here it is, the third and last trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.


Dragon Age: Inquisition Gameplay Trailer

Here is the first gameplay trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: March

(Author's Note: A few errors and typos fixed and there maybe more but I'll fix them...soon! Thanks.)

It's more then just the collective souls of our race. It tells where we are going, what to do when we get there and in time we will learn that books are the saviors of any man, not just to look outward but inward, the true universe explained. I have three books for you this month that should unlock all you potential, and if it doesn't, they are still some tasty reads.

It's time for: Three Books I Recently Finished That Will Pleasure Your Eyeballs.

One: Hawkeye Vol 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction.

It wasn't long ago when I said I would never read another Matt Fraction book but then, after the literary vomit that was The Mighty Thor/Journey into Mystery, I gave him another chance, two actually with Fantastic Four: New Departures and New Arrivals and now with Hawkeye:  My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction. I'm glad I did because he could go no where but up with The Mighty Thor on his resume.

Fraction's  Hawkeye, while not nearly a masterpiece is still a fine example of good comics in little moments. This collection of about the Archer Avenger is a simple, straight forward tale about his life and every day moments that make Clint Barton a hero.

Sure there is lots of action but it's more about character then throwing punches.

I enjoyed Hawkeye Vol 1 because now Barton is even more likable, more the ever really because he is a now person brought down from a hero status into a Everyman-kind-of character.

Hawkeye is one of Fractions's best and I can only thank him now for proving to me he's got what it takes to stay in the business.

Two: The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.

The big bad wolf has anyways had a bad rap when it comes to those walking sausages who wanted him off his property. His tell all book explodes with the true-true tale of nastiness and discrimination. Sure, we all know 'that' story told by the pork pies, how he was hungry and he huffed and puffed but in this short autobiography he comes clean and to settle record once and for all.

As you may have guest this is comedy for children but adults who laugh too. I had it when I was a child and yes, I still read it. I found if you want your kids to sleep easily this book is a good place to start. It will relax them, puts them in a good mood and they sleep be better because they weren't tensed up before they conked out.

And yes, you too can read it before you go to bed. It beats Nyquil.

Three: Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Issacson.

Finding the soul of a man is harder then finding this thoughts, it's the heart, not the brain that really did the work of Albert Einstein, the greatest man of the 20th Century.

The book is not lacking in Einstein's theories. Even today some don't know exactly what Einstein what accomplished; they know 'who' he is but the 'what' is a little fuzzy. They understand he did something no other man of scientist even considered or were stuck on for centuries and proved it. So, Issacson explains them in great clarity, and even if you do already know them it is a good reminder that some things do need repeating because they are so brilliant.

And then, there is a great biography in the midst of all this. From youthful, imaginative young man, into college student of goods grades, to poor patient clerk who in his spare time found that time and light and fabric of space is not what it appears, it is a grand story, a pull-yourself-up-from-your-bootstrap story. But, most importantly, Einstein was also a man who loved human beings and hated war and nationalism. He was like by many, hated by a few and worshiped today as the man who jimmying some of the most complicated locks in the whole of nature.

It's one of finest book every written about a human being and it will show you, in the universe, your place as well.


Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear

The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear.

Rating: ****

Once again, we have a near perfect spoof about a cop who wouldn't know a clue is it went up, bite him on the ass, jumped back down and said, “Hey, I'm a clue, damn it!”

I can tell you from experience I've never met a person like Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nelson) before. He is just that stupid and I've met Da Vinci's of stupidity. He is so stupid, so inept at his job and life in general I wonder why they even let him out of a first grade let alone grades two through twelve. His parents, if they're alive, must be pissed.

Frank, as dumb as he is, really is a very well thought out character. That maybe a double negative but it's true.

He is the idiot child made guys called Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker known for films like Airplane and The Kentucky Fried Movie, two truly great film comedies. Frank is a great, masterful character because he causes more trouble then the plot allows, so in a way he is very proactive, messing in gloriously humorous ways. He is far from a stagnant character and that's what we need in any good fiction: conflict!

Here we have him in site gags in regards to the President of the United States (GHWB) and his wife (Barbara) how she gets most of the brutes of Drebin stupidity and it works quite well, even when she is hanging from a balcony with only under underclothes on.

Plot? You want a plot from this film?

Trust me, it doesn't matter. But hey, if you so need one I'll try my best to give you what you desire.

Drebin is trying to stop scheme in which the big toxic waste companies  want to kidnap a man who will be giving a speak which the President will back completely. That speak will say we should save more of the environment instead giving the waste companies to dump wherever they like. The company men do indeed kidnap the man and replace him with a duplicate, but the person working with the man is Jane Spencer, Frank's old flame played by Priscilla Presley and she is dating the man who is helping the business men who will do harm to out Earth.

There, the plot!

The film is not really about the environment or the big business or any anything other then making you laugh so hard soda shoots from your nostrils and you chock on your popcorn.

One sight gag which floored me so hard happens in a place called The Blue Note, a clichéd bar where people go to get drunk and wallow in self misery. In the Bar, plastered on the walls are pictures like The Chicago Fire,  the Hindenburg in Flames, The Titanic sinking and then at the end of the photos is a smiling, photogenic image of Michael Dukakis.

Disasters everyone!

Now, is this film funnier then the first Naked Gun film? Probably not, but that still is no reason not to see it. And again and again and again.

I laughed so hard with this film, I cried. Oh dear God did I cry.

Frank Drebin is a comedy demigod.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ultra Hip Book and Movie Reviews is Late

Folks, it's been a busy week. The two articles have been written they just need a few fixes and they should be ready. I'll probably get it done sometimes this week. 


Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight Announce Trailer

Here is the first trailer for an upcoming Batman Arkham game and Rocksteady's return to the world of Gotham. It's Batman: Arkham Knight coming soon to your PS4, Xbox One and PC.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: February

Cold months are the times in which should read the most. Hot is the duration in which we should still read but experience life more and learn the moral of the stories that went into every page. It's been cold few months so I expect you should be nestled with some good books. No? Need help finding a book? I got your back. 

It's time for: 

Three Books I Recently Finished That Will Pleasure Your Eyeballs. 

One: The Exorcist by William Petter Blatty. 

Never had I experienced a child more tortured then Regan MacNeil. 

Regan is a good girl, friendly, warm, loving a perfect soul to be possessed by a demon. 

Her mother, a famous actress, has tried everything medically possible to help her. Soon, however, she learns the truth of her daughter's illness and so he calls on a priest, Damon, a man with his own demons to help her in warding off Satan from her Regan's body. 

This is a violent tale of a child abused. You may have seen the film version of this tale but now it's time to get into the mind of these characters and read the book. You may find it hard at first, but ultimately this is story of courage in the face of damnable deeds. 

Two: Ancient Rome: From The Earliest Times Down to 476 A.D. By Robert Franklin Pennell

There is something about Winter, which is the time I read Ancient Rome, that compels me to read about unforgiving times. 

Winter in itself is unforgiving, it's rough on the bones and the senses and takes no pity on the frail. This is why I picked up this little dozy and started reading, for the Romans themselves were very unforgiving.  That is not to say the Romans were barbarians. I will not play the Ego Game which implies that since I was born in a gentler time that they were any less of the person I am. However, that being said, they weren't exactly the choirboys of their time either. 

I wanted to read about battles and blood, great statesmen and mad emperors, towering deeds and shocking horror. 

I found it here. 

This is a jewel of a book, not only informative and well written but, most importantly, damned entertaining. Do yourself a favor, pick it up, it's everything you'll want: a bloody, unforgiving time.

Three: V for Vendetta by Alan Moore. 

One of the seminal works in Alan Moore's career is V for Vendetta, a tale of revenge and absolute power set in Britain at a future time when fascism has overtook United Kingdom. 

On Guy Fawkes Night, a young girl name Evey is walking through the streets London. She almost raped and murdered by a police unit called "The Finger" but is saved by a man in a Guy Fawkes mask who goes by the name V. This man has suffered greatly by the fascist UK and soon he is about to unveiled his plan, setting the country in anarchy as a way for bring about the old days. 

The story unfolds perfectly, we learn what happened to V to change him into a man who seeks revenge and soon what happens to Evey, to set free her government, to free from fear itself.

Watchmen, a masterpiece of comic literature, was grand tale and a good character study but V for Vendetta goes even deeper. It asks the readers universal questions about ourselves, about our own lives and if life itself is worth living without liberty. 

Your answers to these questions will define you. 


Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Rating: ***+

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is one of those film that doesn't get any less funnier seeing it a good ten or fifteen times around; trust me, I have seen it that many times. The Star Trek Series has never been know for comedy and yet it always had it, be it very little. In this theatrical film version it goes to the heart of a Joker like me and the many others who love good, well written, fish-out-of-water humorous stories. 

What would happened if heroes from the 23rd century went back in time to find humpback whales and bring them into the future so they can answer an alien prob which is causing the death of Earth? Now that was a weird plot line, and if it wasn't funny it would just be bad description of a bad movie. 

What would happen if these people, smart, technologically savvy and completely well developed human beings interacted with folks of 1986 San Francisco? The answers is a lot of good scenes in which the heroes don't know how to responded to such ordinary rudeness. 

The one character who makes all the humor work is the one you wouldn't think wouldn't be funny in the first place: Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy). Here is an alien who is even more out of whack then he usually because he has just died and was risen from the grave. He is funny because he won't lie. That is a major problem in this film because if Kirk (William Shanter) or Bones (Deforest Kelly) tells the people of this time period who they are, they will be put in the funny farm and worst of all their mission (a whale of a task) will fail. 

Besides Spock's pervading humor there is a gut busting scene when Chekov is arrested for breaking in to a nuclear naval vessel. He is Russian, this is the time of the Cold War, and he plays it like its nothing, why the hell are they picking on him. It's very good work. 

Probably what makes this film work so well is the profanity but remember this is a PG film so don't expect real profanity to show itself. Kirk and the bunch don't know how to swear, they know people are swearing at them and they try to their best to use such words in return which they only know from "classic" literature of their time. 

I've seen each Star Trek films at least a dozen times and while my favorite is still Wrath of Khan this is certainly my second. It has wonderful acting from people who usually don't do comedy and they do it excellently. It's a very big surprise when this film came along, that they chose to squeeze our legs and tickles us with their jokes instead of blowing Klingons to holy hell. 

I've probably never laughed at much Star Trek in the past. This film makes up for it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 International Trailer

Here is the International Trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.


2013 Bram Stoker Awards Nominees

Here are the nominees for the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards. 

Superior Achievement in a Novel

NOS4A2, Joe Hill (Morrow)
Doctor Sleep, Stephen King (Scribner)
Malediction, Lisa Morton (Evil Jester)
A Necessary End, Sarah Pinborough & F. Paul Wilson (Thunderstorm/Maelstrom)
The Heavens Rise, Christopher Rice (Gallery)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Candy House, Kate Jonez (Evil Jester)
The Year of the Storm, John Mantooth (Berkley)
The Evolutionist, Rena Mason (Nightscape)
Redheads, Jonathan Moore (Samhain)
Stoker’s Manuscript, Royce Prouty (Putnam)

Superior Achievement in a YA Novel
Special Dead, Patrick Freivald (JournalStone)
Unbreakable, Kami Garcia (Little, Brown)
Project Cain, Geoffrey Girard (Simon & Schuster)
Dog Days, Joe McKinney (JournalStone)
In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters (Abrams)

Superior Achievement Long Fiction

“The Bluehole”, Dale Bailey (F&SF 5-6/13)
“The Great Pity”, Gary Braunbeck (Chiral Mad 2)
“The Slaughter Man”, Benjamin K. Ethridge (Limbus, Inc.)
“No Others Are Genuine”, Gregory Frost (Asimov’s 10-11/13)
House of Rain, Greg F. Gifune (DarkFuse)
East End Girls, Rena Mason (JournalStone)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

“Primal Tongue”, Michael Bailey (Zippered Flesh 2)
“Snapshot”, Patrick Freivald (Blood & Roses)
“Night Train to Paris”, David Gerrold (F&SF 1-2/13)
“The Hunger Artist”, Lisa Mannetti (Zippered Flesh 2)
“The Geminis”, John Palisano (Chiral Mad 2)
“Code 666”, Michael Reaves (F&SF 3-4/13)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Horror Library: Volume 5, R.J. Cavender & Boyd E. Harris, ed. (Cutting Block)
After Death…, Eric J. Guignard, ed. (Dark Moon)
Barbers & Beauties, Michael Knost & Nancy Eden Siegel, ed. (Hummingbird House)
The Grimscribe’s Puppets, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., ed. (Miskatonic River)
Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror, Volume One, Anthony Rivera & Sharon Lawson, ed. (Grey Matter)

Superior Achievement in a Collection

North American Lake Monsters: Stories, Nathan Ballingrud (Small Beer)
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories, Laird Barron (Night Shade)
The Tears of Isis, James Dorr (Perpetual Motion Machine)
The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, Caitlìn R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Dance of the Blue Lady, Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon)
Bible Stories for Secular Humanists, S.P. Somtow (Diplodocus)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Images of the Modern Vampire: The Hip and the Atavistic, Barbara Brodman & James E. Doan, eds. (Fairleigh Dickinson)
Ramsey Campbell: Critical Essays on the Modern Master of Horror, Gary William Crawford, ed. (Scarecrow)
Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction, William F. Nolan (Hippocampus)
The Intermedial Experience of Horror: Suspended Failures, Jarkko Toikkanen (Palgrave Macmillan)
Lovecraft and Influence: His Predecessors and Successors, Robert H. Waugh, ed. (Scarecrow)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Dark Roads: Selected Long Poems 1971-2012, Bruce Boston (Dark Renaissance)
The Sex Lives of Monsters, Helen Marshall (Kelp Queen)
Dangerous Dreams, Marge Simon & Sandy DeLuca (Elektrik Milk Bath)
Four Elements, Marge Simon, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, & Linda Addison (Bad Moon/Evil Jester)
Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Stephanie M. Wytovich (Raw Dog Screaming)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Fatale Book Three: West of Hell, Ed Brubaker (Image)
Alabaster: Wolves, Caitlìn R. Kiernan (Dark Horse)
Witch Doctor, Vol. 2: Mal Practice, Brandon Seifert (Image)
Sin Titulo, Cameron Stewart (Dark Horse)
Colder, Paul Tobin (Dark Horse)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

The Returned: ”The Horde”, Fabien Adda & Fabrice Gobert (Ramaco Media I, Castelao Pictures)
American Horror Story: Asylum: ”Spilt Milk”, Brad Falchuk (Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision, Ryan Murphy Productions)
Hannibal: ”Apéritif”, Bryan Fuller (Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN: Original X Production, Gaumont International Television)
Dracula: ”A Whiff of Sulfur”, Daniel Knauf (Flame Ventures, Playground, Universal Television, Carnival Films)
The Walking Dead: ”Welcome to the Tombs”, Glen Mazzara (AMC TV)

2013 Nebula Award Nominees

Here are the nominees for the 2013 Nebula Awards. 


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood) 
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review) 
Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
 Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)


‘‘Wakulla Springs’’, Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages ( 10/2/13)
‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise’’, Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
‘‘Annabel Lee’’, Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun)
‘‘Burning Girls’’, Veronica Schanoes ( 6/19/13)
‘‘Trial of the Century’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (; World Jumping)
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)


‘‘Paranormal Romance’’, Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
‘‘The Waiting Stars’’, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass’’, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters’’, Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King’’, Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind’’, Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

Short Story

‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth’’, Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers’’, Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer’’, Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love’’, Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
‘‘Alive, Alive Oh’’, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’
Europa Report
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Pacific Rim

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ultra Hip Book Reviews: January

We read so when it's times to face the madmen, the heroes, the inbetweenies we know what to feel, what to say, how to live and how to die. There are moments for us that will never come but there are also moments in which someone feels exactly what we are going through. It shines a light on our existence and without it we will be lost and may never know how to escape the pain that can and eventually will come. We won't always be here but thanks to books we may be here a little longer.

It's time for:

Three Books I Recently Finished That Will Pleasure Your Eyeballs. 

One: Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

I won't lie when it comes to the character of Wolverine, I'm not a huge fan. For me, there was always something about this character that never connected with me. Sure, he probably is the most well drawn character in comics history, he is gorgeous to look at but really his backstory is so full of clichés - a Frankensteinesque/Harry Callahan mash up - it never much catches the attention of those who are already well familiar with such a character.

Now, we have Old Man Logan and it's not a backstory but rather a telling of Wolverine's possible future: it doesn't suck. This is a gentler Logan, by choice, who refuses to kill because of something in his past, our present. Logan is going on one more mission with his friend and former Avenger Hawkeye to make sure his wife and children are never harassed again in a barren, post apocalyptic future after the villains of the Marvel Universe have won.

Most of the comic is well written, well thought out to a point which Is crazy, off the way, what-the-hell-can-they-think-up-next material which was just fine for me but the last half of the book is why it is merely a good comic instead of great. The battle may make sense in the way it is played out, in comic book sense anyway, but then we've all thought about that battle before and may have come to the same conclusion, that is why it's kind of lazy rather then adding anything new to the subject but just that last half. Still, that can be forgiven.

Old Man Logan could be my favorite Wolverine comic to date and why I'm writing about it here. Good stuff.

Two: Blood Music by Greg Bear

Now, here is a book which could be a cliché but shifts your attention so much it's anything but.

It starts out with biotechnologist Vergil Ulam and his making of a new, special kind of lymphocyte called noocyte. He injects these almost perfect
noocyte into his bloodstream after he is fired from his job at a company called Genetron.

Vergil is mad and he will get madder. 

That being said the book is not just about Vergil, he is only the catalyst. Changes are about to be made on the Earth, large from the small and eventually life will become entirely new for everything in the
noocyte way.

Now, you can guess where this is going to go and you may even get it right. Still, we have a plot in Blood Music that is rapidly changing so not only will you guess right where it's going but it will be a guess that will have to be adjusted because the book is not happy with just one kind of design.

It's a fast, good read. Have a good time with this one.

Three: The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson

Repairman Jack, the anti-hero of F. Paul Wilson's The Tomb, is a complete badass and a sweetie. Here is a man who will solve your problem with a gun or a knife, who will break bones and cause massive brain damage but who also loves children and is very loyal to the people he lets into his life.

Here, Jack has a problem: Rakoshi (Ancient Indian-from-India monsters) and a madman are set on taking over the world and to exact a revenge on a family Jack loves. It is dangerous work to try and stop them but Jack is up to the task and will kill for those he finds precious. Oh yes, he will kill. 

I've heard good things about Repairman Jack novels for years and had only recently thought about giving them a chance.

I'm glad I did.

The book is over four hundred pages and yet it feels short because you love the characters, the story, the action. 

It is Pulp. It has heart. It is pretty damn neat-o. What else could I ask for? Not much, it is never dull. 


Ultra Hip Classic Movie Review: WarGames


Rating: ****

David Lightman (Mathew Brodrick) is a smart but always in trouble high schooler who is obsessed with computers and computer games.  At the time when WarGames starts, Jenifer (Ally Sheedy) begins to take interest in him so he shows off the only way he can: flaunting his skills at breaking into secure computer systems all across the country. Also, early on in the story, Lightman reads in a magazine that a company is coming out with new games and he decides to hack into the system so he can play those games before they hit shelves.

Only that doesn't happen, at least not in the way he planned.

Instead, Lightman does break into a computer system and plays games but these games are from a Government computer, specifically the  North American Aerospace Defense Command and even more specifically a super computer called The WHOPPER, whose task is to play WWIII over and over again.

Once inside, Lightman plays Global Thermonuclear War but what is actually happening is NORAD thinks the Russians are attacking.

From the description about you can tell WarGames is pretty exciting but it's also heartfelt. Lightman knows what he did was wrong but not at first, not until after he learns whose system he breaks into, which he does so when he discovers the password of a man named Falken who built the system.

The movie is tech savvy but it doesn't beat you over the head with it. In fact, it doesn't beat you over the head with it at all. They use such and such eqiument but compare to our stuff today they might as well be rocks and stickes. How technically good can a film be over thirty years old?

What makes the film special however is the story of a boy who screwed up royally, the guilt in which he feels and the need, the overpowering urge to correct it. He, by accident, is going to kill millions. You can see it on his face every second after it is mentioned or he thinks about it. Eventually, he is caught and is sent to NORAD. They don't believe him, they think he is a recuit for the Soviets. But then, he escapes.

Soon, Lightman finds Falken but he doesn't want to help, he wants to die. His son Joshua is dead, he has lost faith in the government in which he helped. Lightman leaves Falken's house and says to Jennifer who is there with him, “I never learn to swim.”

You could tell he feels that way about a lot of things. There is remorse in Lightman's eyes, there is pain because he will never grow up, never get married, never learn to swim. It is sad to think that these weapons are such a technological marvel, objects that are monuments to our intellectual power and they are also of such power that even today we find them almost Gods who can destroy us at any time.

When will we learn?

The end of WarGames, I won't tell you, is perfect. It shows that one character is now above the folly of this kind of war and then, when he saw that one line...again, I won't tell you. If that character can understand why these weapons can never be used why can't all of us.

This is why WarGames, as far as I can tell, needs to be remembered forever.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why I Hate Breaks and Why I Need Them: A Writer Laments by Joseph Lewis Szabo III

I am a workaholic. There I said it. Folks who are workaholics don't do it because they need money or because their professional lives are so much better then their personal lives. They do it because if they don't do it they feel like something is wrong with them. If they don't feel like something is wrong with them they know they are not in the right profession because that is what they were made to do, right? 

I'm a writer. I write a lot. I don't know if I'm a good one even. I know I'm never happy with my work which begs the question: why they hell do you do it then? 

Well, because the actual act if writer for me is better then sex, better then eating, better then a day at Disneyland, better then anything I can possibly imagine. 

It is totally and completely for me and it's only after I write that I see that I failed at it. Sure, it maybe just a first draft but besides being a workaholic I also have a Obsessive Compulsive who thinks if it's not write the first time it can never be write and so I failed as an artist and as a human being. 

Too hard on myself? 

You bet your ass but that is all me.  I take pills for it but they only lessen the pain, not completely take it away. So with that in mind there are days when I just can't take the pain anymore, when I tired of kicking myself in the nuts emotionally over petty bullshit like a comma missing or a plot that doesn't work the first time. 

Yes, I love writing and I just hate myself for not being a God at it. 

This has been going on for years, decades. I would would write every day over a thousand works of text and doing it has made me work happy then ever except when it doesn't. And there are going to to be people at their who say stop writing, do something else, be a different person. 

Fuck that! 

It would be better if you told me to cut off an arm. 

Putting words down is all I want and all I need and I can't stop, I won't stop. If a hero writer of mine told me to stop, if they said I had no talent, if they swore no one would ever read my work I still would not stop. I want this for me. The problem is I am me. It has nothing really do with writing. 

If I was a born plumber and I kept on myself about how I didn't get the toilet fixed the first time out I'm sure I would feel just as miserable.    

Which brings the point of the essay: breaks. 

I hate them. I want to work. I need to work. In fact, I'm writing an essay write now about why I have to take a break from work but actually not taken a break. 

So, it's that time again. Break time. And over break time I will probably think of nothing but writing. It's happened before and it will happen again. It sucks. 

I won't be back for at least a week. I promised I would give you the two essays which I usually do at the end of the month but I can't. I am blocked and I need time off to do something else with my life even though writing is all I want to do. 

Boy, does nature have a wicked sense of humor. 

Again, I will take a break and for that...I am royally pissed. 

Joseph Lewis Szabo III (pointman74250)