On My Shelves: Spider-Man: Homecoming

This movie (plus small segments in Captain America: Civil War) represents the third depiction of Marvel's flagship hero Spider-Man in fifteen years. The first, starting in 2002, was Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3. Andrew Garfield rebooted the role in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Now Tom Holland takes up the webslinging role. Unlike the prior two incarnations, this version of Spider-Man doesn't bother us with the origin story. In that, I think the movie does depend on the viewer having [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: Watchmen

Alan Moore and David Gibbon's Watchmen is, justifiably, a landmark in the comic-book universe, a carefully-planned attempt to analyze and deconstruct the standard superhero universe while, at the same time, staying true to some of its most powerful tropes. Watchmen was also made into a movie, which in my view managed to stick fairly close to the original miniseries/graphic novel, but of necessity had to cut out some rather important elements (discussed below). If you don't want spoilers galore, don't read any farther! The setting of Watchmen [ Continue reading... ]

Challenges of the Deeps: Chapter 25

There's another group we need to look in on... -----   Chapter 25.      Dajzail ripple-walked from the airlock down the ramp; Alztanza himself waited there, holding his fighting-claws rigid in salute. "Guard not," he said to Alztanza, who immediately relaxed his stance. "It is good to see you again, 'Tanza." The Fleet Master clattered a smile at him and they briefly clasped claws. "And you, Daj. How was your journey?" "Well enough, though it took me homeyears, it seemed, to extricate myself from the Embassy. I have selected [ Continue reading... ]

Why I Write the Way I Do

  All authors develop a style of writing – something that makes their stories theirs. Some of the "signature" is in the way they use language – particular turns of phrase and patterns of prose – while other parts of the signature will show up in the themes they like to revisit, the types of characters they like – or don't like – the things they'll show or hide, and of course the plots they choose to do, or not do. Now that I've been doing this for well over a decade (which seems so strange to me – it doesn't seem that long, unless I [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix Ascendant: Chapter 11

  Where there are heroes, there must be a villain...   ------     Chapter 11.      Once more the scroll remained silvery, blank, even as the voice spoke from it. "A few weeks only, now." "Really? You have made good time. The matrix remains intact?" "Astonishingly so. I need only focus on my intended path and impression, and it brings forth the words, the posture, the gestures… everything I need." The voice paused, and in the silence it read something else. "You sound troubled, my friend." "It [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix Ascendant: Chapter 6

We can't go on without occasionally looking in on the OTHER side of the board...   ------     Chapter 6. "They … they seem to be exactly as they were," Bolthawk murmured, in a tone of mingled fear and awe. It followed the false Justiciar's gaze to where Mist Owl stood in conversation with the earlier Silver Eagle, Gareth Lamell, and Skyharrier. "Oh, indeed, they are exactly as they were." It chuckled. "I suppose your surprise comes from your first re-introduction to your fallen comrades?" Assured by its [ Continue reading... ]

On My (Virtual) Shelves: GrrlPower

Sydney: "Inverse Ninja! Inverse Ninja!" Vehemence: "… Heed your genre-savvy protégé, Colonel; the main event is indeed about to start."   A webcomic by Dave Barrack that started back in 2010, GrrlPower updates twice a week. A superhero comic, it focuses on a predominantly female cast and is specifically centered on the mystery and (mis)adventures of Sydney Scoville, a rail-thin, ADHD (medicated, and the medication isn't strong enough), genius ultra-geek girl in a world where comics aren't the only place where you'll see [ Continue reading... ]

On My Shelves: The Tin Woodman of Oz

  Woot the Wanderer is, as his name says, a wanderer of Oz, originally from the Gillikin country, who arrives in his travels at the Palace of the Tin Woodman. That worthy, always interested in newcomers, has Woot brought in and asks him to tell of himself and his travels. But after this, as Woot is enjoying a dinner (which, naturally, neither the Tin Woodman nor his current companion, the Scarecrow, partake of), Woot asks how the Woodman came to be made of tin.   The Woodman recounts the story – how he came to love a Munchkin [ Continue reading... ]

Under the Influence: The Lost Princess of Oz

  Eleventh in the series, The Lost Princess of Oz follows up on Rinkitink in Oz with another excellent tale, one of the best in the canon, and one of those most deeply influential in my writing of Polychrome. Dorothy Gale, going to Ozma's rooms to ask if she and her friends Betsy and Trot could take the Saw-Horse and royal carriage to visit the Munchkin country, discovers that Ozma has disappeared; even more disturbing, her Magic Picture is gone, so they cannot use it to discover where Ozma is. Shortly, they learn that Glinda's [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 28

Miri had just seen something startling...   ------     Chapter 28.      Miri stepped into her guestroom at the Reflect's mansion and closed the door, leaning against it heavily. I'm shaking! Shaking like a terrified human! Her current body was human, in a way… but in all the centuries she'd been in such bodies, she'd never had such a reaction. Miri held her arm up in front of her, watched the trembling of the delicate hand, the imprecision of its movements, with stunned fascination; it took twice as long as normal [ Continue reading... ]