The Land of OCKT and the Adventures of Peeje, the Kat Herder

Today, my good friend M. O. Muriel announces the official release of her middle-grade fantasy illustrated novel “The Land of OCKT and the Adventures of Peeje, the Kat Herder.”

Go check it out at Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/104545

or visit the official facebook page, where you can see the book illustrations in their full glory:

http://www.facebook.com/TheLandofOCKT

What can I say — I’m insanely proud of my friend for choosing the curvy road of e-publishing! Go share the joy! Join the fun! Whatcha waiting for? Go!!

[From “Nothing Much — And Then Even Less”] End of the Year Reports

Sci-fi/action/adventure movies.

I have yet to see a few of them (Moon being the one I look forward to the most), but I managed to catch most of the ones that defined this year’s lineup.

Can’t say that the arrow doesn’t tip towards “disappointed,” but there are a few that helped to achieve some balance.

So, here’s the (definitely non-exhaustive) list:

Personal biggest letdown: Terminator 4.

I expected a lot from this movie. Not depth — Terminator movies don’t make it high on my list for depth. But I hoped for great action, neat special effects, and just a general fun adrenaline rush. Some of the effects were nice. Most of the time, though, I spent going, “This is dumb” and “Yeah, right.” Not exactly the reaction I want in a movie. Even if some of the effects were nice. So, whatever.

Most hyped movie I hated and regret spending money on: District 9.

WTF?!? Every single person — human and alien — was an utter and complete imbecile. I won’t even go into the stupidity of the situation itself, and the implausibility of the setting. My suspension of disbelief lasted for about the first ten minutes. The rest of the time I spent writhing in agony. Lost a movie buddy over it — he blamed me for ruining the movie for him, and I could do only so much to not reply “It didn’t need my help.” The atmosphere was nicely done, sure. A slide show of photographs taken this year, from across the globe, could have achieved the same emotional effect and would have carried a better message. So, whatever.

Most hyped movie I hated but didn’t regret seeing: Avatar.

Stunning movie. One big WOW. I’m tantalized at the notion of what can be done with this technology. My first IMAX movie, didn’t get a headache, what a trip! But the big “but” … By the end of the movie, I was rooting for the evil, despicable humans. First of all, I’ve had my share of propaganda growing up and I’ve developed a natural aversion to the “art-form” even if the message isn’t all that bad. Because, frankly, while the “coming of age” story was nice, the “noble and spiritual savages vs. evil technology” thing was disgusting, and, I’m sorry, maybe I AM evil and chauvinistic, but I can’t just happily cheer on as humans (nameless grunts, sure, but still human) are being thrown about and speared through and crushed and so on and on by the pure and cuddly ten foot smurfs. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong. Making them corporate mercs instead of soldiers is a pathetic PR cope-out, and I’m sick and tired of the “we $$ killed $$ our $$ Earth, $$ now $$ off $$ to $$ spread $$ the $$ misery $$ elsewhere” or “gun-happy psychopath” symbol stamped on all eeeevil guy foreheads that makes them “okay to kill.” Can’t justify it with not enough development budget to get a story with some depth beyond fashionable political frustrations, can they? Hammering a message is amateurish, and, frankly, that’s all the story was — the hammer using which the message was supposed to stick. Very pretty hammer, true, so much so that I don’t really regret being hit with it. But don’t blame me if I’m pissed after the fact… But WORST OF ALL… What was up with being asked to cheer on a main character who betrays every single person in the movie at least once, was dumb, reckless, and merely lucky throughout, never took a single decision that was not solely for his own benefit, and never displayed even a speck of any redeeming qualities? Talk about bad writing and a turn-off story … So, whatever.

Most annoying movie of the year: The Road.

Er… Another WTF? Was the apocalyptic event something that killed off anyone who had more than two braincells to bang together? Oh, and was the dad supposed to teach the kid to survive, or was he making sure that the kid had no chance to make it when he died? I haven’t read the book, so there might have been more sense to the novel. But the movie was just ridiculous. Perfect food for any conspiracy theory freak out there who thinks there are governments/aliens/pink sentient bubbles doing everything possible to dumb us down as a nation/species/random moving meatballs. So, whatever.

And for a few bright spots:

Mindless fun movie of the year: Star Trek.

Never been a Star Trek fan, but this was a fun ride. Required gigantic suspension of disbelief, but I had no issues maintaining it. The movie didn’t take itself seriously, it didn’t try to outdo itself. Thus, I was able to stay with it and enjoy it. So, yey!

Fan service movie of the year: The Watchmen.

One of my favorite comic books, the only superhero comic book I truly enjoyed (I’m a Vertigo kind of girl, what can I say). The movie, despite my fears, did it justice. Yes, it was cheesy in places. Yes, it lingered on irrelevant things, and sped through stuff that was kind of important. But, man, I won’t beat about the bush. One word: Rorschach. So, big yey!

Not really sci-fi, but just because I want to fill in the list with positive stuff movie of the year: Up.

I guess it was marketed as a kids movie, but it had quite a few adult themes going for it, and it was gooood. There really isn’t much more I can say. So, yey.

Guilty pleasure movie, even if it wasn’t necessarily “good”: Push.

After seeing Sunshine, I’m a Chris Evans fan. There. I’ve said it. I’m also a Hong Kong flicks fan (both for the action/drama and the vibe of the city). And I love anti-hero type movies. Yeah, sure, there were issues with the movie… But who cares? They faded in the background to a superb atmosphere, decent action, strong characters, and a non-intruding plot. So, that’s another yey.

Neatest indie movie of the year: Ink.

Very nice once it starts coming together, and it wraps up quite well. Yey!

And I think this about sums it up.

[From “Nothing Much — And Then Even Less”] Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

I’ve discovered a place that publishes short fantasy fiction that I actually enjoy reading!

You can find it at:

http://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.com/

Perfectly readable fiction, with engaging characters and intriguing situations, and that classical quality of having an actual story to tell (as opposed to a point to make, which I’ve been seeing too much in modern SF/F short fiction).

The focus of the magazine is on Heroic and Sword&Sorcery Fantasy (action, adventure, and People Doing the Right Thing). It’s great to see a quite well done revival of this sub-genre.

I look forward to the next issue!

Also, here’s a link to an interview with the editors:

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly — The Interview

(I’ve linked the first part — for the other two, go to the “Newer Post” link on the bottom of the blog)

[From “Nothing Much — And Then Even Less”] Checking In.

So, lately I’ve been a bit on a philosophical kick. I wrote something like four looong posts for this place revolving around “My Island” — a mental exercise I do from time to time, on what would be an “ideal” society, politically, economically, and socially, counting the fickle nature of human beings and the advance of technology. Of course, I thought better than actually publishing the posts (mostly because they weren’t self-contained essays, but more like random thoughts jumbled together). Maybe one day, I’ll compile all of it into a long essay or maybe even a book. But not today. And not here.

Instead, today I’ll announce that I’ve finally discovered a place for short fiction that actually works for me! But that deserves it’s own post. With the name of it as a title. So, that’s coming next.