Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prometheus Plot Synopsis

So I just discovered that the Prometheus plot synopsis has been leaked online. I've read it twice now, and it's mind-blowing. Just as a disclaimer...this thing could be fake. However, I don't think so. It's just too good. I'm posting it here for you to decide for yourself. Have fun reading.  All photographs from the set were taken from Entertainment Weekly.
PROMETHEUS

CAST
Elizabeth Shaw...Noomi Rapace
Rayden Holloway...Logan Marshall-Green
Meredith Vickers...Charlize Theron
David 4.0...Michael Fassbender
Jeremiah Janek...Idris Elba
Theo Zedmore...Guy Pearce
Logan...Ben Foster
Ravel...Benedict Wong
Chance...Emun Elliot
Mudow...Kate Dickie
Yuri...Rafe Spall
Aldrich...Frank Kelly
Francis...Sean Harris
Siena...Tal Berkovich
Lettap...James Payton
Tembrook...Tuppence Middleton

Earth. The beginnings of our world. In an opening montage, we watch as our primordial planet is terraformed and bioformed by seemingly all-powerful, Godlike alien entities...the ENGINEERS. The seeds of life are introduced to Earth for the first time by these fantastic extra-terrestrials, who have the power to create and manipulate both mechanical and biological matter at will. The montage ends as the earliest genetic recipe for life is sent forth from the Engineers' massive, towering CITADEL in the dark desert.

The desolate desert of Africa: 2085. The prehistoric ruins of the Engineers' Citadel is discovered by a corporate construction team tasked with building a nuclear-powered comm-array in the wilderness. Amidst the ancient remains are found highly advanced, biomechanical relics with are determined to be of extra-terrestrial origin. This catches the attention of the mega-conglomerate WEYLAND-YUTANI CORPOTATION, who finances a massive archaeological excavation of the citadel in the hopes of reverse-engineering the alien biotech for financial gain. Running the operation is MEREDITH VICKERS, a cold, calculating corporate executive, who recruits intelligent and independent astrophysicist DR. ELIZABETH SHAW to head up the research team. Assisting Dr. Shaw are xenoarchaeologist DR. THEO ZEDMORE and her fellow astrophysicist DR. LOGAN. Shaw uncovers the secret of the citadel when she discovers a chamber of star charts, which seem to lead the way to the home planet of the Engineers. Also uncovered is evidence suggesting that the Engineers had a database of all life on Earth, and may even have been responsible for its creation including Man.
In a partially-submerged MANHATTAN, Vickers meets with Dr. Shaw and an OPO, (Off-Planet-Officer), CAPTAIN JERAMIAH JANEK, and plans a space mission following the discovered star charts in an effort to find and make first contact with the Engineers. For the scientists and explorers onboard, it will be a journey of discovery, but for Vickers, it's merely a way of obtaining new technology so that Weyland-Yutani may retain the lead in the competitive race to establish colonies off-world.
The depths of space: 2090. A highly-advanced, top-of-the-line ISRV (Interstellar Research Vessel) PROMETHEUS decelerates as it reaches its target solar system. The vessel's crew emerges from their cryo-chambers. Along with Elizabeth Shaw, Theo Zedmore, Logan, Meredith Vickers, and Captain Janek, the crew of the Prometheus is comprised of: First Officer MUDOW, Security Officer RAYDEN HOLLOWAY, Navigator CHANCE, Helm Officer RAVEL, Operations Android DAVID 4.0, Political Officer ALDRICH, Medical Officer FRANCIS, Engineer YURI, and Technical Officers SIENA, LETTUP, and TEMBROOK. The crew gets acclimated to their removal from cryo-sleep, their muscles in atrophy from five years without use. Holloway assists Shaw in her physical therapy exercises.

The crew prepares for arrival at the home planet of the Engineers. Shaw and Holloway are instantly attracted to each other, initiating a romantic relationship. However, as they enter the Zeta 2 Reticuli star system, Prometheus encounters a massive disturbance which hadn't appeared on scanners, one even more powerful than a black hole: a wormhole in space. Prometheus is sucked into the wormhole, and after a harrowing ride, emerges on the other end. The ship crashes on a barren planet, which the damaged computer system identifies as the mission's final destination.

The crew sets about attempting to repair the Prometheus, while Elizabeth Shaw leads a recon expedition to investigate nearby structures, which turn out to be a cavernous Engineer temple. Inside the temple, Shaw's team encounters a bizarre BIO-BRAIN, a biomechanical humanoid face set within a towering pillar, as well as thousands of seemingly primitive URNS. David takes several of the urns back to the vessel for analysis.

Investigating the urns, David discovers that they contain the genetic material for thousands of species within a viscous liquid called BIOFORMER which can rewrite any living organism on a cellular level. Basically, possession of the substance gives its owner the power to create life. Vickers interacts with David and seemingly innocently leads to the Bioformer infecting David through a cut in his finger.

Within the depths of the Temple, we find several living Engineers who discover the transgression of the Humans, and remotely rewrite the stolen Bioformer to make it into a weapon. The Engineers capture Holloway and run a number of horrific experiments on him, injecting him with the Bioformer and allowing him to return to the vessel.

Subsequently, the crew of the Prometheus begins to fall victim to the now weaponized substance, as the "carrier" Holloway injects Ravel, Zedmore, Francis, Siena, Lettup, and Tembrook. The victims begin to lose their humanity and slowly transform, experiencing nightmarish visions and hallucinations and making pilgrimages to the depths of the Temple to receive instructions from the Bio-Brain. Holloway, in particular, is resistant to the transformation, fighting against the alien influence with his feelings for Shaw and his responsibilities as security officer. Meanwhile, David finds that the Bioformer is making him into a biological being...making him Human. The crew also finds that their trip through the wormhole took them back hundreds of millions of years and they are actually stranded on primordial Earth, having moved through space and time.
Eventually, as alien influence and the continued lurking presence of the Engineers becomes clear, the crew of the Prometheus turns on each other as the infected human victims fully mutate into PROTOFORMS: vicious, skeletal alien monstrosities which proceed to assault the unaffected Human crew through the halls of the Prometheus.

Mudow, Logan, Chance, Aldrich, Yuri, and Janek end up being destroyed by the Protoforms. In a strange, erotic ceremony, the Protoforms seemingly mate with the Bio-Brain and each other to create thousands of EGGS, the first of a new generation of the monsters. Meredith Vickers is revealed to be a sleeper CONSTRUCT of the Engineers, who are still active in their far future and Shaw's present due to the time-travelling abilities of the wormhole. Vickers was grown in an Engineer lab but escaped, fleeing to Earth while always wanting to her find creators and take their power. The Engineers activate Vickers' secondary GENE PROGRAMMING, and she transforms into an ALPHA PROTOFORM: the STAR BEAST.

At last, the two remaining crew members, Elizabeth Shaw and David, seek to confront the Engineers in the Temple. The Godlike entities prove to be utterly evil, and David sacrifices himself as he's dissolved in the LIFE SEED BIOFORMER which is the basic genetic recipe for MAN: the former android David, it turns out, is the basis for all Mankind. Shaw is captured by Holloway, but he regains enough of his humanity to remotely activate an Engineer vessel for Shaw's escape, then holds the other Protoforms and Engineers at bay. As Shaw escapes, she finds herself in the midst of the initial Engineer terraforming of Earth which we had witnessed in the opening montage, chased by the former Meredith Vickers who is now the gigantic, horrific Star Beast.

Shaw makes to her escape vessel which blasts off for the wormhole, Holloway fighting the Star Beast with both falling into the wormhole and disappearing. An Engineer PILOT detaches from the Temple in a FAMILIAR VESSEL and follows Shaw, but is lost in the wormhole. Shaw emerges above the Earth of her present day; however, she's deemed insane and responsible for the loss of her expedition and confined to a psychiatric hospital by the Company. It's implied that there are at least some of those who believe Shaw's tale, but have silenced her as part of a cover-up.
In the final scene, we see the vessel of the Engineer that was chasing Elizabeth Shaw emerge from the wormhole in the Zeta 2 Reticuli star system, still in the prehistoric past, and crash on a nearby planetoid, the Engineer Pilot helplessly lost and the EGGS in the ship's cargo hold stirring as something alive moves from within...

The Beginning

So what do you guys think? Excited? Terrified? All of the above?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How clean is the language in your novel?

This is the Nebula Award. It's cool. I want one.
Every once in a while, I read a post written by an author who believes that swear words, vulgarity, and sex should not be in a novel. Usually these posts come from prudish or religious individuals who have somehow gotten it into their heads that by doing so, it somehow helps their "sales".

I have just one thing to say about that and it has to do with this short story located here.

I suggest that you go and take a look at it. The title is "Spar" and it's by Kij Johnson.

It's a 2009 Nebula winner, was nominated for a Hugo, and was a finalist for a Locus award. In my world, these are amazing credits...awards that I would like to have.

So if you are one of these writers that is afraid to use swear words in your writing, if you are one of those writers that is afraid to portray graphic sex...I think you should ask yourself why.  If the writing demands the use of it, these things are in your toolbox.  To not use them may be the reason why your novel has a flat tire or why your short story is just...meh.

That's just my opinion of course. Take it for what you will.

For the record, I use the "f-bomb" in my book quite often. And yeah, there's one scene of graphic sex. But I'm not marketing my book to kids.  I guess that taking risks in your writing can be the equivalent of sticking your neck out, right? 

"Oh my goodness...what will my family think of me if I show teenagers swearing and having sex?"

What will they think of you indeed?

Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop and an Amazon Gift Card

I missed you guys! First off, thank you for all the support on Goodreads in hitting "to read" on my upcoming book. I spilled over to page-2 sometime during the long weekend and that made me squee just a little.

Today's post is a giveaway.  Blogger ==> Sarah Belliston <==has organized a 12-days of Christmas blog hop.  If you go to her website, she has a list of twelve blogs that are all giving something away for the month of December.  If you like free stuff, then visit the 12 blogs, comment on them, and you may win something if you're lucky.

So which day am I? I'm the "Ten Lords A Leaping" day of Christmas.
To celebrate my role in the festivities, I will be giving away one $10 Amazon Gift Certificate to celebrate the Christmas season (Ten Lords A Leaping--$1 for each lord--I thought I was being clever).

I would hope that whoever the lucky winner may be, that they would consider buying one of the fine Indie books that I have reviewed on this blog to help out a fellow author.

Okay, so how do you win? Easy.

All you have to do is comment on this post and on the chosen day detailed by Sarah's blog, I will use random.org and select a winner and send you the gift certificate through the email. It's that simple :)

So comment away and have a great Monday. I hope your long weekend was great and that you didn't get "pepper sprayed" at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
UPDATE: Sarah Belliston now has the post up. So please go check it out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Practice Cake by Dalya Moon is le awesome


I read a book called Practice Cake.

I read it.

I loved it.

And now I'm telling you about it.

It's YA but it isn't paranormal.  Rather, it's very normal.  It even comes with a reality t.v. show. And despite the fact that I am nor never will be a celebrity of any kind, it struck close to heart.
The setting of Practice Cake is a wonderful bakery that instills within
me the same wonderful feeling I had when I watched Ratatouille.
Near the very end of this book, all that Maddie has gone through comes into a brilliant focus with this clear line:

"The world is full of people who are willing to use you, and they aren't always who they seem."

I barely learned this lesson only a few years ago, and I daresay that some never learn it.  What Ms. Moon has wrought with "Practice Cake" is a beautiful novel for young women everywhere by giving voice to a protagonist called Maddie who seems to meet all the wrong men.

At first, I was annoyed with Maddie. She didn't seem to have any spine at all. She was a tumbleweed, a victim that things happened to, and she rarely took charge of her life. Instead events just happened to her and she seemed entirely out of control of her own decisions even when they came to something as large as moving to Australia with a man that she hardly knew.
Maddie goes from Chaos to Order in this book. It's something every one of us must
suffer through at one point in our lives. The journey is beautiful.
But Ms. Moon also gives Maddie great strength. And this comes full circle in the end when Maddie learns to pay attention to that voice inside. The last few chapters of this book turn this novel into more than just a slice-of-life story about a girl that works in a bakery.  Ms. Moon sticks the ending as solid as a gold-medal figure skater can perform a quad. It's in this ending where she earns her five stars (out of five).
In "Practice Cake" Maddie grows as a person and the journey is filled with great lines, whimsy, and the voice of a girl that is leaving her teen years behind and becoming a young woman.  And in the end, Maddie realizes that family has got her back and that the man of her dreams is right there in front of her (and has been almost the whole time).  All she needed to do is say "I choose the car" and just like in a game show, what's behind door number 2 becomes "the road less traveled by and it makes all the difference". And to boot, he smells like sunshine. :)
This is Dalya Moon.
She wrote a wonderful book.
Q: Why did we have to wait so long for Hudson to really come into the picture? The man smells like sunshine. It's not fair that you just put him in at the very end and not let us spend a little time with him.

A: I'm so glad you liked Hudson! I agree it was cruel of me to leave him to the end.

Q: Why are Parker, Drew, and Snackboy so horrible? I can believe that there are men out there like this. But in defense of men and boys everywhere, I think that there is some literary hyperbole you are exercising in parading out the worst traits of men and throwing them at your protagonist. However, that is your right since this is your story. What I'm interested in is where all this man-bashing came from? Care to elaborate?

Do you mean ... am I exacting literary revenge on some guys who broke my heart? Like the writer of 500 Days of Summer? Nope, I'm afraid I'm not that scandalous. They're fictional people.

A: I prefer to think that the actions of a character reflect on that character alone, and not the author's opinion of an entire gender, though sometimes I've read books where all the female characters are awful, and it does give me a bad feeling. I hope that my male friends and readers will notice that there are also some terrific male characters in this book and my other stories too.

This does lead into one of the dilemmas writers face, though: is the story balanced? And does it matter, if the point is to tell a story? I remember reading an article, by a person with albinism, about his anger that persons with albinism are always the bad guys in movies, and never the hero. This led me to, years later, write a short story with a protagonist with albinism. But I could have gone the other way, and created the most deliciously evil, pale villain ever. Would that have made me a bad person? Or just an irresponsible writer? Would it make any difference if the author name on the cover were a different gender or ethnicity?

Q: When I read this book, I thought there was a clear message that you were sending out to the young girls that will read it. For me, that message is "Stop being a victim and stand up for yourself." Maddie does this in the elevator using a trope that I've never seen before anywhere...holding a hyperdermic needle to the man she potentially loves to get some answers. In the U.S., this would be considered assault. I don't know if Canada has similar laws. However, I liked it. Am I right on the message, or would you say there is another message here, and I missed it?
There is so much heart break in this book.
A: You make it sound so scandalous! In real life, I don't think people should threaten to assault each other to get to the truth, but this is why it's a novel, and not my how-to manual about how young ladies ought to behave. I'll write that one in forty years or so, once I have it all figured out.

As for a message, I have to say I'm an entertainer first. All things being equal, I think most of us prefer to read stories about protagonists who have some morals, care about others, and finish up a bit smarter than where they started. My job as a writer is to entertain the reader and to facilitate that last thing.

Q: You have an ultra-modern vocabulary and are quite inventive with "Hashtag this and hashtag that..." How do you stay so up-to-date on things young girls are talking about?

A: I have a theory that if I make characters interesting, people will want to believe they're real, so I just try to make them all interesting.

Q: Do girls really think about their boobs as much as Maddie does in this book?

A: The less you have, the more you think about them.
Love is never this simple, is it?
Q: How did you get the bakery details?

A: I would go into my local neighborhood bakeries and stare and stare like a weirdo. A friend finally got me a tour around the kitchen of Butter, a fantastic bakery in the Dunbar area of Vancouver. I asked the baker there what the plastic things covering the rolling trays were called, and he shrugged and said, "Plastic things," so that detail went into the book.

Q: How did you get the idea for this book aside from it being set in Vancouver where you live and it taking place around the time of the riots earlier this year?

A: I came up with the title first, which led naturally to the bakery setting. Then one day I was walking down the sidewalk and realized I was being filmed. I had walked past a local business that has a show on the Food network. Ahah! It all started to come together. I hadn't set a story in Vancouver yet, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity.

I started writing the book in 2010, and I really questioned whether or not to include the riots of Summer 2011, or set it back in Summer 2010. I'm usually very decisive, but I spent weeks debating that one choice. It scared me, so I decided to go for it.

Q: What advice do you have for others who want to write YA?

It's all about the characters.


If you would like a copy of Practice Cake, you can buy it for your very own on Amazon for only $2.99.

You can find Dalya Moon at her blog where she frequently blogs about her projects and the writing process.

I am going on a blog break for one week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy your turkey or whatever it is that you eat. I will pick up blogging again on Monday, November 28th, 2011. In the meantime, I will be visiting blogs and commenting on them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hollywood is screwing up Akira

Akira is one of my favorite movies. It's also one of the first movies that I saw that made me proud to say I was half-Japanese. Godzilla, though cool, just never gave me that feeling.  The Hollywood adaptation for it is gaining steam. I originally was excited to see the movie, but the casting is ridiculous.

1) The kids in Akira are all just that...they're KIDS. Like sixteen at most. That includes Tetsuo, the uber-hero Kaneda, and their girlfriends/friends.  So they go and hire Garret Hedlund of Tron Legacy to play Kaneda. I'm sorry but he's WAY TOO OLD.  Then they hire Kristen Stewart as Kaneda's girlfriend and she's TOO OLD AS WELL.

2) The kids should be Asian. Kristen Stewart and Garret Hedlund ARE NOT ASIAN. They're not even close. This is like old Hollywood hiring Mickey Rooney to play a Chinese man in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I feel insulted.


I think Kristen Stewart gaining the lead female role is the straw that really breaks the camel's back for me. This movie adaptation is going to suck big time. She's like the male version of Keanu Reeves...completely wooden, can't act, is terrible.

I'm feeling so disappointed right now. >,<

For those of you out there that love YA...just so you can relate, this would be like casting Tyra Banks to play Katniss in the Hunger Games.  Imagine that and maybe you can sympathize with how I feel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finding the right words

As writers, we have the power of words. How we say something can make all the difference in the world. Watch this video and see it for yourself. It will only take less than 2 minutes of your life to do so.

Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snow White and the Huntsman

I kinda like this trailer. It's a different take on the whole "Snow White" thing, but I'm sold.  What do you guys think?
I don't think Kristen Stewart is very pretty...at least not to be playing Snow White. However she's so popular from the Twilight films that I guess she can star in anything.  Wasn't Bella "plain"? Seems to me that she was. Interesting that someone "plain" can go to play someone that is more beautiful than the evil Charlize Theron (as the witch).

Monday, November 14, 2011

American Horror Story

I have been watching American Horror Story, and I have to say, this is the most f'd up show that I have ever seen. But I'm hooked. And this isn't only because I'm a huge Zachary Quinto fan (and I'll watch just about anything that has Mr. Quinto in it). The show is completely unlike anything else on television.

Here's what we have in just the first five episodes (they are on Hulu for free if you want to watch them):

1) Mongoloid child that keeps breaking into the house and says, "You're all gonna die" and stuff like that. She's just really creepy. Her mother locks her in a closet filled with mirrors so that she only has herself to look at to remind her of how ugly she is.  Of course, the girl screams at the top of her lungs while the mother goes and has sex with a young man.

2) Ghost/demon in a black rubber suit that impregnates the lady of the house who thinks that she's having mind-blowing sex with her attractive psychiatrist husband.

3) Ghosts everywhere. You don't even know who's a ghost and who isn't. The teenage girl in the show falls in love with one and he's responsible for a terrible Columbine-like murder rampage in a local high school. Yet she's willing to give her virginity to the ghost on a romantic beach on Halloween night.

4) The slutty old woman maid ghost who looks like an attractive vixen that's always trying to get the psychiatrist protagonist to cheat on his marriage with her.

5) The next door neighbor played by Jessica Lange who gives a "twist" to the faded southern belle. She's a cougar, a psychopathic murderer, and delivers her lines with the charm and calm of a female Hannibal Lecter. When she brutally murders her husband and a girl he's screwing, you swear that her pulse barely goes above 60. Plus she puts ipecac into some muffins and has her mongoloid child spit in them and then takes them as a gift to the next door neighbor.

And it goes on and on and on. The writing in this show is amazing, riveting, and compelling. It's exactly the adult fare that I can really sink my teeth into. If you aren't watching it, I suggest that you do. It's plain awesome.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A note on my banner...

I have always loved blue eyes. I blame
where I was raised. No one in Utah looks
like me being half-Japanese.
I got a few comments this week regarding the new look of my blog.  I chose the wolf eyes banner up top simply because it's all wintry in Salt Lake City now and the eyes are a pretty blue. I like blue eyes and have since kindergarten. I remember my teacher handed out papers to all the kids. She asked us to take a crayon from a box and write what color we thought our eyes were.  I wrote down blue because I loved blue. Then she passed out a mirror and told us to take a look and see.  I looked in the mirror and saw brown eyes the color of dog dung. I was traumatized. But I'll never forget it. Prior to that time period, I don't even think I was aware of what I looked like really.  Maybe it was the start of my body image disorder. I have no idea.

So yeah...it has nothing to do with my book. I wanted to make a banner that could reflect my book. Then I realized how impossible that seems without custom artwork. In one sentence I would pitch my book as Schrodinger's cat only with hockey sticks, glass spiders, and monsters from the id. Only no one knows what that means.  Maybe the wolf eyes might work in one aspect. They're more serious than goofy penguins. If I had to rate my book with MPAA ratings, it would get a R-rating.  The penguins that I used before might make people think, "Oh Mike's book is great for kindergartners!"... which is a resounding..."ummm noooo."  I have the goofy penguins banner on my computer hard drive if I ever want to resurrect it. But I think I'll try the wolf eyes for a little while. Who knows...maybe when spring rolls around I'll switch to bunnies.
My story has been as challenging as this for me to define.
Also I finished my final edits on my book and sent it back to DDP. I say final because I've read through it twice (in the last two weeks) and fussed and fussed with it and it really needs to just get out of here. If it stays here more, I'll start changing some things.  I'm really happy at this very instant with the way it looks. I can't say that I'd feel that way tomorrow or the next day. So I'm not ever going to reopen it. I'm just going to let it go. I don't want to edit anymore. Not on this project. To give you an idea of how much editing this book has gone through I will tell you. I wrote a first draft in 2008. A beta reader that I trust pointed out glaring things wrong with it.  So I rewrote 3/4 of the book. Seriously. Then I hired a private editor and edited it line by line. Then I edited it myself. Then I went on query and submission. DDP picked it up. Then I edited it again with a professional full grade editor line by line. Then I just now edited it again on my own as a final look through. And then I re-read it twice in two weeks and changed more stuff.  Last night, I rewrote the opening paragraph fifteen times.  I think everything is perfect. So I'm done. I'm letting go.
As writers, there can be a point where we edit something to death.
I think I've gotten close to this point with my current manuscript.
In a few weeks I may have some advanced reader copies that I can give out on my blog. They'll be paperback with no cover art.  Paperback with cover art won't be available probably until summer 2012. Ebook release will come first in May. That's just how DDP does business. I know I've got some people who have been extremely loyal to the blog so if they want a free copy of said book with no cover art to read before the release date, I think I can make that happen.  Plus I can start querying some of the sites that review Fantasy & Sci-Fi stuff and see if I can get in their queue.

Have a great weekend. I'm off to see Immortals!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Prometheus is coming...

One month after my book comes out in 2012, I will be going to the first available showing to see this movie.  For those of you unfamiliar with Ridley Scott's roots, the Academy Award winning director made a name for himself by teaming up with legendary artist H.R. Geiger to create the most original science-fiction alien probably ever to grace the screen.  And now, he's returning to those roots to give us a science fiction fable that speaks to the originality of the Weyland-Yutani universe that brought us such quotes as, "I think we should nuke the site from orbit; it's the only way to be sure."

Here is a synopsis.  The film is set in space for the most part, similar to that of "ALIEN"; the jumping off point to this project. The film's name "Prometheus" is that of the space vessel used by a crew of select individuals who set off to explore and investigate fragments of "Alien DNA" that provide tantalizing clues as to the origin of mankind on earth.
This is the Space Jockey creature from the original Alien ship
where the crew of the Nostromo reported seeing "thousands of eggs".

The film itself revolves around the Space Jockey creature; as seen in the original film ALIEN (1979). When a team of scientists embark on the aforementioned journey, they get stranded on an alien world which tests their limits; both mental and physical.  In Ridley Scott's own words, the human crew ends up in the darkest part of the universe in a chilling battle of life and death that some describe as absolutely "terrifying".

Prometheus involves a team of scientists known as "The Company".  Their representatives and robot/synthetics investigate and search for keys to unlock man's ultimate mystery. But in the process, they threaten the future existence of mankind and are faced with unimaginable horrors.

The Aliens themselves are said to be much larger than the original "Xenomorphs" we are used to. However, their overall construction will be easily noticable to that of the original Alien canon.
The genius, Ridley Scott.  I humbly bow before you sir. You are a true visionary.
Prometheus will be much more than just an Alien sci-fi horror. Ridley Scott is digging deeper for this project and Prometheus will unlock many questions and will touch on many aspects of life and existence. A true masterpiece.

Filming has already finished. I bet a trailer will be here soon. I did a YouTube search for one because the Wall Street Journal article I read hinted that there was one that got pulled by 20th Century Fox, but all I could find were fakes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A story of gay love?

I love this book and give it five stars out of five.

Okay...what to say about Alex's book because my mind is circling. If you read it casually through from beginning to end, there is nothing new here. A great pilot gets trained and blows up a huge military weapon at the end. But if you go one layer deeper (which I always do), this book is about unconsummated gay love between an older man who is all alone and a young, handsome man who has yet to find himself. Disclaimer: Alex has not said his protag is gay. But I totally think he is. If I made this into a movie, I would want Chris Colfer to play Byron. Chris plays Kurt on Glee. Here's a picture of him:
My vote for the
actor that plays Byron

First: Byron is completely closeted. In this society, men have telepathy and are constantly thrusting each other's minds into one another. Byron keeps his "shields" up most of the time but occasionally lets Bassa (the older man) penetrate him. It's really quite sexual and invasive.

Second: Bassa tells Byron that he can't tell people who he really is. He's afraid that if Byron "comes out of the closet" that other pilots may try to repeat his piloting maneuvers and would die because they just aren't as special as he is. But in the end, Byron has no choice but to "come out" and when he does and succeeds, he gets a standing ovation.

Third: This book is a complete "sausage hang". There are no women. But they aren't needed as this is a "gay" love story in a science-fiction setting.

Fourth: If you think I may be full of crap, then take a look at these sample quotes:
"Despite the vast number of partners and friends over the years, Bassa had never connected with any of them...Byron felt confused and betrayed...He didn't matter to Bassa at all..."
"He felt Bassa's grip on his arm tighten and the sound of movement reached his ears. Byron hesitated, afraid to open his eyes. Reaching deep for the courage, he lifted his head and met Bassa's gaze. Bassa squeezed Byron's arm and released his grasp, stretching his back as he leaned away. Byron moved his arm, stiff from resting in one position for so long."
"He struggled to swallow without losing any of the valuable liquid." <== ?????
Bassa chuckled. "It's probably stronger than you're used to," he offered as Byron gasped for air.
A little, Byron admitted.
"You'll sleep good, I promise."  <==== mmmhmmm
These two are just sharing "Telepathy"
"He caught his breath as the liquid slid down his throat, its warmth causing him to wince. Byron coughed once, unaccustomed to a drink so robust. However, he could feel his muscles relax...He would indeed sleep well tonight."
"He'd protested their pairing at first, but now he was grateful for Bassa's presence. The man had taught him many things, most of which extended well beyond their time in the cockpit." <=== makes you wonder, doesn't it?
This book is pretty damn steamy and is full of homoerotic tension. It's extremely interesting and shows that Alex is really writing two stories here which makes him a great writer. What happens near the end is kind of heart-breaking.

If Alex ever consented to an interview, I would ask him for certain if Byron is a gay man. If he said no, then I truly would be surprised because then all of this would just be a coincidence with an "aww shucks...I just wanted to write a story about a pilot" and I honestly wouldn't be impressed by that at all. But as it stands now (without knowing that)...I'm awarding this book a perfect 5. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Get your short story published, enter a contest and win $500 for Christmas

I grabbed the following post from the Double Dragon Publishing blog.  BTW, my book is now on Goodreads with no cover art. If you have a goodreads account, even if you never intend to buy it or read it, a click on the "to read" button would feel like Christmas :) because I could pretend people liked me :). I also haven't set up the author portion of it yet. I'll do that this weekend when I'm drinking coffee and have time. It won't come out 'til May 2012.

From the DDP website ==>TALES OF FORTANNIS: A BARD’S EYE VIEW was published last year by Double Dragon, and features a number of excellent fantasy stories in the magical world of Fortannis.

The sequel is being prepared now, and submissions are open for short stories of under 10,000 words.

Unpublished authors are encouraged to submit, but will still face the same standards for submissions as the published authors.

All stories should be double-spaced in word or rtf format with 12 point Times Roman font. There should be no spacing after the paragraphs. The first page must contain the name of the story, the word count, and your name, address, email, and phone number. Your cover letter should list any previous publications.

Keep in mind that although these are fantasy stories, you are not limited to telling tales of adventure, with knights fighting dragons and wizards casting powerful spells. The world is merely the setting for the stories.

The first book, while containing plenty of adventures, has much more. There is one story about someone trying to steal the recipe for his favorite pie. Another concerns three goblin children spying on the curious humans. A third involves a con artist trying to mislead a nobleman. The theme of the TALES OF FORTANNIS series is the fantasy world, not the type of story.

Proposals and inquiries must be emailed to michael.ventrella@gmail.com.

Also... there's a short story contest being run by Lulu.  Here's the details from their blog:

Throughout the month of November, Lulu is offering big prizes for quick creativity. All you have to do for a chance to win $500 cash, a professional review, a Barnes and Noble NOOK™, free distribution to the iBookstoreSM and Barnes & Noble NOOK Bookstore™, and free mentions in upcoming Lulu publicity is submit a 600-word short story.

Pretty easy huh?

To find out how you can play just visit the lulu blog.

Winners will be selected by a panel of Lulu judges and announced mid-December after review of all submissions. Bring on your remarkable stories for a chance to win some amazing prizes!

==> My words... if you are sitting on a short story...send it in. Get published. Don't let it sit in a drawer. The worst that could happen is a "no" and a rejection. It's not like we don't suffer through those already on a daily basis.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Third Insecure Post

Boy, one thing that I didn't expect of this blog hop that Alex started three months ago is how fast it makes me realize my life is passing by.

Ladies and gents...it has been a quarter of a year already! Yowsa.

So here's my November 2011 insecurity about writing. It's this:


I know I'm not the only one.  I've seen writers blog about their Big Six publishers and bemoan that their book is going straight to paperback.  I have a mid-size publisher...but the way they do business is based on what works for them with a ten year history.  I see how others do business, and it seems a smidgen ass-backwards, but I tell myself that I'm just being insecure.  Just because other people have things doesn't mean that this is the best way.  Why do I always compare what I have to what other people have? I need to be more appreciative of what I've achieved.

But it's hard.  I guess I always find myself from time-to-time looking at what another person has gotten and asking why I don't have the same thing.

So if I or anyone else can take away anything from this post, it's this:  We're never happy with what we have and only interested in what we lack.  Awareness is everything.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How long before we have a real Robbie the Robot?

If the title of this post confuses you, Robbie the Robot was a $200,000 invention created by movie studios for the amazing 1950's film, Forbidden Planet. It cost so much, that the studio re-used the robot in several projects following Forbidden Planet and the character remained extremely popular.

I recently re-watched Forbidden Planet because I love the story so much. Some of it inspires my first novel that will be available in 2012. But aside from that, I saw a YouTube video of a real life robot that blew my socks off.

Want a sandwich? Well the robot PR2 has learned how to fetch stuff from the fridge, which is great and all, but thanks to a technique called semantic search, it can now bring you a sandwich when it's not even sure where the sandwich is.

"Semantic search" is simply the ability to make inferences about an object based on what is known about similar objects and the environment. It sounds complicated, but it's really just a computerized version of what we humans think of as "common sense." For example, if someone asks you to bring them a cup without telling you exactly where the cup is, you're probably clever enough to infer that cups can be found in drawers or cabinets or dishwashers, and that drawers and cabinets and dishwashers are all usually located in a kitchen, so you can go to the kitchen, poke around for a little bit, and find a cup. Semantic search allows robots to do the same sort of thing.

The advantage of this technique is that it gives robots the ability to infer things that it doesn't know from things that it does know, and use reason to make deductions about parts of the word that it's less familiar with. Additionally, the robot can add to its knowledge base to quickly adapt to new places and people with weird habits. So like, if you're one of those people who stores peanut butter in the bathroom, the robot can start associating peanut butter with bathrooms.

The following demo, from the University of Tokyo and Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen, puts semantic search to the test by tasking a PR2 with fetching a sandwich. The PR2 has no detailed information on sandwiches, but its database tells it that sandwiches are a type of food, and that food can be found in kitchens and restaurants, and from that, it figures out where to look.  Please watch the video and tell me what you think in the comments:
I don't know about you, but this is pretty cool.  We live in interesting times.  Asimov would be proud.