March 29, 2011

Dean Koontz, Watchers [review by starlight]

"We have a responsibility to stand watch over one another, we are watchers, all of us, watchers, guarding against the darkness." 

Watchers is an early suspense novel from Koontz, which cemented his career as a best-selling author and competitor in the horror/sci-fi genre Stephen King had already begun to dominate. The premise is clearly imaginative - Travis Cornell has come to believe that he is cursed to a life of love and loss, and he comes across an incredibly intelligent dog in the wilderness of the Santa Barbara mountain range in California. At the same time he feels he and the dog are being tracked by an unnatural, inhuman stalker, which at first he takes to be a mountain lion or something of the sort, but he is soon filled with such a primordial fear that he feels something else is prowling after them. The dog, named Einstein for his human-like intellect, finds ways to communicate his fears to Travis, who has to uncover two mysteries - how did this freakishly smart dog come to be a stray wandering a forest, and what is Einstein so afraid of?

March 23, 2011

Christopher Paolini announces new Eragon book, entitled Inheritance (Nov 8, 2011) [breaking news musing]

An announcement came out from, sharing the title of the last book of the Inheritance Cycle. It's called Inheritance. Very original.

The last book, Brisingr, also suffered from a lack of an original title, although it may not seem so. The word means fire in Paolini's elvish/magical language, and was pretty much the obvious choice. Brisingr was released in late 2008, so the coming of Inheritance has been long in the making, and readers were quite demanding of news for the final installment. Now we've been given the release date, November 8 2011, so we can prepare for the final 6 months before the book is finally available, 3 years after its predecessor.

So I know what I'm rereading and blogging about over the summer. I'm curious as to whether I will still enjoy Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr as an adult reader. I guess I'll let you know.

March 22, 2011

Black Holes and Revelations, A Stellar Muse Album [review by starlight]

Our hopes and expectations/Black holes and revelations

I am in no way qualified to review music. Sure, I've been listening to the stuff for the greater part of 22 years, but I am not a musician. I can't comment on the subtleties and complexities of texture, or the talent required to compose and play these songs. But I've been wanting to discuss Black Holes and Revelations on my blog for some time. It has some very interesting speculative aspects to it, and I'd like to recommend this record to anyone who likes new prog rock... or just music at all. I think it's really accessible to anyone. Even if pop music is your thing, songs like Starlight will catch your attention.

March 21, 2011

Twitter turns 5 today - happy anniversary, tweeters [breaking news musing]

It's twitters fifth anniversary today. The first tweet was sent on March 21st, 2006.

Just wanted to take a second to say what I like about Twitter. I've always liked to have an outlet to speak my mind, which is a pretty obvious thing for a blogger to say, but it's true. Before my first blog (on xanga), I loved when MSN got that status bar type thing where you could post song lyrics, a funny thought, a description of yourself etc. I liked that I could post something personal, or not, and that it wasn't intrusive because no one would see it unless they were looking for it. If they wanted to talk to me or wanted to know what's going on in my life, they could see this little blurb, but otherwise, they would never have to see. And I can be very annoying with my random thoughts!

March 19, 2011

Atheist Tales - It's coming [story time by starlight]

Here's the website. Still not available to order yet but today it was published. Just waiting on distributors.

Follow on twitter @atheisttales. There's also a page on Facebook.

Thanks for the support!

What is Atheist Tales you ask? Check it out here.

March 17, 2011

Why we love Christopher Nolan's Inception [review by starlight]

InceptionIt's the action packed heist movie with the best of special effects, taking place inside the psyche. It's Leonardo DiCaprio all intense and grown up. It's Ellen Page - who doesn't love that short little Canadian? It's the incredible and memorable Hans Zimmer score that blends perfectly with the world of the dream. It's the hard-hitting lines between the gunshots, the conceptual madness, and the art direction that taps into something most films can't ever touch - the human imagination. We love to see the rules of reality bent and snapped into pieces, and to know that it's all possible inside the mind.

March 14, 2011

Lynch's "Molhulland Dr." (2001) - A tribute to the old art of film [review by starlight]

Ever watch a movie and when the credits roll feel that you have no idea what just happened? Actually, it doesn't happen much these days unless you fall asleep and miss part of the plotline. Hollywood really likes to spell it out these days. The last time I had this sensation was with 2001: A Space Odyssey. I watched this with perhaps not the best frame of mind for a challenging film and when it was over, I headed to IMDB to find an explanation for the past 141 minutes of my life. It's a rewatch in the sense that on the first watch, you will probably get lost. I mean, the flicks these days just really don't challenge you in the same way. I even watched it after the lecture in my Sci-Fi class and still felt pretty lost, despite the fact that I was decently well-prepared.

March 10, 2011

14 years ago, the Slayer started slaying - The anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer [musing with nostalgia]

I know I recently posted about Buffy, but today is the 14th anniversary of the show airing on the WB. To celebrate, here are some great quotations from the first episode!

Buffy Summers: So, you like to party with the students? Isn't that kind of skanky?
Rupert Giles: [witheringly] Oh, right. This is me having fun. Watching clown hair prance about is hardly my idea of a party. I'd much rather be home with a cup Bovril and a good book.
Buffy Summers: You need a personality, STAT.

March 9, 2011

Re-watching The Butterfly Effect (2004) [review by starlight]

"You can't change who people are without destroying who they were. "

Always a fun watch, if a little holey. Evan (Ashton Kutcher) has had something of a tragic life that has taken him away from his childhood friends and left them all miserable and alone, particularly his first love, Kayleigh (Amy Smart). As he nears completion of a psych undergrad, he begins to uncover the past, including memories that he'd "blacked out" before and couldn't remember even moments after they happened. He soon finds that he can do more than revisit these blackout moments - he relives them with the ability to change them, and completely change the course of his life.

March 7, 2011

Once More with Feeling, the Musical [review by starlight]

"That's the penalty/When life is but a song"

The full-length cult musical is right. Once More with Feeling is perhaps the most beloved episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which the series' venerated cast sing, dance and fight demons. This episode is not a completely random addition to the series - it actually had some foreshadowing and a flushed out plot. Dawn comes across a trinket in the Magic Box in a previous episode, and tucks it away in her pocket for safe keeping (the little thief!) The trinket is used to summon a demon of song and dance from another worldly plane, whose songs can become violent and lead to death (of course).

March 4, 2011

From Above - A sneak peak of my story in Atheist Tales (2011) [story time by starlight]

Here is a sample of my story From Above. Within a few weeks it will be available for purchase online in an anthology entitled Atheist Tales. Enjoy!

               The unrelenting sun scalded the crowd of worshipers that had gathered to listen to the Messengers. It was only once a week that anyone faced the intensity of midday, for the bustling center of trade came to a complete stop when the heat reached its peak. Except for days of temple, citizens rested while the sun was highest in the sky.
              Today they would not complain of their personal ordeal -- the poor with their bare feet blistering on the baked ground and the rich with sweat soaking their silk garments -- for the wealthy and the poor served alike. On one day of the week they knelt beside one another outside the temple like equals.
              It had been the Messengers who had decided that fortune and class had no place in the sacraments. “The Gods reward those who follow their laws,” they said, “regardless of standing.” Those who were privileged enough to indulge in luxuries on any other day found no favor at the temple. They knelt outside on the ground next to the poor, albeit in their finest clothes and wearing palm fiber sandals to protect their feet. Heavy veils protected porcelain skin from burning.
              They knelt in silence. Even the most acrid of the merchants and the most arrogant of the concubines bowed their heads and remained still. Enduring the steaming temperature, the still air, the blinding sun and the stinging sand, not one person so much as whimpered at their discomfort. All wore faces of stone as they waited for the ceremony to begin.             
                A boy called Sajha knelt in the front row, staring down at his sun-stained toes. Like those around him, his face did not display the pain of sitting stiffly in an awkward position while the skin on the bottom of his feet baked beneath him. He tried not to think about his flesh cooking as if on a sun-heated stove, but the idea of his feet being charred like thick slabs of meat kept squirming, uninvited, into his mind.
              Instead of supporting him in his crouched position, his calloused hands were crossed respectfully over his chest. It was a struggle of the will to keep them there as his calves began to strain and cramp. Young as he was, he had lived for sixteen years under the reign of the Messengers, and followed their teachings as strictly as any of the adults. If the Gods willed him to kneel in wait for an indeterminate amount of time without moving a muscle before each ceremony, then he would. But even the Gods and their Messengers could not prevent his bitterness. He was still human.

March 2, 2011

Sci-fi and Fantasy at the Oscars [breaking news musing]

I'd like to take a minute to talk about the success of Sci-fi and Fantasy at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. It wasn't a bad year for speculative fiction. Could have been better, but then, it is the Oscars. Best picture is going to go to a realist drama, so let's just tally up our wins and appreciate the recognition.

March 1, 2011

Atheist Tales by David M. Fitzpatrick et. al, including yours truly - I think you're gonna love this [story time by starlight]

If you're an atheist and free-thinker, this anthology, Atheist Tales is perfect for you. It's a collection of short stories in the speculative fiction genre that comment on religion in various ways. I'm doing this out of shameless self-promotion, because my own short story From Above is included in the anthology, but over the next month or so I will be reading and reviewing the other contributions. I will also include a blurb about From Above.

If you're already hooked, check it out here. If not, I'll work on hooking you over the next few weeks :)