Of Rebooted Series Done Right And Not

In 2001 a new cartoon, Samurai Jack, hit the airwaves and for four great seasons Jack battled the evil Aku, trying to get back to the past and undo the evil Aku had inflicted on the Earth for centuries.

When season four ended in 2004, Jack was still trapped in a future dominated by Aku and it seemed – as was the case in many TV shows that were cancelled before the story line was completed – we would never learn Jack’s ultimate fate.

But earlier this year Cartoon Network brought back the Samurai for one last 10-episode season and I have to say it was the perfect conclusion that we shouldn’t have had to wait over a decade for.

While the final episode wrapped up the series with perfectly classic Japanese tragedy, I did have one technical issue with the time-delay it took for the tragic event to occur. (No spoilers here, sorry. You’ll have to watch the final episode yourself).

Still, despite that tiny flaw, this was a reboot/return that was executed quite well.

Sadly, I can’t say the same for the recent return to the Twin Peaks series. I understand that with the show being on Showtime now instead of on broadcast television that they can slip in the obligatory sex scene and nudity for the sake of nudity.

But my biggest complaint just four episodes into the reboot is the pacing. Too many extended shots showing nothing – a car driving down a road at night for example and ending every episode with a singer or band performing – have me wondering if they are just filling in time to justify however many episodes they were approved for.

It also seems they are struggling to recapture the magic of the two-year run of the original series from 1990 and 1991 and coming up a little short. I’m wondering how, or even if, they plan on explaining why Michael Ontkean’s Sheriff Harry S. Truman is no longer sheriff but there is a Sheriff Frank Truman (played by Robert Forrester). Or why Dale Cooper has returned after 25 years but hasn’t a clue who he is now that he is back, but seemed to be fully cognisant before his return.

Most series have some bumps and bruises in the first season and many go on to be quite good. But you would expect a show that had two prior seasons under its belt and with most of its original cast back to get off to a better start than this.

I’ll stay with it for a few more weeks, hoping they can get on track. David Duchovny’s brilliant appearance in the show alone is worth that investment (and I hope that wasn’t a one-and-done for him).

But if they keep dragging out scenes and not getting on with the show, about two or three more episodes is all they’ll get.

What the…?????

There is a blogger, nominated for an award and neither of them are worthy of being named or even having a link posted and I have no intention of giving either one single ounce of publicity. But there is something this blogger recently stated that needs to be addressed. No, it needs to be bludgeoned so that it will never be stated again.

This blogger is of the opinion that Anne McCaffrey – merely one of the most prolific writers (male or female) and certainly one of the most successful female authors of all time – is no longer relevant to science fiction. Anything not written within the last 15 years, so says this blogger, is not relevant either.

Asimov, Herbert, Wells, Verne, Clarke, Harrison, Adams, etc, etc. All of the giants in science fiction are no longer of value.

It’s like saying Albert Einstein is no longer relevant to science because he hasn’t done anything in the last 15 years.

And that, if you will excuse my French, is a steaming pile of horseshit.

It is becoming an alarming trend among the younger generation today, to totally discount the works done prior to the year of their birth.

It’s wrong and it’s disrespectful and it needs to stop.

The writings, the works in any field, of the past have great value. It is up to those who read, listen or view them to open their minds to all these works have to say.

Even if you cannot do that then at least have the courtesy, the decency, to not denigrate them so that others won’t hear what they have to say.

The Game Is Afoot

Growing up in a drilling family, we moved about quite a lot. It was not uncommon for me to start a school year in one school, finish the year in a second and start the next year in a third.

So most of the time I would head for the library during any free time at school rather than try to get to know people I’d never see again. Some of the first authors I discovered were Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe and it did not take me too long to read everything they’d ever written.

So when my short story “A Lesson In Mercy” was one of 10 Sherlock Holmes pastiches included in Beyond Watson and “The Woman Returns” was one of 20 to make up Holmes Away From Home you can just imagine how much pride and joy I was feeling that I had joined Holmes’ world.

Now I have an opportunity to take that up one level. Belanger Books, the publisher of the previously mentioned collections, is preparing another collection of original adventures for the Great Detective. The twist on this one has Holmes intermixing in the universe of one H.G. Wells.

If you thought for a second that I would pass up a chance to see what I can do with two of my earliest literary favorites, well, you should know better. You should also know that I’d take it up one more notch.

You see, the story I’m putting together not only sees Holmes interacting with Wells, it also directly involves Poe. The trifecta!

Will it be accepted? I don’t know, but I certainly hope so. But even if it should not make the final cut, it is still going to be a blast doing it. And if you think you’ve got a story that will fit in with the upcoming project, please drop Derrick Belanger an e-mail at derrick@belangerbooks.com and include the word SUBMISSION in the subject heading. In the body include your name, a brief synopsis of your story, and your story length (# of words). Stories should be between the 5,000 and 10,000-word range and must be e-mailed by July 15th.

Come my fellow Sherlockians! The game is afoot!


A Sports Guy At Heart

What with all the doom and gloom in the news lately I thought it might be nice to focus on something positive for a change. Like the fact that it is May 10th and the Colorado Rockies are alone in first place in their division this year!!!!!

Yay!!!!! I might actually get to wear my Rockies gear past June 1st this season!!!!!

Usually by mid-May – with one a couple of rare exceptions – the Rockies are already mathematically eliminated from post-season play. No really, I’m not exaggerating.

Of course, if the Rockies remain in contention it is going to infringe on my pre-season prepping for the football season (Dallas Cowboys, UCLA and North Dakota State) in late July and the next hockey season (Los Angeles Kings) and yes I know the Stanley Cup playoffs for this year are still going but as long as a Canadian team doesn’t win, I don’t care – more on that in a later post.

Basketball at every level is dead to me and has been since David Stern let the Pistons in the late 1980s transform the game from its original form into legalized street rioting.

So for now, I’ll be enjoying the Rockies early success and looking forward to a game in June when I get to watch them play the Dodgers in person. I’m hoping to purchase the same two seats I once owned as a season ticket holder in 1989 but we’ll have tom wait and see what happens.

So, who’s your favorite team – any sport and yes I’ll allow basketball (LA Lakers & UCLA are mine) – and how do you think they are/will be doing?

And speaking of sports, I’ve written a couple of historical sports non-fiction titles, in case you like to read about sports back in the day. Check them out here (Perfection’s Arbiter) and here (From The Fields)

A Time For Change

For the last couple of years I’ve been what is known as a hybrid writer. Both traditionally and independently published. There were some books I wanted total control over from start to finish and indie publishing offers exactly that.

10485847_279263655595834_8271865721917039142_nBut I was also traditionally published and I even had an agent, one I signed up with back in 2014. I had always wanted to be traditionally published through an agent and I was thrilled beyond description on that day in 2015 when Reservations was released and I held the first hard copy of it in my hands.

Without going into the details, and by mutual agreement, my agent and my publisher and I have decided to go our own ways. So I can now scratch out both hybrid and traditional when I’m asked how I’m published.

What this means for the Jack Del Rio series I haven’t decided yet. The first two books were the ones I had written before seeking an agent and the other two were added to sell as a series. So if I should decide to end it with Betrayals, I can live with that. At this time, there is certainly no rush to decide.

Would I consider getting another agent and being traditionally published again? I honestly don’t know. I won’t close the door on the idea forever but, for now at least, I think I very much want to try going on the path of indie publishing and see where it takes me.

So keep following this blog – which is also now my official author website – for news, reviews and updates along with the occasional scribble on the news of the day and take the journey with me.

No matter where it ends, it should be a hell of a ride.


When All You’ve Got Is Snark, You’ve Got Nothing At All

So apparently some new “friends” from another blog, that purports to be about sci-fi but is running about 80% politics, have taken umbrage with my post on “Bein’ Born” the other day.

I’m not surprised. As my grandfather used to say: “When you toss a rock into a pack of dogs the one that yelps is the one you hit.”

And brother, are they a yelping over there. Now, I’m not going to drop a link or mention any names, mainly because I want to spare you the abuse on your eyes of having to read their vile nonsense. But I will give you some of the highlights.


My favorite was the absolute inability to comprehend what was written. I started the post off by mentioning Johnny Ringo from the film, Tombstone, and that he was a deranged, depraved creature. I ended the post by pointing out that the SJZs are very much like that specific Johnny Ringo, deranged and depraved.

Yet one commenter over there seems to discard the opening paragraphs of my post and claims that I compared the SJZs to a very good author named John Ringo and he might not be happy with the comparison. He isn’t because he has outstanding reading comprehension and knows the difference between John Ringo and Johnny Ringo and he knows exactly who the SJZs were being compared to.

But this is SOP for SJZs. Hit with an inconvenient truth, they lie.

They also like to do snark. For example: “Those writers with blogs don’t allow comments. What are they afraid of?”

Well, nothing. Because, like this blog, on every writers’ blogs I’ve checked out comments are welcome. Foul-mouthed, juvenile insults without any substance are not.

Sadly, those are the only kind of comments the SJZs are capable of. Which is why they hang out in that vile cesspool of nothingness of theirs. And I hope they keep over there.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your comments and answer any questions you might have. Just keep it PG-13 or better, okay? Bear with me though, sometimes my schedule gets so insane that I am unable to check in here for a few days at a time.

2017 Dragon Award Nominations

I’ve been meaning to get to this much earlier but it seems like every time I get ready to start in on it about five or six fires spring up that require my attention. Well, all the blazes are out so it is time for me to hand out my recommendations for the upcoming Dragon Awards.

dragon_award-221x300The Dragons, for those not in the know, are in their second year of existence. Connected to Dragon Con in Atlanta, one of the largest attended sci-fi/fantasy conventions anywhere (it crushes WorldCon – the old standard for cons much like the Dragon Award is crushing the dying Hugo Award) short of San Diego’s ComicCon of course.

The best part of the Dragon Award is that it is voted on by the fans of sci-fi/fantasy. Even better, you don’t have to buy a membership. Yes, it is absolutely free to nominate and, later on, vote for the finalists.

Here’s the link to nominate your favorites in any category you want (you don’t have to nominate in all of them unless you want to) and don’t forget to check the box so you will be e-mailed the link to vote on the finalists later this summer:


Here’s my nominations:

Best Science Fiction: Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli

Ok, it shameless but I think this is definitely deserving of a nomination.

Best Fantasy: Live and Let Bite by Declan Finn

I know Declan probably feels this is more suited to Horror, but if I nominate his latest addition to his vampire franchise here, it allows me to nominate another worthy work in the Horror category.

Best Young Adult: Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter.

While I am not a reader of Young Adult, I have read enough of this one to know this is my selection here.

Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy:  Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz.

Writing tie-ins to existing films, TV series or games isn’t easy, yet Jon did a masterful job with Star Realms.

Best Alternate History:  Breath of Earth by Beth Cato.

A member of my family tree died in the 1906 Earthquake, so this book had a personal connection for me.

Best Apocalyptic: A Place Outside The Wild by Daniel Humphreys.

It’s got zombies. Enough said.

Best Horror: Blood of Invidia by Tom Tinney and Morgen Batten

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read this year and worthy of a nomination. Add to the fact that it is a father/son team – one in the U.S. and the other in New Zealand – who collaborated on this despite having never once met in person and you’ve got a great book and a great feel-good story if they bring home the Dragon all wrapped up in one.

Best Comic Book:  No nomination

Ok, I can’t even remember the last time I even looked at, much less read, a comic book. So I don’t feel comfortable nominating anyone here.

Best Graphic Novel: No nomination

Same reason here as above in comic books. I don’t think it is fair to nominate anyone if I haven’t read a single thing in the category.

Best Sci-Fi Or Fantasy TV Series: Sleepy Hollow

The show likely won’t see a sixth season and I thought the mix of true  history and fictional characters was entertaining and far better than most of what pollutes the TV today.

Best Sci-Fi Or Fantasy Movie: Doctor Strange

This was a close call, because Passengers was extremely good and Rogue One was a hell of a lot better than I expected, but Doctor Strange was just too fun to pass over.

Best PC or Console Game: Final Fantasy XV.

The Final Fantasy series just keeps churning out quality, challenging games.

Best Mobile Game: No nomination

Yeah, I use my phone to make phone calls. I’m old-school dinosaur that way. So I don’t play mobile games, thus, I’m not qualified to nominate anyone here.

Best Board Game: No nomination

My gaming is done on my PC with one exception – when I am teaching my grandson to play chess, on a real board. So, no nomination here.

Best Miniatures/CCG/RPG: No nomination

This is not something I’m into either so I’m not picking anyone here.

Those are my picks, now go on over and make yours here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php