Behold! The winner for December’s Monthly Mutation is . . .

. . . Jim Phillips with this terrific and moody portrait of a fish-man:

Fishman

Fishman

 

Well done, Jim! Close at his heels was this fun image from Jayson Evans:

Jayson

Jayson

 

And a very cool abstract piece from Maarten Bouwman:

Maarten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And rounding out the submissions for this month is this striking figure from last month’s winner Ashley Poteet:

Ashley

Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank everyone who entered, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with next month. As always, if you’re interested in finding out more about the series of novels that inspire this competition, The Atomic Sea, you can find Part One HERE or the first Omnibus HERE.

Oh! And The Atomic Sea: Part Eight comes out 12/10/2015 and is available for pre-order HERE.

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Looks like a new Dark Tower movie is going forward . . .

Matthew McConaughey is up for the role of Roland in the newest take on “The Dark Tower”. This would have horrified me a few years ago, but now I think he might actually be a worthy candidate for the role, certainly better than Russel Crowe (the last actor up for the part). I can’t think of anyone better off the top of my head, and indeed I can think of many worse. MM has really been impressing me with his acting lately, as well as his choice of roles.

What do you think?

As an aside, I hope the screewriters aren’t afraid to veer from King’s books, which take increasingly bizarre and, well, honestly lame turns as the series goes on (one or two of the later books focus heavily on a secondary character in the real world signing a contract, for example).

Read more on io9.com HERE.

Dark Tower

Dark Tower

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Snowpiercer is being turned into a TV series

“Snowpiercer” was a very good movie (though I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone), but it’s odd to think of it being made into a TV show, and yet that’s what’s happening.

I haven’t read the graphic novels, so maybe the source material lends itself to TV more readily than the movie does, but at the moment I’m having a hard time picturing this. Perhaps they’ll invent some mechanism whereby passengers from the rear of the train can move about the train at will, thus allowing characters to have more dynamic experiences. I would hope so. On the other hand, that would sort of kill the premise of the story, so maybe not.

But without that mechanism, how can this work? I suppose they can *leave* the train at some point, allowing characters to escape the confines of the “ghetto” of the rear of the train for brief periods. We wouldn’t want an entire series focusing on the misery at the back of Snowpiercer, would we? And the people forward of it are pretty much evil, so not many of them would be main characters.

At any rate, I’m certainly curious how the show will shake out. Although at this point I’m getting tired of the movie-to-TV train. Original ideas are getting even scarcer than before, it seems. Everything has to be based on some preexisting material or brand.

But what do you think?

Read more here:

http://io9.com/snowpiercer-may-become-a-tv-show-because-all-movies-ar-1741966039

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer

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Behold! The winner of the Monthly Mutation for November 2015 is . . .

. . . Ashley Poteet, with her terrific Queen of the Atomic Sea. It’s a very fun image that just pops. Thank you so much for submitting, Ashley, and I hope you have fun with your $100 Amazon Gift Card prize!

Monthly Mutation Winner Nov. 2015

Monthly Mutation Winner

 

 

It was a stiff competition this month, though, and the prize easily could have gone to any one of these others. The runners up this month were amazing, with an especial favorite being this lion fish mutant from September’s winner, EJ Bouinatchova:

Lion FIsh

Lion FIsh

 

I also love this delightfully creepy eel-man from Lee Benkers:

Eel Man

Eel Man

And this is a lovely image from Ahmari Das:

 

Mermaids

Mermaids

 

Thank you all for stopping by, and if you’re curious about the books that inspired these images be sure to check out my Atomic Sea series HERE.

epic fantasy book award

The Atomic Sea: An Epic Fantasy: Part One

 

 

 

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Me at the Austin Comic Con

Comic Con

Me at Comic Con

Welp, I’m back from the Austin Comic Con, and it was terrific. The panel I was on went well, and the con itself was a lot of fun. I got to see replicas of the landspeeder in Star Wars, the Deloreon in Back to the Future, etc.

Oh, and I got to shake Bruce Campbell’s hand! Also, he served me a drink. After the screening of “Ash vs. The Evil Dead” at a bar on 6th Street (a street famed in Texas for its endless bars), Bruce Campbell jumped behind the bar and started serving drinks to the patrons. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of him (unlike everyone else there), but please enjoy a picture of me smiling goofily at the “Back to the Future” presentation.

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And the winner of the first Monthly Mutation is . . .

. . . E. J. Bouinatchova! This is such a lovely image, graceful yet eerie, complete with a sense of mystery and wonder . . . but maybe a little horror, too, just out of frame. This is the kind of picture that makes me want to know the story behind it. What exactly is going on in this image? Awesome job, E. J.! Thank you so much for joining in the fun this month, and I’m proud to present you with a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Woo-hoo! Hopefully this will just be the start of many more Monthly Mutations to come!

 

Monthly Mutation

Monthly Mutation

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Oh, and here are a couple of runners up. Great jobs, Rik Sowden and Mark James Featherstone (respectively)!

Rik

Mark Featherstone

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My Fantastic Four rant

The Fantastic Four movie fascinates me. I saw it Friday and I still can’t stop thinking about how this movie, with this script (if indeed this was the original script), got made. (Spoilers ahead) I mean, it had essentially no second act and it barely had a third act. The movie was all first act, with the characters getting their powers, and then . . . well, that was pretty much it, except for a short and anticlimactic showdown that wasn’t set up at all.

It’s just bizarre.

I know there is supposed to have been trouble behind the scenes, but . . . no second or third act? Really? Just what sort of trouble was this? Did the executive producer lose a bet? This is just basic stuff, how you structure a story. These guys know at least this much. That’s their job. The heroes get powers, wrangle with the bad guy, who might also be getting his powers in the first movie, there’s some back in forth in the second act, the stakes get elevated (think the Green Goblin almost killing Aunt May in the first Spiderman movie), then the villain is about to achieve his goal and the good guys stop him in a big, climactic showdown.

That’s it. That’s your story. That’s pretty much every superhero origin story. It’s not rocket science. The details will vary (they better!), but the act structure remains constant.

So . . . what happened with Fantastic Four?

How . . . HOW did this movie get made? I’m really hoping for a documentary on the behind the scenes of this movie someday, because I’m am soooo curious.

Because this movie had potential. The first act, which was most of the movie, was just fine, if overly gritty and with teenage characters that should have been adults. But it was written, directed and acted just fine. It was a real movie. Until the first act ended, and then it wasn’t. But that first act shows that there were real writers and a real director at work on this thing, and they paid attention to details and pacing.

So what then? I’m not being snarky, or at least I’m trying not to be. I’m honestly curious. HOW did this movie get made, or at least released? If a movie isn’t ready, a studio will often hold it back until it is. So who thought this was ready?

 

http://io9.com/was-the-fantastic-four-reboot-doomed-from-the-start-1722904794

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Monthly Mutation Announced!

I’m officially announcing the launch of my new contest. I call it the Monthly Mutation. I’ll give everyone on my newsletter subscriber list, along with all my Facebook friends, the chance to send in photos / drawings / digital manipulations of themselves or others infected by the Atomic Sea. That’s right, soon you’ll have the perfect chance to make yourself up as a fish-person!

The contest will be held one week every month, and the winner will get a signed print edition of The Atomic Sea: Volume One. The print edition encompasses Parts One and Two of the ebooks. I might also throw in an Atomic Sea T-shirt.

I’ll go first. I’ve already made my appointment with the make-up artist for the first week of August. Soon you’ll get to see what I look like as a fish-man — woo-hoo! I’ll put the picture up on my Facebook page and on my website, and that’s where I’ll post photos of the winners of the contest, too.

You don’t have to get that fancy. You can just slap a few fish scales on with make up or wave a foam fin, or you can draw yourself as a fish person or use the computer to do it. It’s up to you. You can go for the gross-out or the beautiful, the complex or the simple. I can’t wait to see what people come up with.

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Thoughts on Sense8, a new science fiction series on Netflix

Thoughts on Sense8, a new science fiction series on Netflix

Has anyone else seen Sense8? I just finished watching it the other day and found it a fascinating meditation on narrative, character and gender. If you enjoyed Cloud Atlas, Sense8 is probably for you. It is very much a continuation of those themes and that style of storytelling–different characters in different parts of the world, blurry gender roles and sexuality, shadowy forces out to get our heroes, etc. It’s a bit slow, but deliberately so, and beautifully realized. It’s not for everybody, but it is unlike any other television show that has gone before. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t devour it as eagerly as I do some other genre shows, but I found a lot to admire about it, even if I did have to look away during the mass-birth montage. It is certainly an epic piece of art, and kind of brilliant.

That said . . . to enjoy the show, you do have to have a strong tolerance for certain things, like gay stuff and a slow build-up, and that’s why I say it’s not for everybody. But if this is the sort of daring, quality stuff that Netflix intends on producing, I’m excited for what comes next.

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