YES! Deadpool is a hit.

Deadpool

Deadpool

I’m hugely happy about this, not just because I enjoyed the movie (although I did), but because I am so utterly sick of the spate of PG-13 action movies in recent years. For Cthulhu’s sake, even Die Hard has gone PG-13!

Heck, even Star Wars, which has always been PG, has gone PG-13. I’m okay with that, but I’m really not okay with every single action movie being bloodless fluff. I want to see limbs severed, chests exploded, people cursing and, well, er, other adult stuff. Cough. Like taxes, maybe.

Anyway. I really, really hope that the success of Deadpool helps cement the recent trend toward more mature big-budget fare at the cinema.

The next Alien, Terminator, Die-Hard and so on could now actually, even realsitcally, return to its/their R-rated roots, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Bring it on, Hollywood.

Read more HERE.

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Monthly Mutation Update

Okay, here are the submissions for February . . .

The first one comes from returning champ EJ Bouinatchova, and it’s called The Lady of Ethali.

 

Lady of Ethali

Lady of Ethali

 

The second one is brought to us by Kayla Perisho. Not only did she create a wonderful image, but she also developed a fun backstory for her character:

This lovely lady has suffered several mutations. Her skin is scaly, but has the properties of an octopus, allowing her to change color and texture to an extent. She has grown lamp like lures from the back of her neck, and her teeth extend like needles, much like an angler fish. She has adapted to her mutations well, using them to lure unsuspecting men into dark alleys with her beauty, then swiftly makes her kill and is off with their valuables.

Lure

Lure

And finally we have a delightfully creepy submission from Martin Adi-Smith:

Martin

Martin

Which one is your favorite?

Please, share this on your social media of choice and keep the Mutation going. Oh, and as always, if you’re interested in the series of novels that inspire this competition, THE ATOMIC SEA, you can grab a copy of the first volume HERE.

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My mini-review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Enough time has gone by that I think it’s acceptable to dive into spoiler territory now. But there WILL be spoilers, so be warned, those of you who haven’t seen Star War: The Force Awakens — SPOILERS beyond this point.

Personally, I really enjoyed The Force Awakens on the first viewing, but I had some problems with it — too many structural callbacks to A New Hope, too much CGI, and not very good CGI — seriously, do we really want the Big Bad to be a lame CGI construction? There is no reason for Snoke to be CGI; he’s very humanoid. Also, Snoke is a silly name. And there was no scary villain like Vader, no towering figure of evil kicking ass. Keylo Ren is more of a conflicted, angst-driven Anakin-esque figure — which is actually pretty great. I love having a conflicted villain. Keylo is fascinating. But no Vader. And Snoke is a goofy hologram on a crappy CGI set.

I had other problems with the movie, but those started to fall away on the second viewing. Because, on the positive side, the movie FELT like Star Wars. It felt like Star Wars more keenly than the Prequels ever did. It was FUN. The characters were a blast (although I didn’t feel like we got to spend enough time with any of them. We didn’t have a long, get-to-know-you period with any of them like we did with Luke.)

But anyway, the movie WORKS. It’s a blast, a nitro-fueled ball of energy filmed against largely practical sets (that are gorgeous and very Star Wars-y), which really helps sell the reality of the universe. When the sets aren’t practical, like the awful CGI bridge at the end with Han, they’re less good. Seriously, the CGI in this movie is terrible. But fortunately so much of it is practical, and beautifully made, with vibrant directing, likeable acting and exciting Star Wars-y stuff going on.

I can’t wait to get to know the new characters better, especially Poe. I understand he was actually meant to die in this movie, but they decided to keep him around, and I’m glad they did. Hopefully he’ll have a bigger role next time around. His daring heroism feels so refreshing in this jaded age.

I love the fact that the lightsaber duel wasn’t all leaping and jumping around. It wasn’t for looks so much (as in Phantom Menace) but for substance. I want an explanation for how Rey is able to go up against Keylo Ren without training, but I’m assuming she absorbed some of his own training during their mind meld, so I’m willing to let that slide.

I love that Finn was a garbage man.

I want (and will probably get) a comic book about each of the aliens in Kanata’s bar.

I’m still wrestling with my feelings on the movie, but overall I’m starting to love it. A third viewing is definitely required. It was during the second viewing of Phantom Menace that it really began to sink in that something was way wrong with the Prequels. On the second viewing of Force Awakens, I only began to like it more. A third viewing might push me over the like line into love.

What about you? Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Conjectures for the future of the series? Is Rey Luke’s daughter? What’s up with her vision?

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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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