THe Meg (2018): A (mildly) belated review

I’ll go really short and sweet here: The Meg is a popcorn film through and through: Nothing serious, never terribly gory or scary or action packed, yet nonetheless scary and exciting enough to make for passable -if ultimately forgettable- entertainment. Here’s the movie’s trailer:

I know it sounds like I’m damning the movie with faint praise, but I assure you: This film is not a disaster by any means. It was pleasant enough to watch -as pleasant, I suppose, as any giant murderous shark film can be. Of course, when dealing with a movie involving sharks, you’re bound to find echoes of Jaws. What somewhat surprised me is that there were also echoes, especially in the movie’s opening act, to a long forgotten 1973 film named The Neptune Factor

Don’t say you don’t learn a few things about films from the past ’round these parts!

Anyway, despite the seeming faint praise, I recommend The Meg. It ain’t Jaws (go see that if you’d rather), but if you’re curious and you’ve got the time to kill, you could do far, far worse.

Automation gone wild…

As I’ve made it known for a while now, I just released Legacy of the Argus, the 7th and concluding chapter in my initial Corrosive Knights series.

Now, getting this book ready to be released required plenty of steps beyond simply “writing” the book itself. For the Kindle (digital) release, I had to prepare the manuscript properly along with the cover art, etc. For the print copy, the same had to be done but, as I’m very careful to make sure everything works out fine, I request a “proof” copy so that I can hold the book in my own two hands and see that everything on it is proper.

I did this with Legacy of the Argus and once I gave it a good look I approved the book and now both Kindle and paperback versions are available.

Now, for those who order things from, you may be aware that once you do order something from them, once in a while you’ll get an email pointing out your purchase and asking you to rate it on a 5 star basis. I’ve had books, household items, etc. ordered through Amazon and now and again get these emails asking for me to review the item.

This is the first time I received a request to rate a proof copy of one of my books!

So… I’m being asked to give a review for a product -the proof of my novel- for… what reason exactly? The way this is presented is not me telling Amazon they’ve done a good job… indeed, they already knew that when I approved the book for sale!… but instead this form email is being sent as if the proof of the book is a product in and of itself and is available for purchase through Amazon to all clients…!

Only, of course, it isn’t. The proof copy is something that comes only to me and, should I wish it, to others I may want to get it and see it. But now that the book has been formally approved, the proof copy is a thing of the past. If people want Legacy of the Argus, they can order it and it will come without that “Not for resale” notation over the cover/backcover. If I want to get copies of my book, I will likewise order the approved version and don’t have to worry about proof copies anymore.

I wonder… if I were to “review” the proof, would my review appear on the book’s listing itself? I suspect it will.

And how obnoxious would it be for the author of a book to give his own book five stars?! 😉

Best/worst movies of 2018

As the year winds down, we get those wonderful lists of best and worst films of 2018.

As usual, I find myself having seen precious few of either!

First up, from and written by Germain Lussier we have…

10 Best and 5 Worst films of 2018

Now, the website from which this list came from deals with sci-fi/fantasy films so of course the list consists of films within that genre. Of the best films listed, I’ve seen two of them: A Quiet Place and Mission: Impossible – Fallout. I feel both films are quite good but imperfect. A Quiet Place is a wonderful exercise in tension BUT the story itself, and the logic of the situation presented, has some serious flaws. And if you focus on them, you’re likely to not feel that positive regarding this film. As for M:I, it was a good, solid action film, IMHO, but “more of the same” and not quiet as good as the previous M:I film.

All right, let’s get some more worst of lists. Here is Peter Travers from Rolling Stone offering his…

10 Worst Films of 2018

I haven’t seen any of the listed films, though I’m about to get The Meg from Netflix. I heard, for the most part, good things about the film so I’m keeping my fingers crossed… and my expectations low! 😉

Meanwhile, Julia Hays over at offers…

The Worst Movies of 2018 (So Far)

This list is longer, offering a whopping 24 films. Now, with these lists, I’m seeing a few films show up more than once. The Happytime Murders (unlike many others, I felt the previews made the film look like it could be fun. But the overwhelmingly negative reactions to seeing the full film from critics and audiences have me running for the hills!). Gotti (the film had all kinds of troubles getting released… looks like a lot of bother for nothing good). Life Itself (one reads a consistent “what were all these talented folks thinking of when they signed on to this?!” from critics).

Anyway, now for the positives…

Nick Schager at Esquire magazine offers his…

25 Best Movies of 2018

I’m most intrigued by the Nicholas Cage film Mandy, which is on my Netflix list as well. Otherwise, I’ve seen a grand total of … 1 of these films (Mission: Impossible – Fallout) but am curious/intrigued about at least two others (Annihilation and Burning).

Finally, from Den of Geek, we get two Top 10 lists, from David Crow and Don Kaye…

The 10 Best Movies of 2018

That’s all for now!

You can now ignore just about every opinion I have…

I’m three songs into the seemingly universally loathed Lou Reed and Metallica album Lulu…

Lulu (2CD)

…and I kinda like it!

My understanding is that David Bowie loved the album though acknowledged it was ahead of its time.


Look, its an oddball album with some very oddball lyrics (the first lines in the very first song are very off putting and borderline idiotic).

And yet… I’m digging what I’m hearing. I won’t say the album is up there with the great works of Lou Reed (both solo and with The Velvet Underground) or Metallica, yet its interesting, IMHO, in its own weird way.

POSTSCRIPT: Ok, so I’ve made it through the entire album and my earlier comments still apply: I feel this album is far better than the absolute calamity so many -critics and fans alike- thought it was.

On the other hand, it does contain more than a few rough edges and weird/crude/unintentionally(?) funny lyrics which can be off putting to audiences.

Further, I can see why David Bowie liked the album: In many ways it reminds me of Bowie’s 1. Outside. While 1. Outside is a stone cold classic, Lulu is a decent enough stab at avant garde which, at times, slips into silliness.

Still, I repeat what I said before: It’s far from the absolute calamity people felt it was.

2018 (soon to be) in the rearview mirror…

Over at, author Mary Elizabeth Williams notes sanguinely…

2018 Has Been The Longest Year Ever

She lists a bunch of stuff that’s happened… I recall it all… but what’s shocking is that it all happened this year.

Holy Moley!

So much stuff has happened this past year, much of it related to Trump and his highly competent and not at all corrupt (cough) government, that it’s hard to keep track of everything going on.

Ah, for the days when things were calmer and we weren’t lurching from one “big” news event and into another!

Nightflyers: Season 1, a (partial) review

Presented on the SyFy Network and based on a short story by George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones), NightFlyers is a science fiction/horror hybrid involving a spacecraft heading out into deep space to try to contact an alien race, and the eerie things the crew encounters as they travel on.

The show’s been on for a while now and, at least according to IMDB, the first season has 10 episodes, all of which have been shown.

I set my DVR to tape the season and wound up watching the first three episodes in one sitting and enjoying myself reasonably well.

The show features a smallish “central” cast in an enormous star ship that, as I mentioned above, is on its way from Earth to meet up with an alien race somewhere out in the distance.  Earth is apparently dying out and it is hoped contacting the alien race will help them to save humanity…

…or some such.

Again, I enjoyed the first three episodes fairly well, though it seemed like the makers of the series were deliberately withholding some information and/or were simply inept at presenting the information clearly.

For example, within this star ship is a psychic individual who, other crew members have stated, was responsible for some kind of mass killing.

Or was he?

He is initially presented as potentially evil and dangerous character but as those original three episodes play out, we get a sense that he isn’t quite as dangerous as something which lurks within the vessel’s machinery itself.  The reveal of what that is is… ok… I suppose, but hardly shattering.

I left the show and returned to see the fourth episode and, in the interval of time, I found my opinion on the show had soured somewhat.  The fourth episode wound up being something of a chore to watch and it occurred to me that the series is being deliberately obtuse to the point of being frustrating.

In four hours of time, I as a viewer remain unclear why exactly the potentially dangerous psychic individual was brought on the ship.  It was stated he was there to communicate with the aliens psychically, but a later episode shows his ability to psychically “talk” to anything beyond humans is at best very limited.  So it would seem the risk of taking this potentially VERY dangerous individual on this vessel was a risk maybe not worth taking.

Further, the big reveal of the entity within the vessel itself also seems like a very idiotic thing.  I mean, how could so much money, time, and effort be made on building this massive star ship and then essentially load a (SPOILERS!!!!) person’s “soul” into it, especially one that is oh-so-hard to get along with.

Again, I’ve made it only four episodes into the series but as of now, I’m wondering if I’m going to make it through the remaining six.  Further, this series is based on a short story/novella by Mr. Martin so one wonders if a second season is in the offing and whether the makers of this series are stretching the story waaaaay too far out.

At this point and without having seen the rest of the series, I have to sadly say the show is a thumbs down from me, despite some decent acting, effects, and a somewhat intriguing initial premise.

Corrosive Knights: Mechanic, one more update!

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat: It’s been an incredibly busy month plus for me.  I’ve finished off Legacy of the Argus, the concluding chapter in the Corrosive Knights series (but there will be more stories set in this universe to come, stay tuned!).

Because we were reaching the end of this seven book series, I wanted to go back and re-do all the covers to the various books (all but one, we’ll get to that in a moment) as well as do something different with the cover to Legacy of the Argus.  I found the company and they’ve done a smashing job getting the covers done for me.

Along with all that work, I revised Mechanic because a) it is the first book in the series and I wanted to make sure it was as good as it could be and b) because it was the first book in the series and I did so much work since that point I was certain I must have improved as a writer if only a little and therefore it was worthwhile to give the book one more -quite possibly final!- revision.

So I did that but, afterwards, felt there was one more thing that needed to be done.  Of the various Corrosive Knights books covers I did, Mechanic was my favorite and, even when I hired to do the covers, I wanted to keep Mechanic as it was.

The problem, though, was that as I got all those other covers done, the cover to Mechanic began to look less and less like it was part of the series.  I wanted to make the book’s spine and back cover fit into the work of and decided, several days ago, that I would also do a slight change to the Mechanic’s cover.  To wit: Have the logos on the cover fit in with the other covers.

So, without further ado, the “new” cover to Mechanic!

Now, all the covers together…

I’m as happy as I am exhausted but the work is done.  The complete seven part Corrosive Knights series is finalized and, as a very welcome bonus, I’ve got time to enjoy the remainder of the Holiday season and New Years without having to go back and work on these particular books!

But that doesn’t mean I’m doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the year.  Remember the Epilogue book I promised, the book that would be #8 of the Corrosive Knights series?

Suffice to say, I’ll now get to focus on it as I wanted to.  Properly!

SuperBowl halftime show…

Found this article regarding the upcoming Superbowl half-time show, and the fact that they have Maroon 5 performing but the band is having a hard time getting anyone else to play with them (the article was written by Randall Colburn and presented on…

No one wants to play with Maroon 5 at the SuperBowl Half-Time show

The upshot of the article, if you’re too lazy to click on it, is that while Maroon 5 has committed to playing at the upcoming SuperBowl Half-time show, it appears many artists are boycotting the event and/or are not interested in performing because of the way the NFL treated -and is still treating- Colin Kaepernick.

If you’re unfamiliar with that whole saga, basically Mr. Kaepernick took a “knee” on the sidelines during the National Anthem played before each game’s beginning.  He was protesting the way African Americans are treated in the US and the way some are harassed or much, much worse by the police and the criminal justice system.

I never had a problem with the protest.  It was peaceful and it addressed something that should, IMHO, be addressed.  However, many on the “right” viewed this as being disrespectful to the flag and Mr. Kaepernick was eventually let go from his team and to date hasn’t had any football team look into hiring him, even though he is still a young and accomplished quarterback.

The fact that music acts are potentially boycotting the SuperBowl’s Half-Time show while team owners -some whose teams desperately could use a quarterback like Mr. Kaepernick- have been completely silent regarding hiring him shows to some extent the divide in this country.

Powerful/successful music acts can certainly choose not to have anything to do with the SuperBowl while on the other side team owners worry that if they hire Mr. Kaepernick they may face protests or worse from their fans and others.  Like it or not -and I do not- Mr. Kaepernick has become something of a lightning rod in these times and I can sympathize with owners who are hesitant to hire him while, simultaneously and perhaps more than a little hypocritically (after all, its not my money), wish some brave owner would go against the grain and freaking hire him already.

Ah well.  In a way, this is one of those Greek-like dramas that may never be resolved in any meaningful way.