Thursday, September 28, 2017

Firefly: the "Lost Episodes"

Finishing someone else's work is hard, especially in any artistic medium. When it's done well, you get something like Brandon Sanderson's work finishing up The Wheel of Time series.

In that case, characters have the same names and voices, but the world is subtly different. I always describe it to prospective readers as the same picture painted by two different artists in the same school. The landscape, figures, and perspective are all the same, but Sanderson's color palette is brighter than Robert Jordan's. If you placed them side by side, you can tell the difference immediately, but you can see the same spirit in both.

Blogger Nate Winchester has introduced me to something similar with Firefly: the Lost Episodes.

Let me stop right here and deflate the hope balloon. These are not planned production episodes for a revival of the much mourned Joss Whedon series. These are fan creations, and unauthorized at that.

But they're very good. Go read the first script (episode 116- "The Big Stick") and tell me you can't visualize EXACTLY how that would look and sound.

I'm not a huge proponent of fan-fiction in general (I think you should make your own characters and worlds), but this will undoubtedly be the closest I get to hours of television viewing I wouldn't have otherwise had.

Definitely recommended.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Music to Write By: Cowboy Bebop OST by Yoko Kanno

Cowboy Bepop may be the best Japanese anime television show ever made. While this claim could be debated, there is no argument short of a message from God complete with stone tablets that can convince me it doesn't have the best music.

Written and arranged by Yoko Kanno and performed in large part by The Seatbelts, this soundtrack provides the widest, most eclectic collection of music I ever seen attached to a single project. And it fits the show perfectly.

Here's the opening theme to get your day started right.

You can find the various soundtracks on iTunes and Amazon. The first OST and Blue contain most of my favorites, but really you just can't go wrong anywhere with this one.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reading List: David Gemmell

I was talking geekery with my D&D group this week and it came up that one of them did not know who David Gemmell is. As the self-appointed Geek Geezer in our group, I took it upon myself to rectify this travesty with all speed.

David Gemmell was a British author of heroic fantasy. His breakout novel was Legend, a story of honor, redemption, and the power of hope and legacy. He went on to write over thirty novels between 1984 and his death in 2006. His final work was finished by his wife, Stella, and published in 2008.

He's also the namesake of the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy.

That's right, it's a frickin' battle axe.

 I first read Quest for Lost Heroes in middle school and went on to devour every Gemmell book I could get my hands on. Gemmell's writing is fast paced, action packed, and full of flawed heroes. His strength is in those character archetypes. He somehow reaches into the Akashic Records and pulls up the essence of a particular archetype, then shades it onto the pages with a deft hand.

My challenge to unfamiliar readers is to pick up a copy of Legend and read it. If you can stop yourself from picking up more books by this master of fiction, well, I worry for the state of your soul.

For those inclined, here's a list of his works in chronological order.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Music to Write By: The Vision of Escaflowne OST

I love to write with music on. It influences your mood, prompts new ideas, and gives you something to enjoy when that stupid cursor just blinks at you and mocks your writer's block.

I like to use a lot of classical music or pieces in a foreign language I do not speak, as this keeps me from struggling not to write what I'm hearing instead of what I want.

One of the pieces I return to for writing fantasy is the soundtrack to The Vision of Escaflowne. The anime itself is pretty good, but by far the best thing about it is the music which was arranged by Yoko Kanno and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

Here's a sample:

You can find the OST volumes on iTunes and Amazon.

Friday, September 15, 2017


And now for something completely different...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Netflix's Death Note

Back in the late '00s, I watched a Japanese anime that was recommended to me by friends. The title was Death Note and it was fantastic in execution, though the premise is a little off the wall. The pitch that sold me, and that I think rightly describes the action, was this: "Moriarty vs Holmes as Japanese high school students engaged in a battle of wits over the perfect murder, told from Moriarty's perspective."

Now, Netflix has attempted to provide us with a feature length, live-action adaptation of the popular anime.

How well did they manage that feat?

(Spoilers after the break)

Friday, September 1, 2017

SyFy's Dark Matter

 Do our memories make us who we are? What if they were taken? What if you woke up one day and your past had disappeared? Could you find yourself again? Or would you choose to be different?

And what if you forgot your sins, but they didn't forget you?

(Spoilers throughout)