Thursday, November 9, 2023


 IMHO: A Much Neglected Film

I don't know how I missed 2015' Victor Frankenstein. The film no doubt didn't do well at the box office, for some reason I can't understand, because far worse films have been far more successful.

But I really enjoyed this movie. It is an intelligent, well-written and well-acted, dramatic horror film -- a true actor's film, and so much more than a simple, mindless action-thriller. Daniel Radcliffe shows off the acting chops I knew he had, from both pre- and post-Harry Potter. James McAvoy is terrific, and once again, the wonderful Charles Dance shows what he can bring to the table. Jessica Brown Findlay adds heart, charm, beauty and class to this production. This film reminded me of the best of the classic Hammer films, but with a bigger budget and state-of-the art special FX, both practical and CGI. The "Creature" is different, too, and the make-up is very cool: there are actually two different creatures in the film. But this is not a horror story totally centered around the Creature, and although in the film he's called Prometheus. In Mary Shelley's novel he has no name, and the Creature tells Frankenstein, "I ought to be thy Adam but I am rather the fallen angel." Thus, I've always called him Adam and still do in the stories I write for the Heroes and Hell series. (The "modern Prometheus," the subtitle of Shelley's novel, refers not to the Creature, but to Doctor Frankenstein. In Greek mythology, Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to Man, and was thus punished for his sins. The infamous doctor stole the secret of life from God and he, too, as well as his family, friends and wife, paid the price for his sins.)

So, what's new about this incarnation? It's not a retelling but a prequel to the 1931 Karloff film, and it concerns Victor Frankenstein's early experiments and years at medical school. To begin with, Radcliffe starts out as a brilliant, self-educated but nameless hunchback, a creepy circus clown who Doctor Frankenstein "fixes," because the hump is merely a massive cyst, which he drains and then helps Radcliffe to learn and be able to walk upright. He gives the former hunchback the name of Igor Straussman, his former, late assistant. All the actors in this film are a pleasure to watch -- from the irrepressible Victor Frankenstein (McAvoy) to the rapidly evolved, medical genius in his own right, Igor (Radcliffe) to the nasty, religious zealot Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott) to the powerful presence of Baron Frankenstein (Dance.) They were all magnetic. The set design was also beautiful -- and Victorian England was displayed in everything from furnishings to fabrics to city views to laboratory equipment. Everything is in place for a great viewing. There were a few twists I did not see coming and a couple that I did. I liked the payoff in the grand finale. For me, this is a 4 out of 5-star film. Well worth the time spent viewing.


Thursday, August 24, 2023


Barbie, you bad doll.
You might get away with this.
GI Joe says no.

HAIKU #207

Distort my belly
Until it shakes like jelly. 
Food, food, food, food, food.

The MechMen of Canis-9. (A Three Against the Stars Adventure)



Canis-9. Devoora. The Ocean Planet.

Devoora is a vast, waterworld in a far distant galaxy inhabited by two indigenous populations.

The Tulavi are a maritime culture inhabiting the islands west of the Great Aetherian Reef, living in harmony with their environment and the great oceans where the leviathans known as the kaizsu dwell. The Malvarians are an industrial nation running out of resources, living on the mainland east of the Reef. Led by the madman, Trivus Harn, an armada of warships roams the seas, hunting the kaizsu and subjecting them to ghastly experiments, unaware that these intelligent creatures are the key to their survival, as well as the fate of their entire world.
While on a covert operation to find a long-lost secret weapon, Sergeants O’Hara, Akira, Cortez, and a platoon of Marines are stranded on Devoora. Rescued by the peace-loving Tulavi, they find themselves caught up in a war against the Malvarians. An adventure unlike anything the Marines of Company E have ever experienced, Sergeant Cortez finds romance and Sergeant Akira finds an answer to her troubled marriage. But at the heart of this story is a little Tulavi girl named Zherisa, who tends to a wounded Sergeant O’Hara and helps him overcome the grief he’s carried in his heart for the past eighteen years. And then there’s the stranger, Solis Lachus — the Man from Outside, who holds the answer to what the Marines have come searching for . . . The MechMen of Canis-9.
Rousing action, a wondrous and dangerous planet, and memorable characters, this Sword and Planet science fiction is in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, with a touch of Frank Herbert, Rudyard Kipling and Herman Melville. Available worldwide in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon. Paperback edition is also available from Barnes & Noble.

Three Against The Stars: Star Trooper Doon

Old School Space Opera 

with a modern-day attitude.

THREE AGAINST THE STARS (Star Trooper Doon) First published in 2012, this 2023 revised edition has a brand-new cover and comes in a trade paperback size with easy-to-read print.

On the distant planet of Rhajnara, a conspiracy to overthrow the rightful Republic is set into motion by the planet’s former fascist regime, the Khandra. This time, the Khandra has allied itself with the evil Drakonian Hegemony, and it seems nothing in the universe can stop them. Nothing, that is, except for Sergeants Fernando Cortez, Seamus O’Hara and Claudia Akira, whose courage, loyalty and devotion to duty prove them to be the toughest Star Troopers in the Marine Corps. Now, with the aid of a medic named Makki Doon, a young humanoid from Rhajnara, these three futuristic musketeers tackle incredible odds in order to save a planet still recovering from the past horrors brought about by the Kandra Regime.

"Three Against The Stars" is an action-packed, intergalactic adventure, filled with memorable characters and a rousing finale. It's available worldwide from Amazon, in paperback and Kindle editions. Paperback is also available online from Barnes & Noble and other fine book dealers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


No barbarian warriors. No scantily clad or helpless maidens. Dorgo the Dowser lives in a world of duplicitous women, unscrupulous men, and a criminal underworld of humans and semi-humans, with plenty of swordplay and sorcery. My main character follows in the footsteps of Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe. These are tales from the mean streets, tales of saints and sinners, cops and burglars, conmen and hustlers, thieves, pimps, whores, and murderers. This is character-driven film noir set in a world of swords and sorcery, magic, mystery, monsters, mayhem and bloody murder. It's a world of dark secrets, lost races, hidden valleys and ancient ruins. Thank you!

Mad Shadows Series Page

Sunday, May 28, 2023

IMHO: A Brief and Personal History of Heroic Fantasy and Sword and Sorcery.

As I struggle with old age and its infirmities and limitations, I've been struggling with trying to do something for a fourth and final Mad Shadows volume. Although my goal is to return to the first book's "playlist" of 6 novellas, (roughly 125-K words) I want to expand on that, whether in story length or the number of stories. I want to put my main character of Dorgo the Dowser through some mental and emotional changes, based on what he experienced and what he witnessed during the course of book 3. I want to do something different and even more character-driven, but we'll. It's been a rather slow-growing process, and writing 4-K and 5-K stories is not something I'm good at. Anyway, getting back on track, I had forgotten I wrote this article for Black Gate and can't even remember if I posted it here. It's one of a number of IMHO articles I wrote, and this one I discuss the evolution of Heroic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery, from market-driven short stories to door-stop novels and mega-volume sagas. But since this article was written I have been discovering more and more markets catering to short fiction, and that's a welcome return to something that had nearly gone extinct. If I revised this article now, I'd be discussing such markets as Savage Realms Monthly, Sword & Sorceries: Tales of Heroic Fantasy, and others. So here's the link to my article, if any of you are interested. Some great comments and insights by Keith West, James Enge , Fletcher Vredenburgh, and others. Thanks for listening!

Click here: Black Gate Online Magazine