Archive for December, 2009

31
Dec
09

Farewell, 2009…

And not a moment too soon.

This hasn’t been a banner year, has it? There hasn’t been much to celebrate in world or national news. Artistically there have been a few high points — Blackest Night, Star Trek, Up, and 7th Son: Descent come to mind. Despite a couple of lousy weeks here at the end of the year, my Saints have had the best season in franchise history. And personally, Erin is wonderful, I’ve finished all my classwork to finish my teaching certification, and I’ve launched a new podcast that I hope you’re enjoying.

And I’ve got a couple of other, unannounced projects in the works. While both of them have made progress during the year, that progress has been incremental.

2010? I’m hoping for much more progress on those projects. I’m hoping that other, new opportunities will present themselves. I’m hoping that things improve for this country, but it’ll be a long-fought battle to turn those problems around.

But no matter what else is happening or what else is going on, I hope you have a great — SAFE — time tonight wherever you choose to ring in the new year, and I hope that your 2010 is wonderful. Happy New Year, everybody!

30
Dec
09

Wednesday Update

In honor of Diamond’s decision to essentially shut down the entire comic book industry for this week, I’m going to skip today’s Everything But Imaginary column. Heh — actually, I’m just having too wonderful a time with Erin. Come back next Wednesday when I’ll announce my personal picks for the best in comics for 2009.

We’ve had a great visit so far. Yesterday, we intended to go to the Art of Disney exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art, but evidently it’s closed on Tuesdays. Did you know that? The nerve of some museums… anyway, we went to the World War II Museum instead. If you’ve never been, you need to go. It’s a remarkable place and an eye-opening experience. The courage, the steel, the resolve America had in the 40s… it’s humbling. And kind of sad, because I don’t see much of that today.

Tonight we’re going to do something else Erin has wanted to do for a while — take in a Hornets game. Sure, they haven’t been great this season, but that doesn’t mean going to the game still can’t be fun.

29
Dec
09

What I’m Watching: Avatar

It’s been 12 years since James Cameron last made a movie. After Titanic, I think he realized it would be impossible to top himself. Waiting until the furor died down was probably a good thing. But the film he’s returned with, Avatar, is closer to his older science fiction credits like Terminator or Aliens, at least in genre and audience expectations. At the same time, he’s attempting to put forth a more emotional story, like Titanic. The resulting film is very pretty to look at, but the story is such a muddled, overbearing mess it makes it almost impossible to recommend.

Set about 150 years in the future, the human race has found another planet — dubbed “Pandora” — with a sentient race of ten-foot-tall blue natives called the Na’vi. Sam Worthington plays a marine who has been paralyzed in the line of duty. His twin brother was part of the “Avatar” program, which allowed them to inhabit cloned bodies mingling human and Na’vi DNA in an attempt to gain the trust of the otherworldly creatures. Each Avatar is genetically coded to a single person, but Worthington’s character (being a twin) can use his brother’s Avatar. On Pandora, Worthington learns that the military and corporate presence on Pandora is hoping to drive a Na’vi settlement away from its homeland to reach rich stores of a mineral called Unobtanium, and he uses the Avatar to begin to seek a way to negotiate their departure before violence becomes necessary.

Much of the criticism I’ve heard of this film is that it’s a thinly veiled anti-United States allegory, with the  humans as the Evil White Settlers, the nature-loving Na’vi as the native Americans, and the Unobtanium (unequivocally the worst name for a fictional element I’ve ever heard) as their oil substitute. I disagree. I don’t think the allegory is veiled at all. Hell, I think Cameron could take lessons in subtlety from Kanye West. The first and biggest problem with the film is that it beats you over the head with the allegory for practically the entire running time. Humans (except for the scientists and one Marine) are uniformly evil. The Na’vi (except for one tribal leader who doesn’t trust Worthington, but comes around later) are uniformly angelic and good. Nature is power, technology is baaaaad. It’s so overdone that it saps the excitement. The script doesn’t help either, with heavy, overwritten lines from almost the first scene (where Worthington bemoans the fact that his brother was murdered by someone who wanted “the paper in his wallet”). Matt Gerald, as the Corporal in charge of the operation, is a walking stereotype, firing off terrible one-liners and chewing scenery like a goat going through a tin can.

Furthermore, the story is horribly predictable. Allegory aside, we get moments over and over again that practically scream, “wait, this is going to be important later.” So wait, there’s this tribal legend about a great leader who tames one of the big, red, dragon-things? Golly, why are we taking the time to learn how to fall onto giant leaves?  How long can a human last unprotected in the Na’vi atmosphere again? So, about this whole “connection to nature” thing…

Speaking of the connection to nature, a lot of the stuff in that regard reminded me of elements from Orson Scott Card‘s classic novel Speaker For the Dead. I’m not saying Cameron ripped Card off — I know full well how often different writers can come up with similar ideas. I’m just saying that when Card came up with his ideas, he got a much better story out of it.

Then there’s the one saving grace of the movie — the visuals. The visuals are very pretty. The colors are bright and vibrant, the action scenes (if you can make the total avoidance of logic many of those scenes require) are strong. But are the effects groundbreaking, as many of the movie’s proponents claim? Absolutely not. Sure, they look good, but they don’t look any better than other recent effects-driven films like Lord of the Rings or even TransFormers.

It’s not the worst movie of the year, but it isn’t one I enjoyed. If you want a movie that deals with some of the same issues in an intelligent, entertaining fashion, go rent District 9. Avatar just wasn’t worth the three hours I gave it.

28
Dec
09

Blake & Erin’s To-Do List For This Week:

Before Erin goes home on Sunday, there are several things we’re hoping we get the chance to do. We probably won’t get to them all on this visit, but here’s what’s on the docket…

  • Visit the Art of Disney exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art
  • Visit the National World War II Museum
  • Go to a Hornets game (shouldn’t be too expensive this season)
  • Go to the Riverwalk/French Quarter/points of interest in the city
  • Comic shop/bookstore visit
  • Celebration in the Oaks
  • See “Sherlock Holmes”
  • See “Nine”
  • Rivershack Tavern, Copelands, Phil’s Grill, and various other assorted eateries Erin can’t go to in Pittsburgh — she especially wants good fried catfish
  • Hang out with our friends who haven’t seen her since June
  • Discover a cure for Feline Dandruff
  • New Year’s Party, baby!
27
Dec
09

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 151: 2009-The Year in Review

Your good buddy Chase is back for the first of two very special episodes! This week, Chase and Blake announce the winners of the Best of 2009 as voted on by you, the Showcase listener! Then, as this extra-length episode continues, the guys delve into all the big comic book news of 2009. Disney buys Marvel! DC Entertainment! Archie marries Veronica… kinda! And Diamond‘s new rules change the game entirely. If it’s happening in the world of comics, the boys talk about it. In the picks this week, Chase loves The Complete Rocketeer, and Blake gives us The Tick New Series #1! Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@comixtreme.com!

Music provided by the Podshow Podsafe Music Network.

Episode 151: 2009-The Year in Review
Inside This Episode:


26
Dec
09

Post-Christmas Cooldown

Here in New Orleans, it’s getting a bit chillier. The next week is supposed to be a bit colder than last week, and that’s fine with me. Christmas and New Year never feel right when it’s hot.

Erin is winging her way to the Big Easy today. As I write this she’s sitting in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, waiting for a plane that functions properly, because evidently the one she was originally supposed to take did not. She’s not happy, but I intend to take care of that when she gets here. She’ll be here until January 3, and we intend to run around and do all kinds of things before she has to go home. That said, I probably won’t be posting quite as much while she’s here. Hope you guys can live with that.

And those of you waiting for more Blackest Night reviews, fear not, I’m not going to stop that. The last couple of weeks have just kept me a bit too busy to get to them all. But I’m going to catch up on all of ’em, don’t worry.

25
Dec
09

Merry Christmas!

Hey, everyone — special offer. Just for today, no shilling, no opining, no flagrant plugs. Just a quick, simple, and heartfelt Merry Christmas! Go be with special people and have a great day.

24
Dec
09

Christmas 2009: Turn Right at the Sign

Hey, everybody. Every year, for some time now, I’ve written a new Christmas short story as my “card” to my friends and family. (And don’t forget, you can download all those previous stories for free from Smashwords.com!) But now, in this age of social networking, podcasting, MyFacing and Tweetbooking, I’ve expanded my scope to bring these tales to everyone out there. And this year you’ve got two ways to take it in. You can read it right here at Evertime Realms, or you can download the audio version. How’s that for convenience?

This year’s short story is a tale of love, understanding, and what happens when the two may not go together. Please enjoy Turn Right at the Sign… and Merry Christmas!

Turn Right at the Sign (Evercast #11)

It had become a ubiquitous sight in New Orleans over the past few years – the yellow signs with  a big black arrow, always accompanied by a short word or initials. Mark remembered several of them he’d seen as he drove around the city or the outlying areas. The tax breaks and incentives the state and city offered had turned Louisiana into the third biggest state in film and television production, and guessing what each set of initials stood for had become one of the regular pastimes of locals. “BD” was for some cable TV show that was filming down there, for example. “CE2” was the sequel to a horror flick that Carrie had found particularly scary. “VEX” surprised him when he found out what it was – he didn’t think it would be possible to film a western in the moist Louisiana climate.

The signs he and Carrie saw on Christmas Eve had the legend “2NDC,” floating over a black arrow that urged them forward. The cast and crews of these films, usually from out of town, used the signs as a guide to the set, but locals just loved playing the game.

“2-N-D-C. Second… Second Coming?” Carrie suggested.

Second Christmas,” Mark countered. It was a tradition with them, to drive around town on Christmas Eve looking at the decorations set up in the houses and businesses all over the region. Invariably, though, their drive wound up turning into a minor argument. Carrie was perfectly happy following the road wherever it happened to lead, but if Mark didn’t know exactly where he was at all times, he got terribly uncomfortable. Last summer, Carrie had driven halfway to Mississippi, and driven Mark halfway insane because she had no destination in mind. He didn’t know it, but she hoped the GPS she was giving him for Christmas would quell some of those terrors.

“Second Class?” she threw out.

Second Corndog?”

“Are you still hungry?”

“A bit, yes.”

They drove quietly for a few moments, headlights cutting through the cold air, occasionally sending up a spray of water as they drove through a puddle. It was New Orleans, where it rarely snowed, although there had been more frequent scatterings of powder in the last five years than Mark remembered when he was growing up. That wouldn’t be happening tonight, though. It was cold for New Orleans, but still only down into the 40s, and there was no precipitation forecast until the day before New Year’s Eve.

Second Chance?” Mark suggested.

“Oooh, I like that one.”

The next sign they approached was different. Still yellow, but the thick black arrow, instead of pointing forward, now directed a right turn. “Follow the sign,” Carrie said. “Let’s see what it is.”

“On Christmas Eve? They aren’t going to be out there tonight.”

“So? That doesn’t mean there won’t be anything to see.”

“I don’t know that part of town, Carrie. It’ll be closed off anyway.”

The car coasted past the sign and Mark immediately felt the temperature drop. She was mad, he could tell, but what was he supposed to do? Go wandering down God-Knows-What Boulevard and cruise past slowly? This was New Orleans. That was a good way to get yourself killed.

“Carrie–”

“You never want to do anything new!” she snapped. “This happens every time!”

“I just don’t think it’s safe.”

“So what? Do you think life is safe? God, Mark, take a chance once in a while.”

“Hey, I take chances.”

“Oh yeah? What was the last one you took?”

He almost said, “ Asking you out,” but decided against it. For one thing, he didn’t think she was in the mood for him to be sweet. The other problem was that had happened over two years ago, and wouldn’t exactly be conducive to proving his point.

“Why is it such a big deal? We’re going to be in Uncle Teddy’s neighborhood soon, they always have a hell of a lightshow.”

“And they’ll have a hell of a lightshow 20 minutes from now. Damn it, Mark, I just want to look. Is that so wrong?”

He hated when she got like this, and when he spun the wheel and tuned around at the next intersection it was all he could do not to snap “Here! Are you happy now?” at her. They drove in silence back to where the sign had indicated, and this time Mark made the turn into an unfamiliar street. This didn’t relieve the tension, of course, he could still feel Carrie sitting there, mad at him, but it wasn’t getting any worse.

The road was particularly dark around here. There was a heavy blanket of trees overhead and no moon or starlight was trickling through. There were no street lamps here either, and no houses bedecked in Christmas lights. It was as total a darkness as Mark had ever driven through.

“I’m freezing,” Carrie said, breaking the silence. Without saying a word, Mark reached down and turned up the heater. Warm air blew across his knuckles, clutching the steering wheel, and next to him Carrie settled a little.

“What’s that?” Mark asked, seeing a structure to their right. She shrugged, and they both leaned over to look. It was a pair of white Roman columns flanking either side of a gate. As they approached it, the tree cover overhead broke and they could make out what it was. The gates opened the way to a cemetery. Moonlight cast a dim blue pallor across acres of headstones and statues, with several mausoleums in clear view. Carrie, who had lived in Indiana until she came to Tulane to go to college, had been surprised when she got here and realized in this part of the country, the water table was too high for traditional burial. She loved the New Orleans cemeteries, just an extension of what made the city so unique.

“See? If we hadn’t taken the turn, we never would have seen this old cemetery. Oh, look at that angel statue. It’s beautiful.”

“Mmm-hmm.”

“Are you even looking?”

“Of course.” He wasn’t, though, his eyes were trained firmly on the road. There were no white lines here, and he had to look carefully to see where the pavement ended and the water began. It had been raining for weeks, and the ditch here was still swelling over its lips. There was no shoulder to speak of on this road.

They watched the cemetery coast by, white columns separating the sections of black wrought iron that made up the gates, the rolling tombs beyond. Another statue, a saint of some sort, dropped Carrie’s jaw. “Mark, have you ever seen anything like that before?”

“Nope, never.”

She scowled at him. “Mark, look!”

Sighing, surrendering, Mark glanced up at the statue. It was beautiful, he had to admit, with the beams of moonlight flickering through the cloud cover and shining on its face. The same moonlight touched Carrie’s face as well – her slim nose, her rounded eyes like a doll, her lips glistening – and she was beautiful.

“Carrie, I’m–”

The apology was cut short as he turned his attention back to the road just in time to see something darting through his headlights. It was big, way bigger than a rabbit or an armadillo… a deer, maybe? It wasn’t out of the question in an area like this. Whatever it was, it made him hit the brakes of the car. He slammed them too hard for this sort of rain-slick road, and it began to skid. Carrie screamed, which didn’t help things in the slightest, and the back end of the car started to slide to the right, spraying ditch water into the air. The back of the car slumped into the muddy water and the front rose up. The whole thing rolled onto its side so fast that Mark completely lost his senses, and when he heard the crunching sound coming from behind, he blacked out.

*   *   *

When he could see again, he had no idea how much later it was – a minute, an hour? There was no way to tell. He hurt everywhere, and a bruised feeling across his neck indicated where the seat belt must have cut into him as the car flipped. His eyes opened to a cold night sky, ripe with more stars than Mark had ever seen before.

No, not stars, he realized. Stars didn’t move. He was looking up into a snowfall.

The flakes drifted down towards him, lighting on his face and hands and, he assumed, on the rest of his body as well. He just couldn’t feel them through his clothes. The feel on his face was remarkable, though, like being lightly brushed by feathers made of ice. He almost never saw it, but he loved the snow.

He sat up, finally realizing he was no longer in the car. He must have been thrown free during the crash somehow. He was sitting in maybe a half-inch of snow, and he wondered just how long he’d been out. He pushed himself to his feet, looking around. He was in the cemetery. Had he actually been thrown over the fence? He rushed to the iron bars, looking out to the car. It was sticking up out of the ditch, the roof and hood crunched and the back end underwater. Seeing it like that chilled him, but not as much as the further realization that he didn’t know where Carrie was. He looked across the area where he’d landed for any other sign of where she could be. There was no sign of blood in the snow, not even where he landed somehow, but neither were there any tracks. He couldn’t see, from this angle, if she was still in the car, but it was the only thing that made any sense.

“Carrie! CARRIE!” He screamed at the car, hoping for any sign of movement, any sign of life, but there was nothing. In his life, he didn’t think he had ever felt such an all-encompassing terror as he did in that moment. He grabbed at the bars, tried to pull himself up, but his ungloved hands slipped right through them. He and the metal were both wet from the snow, and there was no way to pull himself over.

“The gate,” he said. “Where’s the gate…”

“If you’re looking for the girl, she’s not there.”

He spun around to see a man sitting on one of the tombs. A cigarette dangled from his lips, and the soft ember at the end reflected in his dark eyes. Calling him a man was actually rather generous, he was no more than a boy, couldn’t have been older than 19 by Mark’s estimation. His black hair was plastered to his tight skin, and he wore a purple and gold high school letter jacket buttoned up to the collar. He didn’t wear gloves either. In this part of Louisiana, there was rarely a need for them.

“What did you just say?”

“The girl that was in the car. She’s not there anymore. I saw her a little while ago wandering off.”

“Is she okay? Was she hurt?”

The boy scoffed. “After a crash like that? She wasn’t in top-notch shape.”

“Well which way did she go? Was there anyone to help her? How long was I out?”

“That way,” he said, pointing into the cemetery. “No. And I don’t honestly know about the last one. Time and I have had kind of a falling out.”

Mark tried to shake that off. “Fine, whatever. I’m going to find her.”

“Hey, wait up,” the kid said. He hopped down off the tomb and flicked his cigarette into a snowdrift. “I’ll come with you. It’s been a while since I had anybody to talk to. Name’s David.”

“Mark.” He responded mainly out of habit, but didn’t proffer a hand. He stumbled off in the direction David had indicated, wishing there were footprints for him to follow through the snow. The powder must have filled them as quickly as Carrie left them behind.

“What are you doing out here anyway, kid? You’re going to freeze to death.”

David laughed again. “Let’s say it wasn’t cold when I left.”

“Fine. So why are you still out here?”

“Same reason you are, I suppose. Because of a girl. Rose and I were out for a drive. She wanted to look at Christmas lights. I just wanted to see how fast I could go with the top down. She kept yelling at me to slow down because she couldn’t see anything.”

“Sounds like a sensible girl.”

“Right until she yelled at me to get off the road. Then she grabbed my arm, and…”

*   *   *

“I told him he was going too fast, but he didn’t listen. Guys never listen.”

“Right,” Carrie replied. “Guys never do.”

Carrie’s experience upon waking up was similar to Mark’s. She was lying in the snow, feeling it fall down upon her face… tickling, but not freezing. She actually enjoyed the sensation for several seconds until she began to wonder just what she was doing there. She was already on her feet, stumbling through the snow and totally lost before she remembered the crash and began to panic about where Mark may be. She was blind, the white pelting her eyes. She wasn’t sure just how long she stumbled around, lost, calling Mark’s name, before there came an answer. But it wasn’t him, it was the girl. She was a teenager, wrapped up in little more than a windbreaker, with bare legs leading down to bobby socks. It seemed odd to Carrie, even then, but she had other things to concern herself with at the moment. The girl introduced herself as Rose, and began to follow Carrie around. She couldn’t quite bring herself to abandon Rose in the snowstorm, but as the girl began to ramble on about how she wouldn’t even be here if her stupid boyfriend hadn’t driven off the road, her sympathies began to evaporate. He wouldn’t slow down, he wouldn’t pay attention, he took all kinds of stupid risks… the girl was sounding like Mark on his worst days. Whoever this David of hers was, he was probably the interesting one in the relationship.

“When did you get here, Rose?”

“I’m not sure… it’s been a while.”

“Well let’s get out of here before we’re both frozen.”

She forged ahead, looking through the snow for Mark, for a gate, for anything other than the rows of white graves that were quickly getting piled upon by the blanket of white snow.

*   *   *

“Look, kid I’m really sorry that your girl got you stranded here, but don’t you think you should be a little more concerned? For that matter, why haven’t we heard any sirens yet? I know this is kind of a remote road, but with two different car crashes down here in the same night you’d think someone would have called an ambulance by now.”

David stopped in his tracks, looking at Mark incredulously. “Really, man? Are you serious with that?”

“Of course I’m serious! How could you not be worried?”

David shook his head and laughed, walking ahead of Mark. “Wow. I wonder if I was that dense when I first got here.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Follow me.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Follow me.”

As he followed him, it finally started to dawn on Mark that the young man leading him was leaving no trail of footprints in the fresh-fallen snow.

*   *   *

“If he could just shut up and listen for once, we’d be safe at home right now… drinking hot chocolate, listening to a Bing Crosby record… we’d be okay.”

“Sure you would, kid,” Carrie said. Bing Crosby? Was the kid serious? What teenagers in 2009 even knew who Bing Crosby was?

Carrie had managed to pick out rows among the tombs, and she was following them now. If she stayed going along a row, she reasoned, eventually she would reach the fence at the edge of the cemetery. Once she found the fence, she could follow that to get to a gate, and hopefully find Mark in the process. She inched along, bending into the wind, trying not to let it slap at her face as she went.

“How long did you say you’ve been here?”

“I told you, I don’t know.”

Time to try something different. Carrie looked back at the girl, who was clutching her arms to her chest, but not in a way that made it seem like she was cold. “What year is it?” she asked.

“What? Are you nuts?”

“Humor me,” Carrie said. “What year is it?”

“It’s 1953,” Rose snapped back. Carrie just nodded, turned around, and marched on.

*   *   *

“What’s going on here?” Mark shouted. ”Why don’t you have any footprints?”

“You’re pretty dense, aren’t you bucko?” David said. “Take a look around. Where do you think you are?”

For the first time, in the onslaught of snow, Mark started to feel cold.

As they cut through the snow, it was hard to pick out any real movement in the storm. The snow itself was spinning and whipping around, twirling through the air so quickly that Mark couldn’t tell if any motion was the snow itself or something moving through it, but as they marched through the blue-white night, he was certain he could make out something larger, darker against the snow. And right behind it was something else, something smaller, but not quite as substantial. He didn’t really look too hard at the smaller thing, though, because he could tell the larger thing was Carrie-shaped.

“CARRIE!”

He screamed her name and broke into a run. As he said it, she snapped her head towards him and started running too. They both jumped through the snow and dodged graves until finally they had their arms around each other. She was crying, he was too, and neither of them could later remember which had said they were sorry first. In truth, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was they both said it, and they both meant it.

When they broke away, Mark looked up at David, who was glaring at the young girl that had been walking with Carrie. He looked over at her, squinting through the snow. “Rose?” he said.

“Yeah, that’s her.” David reached into his pocket and took out another cigarette.

“Well… what are you waiting for? She’s here! Go to her, man.”

“What have you been telling this guy?” Rose shouted. “Just stay away from me, you creep!”

“Hey, the feeling is mutual!” David tried to blow a smoke ring at her, but the wind whipped it away. “I don’t need you! I never did!”

Mark looked back and forth between the two of them, flummoxed. “I… I don’t understand. I thought they… Aren’t they…”

“Yeah, they are,” Carrie said. “But I don’t think they’re the way you think they are, baby.”

They watched as the teens stared at each other, turned on their heels, and stormed away into the night. Mark’s jaw remained open, not comprehending what he was seeing. She squeezed his arm. “I think ghosts are supposed to learn something. And I don’t think they ever did.”

*   *   *

The two of them refused to let go of each other, and Mark immediately latched on to Carrie’s very sensible idea of following the rows of graves to the wall. Using the direction he’d been coming from as a guide, they found their way to the car pretty quickly. What they saw when they got there, however, didn’t make any sense at all.

The snow they’d been wandering through seemed to end, abruptly, on the other side of the fence. Outside, there wasn’t so much as a flake of the white stuff. It was very wet, however, and the rain-slick road reflected brightly in the lights of the ambulance and the police cruisers. The car doors had been pried open, and the inhabitants were being removed.

They… Mark and Carrie… were being removed.

Each of them was on a gurney – bloody, beaten, and in as bad shape as Mark had ever seen. They looked at each other, both with a look of confusion on their faces, then Mark looked back behind them.

“We don’t have footprints,” he said.

“Are we… are we…”

They could hear the voices of the police and paramedics softly through the wind, and Mark grabbed Carrie’s hand, pulling her through the bars. The metal was no barrier for them, and the ditch may as well have been filled. Within seconds, they stood beside their own bodies. Carrie finally forced out the question they were both trying not to ask.

“Are we dead?”

Mark shook his head. “I don’t think so. Look.” He pointed to the paramedics working on Carrie, one of them putting a tourniquet on her arm. They were talking, shouting even, but Mark couldn’t understand what they were saying.

“They don’t work this hard for people who are already dead, do they?”

“I guess not.”

They walked around to their respective bodies, letting go of each other for the first time since they saw each other in the storm. He looked at her and smiled. “I love you,” he said.

“I love you too.”

They sat down on the gurneys. They lay down in their bodies.

And until some time later, on the morning of Christmas day, things were black.

23
Dec
09

Everything But Imaginary #334: Ghosts of Christmas Comics 2009

As has become my tradition, with the last Everything But Imaginary before Christmas, I’m running down all the Christmas comics I could get my hands on this year… and this year friends, there are a lot of them! Take a look!

Everything But Imaginary #334: Ghosts of Christmas Comics 2009

Inside This Column:




22
Dec
09

Doctor Who: The Next Doctor

Although I don’t mention it here as much as some of my other obsessions (Peanuts, Superman, bacon…) I’m a really big fan of the TV series Doctor Who. And seeing as how that series almost always provides us with a Christmas special each year, I realized I had to work in last year’s excellent episode The Next Doctor into my Yuletide viewing rotation.

If you don’t watch Doctor Who, here’s what you’ve got in a nutshell. The Doctor is a time-traveling alien, the last of his race, who goes around saving the universe with the assistance of various companions. Early in the series run, when the original actor who played the Doctor was ready to retire, the writers worked in a neat little cheat to allow the series to continue — when a Time Lord like the Doctor dies, he “regenerates” into a new body, complete with a new look and different personality. Thus, they can continue refreshing the series every few years by regenerating the Doctor into a new actor.

David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor, is nearing the end of his run. The Eleventh Doctor has been chosen and no doubt work is already being done on his first series. But when this special was announced last year, nobody knew who would take over for Tennant yet, and as there have been many episodes in the past where the time-traveling Doctor met himself, “The Next Doctor” seemed to provide a clue. Stopping in London on a Christmas Eve in the 1850s, the Doctor encounters a man (David Morrissey) who claims the name Doctor himself, along with the Time Lord heritage and everything that comes with it. The Doctor believes the man to be a future version of himself, his memories somehow damaged by an encounter with their old enemies, the Cybermen, but his investigation proves something else.

This really is a fantastic special for fans of the Doctor. It’s bittersweet, knowing that Tennant’s time as the Doctor will soon be coming to an end, but this began his journey in grand style. While the episode works very well as a standalone story, it does give a glimpse towards the future and nods to the past — Morrissey questioning why Tennant is suddenly traveling alone after being with companions for so long, and a wonderful sequence that pays tribute to the nine Doctors that have preceded Tennant. Morrissey may not actually be the man chosen to fill Tennant’s shoes, but he did a fantastic job in this episode, holding his own against one of the most popular Doctors ever.

Like I said back when the Eleventh Doctor was announced, I can accept a new Doctor coming in. It’s part of the core concept of the franchise, after all. And I’m going to give Matt Smith a fair chance to impress me, because somebody had to follow Tennant. But it’s not going to be easy to see someone else in the TARDIS.

And speaking of time and space manipulation…

Don’t forget!

I’ve got some Christmas stories of my own out there waiting for you! If you’re a fan of the audio book/podcast format, check out Blake M. Petit’s Evercast, in which I serialize novels, present short stories, and give lots of other great content. This December, I’m presenting my Christmas-themed novella A Long November.

If you’d rather read your words than have them read to you, you can also get A Long November and eight other short stories in a totally free (until January) eBook edition, suitable for reading on the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, Stanza Reader, PDA, any number of other devices, or even the very computer upon which you’re reading this blog! Check out the eBook at Smashwords.com!

And finally, my friends, I’d just like to ask you to pass these links along to anyone you know who may like the stories. I’m not making a dime out of this, I’m doing it to spread the word and build an audience, and any help you could provide would be a huge help to me.

Thanks a lot, and have a Merry Christmas!




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