Classics

ASM Blog Horde Interview with Diane Severson

Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS! The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to […]

Mangling the works of Jules Verne

In a recent post about Jules Verne and his translators for English editions, I included a few examples of how those translators mangled Verne’s stories, so that for generations his authorial abilities were maligned by English-reading critics, and he was considered a writer only fit for youthful readers–and barely fit, at that. In that essay, […]

Sense of Wonder #1

We are drawn to science fiction and fantasy because of what Damon Knight called its “sense of wonder”. This is a hard term to define exactly, but you know and I know exactly what it is when we come across a scene or image or turn of phrase in a science fiction story that causes […]

A Blog Horde Interview with C.E. Martin

Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS! The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to […]

American Gothic: Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates

As I mentioned in my post Stephen King: A Beginner’s Guide I became interested in the work of Joyce Carol Oates because of her association with King. As early as Danse Macabre (1981) King was writing admiringly about Oates’ work. The compliment was returned when Oates introduced King’s speaking engagement at Princeton in 1997. Bellefleur […]

Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

My final (for now) look into SF detectives brings me to the classic SF novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Most people know of this novel as the basis of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner. Upon reading the novel, however, you quickly learn how little the two works have to do with […]

Frankenstein 1931 - Boris Karloff - Director James Whale

No. 9: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and Who’s The Real Monster?

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley, while on holiday, visited Lord Byron’s Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva in 1816. Percy Shelley, her lover and future husband, and two close friends entertained Lord Byron, over several days, with discussions about galvanic responses, reanimation, and vivisection. After a lucid dream, she meditated upon these ideas and so inspired, began […]

The Monster Makers

The spotlight last month fell on the special effects wizards who make SF monsters come to life. The crowning glory was the award of the Best Picture Oscar for Argo. This spy drama focuses on the rescue of a group of American embassy workers from  Iran, using the cover of a fake SF movie. To […]

Why Sorcerers Have Long Grizzled Beards

Ever notice that fictional sorcerers always seem to have long, grizzled beards? Ever wondered why?  Well, probably you haven’t, but you’re about to find out. The sorcerer “look” originally comes from a real-life sorcerer named Doctor John Dee. Grand Mal Press has recently published my new novel about John Dee entitled “Sorcerer: A Novel of […]

The Impossibility of Escaping the Palm of Buddha’s Hand

“Mortal, you have angered Shaka-sama and now Pigsy will eat your face.” This is one of the improbable lines that is never spoken in the foundational saga of Buddhist fiction. Many other improbable lines are. Further out on the improbability spectrum: Shingo Katori costumes up as a monkey.

Review: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Alright we are back with my coverage on SF detectives and we return with the classic SF/mystery novel, written by the grand-daddy of SF himself, The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. This first novel in the Robot series is one of the earliest novels to feature a combination of the SF and mystery genres. It features […]

Isaac Asimov in B & W drawing

No.8 Isaac Asimov, Psychohistory, Robot Crimes, and Positronic Brains.

2013Feb24 Isaac Asimov, Psychohistory, Robot Crimes, and Positronic Brains.  Isaac Asimov, aka: Isaak Yudovich Ozimov, aka: Исаак Юдович Озимов, is another member of the Big Four of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Isaac Asimov drawing In a sense, I think of Asimov as the Grandmaster of Science in Science Fiction. He has the science […]

How to Begin a Short Story

Maybe I’m just impatient, but I’ll generally stop reading a short story if the first two paragraphs don’t answer the following questions: Who is this story about? (Character) Why should I care about that character? (Empathy) Where is this story taking place? (Location) When is this story taking place? (Time Period) What might happen during […]

Halo Jones Interview with Ian Gibson

Before From Hell, before Watchmen, before The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, there was The Ballad of Halo Jones. Co-created by writer Alan Moore and artist Ian Gibson, Halo Jones was a space opera about a young woman who is swept up in a vast galactic war. Appearing from 1984 to 1986 in the British weekly comic 2000AD, the Ballad won several Eagle Awards. Then, everything stopped. The […]

Stephen King – A Beginner’s Guide

For a long time I paid no attention to the writing of Joyce Carol Oates. But I kept seeing her mentioned in the context of modern American Gothic, being recommended by writers whose work I loved, particularly Stephen King. The admiration was mutual. In 1997 Oates introduced King when he gave his first reading at […]

Supernatural Horror In Literature

The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily routine to respond to rappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of […]

No. 6 – Theodore Sturgeon, The Next Question, Well-Meaning Scientists and The Evil They Can Cause.

2013 Feb 10 – Theodore Sturgeon, aka/Edward Hamilton Waldo, is best remembered for asking “What’s the next question?” In some portraits, you’ll see Sturgeon wearing a “Q,” with an arrow pointing forward, suspended from a thin, silver chain around his neck. He believed in questioning our assumptions. He would push further inquiry by suggesting that […]

Invasion of the Movie Snatchers

We live in a cinematic age of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings. Even new movies like The Hobbit feel like pictures that have gone before. This is hardly a new experience. Long before he became President Snow in The Hunger Games, Donald Sutherland starred in one of the best remakes of them all, the 1978 version […]

Is Science Killing Science Fiction?

Gregory Benford shared this on facebook, asking if this notion was true: Strahan, Jonathan, “Introduction,” Edge of Infinity, Solaris, 2012. This is just a short introduction to Strahan’s latest book of short stories, but he has some fascinating ideas here. He explores what he calls “the Fourth Generation” of science fiction. “Science fiction publishing is […]

Elementary, my dear Watson-bot 2.0!

Crime and punishment. Both words are synonymous with genre fiction. Whether it is the flashy superhero racing to stop the next crisis or the “I’m too old for this shit” beat cop who stumbles upon a global conspiracy, we enjoy seeing criminals being taken down. For the next few weeks, however, I am going to be concerning […]

Classic SFF for the kids

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to forego the classics. You know the shows I’m talking about- all the old movies and cartoons from the past fifty years we get out at the holidays to watch with our kids. The Grinch. The Griswolds. Even the Terminator as he chases down an […]

Weird Tales For Winter

  If you’re anything like me, you have long since exhausted the established canon of weird, speculative, and mainstream horror fiction. You’ve read every Stephen King novel in triplicate, and are starting to wish that H. P. Lovecraft at least attempted to describe the indescribable horrors appearing on his pages. Philip K. Dick’s paranoid schizophrenic […]

Tarzan, Celebrating the Centennial: A Review

Christmas 2012 was very good. And one of the reasons it was so good was that among the presents that Santa (in this case my son, J. Michael) left under the tree was a hard-cover, coffee table-sized book entitled Tarzan the Centennial Celebration: The Stories, the Movies, the Art. Published by Titan Books, it is […]

Classic Science Fiction Science: Outland

The science fiction movie Outland has been described as a reimaging of the western classic High Noon set in space: The setting is Io, which is the closest large moon of Jupiter, despite the claim of the trailer that it takes place on the second. If you count all the known moons no matter how […]

The Classics: Edgar Allen Poe

I don’t intend here to eulogize Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) but to discuss some of the contributions he made to the areas of Horror, Science Fiction and Detective Fiction. Poe was born in Boston in 1809. One of the most interesting aspects of researching Poe’s background is that no one seems to know exactly what […]