Posted in Male Author, Nonfiction

{Book} The City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay

The City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay

The City on the Edge of Forever Teleplay by Harlan Ellison

The controversy has raged for almost 30 years–now readers can judge for themselves. Harlan Ellison wrote the original award-winning teleplay for “The City on the Edge of Forever, ” which was rewritten and became the most-loved Star Trek episode of all time. Ellison sued Paramount in protest and won. (via Goodreads)

Why Did I Choose This Book?
Was wanting an audio book to listen to while playing Minecraft. Saw this on hoopla, checked it out. I actually own this book in paperback form too, but it was nice to hear the teleplay as a full cast recording with Ellison reading the introduction.

What Did I Think?
The differences between the beloved Star Trek episode and the award-winning teleplay are interesting, worth your time if you like to examine different versions/translations of media. There’s also dirt on the beef Ellison had with Gene Roddenberry, which again, if you’re into that kind of thing… Ellison bolsters his arguments with testimonies from many people involved with Star Trek and Star Trek fandom, including original cast members. Including Walter Koenig (Chekov) whom Ellison had a contentious frenemy-ship with.

And I have stories about both Walter Koenig and Harlan Ellison.

In 1989, I went to a science fiction convention with my mom. It was the local Omaha convention, probably smaller than it is now. All of geekdom has become more mainstream. The big media guest was Walter Koenig. He did a short talk and took audience questions. I don’t remember much of the talk, it was pretty standard Trek stuff. Walter Koenig seemed like a pleasant, nice gentleman. After the talk, he hustled from the stage up the side aisle of the auditorium to get to the autograph table at the back. And he passed our row just as I was leaving. And I tripped Walter Koenig. It was pretty much a nonevent, but still…

In 2006, I attended the Nebula Award weekend here in Tempe. The grand master award that year went to Harlan Ellison. As part of the programming, Harlan Ellison gave a talk in ballroom. (He did not take audience questions.) I was sitting in an end chair along the center aisle. I remember it being late in the day, I was tired and I am short so I was sitting sort of crossways, leaning into the aisle. (No, I did not trip Harlan Ellison.) Ellison was introduced and started in on his schitck, then he stopped. “Are you alright?” he asked. “You know, they’re not going to put you in jail if you moved that chair two feet to the right.” I assured him I was fine.

I didn’t get either’s autograph.

Original Publishing info: White Wolf Publishing, 1996
My Copy: audio, Skyboat Media, 2016
Genre: science fiction, nonfiction

Posted in History, Other Media, Readathons-Challenges-Memes

What Else Wednesday ~ What Am I Watching, Vol. 1

ElseWedsWhat Am I Watching: an occasional series.

alt text Peaky Blinders (2013-present), created by Steven Knight

After watching two seasons, there isn’t anything I don’t love about Peaky Blinders. The cast, the writing, the setting, and especially the anachronistic soundtrack are all great. I guess I’m okay with giving up accuracy for style. My only problem is having “Red Right Hand” stuck in my head for extended periods. If you can call that a problem.

alt text Stark Raving Mad (1999), created by Steven Levitan (Modern Family)

Remember that sit-com with Tony Shalhoub as an eccentric horror writer and Niel Patrick Harris as his germaphobe  editor? You don’t? Not surprising. Though it did well critically, Stark Raving Mad only lasted a season. Despite the image at left, the series doesn’t seem to be widely available, so I don’t feel too bad sharing a link to a VHS rip of the series.

alt text Tubi TV

Not a show, but a streaming service. Like Crackle, it’s totally above board and free, but with commercials. The offerings are varied; there are some pretty good movies mixed in with some dubious stuff.  It’s kind of like visiting Blockbuster late on a Friday night if you’re old enough to remember that. Their streaming on PC isn’t as good as Hulu, but it’s decent and they’ve shown improvement in the last few months.

Currently, I’m enjoying their horror selection which includes such solid classics as An American Werewolf in London, Rosemary’s Baby, Candyman, Audrey Rose, and Jacob’s Ladder.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

R.I.P. IX Update #1 ~ Perils on the Screen

Check out more R.I.P. IX Reviews or Join the Perilous Fun!

True Detective 2014 Intertitle.jpg
Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

True Detective (2014, TV series) – starring Matthew McConaughey & Woody Harrelson. In general, I appreciate this trend toward limited run series, like True Detective and American Horror Story. (Some might call them mini-series, but that has a different connotation.) When there isn’t pressure to keep a story going for multiple seasons (in some cases seemingly indefinitely), writers can write cohesive stories with definite archs. Even if they’re only a meager eight episodes long…  SPOILER AHEAD! — After hearing so much about True Detective‘s nod to Robert W. Chambers and his King in Yellow stories, I was a little surprised that there was no supernatural twist to the show. I was expecting it, but I wasn’t disappointed when it didn’t come. I’m fine with the mundane. –END SPOILER  And in retrospect, I’m also surprised at how reserved the gore was. Hannibal? Much more shocking in its visceral gore. In all, good performances, good characters, and well-made. When I first saw trailers for True Detective, I was excited and it didn’t disappoint.

Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Invisible Ghost (1941) – starring Bela Lugosi. This is a schlocky piece with a somewhat silly premise but a few good moments of creepiness. Lugosi plays Mr. Kessler, a–widower? cuckolded husband? I’m not sure now–, who believes that his wife will one day return. Unbeknownst to him, after his wife was involved in a car accident, his gardener has been keeping her in the basement. When Kessler sees his wife, he’s sent into a homicidal fugue and no one is safe. There are just so many weird overtones to this movie. Lugosi dines with his “wife” on the anniversary of her death, but everyone shrugs it off with a “poor old guy” attitude. Then there’s the gardener benevolently keeping the injured wife semi-captive and the fiance of Kessler’s daughter being executed for the first murder. In R-rated modern hands, this could be a very different movie.

Only Lovers Left Alive poster.jpg
Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.


Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) – starring Tilda Swinton & Tom Hiddleston. In my corner of the internet, I had seen many gifs from this movie. The look of Only Lovers Left Alive *is* gorgeous. The music is also pretty good and Tilda Swinton is captivating as usual. Who else would you cast as a contented vampire?  Unfortunately, this movie strikes me as over-indulgent. Nothing much happens. There is really no tension. Adam (Hiddleston) and Eve (Swinton) have an novel way of existing after hundred of years, but there’s just nothing there aside from Hiddleston being eye-rollingly emo. John Hurt is the other bright spot playing Kit Marlowe.

Posted in Female Author, Male Author

Christmas Spirit Update #2

On Monday or Tuesday of last week, I ended up Googling some combination of Sherlock Holmes, steampunk, and Christmas.  What I ended up with was Steampunk Scholar’s 2011 entry about the combination of these things, or lack thereof. Which reminded me of what I had forgotten: there already is a Sherlock Holmes Christmas story, “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.” I did chase down the pieces mentioned in the article. The radio show “The Night Before Christmas” is pretty awful. Don’t believe me? It’s fairly readily available online. The two television versions of The Blue Carbuncle can also be found through a YouTube search.

“Movies” Watched

It’s interesting comparing the Peter Cushing/Jeremy Brett versions of this story with the text. The Cushing version especially adds a few things to pad out the story (a scene between Holmes and the Countess, and a more dramatic reaction by Ryder to his incarceration) as well as adding a few details that Holmes gets wrong.

Turning again to non-Doyle stories, George and Gertrude Fass wrote “The Case of the Christmas Pudding” for the mid-50s Holmes series staring Ronald Howard. It is far superior to “The Night Before Christmas” radio episode, and involves a crime committed with a Christmas decoration.

Of course, the most Christmasy portion of these stories involves food: Christmas goose and Christmas or plum pudding. I’ve never had either of these things. Growing up, our Christmas tradition food was meat salad sandwiches (egg salad with the addition of bologna). The animated series Sherlock Homes in the 22nd Century updates the tale to avoid food altogether. Here, a carbuncle is the much sought-after Christmas toy. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable adaptation.

Short Stories Read

Obviously, “The Blue Carbuncle” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Besides, it is the season of forgiveness. Chance has put in our way a most singular and whimsical problem, and its solution is its own reward.

It’s one of Doyle’s earlier Holmes stories and is pretty solid.

I also read “Brass Canaries” by Gwendolyn Clare

It is shopping season. We know because they cover their hands in cloth, and the sky falls white and fluffy around their feet.

As a complete coincidence this may be a story that fits the category of steampunk Christmas. It’s an unsettling tale and weirdly the flip side of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century‘s blue carbuncle episode.

I’ll leave off with a bit from one of my current favorite Holmes incarnations:

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

R.I.P. Progress Report #8

The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

I have to say, R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII has been great. I don’t comment much, but I’ve visited and added many new blogs. It’s been a joy to celebrate the dark genres with you all!

Mockingbird Lane (2012) – Reruns of The Addams Family and The Munsters were pretty influential to me. My love of the spooky/kooky comes from them. Barry Sonnenfeld’s The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993) were spot-on reboots, capturing the macabre nature of the Addamses. The 1998 The Munsters Today didn’t work as well. The Munsters, despite their quirks, were a 60s family on a 60s sit-com. The Munsters Today needed to update both, but didn’t. I was dubious when another reboot was announced. With Jerry O’Connell as Herman? And…Eddie Izzard as Grandpa? I was heartened by the involvement of Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me) and Bryan Singer (X-Men, Apt Pupil), but then sort of forgot about the series. Until it showed up on Hulu’s front page.

Mockingbird Lane is not The Munsters. There’s no way you could do the goofy, innocent comedy that was the fish-out-of-water family living at 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the 2010s. Instead, this is a lush, macabre, funny family drama. Herman and Grandpa don’t get along and disagree on how to raise Eddie, whom Herman fears is more Munster than Herman is. Lily is, of course, caught in the middle between her father and her husband. Eddie is going through some changes, many exacerbated by moving to a new neighborhood and a new school, and  poor Marilyn is the black sheep of the family. Despite their differences, they’re all reliant on one another. Especially when Marilyn needs to do the “day” work and Herman needs the occasional new body part that Grandpa can, uh, obtain and install.

There are nods to the original show, especially in the decoration of the house and Marilyn’s very blonde, very fifties outfits, but the series isn’t afraid to move past the original. It’s certainly more graphic with Herman’s awake and very open-hearted surgeries and a scene where the just-out-of-coffin Lily is dressed by a host of spiders (winning the EWW! award from me). The acting is good. Eddie Izzard makes it feel like this version of Grandpa was written just for him. Jerry O’Connell is utterly sincere and a tad sappy as Herman, but he is the heart of the show. If he didn’t care, we wouldn’t either.

This show hasn’t been greenlit by NBC. The pilot reportedly cost $10 million and NBC is understandably unsure about it. If I had never been a fan of the original, how would I feel about a horror/comedy/drama about two vampires, a Frankenstein’s monster, a pubescent werewolf, and a girl living in suburbia? The pilot is open-ended and characters like Lily and Marilyn don’t get much of a story. Honestly, I’m not even sure where the story might go. But it would be an awfully fun ride.

If you’re in the US, you can watch Mockingbird Lane on Hulu.

Since it’s October, this post is also a part of Blogger Dressed in Blood!

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

R.I.P. Progress Report #5

The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

I’m going to post my R.I.P. progress on Tuesdays during September and October and link them to the review site if they contain reviews of short stories, TV shows, or movies. Books will get their own posts.

It’s been a slow week in R.I.P.-land. I’ve been finishing up reading other books, writing some, and, well, working on a Halloween-themed EverQuest 2 project.

I don’t have a screenshot of my current project, but these are decorations from last year.

CBS’s Elementary finally premiered. Starring Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson, this show has a little controversy behind it. The BBC, you see, has Sherlock, a modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes. It’s quite popular and quite good. And since the US often remakes British shows, Elementary was hostilely seen as the American rip-off of Sherlock. Which is ridiculous. A.) It’s Sherlock Holmes. The characters and the set up have been done, done, and redone. There are 46 Sherlock Holmes movies listed on Wikipedia; 16 television series. B.) This isn’t Sherlock. It’s not like the horror-show that was the US version of Coupling (talk about being in peril!) or the rather lack-luster rendition of Life on Mars. Elementary is a totally different show.

Does it work? Eh, some of the references to canon felt forced. Some of the chemistry between characters hasn’t gelled. The plot wasn’t much different in feel than many other US mystery shows, like Castle. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I’m hoping it will get better because I’m a sucker for Holmes. (For US readers, the pilot is still available at CBS.)

Posted in Female Author, Male Author, Nonfiction, Readathons-Challenges-Memes, Short Story

R.I.P. VII – Progress Post #4

The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

I’m going to post my R.I.P. progress on Tuesdays during September and October and link them to the review site if they contain reviews of short stories, TV shows, or movies. Books will get their own posts.

” ‘Hello,’ Said the Gun” by Jay Lake – recommended by Jim Black at Science Fiction Times. I totally would have commented to Jim about this story, but I was plagued by OpenID/captcha problems. None-the-less, check out the story; check out Jim’s blog.

“Nell” by Karen Heese – from the Tor blog. A beautiful, speculative fiction take on one of the most depressing Hans Christen Andersen tales.

While they might not quite fit R.I.P., I’ve been reading some pieces on early 20th century magician and debunker David Abbott. I’m certainly intrigued the detective work that goes into exposing these fraudulent mediums.

“David P. Abbott and the Notorious Bangs Sisters” by Todd Karr

“Mr. David P. Abbott’s New Illusions of the Spirit World” by Paul Carus, an editorial presumably from The Open Court.

“Fraudulent Spiritualism Unveiled” by David Abbott from The Lock and Key Library of Classic Mystery and Detective Stories. ed. Julian Hawthorn

Again, this might be in kinda-sorta land for this challenge but I’ve been watching Penn & Teller: Fool Us. This is a reality TV magic “competition” that aired in the UK in 2011. Top stage and close-up magicians came on the show to perform in front of Penn Jillette and Teller. If they fooled the duo, the were given the opportunity to play a date at the Rio in Las Vegas where Penn & Teller have their act. Of course, most episodes end with Penn & Teller doing a trick, often in their grand guignol style.