All posts in Books

Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Carrie Fisher Irvin Kershner Behind The Scenes Princess Leia

Unscripted: How the Famous ‘I Love You/I Know’ Scene Really Came Together

It’s a legendary story, but it’s not true: When Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) confesses her love for Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in Empire Strikes Back, the scripted reply was, “Just remember that, because I’ll be back.” Feeling that the line lacked a certain je ne sais quoi, Ford changed it.

“I love you.”

“I know.”

It’s humorous, poignant, and a spot-on character-driven interaction. It’s often cited as the best actor-improvised line in movie history, but, here’s the thing, it wasn’t improvised. Read more…

Retroactive Continuity: The Secret to Star Wars Success

Yep. You read that title correctly. Here’s another goddamn article about Star Wars!

Star Wars celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and the ubiquity of George Lucas’s groundbreaking creation is enough to choke a rancor. Every time you get online, there’s a slew of clickbait promising spoilers, beat-by-beat breakdowns of the latest trailer, and advertisements for the newest doodad with Star Wars stamped on the box.

It takes a near-herculean effort to slog through the crap and remember what it is that makes Star Wars SO FUCKING GOOD. Read more…

“Mr. Thursday,” a short story by Station Eleven author Emily St. John Mandel

The Expanse: A Journey To Humanity’s Limit

On the surface, James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse may seem like science fiction escapism, but there’s so much more. It’s the very best of modern juggernauts like Game Of Thrones and Star Wars with a dash of The Walking Dead and All The President’s Men. It’s fun, action-packed, full of political intrigue, hard science, and sometimes it’s really freaking scary.

Pure and simple, The Expanse is epic space opera done right.

Read more…

Stories Of Your Life and Others

Stories Of Your Life and Others is a collection of eight science fiction short stories by Ted Chiang. “Story of Your Life,” the fourth short story in this collection, was adapted into the 2016 film Arrival.

HMS Terror Discovered in Arctic Bay

A fragment for my friend--If your soul left this earth I would follow and find you--Silent, my starship suspended in night.

An excerpt from Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Road meets Station Eleven. Fun. Sad. Exciting. Scary. Very moving. Very thrilling. Super good.

The Martian

I picked up Andy Weir’s The Martian on a whim. I had read an excerpt from the novel on io9 and it had peaked my curiosity. To tell the truth, and this is a bit embarrassing, it was the cover image that drew me in; there’s something about seeing an astronaut slowly enveloped by a dust storm that gets me excited. I know, I know, I know…nerd.

The story is pretty simple: an astronaut is stranded on Mars and he battles to survive. (For a full summary, head over to Goodreads.)

Many people have described The Martian as Gravity meets Castaway. I think that’s an apt description. It’s a bit slower paced than those two, but in a way that is more deliberate and, in the end, more satisfying. Read more…

My favorite ‘nerdy’ books of 2013

1. Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

I can’t recommend this novel highly enough. It’s won a few accolades like the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel and it was a New York Times bestseller. So, it’s merits speak for themselves, but it truly lives up to the hype.

The premiss is fairly simple, it’s a comedic look at the expendable crew members from classic Sci-Fi TV shows like Star Trek. That’s the basic starting point, but from there you go on a hilarious and often touching journey about existence and how we can contribute to the lives of those around us. The three codas in this book nearly killed me; they drive a semi-truck right over your heart.

You don’t need to be a Sci-Fi fan to enjoy Redshirts. As with the very best Sci-Fi, it resonates with our current situation and teaches us about who we are and how we can be better.

2. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

A few years ago, I watched a movie called Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. It’s a Finnish horror movie about the “real” Santa Claus. It’s both haunting and has a quality of magical realism that just breathes the mood of the Holidays. It’s currently streaming on Netflix and I’d suggest watching it if something like that strikes your fancy.

NOS4A2 takes the horror and magical realism to a whole other level. It’s about a vampire (Nosferatu) who abducts children and the woman who has the tools to stop him.

I don’t want to give too much away; it’s really the journey that you go on through the book that is the most enjoyable element. I couldn’t guess what was going to happen next and it kept me flipping through page after page. It’s a unique story.

3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This novel is a great introduction for anyone not familiar with Neil Gaiman or his work. I could talk forever about Anansi Boys and American Gods, but I’d suggest starting here.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a simple, beautifully crafted fairy tale about memory, growing up, and making the “impossible all too real.”

A Study in Emerald

Happy Halloween! I’ve been posting for the past month about All Hallow’s Read. If you’re not familiar with All Hallow’s Read, don’t worry, the idea is very simple: give someone a scary book for Halloween. Read more…

Letters of Note: Everything Comes to an End

The Small Assassin

I just finished Ray Bradbury’s The October Country. It’s a collection of macabre short stories, that Adrienne gave me for All Hallow’s Read, about “the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us.” I’ve been on a Bradbury kick lately and if you’ve never read his work before, this would be an excellent introduction. Read more…

How Music Works: An evening with David Byrne & St. Vincent

Adrienne and I had the great pleasure of seeing David Byrne & St. Vincent in concert last night at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. The experience was thrilling. I’m a big fan of both these artists and their collaboration on Love This Giant is pure simpatico. It’s bizarre, beautiful, and a lyrical feast. One of the better albums I’ve heard in 2012. Read more…

  • October Country
  • The October Country by Ray Bradbury

The October Country

Adrienne gave me an early gift for All Hallow’s Read. Ray Bradbury’s The October Country. It’s a collection of macabre short stories about “the horrors and demons that lurk within all of us.” I love this passage from the introduction: Read more…

The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury

I posted this recording shortly after the passing of Ray Bradbury in June of this year and I wanted to post it again. It’s a gorgeous love letter from Neil Gaiman to one of his idles and it’s one of my favorite short stories. It’s the perfect balance of sentimentality, sincerity, and magic. It’s an engrossing monologue. Read more…

All Hallow’s Read

Adrienne told me about All Hallow’s Read and I have to give her credit and thanks for discovering this on the ‘interwebs.’ She’s an absolute horror nut and I owe a lot of my experience with the genre to her knowledge and passion. Read more…

What I’m Reading – 2012 Edition

This is a list of all the books, graphic novels, and comics I’ve read so far in 2012. I even joined a book club! Okay, I’ll be honest, it’s a comic book club…but still… Read more…