LEGOs: Legitimate Excuse to Get Offspring

Lego SerenityI hadn’t thought of it when I first approached my wife with that certain twinkle in my eye, but in a world where couples have children for the tax write-off, why the hell not bring a child into the world for the sake of sharing one of life’s greatest pleasures? I’m talking of course about Legos.

At the age of eighteen, I boxed up the last of my childhood treasures and stowed them in the 180-degree attic space of my parents’ Texas home. With those treasures went a mighty cardboard box of Legos. At the time, I thought I would never again experience the insight and satisfaction those plastic bricks brought me for so many years.

More than just a vehicle for fine motor skills, those bricks produced endless plans for disposable automobiles and rotating hallways and underground bunkers on the moon. Legos unlocked my geeky architect and creative hubris. [Read more...]

Firefly: a New Conspiracy Theory

Serenity from T.V.'s Firefly

Serenity from T.V.’s Firefly

[This week I'm reviving a classic post from two years ago. Gosh darnit, it's just so timely.]

In case you are unaware, the best show on T.V. to never finish a single season is incontestably and unarguably Firefly. It aired and was cancelled in 2002. Many diehard, Firefly freekies will tell you the show was cancelled due to conflicts from the creator working on another show, or due to the fact the first two episodes were mysteriously aired out of order (as in not first).

Stick in the mud types will tell you that it was due to low ratings. (Pshaw.) I’m here today to tell you the truth. Bipartisan politics (the only true instance in the last twenty years).

Bipartisan Politics Cancelled Firefly

You see, the plot line for Firefly is about a browncoat independent who fights for civil liberties in order to stick it to the man by encouraging a free-trade economy based on bartering and simple living and implemented by a diverse, bipartisan crew of federation outsiders. (I know. How did the creators ever think they would get away with such a thing?)

I mean the crew of the firefly-class ship named Serenity stole from the rich and gave to the poor while breaking federation law left and right. The crew itself consisted of a robin-hood style captain, a hippy pilot, a mercenary, a tough-girl, a liberated yet conservative female grease-monkey, a priest, a WASP doctor, an idiot savant and a high-class call girl. The show was basically a 21st century version of Dukes of Hazzard in space.

The last thing either Democrats or Republicans on the hill wanted in the go-go 2000’s was fiscal responsibility and some libertarian nonsense bundled up and marketed with the attractive face of Nathan Fillion (who, God bless him, finally got a long-lived role with the T.V. show Castle). Economic independence and social responsibility side by side? Madness! Plus, it’s a pretty well documented fact the George W. wanted the lead role as Captain Mal Reynolds. If he couldn’t get it, nobody would!

Mark my words.

If Firefly would have been released with the economy in the crapper and Obama in the White House, it would have been a smash hit. Right now, gunslinging libertarian outsiders with a fresh take on social justice and simple living on a space ship would be just what the doctor ordered. For some reason (a nod is as good as a wink to a blind man) 20th Century Fox is still sitting on it.

The Gospel According to Mal

Malcolm ReynoldsMalcolm Reynolds may very well be the most good-natured, and pure-hearted antihero ever to be imagined. He joins such bad boy favorites as Han Solo and the Duke boys on the pedestal of our hearts. (Mal owe much to the forerunner of the genre, Northwest Smith. But that’s for another post.)

Unlike Bo and Luke Duke, Malcolm Reynolds is driven to dark places of rumination through trauma, failure and vast disappointment. With the help of those few who Mal trusts, he emerges an immovable man built on a bedrock of beliefs. Those beliefs form his worldview. That worldview is the focus of this post.

I invite all those who sympathize with the cause of the Independents to read, ponder and debate.

Introducing Captain Malcolm Reynolds

Raised on a ranch on a world called Shadow by a mother figure and a few dozen ranch hands, little is known about Malcolm before his stint in the resistance. After unification, his ready association with the defeated Browncoats pushes Mal to the fringe of the civilized universe, otherwise known as the core planets. There he purchases a Firefly class space ship which he names Serenity. And the stage is set. [Read more...]

Writing Novels for Niche Audiences (Browncoats)

brown_coats_forever_by_winter_artwork-d3cncovIt isn’t a new concept. I’ve been reading posts about it for the last year. These posts usually say things like, “Learn to identify and leverage niche audiences in your novel.” What does that mean?

Well, if you’ve written a novel about an individual who overcomes an alien abduction and goes on to become a champion marathoner before saving the human race when the aliens invade, you would not only market your book to lovers of science fiction, but also to survivors of alien abduction and to people who enjoy running marathons.

Writing a Book for Millions of Readers is Bad

It turns out, writing a book for millions of readers is a bad idea nowadays. Writing a book for the 12,863 individuals who claim to have been abducted by aliens in the last 5 years is a much better one. Now that the modern marvel known as the internet (not the inner netting of men’s swimming trunks) allows writers to market to such specific clumps of people via Facebook, etc., it makes much more sense to narrow the target audience.

Being the proactive individual I am, I asked myself, “Self, if it is good to identify niche audiences within my novel after I’ve written it, wouldn’t it be better to write my novel with specific niche audiences in mind from the beginning?” [Read more...]

Vin Diesel’s Cunning Revives Riddick

riddick international posterNext to Firefly and it’s spacefaring crew, Riddick has long been the science fiction character I’ve most wanted to see resurrected. That dream has come to pass thanks to a clever play by Vin Diesel himself. The Hollywood Reporter revealed on September 4th that Vin Diesel managed to swap Riddick rights for his cameo appearance in Tokyo Drift back in 2006.

Pitch Black, released in 2000, enthralled me instantly. I absolutely loved the character of Riddick and couldn’t believe there weren’t reams of books or comics or something. This first Riddick movie did well enough for The Chronicles of Riddick to come along in 2004 and queer the deal. The larger budget follow-up only managed $16 million in profit. That would have been enough of a flop to kill the character if Diesel hadn’t acquired it.

Now the actor has staked his pocketbook (and then some) on the third entry into the life and times of Riddick. [Read more...]

18 Things You Didn’t Know About Firefly

Okay, five of these I already knew, but this is just too cool. Had to pass it along for all you Browncoats out there. How many of these are a surprise to you?

Firefly infographic
CarSort’s 18 Things You Didn’t Know About Firefly Infographic – See more at: http://carsort.com/blog/category/infographic/#sthash.XH8ltMpN.dpuf

Your Personal Anthem

Serenity, Firefly class vesselIf nations have anthems, why shouldn’t you? I mean, what’s the difference between a large united aggregate of people organized around something in common and all the united aggregate stuff of you? Very little, if you ask me.

So what’s holding you back? Today is the day, my loyal readers. Focus on that deep internal pool of self-centeredness and pull out your personal anthem. If you’re the type to create something from nothing with musical instruments then take that route.

But for the rest of us, luckily there are plenty of previously created songs for us to steal choose from. (You’re dying to know mine, aren’t you?) First, there are several things to consider when co-opting a musician’s creative endeavor for your own self-indentification. Let’s begin. [Read more...]