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Welcome! Books, movies, music, original stories, interviews, writing, libraries, literacy, humor –all with the YA reader in mind, are just a few of the topics you’ll find here. New to the blog? Say hi! Like it? Follow away! Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

50 states, 50 books giveaway

50 state, 50 book give away!

We're giving away 50 signed copies of Exiled!
That's one per state (if your math skills aren't up to par)

How can you win?


1. Make a big sign that says 'Exile Me!'
2. Stand in front of a state landmark (this could be a sign, historical landmark, building, cityscape -essentially anything that we can identify with your particular state)
3. Snap a photo
4. Email the picture to Exiled@TheNeverChronicles.com
5. Include your mailing address (yes the mailing address must match the state), a description of where you took the photo and what makes it identifiable with your state (if it isn't painfully obvious)

Be the first to do so for your state and you win!

It's that easy!


*J.R. Wagner or his agents reserve the right to publish all submitted photos on this website as well as any other website related to Exiled and or The Never Chronicles -for example: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest etc. Names WILL NOT be published along with the images.  If you are under 18, you must get your parent's permission to enter. Mailing addresses will only be used to send books to winning entrants.

To purchase Exiled, bid on the movie rights...for videos, fan art, contests and more, visit my website!

In bookstores now

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Ridley Scott MUST let me direct Blade Runner 2

By J.R. Wagner

To understand where I am coming from you need to read my post:

Prometheus from an Alien super-fan's perspective

 It is worth a look just for the humor -seriously.


What gives me the right to say I should be chosen as director of Ridley Scott's mystery Blade Runner project?

How do I even know about this project?  Well, I simply stumbled upon it while looking up Scott's directorial credits on IMDB.  

The Mysterious Blade Runner Project!
Back to what gives me the right to suggest I should even be considered as director of the film.

Answer: Nothing.

I have no directorial credits to my name. I don't even know how to use a camera. I don't even know what a key grip is (I see it all the time in movie credits but have no clue what it is).

Actually, I don't want to direct Blade Runner Re-born (for lack of a better title).

That being said, I don't want Ridley Scott to direct BRR (that's Blade Runner Re-born for my slower readers) either. 

Let me be clear. Mr. Ridley Scott is a god in the film world (as he should be).  Until Prometheus, I would have been stoked about BRR but now I'm just afraid that another great story with all the potential in the world will be destroyed.  I'm going to mention another film god. George Lucas.  Why am I mentioning George Lucas? 3 reasons. Star Wars Episode I, Star Wars Episode II and Star Wars Episode III.  Bad, worse and a complete abomination. 

George Lucas...in carbonite.

Ridley Scott is on the precipice of a disaster of Star Wars proportions.  Will he be known as the great director or will he be known as the director who didn't know when to hand over the reins until it was too late?

I wouldn't have bothered writing this if I didn't have a solution in mind.  And, of course, I do. Here it is:

First, fire the director.  Wait, that's Ridley Scott isn't it?  Well, yeah. If he want's to see his baby rise to a level worthy of the original, he will need to let go.  He can be executive producer -or something like that.

Second, hire J. J. Abrams to direct.  Why Abrams? Three words: Star Trek and (the and doesn't count) Lost. Abrams successfully steered the Star Trek franchise out of the ever-swirling toilet of despair where films like the Star Wars prequels, Prometheus, Dredd, Total Recall (the new ones) and many other re-makes and sequels (or prequels) die horrible deaths. Star Trek is a phenomenal movie for more reasons than I will get into. Why is Lost relevant? You'll see.

Third, fire the writers. Based on the IMDB post, Scott is in talks with Hampton Fancher - one of the writers of the original screenplay (along with David Peoples).  I've got nothing against Mr. Fancher, who has a writing and acting resume longer than my first novel other than the fact that he was involved in the first Blade Runner.  We need fresh minds! Directors, writers, actors -the whole deal!

Fourth, hire new writers. So who are we hiring as writers? Two people, actually. The first is Damon Lindelof. Yes, I am aware Lindelof was a writer for Prometheus (one of several so I can't blame him PLUS it was Scott's baby). I am also aware that Lindlof wrote for Lost -there it is again...Lost, Star Trek (the new one) and some other great stuff. The second writer is J.R. Wagner.  Hmm -that name sounds familiar.  Damn right it does! I want in! And in my next post, I'll tell you why I deserve to be in...actually, I'll show you.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Books for Teen Boys -a guest post

Books for Teen Boys

Getting teen boys to read isn’t an easy task unless it’s something they’ve grown up with and really enjoy. Let’s face it the vast majority of boys in that age group are interested in sports, gaming and maybe girls. So what sort of books would you look to give a male teen?
I think it has to be something they can relate to, subject matter which will pique their interest and spark their imagination. Fantasy; swords and sorcery, Action and Adventure, Sci-Fi – there are some really great books available for boys of all ages.

In my opinion, you can’t beat the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling. These books appeal to all age groups and both sexes. There’s plenty of action, intrigue, sorcery and with the lead character being male, other boys can relate to him. I don’t think I need to say much more about this series as it’s so well known.

For younger teen boys there’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend. This was made into a TV series in the UK and is a very British book. The premise of the book is as follows:
The book is written in a diary style by Adrian Mole, a thirteen year old boy who, although writes confidently, often misinterprets and does not understand the events that go on around him. The book follows him through the year of 1981 and a bit of 1982, starting with his new year's resolutions including "stopping squeezing my spots" and "vowing to never drink alcohol... after hearing disgusting noises from downstairs last night." Mole is a self-described intellectual who writes unreliably about the events he goes through and his troubles as an adolescent - resulting in a light-hearted and amusing book.
He writes bluntly about his parents' marital troubles and his own relationship with Pandora, a fellow Year 9 with beautiful "treacle hair": "Pandora and I are in love! It is official! She told Claire Nelson, who told Nigel, who told me." Adrian Mole also writes about his cringe-worthy poetry, his troubles at school, his acne problem, the Royal Wedding and his eighty-year old friend Bert, and numerous other events.

There’s also The Coracle Boy by Edwin Sayers. The blurb reads:
A long time ago, in a land not too far away, there was a fabled and mysterious place known as ‘Farland - the land of the great swamp’. At its heart lay the town of Westown, the home of Harry, the ‘Coracle Boy’.

Time and time again pirates and robbers from all over this land came to plunder the good folk of Westown, rampaging and taking anything they could. The people of Westown dare not venture into the forests and even the river that had supplied food and goods from far away were now deemed unsafe to travel.

But Harry knew the river like the back of his hand and no-one knew how to use a coracle more than he. And now, more than ever, Harry’s skill and determination were desperately needed. For it was only Harry who could navigate this dangerous, swollen river and get a message to General Smith that the notorious King Axel was about to mount his most vicious assault. . . Will Harry be able to save the day?

The future of Westown depends upon the ‘Coracle Boy’.

For boys aged 16+ there’s The Boy Who Made It Rain by Brian Conaghan.
When a school tragedy happens, you may lay the blame on society, the Internet, TV or violent films. Not many of you think it could be the parents' or teachers' fault, do you? But then, is it? We have our say, spout off opinions in different directions according to our view of the world. In this novel, too, they all have their say, but who's right?

At only sixteen Clem's world is turned upside down. His Willy-Loman-like father, a travelling salesman and a loser, is transferred from Eastbourne to Glasgow and along with him go Clem and his meek accommodating mother. But Glasgow is rough and Clem's posh English accent is not well-accepted in the sink school he attends. And he's a brilliant scholar. He soon becomes the target for McEvoy's group of thugs for whom slashing faces is the most important ambition in their depraved lives. When a school tragedy happens, you probably lay the blame on society, the Internet, TV or violent films. Not many of you think it could be the parents' or the teachers' fault, do you? But then, is it? We all have our say, spout off opinions in different directions according to our view of the world. In this novel, too, they all have their say, but who's right?

There are some other great epic fantasy series appearing on Kindle and paperback like DarknessRising by Ross M Kitson, The Tower of Bones series by Connie J Jasperson and The Never Chronicles by none other than our very own J R Wagner.
A few other titles that caught my eye are:
There are plenty of books to choose from and I’ve only selected some here that really captured my attention. Ultimately, if you’re buying a book for a teen boy, you need to know what type of things he likes. It’s a bit of a minefield, but if you do your homework, you’re sure to pick a winner!

 Carlie M A Cullen is the author of newly released novel Heart Search

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Interview with author; Carlie Cullen

By J.R. Wagner

With Carlie M A Cullen

Carlie Cullen

Okay folks, today, as part of Carlie's blog tour in celebration of her new book Heart Search (not to mention the fact that I find her a very interesting person) I have asked her a few questions.  Enjoy! 

Description of Heart Search shamelessly stolen from Amazon:

One bite starts it all . . .

When Joshua Grant vanishes days before his wedding his fiancée Remy is left with only bruises, scratch marks and a hastily written note. Heartbroken, she sets off alone to find him and begins a long journey where strange things begin to happen.

As Joshua descends into his new immortal life he indulges his thirst for blood and explores his superhuman strength and amazing new talents while becoming embroiled in coven politics which threaten to destroy him. But Remy discovers a strength of her own on her quest to bring Joshua home.

Fate toys with mortals and immortals alike, as two hearts torn apart by darkness face ordeals which test them to their limits.

CMAC: Hi Josh. Thanks for inviting me here today.

JRW: When did you first start writing?

CMAC: I started writing when I was around 8 or 9. Both my parents worked full-time and I grew up as an only child. There were times I had to make my own entertainment and although I was an avid reader even then, I just got the urge to write my own fairy tales one day and I haven’t really stopped since.

JRW:  Do you recall your first writing project?

CMAC: Actually I do, but only because I was asked that very question recently and had to dig through all the detritus in my mind to find it and dust off the cobwebs! It was a fairy tale. A princess had unknowingly upset a wicked witch who started putting evil spells on people in the castle. The princess managed to escape and sought the help of a good fairy. She offered her life in return for the fairy reversing the spells and stopping the wicked witch. The fairy agreed, reversed the spells and imprisoned the witch where she could do no more damage. But she didn’t take the life of the princess on the basis that as she was willing to sacrifice herself for other people, she deserved to live.

 JRW: When did you finish your first book?

CMAC: I finished the first draft in the wee small hours of 26th October 2011. It was an incredible feeling and all I wanted to do was whoop with joy, but as my daughter was asleep I had to button my lip. Boy was that hard! Since then it’s been through various stages of editing, one alpha-reader and two beta-readers.

JRW: Do you ever experience writer’s block?

CMAC: Very rarely, actually. Sometimes I struggle to find the actual words I want yet know what I want to say, if that makes any sense. When that happens I go and make myself a cuppa, ask my Muse for help, come back to it and the words flow as if by magic.

JRW: Do you work with an outline, or just write?

CMAC: When I first started writing Heart Search: Lost, I had an outline, chapter plan for the first 12 chapters and synopsis. By the time I got to chapter 5, the plan was as much use as a chocolate teapot – the story had taken on a life of its’ own. Now I have a rough idea in my mind where it’s heading, but my Muse and characters take over and tell the story their way.

JRW: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
 CMAC: I think I’ve learned a little something from every book I’ve ever read. Whether that’s influenced my writing is hard to say. I guess in some ways they all have, but if I had to pick just one, I would have to say the tales by Hans Christian Andersen.

JRW: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

CMAC: I believe I drew from past experiences in some of the emotional scenes as I wanted to make them as realistic as possible and like the majority of women on the planet, I’ve suffered heartbreak in the past. Other than that, it was all from my imagination.

JRW: What was your favorite chapter to write in Heart Search?

CMAC: OMG! That is such a difficult question to answer, Josh.  To be honest I haven’t got a favourite – I enjoyed writing them all for different reasons.

JRW: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

CMAC: Well I don’t want to give too much away here with regards to book two or three, but there’s a couple of characters in book one who will play much bigger parts going forward.
When I’ve finished writing the Heart Search series, I do have my next book in the planning stage and it centers around the lovely lady I use as my avatar. This book is going to be much more fantasy-oriented. I’m not sure yet whether it will be just one book or more – depends on what the lady herself has in mind for me. [Chuckles]

JRW: Tell me about your writing environment. Do you use a pen and paper, laptop? Quiet room, music or what? Dog at your feet? Cat on the desk?

CMAC: I always use a laptop to actually write, but if I’m away from it and get an idea, I write it on my notepad which rarely leaves my side. It depends what sort of scene I’m writing as to whether I have music on and also what mood I’m in; sometimes I just prefer the silence. I’m not allowed pets where I live so don’t have any. I prefer to write lounging on the sofa with my feet up but I can’t do that at the moment due to recent surgery on my spine. So for the short time I’m allowed to sit at the moment, I’m consigned to the dining room table and straight-backed hard chair.

JRW: Star Wars or Star Trek?

CMAC: Oh, definitely Star Wars. I did like the new Star Trek film with Chris Pine playing a young James T Kirk, but there’s just something about Star Wars which grabs me more. Maybe it was the cuddly Ewoks! [Laughs]

JRW: Are you working on any other creative projects at the moment?

CMAC: Apart from the guest posts for the Blog Tour, I’ve started writing book two of the Heart Search series (although it’s on the back-burner at the moment because of the launch of book one and the tour). I’m not the sort of writer who can have loads of stories on the go at once – I prefer to concentrate on one at a time and give it my full attention.

JRW: What do you think of what's happening with the publishing industry right now?  Any speculation as to where it is heading?

CMAC: I think the advent of digital books has made it much easier for authors to get their work out to readers, which I don’t see as a bad thing. There are a lot of really talented writers whose work would not otherwise be seen. I don’t see printed books going away for quite a while though. Because the digital revolution in publishing is still in its relative infancy, and there are generations of people who are more used to having a book they can touch and flick through pages, there will still be a demand for them. Personally, I much prefer to read from a paperback or hardback, but can also see the attraction of having the portability of an e-reader, especially when travelling.
I think eventually digital books will replace paper ones, but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime or that of my daughter’s. While there is still a demand for them, publishers will have to continue to make them available.

JRW: Do you have any funny stories involving a creative project you've worked on?

CMAC: I wouldn’t call if funny, exactly, more a sense of déjà vu I guess. When I was a kid, my parents nicknamed me Eagle Eyes because I was always able to find things they’d dropped or lost, even after they’d spent ages looking for them. Even something tiny lost in the fibres of the carpet couldn’t escape my beady eyes. I lost my parents some years ago now and had forgotten all about it, until recently. My ‘new’ nickname in my publishing group is Eagle Eye, as I can spot typos everyone else has missed!

JRW: Hmm, I may have use for your editorial talents in the near future, Eagle Eye.

JRW: Best show on TV?

CMAC: True Blood – no hesitation. My daughter and I are both completely hooked on it! My only gripe is that you guys on the other side of the pond get to see the whole series before it even arrives over here – not fair!!

JRW: If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

CMAC: There are a few people who I’d like to have dinner with, but I think it would have to be my paternal grandfather. He died before my dad was ten-months old so obviously I never knew him, but my half-sister has been tracing our family tree and it turns out he was my family’s version of King Henry VIII. My grandfather had six wives – the only difference was he didn’t have any of them beheaded, he just upped and left them and moved onto the next one. He left wives and children in Ireland, America, Canada and England. It sounds like he led quite a colourful life and I’d love the opportunity to ask him about it.

JRW:Wow -he sounds like a very intriguing man. Does this mean we could be related?

JRW: What makes you laugh?

CMAC: All sorts of things. I’ve got quite a wacky sense of humour and my friends think I’m nuts! I love the humour of Robin Williams, English comedians Jasper Carrott and Freddie Starr have me in stitches. I love hearing amusing anecdotes, witty comebacks and classic one-liners. My closest friend, Jakki, cracks me up and when we get together, it’s non-stop banter and laughs all the way.

JRW: Have you ever cast a spell, drank blood or ate raw meat due to a subconscious predatory urge you weren't aware of? (or maybe you were)

CMAC: Yes, I cast a spell once, or I should say I tried to. It didn’t work – the toad remained a toad and didn’t turn into the handsome prince! [Chuckles]

JRW: Who's the best character on The Walking Dead?

CMAC: To be honest, I’ve never watched it so can’t answer that one. We do have it in the UK, but I’ve never got around to watching it. Sorry.

You seriously need to watch this show!  Shelf that True Blood nonsense for a while and get on board! In fact, if you take me up on my offer, I'll send you season one on DVD (or Blu-Ray) just so I can hook another person.

JRW: If you could have one preternatural power, what would it be?

CMAC: Hmmm, now there’s a veritable smorgasbord to pick from. I already have one, but if I had to pick another one I think I would choose telepathy. Now you’re intrigued, aren’t you?!

JRW: Yes! I need to hear more about this! If we ever meet should I wear lead underwear so you can't use your X-Ray vision on me?

JRW: Have you ever been paintballing?

CMAC: Nearly. I was supposed to go, but my car broke down on the way and I never made it in time. I never got another opportunity to go.

JRW: You're in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down and see a tortoise. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun beating its legs trying to turn itself over but it can't, not without your help, but you're not helping.
Help me!

A. Why is that?

CMAC: I wouldn’t do anything that nasty to a tortoise in the first place so moot question! But if you want me to play along and assuming I’m not a nice, kind-hearted animal lover, I would say that the tortoise was mutated by pollution in the ocean and it had turned into a predator; one scratch or bite would be fatal.

 B. What movie was that question from?

CMAC: Ooo, now you’ve got me. It’s familiar, but I just can’t put my finger on it and I don’t want to cheat and look it up. You’re going to have to put me out of my misery, Josh. Which film was it then?

Yes, Blade Runner!

JRW: And finally, the question that all author interviews end with... What are your thoughts on the  2011 Nobel prize winner's findings on dark energy? Just kidding! (unless you'd like to answer that)

CMAC: I don’t usually back away from a challenge (even if you were kidding – I’m calling your bluff)! In all honesty, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to find out proof of dark energy or dark matter existed. You ask any reputable clairvoyant about dark energy and they can give you plenty of fodder to chew over. Besides that, everything has to have an opposite so anything light must have a dark equivalent.

JRW: Reputable clairvoyant. Isn't that an oxymoron? Kidding! 

JRW: Okay last question... really: Have you managed to make peace with all the social media marketing required to get your name out there as an author or do you feel overwhelmed by it? How do you find a balance between 'working' that market and being creative (writing). I find it easy to get sucked into everything and completely distracted from writing.  How do you cope?

CMAC: Hey buster – you can’t count. That’s two questions there! [Laughs]

JRW: I don't think I've ever been called buster before [chortling -what? I just like that word!] 

CMAC: The first question is a bit hard to answer at the moment. I’m so wrapped up in the Blog Tour that I’ve put my next book on the back-burner. I’m obviously publicizing all the posts which are appearing plus the giveaway, but I’m not finding it overwhelming at the moment. I’m using a system to programme in social media announcements and once completed, I can go off and do other things. This is very convenient for me, especially at the moment, because of my aforementioned surgery. It does mean I struggle to keep tabs on posts in Twitter, but I have a fabulous group of people around me who know my situation and are doing their best to keep the momentum going.
It’s very easy to get sucked in to social media platforms – you’re dead right on that score. I’m a big exponent of ‘authors helping authors’ and do try to help others as I go along. I think the important thing for me is not to over-reach, to concentrate on two platforms rather than try to spread myself too thin. I devised a ‘marketing plan’ for the lead up and launch of Heart Search: Lost and am pleased with the way it’s panning out so far. Once the blog tour is over at the end of the month and I begin writing again, I intend to try and limit myself to certain times of the day for marketing and social media so that I have time to keep the writing going. We’ll just have to wait and see how strict I can be with myself! [Laughs]

CMAC: Thanks so much for having me here today, Josh. It’s been great fun chatting to you and I hope your followers feel they’ve got to know me a little better.

JRW: Thank you, Carlie! Hopefully my readers won't turn you off simply because you don't watch The Walking Dead (kidding!) -my offer remains on the table, by the way.

Check out Carlie M A Cullen's website HERE, where you can learn more about her book, her blog tour and her love of True Blood.

Purchase a copy of Heart Search right HERE

Read it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heart Search Blog tour: an excerpt

I have the pleasure of being a blog tour host to one of my favorite authors as she launches her first novel, Heart Search: Lost.

Please enjoy an excerpt from the book and grab a copy to enjoy the entire story!

As they ran, Joshua kept surreptitiously glancing at Jasna, admiring her gracefulness and began to notice an attraction to her. He found himself unconsciously moving closer to her as they travelled; he enjoyed the proximity of her. He inhaled her scent – something he’d never bothered to do before – and discovered he liked the perfume which exuded from every pore.
The attraction was growing imperceptibly minute-by-minute and although Joshua was a little intoxicated by this new development, a part of him felt he was being unfaithful to Remy. He still loved her wholeheartedly and missed her – when he allowed himself to think of her at all, which wasn’t often as it hurt too much – but hadn’t he opted to leave his human life behind him and embrace his immortality?
Joshua glanced at Jasna at the exact same time she decided to look at him; their eyes met and held for a second or two before they both looked away again. Jasna was thrilled Joshua was noticing her at last; this whole unrequited love thing was painful although most of the time she tried hard to be her normal cheerful self. She couldn’t help the surge of hope and anticipation which coursed through her entire body. Could she really be that lucky? It was too early to tell. She knew she mustn’t get carried away; yeah she could keep hoping, but she had to keep herself reigned in. The disappointment and hurt of things not working out as she prayed they would, well it would be too much to cope with. She didn’t have the self-confidence the others possessed; she didn’t even think she was pretty and certainly not pretty enough for a god-like creature such as Joshua. She had to concentrate on being herself and wait to see what, if anything transpired.

About the Author:

Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing. She has been an administrator and marketer all her working life and is also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing.
Carlie has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel. This was launched 8th October 2012 through Myrddin Publishing Group and work has started on book two: Heart Search: Found. She writes mainly in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for YA, New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a professional editor.
Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. Their first anthology, The Other Way Is Essex, was published September 2012 under Myrddin Publishing Group.
Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Prometheus from an Alien super-fan's perspective

by J. R. Wagner

Warning: Spoilers. Lots of 'em.

Second Warning: I'm a writer, not a movie reviewer. Oh and this is a bit lengthy -but the humor and obscure movie references make up for it!

Now that that is out of the way...


The moment I caught wind of this film on the horizon and that it was to be a prequel to Alien -directed by none other than Ridley Scott (director of Alien among numerous other awesome films -and a few not-so-awesome), I was a giddy as a schoolgirl.

I am an Alien fanatic.  The second one was cool, the rest don't exist as far as I'm concerned. The original though -pure genius!

Isn't this hilarious?!


we all know what happens when a big-time director tries to reinvent or add to one of their previous films *cough George Lucas* -disaster. Despite this knowledge, because it has been 33 years and because Scott has directed more than one franchise and because many of his films were quite good, I had to give him the benefit of the doubt.

When I heard the premise (thank you IMDB), I began to become concerned...

A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

And for good reason. The unnecessarily over-reaching plot felt like a waste.  We went from stumbling upon bad-ass monsters that could destroy planet earth to involving the origins of our species.  Huh? Is that necessary?

To the film..

The first half-hour or so delves into the whole origins of mankind premise and I quickly got the impression that this sub-plot of human origins was nothing but a distraction.  Unfortunately, I was proved correct.  Could this REALLY be the ONLY reason a group of humans would do some intergalactic traveling? (Think Star Trek) Of course not.  So why did Scott decide to throw in human origins into the mix?  Ego perhaps?  Addressing the question to end all questions is a tall order in and of itself.  To haphazardly add it to the plot is somewhat insulting and more than somewhat annoying.

So we are half an hour +/- into the film, the ship is on its way...oh, by the way, there is an android on board, oh and by the way, there are many, many things -set design, technology, costumes that look and feel almost EXACTLY like Alien.  I can't say why but I found this irritating -like he was trying TOO hard to point out the fact that the two films are related. We get it.

The visual effects are first-class however the casting leaves much to be desired. It felt, once again like he was trying TOO hard to parallel Alien by having the diverse crew -each with their own unique personality traits, which seemed forced and irritating unlike the original film.  By the time the first character dies, you, as a viewer, don't care about him.  Scott should have spent less time with his stupid origins of human life sub-plot and focus more on character development.
Even the main character, Shaw -very Sigourney Weaver-esque appears to be trying too hard to be Sigourney Weaver. Below are too shots, one of Weaver and one of the main character, Noomi Rapace.  Look similar? Scott must have a thing for low-cut women's underwear.

Sigourney Weaver in Alien

Noomi Rapace in Prometheus

The problem with Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace's character IE main character) is that she is too one-dimensional.  Again that damn origins plot wasted time that could be spent trying to get us to like this character. She is in a relationship -which has a strange, almost forced feel to it, with a man who, in short order is infected by the evil android (Evil android, just like Alien.) and starts having a nasty reaction.  When he dies, I didn't care. Worse still, I don't believe Elizabeth Shaw (main character) cared either (despite the man dying from voluntary immolation right before her very eyes-I think I would have opted to remove my helmet and die of C02 poisoning -much less painful but hey, it's all about the drama, right?)

It gets even better! Shaw's boyfriend, while infected with the alien virus (or whatever) impregnates Shaw with (guess) yes...an alien.  Just like Alien 3 which isn't even Scott's film!
One ugly baby!
Before I continue my linear tirade, I need to address one thing -one character, actually (two actually) played by Charlize Theron. Her character, Meredith, is a tough, no-nonsense woman. In fact, she is more similar to Ripley (Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien) than Rapace.  It is almost as if they didn't cast Theron as the main character because she was TOO similar to Sigourney Weaver and, as a result, wasted her talent on another one-dimensional, forgettable character who is arguably completely unnecessary.

Okay, if you're still here, stick with me...we've got Elizabeth Shaw (Played by Noomi Rapace, the main character) a a shadowy reflection of Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien) and Meredith Vickers (played by Charlize Theron) a near mirror image of Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver's character in Alien) together in the same film.  Confused?

Scott's move to cast Theron, well known for playing a bad-ass, as a bad (yet not compelling whatsoever) guy (gal) and Rapace, a relative unknown actress as the bad-ass protagonist is confusing at best.  Irritating, more accurately.

AND, +/- 31 minutes into the film, we know that Theron's character is in cahoots with the android. Then +/- 32 minutes into the film, we know a large corporation privately funded the operation and has final say on all decisions made during the mission.  Sound familiar?  Alien, Aliens...The Company -really?  Scott brought back The Company

It gets better -the company owner is actually on the ship and has, quite possibly the most unconvincing old man makeup I've seen in a big-budge Hollywood film. Ever.

Yes, this is it.  It looks like a cross between Darth Sidious from Star Wars and Biff from Back to the Future II.



Getting back on track.  Shaw (main character) is now pregnant with an alien baby. Evil android wants to put Shaw ( main character) in chrio-freeze for the ride home. Shaw (main character) decides the little fella needs to come out so she beats up two medical personnel, runs about twenty feet down the hall to a surgical chamber thingy and gives herself (by controlling the surgical thingy) a Cesarian section and removes the squid (it looks EXACTLY like a squid).
Surgical Chamber Thingy

Two things are comical about this sequence. First, in the amount of time she spends performing this operation I could have run up and down the hallway from the place she escaped to the surgical chamber thingy about fifty times -yet nobody comes to stop her.
Second, the surgical chamber thingy is nice enough to apply Betadine to the area before making the incision but, for reasons unknown (if you're an Aliens fan, you chuckled at that phrase) it didn't bother giving her any anesthesia. Shaw (main character) injects herself with something I'm assuming we are meant to believe is a mild anesthetic however the amount of screaming that takes place during the surgery would suggest otherwise.

On a miraculous note, Shaw (main character) is able to get up and run immediately after the procedure (that didn't give her anesthetic).

Game time. Which one is the baby alien?

Baby alien or squid?

Squid or baby alien?

Shaw (main character) spends the remainder of the movie running at full speed (although occasionally bending over clutching at the incision area to remind us stupid viewers that she's just had a ten inch incision cut into her abdominal wall)

So Biff/Darth Sidious decides to go talk to the only living alien on the alien ship (oh yeah, there is an alien ship! Not to be too confusing but there are two aliens -the humanoid aliens who Shaw (main character) thinks are linked to the origins of our species -yeah, that BS plot line and some half-assed version of the Alien aliens.) who is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger and has the complexion of Lord Voldamort.

I'll be back...

Nice pecs, buddy!

You could use some vitamin D!

Then, Shaw (main character) Biff (not his real name) and the evil android go wake the alien up (he's been asleep for two thousand years or there about so he is very, very cranky).  Mr. Cranky Pants kills Biff, rips the head off the evil android (JUST LIKE WHAT HAPPENED TO ASH IN ALIEN AND...AND BISHOP IN ALIENS (sorta -he gets ripped in half but it's close) AND ALIEN 3 ) and, for some odd reason, decides to ignore Shaw (main character) completely.

What the!

Is there a breeze in here?

Not again!

She (Shaw (main character)) runs away (this is where she feigns abdominal pain every once in a while) and manages to escape as the humanoid alien starts to lift off the ship with intentions on heading toward Earth.  We don't exactly know WHY it is bent on taking a cargo hold full of Alien alien DNA (essentially a WMD) to Earth and I can't even recall which character told Shaw (main character) this was the deal (and I watched the movie less than 12 hours ago -left quite an impression) but it is and now she must find a way to stop it.

Rewind a few minutes -Shaw (main character) and the captain, who looks similar enough to Parker from Alien (the original) to be worthy of eye-rolling, agree that they will do whatever it takes to prevent the ship from going to Earth (kind of like in Alien, Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection -even though the last two don't exist).

I was here first!


Back on track.

So the captain rams into the alien ship incapacitating it and destroying his ship, himself and all of the remaining crew save Theron, who escape-pods her way off the ship. Captain is also nice enough to jettison part of the ship that has life-sustaining supplies and Shaw (main character) on foot and still only minutes past major abdominal surgery manages to jump over a gap in the ground that must be 40-50 feet wide (don't worry, the director is kind enough not to show how she manages this feat...he leaves it up to our imagination)

See the gaps? They're widening!

A quick cut away and BAM, Shaw (main character) has cleared the gap and is now side by side with Theron (apparently escape pods only travel about ten feet from their mother-vehicles).  In stupid sci-fi fashion, the pair find themselves running from the downed alien ship which has up-ended and is now rolling (an impossibly ridiculous feat of physics) toward them and they must run to avoid being squished like a bug.

Yup, it landed just like that. CRASH LANDED.
Sadly, Theron's one-dimensional butt doesn't make it and (again sadly) Shaw (main character) does.

Wait! It isn't over. The humanoid Voldenegger alien is pissed, climbs out of his ship and goes after Shaw (main character) -but not before the evil android head, now not so evil warns Shaw (main character) that Voldenegger is coming, giving Shaw (main character) enough time to return to the part of the ship (It could be that rover thing, I really don't care at this point) with life sustaining supplies AND, as luck would have it, the surgical chamber thingy!

Hooray, the Surgical Chamber Thingy
This is a good thing because Shaw (main character) thought she killed baby alien/squid BUT when Voldenegger comes to kill her (so much for being a more civilized race) she opens the hatch and viola, squid-o has grown from 6" to about twelve FEET in length.

Look out, Voldenegger!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Inside the mind of an author -his dreams anyway

By J.R Wagner

I had a dream the other night. A nightmare, really.

It wasn't exactly a linear dream -or I don't remember it in any linear fashion.

It was more of a scene -a live action scene where things are happening but I'm kind of a 3rd party witness.

Anyway, here is a brief description.

There was a lake. A boat -a power boat (the kind you see folks racing) and numerous houses on either side of the lake.  All wooden and very log cabin-ish in appearance. Then, it happened; a nuclear explosion.  It wasn't like one of those on TV with the huge mushroom cloud (like above) but more like a very, very bright flash of light followed by a nasty shock wave.  Then another, then another.  Three total.

People were laying everywhere in various states of injury (none dead that I can recall).  Most suffered severe radiation burns and radiation poisoning.  Not until writing this blog did I know for certain that either of these conditions existed and no, I have no clue how I could tell someone was suffering from radiation poisoning by looking at them.  It was a dream! BUT, if you want to learn more about acute radiation syndrome from a quasi reliable source, click HERE.

My brother was there and I recall a distinct need to remove him from the area (as if he would become more irradiated if he stayed, which may actually be true) and he was burned quite severely. 

That was enough to wake me up.

The dream made me think of a book from my childhood called One Thousand Paper Cranes.