Category Archives: Original Fiction

readyplayerone

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

It’s been a while since I read a science fiction book that was just pure fun as much as it’s clever.

On the surface, the premise seems a bit pandering: It’s 2041, and the world has been over thirty years in the grips of the Great Recession. Most people spend most of their free time in the greatest, most massively-multiplayer virtual world ever created –sort of a bigger version of World of Warcraft- called OASIS. Pretty much all gaming and sci-fi and fantasy worlds you can think of have been ported into this massive virtual multiverse, and players can move from planet to planet (and fantasy to fantasy) via Star Trek like teleport pads or any space ship from almost any science fiction film created. Designed and created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow, OASIS becomes the solution for many who seek to escape the real world. But when Halliday learns he is dying –and with no heirs or other family- decides to leave his vast fortune (something like $240 billion) to anyone who can solve where he hidden an Easter Egg within the vast universe of OASIS. But years later, no one has figured out the puzzle, and thus the only ones who seem interested are people called “gunters,” a subculture of people who’ve become obsessed with Halliday and who spend hours upon hours going through everything he wrote and reliving almost every aspect of the 1980’s, because Halliday was fascinated with 80s pop and nerd culture of all kinds, including sci-fi, fantasy, anime, Giant Robot Japanese shows, Duran Duran, videogames and Dungeons & Dragons. So all the challenges, all the riddles involve trivia from that era, so Ready Player One becomes a massive mash-up of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Matrix (as USA Today called it) and Stephenson’s Snow Crash and other novels that feature a treasure hunt premise. Our hero and narrator, Wade Watts, is an awkward teenager, poor, over-weight, with acne and is living with his aunt in what amounts to future version of a trailer park, where RVs are stacked upon each other twenty or more trailers high to preserve ground space (which is a very clever idea, in my opinion). Like all gunters, he too seeks to solve the riddles and gain the fortune that will take him away from the world he currently lives in. Then one day, Wade stumbles upon the first clue in Halliday’s game and sets in motion a race to the finish. But there are some, including a huge corporation, that is willing to do anything, including kill people, to get control of the money and OASIS itself.

This is a delightful novel, fast-paced page turner and surprisingly well constructed. Debut novelist Ernest Cline –who wrote the screenplay for the little seen (but worth it) indie film Fanboys- spent much of his young adulthood working a series of low-paying tech support jobs that allowed him to surf the Internet while on the clock and research his many pop-culture obsessions. His love of the 1980’s shines with endless nods to almost every popular pop culture event that made that decade my favorite as well.

In the end, Ready Player One is pure escapism, yet there is coda to it as well, but it does not interfere with the pacing. One thing that interests me is that Cline sold the rights to Warner Bros and I’m curious how the studio and Cline (who is writing the screenplay) intend to use the multi copyrighted material of other companies and studios. I mean the holders might not want to sign the rights over, but if handled right, this could be a great movie the same way Toy Story was. Everyone knows the story of Mattel not allowing Barbie to be used in the first film, only to realize what money the lost by not allowing Pixar to use her –so the quickly acquiesced for the later films.

As huge fan of the 1980s and classic video games, Ready Player One is a valentine to the era and an enjoyable trip to those halcyon days.

'Mockingbird Lane' may air for Halloween; 'Peanuts' reborn via Blue Sky; Chris Carter coming back to TV?

As I noted over a week ago, NBC had decided to not move forward with Mockingbird Lane, a rebooted series based on the classic 1960s TV sitcom The Munsters from Wonderfalls and Pushing Daises creator Bryan Fuller. The idea had been around for almost two years at NBC, and the network spent over $10 million getting it developed, but according to the media site Collider, part of the problem stemmed from the visual direction Fuller wanted it to go and what pilot director Brian Singer wanted. Also, NBC wanted the series have a fish-out-of-water aspect to it, where Fuller wanted it to exist in some self-contained universe. And because Fuller was working on his Hannibal prequel series (which NBC already gave a 13 episode order for midseason), he had no time to work on the show. NBC, looking to get some of its cost back (instead just burying it) will at least air the pilot, which should air this Halloween as a special, though no actual air date has been announced.

20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios –the company behind the Ice Age films and Dr. Suess’ Horton Hears a Who and Rio- are partnering again for a big screen adaptation of Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters. They’ve set a November 25, 2015 release date for a film, which will be the classic cartoon strips 65th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the classic CBS special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Steve Martino, who co-directed Horton Hears a Who and this summer’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, will helm this film, based on a screenplay by grandsons Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz along with Cornelius Uliano.

The X Files creator Chris Carter has kept a somewhat low profile since his series ended in 2002. Sure, he co-wrote and directed the second big screen adventure of Mulder and Scully, 2008’s disappointing The X Files: I Want to Believe, and about a year ago he was working on a procedural show with supernatural overtones call Unique, but overall, the man has kept a low-profile for 10 years. But now, the writer has teamed up with Georgetown Television to bring the world The After. It sounds like a conspiracy series -a thriller which revolves around a mysterious and unexplained event and will incorporate “elements of science-fiction, suspense and real-word fear and paranoia.” Georgetown Television, by the way, seems to making an impression of late, as they’re also behind the recently announced reboot of the classic British sci fi series Blakes 7, as well as a pandemic thriller called Hunters from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski and a supernatural series called Sense from team Wachowski.  The only downside to this announcement is that no US based network has picked up the show, and it’s the intention of Georgetown to shop the show at Cannes, potentially acquiring foreign financing and thus hoping to have it go for a full series pick-up versus going through the usual pilot process. Like a lot of old, popular US shows (especially science fiction and fantasy) the market is huge overseas, so there is a potential it could get picked-up. But that begs the question; would it air here anytime soon?

Ian McShane has joined the cast of American Horror Story: Asylum in a recurring role. Also, Judas Kiss actor Richard Harmon has scored a recurring role on A&E’s prequel Psycho series The Bates Motel.

Junkyard Angels Poster

JUNKYARD ANGELS: Chapter 20 – Milton’s Story Part 3

Milton stumbles home at the end of the day the world ended…

Written by: PK Eiselt
Art by: Juan Fleites
Art Director: Zach Enea

JUNKYARD ANGELS #1 & #2 now available for sale at:
INDY PLANET

DoorQ Chapters:

SEASON 1
Cover
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8Chapter 9


SEASON 2
Prologue
- Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12
Chapter 13Chapter 14  –Chapter 15A15B
Chapter 16Chapter 17

 

SEASON 3
Prologue- Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17
Chapter 18Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21

 SEASON 4
Chapter 22 – Chapter 23 – Chapter 24

Contact us:
junkyardangelscomic@gmail.com

facebook.com/junkyardangelscomic

http://twitter.com/Junkyardangels

ORIGINAL FICTION: It's Over Prime (A Transformer Slashfic)

Warning: This piece is intended for unapologetic Transformer fans only. For those not well versed in the Lore; proceed past this point at your own risk.

IT’S OVER PRIME
(A Transformer Slashfic)

  Ryon ran up the steps to the studio.  He was late, and his palms were sweating, that was never a good sign.  But traffic had been backed up, and Mapquest had given him the wrong directions and some jackass in an orange and purple sports car kept cutting him off but the casting directors would understand and…  It didn’t matter.  The audition itself didn’t matter really.  He should be concerned about his sides, but the only thing he could think of was her.

 
“Please be here” he whispered as he went through the Gi-normous revolving glass doors.  The receptionist checked his ID and made him fill out a visitor’s card, and take a Polaroid.  “Come on – you are wasting valuable time” but he didn’t say it.
“Studio GD-05, is down the hall, last door on your right” she said, finally releasing him.

 

Ryon raced down the hall nearly ramming into a Production Assitant on the way.  There it was, GD-05, he straightened him self, took a deep breath, and entered.

 

The waiting room was a typical waiting room.  Ryon had seen many just like it in his career.  He chuckled a bit noticing all the regulars here.  Funny, there always seemed to the same group all be going for the same parts.  He scanned the room – where is she?!

 

Then he saw her, and his circuits jumped…cautiously he walked over to her.

 

Megan was sitting in a folding chair nearest to the casting director’s door.  It had a Matrix taped to it – identifying it as such.  Her sides dangled over the arm of the chair carelessly from one of her powerful hands. And her great silver body and red trim looked just as spectacular, all polished and shining, just like it always did.

 

“Hi, is uh, this seat taken?”

 

She looked up at him ready cut the intruder down with a sharp word or two –then her face softened just a bit when she recognized her friend.

 

“O-Ryon!!” She stood and the two embraced.  Twenty years, and he still couldn’t confess to her how he felt about her.  Would he ever?  She pushed him back and looked at his masculine red body, and slick chrome grill. “You’re looking good handsome”

 

“Heh-heh.  Thanks. So uh, Megs, you wanna run lines?”

 

“Sure”

 

Ryon sat down next to her, “So uh where’s your fusion cannon?”  She shot him one of her patented evil glares that always looked so good on camera.
“Subspace of course.  Did you think I would have come here and not brought it?”

 

“Heh, of course not, hehe, just keeping you on your toes” he said,  “I am such a dork”, he thought.

 

They started running their lines.  Mostly it was the same old stuff.  But somehow this just didn’t seem to flow the way Ryon remembered.  Ah, the good old days. Before mini-cons and beast-formers, pretenders, and now these force chips – Back then things were straight forward – and fun.  Now it was hard work, just to get seen.

 

Suddenly a hush fell over the room. Everyone stopped and looked towards the front door.

 

Adam Thunderpants and E-Erin Mega-Zord had entered.

 

“Wow” Ryon exclaimed, “I didn’t even think that celebrities like them had to audition anymore”

 

“You know how it is oil-spot-honey, times are getting tougher, aint nothing a shoe in anymore, we all have to audition now days” Megan  said not even trying to hider her disdain.  She was so tough, despite the hard times and everything, she never let it get to her.  Ryon was amazed.  Megan truly amazed him.

 

Like last year, when they got that limited engagement deal.  They all had appearances world wide.  Most of the old crew was there, but back in the states they just wouldn’t renew her contract.  There was a brief run with a small independent publisher, a Wave of Dreams, you could say, but they went belly up despite their success.  If the constant defeats and setbacks ever got her down, she never showed it.  It pained Ryon that they had lost touch the way they did.  But no one really hung out together anymore.  And they all used to be such good friends…

 

“Ryon! Ryon Pax?” Ryon started and then stood up, the Casting Director’s assistant was standing at the studio-door, “Its your turn to read” she continued in a nasal monotone, cocking her blue head to the side. “And also lets have, Megan, uh Megan – no last name”

 

Megs smiled her thin lip smile and stood up.  She shot Ryon a knowing glance and headed into the studio floor.  Ryon followed.

 

“My name is Ryon Pax, and I will be reading for the role of OPTIMUS PRIME”

 

“And what do you transform into?”
“A Semi-truck with trailer”
“Nice – please take your mark over there, stage left”

 

Megs had unleashed her Fusion Cannon and attached it to her arm.  She introduced her self to the Directors and Producers.

“And what do you turn into?”

“I am a Walther P-38, with sniper scope, silencer and stock” She replied, and Ryon noticed that her normally smooth as silk voice had changed into the fearsome growl that she used whenever she was on stage.

“Uhm-hmm, stage right” the voice said unimpressed, “Ok, lets take it from the top of page 11 – places, and action”

Ryon squared his shoulders and spoke in his heroic stage voice:
“Megatron, the Decepticons will never beat the Autobots.  We will fight you to the end of our last circuits!”

Megan: “Prime, why do you insist on predicting your own downfall so early- we have barely begun this battle”

 

Ryon: “No Megatron, this ends here and now!”

 

Megan: “You are so right – IT’S OVER PRIME!” Megan ended the line with a menacing pose and laugh, her cannon aimed at Ryon’s head.

 

“Nice, nice.  Thank you, both of you.  You’re excused.  Sandy please bring the next two in”

 

“As you command” Sandy vocoded back.  In some ways she had it the worst.  As much trouble as it might be to have a pistol as an altmode, it was impossible to find work as a tapedeck anywhere.  Ryon was glad she’d found something, anything, even if it was just as a production assistant.

 

Back in the waiting room, Ryon felt like he was walking on clouds.

 

“Wow, that was nice wasn’t it?  Just like old times huh?”

 

“Yeah” Megs replied coolly. Her villain voice gone again along with her cannon.

 

As the two headed towards the door, Ryon decided that this must be it, this was his chance, “I think we really have a chance this time.  And wow, you Nailed that line reading!”

 

The door burst open and a giant Purple Bot with orange arms and spines, strode in and ran right into Megan.

 

“Watch where you’re going it hissed.”

 

“What? No body speaks to Megatro- uh, Megan like that” Megan’s growl returned.

 

“Hey you’re the jackass on the freeway – you cut me off …” Ryon said stepping forward.

 

The Large bot picked Ryon up by his head “And what are you going to do about it, huh?”

 

“Oh, put him down Nancy” A powerful voice boomed from behind him.  Everyone in the waiting room turned to look.

Nancy drew her gatling gun and spun around, “And who’s going to make me-” her voice died in her throat as a massive bot walked in.  His shining chassis shone in the light as he strode in on his powered up cab-and-Trailer form. He stretched his wings intimidating.

 

“Oh, Gary, I didn’t know you were coming” she dropped Ryon to the floor.

Ryon and Megan slid out the door, and made their way back out to the street.  They walked to the parking structure in silence.  After some time, he spoke.

 

“Well that Gary was pretty impressive – I’ve never seen him before.”

 

“I guess we’re still job hunting then aren’t we bud?” Megan smiled.

 

“No way, we were great –”

 

“Oh come on babe, you saw them, it’s the new generation.  A futuristic fire truck and an orange Batmobile?  Trust me on this one – it was over the moment they stepped through the door, they’ve already got the parts,” she looked off into the distance, wistfully.

 

“Uh, no –”,  Ryon stammered, “I guess you’re right Megs.  Well, I guess I’ll see you around, the next audition maybe?”

 

“Yeah” She smiled at him again, and started to walk away.

 

“Wait!” Ryon called out to her and she stopped and turned, “If I don’t do this now, I never will.  Why do we have to wait till the next audition?” He ran up to her, and gabbed her arms, “Why do we keep doing this to each other – pretending that every thing is all right and… Megan I love you” He pulled her close to him and they kissed.

 

After a long time Megan pushed him back.  “Do you really think we could be together?  Do you think this could work? You an me?”

 

“Yes I do.  More than anything else in the world, I know this is right. We’ve always been best friends, You have always been so special to me.  It’ll be just like old times”
Megan’s smile melted.  A single tear welled up in her optic and rolled down her cheek.  She shook her head.

 

“What’s wrong babe?”

 

“Don’t you see, Ryon?  You are so sweet but, its not old times anymore, we can’t live in the past…” her voice trailed off, t his was the first time Ryon had ever seen Megs speechless.

 

“But baby we, I…”

 

“No.  Don’t speak.  Its over Ryon” She leaned in, and kissed his faceplate ever so gently, and then she turned and walked away. And Ryon finally knew, after 20 years of pretending, what it was like to have your heart blown away by the awesome might of Megatron’s Fusion Cannon.

 

The.  Power.  Of.  A.  Black.  Hole.

 

It’s over Prime.