Remember when the idea for Better Call Saul first floated around in television production gossip, and it was conceived as a half-hour comedy? There has been a lot of controversy over the new rules for category eligibility at the Emmys, with Shameless making it into Comedy despite its hour-long runtime and decidedly serious worldview, and Orange Is The New Black finally shifting over to compete in its rightful category as a Drama. I had a screenwriting professor who worked in Los Angeles throughout the 90s and 00s, and was still livid that Ally McBeal got to compete as a comedy when it was an hour-long dramedy that had no business going up against sitcoms.
Those are all semantic arguments about categorizing shows when there’s a lot of mutability. But imagining a world where Better Call Saul isn’t 45 minutes of deliberate, enthralling dramatic irony, holding a hopeful carrot out in front of Jimmy when the audience knows there’s a banana peel waiting to catch his foot, makes me shudder with would’ve been lost.
The cold open to “RICO” is one of my favorites so far this season, because it succinctly encapsulates the futile tragedy of James McGill. Better Call Saul eluded to the fact that Jimmy worked in the HHM mailroom, but here it’s on full display, as he cheerfully delivers mail to everyone around the office, with the added bonus that he knows pretty much everyone’s name. But the reason the show ventures to this moment in McGill history is because it’s the day Jimmy believed his life would change: when he passes the bar and becomes a lawyer in the state of New Mexico. Read the rest
Harry Harrison's Planet of the Damned is one of the first science fiction books I remember reading. It is available free for the Amazon Kindle.
I recently picked up a copy of this at Powell's Books, in Portland. I remembered the cover from my childhood and eagerly wanted to see if it'd held up. I expected unwitting heroes, improbable romance and unbelievable science. I also found some racism.
Planet of the Damned is the story of one genetically superior Brion Brannd. Only Brion can stop some backwards savages with nukes from killing a neighboring planet of peaceful philosophers. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy a great example of pulp science fiction.
There shouldn't be humans on Delta Pavonis, especially Matt. Landing in the middle of secret colony, with only the questionable help of his AI, Matt just became The Wizard from Earth.
SJ Ryan's fast paced tale replays familiar themes with clever twists. Matt is an average guy, sent to space with an AI embedded in his head, to meet his family and help colonize Alpha Centauri. Solar winds blow him off course and he meets Carrot, a super powerful, and unknown to the folks on Earth genetic variant of human. Unsurprisingly, the fate of this new world ends up in their hands.
This book is an incredibly fast read for 500 pages! Ryan does a fantastic job setting up his new world and characters, introducing brilliant technologies and moving the story along. It bogs down in occasional bouts of exposition, but I'll be looking for the next installment.
A Night In The Lonesome October is Roger Zelazny's final, addicting tale. Thirty one chapters on what really happens on Halloween!
Snuff, an incredible guard dog, watches over a number of curses for his master, Jack while assisting him in their nightly endeavors and spying on their colleagues. Together, they are working to keep a door closed that others want open. This happens every Halloween. A familiar enough cast of characters gathers, some Openers and some are Closers. Who, in the end, will win?
This is such an amazing story! I hear tells some folks read it a chapter a day in October, as a tribute. Zelazny is really a master.
I found this beautiful reprint at a used bookstore. I am thrilled to add it to my collection.
Hibernation and suspended animation stories have always fascinated me. The Whisper of Stars turns sleep into an action packed technology thriller.
Nick Jones' debut novel is a winner. I was immediately drawn into his dystopian near future, where the last best hope for humanity is hibernation. The characters are surprisingly engaging and I found myself actually caring about Jen, an officer in the Duality Division tasked with enforcing the laws around hibernation. Packed with fantastic conspiracy and technology,I'm looking forward to reading the next in his series!