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Russ’s Guest Blog – The “Rules” of Modern-World Sci-Fi

I wrote the following guest blog, which appeared on the web site of fellow sci-fi writer Cathryn Isakson …

http://novelexpectations.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-rules-of-modern-world-sci-fi-a-guest-blog-by-russ-colchamiro/

The ‘rules’ of modern-world sci-fi: A guest blog by Russ Colchamiro

Russ Colchamiro's Finders Keepers

The cover for Russ’s book, Finders Keepers

Today I have a guest blog by US science fiction author, Russ Colchamiro. Russ’s first novel is titled Finders Keepers. Here Russ explains how he blended the elements of this hybrid genre story: science fiction, humour, mystery and ‘cosmic lunacy’.

The ‘Rules’ of Modern-World Sci-Fi
by Russ Colchamiro

Mixing science fiction/fantasy elements with the modern world is a dance indeed. It was for me.

My first novel, Finders Keepers, is loosely based on backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA.

You know … a quiet family drama!

My goal was to write a multi-layered novel that felt epic in scale, yet was simultaneously intimate, while remaining fun and funny throughout. But not long into the writing process, I realized that I had a big issue to reconcile:

How do I combine the ‘cosmic lunacy’, as I like to call it, with the everyday world that you and I know, and invite the reader to accept that this total environment is plausible?

One key element pulled the threads together.

During the early days of my first draft, I belonged to a writer’s group, as many of us do. I received all manner of feedback, but one comment stuck with me from a writer named Brad:

You need to establish the ‘rules’.

At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what Brad meant. To be honest, deep in my gut I suspected he was right. But I wasn’t yet in a confident enough place to acknowledge and accept this confrontation with a key, structural misstep in my storytelling.

During those earlier drafts, I started the action by introducing the hero of Finders Keepers — Jason Medley, a 24-year-old waiter from the NY suburbs — seeing him in the day-to-day of his humdrum life. My reasoning, as far as I was concerned, was quite sound: introduce Jason at his lowest point so that we get to see him during all the phases of his journey — from bummer to reluctant participant to hero.

Now, I really did want to establish the sci-fi tone right away — you gotta give the readers some idea of what you’re up to early on — so I started Finders Keepers with a two-paragraph prologue that hinted at the science fiction theme. This way it wouldn’t be a shock when it finally appeared.

But I saved the more complex ‘cosmic lunacy’/sci-fi elements until a bit later, as a big ‘twist’. Even though I don’t write mystery novels, per se, I like to include mystery elements. Reveal, pull back and conceal, reveal some more. My intention was to get the reader to say, ‘Whoa! Cool!’ when the sci-fi parts really kicked in.

Seemed pretty good to me. It made sense. Only, it didn’t quite work.

Finders Keepers is loosely based on backpacking trips through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA.

The problem was that, by the time I unveiled the ‘cosmic’ portion of the story, the readers weren’t really sure what kind of book they were reading. I simply out-thought myself.

What I finally came to embrace was that it’s easier to start big — FATE OF THE UNIVERSE IS AT STAKE! — and then go small — lonely waiter dude whimpers about having no girlfriend — then to go the other way.

After many drafts, I finally gave in and established the ‘rules’ of the world I created with the very first sentence. And in the Finders Keepers world, there’s a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA, lost on modern-day Earth somewhere, and unless it’s recovered in time, the Milky Way Galaxy might go bye-bye.

Once I made this structural alteration, the narrative fell into place.

In the published version of Finders Keepers, the entire 1,457-word prologue is now ‘cosmic’. And then throughout the novel, I slip back and forth between the two major settings:

  • The down-and-dirty details of Jason and his New Zealand buddy Theo Barnes backpacking through Europe — train schedules, hangovers, achy backs, languages they don’t understand, food they can’t identify, girls they want to sleep with.
  • A host of cosmic characters that are in charge of building the Universe’s infrastructure, and are after the DNA jar. Which, of course, Jason and Theo are somehow mixed up with.

The lesson I ultimately learned was this: as long as I show the readers what they’re in for — up front, right away — they pretty much all say, ‘Okay, this is the world I’m in. Universe jar. Check. Let’s roll’.

From the very first sentence, there’s simply no doubt that Finders Keepers is meant to be a fun, sci-fi romp that brings a smile to your face. Establishing the ‘rules’ brought it all together.

Bio
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the humorous science fiction novel Finders Keepers, published by 3 Finger Prints (www.richkoslowski.com). He is now finishing his second novel, Crossline. He lives in Queens, NY, with his wife Liz, his twin babies Nate and Abby, and their gregarious dog Simon.

You can follow Russ on Facebook and on Twitter (@findkeepnovel).

Click here to visit Russ’s website.

To read the Finders Keepers prologue, establishing the ‘rules,’ click here.

And to watch a video interview of Russ at the 2010 NY Comic-Con, where he launched Finders Keepers, click here.

Guest Blog: Confessions of a Recovering Star Wars Addict

Confessions of a Recovering Star Wars Addict

 

My name is Mark and I’m a recovering Star Wars addict.

 

It all started back in 1977 when I was six years old. My parents took me to see Star Wars on the big screen. I’ve been a junkie ever since. Sure I dabbled in Star Trek reruns and one season of Battlestar Galactica after that, but they were just substitutes.

 

Of course I had all the Star Wars action figures. I still remember my first Luke Skywalker, with the light saber that slid out of his arm. Pretty soon I had Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and even a couple Storm Troopers. Man, I was hooked. I kept them all stashed away in the bottom drawer of my dresser.

 

When The Empire Strikes Back came out I was once again euphoric. New characters, new adventures, new action figures to play with.

 

Flash forward to 1983. Return of the Jedi was released just in time. I definitely needed a fix. I needed one bad. My mom had found my stash of action figures, and that was the end of that. She said I was too old. She threw them all away.

 

Still, a fix is only temporary. Jedi was the new high, but when was the next one coming. It could only hold me over for so long. Lucas said he was going to make more movies. All I could do was wait. For a long time I was stuck watching Back to the Future, Amazing Stories, and the Star Trek films and TNG. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all good. But they weren’t Star Wars.

 

In college I found the Star Wars novels. First the Thrawn series and then a few stand-alone novels. But by then I needed something more. Fighting what was left of the Empire got real old, real fast.

 

Next it was video games. Dark Forces and other first person shooters set in the Star Wars Universe. They were challenging and adventurous. I was actually part of the Star Wars Universe. But even the video games rehashed the old story line.

 

Then I heard the news. First, Lucas planned to re-release the original trilogy,and then film an entirely new prequel trilogy. I was elated! Upon re-release the original trilogy looked incredible, better than I remembered. But you know what, George? Greedo did not shoot first. You changed my history and somehow stole something from my childhood.

 

Still, I waited in line overnight for tickets to The Phantom Menace. And I saw Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in the theater. Even though the stories were lacking, they were still Star Wars. The special effects were cutting edge and a new story line emerged.

 

My addiction to Star Wars has since waned. My tastes have matured. I don’t read the novels anymore. I watch The Clone Wars when I can. I have the DVDs of all six films, and I have the Jim Rumph Obi Wan Kenobi decanter that my parents bought me back in 1977, right after we saw the original Star Wars.

 

While I was once a full-blown junkie, I now consider myself a recovering addict. But Star Wars did spark the imagination of a young child. So much so that it inspired me to write and publish my first science fiction novel, The Staff of Rahgorra.

 

I may not be hooked on Star Wars like I once was but its effect on me lives on.

 

Thank you, Mr. Lucas.

 

  

Mark Oetjens is the author and publisher of the science fiction action-adventure The Staff of Rahgorra. He recently moved to Phoenix, AZ, where he is diligently working on a sequel.

 

Follow Mark on Facebook and Twitter @MarkOetjens, or visit the Conquer Publishing website at http://www.conquerpublishing.com for more information about Mark and The Staff of Rahgorra.

Finders Keepers Official Press Release

 

GOOFY SCI-FI ROMP ‘FINDERS KEEPERS’ NOW ON SALE

 

Tale of Cosmic Lunacy is Debut Novel

 from Author Russ Colchamiro

 

Captures Spirit of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett,

Eureka, Quantum Leap, The Big Bang Theory

 

 

SANTA CRUZ, C.A., October 11, 2010 – There’s a new tale of cosmic lunacy in town—and its name is Finders Keepers.

 

Available for purchase from publisher 3 Finger Prints, the debut novel from author Russ Colchamiro is a fast-paced, backpacking romp across Europe, New Zealand and the galactic realm of Eternity.

 

For fans of goofy science fiction and fantasy classics such as Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, plus TV shows and movies such as Time Bandits, Quantum Leap, Eureka and The Big Bang Theory, Finders Keepers is a buddy story that mixes comic-book style and chapter-to-chapter cliffhangers with humor, pathos, outrageous characters and time-bending, galaxy-twisting pratfalls.

 

Caught in that netherworld between college and a career, novice traveler Jason Medley and adventuresome Theo Barnes stumble through hash bars and hangovers; religious zealots and stalkers; food poisoning and thunderstorms; saucy girls; overnight trains—and the specter of adult responsibility!

 

But when a jar of the Universe’s DNA accidentally falls from Eternity, these new friends find their loyalties put to the test—unaware that a motley crew from another realm is chasing them across the globe, with the fate of the Milky Way hanging in the balance.

 

“Finders Keepers is goofy fun you just can’t put down,” says 3 Finger Prints president and Finders Keepers cover artist Rich Koslowski. “Russ has fashioned a wacky, character-driven novel that already ranks up with the best in the genre. Russ has a knack for dialogue and brings these two totally different guys, one from the New York suburbs, the other from Auckland, New Zealand—into a cosmic world that makes you care what happens to them both, and laugh out loud along the way.”

 

Finders Keepers is the first in a planned three-book series.

 

For more information, or to purchase Finders Keepers, visit 3 Finger Prints at www.richkoslowski.com.

 

ISBN: 978-0-9794801-4-0

 

NOTE TO EDITORS: REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

About 3 Finger Prints

3 Finger Prints is owned and operated by award-winning comic book artist and writer Rich Koslowski. His impressive collection of work includes the ongoing series, The 3 Geeks; award-winning docu-style Three Fingers; Elvis-themed The King; Santa Clause-meets-Die Hard romp, The List; and the newest project he illustrated, the blues themed BB Wolf and 3 L.P.’s, a re-imagining of the classic tale. Rich is also a regular contributor to Archie Comics, and is a licensed artist for Family Guy and The Simpsons. Please visit RichKoslowski.com for a complete listing of 3 Finger Prints titles.

 

About Russ Colchamiro

With the launch of his debut novel, Finders Keepers, Russ Colchamiro is now at work on his second novel, Crossline, and has plans to write at least two more novels in the Finders Keepers series. A former journalist, Russ co-wrote the supernatural comic-book miniseries, Timespell, and has had short fiction published in Moose Bound Press Anthology, Illya’s Honey and Fast Food Blues. He lives in Queens, N.Y., with his wife, Liz, twin babies Nate and Abby, and their gregarious dog, Simon. Russ encourages you to email him at russ@russcolchamiro.com.

 

 

Media Contacts:

Amanda Marsh
3 Finger Prints
Amanda@buzzmaestro.com
(631) 647-0834    
  

                                                                                 RichKoslowski
3 Finger Prints
the3geeks@aol.com           

                                 

Finders Keepers Official Press Release

 

GOOFY SCI-FI ROMP ‘FINDERS KEEPERS’ NOW ON SALE

 

Tale of Cosmic Lunacy is Debut Novel

 from Author Russ Colchamiro

 

Captures Spirit of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett,

Eureka, Quantum Leap, The Big Bang Theory

 

 

SANTA CRUZ, C.A., October 11, 2010 – There’s a new tale of cosmic lunacy in town—and its name is Finders Keepers.

 

Available for purchase from publisher 3 Finger Prints, the debut novel from author Russ Colchamiro is a fast-paced, backpacking romp across Europe, New Zealand and the galactic realm of Eternity.

 

For fans of goofy science fiction and fantasy classics such as Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, plus TV shows and movies such as Time Bandits, Quantum Leap, Eureka and The Big Bang Theory, Finders Keepers is a buddy story that mixes comic-book style and chapter-to-chapter cliffhangers with humor, pathos, outrageous characters and time-bending, galaxy-twisting pratfalls.

 

Caught in that netherworld between college and a career, novice traveler Jason Medley and adventuresome Theo Barnes stumble through hash bars and hangovers; religious zealots and stalkers; food poisoning and thunderstorms; saucy girls; overnight trains—and the specter of adult responsibility!

 

But when a jar of the Universe’s DNA accidentally falls from Eternity, these new friends find their loyalties put to the test—unaware that a motley crew from another realm is chasing them across the globe, with the fate of the Milky Way hanging in the balance.

 

“Finders Keepers is goofy fun you just can’t put down,” says 3 Finger Prints president and Finders Keepers cover artist Rich Koslowski. “Russ has fashioned a wacky, character-driven novel that already ranks up with the best in the genre. Russ has a knack for dialogue and brings these two totally different guys, one from the New York suburbs, the other from Auckland, New Zealand—into a cosmic world that makes you care what happens to them both, and laugh out loud along the way.”

 

Finders Keepers is the first in a planned three-book series.

 

For more information, or to purchase Finders Keepers, visit 3 Finger Prints at www.richkoslowski.com.

 

ISBN: 978-0-9794801-4-0

 

NOTE TO EDITORS: REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

 

About 3 Finger Prints

3 Finger Prints is owned and operated by award-winning comic book artist and writer Rich Koslowski. His impressive collection of work includes the ongoing series, The 3 Geeks; award-winning docu-style Three Fingers; Elvis-themed The King; Santa Clause-meets-Die Hard romp, The List; and the newest project he illustrated, the blues themed BB Wolf and 3 L.P.’s, a re-imagining of the classic tale. Rich is also a regular contributor to Archie Comics, and is a licensed artist for Family Guy and The Simpsons. Please visit RichKoslowski.com for a complete listing of 3 Finger Prints titles.

 

About Russ Colchamiro

With the launch of his debut novel, Finders Keepers, Russ Colchamiro is now at work on his second novel, Crossline, and has plans to write at least two more novels in the Finders Keepers series. A former journalist, Russ co-wrote the supernatural comic-book miniseries, Timespell, and has had short fiction published in Moose Bound Press Anthology, Illya’s Honey and Fast Food Blues. He lives in Queens, N.Y., with his wife, Liz, twin babies Nate and Abby, and their gregarious dog, Simon. Russ encourages you to email him at russ@russcolchamiro.com.

 

 

Media Contacts:

 

Amanda Marsh                                                                                  Rich Koslowski

3 Finger Prints                                                                                   3 Finger Prints

(631) 647-0834                                                                                 the3geeks@aol.com           

Amanda@buzzmaestro.com                                                                                  

 

 

###

 

 

 

 

Cars, Dogs and the Impact of Holy Crap this Hurts!

There seems to be a recurring theme with my pets.
 
This is going back more than 15 years, but while I was away in Europe — the trip that inspired Finders Keepers — my cat Alex get walloped by a car and needed emergency surgery. He busted his leg in four places and busted his jaw. He had a long, tough recovery (mostly while I was away), with a permanent hinge in his left arm, a slightly misaligned jaw and lost some teeth. But in the end it was like the accident never happened. He was back to his full cool cat self and lived a long, full life, including him traveling cross-country with me. Twice. He was indeed the very best.
 
Fast forward to the most recent weekend, and while I was away (feeling a theme here) at the NY Comic-Con to launch Finders Keepers (hmmm .. another strange link), Liz was in New Jersey with the kids and Simon, visiting her parents. Well … Simon decided that he was going to tackle a car, and seemed to underestimate the power of a 4,000 pound vehicle. The result is that he’s got a badly broken leg (uh … this is getting ridiculous), with cuts and bruises all over him and enough staples throughout his body to put Frankenstein to shame.
 
It’ll be a few months of recover — mostly in a cage, to protect him from himself — but the vets say he should make a full recovery.
 
What’s my takeaway here? Should I not travel anymore? Should I not have any Finders Keepers travel? …. Do I need to sit Simon down and explain the laws of physics to him?
 
“Simon … now, this is what we call a car. Cars big. Cars heavy. Cars bigger and heavier than you. Cars made of metal. Cars make Simon go all HOLYMOHTERF–KME!!!!! if they smash. ….mmm … k?”
 
I expect it will be a wonky stretch for us all as Liz and I pass the time by, you know, raising our kids, but before too long Simon should be outside again in full nutball mode, chasing squirrels, keeping the yard safe for us all.
 
Either that or I need to start drinking much earlier in the day.

Guest Blog: 3 Finger Prints Announces FINDERS KEEPERS

For this edition, here’s a guest (that is, re-posted) blog from Finders Keeprs publisher and cover artist Rich Koslowski:

Good evening,

I am proud to announce that my first official foray into publishing another creator’s work has finally happened! And that the book, Finders Keepers, by newcomer, Russ Colchamiro, is pretty darn awesome! A cosmic romp that, when I first proof read it, reminded me of a good–nay, GREAT– Terry Pratchett novel. And praise like that doesn’t come lightly as I am a H-U-G-E Terry Pratchett fan.

Russ has managed to write a novel that clicks on all the cylinders I like…Solid plot, great characters and character interaction, sci-fi/fantasy elements, humor, and heart. He’s managed to mix all these elements into a compelling story about how creation was started and the universe continues to be built by some very oddball “cosmic entities.” Who’d’ve ever thunk that the universe’s DNA would be stored in a simple jar???

Anyway, when Russ asked me to proof his copy at Comic-Con a few years back I was excited, flattered and nervous all at the same time. While I had only met him a few days earlier we became fast friends. And although we seemed to share the same likes and dislikes I’m always leery when a friend asks me to proof or review something for them…I mean, there’s always the chance that it stinks, and then whattaya say, right?

Well, I’m publishing the darn thing so there’s your answer!

I even offered to do the cover art I was so enthused!

Here’s a few other nifty reviews by some pretty notable luminaries!…

“In Finders Keepers, Russ Colchamiro invites the reader on an exciting and truly madcap journey. An engaging story that entertains with effervescence. Fantasia in print!” ––Thomas O’Callaghan, internationally best-selling author of Bone Thief and The Screaming Room

“An unpredictable tale of cosmic mayhem, fascinating characters, and universal secrets. Finders Keepers proves Colchamiro is a true original.” — James Chambers, author of Resurrection House and The Midnight Hour.

“ ‘Yes’ to Finders Keepers! Russ Colchamiro created a witty, edgy, funny and adventurous world filled with action, romance and inspiration! Finders Keepers is a great reminder to live life to the fullest!” ––Rob Magnotti, Comedian; Impressionist; Actor

Pretty sweet stuff, hey?

The novel will be debuting at this weekend’s New York Comic-Con at the Jacob Javitz Center. The show runs Fri-Sunday, October 8-10th, and I have a booth #549 where Russ and I will both be signing all weekend. So please come by if you’re there and check out Russ’ slick new novel and all my usual awesome goods as well.

Word.

R

http://www.richkoslowski.com/blog/index.cfm/2010/10/3/FINDERS-KEEPERS

 

A Tornado in Queens, Daddy Time and Hawaii Five-O

September has been a pretty bizarre month so far.
 
Last week I was at a meeting in Manhattan, which wrapped around 5:30 pm. It was pouring rain outside, so I held back in the lobby of the building I was in, and waited for it to pass. By 5:45, there was barely a drizzle. I had another meeting at 7, and by the time I went to the subway at 8, you would hardly know it had rained.
 
And then I got off the subway in Queens.
 
A storefront window was broken, and I thought maybe they got robbed, or just vandalized. then I turned the corner and it was like I was in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode. Trees were down. Cars smashed. Streets blocked off. Sidewalks ripped up. Branches filling up the streets. I haven’t seen that kind of destruction since Hurricane Gloria 25 years ago. A tornado blew through my neighborhood — apparently in just a matter or seconds — and just ripped the place apart. A woman was killed on Queens Blvd. a few blocks from where I live because a tree fell on her car. Luckily, my apartment didn’t suffer any damage, and we didn’t lose power, so all in all I was pretty unaffected, but wow. What a day.
 
Meanwhile, daddy’s little kids Nate and Abby are doing great, eatin’ and fussin’ and smilin’ and just being the amazing little wonders that they are. They’re already 6 weeks old, which seems just impossible to me, and they’re soooo much bigger than when they were born it kinda freaks me out when I see pictures of them from their very first day. It’s really just the most incredible thing.
 
And, of course, Finders Keepers is about to debut. That same week I got a FED EX in the mail from the printer for me to OK the final pages. So that was pretty awesome! The final pages are actually printing now ….
 
In between all this mayhem I’m trying to find time to squeeze in a little TV. I’m psyched to watch Boardwalk Empire and the new Hawaii Five-O. On the movie side, I’d like to see The Town, which looks great, and I’m kinda hoping Red is a fun popcorn movie where things blow up real good. They’ll have to be rentals, ‘cuz my butt ain’t gettin’ to the movies any time soon.
 
So, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
 
Til next time.
 
Russ

Labor Day Walks, Dexter Season 5 and the Occupational Hazaards of the Diaper Change

First off, happy Labor Day everyone. This weather has been absolutely amazing. Liz and I have been able to take family walks every day, with Nate and Abby in the stroller and Simon overseeing the adventure. If we slow down with the stroller, Simon turns back and starts barking because he doesn’t like to the let the babies out of his sight!
 
Speaking of babies … last week I had one of those classic baby two-fers.
 
For the record, I am freakin’ psyched for season 5 of Dexter! Man, that’s an awesome show. There’s a lot of good TV out there, but Dexter is easily a top five show, if not better than that. If you’re not watching Dexter, add that bad boy to your Netflix account and sink into some gruesomely awesome TV.
 
First I get Nate. For those of you not familiar with changing diapers, you get said baby on his or her back, take their feet two at a time and pull back — like priming the pump — then slide a fresh diaper underneath, and peel back the dirty one. Well as I’ve got Nate’s feet in my hand and tilted back … he starts pooing. A lot. I’m not saying the poo was already there. Oh, no sirree bob. He only had the darn thing on for three hours and certainly that wasn’t enough time to do his business. But just as I peel back the diapers and prime that pump, well, Nate was like a slushy machine … and the ooze kept oozing and oozing and oozing.
 
That’s how we got started.
 
Then it was Abby’s turn. Abby. My baby girl. My only daughter. My angel ….
 
Diaper change was going just fine. Just a little wet, no big deal. And, as I do with every diaper change, before I close up her fresh diaper I rub a little ointment on her butt — gotta fresh skin you know — and all is well. And then after a minute I’m thinking … huh, this ointment is a little more oily than I remember. It’s really kinda …….
 
Yep. My baby girl, with a big grin on her face, is peeing in my cupped hand.
 
I’m not entirely sure if they worked out the logistics in advance, but I’m fairly certain Nate and Abby had a good idea of how the night was going to go long before I did.
 
Switching gears a bit … I am totally bonkers in anticipation for Dexter season 5, which starts at the end of the month. With the babies in tow it’s a bit tougher to schedule any TV time, but for Dexter, I’ll find a way. It’s one of my absolute favorite shows in the past decade. I was hoping to squeeze in all 4 seasons on DVD before the season starts as a primer, but with Finders Keepers promos, NY Comic-Con, my day job and the babies, well …. a Dexter marathon might just be a little ambitious. Still … Dexter, baby!
 
Till next time …
 
Russ
 
 

Finders Keepers, Fatherhood and Some Movie Reviews

Okay. Whew. It’s been a while since I’ve surfaced, and now that I’m starting to get my daddy sea legs under me, I’m hoping to be back on a regular blogging schedule with all sorts of updates.
 
So, to begin …
 
Yep. Being a dad is awesome. And exhausting! Nate, Abby and mommy are all doing great. We just need to get the twins on the same schedule (okay, don’t laugh … it could happen!), and our lives will really start to settle in (okay, okay … let the laughing commence …).
 
On the Finders Keepers front, we’ve got an official launch date, baby! Finders Keepers will be debuting at the New York Comic-Con, Oct. 8 – 10. I’ll be at the 3 Finger Prints booth with publisher and Finders Keepers cover artist Rich Koslowski (www.richkoslowski.com).
 
I’ll be sending along tons of updates along the way, so stay tuned.
 
Until then, sign up for the Finders Keepers official page on Facebook, where we’ll be updating regularly.
 
Switching gears a bit, since I’ve been home with the twins lately I’ve tried to squeeze in a little TV where I can, and I watched a truly strange movie called Harper, from the 1960s, with Paul Newman. If remade today it has Tarantino all over it, but the original is am L.A. Confidential-style noir but with a hippie dippie vibe that results in just a bizarre mangle of elements. Could have been great with the right tone, but otherwise, a really bizarre concoction.
 
For newer rentals, Liz and I checked out Kick Ass a few weeks back, and, well … it kicks ass! It might be a bit too much for the non-comic-book reading crowd, but it was a wild mix of action, laughs and twisty turns. It might have been the most entertaining movie I’ve seen all year.
 
I’m also watching Rubicon on AMC, which is pretty good overall. It could use just a little more focus on the high end conspiracy side — seven episodes in and I’m still not totally sure of the scope of the show — but for fans of political thrillers, Rubicon is worth checking out.
 
Beyond that I’m plugging away on Finders Keepers promotion, and believe it or not, still managing to edit pages on Crossline where I can.
 
More updates coming soon.
 
Russ

Iron Man 2 – Russ’s Movie Review

The first IRON MAN movie, which I’ve now seen several times, really holds up. It’s fun and fresh and has a vitality that’s been missing from some of the superhero/comic book movies of late. And while I didn’t necessarily expect the sequel to be as good as the first, I certainly hoped it would be.
 
It wasn’t.
 
SPOILERS AHEAD – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
 
I still enjoyed IRON MAN 2, and would see it again, but overall it felt flat. The pacing was off. It felt more like they were going through the motions than truly having a great time.
 
Robert Downey Jr. is still a great Iron Man/Tony Stark, and we want to root for him, but even his performance felt like it was about a half-beat behind where it was in the first movie. Although he does still have great chemistry with Gwenyth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Their love tension worked.
 
This was (to a degree) and totally should have been, Mickey Rourke’s movie. He was perfectly cast as Whiplash. But I wanted more of him. More Whiplash would have been a better movie. He was a motivated villain, portrayed by an actor with the gravitas to pull it off. Sam Rockwell as industrialist Justin Hammer was the right mix of Stark’s nemesis/comic relief, but he got a lot of screen time compared to the heroes we’re supposed to root for.
 
And regardless of her performance, per se, if you can’t get on board with a red-headed Scarlett Johansen in skin-tight leather kicking butt, then you’ve come for the wrong movie (hey, don’t judge me).
 
As for the action … it went (mostly) to waste. Did I really need a fight scene between Rhodey/War Machine and a drunken Tony Stark/Iron Man? Not really. It was loud and messy, but it didn’t propel the story much. And for the climactic battle scene, which did have a few cool twists, it was mostly Iron Man blowing up a bunch of flying robots. Snore. I wanted more of Iron Man going toe-to-toe with Whiplash.
 
Iron Man 2 is not disaster, but it’s not a home run either. It’s a watchable comic book movie that could have, and should have, been a lot better. It’s forgettable. Hopefully they’ll rebound with Iron Man 3.
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