First off, here’s my long and breathless Lightspeed review of Infinity Wars with bonus material on what it means to be a movie fan these days. I’ve done a lot more thinking since writing this, that is only increasing my admiration of how well it’s all put together. All that business about close magic and misdirection in Ant-Man and The Wasp wasn’t just throw-away cleverness. Captain Marvel doesn’t just have the burden of being its own movie — it’s going to be the prologue to the next Avengers. It’s just…so, so much.

In other news, I’m seriously considering pitching the Coast Road books, including the brand-new The Wild Dead, as “Midsomer Murders meets The Road.” Which sounds ridiculous right up until it doesn’t. A personable investigator in a really dodgy small community with lots of hidden secrets, against a backdrop of desolated civilization?

I already got one sale on FB using this description. I’ll try it out a few more times and see what happens.

 

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THE WILD DEAD

July 18, 2018

It’s a book. Though when I went to the local B&N to spot it in the wild they said they hadn’t gotten it in yet. Grrr.

Vaughn_WILD-DEAD - Copy - small

Here’s the IndieBound link.

THE WILD DEAD is also available on audiobook.

My twenty-second published novel. Still stressful. But I’m VERY gratified that the reviews are coming in and people seem to like it just as well if not better than Bannerless. I knew all my binging of British mystery shows was good for something!

And now, it may be time to gorge myself on red wine and cool ranch Doritos.

 

The Incredibles 2

July 16, 2018

So, it was nice, I guess? The animation was beautiful — you can see the technological development of the software/techniques/style over the last 14 years.

Trouble is, I think it was a mistake picking up the story immediately where the previous one left off. Because the superhero film genre itself has undergone a pretty radical evolution over the last decade and a half. The Incredibles was subversive. It showed us a story we hadn’t really seen before — wholly character driven, a bit of meta commentary, the superhero in middle age, in a suburban setting, with the tropes of both those genres crashing together in exactly the right way.

Incredibles 2 doesn’t cover any new ground thematically. The plot is almost the same — the hero who misses the action-packed life leaves the family and gets duped by a shadowy, technologically advanced entity who has a pathological issue with superheroes. The kids come to the rescue even after they were supposed to stay home, and everybody grows and changes, yadda yadda. The action, the quips, the baby, are all fun to watch. (And it’s clear this film takes place immediately after the first so we could have lots more Jack Jack. That may be the only reason.) But as I’ve been saying for awhile, the quality bar is really really high on superhero movies right now. That wasn’t true when the first one came out. So the story that was amazing then. . . well, it’s been done already. A lot more has been done since. I wanted more.

I consider myself something of an expert on writing stories about superhero families that combine action with domestic angst. (I’m always pleased when After the Golden Age lands on lists of “best superhero novels.”) And there’s a reason I set Dreams of the Golden Age twenty years after the first Golden Age novel. Because I didn’t want to cover the same ground. Because the questions raised at the end of the first book could only be answered years later. Because there’s more than one story that fits into this trope and setting.  What happens after the adventure where the characters have all learned who and what they really are? What do they do with that information?

If the Parr family had really learned anything in the first film, the second should have been different.

 

due out Tuesday!!!

July 13, 2018

It’s a book. Or it will very soon be a book. Tuesday. TUESDAY!

Commence nail biting!

 

Ant Man and The Wasp

July 11, 2018

I had the thought that whatever Marvel movie followed Infinity War was going to be a little like the band that followed Janice Joplin’s first set at Monterey Pop. Didn’t matter how good and fun it was, it was never going to have the punch or leave audiences as affected. So following up with a lighthearted 80’s style adventure comedy was a good choice.

I like so much about this. I like that after the cosmic scale of Infinity War we got something literally tiny. I like that we have a couple of sets of families who get along. While most of the MCU movies have father/son issues, this one is all about the daughters. I love that Ava gets some kind of redemption, and that Laurence Fishburne’s character is a good person. And I’m guessing that after Cap broke Scott out of the Raft he and Hawkeye decided not to go on the run? Like, that line in Infinity War about Scott and Clint not being there because it’s too dangerous for their families was actually polite code for “They’re totally on house arrest with ankle monitors and everything.” Actually, Mrs. Barton is probably really really happy to have Clint on house arrest for awhile…

Anyway, have I mentioned lately that I love the MCU?  It’s like, I just love spending time with my friends. My movie friends. I mean, I know they’re not really my friends, but, well, anyway….

***SPOILER***

So I knew that post credits scene was coming. We all knew it. We had to tie these characters into Infinity War, we had to know who got the snap and who didn’t. The result was one of the most agonizing minutes of film I have ever experienced, waiting to see the inevitable. My heart rate spiked.

And now, with Scott stuck in the Quantum Realm, we have another gun on the mantle.  It’s all right there. Misdirection. Close up magic.

I need a drink.

 

checking in

July 9, 2018

I spent the weekend in the cool, cool mountains, birdwatching and reading a book by a rushing creek.  A note for people who despair of their To Be Read piles — the book I brought on the trip was an ARC I got when I worked in the bookstore twenty years ago and have been hauling around ever since. Yes, I know ARC’s are supposed to be read before the book is released. But I had oh-so-many of them back in the day. Well, I’m reading it now. And a quick glance at Amazon tells me this author is still out there and has released books set in this world as recently as last month, which makes me happy. (I haven’t finished this one yet, and don’t want to talk about it until I have.)

THE WILD DEAD is out next week.

And a reminder:  Kindle Worlds is shutting down next week, so if you want to grab my two GI Joe stories, “Luck Be a Lady” and “That Famous Silent Issue,” better do it now.

 

new reading

July 5, 2018

For once, I’ve read a couple of books in a timely manner, i.e. when they are new and not years later. Hurrah!

I blurbed Witchmark by C.L. Polk because reading it made me happy, and I’ve really needed some happy reads lately. It’s a little bit steampunk, a little bit urban fantasy, an alternate Edwardian setting with magic and weirdness and likable characters and a sweet romance.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. Stand-alone fantasy in the same vein as Uprooted, which was wonderful. Fairy tale inspired and quite complex. Not as personable as Uprooted — quite a bit sadder in some ways, in fact. There was a point where I wasn’t sure anyone was going to get a happy ending.

And I think Becky Chambers has a new one in her series out this month? I still need to get that one.

Wild Cards: Low Chicago is out now. I don’t have a story in this one, but I’ll be getting a copy soon because I simply must!

And in just two weeks now:  The Wild Dead will be out. Commence nail biting.