Monday Morning Movie Review: Color Out of Space (2019)

My blogger buddy photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire I are both publishing our reviews of The Color Out of Space simultaneously.  You can read his screed against this cinematic butchering of the Lovecraft story here:  https://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2021/06/14/color-out-of-space-2019-a-science-fiction-and-fantasy-movie-review/

A few weeks ago, my blogger buddy photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire wrote a brief blog post comparing Nicolas Cage to William Shatner.  In it, he announced that Nicolas Cage starred in an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Colour Out of Space.”

Naturally, I immediately went to RedBox and (with a coupon code, of course) and rented The Color Out of Space on-demand.  As a fan of Lovecraft’s weird tales and Nicolas Cage’s weird acting, I had to see this film.

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Improving Christian Fiction

I stumbled upon the psychotherapist and author Adam Lane Smith when Mogadishu Matt wrote a “Sunny Side Up” book review of Smith’s action-comedy novel Maxwell Cain: Burrito Avenger (readers will forgive me for noting that my own book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot was featured in the inaugural “Sunny Side Up” review).  I have yet to purchase any of Smith’s works yet, though I intend to pick up copies of Maxwell Cain and books from his Deus Vult Wastelanders series.

I have, however, signed up for Smith’s e-mail list—the least any potential supporter can do—and have enjoyed his e-mail blasts.  One recent message caught my eye:  a blog post entitled “Time to Fix a Problem.”

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Lazy Sunday CXIII: Short Stories

I can’t get enough of short stories lately, it seems.  Perhaps it’s because I recently published a collection of my absurdist detective stories, but I’ve been on even more of a short stories kick than usual recently.

Indeed, I’m hoping to write some original short stories this summer (and hopefully some new songs, too).  I’m not sure if it’s feasible, but I’d like to have a collection of new original stories out by the time school resumes.  We shall see.

In the meantime, here are some posts about short stories I have read recently enjoyed (for even more, check out “Lazy Sunday LVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations Recap” and “Lazy Sunday CVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021 Recap“):

Happy Sunday—and Happy Reading!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Midweek Short Story Recommendation: “The Visit That Wasn’t”

Good old Terror House Magazine continues to publish some of the best short fiction being written today (including my own absurdist writing), and it’s my pleasure to recommend another story by one of their contributors, Adrian David‘s “The Visit That Wasn’t.”

The story is a short parable riffing on the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side.”  Visitors to the protagonist’s land keep telling him how terrible and crummy the place is, and instead brag about the greatness of their home.

The glowing talk of the visitors’ homeland churns away in the mind of the protagonist, until he finally decides to pay a visit.  What he finds depresses and angers him:  nuclear war, corruption, violence, declining birth rates, normalization of pedophilia, famine, depravity, etc.

Feeling cheated, the protagonist returns to his own home, and realizes how much he took it and its charms for granted—but there’s a twist (I recommend reading the story, which takes about three minutes, for the full impact; twist revealed below).

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Phone it in Friday XVIII: Writing

With the blog closing in on 1000 days of posts (just 162 to go!) and the release of The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard (read reviews here, here, and here), it seemed like a good time to reflect on writing, and to discuss some writing projects I have in the works.

When I revived the blog on WordPress in late 2018, I never intended to write daily.  I’d maintained a Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule on the Blogspot blog, which I shifted over to WordPress on 1 June 2018.  I kept that pace up briefly, but when school resumed I left the blog dormant until late December 2018, and after three days of consecutive posting by happenstance, WordPress informed me I was on a three-day “streak.”

That caught my attention.  At that point, I decided to write daily for the month of January 2019.  It seemed like a fun a challenge, and I figured it would help build an audience and give me something constructive to do during the slowest month of the year.

After that, I thought, “Eh, why not go to fifty?”  From there, 100 didn’t look too difficult.

Once I hit 100, I decided to try for a year.

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Post-Spring Break Short Story Recommendation: “Dave’s Last Choice”

At one point or another we’ve all experienced the situation where we’ve seen or heard some new idea, word, or concept, and suddenly, we see it everywhere.  When I bought my car in 2020, I suddenly began seeing Nissan Versa Notes constantly.

Similarly, there seems to be a certain synchronicity to events.  Right as I released The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard, Rachel Fulton Brown and the Dragon Common Room poets published Centrism Games.  After a week of reviewing short stories—and then contemplating writing my own collection of short stories—my buddy Jeremy Miles announced that he is working on a new short story project.  Indeed, last week’s TBT, “TBT: The Creation of Culture,” looked back at Jeremy’s excellent collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights (now in a more affordable “Shades of Grey” edition).

So it was with great delight that I read not only Jeremy’s plans to compile a collection of short stories, but that he also included a draft of one of them, “Dave’s Last Choice.”

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Lazy Sunday CVIII: Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021 Recap

Well, it was fun while it lasted—another Spring Break is in the books.  I enjoyed this brief respite, the eye in the middle of the storm that is the Spring Semester.  The next couple of weeks will be a flurry of activity for yours portly, followed by the long, graceful descent into summer vacation.

Like last year, I’ll be recapping the short stories I recommended this past week, and offer up a short ranking of them.  The list will be shorter by two this year, as I dedicated last Monday to a movie review and did not reblog an earlier short story review Thursday.

Oh, well.  Here’s what I did read:

So, how do they fall this year?  You’ve probably figured it out, but it was an easy call: Michael Noonan‘s “The Personality Cult” won the day for me.  Here is my ranking:

1.) “The Personality Cult”
2.) “Black Tancrède”
3.) “Out of the Deep”

There you have it!  Happy Reading—and haunting!  Mwahahahahahaha!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021, Part III: “Out of the Deep”

Rounding out this week’s Spring Break Short Story Recommendations is Walter de la Mare‘s 1923 psychological ghost story “Out of the Deep.”  This story is the second in Chilling Ghost Stories, edited by Stefan Dziemianowicz.

“Recommendation” is perhaps a strong word for this story, which is, at times, excessively wordy and confusing—and that’s coming from me!

“Ghost story” is also, perhaps, a bit of a misnomer, though there does appear to be at least one—and possibly three—apparitions in the story, although that’s never made entirely clear.

It’s the wordiness and lack of clarity, though, that paradoxically make the story interesting.  Walter de la Mare was a poet, and brings something of poetry’s attention to the consonance of words.  At least, I’d like to think that’s what he is going for here; he clearly enjoys playing with language, almost the way a punster does.  It makes for tedious reading at times, but does have the effect of keeping the reader guessing as to what is really happening.

But I digress.  The real “ghosts” are the ones haunting the protagonist, Jimmy, a listless young man who has taken possession of his late uncle’s rambling London townhouse.  Jimmy apparently has no occupation, and lives by selling off the sumptuous possessions his aunt and uncle left behind.  Jimmy is also something of an eccentric insomniac, who finds it difficult to sleep unless bathed in candlelight (at least once in the story he sells some household items so he can purchase candles).Read More »

Spring Break Short Story Recommendations 2021, Part II: “The Personality Cult”

Today’s short story selection, Michael Noonan‘s “The Personality Cult,” comes from Terror House Magazine, an alternative online literary journal that publishes some excellent works from newer authors (although, it should be cautioned, they publish anything, including pieces that are borderline smut; browse with care).  Indeed, two of my Inspector Gerard stories will appear there later this month.  I’ve been reading Terror House Magazine for a couple of years now, and have been impressed with the gems they publish.  “The Personality Cult” is one such precious stone.

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