Five Things I Am Into Right Now, September 2014

Doctor WhoOkay, let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not sure what I think about the new Doctor on Doctor Who.

Yes, I get why they cast Peter Capaldi, he is in an interesting choice with a vibe very different from Matt Smith and David Tennant. It’s a fresh choice. (I’m still not a fan of Clara, but really it would be hard for anyone to follow Amy, Rory, and River. It’s a pretty high bar.)

This maybe all because I thought the direction of the first two episodes felt off. A lot of people were excited to have Ben Wheatley direct the first two episodes (again a fresh choice), but there is a certain “buy in” that I didn’t feel in those two episodes. It almost (and this may seem cruel) felt like a fan’s version of Doctor Who, not truly capturing the spirit and energy of the show.

It was Doctor Who, it just didn’t feel like Doctor Who.

Oh, who knows? Maybe I am just bitter since Matt Smith is off the show and he was in many ways my Doctor. In a few episodes I might be singing a different tune (and I have no problem admitting when I am wrong).

You know, whatever happens, even if I get so out of it that I walk away from the show for a few seasons, it doesn’t mean I stop being a Doctor Who fan. I will still rewatch the seasons I love. For example, I still consider myself a Star Trek fan, even though I didn’t watch a single episode of Enterprise (did you hear that theme song?) and I thought the last film contradicted a lot of Star Trek norms (like, for example, remember when it was a big deal when Voyager could land on a planet? I guess the Enterprise could do that decades earlier.).

Let’s move on to more pleasant stuff than my possible science-fiction nerd disappointment. Here are five things for September. Continue reading

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Is Historical Fiction a Good or Bad Thing?

HistoryI have a few writing posts on my site that are a little bit controversial.

One of those posts is my discussion around fan fiction, which you can read here. Every time—and I do mean every time—I share this article on Twitter or on a site it generates a response. (This is not surprising because people that read and write fan fiction come from a place of loving a story or an author. The debate is really around how best to show their love, what is appropriate and what isn’t, and who owns the story.)

On Saturday, I decided to re-tweet some of my writing articles, and just like clockwork I was getting responses to my fan fiction piece. One responder, Vanilla Rose (@MsVanillaRose), asked if that was not the same thing I was doing with my novel A Jane Austen Daydream. I quickly replied that my novel was historical fiction, a re-imagining of Jane’s life as one of her romantic and literary adventures.

It was after a few more tweet exchanges that Vanilla Rose said this, taking my breath away:

“…I think that inventing stuff about a person’s life is more problematic than playing with their work.”

Whoa… Continue reading

Finding Comfort in Possessions: 14 Days Until 40

Back to the FutureOne of the films I loved growing up was Back to the Future.  I’ve owned the trilogy a few different times now, and have the current version on Blu-Ray. I believe I bought it that opening week when it came out. Yeah, I’m one of those kind of collectors. I like things fresh off the shelves like fruits and vegetables.

Well, a few years ago I was reading an interview with one of the creators. To be honest, I can’t remember if it was Robert Zemeckis or one or the producers or writers, but the speaker complained about the importance of greed in the film. If he had a chance to go back, he argued, he would have made it more about family as compared to the acquisition of possessions at the end.

In other words, Marty’s family didn’t have to be rich and successful and Marty didn’t need the sweet new truck. Just getting his family back together should have been enough.

Being a child of the 80’s, this idea kind of blew my mind. And between you and me, I feel like Marty had earned that truck… but now as a dad trying to imagine a better world for my kids, I side with that speaker. I would like my kids to see it that way. Marty won without the truck.

Yet, with 40 fast approaching, I seem to be finding comfort in some of my possessions. They help me turn off my brain, focus my thoughts. And, in a way, define my journey up to this point and where I would like to see myself go. Of course, being the blogger I am, I have written about most of these things before.  So I will link to an original post and then give you an update on where I am now. Therapy? Partially. Helpful? Definitely.  These are my sanity as I step slowly towards this halfway mark… Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, July 2013

Happy SunI’m not going to write about Star Trek and Doctor Who.

No I am serious. I am not. Frankly, I have written enough about those two shows. And even though I am happily watching a Doctor Who episode each night with my wife (which I wrote about here) and rediscovering Star Trek from the 90’s (which I discussed in these two pieces- here and here). The fact is I have said enough.

A blog needs to move forward, I need to move forward…

But what the heck am I also into right now when I am not at the beach with the family, getting sun burned, or avoiding lawn work?

Think, Southard, think! Continue reading

The Best Intentions in Starfleet: Rewatching the Lesser Star Trek TV Shows

StarfleetThe world of entertainment is filled with missed opportunities.

We have all heard stories about the great “What If’s.”

Great unproduced scripts for shows or movies. Unfinished books. Actors that could have played legendary parts but for some reason lost their chance.

(My favorite missed acting story is a lesser known one actually. It was the idea of Gene Kelly playing the villain in Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Just imagine that! All of the charisma behind an evil grin. That original script of the story was never produced, but it generated the novel version that Ray lovingly dedicated to Mr. Kelly.)

Television is a graveyard of missed opportunities, from shows never produced to shows cancelled way too soon (I still mourn Cupid and Northern Exposure). Of course, sometimes those missed opportunities can be found in the actual execution of the series, turning a fun idea with a good cast until a mediocre yawn (How I Met Your Mother) .

After writing a post a few weeks ago on my rediscovered love of Star Trek: The Next Generation (you can read that post here), it made me wonder about the other Star Trek shows… the ones we have all forgotten, some sadly and some for very good reasons.

So, I checked them out again. (Please note, I didn’t say beamed aboard, that would have just been too cheesy, even for me.) Continue reading

Dreaming for a Holodeck. Thoughts on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Our EnterpriseStar Trek: The Next Generation has become comfort food for my soul.

While I always enjoyed the original cast, and even dig the new film series by J.J. Abrams, there was something about the Enterprise D that called to me. I wanted to join that crew. Visit Ten Forward, go on that holodeck. It was the Enterprise I dreamed of.

The show was originally on when I was a kid in high school and I used to collect the episodes on old VHS tapes, stocking them on my bookshelf, as if they were precious treasures; not realizing then that in a few years, videotapes would be nothing more than junk, a lost piece of technology.

Of course, now that is all twenty years ago. The show is off the air for the most part and the cast has moved on as best as they can. Even the universe The Next Generation seemed to fit so snuggly at the top of (being the show that all of the later shows owed some of their success and beginning to) has moved on.

And yet, for me, while the rest of the world is chasing after Captain Kirk again, I am rewatching the show on Netflix. It is more than a homecoming in a way, it is a return to a different time, a different way to look at life. A different me, one that was much younger and dreamed of owning his own holodeck and wanted nothing more than to be assigned to an away mission… no matter how dangerous.

Continue reading

Okay, am I a nerd?

The author as Chewbecca... I'm behind Pac Man.Yesterday, the writer Becky Flade mentioned me in a blog post on her site.

The post was called “The Blog that Wasn’t” (which you can find here) and she said this about me and my site:

“When I need a nerd fix, Scott’s my man.”

Nerd?

Nerd!?!

Now, I’ve considered myself many things in my life; but never “nerd.”

Yes, I would say I’m a snob. I can get behind “snob.” I have all the earmarks of a snob! I could have it tattooed on me without a problem. It could be on my arm near where my sweater vest ends (yes, I am wearing a sweater vest), or even above my reading glasses, right on my forehead. Let me give you some examples of my snobbery:

  • I have in my dining room pictures of some of my favorite authors, and many times I have used them as a test for visitors. If, for example, you call Mark Twain “Einstein” well, you might not be invited over again.
  • I have been known to tease my friends who praise Twilight on their Facebook pages. (And they should be teased, especially if they are an adult.)
  • I write novels (while adventurous and surprising) that contain art, music, and literature references.
  • On my desk I have a Shakespeare action figure and an autograph of Woody Allen.
  • Oh, did I mention I have a master’s degree?

You see, I sing snob!

But nerd? Continue reading

I Want a TARDIS! My New Obsession With Doctor Who

I would sell my soul to come up with an idea like Doctor Who.

Yes, I would take an eternity in damnation, away from loved ones, baking in flames, to create a character like the man with the Sonic Screwdriver. And as I roasted, I would smile. Oh, how I would smile if that was on my resume

To think only three-months ago, I could not tell you the difference between a TARDIS and a Dalek (a TARDIS is bigger on the inside and a Dalek has a weird slimy octopus-like monster in it that likes to “ex-term-in-ate”). As a science-fiction geek, Doctor Who was already in the background for me. I knew who he was, had the basic gist of what it was about, but I never really considered giving it the time of day. I had enough sci-fi geek stuff with Tolkien, Star Trek, Joss Whedon, DC Comics, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica (the new one, not the old one), Red Dwarf, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, thank you very much. My cup was full, please try peddling your fantasy wares and monster costumes with zippers elsewhere.

I can even say I tried one or two episodes a few years ago. I am a fan of the TV writing of Steven Moffat (Coupling is hilarious and I love Sherlock) and when I heard he took over the running of the show (and it was one of his favorites), I decided to give it a shot; but I stopped after the episode of Daleks in WWII and when they emerged in different colors and bigger. I just didn’t understand the threat. They looked (dare  I type it) silly… and in different colors? So what? They are white and red now? Whatever.

Oh how naive I was then… Continue reading

My Online Literary Experiment: Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!

In today’s update around the writing of Permanent Spring Showers I must throw myself upon the mercy of the court… I mean, my readers. The mercy of my readers

Yes, I had done something I had promised not to do around the creation of this book. How big a deal this is truly is your own to decide, but who said making a book was easy? And when you consider how many plots and characters I am juggling with Permanent Spring Showers, well it’s not…

Okay, I am just rattling off excuses now. Let’s move forward to the updates and my guilt.

Cheat!

Some of the more careful readers might have already caught this mistake. (Did you? Have you been giggling at me behind my back?)

As mistakes go it is not a big one, I get that, but it is jarring enough to take a reader out of the little dramatic universe I am creating. And while I do consider Steve an unreliable narrator in a few ways, he is not unreliable enough to make that big a mistake. He does have a watch. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, April 2012

I feel like over the last month, I have been doing nothing but battle a cold that will. not. stop.

It has gone from my body into my soul.

Was there a time when I was able to complete a sentence without a cough? Did I ever not sneeze? I can honestly say I don’t know. So as you can imagine, my list this month involves a lot of things I can sit down and enjoy… Right now I like sitting.

Mad Men

It’s fascinating how this show has adapted over the years.  What began as somewhat a mystery around the identity of Don Draper (and who would find out and then what???), has now become almost nothing more than a character study as we watch time pass in their lives. (Dare I call it a soap opera?)  I’m not sure if the lack of suspense or overall plot development is related to some larger vision the creator has for the season that he hasn’t shared yet, or a repercussion of the series being picked up for more seasons; in other words he has to pull his punches because he has to drag it out (The same problem you see every week with How I Met Your Mother– those poor kids listening to that non-ending story! I love a good yarn, but I would have even walked out on the story by now).

Still I am really glad the show is back on the air and it is fun visiting the characters again. I just wish something big would drive it forward. Continue reading