Archive for September, 2015

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: What Was It? A Mystery (1859) by Fitz-James O’brien

Posted in books, Classic literature, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on September 30, 2015 by Paxton

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And we are off! So, I had planned on beginning AWESOME-tober-fest 2015 on October 1, but I got excited and I’ve decided to start one day early. Today. So, enjoy everyone, my discussion of all things invisible man begins NOW.

Usually with any discussion of invisible men, ground zero is assumed to be HG Wells’ 1897 story, The Invisible Man. And yes, that is probably the most important work on invisibility to date. And yes, I am going to review that book (check back tomorrow). However, Wells’ story wasn’t the first to feature invisibility, or an invisible man.

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In 1859 Harper’s Weekly published a short story by Fitz-James O’Brien titled What Was It? A Mystery.  O’Brien is considered to be one of the forerunners of science fiction.  And this particular short story is considered one of the earliest known uses of invisibility.  It predated HG Wells’ story by nearly 40 years.

I was doing research on invisibility for this month and discovered an anthology from the 70s that included stories about invisibility.  It was called Invisible Men and it’s edited by Basil Davenport.

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I looked through the list of stories included. There is one from Wells himself, but not the titular Invisible Man.  It’s another story entitled The New Accelerator. O’Brien’s short story was also included. Doing a little more research I discovered the history behind O’Brien and this particular story and decided that I should give it a read.

It’s a very interesting and atmospheric story.  It’s based in an old apartment building and features several of the renters.  One of them is attacked by an unseen force one evening.  The unseen force is captured and tied to the bed.  The renters try to figure out what it is and even take a plaster cast of it.  But the invisible being dies before they can discover what it is.  That’s the long and short of it.

It’s structure is very similar to a lot of Lovecraft’s early stuff.  The story is told by a narrator from the present who is relating events that happened in the past.  The events are never really fully explained and it leaves you with an uneasy, creepy feeling.  Another similar story that comes to mind is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short and creepy The Ring of Thoth as well as Lovecraft’s Out of the Aeons.

And that is What Was It? A Mystery, one of the first uses of invisibility in literary fiction.  It was a fun and interesting read.  Especially to set the table for the movies and books to come this month.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015 begins TOMORROW!!

Posted in Halloween, holiday with tags , , , on September 29, 2015 by Paxton

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I was going to start AWESOME-tober-fest on October 1st, but I can’t wait so I’m starting ONE DAY EARLY.  As of right now the official start of AWESOME-tober-fest 2015 is Wednesday September 30.  And you should know I literally made this decision today.  A few hours ago, actually.  And as you can see I’ve changed the drapes and put out some of the spooky decorations.  I’m all set, ready to go!

What about my theme?  Well, as you can see from the banner, my theme this year will be the invisible man.  I’ll be talking about books, comics, movies, TV shows, cartoons, you name it, all featuring the invisible man.

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And, as a special treat, for the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest, I’ll be doing a “greatest hits” series of articles where I’ll revisit previous AWESOME-tober-fest themes with all new reviews and articles.  It should be a lot of fun.  Please come join me.

As usual, I’ll be a part of the Internet-wide Countdown to Halloween event. Click the banner below to see all the other blogs and sites that’ll be participating in this most awesome time of year.

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See you tomorrow!

Nerd Lunch Episode 198: Star Wars Episode II Drilldown

Posted in movies, podcast, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , on September 29, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Here we are, only two episodes away from the big Nerd Lunch 200th episode extravaganza. And I’m telling you right now, we literally have no idea what we’re doing for that. Hope it turns out.

Anyway, THIS week on Nerd Lunch, we are joined again by May and Kay to continue our series of Star Wars movie drilldowns. This time, we are looking at the second prequel movie, Attack of the Clones.

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We all discuss our first time watching the movie, we really dig down deep to talk about what we liked about it and then we discuss the plethora of things we didn’t like.  Some of those things may not be the ones you’re expecting.  Come and check it out.  Along with our insightful commentary on the movie you’ll also get lots of audio issues, several of us forget simple words like panel and arena, and CT confesses his seething hatred for 50s diners.  All packed into this week’s episode!

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.

Nerd Lunch Episode 194: Star Wars The Phantom Menace Drilldown

Posted in nostalgia, podcast, pop culture, Star Wars with tags , , , , on September 1, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

This week on Nerd Lunch we welcome back our Star Wars expert panelists Michael May and Geek Kay in order to begin discussing the Star Wars prequels. And we are starting, appropriately so, with The Phantom Menace.

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We talk a bit about the lead up to Episode I, the first trailer in November 1998, Star Wars Celebration I in Denver in May 1999 as well as our thoughts watching the movie for the first time. We then go all over the place talking about things we liked and didn’t like with this movie. There’s some of each, folks, this isn’t just a hate fest on the movie.  Download this episode and join the discussion!

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner.

Or listen to it online right here.