Category Archives: Books

Geek Nerdery: IT (2017)

When IT was first announced as being up on the remake slot (or re-adaptation if you want to approach it that way) I was not really that thrilled with the idea.  I once met the director of the 1990 TV miniseries version of IT.  I straight up told him that I blamed him for the reason I didn’t like clowns.  Anyone in my age range will tell you that Tim Curry pretty much ruined the ever enjoying a clown again.  For me there was no way anyone could ever do Pennywise justice.  Tim Curry had terrified a whole generation with some grease paint and a wicked smile.

The longer it went on I hoped more and more that IT would be put in the old development hell section of Hollywood where things like Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash or such gems as a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep seemed to live.  I wouldn’t get my wish.  I began my crusade of denying this movie.  Hell no we won’t go . . . . to the cinema to see a new IT!  The chant was awkward so I dropped it but I kept saying there was no way a new IT would be good.  Then the first trailer hit.  Suddenly a slight crack in my facade began to show.  I was still adamant that Pennywise wouldn’t be nearly as good as Tim Curry’s but damn did the footage look pretty good.

Trailer 2 hit.  The cracks were really showing now.  IT actually looked scary.  As much as I love the 1990 TV movie version because it scared my 10 year old self senseless it has lost some of the scary luster it once held and now I just appreciate it for how it USED to scare me.  These trailers had made it look actually scary again.  Yeah but still he was no Tim Curry.  What I learned this weekend is that he didn’t need to be.

I’d been waiting to hate on this movie since it was first announced and now here I sit opening weekend telling you I can’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it still has some quibbles with me, but I actually can say I really enjoyed it.  They took a story I’ve loved all my life and gave it a loving tribute to it’s source material.  The time frame is updated to 1989.  Making the kids pretty much the same age I was when I saw IT for the first time.  Suddenly I’m caught in a nostalgia loop.  I’m reliving my childhood through these characters and they were also about to get the piss scared out of them by a killer clown.

The casting is about spot on perfect for me.  I have no complaints what so ever.  Bill is great as an awkward leader consumed by his brother’s disappearance.  Eddie is one sneeze away from being put into an iron lung by his over bearing mother.  Richie is the foul mouthed class clown we all wished we could have been.  And there’s Bev.  Poor poor Bevie.  I worry about her a lot.

These kids feel like friends.  It’s no stretch of the imagination to see these kids hanging out.  The chemistry on screen is near perfect.  Henry Bowers has traded in his duck tail hair cut and leather jacket for a mullet and sleeveless t-shirts fitting right into the 1989 setting. Pennywise.  Oh let me tell you about this Dancing Clown.  Bill Skarsgard brings a new twist onto King’s terrifying shape shifter.  He doesn’t try to do what Tim Curry did.  He didn’t do an impression.  He creates something new.  Which is exactly what you need in a remake like this.  Something new.  This evil clown doesn’t lure you in with his innocent clown tricks.  No.  This clown lures you in with his smile and then keeps right on smiling as he rips your guts out.  If Tim Curry gave 10 year old me nightmares then Skarsgard is going to give the almost 40 year old me some sleepless nights for the next few days.

I am pleading with you if you have been on the fence to give the new IT a try.  And this is from a fan who denounced it from the start.  Give it a chance.  You might just get a few night terrors of your own.

I actually have seen IT twice this weekend.  First with a few friends I had made plans with a few months ago and then just today I got a chance to go see IT with an invitation for free passes to try the 4DX version.  A new 4DX theater had opened in Illinois and I was curious to check it out so I gladly accepted.  With 4DX you get an immersive experience.  Your seat will move and vibrate along with the movie.  You’ll get fans blowing when the characters are riding their bikes so you can feel the wind rushing past your head.  New smells will enter the theater during every scene.  There was strobe lights to help accentuate the lightning.  Mist and air from the seats in front of you to bring you into the wet and surprising scenes.  Seems like a great idea . . .

. . .unless you’re trying to watch an atmospheric horror film.  Sadly it didn’t help with this movie.  The audience also didn’t help.  Lots of talking and people checking phones.  Part of me thinks the 4DX didn’t help with this.  When you have air blasting in your face and your friends are laughing it seemed to open up the idea that you could just talk about it at full volume.  Many times during the film my seat was shaking and moving all over the place and making it hard to pay attention to what was going on on screen.  I looked over at my friend Scott who came with me to see him almost a foot higher than me because our seats were moving at such a weird pace.

Also I didn’t smell anything.  Nothing seemed to change during the movie.  I felt bad as this was Scott’s first time seeing the film and what was supposed to be an immersive experience seemed to be distracting him from actually enjoying the movie.  I don’t think it’s a bad idea overall.  If I saw Jurassic World in this theater I probably would have enjoyed every second of it but for a movie like this it seemed to make it harder to enjoy the film.  I say YES to 4DX but not for something like this.

Outside of that GO SEE IT!  From the box office it would seem like a lot of you did which means we will probably see more R rated horror films and more Stephen King in the theater.  Both of which can be good things.

On the way home from the theater me and Scott decided to break out the recorder and talk about our experience.  There was a lot of road noise so I did best I could to get rid of it but you may hear some bleeps and bloops.  Sorry.

Music provided by The Fantastic Plastics.

Sorry, Wrong Country – A Book Review

One of the biggest regrets that I have had in my 37 short years on earth is that I have never been in a financial situation to travel abroad, and having spent my life mainly in the Midwest (Indiana to be exact with the exception of a 6 month stint in Texas) there is so much of humanity that I have yet to be exposed to.

Thankfully, we have Facebook these days that can connect you, at least virtually, to all walks of humanity and some of my best online friends are from different countries. That however still only leads to a passing knowledge of what life is like in another country. Recently, however, I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of a new book called Sorry, Wrong Country by Greek author Konstantine Paradias.

The book is a work of what I will call Non-Fiction Fiction. What the hell does that mean, you ask? Well, it is plainly obvious, straight from the opening dedication, that short stories that populate the book are at least partially based on the peoples of Greece that Paradias’ has spent his life among. The lost, the interesting, the uninteresting, the sad, the crazy, the kooky and the downright mentally insane. But most of all it is a painting of the humanity that flows through a country that, in Paradias’ own words is “slowly but surely slipping off the edge of the First World. A country haunted by the American dream but caught in the net of Eastern values.”

The stories in Sorry, Wrong Country vary in size, but all are a very smooth read. It was an absolute blast getting to know these strangers in their quick vignettes, and with what little time the reader gets to spend with each of them, Paradias deftly paints and precise picture of who these people are and where they place in the tapestry of human existence. The stories range from joyous to heart wrenching and every emotion in between and whoever the reader is, no matter who you are, you are likely to find at least one story that you can take a look and find at least a small piece of yourself in.

My one complaint, however, is that there are several stories in the book that seem far too similar to each other that at one time I had to go back and make sure it wasn’t an accidental copying of a previous story, though that, I consider a very minor gripe.

Sorry, Wrong Country is a great read for people interested in people and with the size of the stories they can be taken in bite size chunks if you only have a few minutes to kill with a good book.

Sorry, Wrong Country is published by Rooster Republic Press. Click the link to pick up the book or check out their other publications.

New Poster And Trailer For Upcoming IT Remake

I’m a huge King nerd.  That’s not a secret.  I’ve been on record that I just don’t know about this IT remake.  Not that I don’t think they could improve on it with a higher budget and less restrictions but the big point of contention with me is Pennywise.  I mean how do you even come close to living up to Tim Curry’s performance?

Well we got our fist look at the new trailer and while everything looks good and it has a creepiness to it there is still no real look at the Pennywise performance.  We see some flashes of him and such but no dialogue and no real interaction with the characters.  But I know I’ll still be there opening weekend as since I’m a constant reader I have to.  Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think.

Hulu Brings The King With Castle Rock Series

WHAT IS GOING ON!!?!??!?  As a certified King nerd imagine my mind exploding on Friday when the below teaser trailer was dropped online by J.J. Abrams company Bad Robot.  Anyone who has listened to me babble about King for years knows I’ve always wished that a cinematic Stephen King universe was a thing but with the rights to his books being spread across multiple big name film studios it was never going to happen.  Well maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe.

They haven’t come right out and said what this is other than it’s a 10 episode series on Hulu that will cover multiple stories across King’s works.  No word on which stories or novels.  The fictional town of Castle Rock was first shown to us constant readers in The Dead Zone and would then go on to be the setting for many of King’s biggest stories.  The Body (Stand By Me), Cujo, The Dark Half, Needful Things, and multiple short stories take place there.  Also such books as Christine, IT, and The Tommyknockers make reference to the town.  So it’s connections are vast.  Until we know more about what this is going to be all we have is the all too short teaser below.  I am beyond excited.

R.L. Stine Confirms Upcoming Fear Street Movie

It really should be no surprise after the Goosebumps movie did so well that some production companies are looking into what other R.L. Stine properties they may be able to get their hands on.  Now it looks like Fear Street is going to be getting a movie of it’s own.

Fear Street was a teenage horrorish series Stine wrote in the late 80s all the way up to 1999.  I never read them as they seemed like girl books to me but looking back at how much I like 80s slashers I probably would have gotten a kick out of them.  I’m wondering if it’s too late to go back.  It’s cool to see a 37 year old guy reading a Fear Street book right?

Are you guys excited for a Fear Street movie?  For me it seems like a series would do better with the teenage horror series seeming to be an in thing right now.  But I guess we’ll see.

Interview With Author Libbi Duncan On The Scorching

I recently spoke with author Libbi Duncan about getting her first novel The Scorching published. And this what she had to say…

What inspired you to write your first novel and what was the writing process like?

First of all, thanks for inviting me to answer some questions for GeekNerdery. I’m a huge fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy so I’m excited to get involved. You’re going to laugh when I tell you what inspired me… I watched a documentary called Wild China during the fall of 2013-my junior year of college-and the incredible variety of landscapes and animal evolution just blew me away. Weird, right? I was also studying Mandarin Chinese and taking comparative literature and film analysis classes, and in my free time I played a lot of Fallout: New Vegas. All of that combined with my love for adventurous stories like The Hobbit and young adult sci-fi novels like The Hunger Games and somehow this story began to unfold in my mind. It took me three years to get from an idea to a polished novel. Writing the first draft was the easy part. You have to sit down and write every day, set reasonable goals, and never give up. It was a huge challenge, but it was a wonderful, fulfilling experience.

Here’s a brief(ish) look at my writing timeline:

Fall 2013 – I found inspiration, did research, created character notes, and made an outline.

Spring 2014 – I wrote the rough draft during Camp NaNoWriMo (the spring version of National Novel Writing Month, which is held during November).

Fall 2014 – I printed the draft and read it, highlighting and making notes on what was garbage and what was decent.

Spring 2015 – I rewrote the entire novel during Camp NaNoWriMo with a new beginning, new ending, and big-picture plot changes throughout.

Summer 2015 – I sent the manuscript to my beta readers, submitted a chapter to reddit for critique, and cried a lot (haha).

Fall 2015 – I revised again; this time I focused more on scene-level changes to characters, dialogue, thoughts, and style.

Spring 2016 – I sent the manuscript and a query letter to agents. There was some interest, a few requests, but no offers.

Summer 2016 – I polished the manuscript again, tightened up the dialogue and formatting, and tried again. This time I got an offer from my publisher, Black Rose Writing. I signed a two-year contract and began the publishing process.

Fall 2016 – I received editing notes from my publisher and got rid of a few thousand words of repetitive or redundant words and phrases, and I added some more figurative language and imagery. Then I worked with them and a proofreader to catch all of the little mistakes and do final copy edits. I also teamed up with a cover artist and approved all final formatting and changes in early December.

From what I read, The Scorching takes place in space, how much research was there to get everything accurate when it came to spacecraft, gravity generators, and how they all worked?

I don’t want to include any spoilers, but only part of the story takes place in space, and there is a blend of science fiction and fantasy. I did tons of research on the concept of a lunar colony, the main engine for the Madi’s “flyer”, and one type of technology in particular that I can’t talk about because it would give away too much. It’s something currently being researched and developed, but I took it to the furthest extreme of its potential as a way to really connect the realms of science fiction and fantasy.

Your target audience is young adults, why is that the age group you chose to write for?

“Write what you know,” or so goes the saying. I have four younger siblings, I’m a middle school English teacher, and I’ve always enjoyed reading young adult books, so I feel pretty confident in saying that I know young adults and young adult literature. However, I didn’t really set out to write YA specifically. I knew the story I wanted to tell, and I knew the setting, but the characters, style, and voice sort of developed along the way. It didn’t take long for me to realize the book I was writing was meant for the young adult category, but that doesn’t mean adults won’t enjoy reading it as well. I still read YA books for fun. I just recently finished the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis; I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy my book.

Now that you got your first book published, what’s next for Libbi Duncan? Another book, maybe?

The Scorching already has a sequel and a prequel in the works. I’m about halfway through the first draft of the sequel and I have a rough outline for the prequel. I’m even toying with the idea of a standalone companion book that follows a different character that stays on the lunar colony during the timeline of the main series. I think there’s a story there. Beyond that, I have ideas for new stories ranging from dystopian sci-fi to urban fantasy. I get new ideas from dreams, daydreaming, movies, books, TV, or even from witnessing an event in real life that inspires me. If all goes well, I’ll be writing for the rest of my very happy days.

How can readers stay in touch or watch for updates on future books?

I’m on all major social media sites, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, and Reddit. Here are the ones I use most: Facebook, Twitter.

Where is your book available to purchase?

You can order the paperback version of my book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from my publisher’s website. The e-book will be available on Amazon sometime in early February. It will be available in select bookstores as soon as possible.

Dark Tower Tie In Charlie The Choo-Choo Now Available

I’m a huge Stephen King nerd.  To anyone that knows me this is not a surprise.      In the sub-set of this I am a big Dark Tower fan as well.  Reading through his books and finding the connections was a giant thrill.  Even before getting into the Dark Tower set of books knowing that in Needful Things we revisit the farm from Cujo made me excited.  Reading and seeing that the monster that Tad is afraid lives in his closet in Cujo is Frank Dodd from The Dead Zone blew my mind.

While today shared universes are abundant in films and even some in books back when these books were coming out it wasn’t nearly as common.  So getting a reference to another book you had read was like a new experience.

Later I got into the Dark Tower books and found out that everything King has written is connected to this one set of stories.  Every character and every plot can be traced back to the Tower through any amount of small to large references.

When it was announced that at Comicon that they were actually printing up versions of the childrens book Charlie The Choo-Choo as exclusive items I tried to get anyone I knew that was there to grab me one.  Sadly it was not meant to be.  Luckily Simon and Schuster saw there was a demand for this so they decided to make it a mass market book.

I was lucky enough to get sent a review copy and I was jumping up and down with glee when it came in the mail.  It serves as a basic meta prop from the Dark Tower book.  Jake finds a copy of Charlie The Choo-Choo in a book store in the Tower books and now there is a real version you can hold in your hands.

With the movie coming up it’s a fun item to have.  I read through it and it is presented with great artwork from Ned Dameron as it tells the tale of old Charlie as he is seen as obsolete next to the more modern diesel engine, who looks like I imagine Blaine The Mono looks from The Wastelands.  It’s a fun thing to own if you’re a big King fan like I am.  I have it sitting on my shelf with the Dark Tower books.

Creepy Christmas Coloring With Mister Sam Shearon

I like coloring.  It’s relaxing to just sort of sit and grab the colored pencils for a little while.  And if you’re like me then you like things of more of the creepy persuasion.

Well I was excited to get this Creepy Christmas Coloring Book in the mail.  Flipping throught it I could see it was right up my alley.  Awesome pictures just waiting for me to color of Krampus, reindeer, and all sorts of Christmas themed horror.  The atwork of Mister Sam Shearon is just great. Each image represents the folklore of different regions around the world and is even accompanied by a poem with each one.  Dive into the folklore history of Christmas and help get into the spirit.

Of course what I picked was Santa Claws.  This is the type of Santa I would have wanted to send after my brother when he was annoying me when I was little.

if you have someone in your life who would appreciate this stocking stuffer in your life you can grab one over at CreepyChristmasColoringBook.Com.  Get them ready for the horror of next Christmas and learn about monsters and folklore from all over the world.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events New Trailer

We just got our first look at Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events a few weeks ago but they have dropped a new longer trailer that shows us what the scope of the series is going to be.  We get a lot more of Neil Patrick Harris and his zany dress up schemes as Count Olaf, a look at the look of the world in general, and some of the other characters that we can expect.  Can’t wait to check this out.  What about you?

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events Gets A Trailer

Before now we’ve only gotten a quick peek of Patrick Warburton’s Lemony Snicket giving us a tour of the set of the new Netflix adaptation of A Series Of Unfortunate Events.  Now we’ve got a full trailer of not only the kids but of Neil Patrick Harris in his full Count Olaf make up.  I think it’s perfect casting as he seems like he’ll fully embrace every scene chewing moment.

These books were adapted before for the big screen but never had a follow up.  Doing it as a Netflix series seems like the perfect way to adapt a book series like this.  Check out the trailer below.

Stephen King Bringing Us Charlie The Choo-Choo

I’m a huge Stephen King nerd.  Like really huge.  So when I heard that Simon & Schuster were putting out a book based on the in book childrens book Charlie the Choo-Choo I was excited.  It is a childrens book that Jake finds in a book store in the Dark Tower series that has a connection to Mid-World.

Coming at the end of November King will once again don a pseudonym to fit in the Dark Tower meta continuity.  As Beryl Evans he’ll be bringing the book to life along with illustrations from Ned Dameron.  From the Press Release:

Engineer Bob has a secret: His train engine, Charlie the Choo-Choo, is alive…and also his best friend. From celebrated author Beryl Evans (a pseudonym for Stephen King) and illustrator Ned Dameron comes a story about friendship, loyalty, and hard work.

Fans of Stephen King’s acclaimed Dark Tower series will recognize Charlie the Choo-Choo as the picture book that shows up in Book Three, The Waste Lands, written by the character Beryl Evans. An Easter egg for devoted fans, a mock-up of the book was recently distributed at San Diego Comic Con, where over 500 fans gathered to claim one of 150 copies available. Now in its completion, fans across the country can bring Charlie the Choo-Choo to their home libraries.

Are you picking this up?  Are you excited for the movie?  Let us know!