Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Foundation Features My Prostate Cancer Story


RelaxingWhiteNoise
Written by award-winning science writer Janet Farrar Worthington, this article addresses the incontinence problem many men face post-op from prostate cancer surgery. I'd say the story was a pisser, but why overdo matters?

Here's an excerpt of the article from the website of the Prostate Cancer Foundation:

"Incontinence after Radical Prostatectomy sucks. But for nearly all men, it goes away. For the very small percentage in whom it doesn't, there is help.

JP Mac (John P. McCann) is an Emmy-award winning animation writer who worked for Warner Bros. and Disney, and a novelist. he is also very funny. 

So, when he wrote a short ebook about his experience with prostate cancer — including his diagnosis in 2014 at age 61, the rush to find the right treatment and get it done before his health insurance was going to expire, his laparoscopic-robotic Prostatectomy and the complications afterward, and his five-month battle to recover urinary continence after the surgery — he could legitimately have written a soap opera, or maybe even a tear-jerker; but he didn't.

Instead, his ebook has a title that sounds like 1950s pulp fiction: They Took My Prostate: Cancer, Loss Hope. It's not "Prostate Cancer Lite." and it doesn't minimize what he or anyone else has gone through to get back to normal after radical prostatectomy. Far from it; in fact, his 'short, hopeful essay' is a testament to what it takes to recover from this difficult but life-saving surgery: a balanced perspective, a good sense of humor, a great support system, and plain old hard work and persistence."

Read the rest here.

No Star Like a Ghost Star


Ghost Star (Ghost Star Adventures)Ghost Star by Roger Eschbacher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Young Galen Bray faces trouble by the gross. Pursued by the murderous alien Mohk, he pilots his space craft down an interstellar rabbit hole only to discover a lost civilization, his past and his destiny.

This book seemed designed for younger readers, with some of the characters a tad thin. Also, the familiar archetypes peopling this thriller might've been tweaked to separate them out from the usual space opera tropes of warrior women, clever robots, and evil-for-evil's-sake villians.

Nevertheless, the story's alien characters and locations are well-handled by the author who keeps his world accessible to the reader. In addition, there's action aplenty, a likable protagonist, droll humor and enough twists to keep the narrative speeding along. A fun, enjoyable read.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Fast-Food Robots to Write Animaniacs


whiskeytangotexas


Studios Confident in Controversial Decision


Robots originally designed for a hot dog chain will be reprogrammed to write new episodes of Animaniacs. "Officially, this is unofficial," said industry insider Tony Hurl. "But the studios are really amped over this perfect synergy of technology and creativity."

According to sources, the Osprey Meat Company ("We Make Hot Dogs from Birds") decided against expanding their brand into California due to high taxes. That left the firm saddled with nine Golem-5 Public Interface Units. Popular in Ecuador and parts of the Rocky Mountains, the Golem-5s interact with the public, taking customer orders and upselling specials of the day.

Said Hurl, "Certain Hollywood big shots heard the 'bots were available and snatched them away from Burger King. I mean, these are sophisticated machines with a pretty fair vocabulary. Studio tech staff were confident they could reprogram a Golem-5 from saying, 'Would you care for additional onion rings?' to 'Faboo,' or 'Of course I'm cute,' or 'That'll leave a mark.'"

uproxx

Reports indicate that Osprey Meat Company is negotiating to partner with Warner Bros. and Amblin. Hurl thought such a move likely, citing marketing potential. "Imagine the end of a Pinky and the Brain episode:
Pinky: What'll we do tomorrow night, Brain?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky: enjoy a fine Osprey Hot Dog with additional onion rings."

While the Golem-5s are a substantial upfront cost, Hurl believes the studios can amortize the outlay over several years via the elimination of writing staff salaries. "It's in the cards," said Hurl, "Eventually, robots will replace the entire crew of an animated show except for executives, junior executives, and executive assistants. Maybe the receptionist, but don't count on it."

geeksofcolor



Friday, January 05, 2018

Boyle Book Broaches Environmental Issues


When the Killing's DoneWhen the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who owns the animals? Is it possible to restore an island to a pre-human state? Such as are a few of the questions raised in this story of Park Services employee Alma Takesue and activist businessman David Lajoy as they battle one another over the eradication of rats and pigs from the Channel Islands off the California coast.

Boyle's work is multi-generational, layered, well-researched. This provides a depth to the narrative that often diminishes the characters' concerns and squabbles in comparison to the unrelenting power of nature dominating the world of the story.

Plenty of twists and turns enliven a rapidly moving plot. Boyle's sense of the absurd lightens the mood at key moments. This is a powerful book, underscoring life and the will to live.

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Unhappy New Year

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A Perfect Storm of Maladies Mars 2018 Start


Not that expectations were all that high for me in the coming year, but he who controls the fonts controls blog emotions, or some such matter. In any case, remember that flu I mentioned at the end of my last post? (Probably not.) The bastard virus lingers like distant relatives with no other place to go. Dogging me in non-flu-like ways.

If you've read, They Took My Prostate, you'll know that my sleep apnea requires flowing air through my nostrils for me to sleep. Not so easy when the nose is clogged. Plus I'm coughing up phlegm and need to roll over and spit it out into a styrofoam cup. (Never look inside.) And since I have no prostate, a deep racking cough results in a fun urine squirt. I'm getting hammered top and bottom.

But the worst is no sustained sleep. Who do I lash out against?

If it's not on the upswing by Monday, I'll see the doctor. Until then, it's just me and the Circus Channel in the quiet hours before dawn. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve a Decade Ago


mapsoffindia.com

Ten Years Back I Wrote:

For the last 48 hours I've been writing a story to submit to a horror anthology. Right now, New Year's Eve, my darling wife is proofing the last draft. Submission deadline closes at midnight. I wrote from noon to 11:00 last night. Eight o'clock to 1:10 today, went to the gym, then wrote from 4:30 to 10:20. MDW assures me I'm getting the rapid proof that will merely nip the worst grammatical offenders.

This story actually started out as something called Behind the Scenes. But over three weeks, it's changed, changed again and finally become Tyto Alba, the tale of a slacker who pays a price for "going with the flow." 

All pressure is self-imposed. I must return to my young adult novel and didn't want this almost-finished story lounging around, up to no good.

And so, as I await changes on my final story for 2007, I say to one and all: 


Back in the day, I still had a prostate.

The story in question was rejected. Basically, it was characters trapped in a Food of the Gods-like farmhouse. No one really changed much and all the action  was contrived to generate gruesome deaths and a clever escape.

In addition, I was writing a YA novel which eventually migrated to the 2008 unfinished pile as I entered the new year coaching with Team in Training, piling up the weekly miles in preparation for the Eugene Marathon, while staging our house for sale, plus seeking a condo to purchase as the housing crisis was in full bloom.

Today I've written five books, returned to running after a long injury-fueled absence and, on December 31, battle the flu. May it pass quickly. (The years certainly do.) In the meantime:




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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kaiju Thriller Falls Short


Island 731Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A storm-tossed ship winds up in the lagoon of an uncharted island. As the characters sift through the damage, crew members go missing. Searching the island for lost shipmates, the protagonist stumbles upon remains of a notorious World War II Japanese dark science outfit known as Unit 731. But park ranger Mark Hawkins soon learns that gruesome experimentations have never stopped.

This seemed like two books: a half horror-thriller and the rest a justification for what came first. The chief antagonist seemed impossibly smart for his age, the scientific justifications thin, the evil agency behind it all opaque. To keep the plot moving in the second half, the author unloaded back story like a man lightening a balloon to stay airborne. And while such a practice justified the narrative, it threw me out of the story.

Which is a shame, since good action scenes combined with a stripped-down writing style made this tale zip along. More foreshadowing may've helped.

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