Live on the WriteStream

David V. Stewart’s works have appeared here before.  No, wait, my reviews for City of Silver and Eyes in the Walls appeared over on the Castalia House blog.  Anyway, the point is that I’m going to be making an appearance later today on David’s WriteStream.

David is a solid talent and a great guy.  His WriteStream videos are a wealth of information both for readers who want a deeper insight into the complexities of publishing, or for writers looking for…the same thing.  He is something of a renaissance man, a professional guitarist, a working writer, and even a knowledgeable critic and practitioner of the art world.  He also knows more about guns than your average Texan, which is saying something, and more about fitness than your average American, which isn’t.  The point is that he always has something worth saying and something worth hearing. Even if not all of his content tickles your fancy, you’re sure to find something that does on his channel.

Here’s one of his more recent insights, and what an insight it is:

And now, he’s going to be plumbing the depths of my own imagination for deeper insights from a genre fiction writer who just can’t stick to one genre of fiction.

Here is the link to his channel.  I’ll try to get a link up to the stream once we get rolling.

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Merch! Something for the Hard Core Fans

The final stages of Captain Sudden’s adventures with his Space Princess are drawing near. The third book in the trilogy should arrive early this summer, and to help launch the conclusion of the tale, I’ve commissioned three new covers.  Here is a preliminary look at the new designs:

The other day my daughter, the Shredder, and I were playing around with logos for her heavy metal band, Iron Lotus.  We had the notion to head to one of those custom t-shirt shops and order up a couple of shirts with the name and logo, and maybe print up a few more to sell at the next concert.

The wife wandered in as were working, and remarked that the design on the spacemud-flaps (or is that mud-spaceflaps?) seen on the new Sudden Danger cover would work great on a shirt.  She wasn’t wrong!

Thus was born, The Shirt:

When I showed this to a few close friends, they immediately asked, “Where can I get one?”

Which brings us to the commercial aspect of this Newsletter.  If you would like one of these shirts, we made it easy – and you can get one for the next week or so for 15% off as part of the grand opening of the shop.  Just set your clickers to Shredded Threads (link), choose your style, size, and color, and you’ll look great when the next big space-convoy forms up to stick it to the galactic smokies.  That or grab an Iron Lotus shirt – it’ll look good with your problem glasses when you explain that you were a fan of the band before they hit it big and sold out to buy their parents houses on a beach.

Speaking of there before the crowds, my newsletter subscribers got word of this last Friday.  If you want advanced notice of these things, there’s a little form right over there to your right.  Just enter your email to stay informed.

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Feanor et al. Did Nothing Wrong

How am I just now learning about the Feanor Did Nothing Wrong memes?

For those who don’t know, the story goes a little something like this:

So the Valar (kind of like the gods of Middle-Earth, but maybe like archangels or something in-between) started out by making literal heaven for the elves, and they lit it with two magic trees.  An elf named Feanor caught the light and poured it and part of his essence into three amazing gems called the Silmarils.

The heavy of the piece, Melkor, convinced the mother of all spiders to poison the two magic trees, then sat back and waited for Team Good to tear itself apart.  There was a kerfuffle about whether to use the magic McGuffin gems to rebuild the trees, and the Valar almost went to war with Feanor over it.  It almost happened, but not quick enough for your average Dark Lord’s bigger and badder daddy-boss.  Impatient, Melkor stole the gems, and spirited them away to the dungheap lands where the men dwelt.  Feanor basically told the Valar, “You wanted the gems, help me get them back.”

The Valar were like, “Nah, it’ll be fine.”

Spoilers:  It so very, very wasn’t.

Feanor dedicated himself to recovering his gems and put that goal before all else, and some people think he might have gone a little too far.  Just because he burned fleets, started a millennia long civil war, forced his sons to continue his monomaniacal obsession even after his death at the hands of pretty much all the Balrogs, and you know, little things like that.

Which is a gross over-simplification.  It’s like calling Ford v Ferrari a race car movie.  Or calling Citizen Kane the story of a man who liked his sled.

The story of the silmarils is so entertwined with the history of Middle-Earth that it lent its name to what many consider the bible of the world – the Silmarillion.  And people actually spend a lot of time talking about whether Feanor did nothing wrong or not and man, this world is an incredible place.

For my part, I don’t think Feanor did anything wrong.  Nor do I think the Valar did anything wrong.  They wanted to replenish the trees of heaven.  They were willing to punish puny little Feanor for his greed, but couldn’t afford to punish Melkor once he fled east.  Hey, we’ve all been there.  It’s really the story of how evil can pit good men against each other, both in the right, and both fully justified in their actions.

But then, I know more than the average bear and a lot less than the best bears around.  This subject deserves further research.

I’m going to go look up more memes.

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Free Comics!

Yo, comic books fans!

You might remember my review from March of last year about on a fun little graphic novel called Gun Ghoul (available here), produced by Alpha Dog Studios.

He’s at it again, and this time he has a little something nice for you.  A couple of free comic books that you can download.  First up is a collection of issues of Grimm, which I haven’t read yet.  Downloaded from here, and will get to it when I get to it.  But there’s no telling how long this offer will last, so grab your copy while you can.

There is a catch of course.  Wil Caligan is up to something.  These sorts of things usually come in waves just before an announcement.  In this case they came along with an announcement.

He is shopping around a science-fantasy book called TechLore, and you can get the first issue of this for free as well.

This one I have read, at it is a fun little comic.  Our red-headed knife-ear here is a bounty hunter with a heart of gold.  She lives in a world where magic exists, but only with the help of some technological enhancements.  The art features Wil’s usual heroic sytling, and the writing snaps right along with a few little surprises along the way.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for the final three issues when those are released, and encourage you to do the same.

And if you’re a twitter user, give Alpha Dog a follow.

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Lumberlands – A Maple Flavored D&D Supplement

Now this is what I like to see in a D&D product.

Lumberlands: Rise of the LeafLords!

Not really.  But take a look at the maple-swilling description of this light-hearted product:

When you need a break from tromping through ruined castles and braining hobgoblins,  come spend some time in the misty Lumberlands, a vast expanse of enchanted forest where brawny lumberjacks ply their trade, seek adventureand fortune, and defend the frontier from horrible sasquatches.

It’s a mini-setting, complete with three rival factions, the titular lumberjacks, the Squatches, and…Squirrels?  Yep – they live in treetop cities.  This project wears its heart on its flannel sleeve and might look ludicrous to the casual gamer, but we grognards remember Dungeonland.  We were there, maaan!  Four inches tall and attacked by badgers and rabbits and terrible, terrible whimsical creatures – the whimsy only made our inevitable losses all the more painful.

It isn’t an adventure.  It’s a module, which the #ChosenFew know is the superior form of adventure supplement.  You can plug it where you need it, anyplace with some mountains and forests will work.  Line up the factions and turn the players loose in the sandbox.  They’ll build and knock down castles you can’t even imagine.

The combination of Americana and tall-tale whimsy makes for a nice break from the usual northern-European style of fantasy, and the creatives behind it understand the value of addition by subtraction.  The setting has no native elves, ents, fairies, or other Celto-Germanic faffery, allowing the Wampus Country setting to take on a unique charm unlike that of most supplements on offer today.

Go back it.  At five bucks for the PDF, how can you resist?

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Walking Back the Strange

Last week I did a partial review of an interesting experiment in tabletop D&D.  After reading through the basic theory of using Fortean weirdness to D&D to help recapture some of the magic lost by making literally everything magic, I gave the product a solid recommendation.  The concept is a strong one, and Neven has given both the rules and application a considerable amount of thought.

After reading through the three short adventures, I have to scale my recommendation back considerably.  There isn’t enough meat to the rules and theory to justify the pricetag, and the adventures and short fiction don’t make up for the difference.

To be clear, What Happened at Wyvern Rock?, is the theory and three short…let’s call them encounters.  On Tattered Wings is a collection of vignettes, and unlike the companion volume, wears its fiction leanings on its sleeve.  It’s not really a story so much as a sampling of NPCs can recall encounters with Fortean weirdness, how they react, and how they struggle to make sense of new oddities in a world filled with old ones.  They are useful examples of how DMs can introduce cryptids such as little gray men and mothmen into their games.  They are also useful examples of why cryptids don’t really work in a world where everything is magic – in a world where nothing makes sense, the things that don’t make sense don’t fail to fit in, they are just one more flavor of, “who cares, shove that in there, too.”  They are well written, and remind me a lot of the collections of encounters you’ll find in more modern day Fortean collections.  As such, it makes for a useful gaming aid and the raw ore from which a good DM could take inspiration.

Think of it as a shotglass full of Appendix N.

Better yet, just go read Three Hearts and Three Lions, or maybe The King of Elfland’s Daughter, for a more useful reminder of how elves can be so much more than just a human with funny ears that likes to talk to the tress.

Which brings us to the three short stories included in What Happened at Wyvern Rock?

My criteria on adventure reviews is similar to that of Bryce over at tenfootpole.org.  Use at the table is the point, and the metric by which I judge.

Let’s get the canary in the coal mine out of the way first.  Every female NPC is some combination of smart, brave, loyal, and kind.  With only rare exceptions, every male NPC is some combination of stupid, craven, untrustworthy, and cruel.  Players who have any pattern recognition skills will quickly deduce that the best way to improve the odds of survival are to shank any male NPC that comes around and do exactly what the nearest Mary Sue suggests.  It’s the quiet sound of a calliope in the distance reminding you that clown world will not rest – it is always waiting in the shadows, ready to turn everything on its head for no reason whatsoever.  It is easily corrected at the table, but it remains a red flag of caution, and one that bears out upon further reading.

Likewise, the NPC races used are completely random and without purpose.  Nothing serves to distinguish an elf from a halfling from a half-orc from a human.  It’s all set dressing as meaningless as what species of trees are in the woods that surround the crashed UFO.  All it does is remind the reader that magic has become so mundane and the kitchen-sink assumptions of the game so pervasive that whole new rulesets – the one I’m reviewing right now, for example – have to be built and bolted on to the game in order to try and recapture the magic that was lost when the tabletop RPG culture embraced the stone soup model of D&D.

Stone soup, for those of you who don’t know, is an old hobo tradition whereby everyone throws whatever ingredients they have into a pot.  Got one potato? A couple carrots?  A bit of cooked steak or a chicken leg?  Chuck it into the pot, and we all share what comes out.  The results is predictably a flavorless mashup, with each pot tasting more or less exactly like the one that came before.

Nowadays, every campaign is Forgotten Realms.

The core assumption that ‘everything in the books is in the game’ has made nearly every table and every popular supplement a flavorless mashup of the same two dozen ingredients.  That is the whole reason Wyvern Rock feels so fresh and new – it is an escape from the stone soup.  Somebody chucked a slab of salmon into the pot, and rather than taste like a nice fish stew, you just get the usual bland gruel with a hint of what might have been, with only a little more thought and planning.

And then, the adventures themselves aren’t so much adventures as they are stories written in the modern D&D skin-suit style.  A place, an NPC list, a series of unusual events, and an explanation of how the NPCs react to those events.  PCs not required.  You could probably turn them into a D&D adventure if you were willing to put a considerable amount of work into the process.  Neven gives little help in that regard.  No thought was put into how to use them at the table.  They are stories, not adventures.  Stories crafted in an odd manner and with an usual structure to them, but stories nonetheless.

The three tales consist of:

  1. a swarm attack on a small, isolated homestead.
  2. an encounter with a woman who is more than she seems and more than she knows
  3. a string of linked encounters that grow increasingly more obviously little gray men

The first is combat heavy, the second exclusively role-playing, and the third…it could go either way depending on how the DM wants to run his game-train.  They can be mined for ideas, but as a gaming aid, they suffer.

After the impressive lead-up of the wild and wooly cryptid theory of the first part of the book, it is disappointing that the practical application should step so hard on so many rakes.

To be perfectly fair, this is largely a style preference.  Neven has gone all-in on storytelling gaming wearing D&D patches for street cred, and I am a hard core D&D player.  I need adventures that can be run at the table.  My worlds are heavy on mundane and boring old humans doing the grunt work of growing crops, praying to the gods, and fighting for their kings.  The rare elf or dwarf really mean something more than “has pointy ears” or “has a beard”.  The bits of the world that are strange and unknowable are tucked into out of the way places where most mortals fear to tread.  They are not slathered all over every farmstead and city pub.  So when the players march their characters down into dank holes, they know that everything is strange and Fortean, and it feels that way because so little up in the fresh air is strange and Fortean.

Thinking on it, one of the best uses of this product would be to start with one of TSR’s old green splatbooks – Robin Hood or The Crusades – and then inject this X-Files goodness straight into their veins after three or four sessions of haring off around Sherwood or chasing Mussulmen back into the desert.  That would really make the best parts of this supplement sing.

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Mosfilm > Bollywood

Bollywood often gets bandied about as an alternative to Hollywood fare by those cut back on consumption of it’s anti-American resentment.  Taken in by the flashy colors, the obvious national pride of the productions, and for some strange reason the song and dance numbers that break out on the regular, they seek solace in alien spectacle.  Personally, I find the sheer foreign-ness of Bollywood off-putting in much the same way I find anime incomprehensible.  The cultural assumptions that zig when I expect them to zag just suck me right out of the story that is trying to be told.

Fortunately, there are some solid films coming out of the eastern bloc of western film companies that don’t suffer that issue to near the same extent.  The former eastern bloc countries have always dumped resources into film – Tartovsky anyone? – but thanks to the shrinking cost of production and transmission, it is becoming easier than ever to catch foreign films that require the crossing of a much shorter cultural divide.

Enter Furious, the Russian made story of 17 brave warriors who stood up to a full Mongol horde.  The Mongols are painted as the savage and feral monsters you’d expect from a Russian production, rather than with noble, diverse, and multi-cultural facelift that anti-western historians have tried to provide them with over the last few decades.  But it isn’t so much anti-Mongol as it is pro-Russian.  Time is taken to show women singing traditional Russian harmonies.  Our hero refuses to leave his God-child’s christening just because a few rowdy steppe riders are knocking on the door.

The film has a mythic quality to it.  It is heavy on the dreamy CGI backgrounds, and the characters are all larger than life.  The action features plenty of slo-mo combat and the fortunes of our hero rise and fall in dramatic contrast.  It isn’t necessarily a happy film – this is a bit of a last stand during the Mongol conquest of Russia we’re talking about, after all.  But it has that Forlorn Hope of a Hopeless Cause aspect that resonates with just about everyone.  Every culture has its Alamo, after all.  And even the great khan man himself earns a bit of humanity later in the film when his mask of alien weirdness slips to reveal a doubt that he has what it takes to fill his grandfather’s shoes.

A note of warning:  The English dub was painful to hear – on the level of anime for cartoonishness – so on this particular count I slipped into the ‘subs’ camp.

Enjoy your shiny Asian and middle-eastern glitz.  As for me and my house, we will stick with the grim and heroic war films made to the west of the Urals.

Click to pre-order your copy today.

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A Strange Case of D&D

Or…a funny thing happened on the way to the dungeon.

After nearly forty years of tabletop gaming, it can get a little hard to recapture the fresh weirdness of Gygaxian fantasy.  Particularly true in this day and age when the majority of D&D creatives believe that the height of creativity is something along the lines of, “just like before, only WOMEN!” or “just like half-orcs, but half-demons/half-dragons/half-drow/half-kitchen-sink”.  So it was with some relish that a friend pointed out What Happened at Wyvern Rock.

Injecting a bit of sci-fi into your D&D campaign isn’t anything new. It goes back all the way to the beginning. Injecting a bit of Alex Jones style Fortean weirdness into your campaign, now that’s something different.

And Neven Diack provides a nice, dark addition to a D&D campaign that tickles my grognard bone with an emphasis on murkiness and uncertainty and unexplainable events.  His marriage of cross-dimensional (or cross-planar) aliens (or demons) involves a bit of book-keeping, but it is behind-the-screen book-keeping expressly designed to inject a spot of weirdness into the game.  Sure, your players might recognize the little gray men, but they don’t have forty years worth of stats and rules to fall back upon to understand how to deal with the little anal-probers.  And their characters…

They’ve been hob-nobbing with, and murder-hoboing, funny lookin’ fellers for years.  What’s one more short inhuman thing after dungeons full of the creepy little blighters?  It’s just one more form of magic that wants them dead and probably has some nice loot available on board that fiery wheel in the sky.  Or, gods help them, the characters may even try to talk to the strangely sedate kobolds in the silver suits.  Either way, it’s going to be weird and unusual, and even the normal rules of magic won’t apply.

Neven does a great job providing just enough starting material in a way that leaves the mystery unresolved for everyone.  The main book includes rules for weirdness – and in fine old school fashion includes a sort of mini-game to track just how weird things have gotten.  he also includes three escalating encounters with the weirdness as well – almost adventures in their own right.  But mostly, he provides a fresh new look at the game, and an inspirational way to Keep Mystara Weird that feels almost Lovecraftian with out the modern “tentacles and jokes, yo” crutches one normally sees in this sort of product.

I haven’t read On Tattered Wings yet, nor have I received my copy of the now completed KickStart for the second issue of this ‘zine.   And if physical reviews are important, I can tell you the thick paper and heavy stock covers are pretty robust for a ‘zine, and should hold up well at the table.  The art is simple line carvings, and impressively marries the look of hoax UFO photos with dark age wood carving.  Good fun and while the ten bucks for the short read might seem steep, it’s worth it for the quality and depth of Neven’s thoughts.

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The First Space Opera

A few weeks back, an old bud named Tomas Diaz posted a brief essay by Hilaire Belloc, titled “On Fantastic Books“.  It is an early 20th century defense of the fantasy genre from a great thinker, and you can read it in full for yourself.  It is well worth an essay in its own right, but today we’re keying in on this phrase right here:

I confess that I care nothing whether they are well written or ill written; so long as they are written in any language that I can understand I will read them; and today as I write I have before me a notable collection of such, every one of which I have read over and over again. I remember one called the Anglo-Saxon Conquest of the Solar System or words to that effect.

Turns out the words to that effect are The Struggle for Empire: A Story of the Year 2236.  Written in the 19th century by Robert William Cole, and published in the year 1900, a physical copy will set you back a cool $4,500.  Or you can grab a free copy from Google Books right here.  There are a couple of places it can be found online in HTML, but if you click on the red button to the left, you can grab an EPUB and convert to your favorite reader for easy reading.

It tells the story of an Earth united under the benevolent bootheel of an Anglo-Saxon empire that won World War I so handily, thanks to a US-Brit-German alliance, that everybody fell in behind the Brits.  Then they went out into the stars where they found enough room to spread out, colonize, get into internecine spats, take up a little piracy, and generally make a decent run at conquering the galaxy.  And then the Sirians show up.

Before we get to the massive Anglo-Sirian war, we should talk a little bit about the style of the story.  Unlike modern tales that select a couple of point-of-view character for the reader to experience the war through, Cole uses the omniscient narrator to cut back and forth between two different levels of the conflict.  In a few chapters he explains how the conflict affects a love triangle between the worthwhile lady love, who chooses the dashing officer over the broody Brainiac.  Halfway through the war, complications ensue, and that story wraps up in a short chapter at the tail end of the piece.   All told, the human-level story takes up maybe a quarter of the novel.  Cole has other things to discuss.

In between these few chapters, the reader gets a solid history of the galaxy between the year 1900 and 2236.  Cole also sets the ground rules for the technology, explaining that scientists have managed to create or discover three new forces, Dynogen, Pralion, and Ednogen.  With them, mankind manages to create incredible works of engineering, including ships that can sail through the void of space, send messages at greater than light speed, manage anti-gravity, and blast each other to smithereens.  He stresses early on that space is really, really big, and that even with all of their technology, mankind requires great lengths of time to sail between the stars – months even!

And then Cole launches a massive human fleet at Sirius, ready to conquer the first real challenge to humanity’s hegemony.  Unfortunately for the Anglo-Saxons, the Sirians are no pushovers on the tech front themselves.  They also have a much less fractious interstellar empire to contend with, and so manage to shatter the attacking fleet.  Their defense proves strong enough to convince them that the smart play is to conquer the Angl0-Saxons in turn.  Thus begins a long and relentless battle that sees:

  • Fleets of thousands of space ships flung headlong into days’ long battles
  • A rain of debris over the continents, mountains, cities, and seas of Neptune
  • In keeping with John C. Wright’s definition of “space opera” the blowing up of not one, but two moons, at the same time
  • Three-dimensional naval tactics, and
  • The frantic last minute search for a savior weapon that might knock the bombarding Sirian ships out of the tropical skies above London.

Did I mention that the Anglo-Saxons used their tech to move London to more tropical climes?  It’s a brief aside in the book, and just one of many like it.

It’s all very Doc E. E. Smith, and it is amazing.

Cole relishes the thought of future-war, and pens a mil-SF story that stands with the best of what is on tap today.  If you can set aside your modern prejudices long enough, you’ll find a strangely effective war story of the clash of civilizations.  You’ll also find a strangely prophetic vision of the wars of the future.  Sure, he gets some of the science wrong – see the above bullet-point about the continents and seas of Neptune – but his extrapolations of what a future war might look like are surprisingly…let us call them anachronistically prescient.

For example, he imagines interstellar ships to resemble submarines.  He recognizes that their primary function is to protect crews from the hazards of the void.  They are compartmentalized to limit damage in the case of hull breaches.  And yet, his magic engines evoke images of propellers rather than jets.  Ships do not have energy screens, but torpedo nets.  Gun crews must individually load cannons that use rubber gaskets to allow shells to be fired without exposing the crew to the vacuum of space.  Most combat occurs over the ridiculously long (by the standards of 1900) ranges measured in miles, with the frequent use of ramming when the opportunity arises.  Sometimes ships can hide the dark shadows behind moons.  And yet, the War Department has screens that can spot ships in orbit, even during the darkest night.

And sometimes the forces unleashed can wreak a havoc that no one could possibly predict – not even the big brains of 2236 R&D.  Remember what I said about the moons blowing up?  That wasn’t planned – it was a by-product, and possibly a touch of divine chastisement.

Buried within the high adventure and detailed future-war history, the oberservant reader can spot some interesting Easter Eggs:

  • The end of the war brings about a peace that one might recognize from our own histories of the actual WW1
  • Cole predates Roddenberry by predicting man would sail into the depths of space in a vain attempt to find God on his Throne
  • The somewhat vague forces of Dynogen and Pralion somewhat mimic the strong and weak forces of the subatomic world
  • The six year slog through a battle of attrition calls to mind the coming storm of WW1, as do the numbers, which must have seem ludicrous at the time, with fleets of ships rising into the hundreds of battleships and countless support craft.
  • The bombardment of London by the untouchable air-superiority of her nemesis evokes the tumult of the Battle of Britain
  • The one major land battle fought – on the moon by ships crawling along the surface – evokes the misery and tactics of later tank battles complete with bunkers, digging-in, and mines used to slow attacking forces.

Pikers

All-in-all this really is a hidden gem that any real scholar of the genre should take a stab at reading.  I’ve already name-checked Doc Smith, but one can also find proto-Barsoomian material within its pages.  It has the feel of an H.G. Wells novel, albeit one with shallower characters and a deeper insight to changing technology and how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

If nothing else, the work is relatively short, and the inspiring recitation of the movements of massive fleets over vast distances flows smoothly and quickly.  It’s a soli mil-SF story in its own right, but rises to new heights when judged from a distance of twelve decades.  Not just for what it got right about the future, but for what it can teach us about the minds of our ancestors, and how they viewed their own place in the universe.

 

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Ford v. Ferrari – Hard Recommend

Movie of the year.

Being of the “don’t give money to people what hates ya” variety, I don’t watch many films these days.  Being not very good at it, I watch a few, and those only after advisement from people I trust.  The good guys over at Geek Gab told me Ford v. Ferrari was a solid actioner.

What they didn’t tell me is that it is a high-test film about male friendship on par with Master and Commander, and a film about fatherhood that does Big Fish one better.  It’s a basic sports movie with the usual internal and external struggles of the driver and coach.  It’s a basic underdog sports story with the plucky little…checks notes…Ford Motor Company going up against the Ferrari juggernaut at the 24-hour Le Mans grand prix.  It’s a solid action film with three or four set pieces that climax in…

Well, hold on.  It turns out all that stuff is just set dressing for the story of two friend who have to navigate a lot of rocky relationships as they pursue a shared passion in cars and racing and finding that perfect moment of time when you achieve greatness.  It’s a reflective journey back to a California dream – before the State turned into a nightmare.  It’s a meditation on trust and hard work and teamwork and riding the line between bravery and foolhardiness.

The strong female character we come to know isn’t the creation of a dull-witted catlady who thinks the best women are those that ape the worst men.  She has moments of greatness, in which she – just like her son and her husband’s friend and coach – make demands of her husband not for her sake, but for his.  It is incredible to see a healthy marriage on screen portrayed in such a manner.  Simply a wonder to behold.

There’s so much to this film, it has stuck with me for days.  My mind keeps drifting back to it, chewing on it, and allowing its messages to seep into my own life.

I want – and I never say this these days – I want to watch it again.

It is that good.

Go watch it, and prepare for a slow burn punctuated by moments of genuine joy and celebration of life and achievement and family.

More like this, please.

My latest novel is up for pre-order

Click to reserve a copy

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