We belong to the Netflix DVD service. Our entertainment center isn’t set up for streaming. We don’t want to stream. Period.
I don’t know what is wrong with Netflix these days, however. I have half a dozen films (most films very recent, one we missed two decades ago that we want to see) reserved in my queue and all marked by Netflix “Unavailable.”
Our lovely little local library has opened up from being locked down (we’re in the San Francisco Bay area) and the library has a decent selection of movie DVDs, which can checked out for (I think) three weeks for free. (I pay plenty of property taxes that go to support the libraries, so it’s not *really* free.) Sometimes, though, the disc is scratched or otherwise stops right in the middle of the movie. So there’s a downside to checking out library movies.
If Netflix doesn’t improve on acquiring and making available DVDs (and I intend to speak with their customer representative), I’ll have to look for another DVD rental service.
If you use one, can you recommend an alternative DVD service?
All right. So the July movies were not my first choices. Not even my second choices. The Hollywood Reporter had positive things about the films I chose but, in retrospect, the notices were paid for by the film’s producers. Therefore, somewhat suspect.
First up, “Jumanji: The Next Level.” We saw the first Jumanji years ago when it was released. This movie takes its time to set up the complicated plot with its multiple characters, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t really remember the first movie well, so appreciated the story setup. (A note to writers: I know the how-to-write rackets instruct you to start with a dynamic sentence, and that’s a good strategy, but don’t be in a hurry to rush your story out. Sometimes it’s good to take your time.)
Once we understand what Jumanji: The Next Level is and who the characters are, and they physically upload into the game (kind of like telespace, in my Arachne Trilogy), the action takes off. The film is endlessly inventive, funny, fun, and totally entertaining. There are references to “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Clash of the Titans,” and “Lord of the Rings.” There’s even a tear-jerker emotional denouement, followed by a humorous epilogue.
Recommended, especially for fans of fantasy and gamers.
I wish I could the same of the other two movies, but I can’t.
I generally like the previous work of Michelle Pfeiffer. The Hollywood Reporter article commented that her acting was commendable in this film. She plays the lead in “French Exit.” Unpleasantly too-skinny (she smokes throughout the movie and drinks hard booze so I guess that’s the point), she is the thoroughly unpleasant Frances Price, a semi-crazy socialite woman long widowed from her wealthy husband. When she goes to see her lawyer-financial advisor, he tells her she is broke. “What would have me do?” she asks. He tells her to sell everything, including her fancy three-story Manhattan townhouse. She bounces checks so much that her maid asks her to pay her in cash, please.
It was hard for me to sympathize with her plight after she announces, “I’ve never worked a day in my life.”
That completely lost me. I’ve been working since I was a teenager, have a deep respect for work and a deeper respect for money, especially money earned and saved through your own efforts.
When the character goes to dinner with one of her wealthy friends, the friend suggests she stay for free in the empty Paris apartment the friend owns.
She takes ship to Paris with her son, an even more unpleasant character. A full-grown, able-bodied young man, he sponges off his mother like she sponged off the inheritance her husband left her.
The movie includes touches of magical realism—she holds seances twice to “speak” with her dead husband—but instead of interesting, the scenes are ridiculous. Likewise with the plot twist that her dead husband has been incarnated into a cat.
I can’t fathom why the half dozen little producers wanted to make this movie. As a producer, I would never have invested in the project. The story has no “redeeming value” for me.
Not recommended except for enthusiastic fans of Michelle Pfeiffer.
Last up, Promising Young Woman. Cassie lives with her parents, works as a barista at a tiny coffee shop, has dropped out of medical school. That’s the backstory, which gets established later.
The film opens with three young men in a swinging nightclub observing Cassie alone, a pretty blond woman and clearly falling-down drunk. One young man offers to escort her home, instead takes her to his apartment and begins to undress her when she lies, seemingly drunk, on his bed. But she’s not really drunk.
Cassie has a “secret life” at night, according to the film’s coy synopsis.
I don’t usually do this but the plot twist is revealed in the film’s first ten or fifteen minutes. PLOT SPOILER ALERT: She kills him. She’s a serial killer of men. She tabulates his murder in her little black book, which records many other murders.
I suppose this is a radical feminist statement about male violence against women but had I known this was the movie’s plot, I would never have rented it. And I LIKE The Silence of the Lambs and The Little Things.
After the first revelation about Cassie, the plot goes downhill from there. At the café she DOES meet a nice man who went to medical school with her and is now a doctor. He is a promising romantic partner. But there’s no redemption for Cassie.
Not recommended except for fans of the weird, serial killers, and the violent.
So there you have it, my friends. You win some, you lose some.
In fairness to the latter two movies, Tom said he was entertained by them. So there’s that.
Enjoy your Movie Night!
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is on Kindle worldwide, including in the US, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US
, in UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia Australia
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
On Kindle at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1981104380
Find the Print book of SUMMER OF LOVE in the U.S., U.K.,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and New in Print in Australia The ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands
The Gilded Age is In Print in the U.S. at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1975853172

In Print in the U.K. at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1975853172

In Print in Germany at https://www.amazon.de/dp/1975853172

In Print in France at https://www.amazon.fr/dp/1975853172

In Print in Italy at https://www.amazon.it/dp/1975853172

In Print in Spain at https://www.amazon.es/dp/1975853172

In Print in Japan at https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/1975853172

New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1975853172

The Gilded Age is an ebook on U.S. Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On U.K. Kindle https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Canada Kindle https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Australia Kindle https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On France Kindle https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Germany Kindle https://www.amazon.de/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Italy Kindle https://www.amazon.it/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Spain Kindle https://www.amazon.es/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Netherlands Kindle https://www.amazon.nl/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Mexico Kindle https://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Brazil Kindle https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On India Kindle https://www.amazon.in/dp/B005QUIWDQ

On Japan Kindle https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B005QUIWDQ

ARACHNE is in print in the U.S. at https://www.amazon.com/dp/198435602X
In the U.K. at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/198435602X
In Germany at https://www.amazon.de/dp/198435602X
In France at https://www.amazon.fr/dp/198435602X
In Spain at https://www.amazon.es/dp/198435602X
In Italy at https://www.amazon.it/dp/198435602X
In Japan at https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/198435602X
New! Now in Print in Australia at
Australia.
Arachne (a Locus Hardover Bestseller) is also an ebook on US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
On Kindle worldwide in France Kindle, Germany Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Spain Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Brazil Kindle, India Kindle, and Japan Kindle
Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute pet pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

Does it feel to you like a year has already gone by, and it’s only July?  Me, too!
New Publishers Weekly Featured Review: “Mason entertains and elicits fascinating questions about human nature in this fast-paced, action-packed science fiction adventure.”
Yes! A Reader Review of Chrome:
“So Walter Mosley reread Animal Farm and The Island of Dr Moreau and says to himself, “Oh, yes indeed, I’ve got a terrific idea for my next best seller.” But! Lisa says, “Hold on, hot stuff. You’re too late. Chrome is already on the streets. Haha!”
Wow! I just tore through Chrome. So much fun. Oh, I guess I should take a time-out to say that it was very well-written too, but I was enjoying the characters and the story so much that the superb writing simply did its job and I had to consciously reflect to notice the excellent and clever construction and reveals. Uh, isn’t that the definition of good writing?
I’m not usually a fan of sequels, but could we please have at least one more romp with Ms Lightfoot and her sidekick Terralina?”
Yes, I’m working next on CHROME COBRA and a third book to round out a trilogy, plus a prequel novella. LIBERATION DAY, which will explore the mysteries of the events leading up to freeing of the Blends from their cages.
And another review from Amazing Stories.com
“For my last column of the 2010s (and 2019 in particular), I’ve chosen to review two very good genre works, one an excellent magazine, and the other an excellent semi-noir full-on SF work by a terrific author I’ve reviewed before, and (as the cover above says, a New York Times notable author). I’m talking about Lisa Mason’s new novel Chrome, first.
I hesitate to characterize it, because it’s so much more than a short description can convey, but in my mind it stands out as a science-fiction homage, in part, to the noir books and movies of the forties and fifties, only brought forth into a future time a quarter-millennium from now. There’s no world-weary Robert Mitchum-type ‘tec as a protagonist; rather, our hero is a beautiful half-human, half puma thief named Luna Lightfoot, who makes her main living as what we might call a video star. Millions of people back on Earth pay for the privilege of watching her at home while she eats, sleeps, and carries out her home life for their voyeuristic pleasure. She also hangs out with the rich and famous.
Luna lives on an artificial planetoid, called Chrome, at one of Earth’s LaGrange points, put there 250 years ago by one of Earth’s wealthiest and greediest corporations, the Emirk group. (If you want to know where Emirk came from, the name refers to a tributary of one of Earth’s big rivers, according to the author. When you get to that part, you’ll understand.) Back in our time (and this is true), a Chinese scientist claims to have gene-edited a couple of children using the CRISPR method, which is sort of like gene cut-and-pasting. Scientists around the world—and, finally, this own government—decried the use of CRISPR on humans. However, in this book, Emirk started experimenting (at first, openly, but then, thanks to public and governmental outcries, covertly) with “improving” the human genome by adding genes from practically every oxygen-breathing species of animal on the planet. Spending billions to build Chrome, Emirk’s experiments were moved there and continued. Human subjects were given or sold by outlaw governments and factions to Emirk’s scientists; and now there exists a whole society of human/animal interbreeds, called “blends,” on Chrome. Humans can not live there anymore, thanks to a plague that killed off (and continues to kill off) any unmodified humans, yet Emirk still owns Chrome, and figures it owns all the inhabitants too.
Luna attends a party given by Bunny Hedgway, one of Chrome’s glitterati in order to steal an artifact from Bunny’s treasure room, but while she was engaged in this theft, witnessed the murder of Chrome’s prima ballerina, an ostrich Blend named Zena Kinski, by an unidentified Blend who was wearing a wolf costume, but who may not have been a wolf. Because she was witnessed on the roof of Bunny’s place at the time of the murder, Luna needs to clear herself and find out who the Blend is who actually killed Zena. In the process, Luna finds herself becoming familiar with Chrome’s criminal underworld, and gains enemies as well as new friends and allies. One of those is the tortoise Blend Terralina Rustabrin, who is about to be bond-mated to a Prince of tortoise Blends. (Blends are not legally humans; therefore, cannot marry, according to Emirk Corporation. So “bond-mating” is their substitute.) Although Terralina’s eyesight is poor, she happens to be close to several significant happenings related to the murder, and actually saw Luna come down off Bunny’s roof.
In this book, Lisa has created a world and a society that mirrors our own in many respects; although we have no (to the best of my knowledge) actual Blends on Earth, corporations and governments on this planet are actively trying to (and in some cases have succeeded) treat humans as if they were Blends, or property. And you can just bet that these kinds of experiments will happen somewhere on Earth if they aren’t already happening. Like what happens to most enslaved people everywhere, many Blends are rich or getting rich by actively helping Emirk subjugate their fellow blends. There are Blend geniuses, one of whom created the “Tatts,” a type of tattoo that acts as a communications device, archival device, amanuensis (a blend of Alexa and Google in some ways) and other things. It’s a fully-realized society that takes some of the attributes of the animal parts of Blends and applies what those traits might mean to humans who have them.
And as for the noir mystery part; whether Luna solves her own problem (of being a suspect and a fugitive from the killer(s)), you’ll just have to read the book to find out. I really appreciate the fact that the ending is not a “pat ending.” I suspect Lisa may someday turn out a sequel to Chrome. Anyway, I liked this book and recommend it.
Steve Fahnestalk (with 19,000 subscribers)
:
Here’s the Amazing Stories link so you can see the beauteous photo of me holding an issue of The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy in which I’d published a story a little while ago. Not the F&SF issue in the Amazing Stories review, though Steve Fahnestalk compared a theme in one of the stories in the November-December issue to my theme in CHROME. https://www.amazingstories.com/2019/12/my-last-column-lisa-masons-chrome-and-fsf-nov-dec-2019/
The CHROME cover, by San Francisco artist Tom Robinson, is comprised of a dozen different elements which Tom carefully researched. We think the imagery looks kind of mid-century. I love the color scheme.
CHROME is in U.S. print as a beautiful trade paperback. Also in U.K. print, in German print, in French print, in Spanish print, in Italian print, and in Japanese print. New! Now in Print in Australia at in Australia
The ebook is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, India Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, and Mexico Kindle.

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We choose for the June Movie Night three very different movies in different genres. How did the viewing work out?

First up, “Pinocchio

This is a classical telling of the Italian fairytale, based on the 1883 book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi, with live actors playing humans, magical beings, and animal characters (the latter get very Chromian!) The film is so skillfully dubbed in English, you won’t notice the actors are speaking Italian. The film was a big hit in Italy over Christmas, 2020.

Impoverished and lonely old woodcarver Geppetto is given a magical piece of wood and carves a boy-puppet, Pinocchio, who magically comes to life with dreams of becoming a real boy. Innocent and inexperienced at first, Pinocchio embarks on one misadventure after another as he is tricked, kidnapped, and chased by bandits. The beautiful Fairy often intercedes and comes to his aid.

The magic is subtle but mind-boggling to this sympathetic viewer. The film takes its time with the plot, but I didn’t mind. Pinocchio’s adventures were engrossing.

The film is rated PG-13 for several disturbing scenes. And the scenes were disturbing. But there’s a Happily Ever After ending that was very satisfying.

Recommended especially for fans of fantasy and fairytales.

Next up, “News of the World

Rated PG-13 for disturbing images.

Five years after the Civil War, when the Union military is still stationed around Texas, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a former Confederate officer (Tom Hanks, who is terrific), ekes out a living traveling from town to town with a bundle of newspapers from the East Coast. He assembles an audience for a dime per person, leans over a desk with a newspaper with magnifying glass, and reads “the news of the world.” He entertains the townspeople, sometimes riles them up, and makes moral points that sometimes get him in trouble. It’s a fascinating idea. I’m not surprised that the film was adapted from a novel, News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

He crosses path with a ten-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) with straw-blond hair and blue eyes. The Union soldiers liberated her from the Kiowa tribe where she has lived for years after her German settler family were all killed by the Kiowa (“She’s been orphaned twice,” Kidd says.). She speaks only Kiowa, eats a bowl of stew with her hands, and hates the Western dress in which a woman assisting in the rescue dresses her. She is “wild.”

The girl is identified but the Union Army can’t help place her with her remaining German family, so the Captain reluctantly agrees to deliver her to them. The two face many dangers, including a settlement that remains defiantly Confederate and three thugs who want to buy the girl and, when Kidd refuses, want to kill him and kidnap her. She shows ingenuity in helping him defeat the three thugs.

Like the first film, this film takes its time to let the plot unfold, sometimes getting slow at times. But I generally didn’t mind.

There’s a Happily Ever After ending that was very satisfying.

Recommended especially for fans of offbeat Westerns and Tom Hanks.

Finally, “The Little Things

This film is rated R and is a film with cop-detectives after a psychotic serial killer like “The Silence of the Lambs”.

An African-American Kern County deputy sheriff, with tragedy in his past (an excellent Denzel Washington), is called to help solve multiple murders in L.A. that have the stylistic touches of a serial killer and an unsolved case of his. The deputy sheriff is almost visionary in his methods, sitting in the morgue “talking” to the victims’ corpses—“You knew him, didn’t you? How did you know him?” And finding an apartment across the street where the killer could look at his victim propped on a door—the killer came back twice to reposition her.

At first, the white L.A. cop-detective (Rami Malek) has a prickly relationship with the deputy sheriff, but he invites him over to his beautiful home for dinner with his wife and teenage daughters (who scarily resemble the killer’s favorite type of victims) and they fairly quickly learn to work together. I found it a touching depiction of people of different races collaborating.

The L.A. cops are puzzled about what the multiple victims have in common and the sheriff deputy examines the quotidian details of their lives prior to their murders. And he finds it—a prosaic detail in common. He tells the L.A. detective, “It’s the little things.”

Sure enough, he focuses on that detail and zeros on the creepily psychotic killer (Jared Leto in a convincingly evil portrayal) and the chase is on.

No plot spoilers, but Justice is done. Very satisfying ending.

Recommended especially for fans of hard-hitting detective mysteries.

So there you have it, my friends. Three different movies, in different genres, very well done. Very satisfying. I haven’t a Movie Night like that in a while!

Enjoy your Movie Night!

ODDITIES: 22 Stories is on Kindle worldwide, including in the US, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US
, in UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
On Kindle at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1981104380
And the Summer Solstice is the first day of Summer of Love!
Find the Print book of SUMMER OF LOVE in the U.S., U.K.,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and New in Print in Australia The ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands
Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute pet pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

I generally dislike horror (sorry, horror editors and writers).

I’ve written a handful of horror stories myself—“Felicitas” published first in Desire Burn: Women Writing from the Dark Side of Passion (Carrol & Graf), republished in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (Bast Books); “Guardian,” published first in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (Bast Books); “Riddle” published first in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories; “Aurelia” published first in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories; and “Mysteries of Ohio” republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories.

So just a handful.

And not gruesome horror stories. I’ve read some horror stories—and seen some movies—that, after it was all over, I wish I hadn’t put that vision in my consciousness.

Some horror movies I’ve liked: “Alien” you could call a horror story mixed with science fiction—the horrific image of the Alien is still borrowed today. “The Others” was a good, subtle horror movie with Nicole Kidman. I disliked “Under the Skin” but liked “Ex Machina,” which is another horror film melded with science fiction.

So a neighbor moved out of our expensive California neighborhood to Colorado and left us a big box of DVDs. Most were silly, fluffy rom-coms, a lot of them starring Brittany Murphy. We saw some of them, donated the rest to our lovely local library.

But there were three horror movies. Tom wanted to see them and talked me into it.

Okay. (Did I say I generally dislike horror?)

First, “Dreamcatcher.” I have a Dreamcatcher, a little circular wind chime with spokes and spires. It’s beautiful, a work of art of Native American design.

I wanted to see the movie because it’s directed by Lawrence Kasdan—who’s a respectable director producing several respectable movies—and based on a novel by Stephen King, which I hadn’t read.

Afterward, I was surprised that Kasdan consented to have his name on this inexcusable Dreck.

The horrific Alien in “Dreamcatcher” is modeled after “Alien” but it doesn’t pop out of a character’s chest. You’ll never guess where it pops out of. No plot spoilers here, but bloody toilets figure prominently.

All this is mixed in confusingly with childhood memories of bullying.

The film was so confusing and dreadful, I asked Tom several times to just turn it off. It was that bad. But we stuck it out till the end till the unsurprising climax with two huge monsters battling each other.

Not recommended for anyone.

Next up, “Silent Hill.” This involves a mother searching for her lost daughter in a fog-shrouded town up in the mysterious mountains. There were so many horrific images in this film, I watched peeking through my fingers.

The plot culminates with a fanatical religious cult that does terrible things.

But the plot concludes with a surprise twist.

Surprise twists are surprisingly difficult to pull off.

Tom was so intrigued by this movie that he wanted to discuss it with me (as we often do after seeing a movie). Nope, I never wanted to think of this movie again and all its dark imagery and all its twists and turns.

Recommended only for fans of dark horror films.

Next up, and last, “The Dead Girl.”

This film was written and directed by Karen Moncrieff and financed by a couple of big producers. The film was nominated for several 2007 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Director, but it didn’t earn big BO because of the horrific nature of the tale.

The film has two brief horrific scenes—and that’s it. The rest of the action is just extremely anxiety-producing.

The tale is of a serial killer told by five women, Christopher Nolanesque, backward in time: The Stranger, The Sister, The Wife, The Mother, and The Dead Girl, who is played by Brittany Murphy in a role she could sink her teeth into (after the silly, fluffy rom-coms). She’s fantastic. (She’s also now dead from a drug overdose some years ago.)

The big surprise is Kerry Washington, who plays the Dead Girl’s roommate. She just POPS off the screen. Tom and I looked at each other and said, “Wow.” I’m not surprised she’s since made a great career for herself.

Some characters do inexplicable actions. I was haunted by the film, and the characters’ actions, for days.

I suppose that makes a good horror film. Haunting.

Recommended for horror fans. This is the best of the three movies.

So there you have it, my friends. Enjoy your Movie Night!

ODDITIES: 22 Stories is on Kindle worldwide, including in the US, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US
, in UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia Australia
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
On Kindle at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1981104380

Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute pet pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

A Locus Notable Book!
Here You Enter
Yesterday, Tomorrow & Fantasy
When I was mulling over stories to publish in my second collection, I noticed the stories fell into historical, futuristic, and fantasy categories.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories includes those previously published in Omni Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Full Spectrum 5, The Shimmering Door, Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible, Not One of Us Fiction and Poetry Journal, and Daily Science Fiction, plus six new stories.
“I find myself constantly surprised by the breadth of styles, places, and characters in this collection. ….sometimes you want to be surprised; and that’s what Ms. Mason delivers in this collection…. Like Ray Bradbury’s short stories, these never fail to surprise you with little sparkles and occasional rockets going off and spreading happy fireworks in your brain!”–Amazing Stories Online Review
Part !: https://amazingstories.com/2020/09/new-book-review-lisa-masons-oddities-part-1/
Part II: https://amazingstories.com/2020/10/lisa-masons-oddities-review-part-ii/
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is on Kindle worldwide including in the US
, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US
, in the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia
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Visit me at www.lisamason.com updated for 2021 for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, beautiful covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

Some years ago, I took a screenwriters’ workshop with Robert McKee, the author of STORY, an award-winning screenwriter himself, and famous for his workshops. The workshops started out in Los Angeles and were attended by not only screenwriters but actors, such as Julia Roberts.

At our workshop in San Francisco, “The English Patient” and “Memento” had been recently released and McKee spent an entire session in trashing those popular films. (In other sessions, we also analyzed “Chinatown” and, in particular, “Casablanca”, both of which McKee loves.)

He pointed out the logical flaws in “The English Patient” and when we went to “Memento”—McKee said incredulously, “You like that movie?”

I love all four movies and so did many of the participants in the workshop.

McKee thumped his chest with his fist and said, “I felt nothing.”

Fast forward to 2021. We, my husband Tom and I, decided to have a Christopher Nolan Movie Night, upon the release of “Tenet”, a time travel film, or living-backwards-in-time film.

I’m an expert at time travel and living-backwards in time. I extensively researched Summer of Love and The Gilded Age (both republished in ebook and print formats by Bast Books) and, a story, “Illyria, My Love” (republished in my second story collection, ODDITIES: 22 Stories, also by Bast Books).

So I was really looking forward to “Tenet”. The word “tenet” is the first word in Summer of Love, which leads with “Tenets of the Grandmother Principle”.

Nolan’s style, right from the start, is to set up a complex plot—sometimes overly complex—and cast the film with an ensemble of characters who move through the subplots. Nolan intercuts the subplots faster and faster leading toward the climax.

This intercutting style makes some subplots increasing incomprehensible but, more than that, makes the characters cardboard and unsympathetic.

Tenet” starts with a super-charged, anxiety-producing, super-violent opening and slows from there. The film introduces the idea of “inverted entropy” and proposes people in the future want to destroy the past.

THIS IS NONSENSE. If future people destroyed the past, they wouldn’t exist in the first place to do the deed. That is elementary time-travel science. So right away, I totally disagree with Nolan’s premise.

The film scrolls with subplot after subplot (you can check the details of the plot on Wikipedia—I’m not going to reprise it here) with increasingly unsympathetic characters.

Curiously, for such a long film, the plot and subplots run out of steam in the last half an hour. A few less bombs exploding backwards in time and bit more plot would have been in order.

I was disappointed in “Tenet”. The international Box Office didn’t do well, not earning out the $200 million budget, even considering the Plague.

Only recommended for hardcore C. Nolan fans and hardcore science fiction fans.

Next up, “Inception.” We saw the film when it was first released and I remember liking it very much. The premise is interesting—“extractors” perform corporate espionage using technology to infiltrate their targets’ subconscious and extract information through a shared dream world.

This resembles my concept of “telelinking” into a “telespace” in my first novel “Arachne”, the second novel “Cyberweb”, and the upcoming third and final novel, “Spyder.” Like in Nolan’s film—before the film—you need technical equipment to achieve the mind-meld.

So the premise “Inception” is relatable and the concept of dreaming is common to everyone. There are two sympathetic subplots—the extractor’s wife’s suicide due to the illusion of shared dreaming and the son’s bedside watch over his dying industrialist father. Also, the extractor’s alienation from his children, which gets resolved.

Then Nolan sends an increasingly unsympathetic ensemble cast off into subplot after subplot, intercutting the subplots faster and faster until the film becomes wearisome. (Again, you can check the full film synopsis on Wikipedia.)

I liked “Inception” less than the first time.

Recommended for C. Nolan fans and fans of interesting ideas.

Finally, “Memento”. We saw the film also when it first released. Chris Nolan’s brother wrote the screenplay, C. Nolan directed it, the film was made for a cool $5 million. No special effects, just story.

As usual, there is a complicated plot—two subplots, actually, one going forward in time, the second backward in time. There is crime and mystery going back and forth. (Once again, you can read the synopsis of the film on Wikipedia.)

I’d disagree with Robert McKee on this one—there is a very relatable premise—due to an accident, a man can’t remember more than the ten previous minutes of his life. This plays into everyone’s fear of dementia.

That the camera stays for the two intersecting subplots on the main character, played by a Guy Pearce in a personable, nuanced, humorous performance, makes this film very enjoyable—if a little confusing at times.

Of all three C. Nolan films reviewed above, this is the best.

Recommended for anyone who likes a complex cerebral film.

So there you have it, my friends. Enjoy your movie night!

Join my other patrons on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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My second collection, ODDITIES: 22 Stories, is on Kindle worldwide including in the US, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US, in the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New! in
Australia

CHROME is in U.S. print as a beautiful trade paperback. Also in U.K. print, in German print, in French print, in Spanish print, in Italian print, in Japanese print and NEW! in Australia.. The ebook is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, India Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, and Mexico Kindle.
Find the Print book of SUMMER OF LOVE in the U.S., U.K.,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and New in Print in Australia The ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Our last Movie Night, in May, was a Girls’ Power Night. We loved the first Wonder Woman movie and were eager to see “Wonder Woman 1984”. About “Birds of Prey” and “Charlie’s Angels”, I’d heard mostly good things on Facebook so we were eager to see those, too. A good movie night was had by all, with some disappointment along the way.

The first Wonder Woman was helmed by writer-director Patty Jenkins and WW84 was, too. The first WW was fresh and action-packed with the gorgeous Gal Gadot.

This time Patty Jenkins is listed first as the screenwriter, on the next line Geoff Johns, and on the next line Dave Callaham, joined by “&”. When you have a screen collaboration by two (or more) writers, you will see the names on one line joined by an “and”. The separate lines for the names and the “&” means the subsequent writers added enough, or changed the first script enough, to warrant screen credit.

In other words, there were three iterations of the screenplay. Jenkins should have hired a fourth writer, a strict script doctor, for a fourth iteration to kill some of her darlings.

Because after the dynamic opening—a past-history sequence showing Diana in a competition as a child, and a present sequence, showing glimpses of Wonder Woman taking care of a present-day crisis—the film slows to a crawl (like “Tenet” in my previous film review).

As usual, you can read the whole plot on Wikipedia—I won’t reprise it here—but the problem is too many subplots. Unconvincing subplots. The main premise focuses on the Dreamstone, an ancient artifact with the power to grant one person one wish. Many critics have pointed out this is a cliché, but I was willing to consider the premise. (A missed opportunity: when Maxwell steals the Dreamstone, there is a large ring that once held the stone with writing inside. WW should have slipped on the ring as a bracelet and gotten more powers. That didn’t happen.)

Sadly, the twists and turns of the premise turn out to be not so twisty. Diana (WW) wishes for a deceased lover. The romance premise keeps her in civilian clothes and passive for most of the movie. And presents one controversial problem—her dead lover reincarnates into a presently living man. Some critics point out that the scene of Diana having sex with her dead lover is rape of the living man. That doesn’t bother me so much (sorry, guys) as the trope of body-switching. I wish it had been done better.

The subplot of the “cheetah woman” left me queasy.

Tom said he didn’t like seeing Diana cry or Wonder Woman beaten up.

The scenes of the failed entrepreneur, Maxwell, wanting his young son’s love were unconvincing. The son doesn’t resemble Maxwell—with the mother lacking, a serious casting mistake.

We (correctly) guessed the ending about half an hour to forty-five minutes before the film finished. I shouted at the screen, “Get on with it! Don’t drag it out!” The director didn’t get on with it, she dragged it out. Sigh.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, WW84 “underperformed” in the international BO, even considering the pandemic. THR also reports that a third WW movie is underway. Let’s hope Patty Jenkins hires that script doctor this time.

Recommended only for fans of Wonder Woman. The nice homage to a Wonder Woman Past midway through the credits was a nice touch.

Next up, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) with Margot Robbie as the title character showing off a zany side of her acting that didn’t manifest in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”.

The film is based on a cartoon and, probably appropriately, is cartoonish, gangsterish, and super-violent. As usual, you can look up the full plot on Wikipedia. Midway through the plot, though, the story gets serious and involves some bonding friendship, much to the film’s credit. The story pretty much stays focused on the main plot.

The “Birds of Prey” vigilante group of kick-ass women is formed at the very end, opening the way to a sequel.

Some critics loved it, some hated it. The film underperformed at the international BO, not earning back its budget.

Recommended only for fans of super-violent cartoon movies. We sort of liked it.

Last up, “Charlie’s Angels” (2019). This is another vigilante women’s group pioneered on television in the late Sixties and Seventies.

In this iteration, the three leads are very appealing and the main thriller plot stays on focus. The film has described as an “action-comedy”.

As usual, you can read the entire plot on Wikipedia. I won’t reprise it here.

There is plenty of female braininess, female physical power, and female bonding.

There is even a huge surprise twist at the end, which WW84 and Birds of Prey lacked.

Of the three films, this was the best.

Recommended for fans of female-centered, action films.

So there you have it, my friends. An enjoyable Movie Night was had by all.

Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
Join my other patrons on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
Leave a tip to the tip jar at PayPal to http://paypal.me/lisamasonthewriter.
My second collection, ODDITIES: 22 Stories, is on Kindle worldwide including in the US, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US, in the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New in
AustraliaCHROME is in U.S. print as a beautiful trade paperback. Also in U.K. print, in German print, in French print, in Spanish print, in Italian print, in Japanese print and NEW! in Australia.. The ebook is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, India Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, and Mexico Kindle.
Find the Print book of SUMMER OF LOVE in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and New In Print in . New in Print inAustralia The ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

From Goodreads came the first review of One Day in the Life of Alexa:
“One Day in the Life of Alexa
, by Lisa Mason (Bast Books) incorporates lively prose, past/present time jumps, and the consequences of longevity technology. Kosovo refugee Alexa enrolls in a secret pilot program designed to extend her life span. Her best friend, Marya, is not accepted, but Marya’s infant aka “Little Monster” is. As the decades roll by, Alexa adapts to a life of constant measurement and surveillance. [Plot spoilers omitted] In reflection, the book is as much about the enduring trauma of war as it is about longevity technology, and in this it feels more like mainstream than science fiction. Mason’s skill as a writersustainsa quick, absorbing read with an appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms (like the repeated refrain, “No matter how long I live, I will always remember this”)”
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35200314-one-day-in-the-life-of-alexa#other_reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsLisa Mason doesn’t disappoint us on that issue and gives us a look …
By R Bruce Miller on October 1, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
“Scifi is nominally about the future and the impact of technology on society. Lisa Mason doesn’t disappoint us on that issue and gives us a look at a desirable biotechnology with some serious long-term and unforeseen consequences. However, like all the truly great scifi writers, what she really writes about is you and me and today and what is really important in life. Alexa lives an improbable life and yet, somehow, is a very real everywoman. Solzhenitsyn would have appreciated the homage. Cats! Grow your own organic food! Yes, there is much fun to be had on this journey, but the message nonetheless is solid and important. I enjoyed every word even though this book spoiled my day because I had no choice but to read it in one sitting while drinking too much coffee.”
And here’s another five-star review:
“[Alexa] finds her internal resource that allows her to survive many more days in a much more uplifting manner than poor Ivan Denisovich. Discovering where her strengths [lie] is not depressing but uplifting for this reader.”
“I truly loved Alexa. The homage to Solzhenitsyn was wonderfully well done. Your concept and characters were on the mark and very timely. Bravo!”
Book Description:
Brand New Review (as of March 14, 2021):
One Day in the Life of Alexa
(2017) 218 pages by Lisa Mason
GenGineer Laboratories created Longeva. A drug that promises to stave off the effects of aging. Alexa was in the first trial group to get it and eighty years later she is still sending in her daily test results. Told in a series of flashbacks we learn how Alexa went from refugee to tester and how she survived war, Marya, side effects, terrorism, natural disaster, accidents and life in general.
Short novel, it went fast. Well paced. So many dismal things happen that it could have just been depressing, but it never reached that point. Is it about greedy drug companies? No. Is it about denying empty calories in order to stay healthy? No. It’s many interesting scenes that kept the pages turning and explain how she went from refugee to where we find her in chapter one. 4.5 stars.
https://sfbookreview.blogspot.com/2021/03/one-day-in-life-of-alexa-by-lisa-mason.html
One Day in the Life of Alexa is an ebook on US Kindle (and at Kindle worldwide) at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711PP65J
One Day in the Life of Alexa is a beautiful trade paperback on Amazon US (and in seven other countries) at https://www.amazon.com/One-Life-Alexa-Lisa-Mason/dp/1546783091
Alexa Denisovitch
, a refugee from Kosovo during the 1999 war, is just seventeen when she is accepted by GenGineer Laboratories as a Tester for Longeva, a revolutionary additive that may significantly extend her longevity.
But becoming a Tester has unintended consequences and Longeva causes devastating unforeseen side effects.
Confronting environmental, political, and personal perils of the future, Alexa must grapple with the tough questions of life, love, and death.
So there you have it, my friends. The novel is short, but I took a long time researching and writing it.
First Inspiration? A neighbor had a baby. Every time I saw both of them, the mom was pushing the baby was in a stroller. It seemed like I saw them for a long time, exactly like that. Then the mom and her baby moved away, and, in my imagination, the baby never grew up. From there, the story took off.
One Day in the Life of Alexa is in Print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
Now an ebook on BarnesandNoble, Kobo, Apple, and Smashwords!
One Day in the Life of Alexa is also offered as a Kindle ebook at US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, France Kindle, Germany Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Spain Kindle, Brazil Kindle, Mexico Kindle, India Kindle, and Japan Kindle.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, beautiful covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

Here You Enter
Yesterday, Tomorrow & Fantasy
When I was mulling over stories to publish in my second collection, I noticed the stories fell into historical, futuristic, and fantasy categories.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories includes those previously published in Omni Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Full Spectrum 5, The Shimmering Door, Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn, David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible, Not One of Us Fiction and Poetry Journal, and Daily Science Fiction, plus six new stories.
“I find myself constantly surprised by the breadth of styles, places, and characters in this collection. ….sometimes you want to be surprised; and that’s what Ms. Mason delivers in this collection…. Like Ray Bradbury’s short stories, these never fail to surprise you with little sparkles and occasional rockets going off and spreading happy fireworks in your brain!”–Amazing Stories Online Review
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is on Kindle worldwide including in the US, in theUK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in theNetherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan.
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US
, in theUK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan.
Donate at paypal at http://paypal.me/lisamasonthewriter
Join my other patrons on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com updated for 2021 for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, beautiful covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

 

 

Updated for 2021! Now a print book in seven countries and an ebook on Kindle worldwide!New Publishers Weekly Featured Review: “Mason entertains and elicits fascinating questions about human nature in this fast-paced, action-packed science fiction adventure.….The colorful cast raises the question of which ancestry is more savage: that of animals or humans? (CHROME reads) like a cinematic sibling of The Island of Doctor Moreau. Readers ….will be hooked.”
“An excellent semi-noir full-on SF work by a terrific author, Lisa Mason. . . .a science-fiction homage, in part, to the noir books and movies of the forties and fifties, only brought forth into a future time a quarter-millennium from now. . .  a fully-realized society.” Amazing Stories Online https://www.amazingstories.com/2019/12/my-last-column-lisa-masons-chrome-and-fsf-nov-dec-2019/

A Reader Review of Chrome:
“So Walter Mosley reread Animal Farm and The Island of Dr Moreau and says to himself, “Oh, yes indeed, I’ve got a terrific idea for my next best seller.” But! Lisa says, “Hold on, hot stuff. You’re too late. Chrome is already on the streets. Haha!”
Wow! I just tore through Chrome. So much fun. Oh, I guess I should take a time-out to say that it was very well-written too, but I was enjoying the characters and the story so much that the superb writing simply did its job and I had to consciously reflect to notice the excellent and clever construction and reveals. Uh, isn’t that the definition of good writing?
I’m not usually a fan of sequels, but could we please have at least one more romp with Ms Lightfoot and her sidekick Terralina?

Yes, I’m working next on the second CHROME book and a third book to round out a trilogy, plus a prequel novella. LIBERATION DAY, which will explore the mysteries of the events leading up to freeing of the Blends from their cages.
The CHROME cover, by San Francisco artist Tom Robinson, is comprised of a dozen different elements which Tom carefully researched. We think the imagery looks kind of mid-century. I love the color scheme.
CHROME is in U.S. print as a beautiful trade paperback. Also in U.K. print, in German print, in French print, in Spanish print, in Italian print, and in Japanese print.
The ebook is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, India Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, and Mexico Kindle.

Join my other patrons on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
Leave a tip to the tip jar at PayPal to http://paypal.me/lisamasonthewriter.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!