Archives for posts with tag: Lisa Mason Fantasy and Science Fiction Author on Facebook

This is an article I saw on my one of screenplay websites. The article was a promotion for a movie. I didn’t like the first film, will probably not see the second.
But this—unlike the “’legendary’ how-to-write-rackets” which will charge you thousands of dollars—is free from me to you. I deleted the references to the upcoming movie. You writers probably know this already, but the principles bear repeating. As applied to screenplays, so do the principles apply to stories and novels.
Let’s begin:
12 Powerful Principles of Story Structure
In addition to the overall structure of your screenplay – the three acts, the five key turning points, and the six stages, plot structure also involves employing as many structural principles, tools, and devices as you can throughout your script (or novel or story).
1. Every scene, event, and character must contribute to the protagonist’s outer motivations.
Pick any scene and either move the protagonist closer to his/her goal of protecting the people or society, move the protagonist closer to his/her desire to win the love of another important character, or create obstacles to those goals.
2. Make each hurdle and obstacle your protagonist faces greater than the previous ones.
The conflict in your story must build, becoming greater and greater as you drive the reader toward the climax.
3. Accelerate the pace of the story.
If your story has a futuristic, faraway setting (or any complex setting), your first Act should contain the narration of that before the pace needs to be accelerated and the conflict shifted into high gear. Act 2 should contain more action and Act 3 should shift into high gear.
Amplify the emotion by creating some conflict (and the anticipation of conflict) in each scene.
4. Create peaks and valleys to the emotion.
Intersperse big action sequences with quieter scenes with your protagonist interacting with other characters or learning something new.
These moments allow the viewers/readers to catch their breath and to begin anticipating the next big conflict. They also prevent the movie (or novel or story) from becoming one monotonous action sequence.
5. Create anticipation.
Viewers and readers want to try to guess what’s going to happen next — they just don’t want to be right all the time. And while surprises and confrontations are often brief, anticipation can be prolonged almost indefinitely.
6. Give the audience superior position.
This means providing the viewer and the reader with information that some of the characters don’t have yet.
Instances of superior position create anticipation of the conflict that will result when the information we have is revealed to the characters.
7. Surprise the viewer or reader.
Viewers or readers don’t want to anticipate everything that happens in your story. Sometimes you have to jump out and go “boo!” to keep them alert and involved.
This principle is even more important in a comedy, thriller or horror film, novel, or story where reversals create humor, shock, or fear.
8. Create curiosity.
Don’t explain everything in your script, novel, or story as soon as it happens. Viewers and readers love puzzles and relish figuring out who committed the murder, how the protagonist plans to overcome the conflict, or what a character’s true motives are.
9. Foreshadow your characters’ actions and abilities.
Foreshadowing is a term for adding credibility to your story by revealing information before it seems important, which prevents your story from seeming contrived or illogical.
Introduce facts before they become critical to the story. They all add credibility to the characters’ later actions.
10. Echo situations, objects, or dialogue to illustrate character growth and change.
Repetition allows the viewer or reader to compare where the protagonist is at any given moment in your story to where he/she was the last time we encountered that particular item or phrase.
11. Pose a Threat to One of the Characters.
Remember that this principle applies to all films, novels, or stories, not just adventures and thrillers. Always force your characters to put everything on the line in the face of losing whatever is important to them, whether it’s money, a job, a loved one, dignity, acceptance, or their own destiny.
12. Compress time.
The shorter the time span of your story, the easier it is to keep the audience involved. Or give a time span to do a decisive action, you have a ticking time clock after which disaster will hit. The end of “Alien” does this very well—you hear the ship announcing “You have ten minutes to evacuate.”
There you have it, my friends.
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 on November 17, 2020 in the US
, in the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. Now in Print in Australia
Summer of Love
(a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) is in print as a beautiful quality trade paperback in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1548106119
The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan, and in Australia
The Garden of Abracadabra
(“Fun and enjoyable Urban Fantasy”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1978148291.
ARACHNE
(“Highly recommended and very memorable.”) 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/198435602X
One Day in the Life of Alexa
(“[An] absorbing read with an appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms.”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia at https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/1546783091
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories
(“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books) 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 print books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute cat pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

In the March 7, 2022 issue of The New Yorker appears a fascinating article, “The Elephant in the Courtroom” by Lawrence Wright, “A curious legal crusade to redefine personhood”. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/03/07/the-elephant-in-the-courtroom
The title is a play on the title of a highly recommended documentary, “The Elephant in the Living Room”, about human beings who keep wild animals at their homes and wild animals who live near human homes.
The article concerns Happy, an Asian elephant who was housed in the Bronx Zoo, kidnapped when she was a baby from her dead mother. The lawsuit asked to move Happy from the zoo to an elephant sanctuary. Happy was one of seven baby Asian elephants kidnapped from their dead mothers; the poacher named them for Snow White’s seven dwarves. All were moved to zoos and circuses throughout the world; all to a bad end except for Happy.
Nonhuman animals have been considered “things”, without legal rights, much as African slaves in America until the Civil War and married women up until the early twentieth century were considered “property” or “things” of white men. The article at length discusses the thinghood versus personhood throughout history.
These days, governments all over the world have recognized the legal rights of nonhuman animals—India, Costa Rica, Hungary, and Finland have recognized the legal rights of dolphins and orcas. In Argentina, a judge ordered an orangutan named Sandra be moved from solitary confinement in zoo to a sanctuary.
The list goes on. Some humans are waking up to the sentience of nonhuman animals, but not all humans. Legal scholars have plenty of arguments against recognizing legal rights of nonhuman animals, which are set in the article.
In the most egregious case, in 1906, a human being was put in on display in the Bronx Zoo in the primates’ hall alongside with an orangutan. He was Ota Benga, of the Pygmy tribe, captured in the Congo. A number of ministers protested the exhibition and sought his freedom, but not before Benga committed suicide.
The article goes on at length to discuss animals used to perform dangerous tricks in circuses and  marine parks, animals used in “medical research”, and animals born and raised for human food.
Highly recommended for readers who care about sentient nonhuman animals, the history of persons who were considered “things”, and the fascinating account of legal arguments for and against legal rights for nonhuman animals.
In the same issue of The New Yorker appears a review of a new biography of Charles Dickens, “The Inimitable” by Louis Menand. Dickens liked to read his works aloud dramatically to an audience, he dressed well, lit up a room whenever he arrived, had ten children with his wife, and then fell in lust—I mean, love—with seventeen-year-old woman when he was forty-five and supported her. He died of kidney failure when he was fifty-eight. He sure knew how to write for the public, hundreds of thousands of his books sold in the week in which the books were offered. He was the most successful author (maybe) of all time. Highly recommended for Dickens’ fans and readers who care about the life of a creative person.
So there you have it, my friends.
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 on November 17, 2020 in the US
, in the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. Now in Print 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, 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.
Summer of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) is in print as a beautiful quality trade paperback in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan, and in Australia
The Garden of Abracadabra
(“Fun and enjoyable Urban Fantasy”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
ARACHNE
(“Highly recommended and very memorable.”) is in print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
One Day in the Life of Alexa
(“[An] absorbing read with an appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms.”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books) is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my print books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute cat pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

In the January 17, 2022 issue of The New Yorker appears another fascinating article, Stanislaw Lem’s grim past and epic futurism, “Close Encounters” by Caleb Crain. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/17/a-holocaust-survivors-hardboiled-science-fiction
Lem published a number of highly-regarded science fiction novels in the 1960s, including the enigmatic “Solaris”, a brilliant novel about astronauts circling above a planet and the planet profoundly affects their minds. I read the novel some while ago (it was published in 1961), and Tom and I saw the early Russian movie of it—the film was way too long, confusing, and tedious—and the Steven Soderberg movie later—this film got straight to the point and was very moving and convincing.
I’m also re-reading “Eden” and both I, and my law school roommate some years ago, read “Memoirs Found in a Bathtub.”
Lem was born in 1922. He was a Polish Jew and born in a famous Jewish ghetto, now a part of Ukraine. He witnessed the Nazis executing many Jews and witnessed many pogroms, often fearing his life as a teenager. He saw most of his family killed by the Nazis. Is it any wonder why he wrote tensely about aliens whom you never are quite sure are aliens? Not the usual rocket ship captain material. Lem’s science fiction is original.
I’ll leave you to look up the article (I don’t want to reprise his life here.)
Highly recommended for readers interested in a creative person’s life, literature and classic science fiction.
So you there have it, my friends.
Summer of Love is BACK IN PRINT in the U.S., U.K.,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan, and now in Australia.
The Summer of Love ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
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 at Australia
The Gilded Age
is BACK IN PRINT! Order the beautiful trade paperback in the U.S., in the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan and in Australia.
The ebook
is at BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords and on Kindle worldwide at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
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
The CHROME 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.
Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my print books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute cat pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

In the January 24, 2022 issue of The New Yorker appears a fascinating article, Bambi before the Disney classic, “Eat Prey Love” by Kathryn Schultz. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/24/bambi-is-even-bleaker-than-you-thought
Disney acquired the film rights and sanitized the novel in 1942 for the classic children’s animated film, “Bambi”, still the highest gross animated film ever Disney produced. Still the Disney film remains one that Stephen King has said “is the first horror movie I ever saw at the age of eight” and still frightens children today.
The novel, “Bambi: A Life in the Woods” was written and published in 1922 by Austro-Hungarian writer Felix Salten. The novel is much more violent and much bloodier than the film.
Salten was a complicated person (he was a hunter of deer, for one thing) and a complicated writer (who wrote children’s books and hard-core pornography and everything in-between). I won’t summarize his life; you have to go check out the article.
Critics have analyzed the novel of “Bambi” to be Man (a term Salten consistently employed and “He” always capitalized) versus Nature. Some critics have analyzed the novel to be the Jews’ persecution in Europe in the early twentieth century culminating in the rise of Nazi Germany.
Salten was an Austro-Hungarian Jew.
Highly recommended for readers interested in literature and classic films.
So you there have it, my friends.
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 on November 17, 2020 in the US
, in theUK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. Now in Print in Australia
Summer of Love
(a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) is in print as a beautiful quality trade paperback in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan, and in Australia
The Garden of Abracadabra
(“Fun and enjoyable Urban Fantasy”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
ARACHNE
(“Highly recommended and very memorable.”) is in print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
One Day in the Life of Alexa
(“[An] absorbing read with an appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms.”) is in print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books) is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan.
Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my print books, ebooks, stories, interviews, round tables, cute cat pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

In a 2021 issue of The New Yorker is a review of documentary about an Author. I haven’t seen the documentary so I can’t comment about the review or the documentary. The article, however, quotes a passage from the Author’s writing: (and I quote):
“Liz liked Jim very much. She liked it the way he walked from the shop and often went the kitchen door to watch for him to start down the road. She liked it about his mustache. She liked it about how white his teeth when he smiled. One day she liked it the way the hair on his arms was black and how white they were above the tanned line when he washed up in the washbasin outside the house. Liking that made her feel funny.”
“It it it it it?”
Wouldn’t the sentences be more streamlined (and more grammatically correct) without the repetition of “it”? “She liked the way he walked,” for example? “She liked his mustache.” “She liked how white his teeth were when he smiled.” “She liked the way the hair,” and so on.
And what is “funny?” Amused, irritated, aroused, amorous? Perhaps the Author meant that Liz wasn’t sure how she felt. Why not say that? “Funny” is too vague and generalized for this reader.
If I were a fiction editor considering this prose, I would say, “Reject. Next.”
If you can guess the Author, please enter your speculation in the Comments.
No peeking.
No peeking.
No peeking.
No peeking.
No peeking.
No peeking.
Yes, he is the Great Ernest Hemingway. Apparently he was more of a Big Personality than a Great Writer. I read most of his novels and stories in high school. I thought he was misogynist and sexist (not the same thing) and cold.
Hemingway fans, please don’t attack me for criticizing Hemingway. That’s my opinion.
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!

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I heard yesterday—via Facebook—that author and longtime Locus staffer and reviewer Faren Miller, at the age of 71, died February 15, 2022 after being hospitalized with serious respiratory problems.
Born September 3, 1950 in San Jose CA, Miller began working at Locus in 1981, where she was the first full-time employee. She remained on the staff until 2000, when she moved to Prescott AZ with partner Kerry Hanscom, whom she later married. She continued as a regular Locus review columnist until stepping down in 2018. She was the author of one novel, The Illusionists (1991), and was working on another novel prior to her death.
She gave a thoughtful, great Locus review for my book Summer of Love, reproduced at http://lisamason.com/sollocusshinerreviews.html.
She was always very supportive of me as a writer. She called us women SF writers who emerged in the 1990s “the New Golden Age of Science Fiction.” Tom and I visited her at her house in Oakland. We considered her a friend.
I’m very sad to hear this news. Age 71 is far too young to die.
And I saw last week—also via Facebook—that Tom Dupree died on Monday, February 7, at the age of 72.
Tom Dupree was my editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell on my books, Summer of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist) and The Golden Nineties (retitled, The Gilded Age, a New York Times Notable Book) and he acquired my short story, “The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria” for Full Spectrum 5, an anthology published by Bantam. (That story is now republished in ODDITIES: 22 Stories, my second collection.)
Tom was a kind, humorous, and caring editor. When he came to San Francisco, my husband Tom and I took him on a tour of the town, taking him to Coit Tower to see the view, by the Caffe Trieste, and had dinner at the famous restaurant Enrico’s on Broadway.
And when I was in NYC, I visited him at his Bantam editorial office, he taught me the Southern gentleman’s way of escorting a lady through a revolving door (he went first; that way the lady (me) didn’t have to touch the glass and push the door), and took me to lunch at a fabulous Art Deco restaurant. He was ever the Southern gentleman.
I’m also very sad to hear this news. I will miss him. Age 72 is also too young die.
I’m grieving this February, 2022.
Summer of Love is BACK IN PRINT in the U.S., U.K.,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan, and now in Australia.
The Summer of Love ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
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 at Australia
The Gilded Age
is BACK IN PRINT! Order the beautiful trade paperback in the U.S., in the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan and in Australia.
The ebook
is at BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords and on Kindle worldwide at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
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
The CHROME 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.
Visit me at http://www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, new reviews, interviews, round tables, cute cat pictures, the bespoke artwork and studio jewelry of Tom Robinson, forthcoming works, and more!

Tom borrowed more The New Yorker magazines for free from our lovely local library. Here are the articles I recommend: I’ll leave it up to you find the online links.
December 6, 2021 Issue
“Electricity and the Body” by Jerome Groopman
. The article begins with Groopman’s account—he and his wife are doctors—of his frightening tachycardia episode that nearly killed him. The article goes on to discuss the medicinal use of electricity throughout history. The ancients observed that the stone amber could transmit electricity (I call it “the amber” in my Arachne Trilogy) and believed wearing an amber necklace, men and women, would protect the wearer from all kinds of diseases. Then there were “electrical belts” in Victorian times, worn by men to give them “sexual vitality”. There is electroshock therapy, used today (more safely) to alleviate severe suicidal depression. A fascinating article recommended for serious readers.
November 29, 2021 Issue
“Pompeii’s Hidden Layer” by Rebecca Mead.
The author’s recent visit to the archeological site (four million visitors a year go there) is the preface to an account of historical efforts to excavate the ruins, which were discovered by monks drilling a water well in the 1700s. The fabulous, doomed city was buried under eighty feet of ash from the disastrous massive eruption of the volcano, Mt. Vesuvius. Only 30% or so of the ruins have been excavated, which activities were very dangerous—the overlying ash could collapse, destroying the ruins below—and trapped volcanic gases were still deadly. What treasures awaited the excavators, though—the colors on the murals and the floors were still as vibrant as they were two thousand years ago. Highly recommended. (I want to go visit! Over Christmas weekend, we saw the movie, “Pompeii”, which was very enjoyable (but derivative of “Gladiator”.)
“The Garden of Forking Paths” by Nicola Twilley. A maze-maker and his mazes, with color photographs. Recommended.
“The Decoders of the Rosetta Stone” by Jean Acocella. The Rosetta Stone is the key to decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs (which no one understood for centuries) and two other ancient languages, carved by some genius in Greece. Like the ruins of Pompeii, the Stone was discovered by accident, and it took a while from linguists to decode it. Recommended.
April 12, 2021 Issue
There’s an article about the artist, Helen Frankenthaler, in this issue but I don’t want to go into it—I will be too sarcastic and I don’t want to do that about another woman artist.
There’s an article, “The Zeitgeist of Midnight Cowboy” by Louis Menard. Reviewing the book “Shooting ‘Midnight Cowboy” by Glenn Frankel which was also reviewed in The Times Literary Supplement. To Hollywood’s surprise, the film won the Oscar for Best Picture and nominated for more categories. There’s some controversy about the film, which Tom and I possess (thanks to a neighbor) in a Director’s Cut. I recommend seeing the Director’s Cut for the additional fifteen minutes of Joe Buck’s previous life after he embarks on his quest to New York City. I don’t want to get into the controversies. You can look up the articles, on both sides of the Atlantic, for yourself. Suffice it to say, I find it a moving film of friendship in a cold, lonely megacity, and I always cry at the end.
November 6, 2021 Issue
“What a Feeling: How to Have More Energy” by Nick Paumgarten.
The author begins this article by describing he’s having “brownouts” on afternoons working at home during the pandemic. And further goes to say politicians, writers, artists, and entrepreneurs “regardless of talent” have huge success with “high energy.” (Hmm, I know persons who have that.) He goes on to discuss the issue of energy—how you can get more or, if you can’t, how to cope. Check it out.
November 15, 2021 Issue
“Towering Infernos: Life on the front line of megafires” by M. R. O’Conner
. This fascinating look particularly on megafires, how much more dangerous they are—they send massive smoke plumes so high up in the atmosphere that the force of the smoke interferes with jet airplanes. The article focuses on the firefighters—one firefighter, who served nine tours of duty in Iraq, remarked on being in a war zone was not nearly as dangerous on the fireline of a megafire. Many firefighters suffer PTSS, many of them commit suicide. This is may have been publicity for the subsequent federal legislation benefiting the firefighting effort (raising the firefighters’ low wages, for example) but I’m a Californian and I support it.
Finally, “Kandinsky at the Guggenheim” by Peter Schjeldahl about the show at the museum. With a full-color illustration of one of Kandinsky’s paintings. I like some of his paintings, others not (they’re sloppy and not planned well enough).
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 at 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, and in Japanese print. New! Now in Print 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.
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!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Tom and I saw eight movies he borrowed for free from our wonderful local library. Except for “My Fair Lady”, we’d never seen any of them before. So each movie was a new experience.
Westworld (1973) Written and directed by Michael Crichton, this is a fascinating premise. The cutting between the expensive “reality theme parks” with realistic robots and the behind-the-scenes technicians with their computers controlling everything is effective. Yul Brynner is especially frightening as “the gunslinger”. Then things go terribly wrong—no plot spoilers from me! The story is exciting and gripping until the end, when it fizzles out. It’s as if Crichton ran out of ideas.  Recommended, especially for science fiction and thriller fans.
Funny Face (1957) Starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. The story is overlong and never quite coheres of an intellectual beauty who works in a New York City bookstore and how she gets discovered as a fashion model by a magazine photographer. Astaire can dance, but Audrey can REALLY dance. She rejects the young handsome philosopher for the old man fashion photographer. Is this a brand Hepburn was developing? That a much younger woman gets transformed from a plain girl into a glamorous woman and goes off with an older man? She did that in “Sabrina”, this movie, and “My Fair Lady”. Recommended especially for fans of Audrey Hepburn.
Passengers (2017) The actors, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, were at the top of their game and got paid millions for this movie. Which was a huge flop at the box office. That didn’t deter Tom and me from seeing it. The film is overlong and mixes passionate romance and science fiction, two genres that don’t always mix well for viewers. Still, it was an interesting premise—5,000 passengers and 250 crew are put in hibernation pods awaiting their arrival at a distant habitable plane 99 years from now–had moments of suspense and excitement, a falling-out of the protagonists, and ultimately a happy ending. Recommended for viewers who want to be entertained by a mix of genres.
Downton Abbey (2019)  As an egalitarian American, I dislike “Upstairs, Downstairs” dramas, the rich and poor classes in England. Apparently there is a series on television (I don’t watch TV, either), but this was a delightful movie. The King and Queen are going to visit Downton Abbey (which looks like a castle) for a dinner—one night—and  bringing their own staff of cooks, dressers, detectives, and servants. And off we go, the aristocrats are worried about the visit going well and the servants are fighting among themselves. Witty and engaging. Recommended for fans of, well, the Downton Abbey TV series.
Capricorn One (1978) The film has an interesting premise for anyone who entertained the notion that the Moon walk was faked. This time it’s a trip to Mars that gets faked. I’m surprised that NASA allowed its name to be used as a fraudulent, murderous organization. (Maybe the filmmakers got sued, I don’t know.) The Mars astronauts supposedly get killed on re-entry to Earth, and the chase is on. There are plenty of plot holes, Hollywood logic, and not-so-amazing coincidences. It’s not a great movie, but recommended for science fiction fans.
Closer to the Moon (2015 ) This film is based on a true story of 1959 Bucharest under Communist rule. Five high-ranking Jewish members of the Party staged a bank heist and were sentenced to death. But before they face a firing squad, they enact the bank heist for a propaganda film. Darkly humorous, very scary, and unstinting, going backwards and forwards in time. Recommended for serious viewers.
Archive (2020) Recalling “Ex Machina”, a scientist attempts to recreate his wife who was killed in a car accident. Her memories are preserved in “the Archive” but only for so long. The scientist lives alone in a technological house on a cliff facing a steep waterfall, has created two more primitive AI entities who apparently love him. The end has a shocking twist this viewer didn’t see coming. Recommended for science fiction viewers.
My Fair Lady (1964) I’ve already had my say about this dreadful movie on my personal Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/lisa.mason.7393264. Misogynist, cold, classist, mean.
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 at 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, and in Japanese print. New! Now in Print 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.
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 just discovered two new five-star reviews of CYBERWEB while I was collecting the new print links. This book was originally published in hardcover by William Morrow, trade paperback by Eos, and mass paperback by AvoNova. Now a new trade paperback from Bast Books, CYBERWEB is the sequel to ARACHNE and Book 2 of the Arachne Trilogy. SPYDER, Book 3 of the Arachne Trilogy, is coming in 2022.
4.0 out of 5 starsDEEPER THAN DEEP
Format: Paperback
On re-reading CYBERWEB a year later, I don’t think my first review does it justice. The writer has peeled off the difference between conscious robots and flesh and blood man. Almost without fanfare the robots are provided with souls. Her mechanical characters are given both consciousness and emotion. Their only difference to man is in their composition. This becomes very clear when the outmoded Spinner character uploads herself into Patina’s flashy, lifeless bodywork.
I MUST NOW RATE THIS BOOK FIVE STARS.
The writer, thus, dives deeply into the unseen world that controls man’s apparent freewill existence. By using mainframes as purposeful beasts, seeking to control fleshy man, some very deep philosophical questions are posed. She leaves it up to the reader to fill in the blanks to this very entertaining and thoughtful story.
THE OLD REVIEW READ:
Mason leads her cyberpunk reader into the arena of sci-fi comics. It’s not possible for humans to grasp the feelings and desires of these robot characters but it’s still a lot of fun to try. She challenges your imagination to follow her characters’ avatars, cones, cubes and three headed chimeras as they flit in and out of cyberspace. But hard questions are run up the flagpole. Can bodiless people exist in this virtual world of telespace? Can a soul exist in a nonorganic body? Should robots be discarded like machines when a new model arrives? Can our culture continue to absorb the changes computer power is unleashing? Is our reality but an extension of the bits composing telespace? Even the questions of what consciousness might consist of and whether it is really an advantage to being born as flesh and blood. She makes no attempt to answer these questions but even considering them makes this book a very creative endeavor. You could certainly invest your time on a much less entertaining story. Also it is short and sweet.
5.0 out of 5 starsInteresting…pretty cool actually…
Format: Paperback
Cyberweb is a pretty nifty cyberpunk novel…lots of interesting ideas…I liked it…
So there you have it, my friends. One reader at a time…..
Get the beautiful paper tradeback of CYBERWEB in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, in Japan, and in Australia.
Cyberweb
is an ebook on US Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
Cyberweb is also on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Brazil Kindle, France Kindle, Germany Kindle, India Kindle, Italy Kindle, Japan Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, and Spain Kindle.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, beautiful covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

 

 

New Review of The Gilded Age at http://sfbookreview.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-gilded-age-by-lisa-mason.html:
“The world of 2495 is at an unsustainable twelve billion population. Zhu Wong is a Daughter of Compassion, a group working to enforce the birth restriction laws. She is in jail awaiting trial when she is recruited by the Luxon Institute for Superluminal Applications (LISA, I love the acronym) to t-port back to 1895 San Francisco. She accepts the deal. Her mission is to find Wing Sing, take her and the aurelia to the mission run by Donaldina Cameron. In 1967 Wing Sing’s daughter will eventually give the brooch to Chiron at the end of his stay in the Summer of Love project.
Zhu finds Wing Sing, but she doesn’t have the aurelia. They are captured by a Chinese gang. Zhu is bought away from them by Jessie, a madam, Wing Sing stuck with the Tong. Zhu does work for Jessie, but is more valuable as a bookkeeper so avoids becoming a prostitute. Daniel Watkins is the son of a real estate magnate coming to San Francisco to collect on debts. He is low on funds and is referred to lodging at Jessie’s where his life becomes entwined with Zhu’s. Somehow Zhu is attracted to this heavy drinking smoker who has distinct views of women. Despite herself and her mission, Zhu cares about Jessie and Daniel.
I loved the character of Zhu. Somehow I wasn’t repulsed by Daniel and Jessie. They are more a product of their environment doing what they can with their sense of right and wrong. Very enjoyable, I read the last two hundred pages straight through. This is definitely a stand alone novel, though Summer of Love is mentioned several times. I’ll have to read that one as a prequel rather than book one.”
And this is from Library Journal:
“The discovery of a golden brooch that should not exist in the 25th century prompts the Luxon Institute to send a young Chinese woman 600 years back in time. She arrives in San Francisco in 1895 to prevent the future from altering the past. This sequel to Summer of Love (LJ 6/15/94), seen through the eyes of an observer from the future, juxtaposes the tempestuous, sprawling milieu of boomtown San Francisco with its shadowy underside of prostitution and decadence. Mason’s graceful prose and her skill in orchestrating a complex and satisfying plot make this a solid purchase for sf collections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is from a reader:
https://www.amazon.ca/Golden-Nineties-Lisa-Mason/dp/0553373315
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic Read
By,Robin Booneon Published on Amazon.com|Verified Purchase
“Lisa Mason’s Summer of Love and The Golden Nineties both have this quality – you want to reread them as soon as you’ve read them. Her writing conveys an abiding love of San Francisco, and interesting bits of California history are woven into the storylines. The writing is so compelling that you feel as though time travel were a possibility. I hope she writes more of these San Francisco fantasies!”
And this is from Publisher’s Weekly
https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-553-37331-8
“Mason’s sequel to Summer of Love is a delightful expansion of that work and a major step forward for her. The tale centers on Zhu Wong, a Chinese national whose lawyer plea-bargains her release from prison so that Chiron and his companions from the previous novel’s Luxon Institute for Superluminal Applications can transport her 600 years into the past to find a macguffin called the aurelia. Once in San Francisco, 1895, Mason brings the environment and the times to life with her rendering of the city’s activities, especially its corruption. The several historic personages who appear–including Frank Norris, Jack London and Susan B. Anthony–are all given dimensions that reflect the rigor of Mason’s research without leaving the reader overburdened by minutiae. Zhu Wong finds herself embroiled in a world of decadence and prostitution; she sees friends and companions abuse themselves with such things as alcohol, cocaine and corsets. As with Karen Joy Fowler’s Sarah Canary, Mason uses the novel partially to explore the role of women in society. As Zhu grows to understand the hypocrisies of the 1890s, she becomes even less comfortable with the presumptions of her own time. She creates several “closed time loops,” apparent paradoxes that impede her mission–and, perhaps more important, thwart her own desires. Eventually she finds her way out of the time loops and in the process teaches everyone–including herself–a few lessons about life. Her bravura performance with this book should both leave the reader wanting more and solidify her position as one of the most interesting writers in science fiction.
And this just in from an Amazon.com reader
Buy It
By Uke Enthusiast
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
“One of my favorite books. I am delighted it is back in print. A thoroughly entertaining time travel story supported by vivid characterizations and settings.”
Book Description
: The year is 1895 and immigrants the world over are flocking to California on the transcontinental railroad and on transoceanic steamships. The Zoetrope demonstrates the persistence of vision, patent medicines addict children to morphine, and women are rallying for the vote. In San Francisco, saloons are the booming business, followed by brothels, and the Barbary Coast is a dangerous sink of iniquity. Atop Telegraph Hill bloody jousting tournaments are held and in Chinatown the tongs deal in opium, murder-for-hire, and slave girls.
Zhu Wong, a prisoner in twenty-fifth century China, is given a choice–stand trial for murder or go on a risky time-travel project to the San Francisco of 1895 to rescue a slave girl and take her to safety. Charmed by the city’s opulent glamour, Zhu will discover the city’s darkest secrets. A fervent population control activist in a world of twelve billion people, she will become an indentured servant to the city’s most notorious madam. Fiercely disciplined, she will fall desperately in love with the troubled self-destructive heir to a fading fortune.
And when the careful plans of the Gilded Age Project start unraveling, Zhu will discover that her choices not only affect the future but mean the difference between her own life or death.
“A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.” The New York Times Book Review
“Graceful prose. . . .A complex and satisfying plot.” Library Journal
“Rollicking. . . .Dazzling.” Locus Magazine
“Should both leave the reader wanting more and solidify Mason’s position as one of the most interesting writers in science fiction.” Publisher’s Weekly
The cover, by San Francisco artist Tom Robinson, is styled to look like an 1890s billboard.
The Gilded Age is BACK IN PRINT! Order the beautiful trade paperback in the U.S., in the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan, and nowin Australia.
The ebook
is at BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords and on Kindle worldwide at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
So there you have it, my friends
. Bantam Books, a division of Random House, published this as The Golden Nineties. Yes, I changed the title. I think the new title is better. (Wish I’d thought of it in the first place) This is the Author’s Preferred Print Edition.
Whether you’re a longtime reader or new, I hope you enjoy this classic!
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