It’s Con Season!

We’ll be at CONvergence this Fourth of July weekend right here in the Twin Cities! We’re attending as fans, not guests, CONvbut if you listen to the podcast, please wander around the con shouting “Generations Geek” until you find one of us. That wouldn’t be annoying to other attendees AT ALL. Or you could probably find the Kid-Half in the teen room, if you want to save your voice for shouting at other people. We’re looking forward to seeing the friends we’ve made over the last few years we’ve been going to this great con. Plus, there’s free food. We’ll go anywhere for free food.

Then we’ll be at Shore Leave outside of Baltimore the weekend of July 15. Dad-Half is a writer guest, so he’ll be available to sign books all weekend but especially at the big Meet the Pros event on Friday night, where they let all the writers out of their cages and trust them not to fight among themselves while signing. There are a number of cool books making their debut at the con, so be among the first to pick up some great books along with an autograph.

Kid-Half will be at the Supernatural con in Minneapolis the weekend of August 12. And we might both try to get over to the Star Trek 50 Year Mission Tour a few blocks away. Yeah, two big cons on the same weekend . . . thanks for that weird planning, Creation Entertainment.

Just typing that up is kind of overwhelming . . . it’s a busy summer for us geeks. And, oh, yeah, we’ve got to try to get back to recording the podcast . . .

 

Shameless Self-Promotion

IMG_20160404_190706_568Scott Pearson here, the dad-half of the podcast. As I introduce myself at the beginning of every episode, I’m a science fiction writer. I write other things, too, but most of my publishing credits have been in the sci-fi genre. For example, I’ve had three short stories, a novella, and a novel published in the Star Trek universe. I also contributed three short stories to the ReDeus universe, which would fall under the more specific subgenre of urban fantasy. And I had a story, “Finders Keepers,” in the anthology Space Grunts, edited by Dayton Ward. Space Grunts is now out of print. There it is at right, behind glass at a local Half Price books, marked down to $75 from $100.

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I’ve recently started doing some self-publishing of e-books, mostly single short stories. And I’m happy to say one of those Kindle Singles is “Finders Keepers,” which you can download for a mere $1.99. I still need to make my e-books available in other formats, like for the Nook and iBooks, but just getting my first six Kindle Singles out has been time consuming, and I still have two more to finish for my first wave of releases. In my second wave I’d really like to finish “Beneath the Armor,” another story featuring Cpl. M. J. Robeson and her continuing adventures aboard the starship Alliance.

My other genre title available on the Kindle is “The Squid that squid cover mediumCame to Phil’s Basement,” which, unlike our podcast, is not family friendly. The humor in this H. P. Lovecraft pastiche is for the older geeks in the family. This story originally appeared in Space and Time Magazine, and is also just $1.99.

If you visit my website, you can find more info on these titles as well as the rest of my Kindle Singles outside the sci-fi world, such as my two humorous mystery stories, “Out of the Jacuzzi, Into the Sauna” and “Of Murder and Minidonuts,” both featuring the wisecracking Kate Sullivan.

These could give you all something to do while waiting for us to record the new episode of the podcast. We promise, it’s coming soon. Soonish. Sooner than later. Soonerish.

Generations Geek 2.0

Our upcoming episode “Bats and Supes”—looking at Man of Steel and Batman v Superman and comparing the beginnings of the DC Extended Universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe—will kick off our fourth series. It will be a series of change. When we started the podcast, Ella was fifteen or so . . . now she’s eighteen, soon to graduate high school, and moving off to college in the fall.

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About to enjoy toast with Nutella, marshmallow creme, and bananas at CONvergence 2015.

Although we fully intend to keep doing the podcast, we also know that it will be even more challenging than the third series, which continually ran late due to an increasing freelance workload for myself and the much busier life of a high school senior with a part-time job. But even with my workload, my schedule is much more flexible than a student’s. In order to try to get our monthly schedule back on track, we’ve had to admit that Ella will most likely not be able to do the show full time. So we’ve got an idea.

Some episodes will be the same as always, with both myself and the kid. On other episodes Ella will just have a segment—”All the Squee”—that she can record at her leisure, while I conduct interviews of our guests by myself. And, of course, Ella can give me any questions she might have for the guest beforehand.

And another thing. We started the podcast as a family-friendly show that geeky parents could listen to with their geeky kids. Although we’re both still committed to that concept, obviously a father/daughter-in-college show is a different animal than a father/daughter-in-junior-high show. So we will still be more-or-less family friendly, but if we were a movie the rating might lean more toward PG-13 than G.

So that’s the plan for now. We look forward to continuing our geeky musings and casting them into the winds of the intertubes. And figuring out how to record the next show between now and graduation . . .

Captain America: Civil War

We like to go to opening night shows when we can. Since we had plans for the Thursday evening when Civil War opened, we ended up seeing it at 1:15 in the A crikey M on Friday. Which meant we got home after the show at 4:30 in the morning. A few days later, we’re still catching up on our sleep. [Note: a couple paragraphs down I drop a minor spoiler for people who don’t read the comics, so be forewarned.]

CW_Poster_01Sleepiness aside, we both quite enjoyed the movie. There was good action and story, without too much extraneous MCU stuff crammed in; that was something we both thought had been overdone in Age of Ultron. We both enjoyed the new young Spiderman, the first Spiderman that really does seem like he’s in high school. While Marisa Tomei was likable as Aunt May and they had some fun with a younger May, I was still disappointed by the change. Not because I expect a film adaptation to be chained to the source material, but because there are so few roles created for older actresses in Hollywood movies, so to take an older character and drop a couple decades or more off her age is a missed opportunity.

We both felt that the romance of Cap and Sharon Carter was awkwardly timed. I mean, come on, Peggy’s just died and Steve suddenly finds out the agent he has a crush on is her niece—and at the funeral, no less! That’s a bit of a head-spinner that would rain on anyone’s romantic parade. That said, the reactions of Bucky and Sam to the first kiss are perfect.

So many characters got great little scenes . . . Vision, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and more. There was character development that will affect them going forward into other movies without slowing the pace of this movie. Difficult to pull that off with such a large cast, but the filmmakers did it. Similarly, the battle sequences, particularly the airport scene, packed in so much, and showed all the characters interactions, in ways that were exciting and chaotic and yet without becoming a muddle of CGI like, again, Age of Ultron.

Overall, the movie was just so balanced.The juggling of all those characters, as I just mentioned. Both sides of the disagreement leading to the war had pros and cons, so that was balanced. The amount of comedic moments and action set pieces sprinkled throughout the dramatic framework of the story was also a well-paced balance. It definitely echoes Winter Soldier in that regard, especially compared and contrasted with Age of Ultron, the disparate elements of which did not gel into a cohesive whole like the Captain America films. (Since I’ve taken Ultron to task a few times, I should grant that an MCU film that stumbles a bit is still more entertaining than a lot of genre films!)

Bottom line: the Russo brothers deliver another fine film in the MCU which makes us that much more eager for Infinity War.

 

What if Bruce Wayne did a Batman Podcast?

IMG_2703The new episode “Superhero League Adventure Squad” is up and available for streaming, download, or weird metahuman senses. Take a listen and learn how our guest, frequent DC comics illustrator Christopher Jones, had childhood dreams of growing up to be a census taker. Wait—no, forget “census taker,” I meant to say “comic book artist.”

In other news, we saw Batman v Superman. I’d tell you all about what we thought of it, but then what would our next podcast be about? You’ll have to wait until we record, edit, and upload “Bats and Supes,” which we hope to accomplish sometime between now and when the zombies break the internet. Zombies are why we can’t have nice things.

In other other news, “Superhero League Adventure Squad” is our thirty-sixth episode, wrapping up our third season. Changes are in store for the podcast moving into our fourth season. When we started this, the daughter-half of the team was fifteen, but now she’s eighteen and making college plans. We’ve always called the show “family friendly,” but I think it’s now “more-or-less family friendly” as we, naturally, have more adult discussions about more adult movies and books. We’ll always hover around a PG-13 rating, and we’ll warn you if we think a show isn’t for the younger geeks in your family. More announcements to come as we make them up.

And to answer the question, I think Bruce Wayne would do an awesome Batman podcast. He could read news stories about Batman and then comment: “Not that I condone violence, but he doesn’t seem like such a bad guy. I mean, I’d rather have him on the streets of Gotham than the Joker, am I right?”

When Superheroes Attack

Last Wednesday afternoon we interviewed comic book artist Chris Jones. Did he reveal his secret origin story? Was he bitten by something radioactive? Did he actually come to Earth in a spaceship? Was he just a kid who loved to draw? To find out, you’ll have to listen to the podcast when it becomes available for streaming, download, or reception via tinfoil hat sometime next week.

We’re putting together some fun ideas for upcoming shows. In “The Incredible Shrinking Man Times Three” we’ll compare the Richard Matheson novel with the classic movie adaptation and the recent comic book version. And we’ll welcome special guest Greg Cox, media tie-in writer extraordinaire and Matheson’s longtime editor at Tor Books.

“Bats and Supes” will look at Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to ponder the birth of the DC  Extended Universe and how it stacks up against the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Now let’s all take a moment to think about dinosaurs. Just because dinosaurs are cool.

Superhero League Adventure Squad

I, the dad-half of Generations Geek, literally forgot I’d set up a blog for the podcast years ago when we started. Oops. Now that I’ve remembered, I’m going to try to post something here now and then. So, let’s do some Generations Geek news.

First up, the next episode, “Superhero League Adventure Squad,” is more or less on its way. We’ll be interviewing comic book artist Christopher Jones later this week, and I’ll try to get through my obsessive editing as quickly possible and get the new show uploaded to our cyborg ape overlords at the Chronic Rift Network.

While you’re waiting for that, why not listen to the current episode, “The Cornetto Trilogy”? In this Special Grup Edition—we’re family-friendly, but we don’t always watch family-friendly movies—we discuss Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End, the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. It’s a PG discussion of R-rated movies.

Of course, you can visit our website for handy links to almost all of our episodes (our first four are currently unavailable due to some technical issues). And follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you do that sort of thing.

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The Birth of Generations Geek: A Father/Daughter Nerdcast

Back in July I was thinking about podcasts. As in, “I should have a podcast.” I’d been noticing how many of my writer friends had podcasts, and it seemed interesting and challenging and, yes, another part of my “online platform” as we say in the pub business. But what would the podcast be? It seemed like if I started one it could be called A Writer You’ve Never Heard Of. Now, With a Podcast. Now that I reflect upon it, that’s not a half bad name. But, no, I wanted something more.

Then somehow I thought of doing a podcast with my fourteen-year-old daughter. We share a healthy geekosity, and I figured we’d have fun. And we would call it Generations Geek. That night, after I got home from work, I asked her. She thought it sounded cool. So we were united geeks. We would make it happen. But how? And when? I found a website that hosted podcasts, with certain limitations, for free. Free is good. After all, I work in publishing. And I was already going to have to buy some microphones.

So, when? I ordered the mics. Started thinking it would be cool if we could get one show online before we went on vacation at the end of July, before we went to the Shore Leave convention the weekend of August third. But I quickly realized there was no way, with everything else going on and getting ready for vacation, that we would have time to make an episode. Okay, then we would focus on it when we got back.

Other things started happening. I posted about the podcast online, and was contacted by John Drew of the Chronic Rift Network. He liked the idea of the show and invited us to be a part of the network of geeky podcasts on CRN. I jumped at the chance. I was already having second thoughts about the fine print of the free podcast website I’d been thinking of using, and Chronic Rift and the other podcasts on the network are done by a bunch of great people and already have a following. That would give our new show a leg up.

Because I couldn’t imagine having the time to get an episode done before Shore Leave, I came up with the idea of doing a Generations Geek panel at the convention. I pitched it, and it happened. Here’s a shout out to Allyssa Holmgren, Lisa-Michele McMullen, Susan Olesen, and Jen Rosenberg who all joined us. It was fun and the other perspectives we gained from everyone were interesting and really added to the panel.

When we got home, it was time to kick it into high gear. I hooked the microphones up to our basement computer, which seemed the perfect, quiet place to record the podcast. They weren’t working the way I expected them to. Aahhh, I needed a newer version of GarageBand. But not the latest version, which wouldn’t run on the older computer. So, figure out the latest version that will run on it, find a cheap deal on line, order the software. Install software. Software starts, software crashes. Fiddle with the situation for many hours over many days. Eventually have to give up. Because . . .

Meanwhile something else had happened. John from Chronic Rift had asked when we’d have our first show ready. I wasn’t sure, so we’d just decided on announcing that show would debut in September, and we’d set a specific date when we got closer to wrapping up the first episode. No problem, I thought. But after agreeing to that, I remembered that the kid was going for a week-long camping trip with friends, then going to my mom’s for a week, then starting school with a four-day field trip. So, suddenly, we wouldn’t be recording until the second weekend in September. For a show due in September . . .

So, forget trying to work out tech problems with older basement computer. Plug the microphones into our main computer and get recording. Which we did. Then we played it back. Pop, pop, pop. Every plosive, letters like p and b that are created with a burst of air, was exploding onto the mics. We needed pop filters, little screens that diffuse the burst of air, so that we could talk without exploding. But you can spend 20 or 30 bucks or more for them, more than I want to spend after our family vacation, and they’re pretty much all made to mount on proper mic stands . . . which is not what we have. We have little plastic microphones on plastic bases.

A little online research showed how to build your own pop screen for a few bucks apiece. OK then. Rush out, buy supplies. Get building. Do some recording. Pops gone! And before we know it it’s the next to last weekend in September, and we simply have to finish recording and editing and get the thing in to John. We’re finally getting the hang of it, having fun talking. The kid records some keyboard noodlings in GarageBand for a theme and for between segments, and I edit like crazy. And it came together. Give it a listen. We call episode one “Rise of the Planet of the Geeks.” We talk about going to see Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen, all the cool movie trailers we saw before Raiders, and the kid’s binges on Star Trek series. If you enjoy it, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and do other cool stuff just because you’re in a good mood.