Archive for the ‘Time Travel’ Category

Of The Year – 2014

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

For once I’m writing this at a not too unreasonable point after the end of the year in question, so no need for a backdated post inserted via time travel…

1. LILILIL — Benji Hughes
I can’t think of another album in the last decade — if not ever — that leaves me with such a big grin every time I listen to it. LILILIL is concept album Benji wrote for his daughter. The story is a time travel rock opera set in outer space and narrated by Jeff Bridges.  Various characters leave “space messages” that are basically introductions to “space jams” by Benji.  Plus the whole thing starts off with a repeated chant of “I am from the future…I am from the future…I am from the future.”  You had me at hello…

2. OXOXOXOX / Songs in the Key of Animals / XXOXOXX – Benji Hughes
Yes, I really am saying my 4 favorite albums of 2014 are by the same artist. And it was pretty much a no brainer.  Since they are only available for purchase as a set I’ll go Nielsen-style and group them together under a single number.  (This also gets me off the hook from needing to rank them individually.)  Can you say infallible band?

3. Supernova – Ray LaMontagne
Ray’s best record since his debut. Taking chances with vocal arrangements and cool stuttery noises that paid off big. Any other year this would have been number one with a bullet.

4. The Voyager – Jenny Lewis
Breezy, poppy, snarky, confident and fun.

5. V for Vaselines – The Vaselines
Kurt Cobain’s fandom and Nirvana’s 3 famous covers sent me seeking out the Vaselines 20 years ago. Some songs I have always loved (“The Day I Was a Horse,” “Teenage Superstars” and “Dying For It”), but mostly I respected them and found the other songs more interesting than good. The same was mostly true about their 2010 comeback record — but V for Vaselines is easily the best album in their catalog. I hope they do another one.

Kurt Cobain + Time Travel = 3 Books

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Fun fact:  Searching for Cobain time travel on Amazon yields 3 results:The Drawing of the Three

Lost in the ’90s by Frank Anthony Polito: A teenaged rocker stage-dives during a ’90s themed dance and wakes up in 1994.

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman: An essay collection featuring unrelated sections on time travel and Kurt Cobain.

Timely Persuasion by JL Civi: A rock and roll time travel tale about a music critic trying to save his sister.

Discounting Klosterman (who I love, but isn’t directly relevant here), I was pleasantly surprised to find Lost in the ’90s. I’d never heard of it before, but immediately purchased it — and really dug it too! Not only had someone else decided to revolve a time travel story around a cultural red-letter-date, but they did so with a lot of other interesting overlaps to the way I handled things in Timely Persuasion. Song titles as chapter titles, lyrical allusions, musician fathers, and even bowling (!!!) pop up in both books.

I reached out to the author and he agreed to do a joint interview around our mutual inspirations. So without further adieu, here’s Frank & JL’s timely & persuasive take on being lost in the ’90s…

FAP:  Hey, there! My name is Frank Anthony Polito. I’m a Detroit-based writer and Lost in the ’90s is my first YA novel — though you don’t have to be a Young Adult to enjoy the story. In fact, you may appreciate it even more if you actually grew up in the 1990s.

JLC:  Thanks for taking the time to do this. I’m not a young adult anymore, but I did grow up in the ’90s and can say you are spot on that it does help you appreciate the book.

People on this blog likely already know me, but in case you’re coming in for the first time via this post my name is JL Civi. Timely Persuasion is a rock and roll time travel novel I released in 2008 — though the bulk of it was written back in 2003. You don’t need to be an obsessive music fan like me to get into the story, but as Frank said about his book it may give you some added appreciation.

Let’s start off with the most timely question with the 20th anniversary upon us:  Why Kurt Cobain in a time travel tale? You nicely weave this throughout on a few different levels and have the bulk of the story set during those fateful days in early April 1994; my narrator tries to save Kurt as soon as he realizes what he can do…

FAP: Well, I hope this doesn’t come as a shock, but… When I began writing Lost in the ’90s I didn’t intentionally set out to include Kurt Cobain in my story. I’m a very realistic writer in that I write fiction that is fact-based. Based on my previous publishing experience, I figured (best case scenario) LIT90s would hit bookstores sometime in 2012. That said, I counted back 18 years in order to calculate my protagonist’s birth year — which took me to 1994. When I researched what was going on in the world that spring, I was reminded of the death of Kurt Cobain on 4/5/94 and voila!

JLC:  That’s interesting. I had many similar “count back X years and research” moments while plotting Timely Persuasion, but Kurt Cobain was there from the start. My standard answer to the “If you had a time machine…” question has been “find out how Kurt Cobain died” for as long as I can remember, so I knew I had to explore that in Timely Persuasion. I was 17 when Kurt died, and it hit me pretty hard at the time. The Tom Grant murder theory started to gain press at about the same time I discovered the Internet. I became super obsessed with it right away. I’m not really a conspiracy theorist in general, but I’ve always been fascinated with unanswered questions. The hardest part in the writing process was figuring out a way to leave the suicide/murder question unanswered while still using it to explain the rules of time travel and give deeper insight into the narrator’s character.

FAP: Again, I hope this isn’t a shocker, but… Back in the day, I was not much of a Nirvana and/or Kurt Cobain fan. I didn’t find the music (or Cobain) attractive or interesting. In fact, I kind of sort of hated it (him). I was more into the music scene that had come out of Manchester (The Sundays, The Charlatans UK, etc.) Now that I’m older (and wiser), in doing research to write LIT90s I was happily surprised to discover that I honestly didn’t get Cobain back in 1994. I didn’t realize how ironic his lyrics were or what a supporter of gay rights he was, and how often he was misunderstood by his peers — something to which I could totally relate. Now I really wish I could go back in time to the early ’90s because I would totally change my tune. 

JLC:  Like many ’90s teens Nirvana was my gateway into music I could call my own, but I really dug the British music scene too. The Manchester bands you mention were great (don’t forget the Happy Mondays!), along with new britpop revolution led by Blur & Oasis. Plus my favorite band to this day is still Carter USM — and not so coincidentally they have the most lyrical references in TP.

Sometimes I wonder if the love of the Beatles instilled in me by my parents paved the way for that. Which leads into another interesting overlap our books have: protagonists who meet their parents back in time. In both cases they are surprised to learn that their father is a musician and decide to teach him some tunes… 

FAP: When my father was in high school he played guitar in a band — which is actually how he met my mother. As a kid, I was always fascinated whenever he would drag out his Fender and plug in the old amp and crank out some Black Sabbath. I can’t say that I based the parental characters in LIT90s on my own parents, but I knew that I wanted my protagonist and his father to have a musical bond. I was also a big time-travel geek growing up (Back to the Future, Voyagers!, Somewhere in Time), and I always enjoyed whenever someone from the future would teach someone from the past something and they would try to take credit for it.

JLC:  I was also (and still am) a big time travel geek. I knew I wanted to write a time travel novel, but I had a few options on what the main plot would be. A so-so musician going back in time and finding fame by stealing music was one of my initial ideas. Sort of a parable about the digital music industry. But I didn’t think I had enough for a full novel and scrapped it. Then somehow this story sent the narrator into the 1960s to meet his Dad (which wasn’t in the original outline), so I revived that older idea and ran with it.

FAP:  My idea for LIT90s came from an obscure “After School Special” called My Mother was Never A Kid, based on an obscure book by Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High) called Hangin’ Out with Cici. In the story, a teenaged girl travels back in time from the 1970s to the 1940s where she meets (and befriends) her mother, who she doesn’t get along with in present day. And of course the aforementioned Back to the Future.

JLC:  At the time I was excited and surprised nobody had done a time travel story that stole music from the future. And even though I included a number of Back to the Future references, it wasn’t until years later I realized that the Marty McFly “Johnny B. Goode” bit counted. Duh… 

FAP: Yes! This is exactly what I’m talking about… That moment when Marty is playing “Johnny B. Goode” with his band and that other guy is on the phone with his cousin, Chuck Berry, and he’s like “Listen to this!”

JLC:  Classic moment. And tying it back to Kurt Cobain, there’s an episode of The Simpsons where they parody it by having “Marvin Cobain” call his cousin Kurt after hearing Homer’s band play grunge at a Lollapalooza type festival…

Sticking with music, we both also seem to weave little known “real” songs into the plot. I’m guessing “Basement Ghost” is by someone you know based on a few Googles, but I might be wrong.

FAP: You are correct. “Basement Ghost” was written by a friend of mine, Gabriel Grady. I have my MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon, and I knew that I would eventually adapt the novel for the screen. Because music is such a part of the story, I wanted to make sure there would be an original song for the soundtrack. I knew that Gabe — being a Class of ’94 grad and a musician himself — was totally the guy to write my movie’s theme song. Now, if I could only sell that screenplay…

JLC:  I could totally see LIT90s as a movie. Or maybe even an “After School Special” if they ever revive that concept…

It was especially impressive that you managed to make “Basement Ghost” a downloadable single to go with the book. I wanted to do something like that but wasn’t ever able to find a musician to work with. It was always my secret hope that putting “Won One” in Timely Persuasion would nudge my college roommate into re-recording it for me (I lost my old cassette copy years ago). But it’s been over 10 years and the song still only exists in my memory and in my book. And I still dig it way more than he does.  (Chris Evjy, if you’re reading this that was a not so subtle hint :))

FAP:  Again, the credit for this goes to Gabe Grady. It also helps that Gabe was in a band at the time I published LIT90s, and he was looking for promotional opportunities for himself and his work as well. I’m a firm believer in the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours…” theory of life, and in helping others along the way, if possible. The great thing about “Basement Ghost,” I will say, is that I told Gabe the basic gist of my story (how boy meets girl) and he ran with it. The lyrics and subsequent music are all to his credit.

JLC:  Another item we share along the lines of great music-themed minds is using song titles as chapter titles. Yours are all great ’90s tunes that often aptly summarize the action.  What gave you that idea and how hard was it to pick the songs? 

FAP:  In my first two novels (Band Fags! and Drama Queers!) I did this same thing — only with ‘80s tunes. While LIT90s isn’t part of the trilogy, I wanted to continue using this technique, especially since music plays such a part in the story. In terms of choosing which songs to include, I have to say “Thank God for the Internet and Wikipedia!”

JLC:  Originally Timely Persuasion didn’t have chapter titles. Then one night I woke up at 2am with this idea that every chapter was a song title that contained a number.  It would start with “One” by U2. Just a single word so nobody realizes what’s going on yet. Then “Two of Us” by the Beatles. Then “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. And that’s when I jumped out of bed and made a huge list of candidate songs — first from my iTunes library, then falling back on the Internet like you did.

FAP:  That is an awesome idea! (I wondered where you came up with “Tram #7 to Heaven” by one of my faves, Jens Lekman.)

JLC:  Jens is one of my favorites too. “Tram #7” plus “Wounded Kite at :17” by Pavement were the two titles that made me so giddy I just had to find a way to make this work. And later figuring out I could slot “Won One” in as #11 sealed the deal.  Hardest one was for 26 — it’s the only song I don’t like in the list. “Across 26 Winters” is a cool title and fits the chapter, but with apologies to Phoenix Mourning it’s not really my style.

Of your titles I especially liked “Fade Into You” & “Divine Thing.” And of course “Here’s Where The Story Ends” was the perfect ending…and it happens to be by another British group.

FAP: I’m particularly fond of “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star myself. I really think the song sets the tone for this particular chapter. “Action” is such a big component when it comes to film and, if memory serves, this chapter is almost all inner monologue for the female character as she rides along in the car with the two other guys in the story. I look forward to seeing how the scene would play out on the big screen — like an old-fashioned MTV music video.

JLC:  Along with the musical nods taking the reader back into the era, I really liked the way you sprinkled references to other time travel stories throughout Lost in the 90s — and not just Back to the Future. Time travel seems to pop up all over the place. I’d never heard of Hangin’ Out With Cici before, but I do remember that time travel episode of Family Matters and liked the Somewhere in Time reference too.

FAP: Thanks. Like I said, I was a big time travel story geek growing up. And no surprise that you’d never heard of Cici — which most would call a “girl” book. I’m actually surprised that you know Somewhere in Time which is set in Michigan where I grew up, and I’ve somehow managed to reference in almost every story I’ve ever written.

JLC:  I told you I was a time travel geek too! In TP my narrator sees a movie trailer for Peggy Sue Got Married on his second trip back in time (before he realizes that’s what’s actually happening). I picked it as a hybrid music & time travel reference — though it was totally one of those “need a movie from 1986” research happy accidents along the lines of how you picked Kurt Cobain for LIT90sBTTF & Quantum Leap are where my love of time travel came from, so I felt it only fair (and polite) to tip my cap to the greats.

FAP: Kudos to you, sir! I appreciate your appreciation of the greats who came before us 🙂 I’ve seen Peggy Sue, but only once (years ago!) and I don’t really remember the plot. I also didn’t watch Quantum Leap for whatever reason. But, as I’ve mentioned, there was a time travel show back in the early ‘80s that I loved as a kid called Voyagers!, starring Jon-Erik Hexum, whose career was tragically cut short after he accidentally shot himself in 1984. If you haven’t seen it, you should totally check it out.

JLC:  Yes, I like Voyagers! too. And the Omni is one of the coolest time machines, right up there with the DeLorean and the Tardis.

Anyways, this was pretty fun. Anything else to add in closing?

FAP: Thanks for finding me and making this happen. It’s been almost 2 years since LIT90s was released, which in book terms makes it “old news.” My goal was to do a big publicity push to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death… But having worked in the New York City publishing industry as a book publicist, I know what a pain — and how futile — it can all be. Here’s hoping we both will find some new readers.

JLC:  Indeed. We write books so people can read them, right?

Anyone interested in learning more about either Lost in the ’90s or Timely Persuasion can check out both of our books below for a trip down memory lane via April 8th, 1994:

AmazonAmazon
AppleApple
WebsiteWebsite

Enumerating the Top Time Travel Stories

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Timely Persuasion was recently named third favorite time travel story on the Enumeration Podcast!

Enumeration - Time Travel Stories

It was an honor to be named here amongst several other great time travel tales. The three hosts came up with quite a set of stories altogether. Their complete lists are covered below – but check out the full episode for some cool discussion about each set of three:

Paul (novels):

1. Replay
2. Branch Point
3. Timely Persuasion

Honorable Mentions:

Time And Again, Time On My Hands, A Christmas Carol, The Man Who Folded Himself, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Island in the Sea of Time, The Trinity Paradox

Ben:

1. Back to the Future Trilogy
2. Groundhog Day
3. The Langoliers

Honorable Mentions:

“A Sound of Thunder”, The Time Machine, Slaughterhouse-Five, Time Bandits, Star Trek (4, 7, 8, & 11), 12 Monkeys, Donnie Darko, The Terminator, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Primer, Star Trek The Next Generation: “All Good Things”, TMNT – Turtles in Time, Time Changer

Alex:

1. Back to the Future
2. The End of Eternity
3. Chrono Trigger

Honorable Mentions:

The Lords of the Sands of Time, X-Men: Days of Future Past

Lots of excellent picks!

The only surprising omission in my mind would be Quantum Leap, though to be fair they did give have a passing “put right what once went wrong” reference during the podcast.

For me, the holy trinity of time travel will always be Replay, Back to the Future, and Quantum Leap in a three way tie for first. Breaking it out by category, my personal favorites would be:

Books:

1. Replay
2. Expiration Date
3. Up the Line

Movies:

1. Back to the Future
2. Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes)
3. Primer

Television:

1. Quantum Leap
2. “The Constant” (Episode of Lost)
3. Journeyman

Honorable Mentions: (excluding works already referenced)

Books: 11/22/63, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Too Many Time MachinesMan in the Empty Suit

Movies: Deja Vu, Happy Accidents, Shuffle, Always Will, Source Code, Safety Not Guaranteed, About Time

TelevisionTru CallingVoyagers!Misfits (Season 1 Episode 4), “Back There” (Twilight Zone Episode)

Video Games: Back to the Future: The Game, Chronotron, The Silent Age, Day of the Tentacle, Mushroom Age, Braid

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

November 5th continues to be one of my favorite pseudo-holidays for obvious time travel geekery reasons.

In honor of that great red-letter date, here are a few BTTF tidbits found in Timely Persuasion.

Chapter 3:

After a year of constantly playing the Back to the Future soundtrack, my uncle took me to see Huey Lewis and the News.

Chapter 9:

I didn’t even need or want a DeLorean. Just a time bicycle would have made me a happy camper.

Chapter 17:

That was it. He confirmed that the future mother of his children actually existed, gave Nelson’s Mom the Heisman, renamed the album Quits, played one final show, and abruptly left the music business behind to seek out his density—I mean destiny—with my real mother.

Chapter 17: 

Still groggy, aching, and starving, I woke up on the couch with a figure hovering above me.

“Mom? Mom is that you?”

Acknowledgments:

Jeff Winston, Pamela Phillips, Henry DeTamble, Jud Elliott, Billy Pilgrim, Sam Deed, James Cole, John Titor, Dan Vasser, Livia Beale, Tru Davies, Daniel Eakins, Sam Beckett, Al Calavicci, Marty McFly, Emmett Brown, Bill S. Preston, Ted “Theodore” Logan, Hiro Nakamura, Eckels, Aaron, Abe, Will, Sherman, Mr. Peabody, and anyone else who has walked in their shoes.

It’s been so long there are probably a few more I can’t remember or readily find.  Check them out for yourself via Amazon, Apple, and/or online.

A Parallelogram

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

“Purple parallelogram I got in Amsterdam, made me dream a dream I didn’t understand.” — The Lemonheads

Checked out time-travel play A Parallelogram this weekend and really dug it. Warning: Spoilers Below…

The play focuses on Bee, a thirty-something woman who recently met her time traveler future self that — ala Quantum Leap and/or Timely Persuasion — only she can see or hear. The first act intersperses an argument with Bee’s boyfriend Jay between musings by the two Bees on the future and why it can’t be changed, sprinkling in some fun replaying of the Bee & Jay scenes via a time travel inducing remote control. Older Bee eventually lets it slip that Jay is going to leave Bee because he thinks she’s crazy.

That leads us into the second act, where Jay visits Bee in the hospital. Older Bee is also here. To Jay she’s the doctor, but to young Bee she’s still older Bee and converses as such in a brilliantly clever bit of three-way dialogue. The big reveal here is that Bee may have a brain tumor, which calls into question whether or not the future Bee is real or a hallucination. This becomes the central idea for the rest of the play.

Some random thoughts, observations and ponderings:

(Again — heavy on the spoilers, so stop here if you don’t want anything else given away.)

  • The time travel bits during act one were a lot of fun and handled very well in a live setting.  Loved it every time Jay would walk into the bathroom and re-enter through the bedroom door replaying his previous scene.
  • At one point Bee reveals a tattoo of a blue jay on her arm for Jay, and future Bee simultaneously reveals the same tattoo to the audience.  Since Bee later ends up dating J.J., it would have been cool if future Bee had two blue jays tattooed on her arm. (It’s possible she did and I missed it, but that’s what I would have done.)
  • Older Bee’s monologue to the audience about the bird virus epidemic comes shortly after J.J.’s theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs and will one day regain their slot at the top of the food chain. Under the hallucination scenario, the timing works out that young Bee is making up the epidemic as older Bee is addressing the audience. This could be further supported by the way she tells the story, especially the “you’ll think I’m making this part up…” in the middle.
  • Related: At one point when older Bee is giving her monologue she talks with her hands a lot — and in the background young Bee is on the bed having a muted conversation mirroring the hand motions exactly. Brilliantly done.
  • Under the time travel scenario, you could argue that the presence of older Bee caused the chain of events that plays out in acts two and three in either classic “whatever happened, happened” style or the equally common “your solution was actually the cause…”
  • The bit with the missing TV remote control that young Bee later mistakes for the time travel remote was a nice touch that feeds both sides of the debate.

Though I always get giddy over time travel, I’m equally a fan of a well done mindf**k so this play delighted me from both angles.

Tying it back to my opening song lyric quote, “Purple Parallelogram” was a song allegedly co-written by Evan Dando of the Lemonheads and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. It was slated to appear on the Lemonheads Car Button Cloth album, but was dropped at the last minute due to a request by Noel Gallagher.

Did it really happen, or did Evan Dando hallucinate the whole thing? Hmmm…

More Red Letter Dates

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The most famous red letter date in the history of time travel is November 5, 1955 from Back to the Future.

November 5, 1955

Lesser known BTTF dates include:

  • January 1, 1885 (Doc’s trip to the Old West)
  • September 2, 1885 (Marty’s trip to the Old West)
  • November 12, 1955 (Enchantment Under The Sea / Lighting vs the Clock Tower / Biff gives himself the Sports Almanac)
  • October 26, 1985 (The day it all started)
  • October 21, 2015 (Marty & Jennifer’s trip to the future)
  • October 26, 2015 (Doc’s first trip to the future, assuming “30 is a nice round number”)

In Timely Persuasion many of the actual time travel dates are vague — but there are some key red letter dates based on the narrator’s memories or bits of musical trivia:

  • October 12, 1969 (WKNR DJ Russ Gibb starts the “Paul is Dead” rumor)
  • September 18, 1970 (Jimi Hendrix found dead)
  • April 7, 1994 (Eve of discovery of Kurt Cobain’s body; Tom Grant & Dylan Carlson search house)
  • April 12, 2000 (Napster/Metallica copyright suit)
  • September 10, 2001 (Trying to save sister)

As long as we’re on the subject, let’s extend the red letter dates to include some of my other favorite time travel tales:

  • September 13, 1956 (Sam Beckett’s first Quantum Leap)
  • September 9, 1958 (Destination of the time portal in 11/22/63)
  • February 22, 1972 (Mickey Wade’s pills bring him here in Expiration Date)
  • September 23, 1977 (Clare first meets Henry in The Time Traveler’s Wife)
  • October 2, 1988 (Jet Engine & Frank the Rabbit travel back to this date in Donnie Darko)
  • October 18, 1988 (Jeff Winston dies and starts replaying in Replay)
  • October 26, 1991 (Henry first meets Clare in The Time Traveler’s Wife)
  • December 12, 1996 (James Cole witnesses the death of his future self at the airport in 12 Monkeys)
  • November 5, 1999 (Jacob travels back to visit Peter at the cafe in Trickshot)
  • March 16, 2005 (Uncle Jim visits Danny Deakins in The Man Who Folded Himself)
  • October 23, 2030 (The date of the future visions seen in the novel Flashforward)
I’ve never noticed this before, but time travelers sure like the fall.  17 of the 23 dates listed above are in Sept/Oct/Nov!

Looper

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Feels like I’ve been waiting forever for Looper to come out. Finally got to see it last night.

Funny pre-amble:  As I was buying tickets, the previous show was letting out. I’ve gone out of my way for months to not watch trailers, not read interviews, and otherwise not be spoiled at all before seeing the film. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by a mob who just saw it and are discussing what happened. I promptly put my fingers in my ears and started humming.

(Warning — To make sure I don’t do the same to you, stop reading now if you haven’t seen the movie…)

Overall I mostly dug Looper, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype in my head. To be fair, with Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rian Johnson, and consultation by Shane Carruth (of Primer fame) my expectation was “greatest time travel movie ever” which was probably setting the bar a touch high.

Likes:

  • The diner scene with future and past selves meeting is an instant classic. Some of the explanations of how memories work echoed Timely Persuasion to a degree, and how Bruce Willis decides to NOT talk about time travel is awesome.
  • JGL totally sells that he’s a younger Bruce Willis.
  • Jeff Daniels is awesome as Abe.  Love his “I’m from the future. You should go to China” line.
  • The flashback/forward 30 year montage was very well done.
  • Without giving too much away, the whole general conundrum of the loop was one of the more thought provoking takes I’ve seen — especially how it starts to play with whether the older self is actually older & wiser or not (again mirroring TP a bit).
  • What is probably the iPhone 21 (assuming every other year for a # jump) looks awesome!

(Nitpicky) Dislikes:

  • Even though it was a good piece of subtle foreshadowing done well – and pretty crucial to the endgame – I didn’t really like the TK bits. Probably due to the fact that I tend to love time travel, but not really like other sci-fi all that much.
  • I wanted a little more out of the Abe/Kid Blue/Rainmaker story. Maybe some sort of overlap or reveal (for awhile I thought Kid Blue was Abe — though I’m not sure if I still think that, or if it would be good or bad if he was). Didn’t need to be overt or overly explainy, but struck me as a missing piece.
  • When Bruce Willis is holding his watch and talking about his wife at the diner, I thought the fact that they didn’t actually show the photo meant it was already gone.  Would have been cool to take that further, indicating he still remembered her though the signs of her existence were fading — ala BTTF
  • I also wished we got just a little bit more from the ending. Maybe a very brief scene in 2074 that hints at whether or not the mission was successful. Not a Hollywood ending, but some sort of open-ended twist about how the Rainmaker turns out.

I suspect some of these dislikes will change over time — and the alleged 45 minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD may help.

Probably need to revise my list at some point, but after one viewing I’d put Looper behind BTTF, Timecrimes, 12 Monkeys, and Primer. Probably ranks right around the under-rated Deja Vu in my book — maybe a few clicks ahead.

Ramblings VI

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

I seem to have hit another of those lengthy posting lags while the world gets in the way.  Ramblings time:

  • Been digging the new Back To The Future Game from Telltale.  It’s essentially BTTF IV, starting off 6 months after the trilogy ends in 1986 and has Marty bouncing back and forth between 1931 and the present interacting with a teenage Doc.  Right now I’m midway through episode 4 out of 5.  It’s probably worthy of a full post once the whole thing is done.
  • Discovered yet another Ziggy iPhone app.  This one’s called Ziggy’s Time Traveler Emergency Reference and is basically a QL skinned offline Wikipedia viewer.  Pretty much right along the lines of the real Ziggy, though it won’t tell you when history changes via an edit to the wiki…
  • The Beastie Boys short film Fight For Your Right Revisited features an unexpectedly awesome time travel twist, complete with BTTF DeLorean cameo.
  • Been so busy I realize I wrote but forgot to post my annual year-end music best of list.  Wait, a minute, I got all the time I want! I got a time machine!  I could just go back early and post it…

Trickshot Finale

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I’ve mentioned the illustrated web-based time travel serial Trickshot a couple of times previously during its work in progress days, but now that it has reached completion I decided another full-blown post was in order.

What’s the best way to tell a time travel story out of order? To tell it in order. That’s the easiest way to sum up the brilliance of Trickshot.

Most time travel tales follow the time traveler:

Marty is in 1985 –> 1955  –> 1985 –> 2015 –> Etc.

Trickshot presents a chronology from the viewpoint of a normal observer living year to year. Time travelers pop in and out from time to time, which really makes you think about the perception of time and the natural order of things.

Doc is in 1885 –> Marty is in 1885 –>  ’55 Doc meets ’85 Marty –> Etc.

Of course, we’re not talking about Marty & Doc when it comes to Trickshot. We’re talking about Jacob, Markos, Ricco, Richard & Saul plus a whole bunch of other folks. But saying much more than that would give too much away. Let’s just say that it’s epic, it’s fun, and it’s the only web serial to ever hold my attention — which is quite a feat considering the hundred episodes comprising Trickshot ran over the course of 945 days.

Not enough?  Here’s a little more with some minor spoilers:  The story spans 165,000+ years from biblical times to the year 3096, but where it starts depends on your frame of reference.  The plot has four main arcs that interconnect in a unique sort of tesseract revolving around determined time traveler Jacob Barnes, the Chronodynamics Guild, time travel inventor Richard Garrison, and time travel inventor Saul.  (Yes, references to 3 different creators and 165,000 years are not typos.)

Each section works well as a stand-alone, while uniting together to solve a larger mystery involving a mysterious historic event in the Earth’s history known only as “Jericho.”  The story also contains nods to a number of other time travel classics, much like Timely Persuasion.

Intrigued?  An eBook version is allegedly on the way.  In the meantime you can check out Trickshot at thetrickshot.com.

Someone Else is Rediscovering Pavement

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The best love letter to a band disguised as a letter to your past self (or is it vice versa?) that I have ever read:

Wait, You’ve Never Heard: Pavement – Brighten The Corners

My favorite quote:

“There’s a magic to the moment you finally love a band, and anyone who says he or she was with every band from the beginning is a lying sack of shit.”

(via Consequence of Sound)

PS: I also love the random “The Mummy” reference for reasons not intended by the author.