Fault Zone Uplift: My latest published Super Holly story

My short story, What Goes Up, is published in Fault Zone, a publication of the SF Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club. Super Holly Hansson saves the day several times in one day, but finds something she cannot save. I give many thanks to Laurel Anne Hill, who worked super-hard to put together this anthology, and who edited my writing into a story worthy of Fault Zone. Writers, editors are your friends.

Here is the start of “What Goes Up.”

The six-foot-tall, apricot-shaped computer on the auditorium stage glowed brighter. Was the thing about to go KA-BOOM, like old sci-fi mechanical brains computing love to the last digit? Super Holly Hansson gritted her teeth harder, tapped the console’s keyboard, and motioned toward Chris Jobz, the Apricot Computer CEO.

“Would you please hand me your tablet,” Holly said, “and get your butt behind the blast shields with your employees?” Too bad she couldn’t pitch that big yellow- orangish monster into the ocean. Too dangerous, according to Chris. “You’re not bomb- proof. I am.” So far… She swallowed hard.

Chris glanced in the direction of his staff, yet made no move to give Holly his tablet, as if he thought his lint-free black turtleneck was a supersuit. Arrogant but brave. He acted as if she could still channel superpowers into others, like she’d done to those comic book geeks months ago. She couldn’t do that anymore. Not even for a fellow geek.

“Miss Hansson, you need both hands and my help.” Chris shoved his Apricot tablet closer to Holly’s face. “You’re not an engineer.”

“I was a technical writer,” Holly said, “and this geek girl can read code.” But could she get through this in one piece? All those kids in the hospital would be so sad if she didn’t show up today. She typed faster, restraining her super-strength. Last year she’d

pulverized her favorite wireless keyboard. The shining apricot’s timer taunted her: 01:29, 01:28, 01:27…

“I know women can code. Forty percent of Apricot engineers are female,” Chris said. His eyes shot virtual daggers toward the smiling teen boy his employees restrained. “But if you don’t finish writing this Swoop code before that timer reaches zero, this Apricot will destroy the Internet.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Holly hissed as her fingertips tingled. “I suppose it was that kid’s bright idea to build a doomsday Apricot with a super-scalding keyboard.”

“Yes. Me. Crestley Smusher, to you.” The teen’s voice was nerdy, gleeful, and dripping with condescension. “It was a science project to put my highly intelligent, brightly smiling face upon every display on the planet. Upon the exact second of my eighteenth birthday, less than a minute from now. Except my superior code merged with inferior code from lesser engineers to form a nasty virus—”

“Shut up, Crestley,” Holly and Chris shouted. Holly tapped out the last line of code and turned. Behind thick, clear, plastic bomb shields, several angry Apricot geeks held Crestley’s arms. A six-foot-six and rather wide engineer got a stranglehold on the techie, whose smug smirk vanished. Speaking of vanishing, how much time had elapsed?

…00:03, 00:02, 00:01… The timer stopped. Just like on Stellar Trek, where the countdown always stopped at one. Whew! She’d done it.

Chris examined the Apricot’s display. “The Internet is saved.” He shook Holly’s hand. “Thank you.”

Such firm fingers he had, like a writer. “You’re welcome.”

“Auto destruct in fifteen seconds,” the monster Apricot voiced in a monotone. “Fourteen. Thirteen.”

“What the hell?” Chris sputtered. He and Holly whirled to face Crestley. Crestley smirked again. “All doomsday devices need a failsafe.”
“Nine. Eight.”
A failsafe? Time for Holly’s own brand of mind over matter. Crap. This was

gonna hurt. She reached out. A telekinetic hand—big, blue and transparent—shot from her own flesh-and-blood hand and engulfed the Apricot monster.

“Seven. Six.”

She punched her free fist upward. A telekinetic fist cannonballed out of it and bashed a hole in the ceiling.

“Five. Four.”
She flew through the roof and into the bright blue sky.
“Three.”
The Apricot campus shrank below her.
“Two.”
She held the doomsday Apricot in her telekinetic hand.
“One.”
Damn all arrogant nerds. Well, not all.
“Zero.”
KA-BOOOOOOM!

TO BE CONTINUED!

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A rubber cop beats me to the punch.

I watched The Flash tonight. They introduced Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man. Ralph has super-stretching powers. And he’s a cop.

My character, Bennie the Rubber Cop (based on Lennie Briscoe of Law & Order) also has super-stretching powers. (Long arm of the law, get it? Wink wink, nudge nudge?) I have not even published his short story yet (The Criminal Cupid, click to read an excerpt). Bennie does show up at the very end of my little Kindle book Super Bad Hair Day. He helps Holly deal with her… um… twin physical adjustments when her superpowers manifest.

Oh, well. My Bennie will stay rubbery. There is room for more than one stretchy cop in the world. Bennie is older. Wiser. World-weary-er. I just hope I can write more former-homicide cop wisecracks.

Holly and the Bear! (Or, it never hurts to ask.)

super-hero-bear-with-hollyLast Saturday at Alternative Press Expo, I met Bob Scott: animator, cartoonist, and creator of Molly and the Bear webcomics (click here to read them at GoComics). His artwork reminded me of Dennis the Menace with a touch of Pogo. I told him I’d had artists draw my Super Holly character. He said he’d consider that. I bought his comic book, took it home, and read it.

And loved it. Witty, playful, retro family humor. Expressive faces and body language. Clean, sharp, deceptively simple art. And a big, lovable, scaredy cat of a bear. Joe Pesci said of Herman Munster, “It’s not simple to play the goof.” To paraphrase movie critic Leonard Maltin’s line about Goldfinger and Oddjob, Bob Scott’s Bear is a goof in the classic sense of the word.

On Sunday, I told Bob how I loved that comic book, and how Bear might tell Super Holly Hansson that he could be a superhero. And I again asked about a sketch. Consider this: Bob Scott has worked on Pixar’s Toy Story 3, WALL-E, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. He is what I would call an ARTIST.

I bought his hardcover book (click here to see it on Amazon). He drew the art for me. I am happy.

Mary Jane Watson and one little drop.

Mary Jane Watson can’t be a non-redhead (translation: black), whines a little subset of white fanboys about actress Zendaya. (Even though she’s light-skinned, I hate that stupid one drop rule. Why doesn’t it work for us Swedes, we got wimpy DNA or something?)

That bugs this 60 year old white fart, I mean fanboy. I didn’t hear those drips, I mean fanboys, whine about Iris West being black in The Flash TV series. Maybe because I was bouncing off the ceiling in ecstatic fanboygasms because Law & Order’s Ed Green was her dad and I still bounce whenever he’s onscreen! In a totally hetero way, of course.

They didn’t whine much about Halle Barry playing Catwoman. I whined a lot about that movie in my first online review. It wasn’t about race, I just HATE when movies use zero percent of the source material!

They didn’t whine about Khan Noonien Singh being white in the Star Trek reboot (making Ricardo Montalbon thrash wildly in his grave). I noticed that whitewash. Khan was from Asia. He ruled over a big chunk of Asia. He was NOT a British colonizer, his dictatorship was home-grown!

Stan Lee is fine with Zendaya. So stop whining, you one drop drips!

By the power vested in me by over half a century of fanboyism, I hereby declare that any fanboy who whines about Zendaya is Scrappy-Doo screwy! Get a load of one of her super-selfies!

Zendaya-Spider-Man-Homecoming-826x620

To the guy who will play Spidey: Face it, tiger, you just hit the jackpot!

P.S. Provided Mary is written and played to be the strong, independent, edgy girl she is in the comics. We’ll see.

P.P.S. My sister-in-law’s mom told me that my superheroine Holly Hansson should be a redhead because of Holly’s hot temper. I admit I’d like to see red hair on Mary Jane. No problem. Dye it! Kristen Durst did.

X-Men Apocabully part 2

Just saw X-Men Apocalypse (I had credit on a Fandango gift card). My previous post on Apocalypse is still accurate, but he now has an annoying hissing bully voice, an ounce more personality than a deck chair, a couple ounces of explanation of his powers, and less than an ounce of personal motivation. Gimme some “so that’s why I’m a mutant GOD” backstory!

As for the four horses, is it mind control or isn’t it? Make up your minds! And please don’t say power corrupts, I have covered that!

Boy was I impatient with Jean Grey, c’mon and do the goddess in the machine thing already! On second thought, don’t. Clobber the big bully some other way, a way that works if you are not a comic book geek. And this is coming from a comic book geek.

And boy did I love Quicksilver, his scenes alone are almost worth the ticket price! More Quicksilver, more more more!

And at the risk of repeating myself, boy would Super Holly super-punch Apocalypse while taking his various dirty superpowered attacks and telling him what Popeye told Slag the Slugger: “I admit you’re giving me a tough fight, but you can’t win! You’re a crook! And I am fighting for what’s right!”

(I could not find that comic, so here is one comic from Popeye’s first fight with Bluto. A two-week slugfest. Boy, could E.C. Segar draw! Holly would kiss Popeye on sight.)

popeye v bluto

P.S. I got one more good thing out of this movie: an idea for a villain. Stinkupalips. An Apocalypse type villain whose power is super smelly stuff. A great guy to toss at Kittygirl and the Puppy Brothers.

I will be on a Literary Winners Circle Panel!

first-placeAt the San Mateo County Fair’s Literary Stage, I will on the Winners Circle panel this Saturday, June 11, from 4:30 to 5:30. There will also be a winners reading from 4 to 4:30, and 5:30-7, but I am not sure if I will be doing any readings yet. (I think it is likely.)

I am on the panel with other winners because my Audiobook script, The Malevolent Mystery Meat, won both 1st place in the category of Digital Media Online and Honorable Mention for Science Fiction/Fantasy short story.

The panel’s theme is inspiration. A lady in my critique group had a story of kids with puppy behavior. I had written my Kittygirl story, and I wanted to write more like that. My cousin has two dogs, Tucker and Wrigley, whom I have taken care of when my cousin and his family go on vacation. He also has two boys, and I have two nephews, so I have observed young brother and doggie behavior. Hence, two puppy-powered brothers.

Then Michael Moore, in his latest movie, showed how icky American school lunches can get. Hence, the malevolent mystery meat.

The story went over very well at my open mics. I used The William Tell Overture as background music. Hi-yo, Tucker, away!

More on the San Mateo County Fair’s Literary Stage:

Wednesday, June 15, from 7:30 to 9, I will participating in the open mic readings.

Thursday June 16, from 7-8:30, I will be doing a reading from my Fault Zone story, The Sinister Soul Surfer!

Gimme a girl fight!

Marvel WomenI saw Batman V Superman, and I repeat to its director: BATMAN AIN’T DUMB! The movie is grim and sad and darkly dark except for the desert scene shot in eyeball-scorching sunlight. The only fun in it is Wonder Woman’s all too brief kick-ass fighting, let’s hope some other director does her movie and realizes that the audience would like to smile once every decade or so. Oh, and dream sequences make lousy motivators (almost as much as clouds being lousy villains), what’s wrong with reality doing that?

Have not seen it yet, but I know Captain America: Civil War will be a lot more fun. But Salon beat me to the punch and listed twelve Marvel superheroines who could have fixed its lack of women problem. How could they not have Carol Danver’s Captain Marvel? She’s military, she’s tough, she’s smart, she’s gonna have a Marvel movie, she’d have been perfect! And I’d have given a couple pints of blood if She-Hulk (tall, green, Raquel-Welch-esque amazon, and Bruce Banner’s cousin) could have gone toe-to-toe with Captain Marvel! Strength vs. strength! Super-jumping vs. flying! Hulk fists vs. energy blasts! Every fanboy’s dream: A SUPER-STRENGTH GIRL FIGHT!

P.S. She-Hulk is a lawyer, a superpower if there ever was one. A courtroom scene would have been neat: She-Hulk kicks butt in that vicious battlefield! Unless the other side hires Saul Goodman.

P.P.S. I won’t know which side Super Holly would be on until after I see the movie. She’s very independent, but she has a job on a superpowered peace corp: if she’s going to punch bad guys, she might as well get paid for it. She’d growl if Tony Stark/Iron Man hit on her, and she’d seriously crush on Steve Rogers/Captain America.