All posts by ka1spriggs

Kal Spriggs is a science fiction and fantasy author. His website is kalspriggs.com He is an avid reader of books, enjoys gaming, and lives in Colorado.

Movie Review: Black Panther

Black Panther is an interesting movie.  On one hand, its a Marvel superhero movie, another one in the chain.  On the other hand, it’s an epic scale dynastic struggle akin to an epic fantasy series like Game of Thrones, complete with lots of worldbuilding.

Black Panther has plenty of action, humor, and a surprising level of drama.  The main character has quite the journey, one where he learns the weight and costs of being king.

There’s some controversy about the movie, on themes and messages.  I’ll say that you’ll probably come away from it with what you bring into the theater and leave it at that.

It  isn’t my favorite Marvel movie, though it has some great (albiet hard to believe, even in superhero physics) scenes.  The story was good, though there were some nonsensical plot holes that could have been tied up a bit more neatly.  The movie has not just one, but two characterful villains, though I don’t think they got their full mileage from them.

In many ways, the movie stands alone more than most of Marvel’s latest movies.  Which is at once both a strength and weakness.  I can’t help, too, but feel that Wakanda is being set up to be the battleground for Infinity War.  We will see.

The movie does have a few flaws.  There was such a large cast that I can’t help but feel that some characters were shorted in both their stories and development.   Some pivotal moments left me scratching my head, particularly with how characters didn’t give enough weight to some things in some scenes, while they did in others.  There were also some pacing issues where some of the setup took longer than really neccessary.  They wanted us to explore this world of theirs, but in the process they shorted other parts of the movie.

All in all, it was a fun movie and I recommend it.  It has its own unique feel and I would like to see how it connects in to other movies, particularly the upcoming Infinity War.  Now, go out and see it for yourself and feel free to tell me what you think!

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Kal’s Feb 2018 Forecast

Hey Everyone!  Happy Valentines Day, and also welcome to 2018!  (Yeah, I know, where was I six weeks ago?  Well, 2017 was holding on tight and didn’t want to let go)

I’m plugging away on Valor’s Duty, the third book of the Children of Valor series.  I had hoped to have it done, but real life, alas, has intruded.  My priority is to finish that this month and get it out to my alpha readers.  Ideally I will get it published some time in March.

My next couple of projects after that are on new series, one for a publisher and the other I plan to shop around.  I plan to return to the Shadow Space Chronicles after that, and hopefully back to the Eoriel Saga and then maybe the Renegades after that.

Additionally, I’ll be attending the LTUE convention in Provo, Utah, starting on 15 February and running through the 17th.

Coming up early in March, I’ll be at Whimsycon in Denver, and I plan to talk a bit about a steampunk-related project that I’m working.  Whimsycon is a new Steampunk based convention in Denver, run by the same group that hosts Myths and Legends Con and this year they will also be hosting Westercon.  I highly recommend it, they’re great at organizing conventions and it is sure to be a good time.

In addition, I’ve had several of my older covers redone by the fantastic David Simon.  I’ll be uploading those over the next couple of weeks.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Kal’s LTUE Schedule

Hi, everyone.  I’ll be at the LTUE convention in Provo, Utah this week.  Below is my schedule.  If you are in the area, feel free to swing by.  LTUE is a really great writing convention and for those of you who are aspiring authors, I can’t recommend it enough.  Even for those of you who are published, there are some great panels on everything from producing audiobooks to networking with authors to improving your craft.  Besides that, it’s fun and there are a lot of great people.

Thursday 10:00:00 How to Feed an Army (M) Arches

Saturday 09:00:00 Powered Armor: Design and Tactics (M) Amphitheater

Saturday 14:00:00 Building Seaworthy Ships (P) Elm

Saturday 17:00:00 Writing Battle Scenes (M) Amphitheater

Stayin’ Alive

Hey everyone, I’m still here, sorry for the long absence.  These past couple of months have been busy and stressful, but I’m hoping to get back to something like a normal writing/posting schedule.

For those of you curious to know what’s happening, my wife has gone through two surgeries in the past couple of months and we’ve had several visits to the ER, various doctors, and lots of appointments and such.

Combined with some other events, my priority has been managing all of that and I’ve fallen behind on writing and blogging.  But things are improving and so I’m back.

I’ve got a bunch of things planned around here, so check back for updates on my writing schedule as well as my appearances at conventions.  Thanks for reading!

Movie Review: The Last Jedi (No Spoilers)

The Last Jedi, Star Wars Episode VIII, is a movie that seems to have more controversy about it than any other recent movie.  Some people love it, some people hate it, and everyone has an opinion.  Short review?  See it for yourself.

Longer version: The Last Jedi is a movie which is focused upon building (or rebuilding) the Star Wars universe.  On the one hand, TLJ is Star Wars, in a way that the prequels weren’t.  It’s fun, it’s humorous, and it tells a story of good versus evil.  Plus there’s magic space wizardry and exploding space ships.

On the other hand, it isn’t a movie without flaws, or without messages of cynicism.  There are vast swathes of the movie that could have been cut out or streamlined.  There are militarily stupid decisions made, that if they were made in the real world, people would face serious criminal charges.  There’s a lot of humor, but some of that humor is cutting, to the point of offending those who held the original movies (and the expanded universe) close to their hearts.

But it is a new story.  This isn’t a repeat of things that have come before.  This is the start of something new.  And in a lot of ways, that’s the problem that many people have with the movie.  There were decisions made with the story structure and plot that suggest the franchise is moving on.  This isn’t about the original series and original characters, it’s about the greater universe.

On the third hand, there were decisions made in the new story structure that were… too safe.  There were some, potentially, very powerfully emotional scenes, and multiple times the writers/directors pulled back from the full delivery of those scenes.  They shied away from doing the hard things, they kill off swathes of faceless people we care little about (to the point of absurdity), yet there were several scenes where named characters should have died… yet they didn’t.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie.  It was fun and (despite the many faults) it was still Star Wars.  It had the spirit, the character, of a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  I will say that walking out of the theater, I really had enjoyed the experience, it was only after thinking about various scenes and story elements that I began to notice the flaws.  I recommend seeing it and developing your own opinion.

Kal’s December 2017 Forecast

Hey everyone, it’s December, already, and I’m doing my best to finish off Jormungandr’s Venom, the third book three of the Rising Wolf series.

I’ve already outlined the third Children of Valor book and I’ll plan to start on that by the 15th.  I’m really excited to get back to working on that series and my goal is to bring it out in late January.

Posts have been infrequent around here, but that’s mostly because I’ve been really, really busy.  Some of that has been writing, but let’s just say that it’s been a rough year.  I may do a post on that later.  I may not, we’ll see.

After the third Children of Valor book and Jormungandr’s Venom, I’ve got a new project I’ll be working on, then back to writing in my ongoing series.  I’ve got lots of plans for the Renegades series and the conclusion of this story arc of the Shadow Space Chronicles.

That’s all for now, check in for more updates over the next few days!

Kal’s Christmas Gift Ideas

So, for those of you who find difficulty in buying gifts for your family and friends, here’s a set of suggestions.  What do you get for the person who has everything?  Or the nerd in your life?  What about when you buy that awesome gift for yourself and then suddenly realize that your significant other/spouse/favorite pet/imaginary friend is going to be upset that you forgot about them?   Fear not, Kal has some gift ideas for you!

Starting things off, I’ve heard far too many stories of friends losing their firearms in tragic kayaking accidents.  Head that off with something that can keep their firearms safe.  As a bonus, they come in patriotic red, white, and blue.  (Disclaimer: please don’t be stupid and actually use them for this purpose…) http://amzn.to/2iMhqA8

Oh, and if you want to actually keep your own precious weapons safe, you might get something like this.  It’s rated for 16 firearms, comes with free shipping, and it’s small enough that you probably won’t get in too much trouble from the spouse when you’re trying to fit it in the garage.   http://amzn.to/2AHWYZg

 

What do you get for the nerd in your life that spends hours/days/weeks in front of their computer and may not even know you exist?  A better chair, of course.  It’s got great lumbar support, it’s ergonomic, and it even has a footrest so they can avoid getting blood clots.  http://amzn.to/2nK04ZT

 

For serious readers who like their books, I’ve got just the thing.  Solid oak (not particle board/manufactured wood) with glass front.  This is what I want to put my signed copies of my favorite books in.  Solidly constructed and cool looking to boot.  It’s four feet high by five feet wide.  If I had the money, this is what I’d buy.   http://amzn.to/2nJAvIn

Lastly, if you’re in the dog house for buying any of these for yourself (But who would do that?), then here’s something that my wife pointed out would be an adequate apology.  Your mileage may vary, of course.   Make sure that vacuuming the house isn’t a chore anymore… or  welcome your future robot overlords into your home.  Either way, you can get a vacuum cleaning robot capable of handling most surfaces and responding to voice commands.  What’s creepy about that, right?http://amzn.to/2A9gBZ9