Harry Potter

Again, the Hero?

So, it looks like Scotland's voters have narrowly but decisively rejected independence.

One article I read discussed the fact that the franchise was extended to younger Scots, 16 & 17 years old, for the first time for this referendum, and that, while this was widely viewed as a pro-independence trick, those new young voters were unexpectedly polling against independence. I also recall that a strong public voice against independence has been J. K. Rowling.

So I have to ask: is it possible that Harry Potter has just saved the United Kingdom -- again???
Godzilla 2014

Oh, No! There Goes San Francisco!

I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to spoil things for anybody. What I will say is this: This is the movie I've been waiting for since 1997, which I then thought I'd be getting in 1998. I was crushingly disappointed then, although Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's ill-named Godzilla was a pretty decent remake of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

Last night, Gareth Edwards made up for it in spades.

GODZILLA is everything you could ever want in a Godzilla movie. The new monsters, MUTOs -- that's pronounced "Moo-toes," and stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms" -- are really wonderful monsters, huge and frightening, a great design... But they fade to insignificance when Godzilla is on the scene. Again and again and again, Edwards finds ways to simply stun and amaze you with the sheer scale of him.

Remember the very first time you saw Star Wars? The text scrolls by, we see an impressive spacescape, and then the rebel blockade-runner flies into the scene, and it's very big and impressive... And then the Imperial Star Destroyer begins rumbling into view...and keeps coming...and keeps coming...and coming...and as more and more of the ship fills the screen and recedes into the distance, it hits you harder and harder how frigging HUGE it is?

George Lucas managed that trick once. Edwards pulls it off immaculately, again and again and again. That gigantic MUTO attacking Honolulu Airport? Is suddendly dwarfed just by the FOOT of Godzilla coming down. Soldiers on a rooftop, ten or more stories up, fire flares high into the air... and they barely rise high enough to illuminate his waist-line. The jagged spines down his back are mountain ranges unto themselves, and he just overwhelms the eye.

Getting ramped up for this movie, I've watched quite a few of the classic Toho Godzilla movies, and the word I kept coming up with, again and again and again, for what really works about Godzilla when Godzilla works: Majesty.

Edwards' Godzilla is a majestic creature, awesome in the truest, original sense of the word, and you can't help but be overwhelmed by him. If you have any capacity at all to just sit back in your seat and surrender to the spectacle of a giant monster movie, GODZILLA will reward you immensely.

Be warned: Edwards likes to tease you. The first few times Godzilla comes on the scene, we cut away just when things are getting good, and see the action on TV sets in the background as the human characters play out their roles in the foreground. It's a little maddening, but, I think, in just the right way: Edwards teases long and ruthlessly, so that when he pays that teasing off -- and he does, I promise you, he does! -- it's as close to a transcendent experience as a giant monster movie can deliver.

See it on the biggest screen available, and if you can possible handle 3D, see it that way at least once. I promise you, if giant monsters are your thing at all, this will be a feast you'll giggle with delight over for days afterwards.
Just Me Too

Terror in the Streets!

Today, the May/June issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction hit the stands, at least in the United States.

This magazine includes my story, "The Shadow in the Corner," a horror tale inspired by the late H.P. Lovecraft. It's been pretty favorably reviewed by a few reviewers thus far, as I've noted in previous posts.

The magazine is also currently available -- and has been for a while already -- on Amazon for Kindle Download.

If you'd like to read a little something bringing the Mythos into the modern age, give it a look. Feel free to let me know how you like it!

Leviathan meets the Incredible Hulk

The First Reviews Are In...

And they are kinder than I could ever have imagined!


I'll quote the sections reviewing my story:

Martha Burns writes:

Popular prejudice is against fan fiction with its slashing and shipping. “The Shadow in the Corner” by Jonathan Andrew Sheen is set in the H. P. Lovecraft universe and it is an homage. A professor’s assistant, Agrawal, meets a grisly fate after an experiment goes awry and he begins to see a shadowy figure out of the corner of his eye. The story is gripping on its own merits and brilliant in the way it incorporates Miskatonic, madness, and Cthulhu.

C. D. Lewis writes:

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will squee! when they learn in the first paragraph of Jonathan Andrew Sheen's “The Shadow in the Corner” that the narrator works at Miskatonic University but has not (yet!) succumbed to the madness that overtakes its faculty. The curious reader is referred to the accounts archived in the Arkham morgue – records go back to the '20s and Sheen assures us it's now all online. (So it must be true, eh?) Mention of the Internet and lasers proves the tale comes from the chilling nearness of our own era rather than the safely distant past.

Early disclosure that the tale ends in disaster serves to build suspense – what kind of disaster? The innovation involves String Theory and quantum entanglement – but for the good of humanity the narrator destroyed his notes and daren't say more. “The Shadow in the Corner” leverages Lovecraft fandom to quickly craft a creepy vibe suited perfectly to works of supernatural horror. And what a horror: modern tools and power sources have only brought within closer reach the Elder Things from worlds that lay parallel to our own; you can mail for the tools yourself, even. Not a comforting thought, is it?

Lovecraft’s own revelations of horror, being set in another century, feel distant from a world that knows about high energy physics; continuing their line in a setting that's aware of modern science and even tropes from horror lit delights precisely because it reinforces that indescribable Elder Things remain indescribable even when summoned in the presence of carefully recorded modern instrumentation. Technology doesn’t defeat horror. Sheen's tale mixes modern vocabulary and informalities with Lovecraft’s narrative style, making a mashup entertaining not only for its Lovecraftian content but for its incongruous juxtapositions. Perhaps the greatest delight is the last pair of sentences, and their surprising power to bring suddenly the horror Lovecraft lovers long to feel. If you love Lovecraft, you can't miss “The Shadow in the Corner."

I could not be more thrilled! What a great set of write-ups!
Leviathan meets the Incredible Hulk

In an effort to keep my self-promotion as obnoxious as possible...

As I feel I've missed out on being truly obnoxious, I felt that, while reminding you all that it's a mere twenty-three days before the May/June issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction hits the stands, containing my short horror story "The Shadow in the Corner," I should also reassure you that the task of writing the story took ABSOLUTELY NOTHING out of me, as can be seen in this "Before & After" picture:

Me, before and after writing "The Shadow in the Corner"

Just so you know.
Summon Leviathan

Happy Bunsen Burner Day

On this day in 1811, German chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen was born. He would go on to invent a gas-jet that is used to this day in chemistry labs. In his honor, we commemorate this date every year as Bunsen Burner Day...

And Bunsen Burner Day is, you may take me at my word, the very best possible day to announce that Tuesday, May 6th, 2014, is the "Street Date" of the May/June 2014 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, the cover of which you can see below:

That issue will include a short story called The Shadow in the Corner, by Jonathan Andrew Sheen, AKA, me!

So, one and all, please haunt your local bookstores, newsstands, bus depots, train stations and airports, anyplace that sells magazines, and look for that cover -- it's a digest-sized magazine -- and buy one. Or two. Or sixty-seven!

Thank you all so much!