Hasslein Blog: November 2012


Hasslein Blog

Friday, November 30, 2012

Back to the Future Lexicon Makes the Forces of Geek Holiday Gift Guide

by Rich Handley

I just had the pleasant surprise of finding out that Forces of Geek has included A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon in the books section of its 2012 Holiday Gift Guide—and it's listed first. Our thanks to Stefan Blitz and the Forces of Geek team for this honor!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Shout-out from John Kenneth Muir

by Rich Handley

Author John K. Muir posted today the book that he's currently reading. And it makes us happy.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Marty McFly Endorses The Back to the Future Lexicon!

by Rich Handley

I just received a review for A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon that has me grinning like a kid—from AJ LoCascio, the fantastic voice actor who provided a DEAD-ON portrayal of Marty McFly in Telltale Games' BTTF video game:

"Just got my copy of A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, and holy crap is this thing heavy! No really—it's enormous! I would have begged my parents for this as a kid! It's an endless encyclopedia of absolutely every detail from the Back to the Future universe you could fathom. The illustrations are fantastic, the information is exhaustive, and just over all: a fantastic book to explore! If you're as huge of a Back to the Future nut as I am, this book will absolutely blow your mind! Thanks to Rich Handley for making this happen! This is the ultimate BTTF resource!"

Color me happy. Oh, and if you've never played the Back to the Future video game, you absolutely should. I consider it Back to the Future Part IV—it's that worthy of the BTTF name—and AJ as Marty is among the best things about it. Check it out here.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

What Curiosity Really Found on Mars


Marty and Doc at Barnes and Noble

For those who dislike dealing with Amazon.com, A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon is now available at BarnesandNoble.com. You can order the book here. The cost is the same, but if you prefer to buy your books from B&N, you now have that option!



Bomb... James Bomb

by Rich Handley

Although I'm a lifelong James Bond fan, there are moments when I have to cringe and wonder, "What the hell were they thinking???"

As it happens... these are those moments.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Back to the Future Encyclopedia Now Available for Purchase


Back to the Future Lexicon Now Available,
Just in Time for the Holidays

NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2012—After many months of anticipation, Hasslein Books today announced the release of its latest science fiction encyclopedia from author Rich Handley—and it's heavy, Doc.

A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon is now available at Amazon.com, CreateSpace.com, BarnesandNoble.com and BTTF.com (the official Back to the Future Web site), as well as via retail store special-orders and wholesale. With the Christmas shopping season upon us, the time is right to take your favorite sci-fi fan's gift list back to the future.

Read more »

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Bat to the Future

Thanks to James McFadden—and, of course, artist Jason Welborn.


Don't Miss BTTF.com's Annual One-Day Sale!

by Rich Handley

For a 24-hour period this Friday, you can fill in the gaps in your Back to the Future collection at a substantial discount, at BTTF.com. A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon will be among the items discounted, so don't miss out, or it truly WILL be a black Friday for you!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"If Superfriends Are What We Are, Then Come and Help Me Move"

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Titles... Bond Titles, Part Three—Featuring Guest Blogger Ed Erdelac

We present the third and final part of novelist Ed Erdelac's three-part retrospective about the James Bond films' opening title sequences. Be sure also to check out Parts One, and Two if you haven't already done so. I'd like to offer my thanks to Ed for taking the time to write these insightful articles. As a lifelong Bond fan myself, I have always appreciated the opening title sequences, and Ed has done a wonderful job of describing what makes each one a hit or miss. I find that I agree with pretty much everything he has written. —Rich Handley

* * *

The James Bond Title Sequences as a Genre of Short Film
Part Three: From GoldenEye to Skyfall

by Ed Erdelac

My review of the James Bond title sequences concludes with the modern era, starting with Pierce Brosnan and ending with the current 007, Daniel Craig.

You know their name.

The modern era starts off with an immense bang—literally. This is the first Bond movie I ever sat through, and maybe I'm biased, but I think it has the coolest, most interesting opening title sequence since Goldfinger (I won't even go into my obsession with the classic N64 video game), and it's certainly the best of the Brosnan run. Much had happened in the real world since we last saw Bond in action. The Cold War had officially ended, and in 1995, there was much debate about whether the character could remain relevant in a post-Soviet world with no superpower left against which to match his wits and considerable hardware. Daniel Kleinman, who directed the music video for Gladys Knight's License to Kill opening credits, took the reins from the late Maurice Binder and brought modern techniques, as well as a thoughtful aesthetic, to his title sequences—something that had been lacking in recent presentations. To change things up, the sequence opens with the audience staring down the business end of Bond's Walther PPK, the camera following the bullet's progression as it spins blazing down the barrel. As the muzzle flash curls in slow motion, the classic half-lit dancing, sensuous Bond girls appear positioned on a reflective surface (along with Tina Turner's opening lyric, "see reflections on the water"), and a silhouetted Bond fires at a woman's face, causing her to briefly exhale flame. Soviet-era iconography begins tumbling down the screen, with immense sickles, stars and hammers crashing down in a virtual graveyard of Lenin and Stalin statues (directly referring to a scene in the movie, as did many of the classic-era Bond sequences) atop which the women undulate suggestively. A two-faced woman is shown, representing the Greek god Janus (also the criminal nom de plume of the film's double-agent, Alec Trevelyan), a firing pistol barrel projecting from her lips at one point. Nude women sway on the barrels of ascending pistols and—in an acknowledgement of the film's most daring attempt to bring the outdated Bond into the modern era with the inspired casting of Dame Judi Dench as M—an immense woman's high heel comes slamming down, as though putting an end to "all of that misogynist nonsense," and the female figures heft sledgehammers and attack the Soviet statues. I've also got to talk about Tina Turner's brilliant, sexy title song, written by U2's Bono. It recalls the classic Bond theme in its refrains, and reinforces the empowered female ideal being put forth in the credits with its strong, commanding vocals—and, of course, the selection of Turner herself as the artist, a woman with a heroic history of taking back the reins of her own life from a domineering man. Overall, it's perhaps one of the best, and arguably the most multi-layered title sequences of the entire series.

Read more »

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Monday, November 19, 2012

The Holidays Are Right Around the Corner... And So Is The Back to the Future Lexicon!

by Rich Handley

A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, written by yours truly and illustrated by the brilliant Pat Carbajal, will be available for sale THIS WEEK! Watch this space for news...

...but if you just can't wait, you can pre-order it RIGHT NOW.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Heeeeeer'es........ Marty!

by Rich Handley

The proof copy of A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon arrived today... and here's the proud papa:

I really should have shaved before taking the picture, however.

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A Much-Anticipated Delivery From the Future

by Rich Handley

Ding dong...

Oh... is that the doorbell I hear?

I should probably go answer it.

Yes? Oh, hello, Mr. UPS driver.

What's that you say? You have a package for me?

Great, thanks. I was hoping you might.

I'll just open up the cardboard packaging, and...

Hey, check it out—it's the proof copy of the Back to the Future Lexicon.

Great Scott, this looks even better than I'd hoped it would.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Preview of Star Trek Into Darkness Warping to IMAX Theaters on Dec. 14

by Rich Handley

If you're planning to see The Hobbit at an IMAX theater in December, then you're in for a treat: an exclusive look at the first nine minutes of the next Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into DarknessHere's the story.

I had been debating about whether or not to see The Hobbit in IMAX, as I wasn't sure I wanted to spend the high ticket price. Now, however, I'll be there... which basically shows that I'm a sucker. But I can live with that. It's been four years that we've waited to see new Star Trek, and I'm happy not to have to wait until May 2013. Plus, I was definitely planning to see The Hobbit anyway, so it's a win-win situation.


World's Largest Back to the Future Collection?

Could be...



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Titles... Bond Titles, Part Two—Featuring Guest Blogger Ed Erdelac

We present the second part of novelist Ed Erdelac's three-part retrospective about the James Bond films' opening title sequences. You can check out Part One here, and stay tuned for Part Three later this week. —Rich Handley

* * *

The James Bond Title Sequences as a Genre of Short Film
Part Two: From Live and Let Die to License to Kill

by Ed Erdelac

My review of the James Bond title sequences continues with the Roger Moore years—and, I have to note, a noticeable dip in quality. If Sean Connery and George Lazenby were the Golden Age of Bond, then Moore was the Dark Ages, with Timothy Dalton's outings as a kind of light at the end of the tunnel...

Bonds... James Bonds

Live and Let Die
In the same vein as Diamonds Are Forever, title designer Maurice Binder phones it in once more for the titles of Live and Let Die. This was the second Bond film to feature an entirely new actor playing Bond, but it's almost as if Binder put everything into On Her Majesty's Secret Service and had nothing left. John Barry doesn't provide the music here, but we do have Paul McCartney and Wings, singing one of the most recognizable Bond songs outside the series (#9 on the charts in the United Kingdom). The titles are notable for featuring African-American women, nude and painted up with Vodoun veve symbols (alluding to the Baron Samedi character and Dr. Kananga's belief in Vodoun—the snake lwa Damballah is prominently displayed on one woman's arm). These are the second non-Caucasian women to appear after You Only Live Twice's geishas. The women's arms, dancing along with the flickering fires, make a cool effect that we'll see repeated later, and the flashing of a woman's fearful face into a flaming skull is kind of neat. But overall, it's not the most memorable sequence.
Read more »

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Friday, November 9, 2012

SNEAK-PEEK: The Back to the Future Lexicon

by Rich Handley

Here's another preview of A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon (see the previous sneak peek here), coming Thanksgiving week from Hasslein Books.

Image courtesy of Futurepedia

vidphone: A 21st-century telephony innovation consisting of a large, wall-mounted screen enabling individuals to communicate over distances via video and audio. Marty and Jennifer McFly had a vidphone in their den in 2015, which doubled as a television capable of simultaneously showing multiple channels.

NOTE: In essence, the writers of Back to the Future II accurately predicted not only wall-mounted large-screen televisions, but also voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) services and instant-messaging clients, such as Skype and ooVoo, as well as the integration of computers, phone service and television.



Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome Is Frakkin' Here

by Rich Handley

It seems like forever ago that Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was first announced... and slightly less forever ago that it was put on hold without being given an audience and a chance to succeed. Now, SyFy, in its infinite lack of wisdom, has seen fit to break up the pilot into webisodes and not continue with the series beyond that. I don't know why SyFy seems to enjoy frakkin' around with a goldmine like BSG, but it's done so once more.

The sad part? Based on this first webisode, Blood and Chrome looks like it would have been good. It's a bit too Top Gun for my tastes, but there's much potential here, and Luke Pasqualino, the actor playing young Bill Adama, looks like he could be a good choice to follow in the shoes of Edward James Olmos and Nico Cortez. It's a shame that SyFy has seen fit to bury this series before giving it a chance. I guess it didn't have enough fake psychics, fake ghost hunters and fake-looking monster mash-ups in it.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

This IS the Droid You're Looking For

Cosplayer Linda Le, a.k.a "Vampy Bit Me," shows off her R2-D2 outfit.

No translation is necessary, Threepio.



Titles... Bond Titles, Part One—Featuring Guest Blogger Ed Erdelac

Today, we happily hand the conch to novelist Ed Erdelac, who graciously submitted a three-part retrospective about the opening title sequences of the last four decades' worth of James Bond films. This is a great piece, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it. —Rich Handley

* * *

The James Bond Title Sequences as a Genre of Short Film
Part One: From Dr. No to Diamonds Are Forever

by Ed Erdelac

Wayyy back in my liberal arts college days in Chicago, I took a required course toward my film degree, called "Short Forms of Film and Video." The class was concerned mostly with experimental short films, like the notorious surrealist Un Chien Andalou, from Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, and almost inscrutable stuff from Maya Deren. I sat through everything, from a twenty-three-minute-long silent film that consisted of zooming in and out of an empty hallway (yeah, I'm serious—check it out below) to extreme close-ups inside the open cavities of autopsy corpses (Stan Brakhage's The Act Of Seeing With One's Own Eyes).

So when the time came to write papers for this class, I had to find a way to make it fun and interesting for myself (so I could pass). I'm sure, for my poor professor, this was excruciating. The guy was trying to expand our cultural horizons (sometimes successfully, sometimes Serene Velocity), and I was turning in essays on Tex Avery.

One paper I did, which I'm going to attempt to replicate here (don't worry, only the fun parts, kids), was called "The James Bond Title Sequences as a Genre of Short Film."

I thought it might be fun to revisit each of the title sequences, and do a breakdown on common themes and tropes that appear in them, and how each one relates to its respective film, as a kind of buildup to the release of Skyfall. I'm kicking it off with the classic Sean Connery and George Lazenby years—from Dr. No to Diamonds Are Forever.

Bond, back when villains wore Nehru jackets.

Read more »

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

SNEAK-PEEK... A Matter of Time: The Back to the Future Lexicon

by Rich Handley

Sneak-peek time! Here's a sample entry from A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon, coming in mere weeks. This entry comes from issue #1 of Harvey Comics' Back to the Future comic book series.

Robot City: A domed station located in the Asteroid Belt of Earth’s solar system, on a large rock between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. When Verne Brown showed an interest in robotics, his father, Emmett Brown, took their family on a journey to the year 2585, to visit Robot City so that Verne could see the technology in action. Upon arrival, the Browns discovered a robotic revolution in progress against the local political leader, Governor Tannen, and the lazy human citizens who oppressed the machines. Sympathizing with the robots' plight, Verne convinced them to stop attacking humanity, and helped them overcome slavery by reprogramming them to ignore any human commands they deemed unworthy of following. Following the rebellion, the robots vowed to make Tannen and other humans exercise more and eat better, and to spend less time watching holovision.

NOTE: The android and robotic citizens of Robot City included a number of iconic characters from science fiction TV series and films, including Mecha-Kong (King Kong Escapes), R2-D2 (Star Wars), Twiki (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), Robby (Forbidden Planet), Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still) and Woody Allen’s robotic household butler (Sleeper), as well as a drone similar to Silent Running’s Dewey, Huey and Louie models.



Tea... Earl Grey... hot.


Jim Beard's MONSTER ACES Now Available for Order

by Rich Handley

If you're a fan of the classic Universal Monster movies (and who isn't?), you might enjoy my friend Jim Beard's new book, Monster Aces, which features pulp fiction by Jim and other authors inspired by those timeliness horror films. Jim's passion for the Universal Monster mythos and the pulp horror genre is lifelong, so expect a frightfully good thrill, just in time for Halloween.

Here's Amazon's very tantalizing description:

Having selflessly abandoned their identities, their pasts and their futures, the Monster Aces are all that stand between humanity and the fell creatures that lurk in the shadows. Four men and one woman use their amazing abilities as a team to scour the globe for monsters and bring an end to their unholy existence - whatever the danger, whatever the cost. Through five thrilling tales crafted by some of Heroic Fiction’s most engaging authors you will ride alongside the Aces on the trail of monsters both classic and new. No environment is too severe nor too remote for these adventurers to seek their prey and destroy them forever. The team, lead by a mysterious military veteran, uncover evil in mysterious European villages, in dark forests and fetid swamps, in ancient rivers and on the high seas…monsters are everywhere, but so too are the Monster Aces. Concept creator Jim Beard is joined by writers Ron Fortier, Barry Reese, and Van Plexico for a new twist on the classic monster stories of yore, a unique melding of horror and driving pulp action that will thrill and chill you."

I have to say, that sounds fantastic. But wait... there's more! If that isn't enough to fully satisfy your appetite for all things Universal, stick around. Hasslein Books will be publishing Jim's timeline book about the films, It's Alive: The Unauthorized Universal Monsters Chronology (co-written by Becky Beard and Joseph F. Berenato, with artwork by Pat Carbajal and maps created by Matt "Mirthquake" Orsman), in 2014 or 2015. Sure, it's still two or three years away... but it'll be well worth the wait, I promise.

In the meantime, order your copy of Monster Aces today.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Remember to VOTE Today!

by Rich Handley

Hasslein Books proudly endorses the re-election of Mayor Goldie Wilson! Progress is his middle name.
Art by Pat Carbajal, created for A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized 
Back to the Future Lexicon, coming this Thanksgiving