Hasslein Blog: August 2015


Hasslein Blog

Friday, August 28, 2015

Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Celebration to Be Held in Los Angeles

Hundreds of Back to the Future fans from around the world will descend on Los Angeles, Calif., on October 21 – 25 to experience the once-in-a-lifetime, 30th-anniversary celebration of the Back to the Future trilogy, known as We're Going Back.

WereGoingBack.com and BackToTheFuture.com have teamed up to create the biggest, most immersive celebration of Back to the Future's 30th anniversary. This year, the timeline is filled with celebrities, premieres, exclusive products, photo opportunities, and the world's first completely Back to the Future live auction. Single-day tickets are available for most days, but "complete experience" tickets are available to those who attend the entire five-day adventure.

Were Going Back will kick off on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, by taking fans to where it all began, Universal Studios, in Hollywood. Board a fleet of private trams that will embark on a custom tour of the Universal Studios back lot, with special guests and a unique focus on Back to the Future.

Fans will all be provided with VIP front-of-the-line passes so they can explore all of the Universal Studios theme park rides. Get a special, up-close and personal visit with one of the biggest stars of the trilogy: the DeLorean time machine. Then get the red-carpet treatment and show off your best Back to the Future costumes at Doc Brown's 2015 rhythmic ceremonial ritual, set to a screening of Back to the Future II.

But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Visit the We're Going Back website for more information!



Thursday, August 27, 2015

From Planet of the Apes to Star Wars: New Anthologies Bookin' Your Way

By Rich Handley

While Hasslein Books prepares to enter production on our next upcoming books (Haven Riney's Messing With Telemarketers and Alan J. Porter's two-volume The James Bond Lexicon: The Unauthorized Guide to the World of 007 in Movies, Novels and Comics), I've been busily working on several other projects for Sequart Organization, following my contributions to last year's essay anthology New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, edited by my friend (and Hasslein writer-editor) Joseph F. Berenato.

For the Star Trek anthology, I contributed a pair of essays about the long-forgotten L.A. Times Syndicate Star Trek newspaper strips, as well as a wide range of proposed or partially completed Trek comics that never saw the light of day. While working on that anthology, I suggested to Joe that we should co-pitch some additional books, which we did, and to our amazement, Sequart's Julian Darius and Mike Phillips (who are smart enough to recognize great talent when they see it... and yet, they still hired us) said "yes" to all of them. Joe and I are now co-editing a whole slew of titles for Sequart, and it's been a blast to work with Mike and Julian to bring these labors of love to life.

Click on the various covers presented here to view larger versions. (That didn't need to be said, I know, but I assume nothing.)

The first of these collaborations, The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes, is one of two Apes-related books that Joe and I are spearheading. The Sacred Scrolls, released this month to great enthusiasm, examines the entire history of POTA comic books, from Gold Key to BOOM! and everything in between.

The book contains a foreword by popular Apes comic authors Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman; an afterword by BOOM! Studios POTA editor Dafna Pleban; essays by Samuel Agro, Jim Beard, Joe Bongiorno, Joseph Dilworth, Dan Greenfield, Ed Gross, Zaki Hasan, John Roche, Lou Tambone, Dayton Ward, Joe Berenato, and yours truly; and a wonderful cover by Patricio Carbajal. This anthology features insightful, analytical essays about the franchise's four-color continuation, from popular comic historians, novelists, bloggers and subject-matter experts. If you're eager to learn more about Apes comics, then you need to get your stinkin' paws on this volume.

A sequel, Bright Eyes, Ape City: Examining the Planet of the Apes Mythos, is currently in the works and will discuss the Apes movies, TV shows, novels, stage show, parodies, music and more. This second volume will feature a foreword by novelist, screenwriter and Star Trek tribble creator David Gerrold; essays by Corinna Bechko, Stephen Bissette, Joseph Dilworth, Matthew J. Elliott, Alex Galer, Robert Greenberger, Ed Gross, Zaki Hasan, Jim Johnson, Neil Moxham, Dafna Pleban, Steven J. Roby, John Roche, Paul Simpson, and Dayton Ward (and, of course, me and Joe); and another beautiful cover by Pat Carbajal.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hasslein Books Announces Next Publication: Messing With Telemarketers, by Haven Riney

Aug. 12, 2015

Hasslein Books to Publish 
Messing With Telemarketers

Written by Haven Riney, the book will feature hundreds of actual
phone calls hilariously turning the tables on intrusive nuisances,
fighting fire not with fire but with illogic, idiocy and insanity.

NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2015—Let's face it… it's annoying when telemarketers call your home. Even telemarketers hate getting calls from telemarketers. Whether the callers hail from legitimate businesses, pollsters, or unscrupulous scam artists, one fact is universal: when telemarketers waste your time by repeatedly calling your house at all hours, day and night, it can be maddening. Getting mad does no good, though. Hasslein Books' latest publication, Messing With Telemarketers, shows why it's better to get even.

After a friend played a horrible prank on author Haven Riney—signing him up for every "Go back to school!" college recruiting form they could find—he realized that the best way to deal with pesky callers who wouldn't leave him alone was to waste their time instead. The recruiters sold Riney's information to two companies, and they sold it to two companies, and so on, and so on, and so on...

Riney began receiving between fifty and a hundred phone calls a day. "I put my number on the Do Not Call List. Still got the calls," he recalls. "I told them to put me on their Do Not Call List. Still get the calls. I yelled, I screamed, I begged, I pleaded... all to no avail. Finally, I lost it, and just started screwing with them to see how far I could get."

The answer, he discovered, was often "quite far." Due to a combination of language barriers and indifference on the callers' part, Riney noticed that the calls became increasingly entertaining, leaving friends and family members laughing hysterically as they listened to the exchanges. He posted new entries from time to time on Facebook (facebook.com/messingwithtelemarketers), amassing a tremendous following, then realized that the next step was to collect them all in one place for readers to enjoy. Messing With Telemarketers (tinyurl.com/Hasslein-MWT) is that place.

Riney's lightning-quick wit, sharp comedic timing and seemingly endless patience culminated in a vast, hilariously off-beat collection of transcripts. Every call is real, and each is funnier than the last. Messing With Telemarketers is slated for publication later this year, and will actually make you look forward to your next telemarketing call so you can practice messing with them, too.

Hasslein Publishing (hassleinbooks.com) is an independent New York-based publisher co-founded by Rich Handley and Paul C. Giachetti. The company produces unauthorized genre-based reference books, including Timeline of the Planet of the Apes, Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes, The Back to the Future Lexicon, The Back to the Future Chronology, Who Beyond 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Doctor Who, Lost in Time and Space: An Unofficial Guide to the Uncharted Journeys of Doctor Who and Total Immersion: The Comprehensive Unauthorized Red Dwarf Encyclopedia. Future volumes will cover James Bond, G.I. Joe, Alien vs. Predator, Battlestar Galactica, Ghostbusters, Universal Monsters The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Fringe, Red Sonja and more. "Like" us on Facebook (facebook.com/hassleinbooks), follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/hassleinbooks) and frequent our blog (hassleinbooks.blogspot.com) to stay informed regarding all upcoming projects.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Longbox Legerdemain: A Conflation of Speculative Genres—Coeurl and the Displacer Beast

By Matthew Sunrich

I enjoy comics, gaming, and speculative fiction, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to write about a situation in which all three came together in an unexpected way.

When Gary Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons, the world's first fantasy roleplaying game, he borrowed from a lot of sources. It has come to light in the last few years, for instance, that famous creatures such as the "owlbear" and "rust monster" were inspired by the contents of a package of rubber dinosaur toys. The game's magic system, in which wizards memorize spells and then forget them after casting, is taken from the Dying Earth novels by Jack Vance. Other aspects of the game are derived from Lord of the Rings, The Once and Future King, and less-specific sources such as the mythologies of the ancient world.

Owing to a variety of factors, Gygax's company, TSR (Tactical Studies Rules), fell into financial ruin in the mid-1990s (it is worth mentioning that Gygax had left due to conflicts with a foolish board of directors in 1985), and the D&D brand was bought up by Wizards of the Coast, the company that had, just a few years earlier, given us the most popular card game in history this side of draw poker: Magic: The Gathering. TSR, due in part to the controversy surrounding the game during the 1980s, had introduced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition in 1989 and had modified the game only slightly prior to the company's demise. Wizards, upon acquiring the property, decided to introduce a new edition of the game and, furthermore, to drop the "Advanced" from the title. (Note that D&D and AD&D were different games, the latter being considerably more complex than the former and skewing toward older players, and both were continuously supported by TSR.) Along with the new version of the game (2000), dubbed 3rd edition, the company also unveiled an initiative designed to foster creativity within the gaming community, the Open Game License.

To make a long story short, the OGL offered the full rulesets of Wizards' games, past and present, to anyone who wanted them for free. The idea was that third-party game designers would create compatible supplements for D&D, et al. By this time, tabletop RPGs were losing a lot of players to their computer-based counterparts (an issue that persists to this day), so Wizards hoped that its initiative would bring players back to pen-and-paper games. (The ultimate result of this was that Paizo's Pathfinder Fantasy Roleplaying Game, which based its rules on the popular 3.5 edition D&D, would outsell the subsequent editions of D&D, leaving Wizards to ruminate on its tactical error and lick its wounds. But that's another story.) The only restriction placed on the OGL was that Wizards would retain exclusive use of certain "product identities," i.e., creatures considered trademarks of the brand.

One of these was the Displacer Beast.

A magical, six-legged puma-like creature with two tentacles protruding from its back, the Displacer Beast was introduced in D&D's 1975 Greyhawk supplement and is one of most famous creatures in the game, having appeared in modules and adventures too numerous to list. Its defining characteristic is the ability to flail the tentacles about, making its exact location hard to pinpoint. (In the game, player-characters wishing to attack it must succeed on an attack roll and then follow that with a roll of 11 or better on a twenty-sided die to make the hit "stick.") In keeping with the "borrowing" theme mentioned earlier, it's based on "Coeurl," a vicious monster in A. E. van Vogt's 1939 story "Black Destroyer," which was subsequently incorporated into the fix-up space-opera novel Voyage of the Space Beagle (later republished as Mission: Interplanetary).

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