Archive for June, 2010

InConJunction 30 Schedule

This is my current schedule for the weekend of July 2-4.  It may change by the time of the event,  so be sure to check the InConJunction website,  or with the registration desk on the days of the event.

Panel name: V: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Times: Sat 10:00 am – Sat 11:00 am
Room: Salon A
Copanelists: Matthew Barron, Keith R.A. DeCandido
Description: The visitors have walked among us for some time now. Join us in a discussion of the 80s series and its recent reboot.

Panel name: Blowing stuff up! (In fiction)
Times: Sat 11:00 am – Sat 12:00 pm
Room: Salon B
Copanelists: Michael Z. Williamson, Scott Hann
Description: We all see explosions and trick shots on TV and in the movies, and read them in our favorite books. How do explosions and heavy weapons actually work? This is not a lab panel and no actual explosions will take place.

Panel name: Urban Fantasy: Bringing Ancient Myths into the Modern World
Times: Sat 12:00 pm – Sat 01:00 pm
Room: Salon B
Copanelists: Karen Nagel, Stephen Zimmer, David L. Burkhead, Serra Head, Doug Rollison, Ben Avery, Elizabeth Darvill, Debbie Gates
Description: Camelot in Indianapolis? Dragon wars in Ohio? Werewolves, mermaids, and ancient gods walking among us wherever we go? Dive into the increasingly popular subgenre of Urban Fantasy and learn from its creators!

Panel name: Crossing Genres
Times: Sat 01:00 pm – Sat 02:00 pm
Room: Salon B
Copanelists: James S. Dorr, Johannah Hupp-Clark, Keith R.A. DeCandido
Description: Our writer guests discuss how they weave horror, fantasy, and sci-fi elements together into their work.

Panel name: Marketing and Publicity for Small Press and Self-Published Authors
Times: Sat 05:00 pm – Sat 06:00 pm
Room: Salon B
Copanelists: Stephen Zimmer, Lou Harry, Hal Ames, Marc Gunn, Rosemary Laurey, Steven Marsh, Kate Chaplin
Description: A panel focused on workable ideas for the promotion and marketing of books by authors on small press publishers, and self-published authors. Low cost promotional items, public relations, online suggestions, and more would be covered.

Panel name: Writing Cross Genre Fiction
Times: Sat 06:00 pm – Sat 07:00 pm
Room: Salon B
Copanelists: James S. Dorr, Serra Head, Rosemary Laurey, Elizabeth Darvill, TammyJo Eckhart, PhD
No description

Panel name: Avatar
Times: Sat 09:00 pm – Sat 10:00 pm
Room: Salon A
Copanelists: Ronald Hawkins
Description: Return to Pandora, a world where Science and Fantasy collide to create an experience like no other.

Panel name: Candlelight Horror
Times: Sat 10:00 pm – Sat 11:00 pm
Room: Salon C
Copanelists: James S. Dorr
Description: Horror readings by multiple authors have been a staple at past InConJunctions. Usually starting at 10 p.m. and lasting up to two hours to Midnight.

Panel name: Writing: Mistakes Beginners Often Make
Times: Sun 10:00 am – Sun 11:00 am
Room: Main Programming
Copanelists: Matthew Barron, James S. Dorr, Lou Harry, David L. Burkhead, Johannah Hupp-Clark, Rosemary Laurey, Steven Marsh, Kate Chaplin, Keith R.A. DeCandido
Description: While no amount of form and polish can save a bad story, there are mistakes that can knock a story out of consideration before it ever gets to the editor’s desk. Learn how to avoid them.

Panel name: Novel vs. Short Stories
Times: Sun 02:00 pm – Sun 03:00 pm
Room: Salon A
Copanelists: Stephen Zimmer, Hal Ames, David L. Burkhead, Rosemary Laurey, Steven Marsh, Elizabeth Darvill, TammyJo Eckhart, PhD
Description: Mainstream publishers are running away from short stories but is that a reflection of what readers want? Come and share your opinion on whether novels or short stories are what you want to read.

I will be at my table between panels and all day Friday, so please stop by, say hello, and get signed copies of Skull Full of Kisses, Legends of the Mountain State 3, and other works. I will also have T-shirts and Mugs available while supplies last.

Hope to see you there! ;D

SPLICE (2010)


Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac
Written by: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, and Doug Taylor
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali

There are lines that should not be crossed. Moral lines. Ethical lines. Things that should not be tampered with, and societal taboos that should never be explored. This has been the basis for Sci-fi Horror since its inception at the hands of Mary Shelley. A little story named Frankenstein. Then, a new scientific discovery (electricity), in the hands of a mad scientist, created a now famous monster. Nearly two centuries later, SPLICE writer/director Vincenzo Natali has taken Shelley’s formula (substituted genetic manipulation), and has given birth to a creature most rare: the thinking person’s Horror film.

Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) are our modern day Dr. Frankensteins; smart and driven biochemists. They live together, work together, sleep together (under hugeAnime posters!), and they share their successes and their failures. Sure, they have their differences…Elsa listens to Industrial music, Clive prefers Jazz. He wears funny T-shirts under his lab coat, she goes for plain zippered hoodies. Clive wants to start a family, and Elsa…well, Elsa would rather let an artificial womb do the work.

And work it does.


The duo has succeeded in splicing the genes of countless animals and plants, creating hybrid creatures that resemble giant slugs. These slugs secrete enzymes that could lead to new medicines, new patents, and a lot of money. The company that funds Clive and Elsa’s research is happy as can be, but the scientists aren’t satisfied. No. They want to take their patented genetic soup and add one more ingredient…human DNA. (Gasp!)

When the short-sighted, public-opinion obsessed corporation says no (The fools!), Clive and Elsa go rogue and proceed with the experiment anyway. After a montage of failed attempts and technobabble, the duo have their Eureka Moment. The result is an odd, chicken-like creature, designated H-50. Clive immediately has second thoughts and wants to destroy it, but Elsa has other ideas.

She names it “Dren” (Nerd spelled backwards).

As Dren grows (at an excellerated rate, of course), she becomes more humanoid, forging a bond with her creators and the audience. She starts out cute and innocent, completing puzzles and IQ tests, vying for love and approval. But, as Dren matures into a young “woman,” she develops a strong will and a mind of her own. She tries make-up, sneaking out of the house, dancing, even sex, and she does not respond well to being grounded.

New parents Clive and Elsa find themselves unprepared to deal with a rebellious teenager, and, as the situation spirals out of control, their attempts at tough love have disastrous consequences.


Like its creature, SPLICE is something truly special.

Let’s start with the casting. Most Horror filmmakers go to the CW lot and grab the youngest, most perfect-looking up-and-comers to populate their movies. Not here. No, here we have Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody (The Pianist) and Oscar-nominated writer Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter). And these stars aren’t just doing a genre film to collect a paycheck. Not at all. They turn in stunning performances here, the weight of every decision clearly visible in their eyes and facial expressions.

And then there’s Dren. It would have been easy for the producers to have opted for a fully computer-generated creature, but, if they had, so much would have been lost. Without uttering a single word of dialogue, Delphine Chaneac makes us pity Dren and fear her at the same time. When Dren looks at her “mother,” then at her own reflection, we see the realization that she is “different.” When she scoops up a cat and pets it in the corner, we feel her loneliness. And when she flashes a smile, it can be cute one minute, chilling the next, and at times…very seductive.


Director Vincenzo Natali (CUBE) has delivered another brilliant study of the human condition. Right and wrong. Love and lust. Sane and insane. All are explored equally and without a heavy hand, leaving the viewer to make their own judgments. And, unlike recent by-the-numbers Hollywood offerings, you will be thinking about this movie long after you leave the theater.

As Sci-fi Horror films go, SPLICE is a cut above the rest, but the moral/ethical questions it poses recall the film of another Canadian: David Cronenberg’s brilliant remake of The Fly. That was more than twenty years ago. Yes, my friends, truly great Sci-fi Horror is a rare and wonderous thing indeed.

4.5 out of 5 stars.