Saw Jami Shuey at the Cinema the other night -- she was apparently getting over a cold, but was in as good a voice as ever. I bought 2 of her CDs -- one of them is free to the first person who sends me a street address at firstname.lastname@example.org asking for it. Listen to (at least) her song "Wrong Girl" over at her MySpace page first -- the CD's free to a good home, but make sure you like the sort of folk/country she sings before I send it off.
Finished the Underwood/Due/Barnes novel, Casanegra, and Matt Stover's Caine Black Knife. I'm not going to comment on Matt's book, except to say it lived up to my extraordinarily high expectations -- I'll talk about it at more length when it's available to be purchased, but he knocked this out of the park. It's the first of a trilogy, too.
Casanegra's a 3-person collaboration between Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due (spelled correctly) and Steve Barnes. It is on sale and it's the first book of a noir series about former gigolo, part-time actor and bodyguard Tennyson Hardwyck. It's a surprisingly touching novel for noir (Due's influence, maybe) -- the fight sequences are trademark Barnes, and I'm not even going to speculate about who wrote what in the really explicit and lengthy sex scenes -- this is the first noir novel I've ever come away from knowing the actual size of the viewpoint character's penis. (Who's based on Blair Underwood. Which means -- well, good for him.)
It's a successful collaboration, and I'm not a big fan of multi-author collaborations -- I always liked the stuff Barnes wrote with Larry Niven, but the 3-way collaborations he did with Jerry Pournelle and Niven always felt cobbled together -- I always thought I could spot which passage had been written by which writer, sometimes down to the paragraph. With a couple rare exceptions I can't do that here -- maybe it's the first-person voice that helps unify things, but I was never aware of dueling authors at any point. This is good stuff and I'm looking forward to the sequels -- I'm a sucker for stories that never stop moving, literary sharks, and this qualifies and still manages to glide through the grace notes that make you care about the characters -- early in the book Hardwyck tells his father, a heroic ex-cop who's had a stroke, that Hardwyck is going to take him out of a nursing home and care for him personally, at his house -- things go sideways, Hardwyck-the-screwup-son is in trouble ... and he has to call his father and tell him no, dad, I'm sorry: you're staying in the hospital. It's as wrenching as it sounds.
The last line is a nice grace note, too -- I was waiting for it, but credit to them for getting it right.
Apparently the sequel concerns the murder of OJ Simpson. That sounds interesting.
Saw Fantastic Four on Father's Day with my kids and two of my nephews. If you have small children, it's not a bad way to spend a couple hours. Otherwise I wouldn't bother, and I like the Silver Surfer.
According to Variety there's a Cowboys and Aliens movie coming -- this was the plot of my first novel, which I wrote when I was 16. It wasn't supposed to be a novel; it was supposed to be a short story about a man playing poker with an alien in the old west. But I didn't know how it ended, and it kept getting longer and longer and longer ... finally finished it several hundred pages of single-spaced text later. I've got a very-poorly-scanned copy on my hard drive -- it's awesomely bad, but I am eager to see the basic idea done by someone with (presumably) more competence -- anyway, I'll be there on opening weekend.