The Orville, Con Man, and First Impressions in Comedy

photo by P.J. Schnyder

When it comes to comedy, I like to think I know what I’m doing. MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana, amidst its swashbuckling action and romance, indulged in some well-needed comedic scenes. The Case of the Singing Sword is my homage to mystery noir and epic fantasy, and takes great joy poking fun at both. The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences offers up intrigue, twisted tales, and cliffhanging moments. There are also moments of whimsy that steampunk allows.

And before my life in between a book cover, I was treading the boards bringing to life comedy from Christopher Durang and William Shakespeare and making laughs up as I went with the good people at ComedySportz.

So yeah, I know a thing or two about comedy.

This is why I was a little disappointed and somewhat troubled by the early reviews of The Orville, a new science fiction comedy from Seth McFarlane. When the trailer dropped, the hype was the The Orville looked more like Star Trek than Star Trek’s upcoming Discovery. Continue reading

The Big Question: What Is Steampunk?

While putting together The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences blog and hopping around from steampunk site to steampunk site, I noticed a similar page at current online resources that Pip and I needed for our own. I also thought this would be a nice kick-off for the blog tour that we will be undertaking between now and May to promote Phoenix Rising, a post that begins with the basics: What is Steampunk?

Depending on which website you visit, be it the Wikipedia entry (featuring our good friend and creative talent, Jared Axelrod in this photo by Kyle Cassidy, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0) or Steampunk.com, you will get a variety of answers and interpretations to this creative movement that has been growing in popularity, but also capturing mainstream curiosity.

So I put together for the Ministry a page that gave several descriptions of what we thought constitutes steampunk. So, when you hear me talk about it and you still remain curious as to what it is, I present an “elevator pitch” to start off with, eventually work up to the “deep dive” that not only touches on the foundations of the genre, but even touches on the debate making rounds online and at the cons. Continue reading