Friday, February 5, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Max Salnikov and Allaina Daniels

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina, we are proud to welcome Max Salnikov and Allaina Daniels.

Max Salnikov

My name is Maxim Salnikov and I’m a Russian-born, Hungary-based, English-language writer of games, novels, stories, and ad copy. I write under the pen name Tyro Vogel.

Max's Books:

Double Five: Ten Stories of Speculative Fiction

Tyro Vogel’s Extatica

Max's Links:


Allaina Daniels
Allaina Daniels

Allaina Daniels is an adoring wife and stay at home mom to two wonderful sons in South Georgia. She began writing because the people in her head gave her no other choice... they are quite bossy. When she is not chasing children, cleaning house, being a chef, nurse, or a crazed redhead... She enjoys reading, writing and paintball. She became an avid reader at an early age and never looked back. Her favorite genre is a mix of fantasy and paranormal although she has been known to occasionally read a straight romance.

Allaina's Book:

Infinity (book one of the Xandrian Circle)

Allaina's Links:


From Today's Show: NASA Opens Planetary Defense Office

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Monday's X-Files was Fun

(Okay, so it's Thursday. I DVR the X-Files and watch it when it's convenient.)

Monday's X-Files was hilarious. It was the type of episode I loved about the old X-Files. No conspiracies, no evil corporations (when is Hollywood going to get over that oldest of tropes?), just a fun mystery. It was alternately scary (at the beginning) and funny. I don't want to give anything away in case you haven't seen it.

I hope for more episodes like that one in the show's 6-episode run. But we'll probably have more conspiracies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a Commentary

I have waited a long time to write about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Mostly because I wanted to get my thoughts together.

***There may be spoilers.***

The Force Awakens hearkens back to the original three Star Wars movies. In fact, some have complained that in many ways it's a remake of Star Wars IV which I don't think is quite correct. There are parallels. There's a cantina scene, for example. But it goes a different direction than the one in Star Wars IV. There is a scene where a character looks over a desert town from a height, which echos Mos Eisley ("A wretched hive of scum and villainy"). I, frankly, think this was done on purpose as an homage to Star Wars IV. This is rather like in the Star Trek reboot where they have echos of original Star Trek episodes and movies.

Perhaps it was overdone.

And there was only one shot in the movie I thought that screamed "J.J. Abrams." Which was good. There are exciting sequences and it was fun to see familiar ships (such as the Millennium Falcon) in unfamiliar settings (flying around in a planet's atmosphere, for instance).

There's a few problems such as the new Death Star-like weapon (the size of a planet) sucked in all of the sun to power its main weapon (never mind the mass and energy problems with that), but there was still enough light to see a light saber battle.

I like that they humanized a storm trooper and I liked Finn.

But my biggest problem was (and this is going to piss some people off) Rey. If Rey had been a man, no one would have believe the character. Rey is amazing (unbelievably so). She does the Jedi mind trick with no training. She battles a trained Sith with a light saber, and doesn't immediately lose. Sure, she's probably Luke Skywalker's daughter, but even Luke needed Yoda.

And before that she expertly flew the Millennium Falcon, repaired it, and knew as much about it as Han Solo. And she'd apparently never been in it before she stole it, calling it a piece of garbage.

Now I like strong women characters (see pretty much any of my books). But Rey was too competent, too amazing, too good too fast. As I said, if she'd been a man, there's be howls of how unbelievable the character was.

I had other issues. The villain is weak, in my opinion, for one.

But, over all, I enjoyed the film. The action sequences were fun and I didn't find myself thinking, "Oh, that's CGI" instead of "oh, look at that cool thing." I loved the scene where X-wing fighters (slightly modified from the original films) skimmed along the water.

So if Rey had been more believable, and the villain stronger, the movie would have been better. But it was still a fun movie.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Elaine Calloway and M. Lachi

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Elaine Calloway and M. Lachi.

Elaine Calloway
Elaine Calloway

Elaine grew up in New Orleans with a love of cemeteries, gothic architecture, and all things paranormal. After journaling every day and writing quirky short stories for many years, she finally tried her hand at writing novel-length fiction and has never looked back. Readers particularly enjoy her Southern Ghosts Series, which includes 3 books at the moment—all of which have made the Amazon bestseller list in 3 categories each. She has 10 books planned for the series and then will write some offshoot tales. When she isn’t writing (when is that?!?) she enjoys photography and spending time with her family and very spoiled black lab.

Elaine's Books:

No Grits No Glory 

Ticket to Die

Krewe of Souls

Elaine's Links:


M. Lachi
M. Lachi

Apart from publishing novels, M. Lachi, author of The Ivory Staff, is an award nominated songwriter and composer.  Her resume includes features on Oprah Radio, CBS Radio, The CW, Oxygen, and the E! and Style Networks among others. M. Lachi lives in New York City and enjoys reading, composing and catching live performances. 

Lachi's Book:

The Ivory Staff

Lachi's Links:


From Today's Show: 3-D Printed Ceramic for Spaceships.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bad Passwords

I have decided the internet is impossible. To wit: you have to have different passwords for every site that requires them. The password needs to be random letters, numbers and symbols that don't spell a word. You have to change the passwords (all of them) every 30 days. And you can never write them down.

Humanly impossible.

But at least try, people.

Gizmodo put out a list of the most popular passwords on the internet. The number one password:


The second most popular password:


You can see the whole list at the link above.

If you don't want to be hacked at least try to have a good password. If I were a hacker, the first thing I'd try the the passwords on that top-25 list.

There is technology that will do this for you and all you have to remember is one password. At least make it a good one.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The X-Files is Back, I'm not Happy

Now I remember why I stopped watching the X-Files so long ago.

In case you've been living under a rock, the X-Files is back for a six-episode event that started Sunday. I missed it because I forgot about it. But a friend said it was available streaming from the Fox Website. So I watched it last night on my wife's iPad. By the way, the Fox streaming app is incredibly annoying. You have to watch the ads and unless you turn down your device, you have to hear the ads. And they run the same ads over and over and over again. They, at one break, ran an annoying promo for Empire three times in a row.

And I remembered why I stopped watching the X-Files. I loved the X-Files episodes about paranormal things. But when they got into the whole vast alien conspiracy thing, it turned me off.

You see, I don't buy conspiracies. From the JFK assassination (Oswald did it) to 9/11 truthers (no, it was not an inside job), I don't buy conspiracies. And the bigger the conspiracy, the less I buy it. Why? Because there's only one way to keep a secret between two people: one of them has to be dead. If a conspiracy requires 10 people to keep secret, someone will probably talk. If it requires 100 people, someone will talk. If it requires 1,000 people, lots of them will talk.

So this whole aliens/government conspiracy thing that the X-Files has at its core just annoys me. I can't suspend disbelief because it is so against my way of thinking. This is a huge conspiracy involving probably thousands of people. And no one went to the New York Times? For every Smoking Man there's a Snowden.

I'll watch the other five episodes, but I know it's going to raise my blood pressure to do so.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with PK Burian and Debbie Manber Kupfer

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome PK Burian and Debbie Manber Kupfer

PK Burian
PK Burian

PK Burian, is a published author with over 29 books specializing in the Young Adult Paranormal and Fantasy genre.  She has knowledge in most areas of the paranormal from Bigfoot to ghosts, and a great love for fantasy and mysteries. Mixing the paranormal with imagination, mystery, adventure, and suspense enables her to bring characters to life through own personal experiences.

Her daughter, ME Drewry, co-writer of the David Finkleman
MR Drewry
Paranormal Series, is a teacher by day and reader of Sci-Fi, Paranormal, and Fantasy by night.  PK and ME were brainstorming ideas for fundraisers for ME’s husband’s $1.2 million dollar double-lung transplant operation when they came up with the idea for a young adult paranormal ebook. PK and ME were huge fans of Jim Butcher’s, The Dresden Files book series and thought it would be cool if there was a teen Dresden-like character.  And that’s how David Finkleman and the David Finkleman Paranormal Series were born.

Recently they launched a three book series based on the character of David Finkleman, an undercover FBI wizard! The series is filled with magic, monsters, myth, mystical creatures, and mad love.

PK's Books:

David Finkleman and the Curse of the Gold 

A Race Car Named Dangerous 

Katie & Candy and the Terrible Turkeys 

PK's Links:


Debbie Mauber Kupfer
Debbie Manber Kupfer

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in London and lived in Israel, before somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a puzzle constructor and writer. She lives with her husband, two children, and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of P.A.W.S and Argentum and has short stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Shades of Fear, Winter Wishes, Sins of the Past, and Heroes & Villains. She also created the puzzle book, Paws 4 Logic together with her son, Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

Debbie's Books:



Will There Be Watermelons on Mars?

Debbie's Links:


From Today's Show: European Space Agency on the Moon.