I’ve got a new movie review up today on Cinema Retro. Kirk Douglas in THE INDIAN FIGHTER, with Elsa Martinelli and Walter Matthau. Good western action with lots of Oregon scenery. Click here.

 

In time

Even rocks crumble

And love

Turns to dust.

The Horoscope of Donald J. Trump

Back in November I posted a blog here concerning President Donald Trump, suggesting that during the first eight months or so of his first term he would face extreme difficulties– so extreme I wondered if he would actually finish the term. I predicted that his most difficult time would come in late summer and suggested that his problems may become so numerous he may not be able to govern and would have to give up the White House. It seemed like a nonsensical prediction at the time, considering the high expectations his Republican supporters had after his shocking victory.  Now, with recent developments, including the firing of the FBI Director, new allegations he passed top secret classified information to Russian officials, and now potential charges of obstruction of justice, my earlier prognostication is beginning to seem less far-fetched.  But a look at upcoming transits in his horoscope indicates far more serious difficulties lie ahead both for Trump and the nation as well.

My earlier outlook was based mainly on the transits of Saturn and the aspects it makes to Trump’s horoscope.  I call Saturn, the Truth Planet. When it transits within aspect to the natal planets in your chart, it’s time for complete honesty regarding the particular aspect of your life that planet represents. He hands you your report card, rewarding you with A’s if you’ve done well or F’s if not. Between  Jan 1-14 Saturn made a pass over Trump’s natal Moon and opposed his Sun, the two most important planets in anyone’s chart. The Sun is your ego, your life force, your basic energy. The Moon is your personality, emotions, the unconscious.  Trump was born with Sun in Gemini, making him a communicator. He was born during a full moon, so his Moon is in Sagittarius, a fire sign. His emotions are very volatile, they go off like fireworks. He’s also very opinionated. The Sun, incidentally is conjunct Uranus, the planet of extreme individuality, if not eccentricism.  He wants do do things his way, and it’s usually a surprise whatever his way turns out to be.

Saturn’s transit to the Sun/Moon came around the time the first reports circulated that General Mike Flynn had met with and talked on the phone with Russian officials after President Obama announced the expulsion of Russian “diplomats” suspected of being involved in hacking the DNC and interfering in the election. Saturn moved forward in its orbit and passed that critical Sun-Moon opposition point in the President’s chart and after the Inauguration things quieted down. But there was fallout from the Saturn transit.  The evidence that Flynn had lied about his Russian contacts proved too much to ignore and he was forced to resign.

Saturn moved forward ,and things simmered down a bit, but due to a phenomenon known as retrogradation, on April 6 Saturn appeared to turn backward. Trump’s most difficult period was seen in my earlier blogs as the end of August, when Saturn in reverse, would grind to a halt exactly over his Moon, and within one degree of opposition to his Sun. Saturn will sit there for two or three weeks, moving forward slowly in September. This is a highly critical transit that threatens to paralyze the Trump Administration, as more and more revelations come to the surface. There could be impeachment proceedings.

But the situation is even more serious that that. On August 21, at the same time Saturn is in exact aspect to the Sun and Moon, there will be a total eclipse of the Sun, right on top of Trump’s Ascendant and his Mars. The Ascendant has several meanings, one of which is the mask that we all wear– the persona we adopt in order to get along in this world. An eclipse at this point could mean an unmasking, a tearing away of Donald Trump’s persona. Trump has a Leo Ascendant, and that is so obvious from the king-like way he presents himself to the world. His New York home, with its gold accoutrements, is almost palace-like in its appearance. In a way, he is kind of a modern-day, American pharaoh. Like the kings of ancient Egypt he wants power, and like them he has built huge monuments to himself in the form of big hotels that all bear his name. When an eclipse occurs the sun goes dark. It’s an ominous occurrence when it transits one’s Ascendant, especially a Leo Ascendant, which is ruled by the Sun.

There could be even more serious problems resulting from the eclipse. The Ascendant is the physical body. A solar eclipse there could indicate threats to him personally, either from sickness, accident, or violence. JFK, and Princess Diana booth were killed after a Solar Eclipse touched sensitive parts of their horoscope. All during the Summer as Saturn backs up Mars will be transiting through the 10th (Public Standing) 11th (Congress), and 12th (Self-Undoing) Houses. So while Saturn deals him one frustration after another, Mars will get more and more angry. His tendency to fly off the handle and do something out of the norm could bring serious consequences. Already in May, he somewhat rashly fired FBI director James Comey and met with the Russians in the Oval Office during Mars transits to his chart. There will also be troubling aspects to the nation’s horoscope as well in August. There are so many trouble spots in the world now. Take your pick. Korea, Syria, Afghanistan. It’s possible that anyone of these areas could ignite, and the U.S. could again find itself in another war.

If the President wants to avoid tragedy for himself and the nation, he should slow down, start to think before he acts, reduce his tendency to act on impulse. His best course is to gather some advisers and an experienced staff around him that can guide him through the coming months. He may be well-intentioned in his efforts to create better relations with Russia, but he needs someone around to set limits on how far he can go in that direction. Or it may be, as some suspect, that he’s involved too deeply with Vlad Putin and the Russian oligarchs. If that is the case, it will be uncovered, and his Administration will suffer for it. Let’s hope Saturn teaches him patience, and perspicacity so that war isn’t seen as an easy way out by an Administration that sees no other way out of its troubles.

I revisit Don Siegel’s EDGE OF ETERNITY today over on Cinema Retro— this time on Blu-Ray.

I’ve made it, gang! Look on the back cover of the Blu-Ray and you’ll see Twilight Time included a blurb from the original review I did when the film came out on DVD in 2014.

Don’t worry. I’ll still talk to you. Just have your people get in touch with my people first.

 

 

This Raygun FRONT high rez (3)April 22 is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the planet, enjoy the fruits of the earth, and preserve the environment. As part of that celebration, Flying W Press will make the Kindle Edition of “John M. Whalen’s This Ray Gun for Hire . . . and Other Tales,” available free over the Earth Day Weekend. What better way to save some trees?

Tomorrow and Sunday you can click on the link below and get a free Kindle of the book that Amazing Stories said was like “Tarantino writing space opera.”

“This Ray Gun for Hire” features nine stories that take place in the Universe that I created for “The Big Shutdown.” Five of the tales focus on Frank Carson, enigmatic hired gun working in the strange, noir world of the planet Tulon in the 22nd Century, where right and wrong are decided by how many Universal Credits you have in your bank account. The other stories tell of other characters who live in this grey world, including a millionaire who believed he could buy his daughter’s love until his past comes back to haunt him in the form of a young man seeking revenge for the loss of his own father. Another has two Anti-Grav Cycle-riding Highway Patrol Cops keeping the town of Carbonville safe from crime– it’s CHiPs in space!

This free offer is my way of saying thanks to all those who have have been foolish enough to encourage me to keep writing by buying and reading my books. And maybe, if you take advantage of the freebie, just maybe you might write a review of “This Ray Gun for Hire”  on Amazon afterwards. Reviews help a lot.  And, of course, it’s always possible that if you’ve never read any of my stories, once you read “This Ray Gun for Hire,” you might want to read some of the others. Who know? Stranger things have happened.

Have a great Earth Day! Here’s the link to Amazon. 

This Raygun FRONT high rez (3)

The first official review of the new book has just been posted on line. “This Ray Gun for Hire . . . and other Tales” got a really nice review from Amazing Stories Magazine. Reviewer Ricky L. Brown says: “If Quentin Tarantino wrote a western space opera, you would end up with something like John M. Whalen’s raucous “This Ray Gun for Hire . . . and Other Tales.” Not bad.

You can read the review here. 

There aren’t many films that really tell it like it is. “Man in the Wilderness” is one that does. It makes “The Revenant,” the Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar-winning film that is based on the same historical incident, look like greasy kid stuff. Read my review of this excellent film over on Cinema Retro. 

Just saw Rogue One and have to say I was disappointed. The screenwriters blew it. The first over two hours are filled with action on the ground, in the air and all over the place, but who is doing all this action and what it all means and where it fins into the Star Wars canon is not explained until the very end of the movie. And then its too late and you feel oddly guilty that you didn’t pay more attention. And your mind does tend to wonder during the movie.

It’s an odd mistake but I guess this crew doesn’t know one of the basic rules of story telling. Some writers think that withholding information keeps the viewer or reader watching or reading in order to find out what’s going on. Wrong. It only confuses and irritates the audience.

And I’m really tired of hearing about the force being with whoever. In this one there’s a new mantra. “I am one with the force and the force is one with me,” or some such gibberish. Gagh.

This Raygun FRONT high rez (3)“This Ray Gun for Hire. . . and Other Tales,” has been available now in print and e-book from Amazon for a couple of weeks. Initial reaction has been good so far. Not great, but it usually takes a while for sales to pick up– especially, I’ve found, with science fiction. My weird west stuff sells pretty well and steadily. But cracking the sci-fi market is another matter. “The Big Shutdown,” for example, has been pretty sluggish, frankly. The problem I think is that sf is such a big genre.  It’s hard to get any attention for your work, there’s so much out there to compete with. Weird West is a small niche by comparison. Easier to make a mark there.

But now that “This Ray Gun for Hire” is out a few people have asked where the stories in this collection came from. I indicated in the book that some of the tales were originally published in different e-zines and anthologies, including Raygunrevival.com and http://www.spacewesterns.com, both of which are no longer in business. Here’s a little more detail.

Four of the five stories that feature ray-gun-for-hire Frank Carson were originally published in Raygun Revival,  an ezine run by Overlords Johne Cook, L.S. King, and Paul Christian Glenn that was published online somewhere between 2006 and 2012.  It was a cool publication to which some very good writers contributed. It was well thought of while it existed and it was a great place for writers just starting out. The Overlords were great people and L.S. King in particular a very good editor. Johne Cook was and is a huge “Firefly” fan, but I’ve never held that against him.

The title story, “This Ray Gun for Hire,” “Alexander the Great,” “Where the Space Pirates Are,” and “Forever Eden” all appeared in Raygun. The fifth story in the book, “The Tuqamari” has never been published before. It was almost published in Ray Gun Revival, but never made it because of a change in ownership. The new owner, some dickhead whose name I can’t remember, thought he shouldn’t publish my story since I was and had been on the staff as a slush reader. The Overlords wanted to run it but the new boss said no. Anyway, it’s all for the good, because now, finally, readers get to enjoy a new Frank Carson adventure. Three cheers.

“Forty Miles from Carbonville,” originally appeared in an anthology called– well I won’t tell you what it was called. It’s out of print now and no longer available. Thank God! It was a terrible book. Not that the stories in it were bad. But it was published and edited by a guy who had no interest in correct punctuation, formatting, or spelling. The thing was a shambles. I submitted a print copy of it to a book review editor and he laughed in my face, saying he’d never seen anything that badly produced. My contribution, “40 Miles from Carbonville,” however, is actually a pretty good story, if I say so myself. It is set in the same universe as the Carson stories, which by the way take place in the same world as “The Big Shutdown” my science fiction novel.  All these tales are sort of connected, you might say. In a way, “This Ray Gun for Hire” is kind of a prequel to Shutdown.

The three remaining stories in the book were initially published on Spacewesterns.com, which was, like Ray Gun Revival, another place to find good sf stories with solid writing by quite a few good authors. Spacewesterns ran from 2006 to 2009. Nathan E. Lilly was the editor/publisher and he was really good at picking stories, and editing them. I owe him a lot for the way “The Hard Deal” turned out. He had helpful suggestions and a lot of patience through the rewrites. The result was one of my best stories. At least I’ve heard from others it’s one of my best. Maybe you’ll let me know after you read it. “Rage for Justice,” and “Green River Rain” also were in Spacewesterns. As you might have guessed, these stories are actually spacewesterns unlike the Carson stories, which I call sci-fi noir for want of a better term. I know some people might argue with that designation, but hey! It’s my book, I can call them whatever I want.

You know it’s unfortunate that websites and zines like Raygun and Spacewesterns no longer exist. It seems that, even though it wasn’t that long ago, it was a different world back then. There were more online publications, and a more open-door attitude toward what is and isn’t science fiction, as well as a more welcoming atmosphere for new writers than there is today.  I’m no expert. I can’t define SF, I’m just a story writer. But the lack of publications like these must make it hard for new writers to get into print. In the end, that’s bad for the future of science fiction.

I’ll wrap this up by saying “This Ray Gun for Hire” is a tribute to those bygone days and to the editors and publishers of that time, even the ones who couldn’t spell.

 

Dreams. People make a big deal out of them. Last night I dreamed I was a guest in Mitch McConnell’s house. We were watching his big screen TV and I kept thinking how much McConnell looks like a turtle. Then a young man obviously loony as a mother came in with a handgun and started pointing it at our heads, asking if we wanted to play Russian Roulette. Mitch told him to calm down. The guy put the gun in my face and I saw him squeeze off and I woke up. Sounds weird but does it mean anything? Why was I in Mitch McConnell’s house? Is there some deep pscyho-political meaning hidden in the dream?

My Grandpappy used to say dreams come from something you ate the night before. Well, before I had the dream I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad stomach ache. Ate some ham the night before that was probably spoiled. Got up, took some Tums, and went back to bed. Turned on the TV and went back to sleep. When I woke up Morning Joe was on. If Grandpappy was right I’d say the dream was probably a combination of spoiled ham, and Morning Joe on TV while I slept. For all I know McConnell might even have been on as a guest. Maybe that’s how he got in my dream. Nothing too mysterious there. But who was the guy with the gun? And why did he want to shoot us? And why RUSSIAN roulette?