Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jack Vance dead at 96

Another literary giant and often unacknowledged progenitor of more pop-culture fantasy and RPG standards can be counted, Jack Vance, has died at the age of 96. Click here to read the obit on his official website.

Like Fritz Lieber and Robert E. Howard, Vance is another greatly under-appreciated American author who was not only a brilliant writer but whose work inspired vast creativity in others.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Debra Paget rules in 'Cleopatra's Daugther'

Cleopatra's Daugther (1960) 
Starring: Debra Paget, Ettore Manni, Erno Crisa, Corrado Pani, Andreina Rossi, and Yvette Lebon
Director: Fernando Cerchio
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

When Shila (Paget), Cleopatra's daughter, is forced to marry the mentally unstable Pharoh Nemorat (Pani) in order to unite Egypt's two kingdoms. But a scheming noble, Prince Kefren (Crisa), plans to eliminate both of them in order to take the throne himself. Will Shila's trule love, the Royal Physician (Manni) manage to save her?

"Cleopatra's Daughter" is an exciting fantasy film that probalby has as much to do with history as an average episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess", but it takes great advantage of its ancient Egyptian backdrop with great sets and gorgeous constumes. The acting is far above average for films of this type, with the voice actors who dubbed the film into English doing excellent jobs and the casting of the various parts being spot on. (Manni, as the heroic physician and Erno Crisa as the devious Kefren are paticularly excellent. Debra Paget, as the title character forced into the potentially lethal political marriage is also not great to look at, but performs with such charisma that one is constantly reminded of what film-lovers lost when she retired from acting in 1962 for married life with a Chinese millionaire..)

The film is also better paced than most of these Italian fantasy epics. Many of them tend to sag in the middle, or start to bukcle under the weight of too many subplots or bad comic relief. This one is solid from beginning to end, with just the right ratios of humor, action, suspense, and romance throughout to keep viewers engaged.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Epic Rap Battles of History. Vol. IV

Here are more best and most hilariosu rap battles between historical (or fictional) figures from Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd. These may, in fact, be the most epic of all the epic battles so far!

First up it's Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury.

 Then the giants of home computer take each other on--Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates

And, to close out this installment, it's a survey of modern Russian history

Friday, May 10, 2013

'Amazing Stories' to publish first fiction since 2005

Amazing Stories, the world's first science fiction magazine, has returned to publishing new fiction with the release of a substantial excerpt from Aurora Award-Winning author Douglas Smith's new novel "The Wolf at the End of the World"

Cover image for "The Wolf at the End of the World"
About his novel, Smith says, "Set in modern day Northern Canada, THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD is an urban fantasy incorporating First Nations mythology. With an introduction by World Fantasy Award winner, Charles de Lint, the book will appeal to fans of de Lint and Neil Gaiman. In it, a shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a series of murders that could mean the end of the world."

"The Wolf at the End of the World" is a sequel to Douglas’ award-winning novelette, “Spirit Dance".

"The Wolf at the End of the World" will be published this summer and is available for pre-order. A special discount is being offered to readers of Amazing Stories (sign up for a free membership on site).

To read the excerpt and for more information about Douglas Smith and his award-winning fiction, please visit, or visit Douglas Smith's website

Amazing Stories was re-launched in December of 2012 as a social network for fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror and features multiple daily blog posts written by the Amazing Blog Team, comprised of over 100 authors, artists, bloggers, editors and fans. Blog posts cover the entire universe of subjects of interest to fans - literature, film, television, comics, anime, science, audio works, art, collecting, pulps, fandom and more.

With the release of Douglas Smith's novel excerpt, Amazing Stories returns to the publication of fiction with an excerpt program. Two excerpts of new works will be published every month; featured works will initially be drawn from among the Amazing Blog Team members but the program will eventually open up to outside submissions.

The Amazing Stories xcerpt program joins its already-in-progress Space Art feature, a bi-weekly showcase of space art contributed by the members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

Membership in the Amazing Stories website is FREE. Every new membership directly contributes to the return of Amazing Stories as a fully-fledged professional market for science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Restaurant Review: Hong's Garden

It's been a while since I've written anything about food here, so let's change that shall we?

Hong's Garden Restaurant
Location: 64 Rainier Avenue, Renton WA, 98055
Type: Chinese, lunch and dinner menus
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Hong's was the second Chinese restaurant I went to after moving to Renton in 1997, and it's the only one still in business and/or under the same management. (I still weep for the loss of the Golden Coin in Tukwila.) 

With average prices and with decent portion sizes, Hong's has a full bar, a full-service sit-down dining room, and quick and easy take-out or pick-up service right at the front counter--where someone is always present to greet you. That someone is usually owner.

Hong's is a convenient place for me to get take-out when I don't feel like cooking. There's always plenty of parking, usually only a few feet from the door. Their are take-out menus available right when you walk in the door, for both lunch and dinner, and my order is placed within moments. I've never waited longer than 15 minutes for my take-out to be ready--I love the quick and painless in-and-out of the place.

I've had lunch in the restaurant on a couple different occasions, and the experience was satisfactory--although both were working lunches so I can't be too sound in my judgement, as I was paying more attention to business than enjoying my food. I did have a slight twinge of nostalgia each time, because the service and general ambiance of the place reminded me of some of the places I ate at regularly as a kid.

I've also spent a few hours at the bar, and my experience there was that the bartender was friendly and welcoming. She knew the names of all the regulars--of which, on that particular night, I was the only new face in the crowd--and she was on top of everyone's orders at all times. The prices for drinks were average for what I've paid at other places around town.

But I love Hong's mostly as a source of take-away dinner. Their various fried rice dishes are among my favorites from anywhere in the area, and I rank their cream of corn chicken soup among my favorite things to eat, period. Another favorite of mine is their egg foo yung; I've had all the varieties and each one was perfect, especially the gravy. Their sweet and sour pork and chicken are both a bit dry for my tastes, but the sauce is excellent.

So... if you're ever in Renton on Rainier Ave near the airport, stop in at Hong's. I think you'll be glad you did.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my birthday on Tuesday, May 7. I invite you to celebrate by having one of the following for dinne: Spaghetti with tomato sauce, ground beef, and peas, or sweet-and-sour chicken with pineapple over steamed rice, or curry chicken or beef with carrots over steamed rice.

You can also celebrate by drinking coffee with some variety of creamer in it. Lots of coffee with lots of creamer... something vanilla or chocolate flavored would be most suitable.

Also, as part of your celebration of my birthday, you can get yourself a present! From now until Midnight on May 7, all NUELOW Games products at RPGNOW and DriveThruFiction are 44% off. Click here to check out the nearly 100 items that can be yours for next to nothing!

Get yourself a present that's also like getting a present for me, because I get a tiny royalty on each product sold! (I recommend one of our Robert E. Howard anthologies if you haven't already checked them out. For something very different, you might also consider "The Sheik" by Howard & Hundal, or the poetry collection "Shadows of Dreams." It would be a fantastic birthday gift to me if one of those items ended up back on a best-seller list for a day or two.)

Of course, if you already have all of what NUELOW Games has to offer, or you just want to celebrate my birthday by getting me a birthday present, you can always order me something off my wish list. Or just get one of the items for yourself... it's all great stuff!

So... happy birthday to me! I hope we all have a great day! And please remember: I won't object if you buy me a present! Even if it arrives after my birthday. It's the thought that counts, right?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Best Epic Rap Battles of History, Vol. III

Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd continue to bring us the best rap battles history has ever known. And here's some of the best of the best for your enjoyment and edification. The line-up this time include:

Tesla vs. Edison

Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr.

Bruce Lee vs. Clint Eastwood