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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Third Highest-rated Comic Book Movie Ever? Why? #WonderWoman #Review #comicbookmovie #Spoilers

Third Highest-rated Comic Book Movie Ever? Why? #WonderWoman #Review #comicbookmovie #Spoilers

So, I just saw Wonder Woman (#WonderWoman), and after reading online that it was not only good but that it was the third highest-rated comic book movie ever, I had high expectations. However, I also had to temper them knowing that this was another DCEU film and that they are three films deep into this thing and it has yet to get on the right track. But were the critics right? Did DC and Warner Bros. Finally right the ship, or is all of this talk of this film being good total bunk? Keep reading to find out.

Let me first start by saying that I absolutely called this a year or even more ago (it was either in a Suicide Squad review or in my Batman v. Superman review, I can’t remember. Although, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever posted my Suicide Squad review. I’m too busy to remember these things, and this parenthetical is already running too long, so...). What, you ask, did I call? The good movie reviews. I knew this was going to be a movie that you had to judge not just for what is on the screen but for all the things going on outside of the film, mainly politics and big money. I also called that this would be the first “successful” DC film as far as critics go. And, I even called some of the headlines that literally read: “Wonder Woman Shows the Men How to Do It” and “Of Course A Woman Would Save the DCEU.” OK, those are paraphrased or off by a few words, but I guarantee you can find those types of headlines all over the internet and in various publications. Remember, I called this before ever seeing the movie because I knew, regardless of whether the film was good or not, it was going to get a majority of good reviews. Why? We all know why, but before you push me aside and say I’m being sexist, hear two things: first, know that I’ve been pretty right on a lot of my predictions about the DCEU (still don’t know why we call it that instead of the DCCU) even dating back to Man of Steel, but that was before I had this blog and you couldn’t possibly know that so... Second, while I have been known to make plenty of remarks that can be construed as sexist, I am not, in any way, against female superheroes nor against Wonder Woman. And third—or, wait, did I say just two things? I meant and second part deux, while most of my criticism has nothing to do with the superhero being a woman, some of it does have to do with the fact that I still would like to write (read: reboot) the DC universe and do some Superman movies and a Justice League movie of my own, and know that the success of this current iteration may stand in the way of that if they decide to continue in perpetuity. Gahh! OK, we ready? We all good? Let’s get to it.

Do not believe the hype, Wonder Woman has fixed almost nothing in the DCEU. And, while I hate to say this let’s get this out of the way first before I level my criticism: yes, most of the reviews stem from the fact that she is a woman superhero, which has caused many critics and fanboys to overlook some of the film’s glaring mistakes. There, now with that said, let’s take the sexism blinders off and start looking at the film through the lenses of being the “third highest-rated superhero/comic book movie of all time” and being a “DCEU film.” We’ll start with the same criticism that some feminist might say to me: “Oh, if it was a guy, you’d love the film.” No, I would not. In fact, I know this unequivocally because it is essentially the mash-up of two other male-driven superhero films: Man of Steel and the first Captain America. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Captain America, however, a lot of people didn’t and I understand why. But we can’t take some of the same criticisms we had of those films and completely ignore them here.

Women Warriors! Loved The Look. Story Is Flawed

For starters, at the beginning of Man of Steel and Wonder Woman, we see life as it is on the planet/island/realm from which our hero/heroine originates. I like that Themyscria is given some screen time, however, unlike in Man of Steel, I never quite felt as immersed in the island and its culture. To me, unlike in Man of Steel (which, I thought Krypton was one of the best parts of that movie), we don’t get as much world building and what we do get feels lackluster. OK, there’s some kind of hierarchy and they spend all their time training and fighting all day, but that’s about it. Not only do we not get great world building, the rules of the film are hardly defined here. I know, they did that little cartoon history lesson (again, just like in Man of Steel) to show how the island came to be, but everything went so fast, I only half-paid attention.

The rules? Right. As I was saying, while they are on the island I never get a full understanding of who the Amazons are. So, in that history story we have the gods, right? And we have the people. Did Zeus make a secondary race between gods and people in order to keep people from killing themselves and that’s what the Amazons are? Again, if we are just talking about the film and NOT the comics which are filled with lore and answers for every question, the film doesn’t properly answer this, because if they are just normal people, then how do they live so long? Does that island-protection spell also have something to do with keeping them ageless? Or has time stopped on the island? I just, I don’t understand. Assuming that they fought this great war back when Greeks ruled the world, that would make the island and every inhabitant thousands of years old, including Diana, right, because Zeus is dead and the last thing he did was make Hippolyta’s clay daughter Pinocchio to life. And if it wasn’t during Greek reign, then when (and why are they dressed akin to Greeks)? Or does the film technically start during ancient days (remember, historians, Greeks ruled even before Romans so we’re talking 3000 years ago here) and Diana slowly grows over the course of 100s of years? And for that matter, since she is the only child on the island, how is she the only one aging?

I hope by this time you’re starting to see that a lot of my criticisms really aren’t going to be sex-based. Granted, you can say that this criticism was a nit-pick but it really confused me because of Batman v. Superman. In that movie, Diana is shown once again not to have aged since World War I. And while we know that Captain Steve Rogers in Captain America was put into a deep freeze that the super-soldier potion allowed him to live through into modern day, we are given no standard by which Diana ages neither on the island nor in the world of man. However, maybe she returns to the island in-between the end of Wonder Woman and Batman v. Superman, which could explain her absence during Man of Steel. If we think of it that way, then she only pops out every few years or so as a vacation into man’s realm, just so she can be seen on camera because the island itself is magic.

I wish the island criticism stopped there but it doesn’t because while I can piece together how Steve Trevor just happened to fly through the island’s barrier after it had remained hidden after however many years—Diana smacking her arm bracelets and sending out that power wave—I can’t, for the life of me figure out why it was so easy to kill these women. Again, what the hell are they? If they’re gods, how weak of them. If they’re demi-gods, same thing. If they’re just regular humans on a magical island, then shouldn’t the island have more magical stuff that could heal them from things like gunshots and whatnot? I know, a gun is a gun, but you see them all training for so long, so many years, and suddenly the slaughter is on when a tiny brigade of men come? Really? Really? So, in other words, ladies, you can work your ass off, get all the education you want and could possibly ever need, do everything right for years and as soon as you’re up against a man for anything, you’re never going to be good enough? Maybe that is the artistic point they’re trying to make there, an ironic commentary on real-life women routinely getting passed up for positions they are qualified for, and if it is, then I can accept that. But I also wish they had done it in a better way that set clear boundaries as to what these women can and can’t do. With Superman, while you’ve always had some abilities ambiguity, Krypton has always been portrayed as a planet with a bunch of regular people. Superman, therefore, gets his powers from our yellow sun and hasn’t been born with them. The whole Wonder Woman movie (before the end, which I could have guessed even if I didn’t know anything about the comics), I kept thinking to myself after that beach scene, “Why don’t they just shoot her? Just shoot Wonder Woman. Two to the gut and this’ll be over.” And not at her like all the gunmen did, but actually shoot her. Catch her from the back or in the leg. Her shins may have been guarded but her thigh was out and easily shot. But I digress.

Moving on, in this opening we get the textbook definition of, “Well, it’s not OK when I do it, but you can do it all you want?” that men and women have complained about to each other since the dawn of this current society's feminism. For years, we’ve heard a chorus of people say that little boys should be admonished for wanting to rough-house and seek out rather violent ways of expression. We’ve had articles on how little boys playing warriors or cops and robbers, or playing violent video games is wrong and it reinforces “the patriarchal archetype of boys wanting violence,” yet in this film, Diana explicitly wants violence as a child. Unlike, say... Rey in Star Wars, she doesn’t just want to go out to explore beyond her island home, she is looking to conquer. She is born and raised in a fight culture that glorifies battle and whose sole purpose is to train and ready themselves for a war against man and Ares.

Now, while this criticism is overtly sexist, I have to also mention that some of the critics and fans didn’t like the first Captain America because of Steve Roger’s lust for war. Even though he wanted to go to WWII in order to help his brothers, some saw it as a lust for violence, which is the same thing Diana has here and throughout the movie. There literally is no other motivation, save for to murder.

Speaking of murder, this movie has the same exact problem that made so many critics hate Man of Steel: the death toll. Granted, maybe at this point in time we’ve gotten so used to our heroes killing people that we’ve become numb to it, but if that is the case, then I contend that we need to all go back and re-view Man of Steel in this light because it could change the entirety of how we view the film. In a universe where both Batman and Superman kill (two superheroes who were always determined not to kill at any cost), I thought maybe Diana would take the lead here and show the boys how it was done. But no. Yes, Diana is a warrior but again, why is it OK for her to kill at will and cause destruction but not any other superhero? We are shown a few scenes in which she slices the throats of some of the Nazi soldiers; she shield-bursts through a sniper’s tower (very similar, albeit fewer victims, to Superman and Zod bashing into buildings), and stabs through the guy who she thought was Ares all Terminator 2 style (remember that final scene where T-2 stabs Arnold through, then Arnold has to pull the rod out? Totally reminded me of that). And this, of course, is after the beach slaughter.

 Granted, it’s war and people do die, but the whole point of superheroes was for them to be better than regular heroes like soldiers and firefighters. Batman didn’t kill Joker, even though he was evil incarnate. Superman wasn’t supposed to kill Lex Luthor even though, again, he was a bad guy. Wonder Woman? Eh! Kill whoever you want, they’re just Nazis.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, we have to hear her run around the entire movie talking about how badly she wants to “kill” Ares. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “kill” in a superhero movie that often, and especially not coming out of the mouth of the superhero. The villain, sure. But the hero (heroine) having a killgasm like that? No. As an aside, I thought this was actually bad writing as they couldn’t come up with another word other than kill? Even Deadpool had other ways of saying what he wanted to do.

And one more thing about the murder rate in this thing, that end scene where she goes all hell-hath-no-fury on all of those soldiers either proves my killgasm point or is the worst, most blatant, “See? They’re really not dead and all is well,” cover-up since Batman v. Superman’s line about “luckily downtown is empty and everybody’s gone home for this death battle with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Doomsday.” This woman was lifting up tanks and exploding through buildings just a scene ago. You’re telling me that when she loses her cool and can’t control her rage, her punches and kicks aren’t killing soldiers? Give me a break.

Then there are the characters. Steve Trevor is... sigh. To me, he was very one note. I liked the scene in which he and Diana are talking in the baths and he talks about his father. And I also liked the boat scene (though, I have gripes about that one too), but other than that, I found a lot of his scenes ushering on the movie. There was a lot of, “OK, Diana, we have to go. No, we can’t do that, we have to be here. Now we have to be here.” It felt more like he was a theater-house usher than a real character. And that dancing scene felt charmless to me. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not a fan of Chris Pine as he is also just OK to me in Star Trek. So, I’ll leave it at that. I suppose I can buy the romance between them. And also, what was he? I missed it when he said his rank and all of that. I know he’s a spy, but was he supposed to be American working with Brits? It just stood out because everyone else in the film has a thick accent, then he doesn’t. Confusing.

Anyway, the other characters were fine, albeit forgettable. I did find the scene between Diana and the Native American ironic, but I’m not going to waste time explaining why. But moving to the villains, well... sigh. To me, they were actually quite useless, almost as useless as most Marvel villains. I felt like Danny Huston’s character (can’t even remember his name he was so pointless; the general dude) was literally thrown into the movie as a red herring for the sake of having a red herring. Look, I don’t know the history of that particular character, so when I’m watching the film I want something explained to me. Why the hell is he taking that pill/capsule? Who was he really? And how did that capsule “restore him” or whatever? You see what I mean when I say red herring? He was there solely so you could think he was Ares. For a film that was touted as “reinvigorating the comic book genre,” I found this to be wholly unoriginal and uninspired. I didn’t even see the point of his evil, which is really hard to do with a character that is a Nazi. In comparing him to Red Skull, we at least knew that the red guy had other plans that superseded even the Furor’s and would continue regardless of what happened with the war. Here, does Huston’s character want to rule the world, is a psychopath that likes killing people for the sake of it, or what? He doesn’t seem to sway strongly either way. He doesn’t even seem to have a seething hatred for the enemy, he’s just... there, because why not?

Again, Huston’s character is there for the sake of throwing you off to think that he is Ares. A braver, smarter idea would have been to make Ares’ character genderless or gender-ambiguous in the opening story so that then they could have the doctor lady be suspected as Ares, only to have it be the British bloke or vice versa. I have not and will not ever understand women (and some men) who argue against a female superhero having a female villain to fight. The question of “why can’t they fight a man” is stupid to me. Yes, they can fight a man but when thinking about casting a film and the roles in a film, there are so few female villains, you’d think that Wonder Woman would have a strong one. Especially considering that villain roles are so often described as being some of the best, juiciest roles. Cate Blanchett looks absolutely wicked in the Thor: Ragnarok trailers and the female villains on ABC’s Once Upon A Time are so sinfully good. If the chemist woman was the main villain throughout most of the film, it would have made for a braver narrative. Instead, they had her as a secondary villain character, then are foolish enough to not even have a single scene of meaningful interaction between her and the heroine. And if you wanna talk patriarchy, Wonder Woman, after being raised in a matriarchal society, still somehow sees the evil woman as the delicate, helpless victim. And she spares her. Are you serious? “Yo, I’mma kill all these dudes because, you know, men are disposable and that’s what soldiers do, they die, but as soon as I see one woman, I’ve got to come to my senses and claim that love defeats all.” How is this any different than that Man of Steel family-at-the-museum scene that so many people hated? Seriously? The only difference is that Wonder Woman, unlike Superman, gets to actually say her piece on why she believes the villain is wrong, and uh... of course, it’s got somethin’ to do with love. But with that said, I believe Ares was pretty good for the tiny bit of screen time he had as the revealed villain. In fact, I dare call the performance inspired. Were he to have stayed around he could have been DC's Loki, but instead we are left with the sniveling Lex to fill that position, so... yeah.

While I thought that the linear storytelling was good this time around as opposed to Man of Steel’s time jumps, I still felt that the pacing was off here. There were huge swaths of this movie in which nothing of importance really happened. How many scenes do we honestly need of Trevor explaining the ravages of war to Diana? And the climax felt clunky and more distracting than anything as they switched back and forth between Wonder Woman and the others trying to stop the planes. It felt like they didn’t stay with one for longer than a minute at a time, which more so distracted than intensified the tension. It felt very much like how they kept cutting away from the Doomsday battle to show Lois being useless and the military being useless in Batman v. Superman. Hell, even the scene in which they’re trying to dress her goes on for too long. I can’t believe that a shopping montage went on for too long, yet it did. It blows my mind. But again, I digress.

Now, there are a ton of other nitpicks that I can make that I’m sure will one day be pointed out on CinemaSins, so I’ll just run through them here. First off (and this is definitely a personal nitpick), why do all of the superheroes now suddenly have their costumes just lying around? And more importantly why are the costumes always the exact colors that just happen to align with America? “Oh, we’re going to fight on the Allied side of WWI? I just happen to have a red, white and blue costume ready to go (I know it red, gold and blue but you get the point). Oh, I’m Superman and I’m from another planet? I just happen to have a blue jumpsuit with a red cape. How coincidental those are American colors.” Face-palm! Again, this movie was touted as being refreshingly new and invigorating to the superhero genre, yet... Just like in Man of Steel we get a, “Noooo!” scene at the death of a key character; just like in Man of Steel we get a strange apocalyptic vision/dream sequence in which the real villain shows our hero/heroine the world that could be (sans the cool skull sinkhole); we literally even get the same shot/plot point of a character long-diving off of a structure and going into water (Jor-el did it in Man of Steel, Diana does it on the island to go save Trevor; we have no hidden identity (Trevor was always meant to know but he then proceeds to tell everybody who will listen what kind of a wack job he’s traveling with); we get the destruction of a small town (like Smallville); we get a clip of our heroine walking through fire at the end (like when Clark saved the oil rig); we get an alley fight to show that Diana can still be a badass even when dressed in office clothes (ala Captain America); we get someone dying in and/or exploding in a plane (ala Captain America and Man of Steel with Meloni’s character being sucked into the phantom zone/drive thing); we get literally the same scene but in reverse in which the main villain is dressing for the final fight (in Man of Steel, Zod shakes off his spacesuit armor piece by piece to reveal an all-black under-suit, whereas in Wonder Woman Ares assembles his armor piece by piece into an all-black exo-suit); just like in Man of Steel, our hero/heroine must destroy/kill/defeat the last remaining person of their race (Zod and Kal-el are the last remaining Kryptonians; Diana and Ares are the last remaining gods, though Diana is a demi-god), and finally we get no clear definition of a code of honor or what the hero lives by. And this is still discounting the flaws that her powers, for the most part, go undefined (so, she can be cut by a regular blade but never sustains any other damage? I mean, her hair isn’t even tousled at the end); Zeus’ powers also go somewhat undefined (so, a god can just make other gods without doing the, uh... you know? Or is it only demi-gods he can create from virtually nothing?); and she essentially, has the exact opposite origin of Superman (so, where Kal-el was the only child born from natural “make-sex” ways, bucking the trend of genetic engineering, Diana is the only child engineered from clay and given life by a god. Yes, it takes a very subtle amount of massaging, but they’re virtually the antithesis of each other). But this is one of the highest-rated comic book movies of all time? Then what is Man of Steel?

What’s my grade? I give it a slightly higher grade than Batman v. Superman, a C+. Listen, there is no way that this movie is anything other than average. Was it OK? Yes, but it does not deserve to be rated as one of the top three great comic book movies of all time, and that did, unfortunately, influence my grade. If we’re even going there, the general list should start off in no particular order: Superman, Superman II, The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Batman and Iron Man. But because it’s Wonder Woman and there’s a woman lead, there’s a glossiness here. To me, the gloss is made even worse by people saying that it’s the first female-led superhero movie, forgetting about Elektra and Catwoman. Hell, that is almost as big of a slight as those Hollywood execs who, every three years or so, claim “women-led films don’t make money” forgetting about Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?, Misery, Aliens, Sixteen Candles, The Hunger Games, a ba-thousand horror films in which women play both canon fodder and heroine routinely and on and on. And the worst thing is that I know this will happen just the same when Black Panther comes out. Suddenly, everyone is going to forget about Blank Man, Meteor Man, Steel and Spawn, and claim, “Oh my god, it’s the first black superhero.” No, he is not. No, she was not.

I will, however, give them some credit because they did improve on some of the humorous elements, although that boat scene between her and Trevor almost epitomized the argument that some men and boys make against rape culture claims. Dressing how you want is one thing and I wouldn’t stop you from doing that, but don’t badger a guy to sleep next to you, talk about sex in innuendo fashion or otherwise, and then expect nothing to happen or for him to not have mixed signals. It just really made me feel uncomfortable because it’s telling both young girls and boys that courting/engaging in that kind of behavior is fine when neither of you should be putting yourself in a situation where something you don’t want to happen could happen. The conversation should literally have been, “Why don’t you want to sleep right next to me?” “Because you’re a woman and I’m a man. Period.” There’s nothing to argue about there. Don’t try to test him or his manhood by challenging him to do what you want, but I digress. I thought that the CGI was adequate and the acting was OK. Yes, I do still think that Gal has a lot of room for improvement but I thought she was bolstered by the cast of bit players and middling stars. Nobody in the cast was such a huge star that they outshined her just by being on the screen, not even Chris Pine who could often melt into the background.

While I will say that it is criminal that Patty Jenkins hasn’t gotten another film to direct since Monster, after watching this, I actually thought that this was the picture Zack Snyder wanted to direct more than anything. A lot of people kept saying after Batman v. Superman that Batman was more his style because of the darkness, but Wonder Woman was definitely his thing. If you look at the film, it has literally every hallmark of a Snyder film. It had the opportunity to be as dark as it wanted to be because it was a war film; had the blood and sandals style of 300; used the same type of slow-mo shots; followed a warrior who literally could kill anyone she wanted to; had a group of people protecting themselves from the encroaching evil that lurks just beyond their borders ala Dawn of the Dead; and like that Dawn of the Dead movie, has a band of misfits that come together to survive as they also wade through dangerous territory. You look at all of his films and he’s always done better with a bigger cast, rather than focused on one star and a bunch of supporting characters, whether that be in Dawn, 300, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Watchmen or Sucker Punch. Focusing on darker world building was always his thing. That, however, does not make me more hopeful for Justice League.

I still think that it is as I predicted when I said that Wonder Woman would be accepted by most: Justice League will return to mediocrity for critics, there will not be a Justice League part 2 (at least not for a while), there won’t be a Man of Steel 2, they’ll continue for two more sequels with Wonder Woman, and they’ll have only one other successful character, but all the other plans will languish in development hell (currently, my bet on the other character is Aquaman but I reserve the right to see Justice League before calling it). In fact, I believe that the reason why they even chose WWI was to specifically distance Wonder Woman from the rest of the shared universe. They did everything they could to make it its own film completely apart from the JL universe. Yes, some will argue that they stayed true to the roots by using one of the world wars, but they could’ve chosen any war. The world has been in wars and conflicts ever since the fall of the British empire. They could’ve chosen the Vietnam or Korean war or et cetera, but we got WWI, and I partially think another reason the film rated so high is because critics love war films. For whatever reason, war films tend to almost always rate extremely high.

Just remember, folks, that these movies are based highly on the box office and while Marvel has cranked out the billion-dollar films, DC has yet to get one. But again, take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt as I always wanted to do a Superman and Justice League trilogy which look less and less likely as they keep on this path. Still keeping hope alive to write the Captain Planet film, though. Oh, and no, WB does not get credit for giving this film to a woman to direct. No congratulations for doing what you’re supposed to do, but I’ll definitely look at you sideways if you don’t at least add a female writer to Allan Heinberg for the sequel.

Oh, and just before I get outta here, I’d like to say that I was a little disappointed in the soundtrack as it played in the movie. I expected a little more, but... I don’t know. I don’t understand why they didn’t go with Junkie XL for this. Yes, I know he is doing Justice League, but he worked on WW’s theme for Batman v. Superman, it just seemed like he’d do all of the films and take over for Zimmer. I don’t know. Haven’t listened to the soundtrack raw and on its own yet, so I’ll probably be wowed by it there but it didn’t pull me further into the movie.

What do you think? Have you seen Wonder Woman, and if so, how did you like it? Did you see some of the many similarities between it and the other movies I mentioned? Do you think it is really deserving of the title of one of the greatest comic book movies of all time? And do you think this bodes well for the rest of the DCEU? Also, do you think this iteration of Wonder Woman can fly? Because I’m really confused by that. In BvS she was about to leave the city on a plane, right? But in this film, it looked like in the final battle she might have been flying a few times, or just had some serious hang time on her jumps. Anyway, let me know in the comments below.

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary OUT NOW. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “We’re gonna solve this thing with love, damn it! And if that doesn’t work, we’ve always got fists.”

P.S. So let me get this straight, Batman’s got a gun and loves running people over; Superman enjoys snapping a neck or two; and Wonder Woman’s got a sword and shield that she totally uses to slice through necks and stab through people, yet we’re only outraged by the first two? Really? Hmph! Interesting.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Extraordinary Season 1 Preview #FreeComicBookDay #Serial #Extraordinary #Sci-Fi

Extraordinary Season 1 Preview #FreeComicBookDay #Serial #Extraordinary #Sci-Fi

So, in honor of Free Comic Book Day, I thought I'd share the first act of my new episodic novel series, Extraordinary. The first three episodes will be out tomorrow for purchase on Amazon Kindle. Click the Amazon link at the bottom of this post to get to more of my works. Hope you enjoy.

The Tease:

Extraordinary, in its first season will follow a small group of 16 people (I know, it seems like a lot but by the end of the season you'll know most of them intimately and have your favorites) in a not-too-distant future where Mars is hardly the space darling it used to be. Instead of obsessing over Mars, scientists and space-enthusiast alike have looked just beyond the red planet to a solar system anomaly referred to as The Eye. A wormhole that defies certain theoretical physics while supporting other theories, The Eye provides not only the next jewel for galactic fascination, but it becomes a portal to another world. An alien world. It is here that Colonel Nelson Corman makes a daring escape from the clutches of an insect-like race of aliens, jetting back through the stars to earth, determined to warn us all. His warning: Aliens soon shall come.

A dire warning, only a select few hear this. They set on a mission to change the world for the better before the aliens, good or bad, arrive to earth. But to do this, they'll need volunteers.

Enter Michael, one of the unappointed leaders of the group of volunteers for a strange new study by a company named Paradigm. He, along with 12 others, is chosen after a less-than-extensive search for desperate people in need of cash. A little daughter and ex-wife to support, he tries to do right by his family but finds that he must sink to low paths in order to get there. Little does he know just what Paradigm has really done to him and the others.

Think of Extraordinary in the same vein as the ABC series Lost or Stephen King's The Stand. You will see multiple stories from each character as they carve out their identities, and all experience this life-transforming happening together. It does have an adult tone so it will be rated for a mature reader. Reader's discretion is strongly advised (that means cursing, substance use and the like).

Note: the numbers are page numbers that will be properly worked into the completed format on Amazon. And now for your sneak preview. Enjoy!. 

Extraordinary achievements mark man's passage of time upon this earth. From wallowing in a sphere of dust and water, to blasting into the highest reaches of the firmament. Still, more achievements lie ahead. Yet, with all of the impossibles made elementary, many questions remain. What awaits beyond the sky magnificent? Will we ever truly etch our place into the stars? And if earthly trappings bind us only to here, to this rock, what will the limit to our potential be? Will we ever become more than that which we see before us?
PRELAP: An unidentifiable GUTTURAL SCREECH, like a mix of elephant's horning trunk, lion's roar, and rusty screech of a train's breaks halting on an old line.

Sparsely-clouded sky plays home to the wild imagination dripped at end of painter's brush. A magenta drapes the atmosphere. In the distance, a red dot—flames of a brutal star—plays sun. Ain't Earth.

Breathing. Panting... The right foot of a white boot stamps the orange clay-soil of the alien planet. The subject: An astronaut runs, with squirrelish fury, away from the white-grass thicket lining a dry clay field. He spills onto what resembles Earthly desert landscape with little time to savor its flawed, morbid beauty.

Like a greasy, acned face of a teen, divots, puddles and unsteady ground lay before him, pockmarks from an abused territory.

The suit svelte and white with reflective foil wrapped at the ankles and knees, he ran without restriction, an earthly gravity neither 
buoying nor bullying his stride. Worn, the suit and its wearer had seen the planet's worst. Clay skids sullied the once pristine white with the decoration of discovery, of desperation, of fear.
The inside no better, the helmet—a less bulky, almost Hockey-like design—had a spider-webbing of dry spittle in the lower left corner nearest the astronaut's mouth. Remnants of a dehydration-sweetened saliva expelled in overexertion, it misted and fogged under the astronaut's hot breath.
His brow sweat-lathered, eyes ghost-widened and with just as much fear, here ran astronaut Colonel Nelson Corman, PhD. A man of 43 years of age, white with brunette hair, a sharp triangular nose, a Neanderthal-model's jawline, and the rugged good looks of a Hollywood action star, he had served as the captain of the spaceship that landed upon the planet. Thousands of real-life flight experiences in everything from fighter jets to airbuses, two years training as an astronaut pilot and all the dreams in the world about following in his heroes' John Glenn and Neil Armstrong's footsteps couldn't prepare him for this. Until he got his wings again, he'd have to revert back to his basic training, and run.
The out-of-breath panting of an over-ran marathoner, body fought mind as one wanted to slow and the other knew he couldn't. Not far behind, something wicked chased him.
Goowarrrrr! Another gnarled roar thundered through the air, wetting the stale wind with grievous intent, sending Colonel Corman tripping and plummeting to the ground. Less than an inch of soil loosened on the orange peel of a planet, he hit hard upon rock, his chest and right side absorbing much of the blow. Pain his second nature, he flipped to his back to see what stalked him. Nothing? Whatever he fled from had yet to make it through the white field. Still, that could not erase from his face the look. That look that poet's 
 gone to war wrote about; that look that haunted the nightmares of murderers; that look that not even cameras could capture and that the devil himself rejoiced from. Abject terror lived on his face. In all the years he had toured and warred on Earth, nothing scared him like what lay just beyond the gentle sway of the tall white grasses.
Spotting no movement, he felt around his suit, patting at his legs, his back and chest, searching. A mumbled question, he asked, “Holes? Rips? What is the suit integrity? What is the suit integrity?”
Musings of a madman? No. The suits AI—an upgraded mix of Siri, Alexa, and HAL—answered, “Suit—suit—suit integ... -ty: 100 perc—perc—perc...” On the fritz, the AI's inter-suit communication system had taken a beating just as bad as the colonel. It stuttered, stammered, and auto-corrected worse than a clunky 80s computer.
Corman got the gist. He started to breathe relief when it added, in smooth enunciation, “But breathable oxygen is now at two percent.”
Shit! Gotta get back to the ship! Gotta get back to the ship!”
Goowaaarr! The creature grew closer. The colonel rolled to his knees and pushed to his feet, taking off down the straightaway. His direction predetermined, 20 feet ahead sat an outcropping of rocks. Half gray, half orange they stood out of the ground like elongated egg-shaped pillars. About the colonel's height—five-ten, five-eleven— they provided perfect cover from what laid before him.
Corman ran to the rock outcropping and deliberately fell hard against the rocks, shouldering into the grayish-orange substance to hide from what was on the other side of the rock. Sounds of them stepping, he slowed his breathing and peeked out to the left side of the rock to spy on his objective and the beast.
The goal: reach the escape spaceship that sat about 20 feet from a cliff's edge. A triangular pod dipped in white, black, blue, a metallic teal, and coated with the current planet's filth, it served as his only 
escape. About a football-field's length away, he'd have no problem getting to it had he not spotted what stood in his way.
Off to the left, and almost exactly halfway between ship and rocks, stood one of them. A metallic blue, almost as if someone had painted a truck with regular house paint then sprayed it with a glittery gray finish—the creature stood in dreary color. No less than 22-feet-tall, the hulking beast resembled a Frankenstein-like mix between furry animal, insect and spider. It moved with bone tentacles, standing only on two at a time as the other eight made circular patterns in the air like antenna looking for something. The tentacles each had no less than four knobby, knee-like joints allowing them the fluidity to whip like eel through water, or to fold like a blind-man's cane.
Its body looked of nothing, the torso a mixture of a fat cockroach and cow. Silica-like, gray-teal hair hung from its underside and dotted its tentacles. Protruding from either side of its body hung scorpion-tail stingers that, when raised to the red sunlight, looked translucent with turquoise outline. A venom inside of them yellow in color and boiling in appearance. The actual stinger could open like a flower, even serve usefulness as a hand and arm. A frightening creature, it moved with its tentacles in unique ways, no buggish pattern or dance to its movement, though a slime excreted sometimes from the bottom of the tentacles.
Though the blue creature stood closest to him, even farther away and more to the left stood a pinkish creature with similar attributes to a crab. Standing only 15 feet in height, it used all of its tentacle joints to walk at once. No stingers, it had claw-like joints with flattened white boards that looked like glued-together, elongated fingernails. Facing the astronaut and the blue alien, its face had a softness to it, almost appearing human or animal in shape and form: three proper holes from which illuminated its eyes; yellow-pyramid
 beak, which opened into its mouth; three vertical slots that resembled an antique wood stove—all made for an actual face.
Squared off against the blue alien, it moved side to side, slowly, methodically, strategizing its movements. Corman watched as it stepped to its right (Corman's left), and he thought, see me. See me!
The glow of the pink alien's eyes shifted color as its head tilted down to look across the cliff to the rock outcropping. He spotted Corman's head peeking out from the rock. Corman nodded and smiled in agreement. His eyes turned from the alien to the ship in hopes big pink would know of his plan.
As Corman looked once more at the ship, this time squinting to see harder, he spotted something lying far right of it. At cliff's side edge, sprawled upon the clay, laid another astronaut, a member of his crew, no doubt lifeless with their left arm outstretched and a book bag half-wrapped around it. Biology Officer Lacy Denaghue, he thought. Too many losses to count, he didn't have time to mourn them all now. He needed only to escape.
He continued his scouting glance, spotting what looked like a large clay doughnut. Wise to the crude aesthetic, he knew it to be a weapon used predominantly by the blue creatures.
Not thinking, Corman took one step toward the weapon and the dead officer only for his boot to kick a baseball-sized pebble. The noise just enough to draw the blue alien's attention, the elongated turtlenecked creature whipped around to see him. Far from the face of something recognizable, it had glowing eyes of yellow with a red ring around them that protruded like insect eyes; half a dozen of them on its face. Serpent fangs hung from the bottom of its neck and the entire neck opened to reveal a salmon-colored, gill-like flesh.
Spotted, Corman ducked back behind the rock as the blue creature lowered its two most-rear tentacles and took two steps 
 toward him only to be called back to the gladiator battle between it and the pink alien. The blue thing whipped back around as the pink alien galloped toward it at full speed and lunged into it.
The cries, roars and screeches of battle emanating from behind him, Corman concentrated only on his dilemma. Think, damn it! Think! Go for the ship, make it out alive. Go for the backpack and you've got a greater probability of dying. Even if that monster doesn't get you, you'll still probably run outta air. “Gah! Life or science? Life or science?” Always a soldier, he'd never be able to live with himself if he didn't complete his mission. “Aw shit!”
Ker-booomp! The crackle of an unfamiliar storm rumbled through his ears. Still leaned against the rock, Corman looked out to the left of the cliff to see the sky darkening green as a storm rolled in. Far from an earth storm, the green was not clouds. The clouds that already covered the sky persisted, staying still as if glued to the atmosphere. Having lived through one storm, he knew what followed would trap him there. He had to get out before the rolling rain and striking plasma covered him and the ship.
His eyes fixated upon the storm in the distance until a pink appendage flew up from the gorge below the cliff and spiraled toward him. A near hit, the pink limb landed to his right side, smacking hard against his shelter rocks and forcing him out into the open. He whipped back to the two aliens in battle only to find the pink alien atop the blue, ripping one of its tentacles in half and watching black pus spew from it. Maybe he can make it with those two distracted.
He took one step toward his downed comrade, when—Goowaaarr! He whipped around to see another blue alien climb up from the gorge and get atop the cliff about 400 feet from him, just at the start of the white grass thicket. It locked eyes on him.
Oh my god!” Time to move. He started to dart across the clay...

CRANE OUT to reveal landscape. From above, we look down on a marbled gorge on either side of the Lion King-esque cliff.

Brilliant whites, oranges and yellows – colors of the ground – reflect back, as we see and hear a much larger battle waged below. In the gorge, pinks vs. blues lay waste to each other, savaging one another as body parts flail and fly. Black goop from the blue aliens and green goop from the pink aliens smears on the ground.

An alien Gettysburg moves in rage as the green storm nears. Fire shoots pink aliens' mouths; ice from blues' eyes. A blue vomits onto a pink he's locked tentacles with, melting through its claws like acid.

Still fleeing like tiny white dot is the Colonel, the second blue alien gaining on him, using its many legs to zoom across the ground.

The sound of the approaching blue at his back, Corman ran for everything he ever held dear in his life, leaping and bounding from one stable bit of land to the other. He leapt over a blue puddle of unidentifiable liquid. Can't be water. Their water is clear, white even. His leap timed with the loogie of the second blue alien behind him, the spit hit and ignited with the blue puddle.
Boooom! The explosion flung him across the cliff, jettisoning him farther toward the weapon and the backpack. Thud-landing upon his right side once more, he rolled to his back, shook it off and looked across the field. Snapped to attention, the first blue alien eyed him in full view. It started toward him when the pink alien tackled it from behind, pulling it back into their death match.
Another lucky break. Then the suit began to sound as he scrounged to his feet. “Breathable air now down to one perc—perc...”
Engage air recycling filtration system,” he said, though he knew it busted nearly a day prior.
Negative. Air filtration system inoperable. Warning: Breathable air down to one perc—perc—perc...”
Ahh!” And up he went. Steps more sure than before, he took one look over his shoulder to spot the second alien close on his tail, now within 50 feet of him. Pushing his luck, he darted the last ten steps to the doughnut-shaped weapon.
Okay, how the hell do you work?” He had only seen it used once before, but he had only been on the planet for 30 days, so everything stayed fresh in his memory. Some kind of gun or cannon, it looked like a hula hoop standing upright and perfectly balanced without rolling forward or backward, but far from smooth. About six feet tall, he had no hope in moving it, but found a port at its back that just happened to point downhill toward the second alien. A port filled with a yellow snot-like substance, he jammed his hands deep into it, then wrapped the blue vine that hung from its side around his right foot, and kicked forward and down. A massive white energy blast ten feet in diameter shot from it like a softball toward the blue alien, blasting it halfway back down the hill. Stunned but not dead, the alien shook off the blast and got back upright to restart its approach.
Enough distance between the two, Corman ran ten steps farther to reach his fellow astronaut at the end of the cliff.
Worse than a cheap slasher movie, he looked down to his science officer to see the front glass of her helmet caved in and her face pulverized to such a messy pulp that nothing about her appearance looked human. Only her jawbone jutted forward with a few cracked teeth, the rest an Irish Blood soup of brains, flesh, eyes and other 
sinew. A praying man, Corman closed his eyes in quick prayer for the blue's prey. A mumbled word to the heavens only God and his heart could hear, before he could say amen his communion found interjection in the victorious roar of the first blue.
Corman opened his eyes to look across at the first blue standing at cliff-side's edge with big pink hoisted above head, half its tentacles torn off. Like Moses casting ten commandments down from on high, the blue hurled the pink off the cliff and roared once more in victory.
No.” Corman's one, quiet utterance called attention to him as the blue whipped around to spot him and pointed one of the sensor tentacles at him, reading its prey from afar.
Distracted by the pull to survive, Corman started to take off, getting three steps away from his downed crew mate before remembering, “Science,” and whipping back around to grab the bag. He found the bag entangled with the outstretched left arm that had grown stiff. He crouched down, yanked at the bag's strap twice before ripping it off and flinging the one usable strap around his right arm.
Beep! Beep! Beep! “Warning: Breathable oxygen will dissipate within 15 seconds. Warning: Breathable oxygen will dissipate within ten seconds... nine... eight...”
Time low, he took off, running double-time as the AI counted down and the beeping wouldn't stop. Don't look back. Just keep moving forward. Forward, damn it! Forward! His mantra helping him speed up, he paid no attention to the second alien having doubled its rate of approach, now closing the gap, within 50 feet of him along with the first blue. For such big creatures they moved like lightning, scurrying quicker than ants across the plane, almost gliding with the ends of their tentacles as they pursued him.
Don't look back! Don't look back!” he yelled at himself, tasting the salt of his sweat upon his lips. The beeping drove him crazy.
Four seconds... three seconds...”
Almost there. Ten feet. You can do it, Corman! Six feet!
The aliens zipped across, the second blue crunching into the body of the other dead astronaut, treating it like pavement gum.
The back loading door of the spaceship down and its ramp deployed, he needed only a few more steps to get inside. Two steps... One step, and jump!
He dove onto the ramp and crawled farther inside as he knew one had swung its lengthiest tentacle at him. A red lift button to his right, he smacked it and flipped onto his back to watch the alien's reach the back lift door. He scooted farther and farther into the ship as his suit continued to beep, out of oxygen. Lungs starting to swell, he held his breath as he watched the lift-gate close—wait! It's stuck?
The hydraulic got stuck, sending out an airy mechanical zip like the sound of a copy machine on repeat. The first blue alien arrived as the door nearly closed. It stuck its tentacle into the open space and tried grabbing Corman. Not to be undone by them, and knowing he had to close the lift-gate in order to engage the ship's faux-earth atmosphere, he kicked at the lift pipe to his left, hoping it would click back into place or move.
Come on you bastard! He willed the pipe to correct itself, finally kicking it smooth and allowing the lift-gate to close. The alien yanked its tentacle out just as the ramp closed.
Still not clear, he started to feel the wooziness of having held his breath so long. Get to the front! You've got to get to the front. Only from the pilot's seat at front could he turn on the artificial environment. He tried pushing to his feet before feeling lightheaded from lack of oxygen. His legs gave out and sent him tumbling back to 
 the ground. From walk to army-man's crawl, he muscled to the front to smack a green button and swipe his hand across a screen to...
On-board artificial environment engaged,” the ship's AI said.
The helmet heavy on his head, he unlatched it and threw it off to take a big gulp of air—“huooooohnn!”—before rolling onto his back and looking at the ship's ceiling.
Goobababoom! Goobababoom! The ground rumbling from outside mixed with the storm still nearing and the metallic thwack of the tentacles upon the outside of the ship. Corman elevated to his feet, threw the backpack off and into the co-pilot's seat to his right and plopped down in his captain's chair.
Initiate emergency flight protocols! Skip check-through!” he told the AI.
Systems analysis skipped. Would you like to—?”
Start engines!”
Engines started. Would you like—?”
Engage thrusters!”
Outside, the white heat of the spaceship's thrusters burned across the clay, turning its color from a dull orange to a shiny marbled red. Boomp! Gaaboomp!—two more hits from the aliens.
Dang it! I can't wait for the engines to power up. If I don't get outta here now, I'll never get out alive. No doubt those things can rip this tin can apart. Having seen plenty of what they could do up close, he wasn't looking to be proven right. He looked out the front window that covered the entirety of the front of the spaceship like a visor, and spotted the rain hitting the battlefield below to the right.
A touchscreen display before him with all sorts of buttons for the ship's operations, he dialed a few to initiate the piloting gear to come out from beneath the table and dock in front of him. “Lift-off ready!”
He wrapped either hand around either pillar of the steering yoke 
 and yanked back.
Warning: Engines not to full power! Taking off without full power may result in fai—”
Corman didn't want to hear it. He clicked a button-switch to the right of the touchscreen console to momentarily switch off the AI.
And lift-off he did. Wobbly, the ship pushed off the ground about one foot, hovering in place as he struggled with the controls.
Come on! Come on!” Feeling the tug of the creature at back, he jostled with the yoke and yanked it left, hoping to fling the alien off. Half in control, the ship spun like a top, whirling twice in the air, scraping its right wing on the ground as it turned. And forward! It hop-skipped across the ground toward the edge, closing the 20 feet to the drop at a snail's pace as the engines fought the new weight.
Ahh!” Not until the second spin did Corman notice salvation out to the left of the window. The pink alien that had been tossed off the cliff's side threw one of its tentacles over the side. Then another, finally pulling itself back up onto the plateau. “Yes!”
Angrier than Clint Eastwood in a Western, the alien scuttled its way across the cliff as fast as it could, moving no less than 30 miles an hour toward the ship. One final battle cry, it dive-bombed into the two blues, ripping them from their attachment to the ship. The momentum sent all three of them cascading off the side of the cliff, freeing the ship to sputter along until it reached cliff's edge.
Sputtering, sputtering, sputtering, and... Drop! Corman looked out the windshield only to see ground not too far away. The engines' power was not fully restored. A daring pilot, Corman put his feet up on the dash and pulled up with all his might, freeing himself from the straight vertical plummet and leveling out just at the height of the blue creatures. War still waging, he looked across the ravaged plane at the mess of creatures entangled in battle and remembered the 
 kindness of the pink creatures. If he was forced to fly low, then he might as well do some damage.
Yanking and jockeying with the yoke, he turned the ship sideways and bowled the right wing directly through a line of blue creatures like a sideways Frisbee. He boomeranged to his left and turned to take out two more of the deviant blues before the engines warmed enough for him to make the pull upward into the sky.
No sooner had he braved and conquered one peril did another come. The storm fully upon him, now he had to fight against the malevolent weather of the planet. Rain splashed upon the windshield, hitting like balls against bats. Were it water, he'd be safe. But this was no ordinary H2O2. A liquid thicker than vegetable oil, and just as greasy, spit down from the heavens in brown droplets big as a child's hand or a god's tear.
No, no, no! I need visibility! I need to see, damn it!” Corman yelled at the window as the brown rain coated like thick gravy. He flicked the button-switch to turn the AI back on and instructed it to, “Defrost the windows.”
System has found no need to defrost th—”
Then do somethin', god damn it! I can barely see!”
There is an obstruction 100 feet away. I advise you to pull up!”
The obstruction: a cloud. As nearly everything else on the planet, the clouds sat differently in the purple haze of day and green of the storm. Instead of puffs of condensed moist air consisting of white foam pushed by the geothermal breeze of the planet's rotation, these clouds seldom moved. These were gelatinous gray blobs that Corman and his crew never got around to thoroughly analyzing. His chief botanist hypothesized that they, similar to earth, consisted of condensed formulations of the planet's atmosphere. However, nothing on the ground supported such a theory.
One thing they did discover: Hitting one, flying through it, shared traits with driving through quicksand or Jello—you felt the impact.
Visibility low, Corman yanked on the yoke once more, pulling straight up in hopes of missing the curve of the nebulous dwelling before him. The rain hitting thick upon the ship forced the tail down and made it scrape through the clouds, catching a piece of the gel on the end as he dared not stop.
Detecting mass increase of ten percent. There is an 18 percent probability that the thrusters will be unable to lift us out of the stratosphere,” the computer said, hardly the news he wanted to hear. “Barometric pressure increasing to...”
As the AI continued, Corman focused on the gauge that displayed at the upper left-hand corner of the touchscreen. It read the same as what the AI warned: “Mass increased by ten percent.”
Damn rain and... Clouds!” he said, feeling like an idiot for cursing the clouds. Another decision to make, any extraneous movement to shake free the cloud (now glued to the back of his ship) would waste thrust power and overtax the engine, and he needed every bit of power to get back through deep space.
Now piercing Explored Planet one's exosphere and entering into inner-space,” the computer said. Not cause for celebration, the colonel still flew with teeth grit and hands wrapped tight around the yoke. The absence of a fiery canopy to burn off the rain and the cloud nothing new to him, he zoomed into the darkness of space full speed.
We're not out 'til we're home,” Corman barked to no one.
Nearing Icarus One's warp dock. Warning: Severe damage of warp dock detected. Warning severe...,” the computer yapped.
Nothing the colonel didn't already know, he looked out the rain-greased window to see a man-made ring satelliting the planet, a space-station docking that should have held the back-end of the ship
 he currently piloted. This was just the planetary explorer. The rest of the Icarus One had met its untimely fate during a blue alien attack a few weeks earlier. It, along with parts of the circular ring it fit into, sustained maximum damage. Now, all Corman had to get home was the ring and the explorer. Luck on his side, the docking ring contained the warp-drive engines to get him far, and fast.
Just in time to link up with its planetary rotation, he slowed the Icarus One explorer, ported into the ring, initiated the coupling protocol and locked together with the ring.
Initiate Icarus One supplementary thrusters now!” he yelled. As commanded, the thrusters kicked into gear and blasted him around a nearby planet and into a space where light and time warped, a black hole that had been dubbed The Eye.
Down on the surface of the planet, one of the blues looked up past the clouds, and flicked a secondary lizard-like yellow eyelid over their eyes to see through the rain and right into space. It watched as a burst of energy blasted from the rear of the spaceship and sent it deep into the black hole. Corman's escape gave it license to let free one final roar! Gooowaaarrr!
Ripping free from the black hole, Corman yanked back on the yoke with all his might as he felt himself going too fast. The Eye spit-out Icarus One into the belt of space junk and potential comets between Mars and Jupiter. Warp still engaged, the circular mechanism ripped apart at the onset of Mars' gravitational pull as he crested the bend. Corman looked down to the touchscreen's left corner. Sure enough, it still said that he was ten percent heavier in mass, meaning not even the worm hole and warp speed could peel off the gelatinous cloud substance. He wouldn't know it but somehow the cloud scraped through the space dust particles of Mars, spider-webbing a small part of the red planet's atmosphere as the ship
 curved around the planet's gravitational ellipsis.
Corman's worries extended far beyond that. Because of the warp-drive having been fitted for a ship much bigger than the tiny explorer, he had a problem. Shit! I'm going too fast. He'd be within earth's reach within minutes.
His saving grace: “Wait, I should be able to contact them.” He swiped across a blue panel of the touchscreen to get earth on the communication line. “Icarus One Explorer to earth! This is Icarus One explorer to earth, do you copy?”
No answer. The comms were just as dead as when he and his crew went through the worm hole. “Icarus One explorer to earth, do you read me?” Still nothing. “Somebody answer, damn it!” Try as he might, he'd get no response. Still, for posterity's sake, protocol stipulated that he speak out any problems encountered in space flight for the recorder. “OK, uh... This is Colonel Nelson Corman, captain of the Icarus One space explorer spaceship. I have re-entered our solar system and have already passed Mars. Due to unforeseen circumstances I have had to ditch the rear of the ship and am flying the planetary explorer. Because of my decreased mass, I am coming in way too hot to earth. I will—”
Warning: Approaching for a landing on earth at the current speed could result in a catastrophic event. Warning: Approaching for a landing on earth...” the computer blared.
Corman reached for the button-switch and turned it off again before saying, “Basically, I splash down on the pre-coordinated target and I could cause the extinction of the world's entire ecosystem, if I'm lucky enough not to blast a hole through the entire planet and crack it like an egg.” Stopping to think, he finally smacked at the reverse-thrusters—a disappointment as they did virtually nothing to slow him. And then...
Eureka! As he looked at the world coming fast, he concocted a true flier's plan, “Currently, my only option is to use the gravitational pull in conjunction with the magnetic field of the earth to slow my trajectory and allow me to land with minimal damage to the earth. Computer, calculate how many revolutions around the earth I'd have to make in order to slow me enough for re-entry and—damn it!”
He switched the computer back on and restated the command. The computer calculated three rotations within ten seconds of him hitting the exosphere and smashing through a Russian satellite. An experienced pilot and highly intelligent scientist, he flew around the earth the opposite direction of its rotation, and against the gravitational centrifugal force in order to slow the ship before hitting the heat of the atmosphere.
We're goin' down! Ahhhh!”
Warning: Brace for impact. Warning: Brace for impact. Icarus One explorer off course. Icarus One explorer off course,” the computer barked.
The yoke unbearable to hold, it snapped to the right, breaking his arm in two as he tried to control it. Flames engulfed the windshield as the heat increased tenfold during re-entry. All the while his eyes kept glued to the console readout at the top left that insisted he still had the same mass as before—a ten percent increase due to the cloud. Shouldn't that melt off in the fire? His question for both the clouds and the filthy rain still smeared upon the front windshield.
Off course from his original splashdown landing in the Atlantic, he fell through the night sky like a shooting star, hurdling toward an empty field near a farm in a foreign country. The rounded front of his ship dove into the ground more than 200 feet, carving out a massive cave 22 miles long—Kaboom-doom-doom-doom-doom-doooom!
A disruptive quiet, inside the ship, he hung upside-down strapped 
 into the pilot's chair, unconscious.
Dah! Wha...? What?” he jolted awake. His first thought to free himself from the ship, he undid his seat belt without gravity's consideration, and fell to the roof of the vehicle, smacking hard against his left hip as he landed inches from the backpack.
Ah! Ah! Oh god!” he moaned and squealed as he writhed in pain. Not done yet, he hobbled to his feet and used his one good arm and leg to pull him up to the console so he could smack the emergency beacon he had put in just for this scenario. Out of breath, he grabbed hold of a detachable satellite phone hidden in the under-panel of the captain's chair and turned it on. Above the phone's static he could hear what sounded like hot piss hitting a radiator, and turned to look to the back of the busted ship. The back lift-door/ramp torn completely off, he spotted some kind of liquid leaking from the undercarriage of the ship.
That better not be somethin' flammable. That better not be somethin' flammable!” No fire in sight, he couldn't risk staying inside. He grabbed the backpack and managed to kick out a side door a few feet from him. Out went the door and out he went after it, tumbling to the ground of the newly formed cavern. A bluish-green glow still coming from inside the ship from the control panel was all the light he needed to take out the phone and push the “one” button.
As the phone rang, he set it on the ground, ripped at a control panel on the suit around his broken arm, and turned on a flashlight equipped in the palm of the suit. The phone continued to ring. He grabbed the backpack, yanked it open and, using his flashlight-hand, looked inside to reveal a small blue creature in what appeared to be some kind of stasis pod, like an egg but with half of the shell clear. Coiled up inside, he watched as the clear-side of the egg fogged and hardened in the new atmosphere.
His breath still not caught, the phone finally clicked over. He heard a human voice for the first time in two days. “Hello?”
Tur... Turn on your locator beacon. Come get me ASAP. They're dead. The rest are all dead. Hurry up!” He clicked the phone off and laid his head back against the spaceship. Fatigue had quickly eclipsed his first thought to run from an explosion or chemical leak. Now, he needed only a breath and his sanity.

Corman undid the glove on his left hand, pulled his right hand across his waist and dug his bare left hand through the disrupted soil kicked up by the spaceship. A rich, gritty black, it fell through his fingers like soot and brown sugar, every bit his expectation. He smiled, then laughed as he watched the soil fall, “I'm home. I'm home.” And with those words, he passed out. 

And there you go. I do hope you liked it, and if it has wet your appetite, be sure to check on my Amazon page (click the word Amazon highlighted below) and check for the series premiere of the first three episodes tomorrow. Trust me, you won't want to miss this first season. It will be an emotional roller coaster that will have you both cheering and weeping for these characters. 

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary premiering soon on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Amazon click here for the Extraordinary premiere tomorrow, May 7th
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