Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Phantom Menace

It has been hotter than hell here. And the top floors of old buildings aren’t conducive to rapid cooling or anything. I shouldn’t bitch, because it’s starting to cool off now, and I’m sure things will be peachy. Nothing like last summer in Seattle, where I had to get drunk every night just to get any sleep.

I saw Phantom Menace twice over the extended holiday weekend, and you’re probably expecting me to say that I loved it and I have been waiting since I was a kid, or that it was completely stupid and that George Lucas should shove Jar Jar Binks up his ass, along with his fucking ewok-esque charaters obviously added to the movie to market to 8 year old kids. Well, it’s a little of both, and it’s the biggest and most disproportionate list of pros and cons that I could even list for a movie. Let me try:


The joy of watching a new Star Wars film. the fact that i had all of the toys when i was a kid. the music. the sound. the design of some of the new cities. a lot of the lightsaber dueling. the characters that were in the other 3 movies that appear in this one. the way ewan macgregor sounds and moves very much like a young alec guiness. the silver SR-71-looking ship. a lot of the pod race. saying pulp fiction lines during samuel l jackson’s parts. the part where yoda makes a “mmmmmm” sound and it almost sounds like he’s going to imitate homer simpson. natalie portman, when she doesn’t have on all the makeup. there’s probably more, but i’ll stop here.


The entire movie is marketed toward eight-year old boys. Jar Jar Binks. Anakin Skywalker. The killer droids. The pacing. The length. The somewhat cryptic governmental subplot. Anakin Skywalker flying in space and destroying the space station, allegedly by accident. Darth Maul’s total lack of personality. (Darth Vader was a prick, but at least he talked to you during the duel.) The utter predictability of certain plot points. Almost every animated creature. The lack of more personal combat, instead of huge combat scenarios. (A bunch of one CGI character against a bunch of another – who cares?) Natalie Portman with all of that shit on her face, acting like she just overdosed on quaaludes. Anakin Skywalker.

Okay, enough about that.

I am still writing, working on Summer Rain. I shouldn’t say that, because I didn’t do anything over the weekend. But I’m very close to finishing the first 15 chapters and putting them out there for review. If you’re interested and you can give me some feedback, let me know and I can set you up.

I finished HST’s Rum Diary, and it really hit the spot. I’m now reading Slaughterhouse Five, or at least I pulled it down from the shelves, and the next time I get a chance to read, that’s what I’ll pick up. I saw the movie on Bravo the other night, and it got me interested in it again. My third book, which I’ll work on when I finish Rumored to Exist (which I’ll work on when I finish Summer Rain) is about time travel, and involves part of a premise from SH5, although I didn’t realize it until later. Writing a time travel book is a bitch, because you need to come up with your own entire set of rules and stick to it. And everyone will tell you that your set of rules is wrong, because there’s no perfect set. But here’s a little trade secret: IT’S FICTION! If you don’t like my set of time travel rules (and most SciFi types won’t), then go fuck yourself. Write your own book, and make everyone at your Harlan Ellison fan club proud.

I’m buying a DVD player. I already have three movies: Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I have the player picked out and everything, but I have a temporary financial logjam involving a couple of check deposits in transit. I could order it now, but I should do the right thing and let everything settle, just in case something stupid happens and I don’t really have the money. (Sounds dumb, but a few weeks ago I mailed a deposit, and forgot to put a stamp on it. Fucked everything by about two weeks.)

Tired. Hot. Got a chapter to fix before bedtime. Sweet dreams.