Friday, May 27, 2022

New Cover From Killadelphia, which gets better and better.

Killadelphia just gets better and better both in art and writing. You can find more pics like this over at my Facebook page.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

 I was really impressed with the movie that guy was in. And I'm really impressed with this trailer. Resistance fighting is hard and deadly. Most times Castro loses. This has a real Sandinista/Palestinian vibe to it. Looks like the usual slew of great actors as well. Will definitely check this out.

Friday, February 18, 2022

My review of Leviathon Falls, final novel of the Expanse Universe (Maybe.) that appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette without edits and with hyperlinks. No I don't understand the PG's link policy. Hey, it's the future....


Here is the original review of the Expanse that I turned in. It's full o links, which didn't appear in the final version. There's also some edits, some were brilliant and some sabotaged the really good joke I had set up in the lede. But you can read the original for yourself and see if improvements had been made. The PG version is definitely more family friendly.

There is a science fiction property that has offered the most optimistic future for humanity that has ever been screened, possibly. It’s a glorious future where humanity has survived three world wars, due to start in five years according to one timeline (realistic). Poverty has been eliminated and everyone has a replicator in every pot, which was probably replicated. Have I mentioned the fully immersive Metaverses that are tactile and only occasionally murder you? It’s a Helluva future man. Beam me up Guardian of Forever I’m ready for that future, with the living room Star Ships and the sometimes sexist clothes, for girls (mostly) anyway. I’m good.

And Expanse series that sure isn’t you. “The Expanse” books and television shows are the creations of James A Corey, which is two whole people named Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. It is a rigorous and well detailed exploration of what solar system space exploration will probably look like in the next several hundred years, with is rumored start date of 2350.

The Expanse” universe, which is supposed to end with this 9thth novel or  “Leviathan Falls” – the tv show is only on book 6 which is on Amazon right now -- is also a bit of a downer. Mainly because “The Expanse” future offers us a grueling dog eat Belter solar system where poverty and inequality and drug addicts still abound. You literally could do “The Wire: 2370”, which is depressing.

Still, humanity looks good on paper in this last novel in the series. The alien created “Ring” leads to over 1300 other solar systems spread throughout the galaxy. Humanity has expanded to all the Class M planets that are in these places but it’s still a rough life to build a world from scratch. These places, judging from the book and the TV show, look like the hardscrabble western towns of Firefly or the Mandalorian and not some futuristic Richard Powers drawn city scape. Usually that would be optimistic, but the Expanse makes it look tough with the prospect of not one Interstellar War but two. Yes humanity has expanded to 1300 solar systems but it was taken over by one guy: William Duarte, who is now missing. It’s kind of like Khan has taken over the Federation. The last novel was pretty much this “Laconian Empire” being destroyed and now a galaxy wide civil war that the empire is losing and perhaps has lost but it’s not quite settled yet. On top of this, it looks like the extra dimensional aliens that wiped out the highly advanced aliens who built the Ring might be coming back. It’s kind of a Borg vs. Species 8472 kind of thing.

This is where we find our ever so serendipitous heroes on board the Rocinante. You will recognize most of these characters from the tv show: James Holden, Naomi Nagata, Alex, who survived in the books, and fan favorite Amos the muscle. They’re working on securing the Ring gate and of course they’re with the Han Solo style resistance. Turns out Duarte is missing and the bait might be his daughter Teresa, who is also on the Rocinante. This is where the show’s many competing factions end up fighting it out. Would love to tell you the ending because it’s the most interesting part of the novel but it would be a major spoiler. Let’s just say in the very detailed very hard sci fi world of the Expanse the one thing that seemed a bit off kilter was the idea of The Ring. Yes it would be nice if aliens created a gateway for us that reached 1300 other solar systems complete with one or more Goldilocks planets but this doesn’t seem realistic. And the Expanse seems to answer this with something quite sinister: what if there’s a catch? What if humanity is the bait? You’ll have to read for yourself.

Some minor complaints: The writing is functional. Never seems inspired or poetic. Feels like script to novel. But it’s very good storytelling and a wondrous finale to a very ambitious future, which, if bets were taken, would seem to be a much more realistic yet depressing timeline than Star Trek.


Philip Shropshire is a freelance writer who makes his home primarily at, which is also the home to his two Acid Jazz music video channels right at the top of the page. Try them out. Hey they’re free and you can skip ahead.





Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Butler Eagle, small county newspaper, says that bus driver who died never received his immunization shot. Pennsyltucky kills.

 Here's the article in full. It's the only one. The PG and the Tribune Review haven't written a story about it as far as I can tell. It's a strong argument for mandatory vaccination at work. And yes the sister is right the company could have saved his life. Keep in mind that all the bus drivers got sick. Were any of them vaccinated?

Butler County's great daily newspaper

Transit bus driver dies of COVID Family places some blame on BTA

September 27, 2021 Local News 

Adam Fry, of Cabot, who died Friday due to COVID-19, had a passion for trains and the history behind Pennsylvania's railroad network.

A local bus driver has died due to COVID-19, and his family believes the Butler Transit Authority should shoulder some of the blame.

Adam Fry, 38, of Cabot, died Friday “after a brief but courageous battle with COVID-19,” according to his obituary (Page 6). His death comes days after the authority canceled bus routes due to most of its drivers being ill.

“He absolutely loved his passengers,” said his sister, Jamie Gross of Brackenridge. “He loved the people he would meet along the way.”

Gross described her brother, a 2001 graduate of Knoch High School, as a quiet, laid-back person, who was passionate about his family, his church and his job. She said many of his passengers have reached out about services, which according to his obituary, will come later.

“It's been overwhelming how many people have showed how much they cared about him,” Gross said.

Adam Fry

Risks on the job

In an interview Sunday, Gross said the transit authority's leadership should take some of the blame for the current situation.

“I think the transit authority could have taken things more seriously,” she said.

Fry's aunt, Deborah Billings, of Portugal, formerly of Butler, said she has been gathering information about her nephew's illness and death.

Billings said Fry had recently decided to get vaccinated, but he never had the opportunity to carry through with it.

“If he had been required or highly urged to be vaccinated for his clients or himself, I think he would have come to that decision sooner,” Billings said.

Billings said the authority did not adequately enforce the mask mandate. She said other forms of protections were also lacking.

“The piece of plexiglass behind the driver's back did next to nothing to protect them,” she said.

Collapsed on job

Billings said the worst transgression was the lack of recognition that Fry was sick. She said Fry was called in on his day off Sept. 18, and he collapsed on the job. She said a couple of days later, Fry was taken to the hospital and intubated.

“I just think it's a pretty crappy deal all the way around,” she said. “A lot of people dropped the ball there, starting with work.”

Billings said her nephew loved his job, and if they asked him to do more, then he would have.

“His job was his life,” she said. “He was so proud to be a bus driver.”

When called Sunday, John Paul, the transit authority's executive director, said he had no comment about these allegations.

On Saturday, Paul acknowledged the death of the employee, who had been working for the authority through a subcontractor, MV Transportation.

Paul said he was saddened by the loss.

“He was a 38-year-old young man. He was a great employee and very dedicated to his job,” he said. “It's a shame.”

Route suspensions

On Wednesday, the transit authority announced the suspension of all routes because nine of its 10 local drivers were ill.

The notice did not say whether the “illnesses” drivers were suffering from was specifically COVID-19; however, in interviews with local television crews, Paul noted that nine of the 10 local drivers had tested positive for COVID-19.

The authority's website may provide some insight into the time line of its outbreak, as it posted irregular updates two to three times a month throughout the summer.

Starting with the Sept. 19 announcement of a stoppage of a couple routes, there were six new updates in the days that followed.

In its latest post Friday, the authority announced local routes 1 and 3 will partially resume Tuesday, but trips 9, 10 and 11 will still be out of service.

“(The transit authority) will reinstate additional routes as soon as possible. Continue to check our website for updates,” the statement said. “Please continue to keep all those still affected in your thoughts and prayers.”

Thursday, September 02, 2021