July 29, 2015

Here's something I promised Win Eckert I would post when I got home, following a discussion on the topic that we had at his house during our recent visit... 

During the first wave of Star Wars prose fiction that began with Del Rey’s publication of Alan Dean Foster’s Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye in 1978, L. Neil Smith’s Lando Calrissian trilogy (which takes places prior to Han Solo’s ownership of the Millennium Falcon) represented the earliest chronological adventures in the series; these were followed chronologically by Brian Daley’s original Han Solo trilogy, which had actually appeared in print several years prior to the Lando novels. 

Years later, during the period when Bantam Books held the license for Star Wars novels, A.C. Crispen wrote a second Han Solo trilogy, which follows the hero’s life and adventures from his teen years up to mere minutes before his fateful meeting with Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi. 

When the first book in Daley's trilogy - Han Solo At Star’s End - was first released in 1979, there was some question (at least in my mind) as to when the story took place in relation to the original movie. My initial belief was that this must have been an adventure that Han and Chewbacca were having at the same time as the events that Luke and Princess Leia were involved with in Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye (in which Han and Chewie do not appear). Upon reading the following books in the Daley trilogy, however, it became clear that these tales were in fact taking place prior to the events of the original film. 

This was eventually verified by Crispen, who went to great lengths to show how the Smith and Daley novels and the novelization of  the original Star Wars (a.k.a. A New Hope) fit into the overall story she tells in her own trilogy. As a result, I was able to determine the precise order in which all nine books should be read, should the reader wish to read with continuity in mind. (My father has done this, by the way, and said he thoroughly enjoyed it.) 

That order is as follows:

1. Read The Paradise Snare in its entirety.

2. Read Chapters 1-6 and the first section of Chapter 7 (middle of P. 161 in the original paperback edition) of The Hutt Gambit.

3. Read all of Lando Calrissian And The Mindharp of Sharu.

4. Read the rest of Chapter 7 through the end of Chapter 15 of The Hutt Gambit.

5. Read all of Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon.

6. Read the rest of The Hutt Gambit.

7. Read all of Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka.

8. Read Chapters 1-6 of Rebel Dawn.

9. Read all of Han Solo At Star’s End.

10. Read Chapter 7 of Rebel Dawn.

11. Read all of Han Solo’s Revenge.

12. Read Chapter 8 of Rebel Dawn.

13. Read all of Han Solo And The Lost Legacy.

14. Read the rest of Rebel Dawn.

OR... If you’re REALLY feeling ambitious:

14. Read Chapters 9-16 of Rebel Dawn.

15. Read Prologue through the beginning of the final section of Chapter 6 of A New Hope (ending with the sentence “‘I do not like the looks of this,’ the tall ’droid murmured”).

16. Now read the Epilogue of Rebel Dawn (ignoring the fact that the first sentence begins with the phrase “The next day…”), followed by the remainder of A New Hope

And then when you’re done, pat yourself on the back for having followed the proper continuity from start to finish... then check to make sure your wife hasn’t called for the boys in the white coats.


"CRASH" SMALL RIDES AGAIN! (or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

July 29, 2015

Remember that scene in the film Star Trek III: The Search For Spock in which the Starship Enterprise returns to Earth, and the officers on duty at Spacedock gaze sadly upon the sight of the battle damage that was inflicted by the villainous Khan in the previous movie? 

I thought of that scene this past Saturday as my wife Melissa, son Joshua and I pulled into our driveway at the conclusion of our annual two-week vacation.

No, we didn’t find ourselves in mortal combat with an evil, genetic...

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July 3, 2015

In his tribute essay “Caliban,” one of the several items of supplemental material included in the 2013 deluxe hardcover reissue of Philip José Farmer’s classic fictional biography Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (Meteor House), author and pulp historian Will Murray twice makes statements to the effect that no other writer was as qualified as Farmer to step into the shoes of Edgar Rice Burroughs with regard to the task of telling new tales of Tarzan of the Apes.

Those comments of Murr...

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Overdose Of Goofy Juice...?

May 21, 2015

Either we are about to plunge off the precipice into another long national election cycle, or else some people have thrown caution to the wind and are deliberately exceeding their doctors’ recommended daily amount of Goofy Juice.

Or, quite possibly, both. 

How else does one logically explain the increase in the number of just out-and-out bizarre items in the national news that I’ve found myself running across in recent weeks?

One of the most recent came this past Sunday on the CBS News...

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Why, Kraft, Why?

April 23, 2015

Dear Kraft Foods:

I was ALREADY angry with you. I have been ever since you made the bone-headed decision a few years back to discontinue sales of your classic Chicken Noodle Dinner - a move which I still consider to be a personal insult to me and my family. 

That delicious dinner in the little brown box had been an important staple of mealtime in the Small Household for as far back as I could remember. More than merely an easy-to-make side dish that went with almost everything, it was an im...

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April 2, 2015

(* - A Latin term that means "the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead.")

You know what? I give up. I surrender. You’ve convinced me. I admit it, I was wrong. White flag. Uncle.

A fellow can take only so much hate mail and so many beatings about the head and shoulders with a proverbial two-by-four before he finally reaches the conclusion that he has engaged himself in a losing battle and capitulates. And so, effect...

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The Davy Jones-Scooby Doo Counter-Revolution Polka (or, A Very Brady Crossover)

March 25, 2015

I have written a time or 10 in the past about my great childhood love of two great old TV series, Batman and The Green Hornet, both of which originally aired on ABC in the 1960s. Both shows were produced by a gentleman named William Dozier, who - in an effort to garner a larger viewership for The Green Hornet, which wasn’t quite bringing in the ratings of the other show - came up with the idea of having the Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato appear in an episode of Batman.  

Now you have t...

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February 25, 2015

Back in 1994 I self-published a collection of family recipes - some of them dreamed up by my mom and dad, some by me, some by my wife Melissa - and sold it locally at the Johnston County Fourth of July Festival and the Chickasaw Festival. Some of the recipes were silly things I came up with as a kid babysitting my younger brothers during the summer months; others were recipes that a lot of thought had been put into. I published 1,000 copies and sold all but the two that I kept for at home (on...

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February 19, 2015
...Long story short, I had to get a new computer in order to post updates, because the one I've been using at work uses an older operating system and is apparently no longer compatible with the Yola website. (Actually I had to get a new laptop for at home anyway, but that's another story....)

Anyway, I'm back after far too long an absence. So first things first: When things went "kerflooey" I was two posts away from completing my participation in the "Spohn Challenge," which asks participants ...
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September 17, 2014
(Note: This week’s entry in the "Spohn Challenge" project was written in the form of a historical text. The idea was to create a tale that combined elements of Tolkien-like fantasy with the legends of Robin Hood or Zorro. I don't know that the attempt has been particularly successful, but I had a swell time writing it anyway and in the end that's what matters, I think...)

*      *      *


(HISTORICAL NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Book 5, Chapter 14, of ...

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About Me

John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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