When I Miss Roger Ebert the Most

I’m pleased to note this morning that Interstellar Fiction has published my short story “Out of the Fire.” You can find the entire story free on their site.


I’m also pleased to note that yesterday I completed the first draft of the short story that had been eluding me for the past week or two. For the moment I’ve titled it “The Flying Problem,” though that may change as I go back through it and make it real.


Lisa and I finally got around to seeing Thor last night, then read the reviews. We liked the movie well enough for what it was, and Lisa had the obligatory OMG moment when Chris Hemsworth somehow lost his shirt. But the part I want to talk about is the reviews. Actually, I don’t even really mean the reviews themselves, but the act of reading the reviews.

You see, I miss Roger Ebert.

For years, Lisa and I have made a ritualistic process of ignoring reviews before seeing a movie, then racing home and reading James Berardinelli and Roger Ebert’s views on what we had just seen. We liked them both, and when I read the pair I felt like I had a proper cross-hatching of the work. These guys are pros, who are rooting for the work to be good, and who can judge things for what they are aspiring to be rather than just say what they were thinking. Ebert was a better technician and story guy, and he was a better pure writer. But Berardinelli is also a guy who gets it.

After seeing Thor, Lisa said “Ebert didn’t like it.”

This caught me off guard. I hadn’t considered that the film came out before Ebert passed. And so I went to Rotten Tomatoes and I read James Berardinelli’s review, and then I read Ebert (because that’s the order, you know? JB, then RE. Never the other way around. Berardenelli is great, but you leave the anchor spot to Ebert). Even better, Lisa pushed me to read Ebert’s rebuttal to comic fans who railed against his opinion. Ebert was in his full won’t-back-down Ebertness, and best, he was at his full-load geekiest, too. Ebert, you see, was one of us. He was a skiffy, comic, fantasy nerd at heart. He loved this stuff. He just didn’t like Thor because (let’s face it) it isn’t a terribly inspiring comic movie. It’s simple fun, pure entertainment on a scene-by-scene basis with a story line that is both linear and slight. But hey, that’s okay.


All I really want to say is that these are the times I miss Roger Ebert the most. Sure, I read his blog some, and I remember his TV time, especially with Gene Siskel, of course. But Roger Ebert, to me, was about the merging of the film world with the written word.

Seeing as I need to actually do some work on my fiction this morning, I leave you with this last bit of Ebert, perhaps his most famous review–the last half of which is one of those pieces of work that makes it an instant classic.

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