Sunday, January 29, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Podcast 2: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Master of Adventure; A Conversation with Ryan Harvey

Literary Wonder & Adventure Podcast #2 premieres tonight at 7 pm!

Welcome to the Dream Tower! Join Robert Zoltan in a conversation with special guest Ryan Harvey about Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars! Meanwhile, Edgar the Raven throws in his acerbic quips, and Robert deals with possible Pteranodon infestation in the Dream Tower. All this and more!

Catch it at or on the Dream Tower Media Facebook page at

Robert, Edgar the Raven, and author Ryan Harvey will be on the Dream Tower Media
Facebook page from 7 - 9 pm for conversation and questions. Join us!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Blue Lamp: Book Review by Michael W. Cho

Another rave review of The Blue Lamp. This review by Michael W. Cho, who wins the award for unique phrasing this month. I've never been called "sickeningly talented" before! :D

"It’s a rousing tale, fun and colorful, with magic, exotic setting, thrills, and good buddy chemistry between the two leads. I get a strong sense that I’m reading a classic story while immersed in this one. I think it’s because it really brings me back to the characteristics that made the best S&S stories fun, and eschews the grimdark ethic that is more common today."

You can purchase the Blue Lamp audio book here:

Black Gate Magazine Review of The Blue Lamp Audio Adventure

Fletcher Vredenburgh gave the Blue Lamp Audio Adventure a rave review for the incomparable Hugo Award winning magazine, Black Gate!

Read it here:


"Zoltan has done a marvelous job with “The Blue Lamp.” It is not a straight reading of the story, but a full sound production, like a radio show. First, there’s the music. At times ominous and others majestic, it gives the story a terrific aural background against which to unfold. The mysterious moments have a little more mystery and the action scenes a dash more vim. The same goes for the sound effects. Never overwhelming, they bring the production more to life.

The characters are acted out with great liveliness. It never sounds corny, a problem fantasy can have when it’s read out loud..."

“The Blue Lamp” is good fun. My experience with S&S transferred off the page has not been positive. Most S&S movies suffer from cheapness, or only focus on the most basic surface elements of the genre. That doesn’t happen here. Cheapness isn’t an issue, and Zoltan knows that S&S is more than just swords and sorcery. Without negelecting those titular elements, he brings some depth of character, nice inventiveness to his worldbuilding and scene setting, and good basic storytelling."

You can learn more about The Blue Lamp and purchase your own copy here:

Irrational Hope

In the most dire times of human history, hope and love have not only
survived, they have thrived. Like a forest cleansed by fire, like a seed
planted in winter ground. It is a hope that is both irrational and invulnerable.
It is a wisdom that appears as foolishness to the world: the foolishness
of gods and heroes. The foolishness of a one who loses the ability to walk
to become a marathon champion; of one with a degenerative disease
who becomes the world’s greatest physicist; of one who must borrow
money out of poverty in order to paint Starry Night.

It is the foolishness of a god that plucks out his eye in order to see; of a queen of heaven descending to the land of the dead to Editbring forth life; of a god that mysteriously belly-laughs in the midst of suffering and delusion; of a god that chooses suffering and death over glory to save the world.

It is this foolishness we choose over the false wisdom of the world. It is this irrational hope and courage we choose over rationalized fear. It is this love we choose over the easy road of hate that only leads to hell.

It is the most difficult road to take. But it is the only one that cannot fail to save us and the world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Super Role Models

A recent video decried the fact that only two of the thirty super hero movies that will be released in
the next five years feature female super heroes (Black Widow and Wonder Woman). The video went on to show the lack of female super hero dolls on the market. It then implied that Disney princesses seemed to be the main role model that was being pushed on girls.
Although I agree there is an inequity happening, the whole video began to strike me as rather strange. And the character of Black Widow is one of the things that made me question the video’s entire premise.
Perhaps there is a deeper question we need to ask. Are super heroes the best role models for girls, or for any children? Super heroes are physically perfect specimens that never grow old, and whatever anyone says, in the end they usually solve problems by violent means.
Are the only choices of role models for girls spoiled Disney princesses who are waiting for the right man to come along, or, a deceptive sociopathic killer for hire (Black Widow) or a woman that dresses like a stripper and comes from an island of women that hate men, and think them all evil or irrelevant (Wonder Woman)?
Perhaps there are other role models from literature, and yes, perhaps even real life, to which girls can turn. Following is a list of a just a few actual people, whom you can look up and read about if you are unfamiliar with their resplendent lives.
Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Hedy Lamarr, Malala Yousifazi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hypatia, Aung San Suu Kyi, Audrey Hepburn, Serena Williams, Margaret Cavendish, Mae Jemison, Michelle Bachelet, Elizabeth Garret Anderson, Elizabeth Warren...
I also feel that despite what I will assume is the video maker’s good intent, the video strikes me as wonderful propaganda for a consumer culture. If I were an advertising company, I could not imagine a better marketing ploy in preparation for the release of a huge line of female super hero dolls.
If we really want to empower girls (and boys) to become great human beings that contribute something meaningful to the world, don’t give them more choices for plastic dolls. Give them a telescope, a drawing pad and pencil and paint, a starter chemistry set, some dancing shoes, a musical instrument, a nice journal in which to write, some challenging board games, building blocks, help them plant their own garden, etc. Heck, just going into the backyard to play they will discover incredible worlds of wonder more fabulous than anything on a video screen or created by the writers of comic books.
Although, as a former comic book fan and collector, I can see the appeal in some of the characters as positive images or archetypes, it is far more likely that children who look to super heroes as their heroes will simply grow up as very good consumers, buying books, movies, comic books, games, and all related media connected to that character.
Growing up, The X-Men and Spider-Man were my favorite comic books. And I admired the way The X-Men were people who had difficulty getting along and all came from different countries and ethnicities. And I related to Spider-Man as the outsider who did not fit in at school. Certainly, there were times when I related to these characters. But becoming a quality human being happens mostly from interacting with the natural world, reading books containing true wisdom and knowledge, and especially by modeling ourselves from real people who accomplish things as humans do, without flying or punching through walls or shooting beams from their eyes. They show us how to make a difference in the world, even with all of the mortal human weaknesses we all have, weaknesses that we must learn to cope with and integrate every day to give our lives meaning for ourselves and those around us. They teach us how, without super powers or eternal youth or fancy costumes, we can still be real super heroes.