Posts tagged “Written by James Allder

AstroWorld

Astroworld The Middle of Fun

So I’m now deep into research and interviews for the purpose of bringing a film to the screen about the teen and young adult employees of a theme park in Houston, Texas called AstroWorld, in the summer of 1979.

A comedy in the vein of Meatballs (1979) meets a bit of Dazed and Confused (1993,) but also a tribute to the park’s hard-working staff, the people who loved AstroWorld, and the park itself.

At this stage this is merely a screenplay with no real money behind it, and there are several hurdles yet to dealt with.  The first, of course, would be getting permission from Six Flags to use the name and logo of “AstroWorld,” and portray 1970’s era employees in one of their former parks.  The second would be financing, which is difficult in that several things have to be in place before you get financing for such a project.  The third would be finding a defunct amusement park which could be redressed and stand in for AstroWorld.   … and that’s only the beginning.

However, I’m on it.  I’m writing it.  And we’ll see what happens.

Wish me luck, and remember … the show must go on.

AstroWorld-1977Astroworld 1979Wal for Time Sheets, Astroworld

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06/12/2012: It was a Tuesday, when ALL OF A SUDDEN …

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything here, I had almost forgotten about this blog.  Got an IT assignment at GE through Robert Half, starting May 1’st.  And I’ve been toiling away since then, hoping for the best at the end of my three-month contract assignment.  (Hoping to go permanent, but you never know with these companies) Hell, they even gave me an office; what do I have to complain about.  Moving on, my contract with Whiskey Creek Press as publisher of Western Legend expires in July, and I am anticipating not extending it.  Book didn’t really do as well as I’d hoped, and I get the feeling that I chose the wrong genre.  While I love westerns, I seem to be in the minority there.  And what I really love writing is a good adventure story, in any genre.   

Sooooo, you can expect some changes here soon.  Western Legend will probably wind up being republished as a self published e-book, and possibly a limited edition softcover.   Naturally, the book’s cover will change, along with the focus of this blog.  That will need to happen, allowing for two books, possibly three to co-exist in the sidebar and menus here.  The first, of course, being the western, and the second and third being of other genres.  I hope those who enjoyed my writing the first time around will stick with me into new territory.  I write just as well in any format, genre and general state of mind.  And I’m really planning something distinctive.

For now, please know I have NOT abandoned this blog.  Just been busy working and taking care of other business. 

Very busy.  As you can plainly see.

 


Story Anatomy

I’ve done writer’s conferences a lot; done a lot of those things.  And writers talk at conferences.  In panel rooms, waiting in line to pitch projects or get coffee, tidying up in the restroom, having a drink in the hotel bar; everywhere really.  And one of the things I’ve heard repeated by writers over and over again, is a certain discussion about the tricky task of altering their story.  More specifically, editing without  altering the parameters of one’s own story too much.  Changing something that intentionally alters a bit of framework here or there, or a little something which can completely change the focus, without destroying what has been created.  In other words, “fixing” something, without being accidentally self-destructive.

And after hearing this discussion jump from one person to the next, and from one room to the next, I realized there’s a certain ongoing anxiety among many, many writers when it comes to this topic.  It’s a fear some writers live with, and thus feel the need to talk about with anyone they feel can relate to it.  They describe it like being given a small box and being told to keep it on a shelf and not to open it, and if you can do that — you will be rewarded.  How many people do you honestly know, crazy or not, who can live with that little scenario for an extended period of time ?  That’s the type of thing that could eventually drive a person bugfuck crazy.  It sounds like Chinese water torture.  Or something worse.

Writers often regard changing anything already written, a very big gamble.  Or at least sacrilege; that’s a given.  But changes often do need to be made to streamline or clarify the work.  For example, I worked on the Introduction to Western Legend for a very long time, just trying to get it right.  There was one version, which went on page after page, and for so long, that I eventually realized it was just another prologue and way to much for the reader to take in — and so I simply removed it, altogether.  Then there were other drafts.  All of which introduced the story from various distinctive points-of-view.

They were all interesting, but it became obvious after a protracted interval, that I would have to settle on a much briefer introduction of some kind.  Mainly to allow the reader more immediate access the story.  And while the completed and printed introduction seems to have worked, I really miss some of those initial concepts.  The very last of which, and the introduction I almost used (see below,) described an old photograph, and the untold story behind that photograph.  This aspect of my introduction did not survive to the final draft, though the creation of a such a photograph as described did survive to be included in a single chapter.

The reason I removed this ?  The larger story structure didn’t really need it; too much fat.

But for some, strange reason, I miss it anyway.  Like an amputated limb.  And I wonder if I inadvertently opened the box.


INTRODUCTION

The image had not been seen for many years.

It had been publicly displayed only once before; sometime around 1915 in the window of a local bookshop. A great deal of immediate controversy had followed, and rather hastily, the photograph had been permanently removed from any form of exhibition. An action reportedly attributed to a universal sense of fear and dread on the part of the township.

It had been visible for only a single day. And after that, the image vanished from sight for generations. Some even claimed the infamous “picture” had been destroyed. While further gossip suggested that the image had simply been stowed away in an attic somewhere; though curiously, no one could ever seem to remember exactly where.

Decades passed, and selective memory issues reportedly plagued the population during those years when The Charleston was en vogue, the Second World War raged, and “flower power” reigned. Elements of the story traveled the sewing circles for sure; with many viewing such incidentals as nothing more than conjecture. Those in-the-know, however; those who were witnesses, to at least some of it, if not much of it — remembered well the full story behind the so called, “picture.” They would never forget. And among them, all agreed it was inexorable that the image would one day re-emerge. One day, they would say, scrutiny will scrape away layers of bullshit, revealing an astonishing truth.

And in the high summer of 1979, that is exactly what happened.

Only weeks following the death of legendary western movie star John Wayne, the photograph was discovered by a local family preparing an estate sale. Not instantly realizing what they had, and exceedingly curious, the owners promptly dusted and cleaned the heirloom, before inviting a local television crew to tape a human interest piece about it.

Within mere hours, viewers would sit entranced before television sets all over town. The effect the ghostly image had on the public was that instantaneous; hypnotizing anyone who laid eyes on it; young and old. The eighty-year-old photograph, a remarkable antique window into a lost era, had become a sensation trumping any other aspect of pop-culture. 

The image itself, a large Gelatin silver black-and-white print (now yellowing like so many other prints of its age,) measured approximately twenty-seven by fifteen inches around the aging, wooden frame. Birthed of a photographic process which reportedly involved elaborate prepping, developing, and printing methods, the result clearly evidenced that the Photographer had both: A) considered this “specific moment” of very profound interest, and B) had somehow determined this, in advance.

Viewing the image more carefully, the aspect which always grabbed the attention first, was the angle. The photograph appeared slightly crooked, as if the picture taker had either been nervous, or hurried. Then, when peering deeper, through cracked glass at the central area of the image, four majestic figures stood out. Portrayed with light and shadow, these four men favored a group of children, who appeared to see them off at the local train station.

And although from a distance, even the larger details were a definite curiosity, the area of the image which finally mesmerized — the part of the photograph which hypnotized — featured the distant, spooky eyes of a single individual. A prominent figure draped in a long, white linen duster and black slouch hat.

The only initial clue to the photographs origin, as well as the identity of the participants, had been some inked writing on the reverse; which read: “Virgil, Jim, Frank, Tom, and the boys — taken by local photographer, Phillip Lee Hollis, using his brand new mail-ordered box-make camera, November 20, 1899.”

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Seasons would change, and in time, an aura of electrifying mystery would grow around the legendary photo’s presumed origin. Talk of the image would rip through discussions across the entire region, like an air-born virus. And when finally cemented as a genuine source of East Texas pride, the community’s aging citizens would find their long held attitudes toward the infamous image, changing. In fact, those who had survived, era after era, agreed it was time for the world to know. After all, the eyes had it.

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The story presented here recounts a minor episode of some historical importance. An incident concerning men of general personage–emeritus to their former positions as active participants in the Wild West–waging battle with a full company of violent cattle thieves in the County of Nacogdoches, Texas, at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Since the task of elucidating any unknown part of history is never an easy one, and taking into account that much of this isn’t recorded in very many places outside of Texas, anyway–everything depicted has been thoroughly researched, fact checked, and triple checked, for the purpose of communicating what newsman Carl Bernstein has called: the best obtainable version of the truth.

The narrative has been constructed using a variety of County and State Records readily available from various libraries and historical societies. Referenced materials have included: court transcripts, medical reports, County Sheriff’s reports, land ownership records, relevant newspaper items, audio tape histories, affidavits made out by eye-witnesses, and a handful of maps and historical photos.

Please check the Bibliography for further clarification.

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The author has chosen to inaugurate with the most violent in a handful of incidents, all existing as prologue to the larger episode fully represented here, and all involving the theft of livestock. This sadistic attack on a local farmer was described by one anonymous citizen as, “…the damn near death of a poor young Irish feller known well by the community as Tommy Henderson.”


As of Now the e-book officially has a Jet-Pack strapped to it, and it’s on its way to Mars !

Sales of e-books are booming with the a thunder-crack, that’s no secret.  Electronic books read on computers and e-readers currently account for 20% of all book sales.  And it has been projected that sales will climb within the next year or two, giving the e-book equal standing among print formats, and eventually creating very lopsided sales figures in the opposite direction.  And that’s across the board, we’re talking world-wide.

In a year when Border’s Bookstore and Apple iPad innovator Steve Jobs both died, and a year that saw Amazon’s Kindle e-reader become their best selling product of the entire year (remember, it was only introduced late in the last quarter of the year, ) books delivered electronically have taken over pop-culture, to a degree that they’ve actually pushed aside all comers.  And they’ve also relegated marketing for traditionally printed books to a diminutive status.  Flipping the business model of just a few years ago.

The e-book — a digital print file typically available for your perusal in file formats that match the devices they are being sold for — has completely embedded itself in our culture.  And some people have benefited enormously from this phenomenon.  One very lucky writer made over $300,000 (before taxes) off the sale of approximately 800,000 e-books.    And when analyzing the cultural impact of the e-book, be aware that things have changed so radically and so quickly, that even college students are now being allowed to download and bring to class textbooks on e-readers.  Something many of us would have been kicked out of school for had we tried it in our own youth.

Soooo many people fought this massive alteration in our literature climate.  And now their vain efforts have become unintentionally comical.  I, myself, balked at the e-book “revolution.”  Like so many others, I assumed it would be a fad.  Who wouldn’t prefer to hold an actual book in their hands ?  Who wants to trust this new electronic format for delivery of a product ?  What if something goes wrong and my payment gets lost, then what ?  … However … when I found it impossible to be published any other way, I went the way of submitting my novel Western Legend to e-book publishers — and got 9 responses within two weeks.  Since then, I’ve become more acclimated to both the format and the industry, and like so many others, my disposition has changed radically.

The e-book is here to stay.  And I need to get back to work.


Happy Holidays and Merry and Happy Christmas !


Book Excerpt: Chapter 5 – Committee

I have been away from this blog for a bit due to other responsibilities.  And I haven’t really had sufficient time to plan a solid blog post, so below you will find Chapter 5 from Western Legend.  This Chapter takes place in the first third of the story, and involves a local Sheriff and a retired Texas Ranger doing their best to ease tension among an angry crowd of local citizens; all of whom are disturbed by the recent arrival of some very controversial persons in a local saloon.

btw I promise to work on something really outstanding for next week.

Jim


Chapter 5 — Committee

One street over, Armstrong was following the Sheriff into a small office dressed with little more than a desk and a gun cabinet.  The room measured a mere twenty-five feet by twenty-five feet, and was currently packed to the pine walls with an irate crowd of more than eighty citizens from all around the surrounding community, creating an incredible commotion that left “The Major” singularly stunned.

Multiple voices were overlapping, mostly arguing and shouting in various languages with a good portion of the accents echoing former nationality, slightly corrupted by Southern vernacular. Among them Armstrong discerned Swedish, German, Irish, French, and Scottish; with none, he perceived, being more than a single generation distant from another hemisphere.

He glanced about, taking in the raised fists, the strained, shouting red faces, and correctly surmised that this “mob” was simply the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce.  There were those who had influence, those who had prominence, and most vocally, those directly affected by the community’s current crisis with livestock rustling.  And the most vocal of them all, was the rancher everyone knew as Charlie.  Ensconced behind the Sheriff’s desk, he prompted the room by shouting inciting comments, which many in the crowd in turn repeated in total agreement.  And with Charlie mediating, this was quickly becoming a full-blown vigilance committee, aimed squarely at the men now gathered in the saloon.

“By God…” Armstrong simply whispered.  He was taken aback — almost flustered.

But the Sheriff … well, this was his town and these were his people. He may not be experienced in other matters, but he knew how to manage, and even command, an out-of-control mob.  Without hesitation, or even a hint of weakness, Sheriff Alton Thompson easily pushed his weight through the crowd.  He bullied past the wanted posters adorning the walls, around the locked rifle case, and commanded the rancher with a heavy cadence, “Get the hell out from behind my desk, Charlie!”

“Fine,” Charlie whined.  “You’re the Sheriff! Do your job!”

The sound of the crowd diminished to heavy whispering.

“Sheriff,” the local hardware store owner spoke up, “this here’s the official committee for the people who wanna know what in the hell’s going on over there!”

Suddenly, the room was filled with loud agreement.

“And we have a right to know,” the store owner added, bringing even louder agreement.

“Now hold up!” the Sheriff shouted.  “The Earps were sent here by the State to advise on a County matter, and the other men are passing through!”

“Sheriff, them men could be the ones what attacked that Irish boy, and you know it!”  Miss Spinners said, conspiratorially.

The crowd became agitated, and the school teacher stepped forward.  “Charlie — you found Tommy, what did you see?”

“It was dark,” Charlie said.  “And they went in the trees…I didn’t get a look at ’em.  Sheriff, they could be the ones!”

“We don’t believe that to be the case,” Armstrong shot back.

“Well I wanna know what you’re gonna do about protecting our livestock!”  Charlie shouted.

“We’re investigating!” the Sheriff shouted back at him, “and now that the Earps are here—”

“Well then,” the teacher interrupted, “you won’t mind askin’ those men to prove their loyalty to this town — ” and she slapped the desk six times hard when she said it, “ — by killin’ — the — hell — outta — them — rustlers!”

“Who said rust — ” The Sheriff stopped himself.  “That’d be the stupidest thing we could do right now!”

“How?” the teacher retorted.  “How is that stupid, Alton?  They’ll either say ‘Yes,’ or they’ll say ‘No,’ right?  You say they’re not in with them rustlers; then prove you believe it; get off your complacent butt, and go ask ’em for ALLEGIANCE TO THIS TOWN!”

The crowd rallied at this, and someone in the back shouted out, “You put a thief to catch a thief, Sheriff!”

Sitting behind his desk, the Sheriff mumbled with a wavering and uneven voice, “Ohhhhhhh, meee…”

“I hear that Tom Horn fellow is in that establishment,” a local man said in a thick German accent.  “All know he to be a killer of the cattle thief.”

“Cattle detective, please, sir,” Armstrong said.

In response, the hardware store owner rattled off, “Ranchers report cow-thieving, Tom Horn gets dispatched, and the outcome is always no more cow-thieving — where’s the detecting in that, Mister?”

The crowd again responded, loudly.

“Let me say it like this!”  Armstrong shouted above them, “There are some awfully strong personalities in that saloon — you don’t wanna impose upon them — ”

“I say you go ask for their guns,” Miss Spinners crowed, “That’ll light a fire under the arse of each and every one of ’em.”

The Sheriff instantly shot her a look.  “The hell I will.”

“Fine,” the teacher snarled.  “So what if they get out of hand, Alton? Do you intend to take any action at all, when that time comes?”

“Stop right there!” the Sheriff said, pointedly.

“Yea and where’s your one Deputy?”  Charlie stated, derisively.

“Right behind you, Charlie,” the Deputy said, entering the office.  The crowd turned and evaluated a healthy adult man, but every one of them knew it was only one man.  And that neither eased their fears, nor placated their anger.

“That’s good! Good!” Charlie shook a fist.  “While I’m here in town, I want him out there watching my property and livestock!”

“Why don’t you be smart and get back out there and watch your own damn property and livestock,” the Sheriff said, “instead of gawking at that saloon.”

A man with a strong French accent spoke up from the back of the room.  “We need to organize a vigilance court and discourage these desperadoes…”  He waved his arm.  “…all away from here!”

Again, the crowd rallied, and the Sheriff gave up his hope of calming them.

“That’s enough!” he said, “I don’t want anyone else get-ting hurt.  Return to your establishments, homes, wherever you should be on such an afternoon, and don’t concern yourselves further with what goes on in that saloon.”  He stared around at the mob and concluded with mock-melodrama, “Rest assured, the desperadoes will be dealt with soon enough.”

The school teacher leaned over his desk and stared him down.  “Oh you mean rustlers, Sheriff — I’m sure you do.  Quite possibly the same men that killed folks over in Abilene.”

The Sheriff’s eyes narrowed.

She added, “And that’d be Abilene, Texas, Alton — not Abilene, Kansas.”

The room went quiet. He looked like he wanted to shoot her.

Amid the near silence her outburst had created, quiet mutterings of surprise and agreement were beginning.  Calmly, the Sheriff pulled his revolver … and the school teacher backed way off.  Now, with anger in his eyes, he spun the pistol in his hand, striking the butt against his desk hard and twice, like a gavel.

“Meeting adjourned, people.”  His voice was harder now.  “Now you best get the hell outta my office!”

“You heard him, people!” the Deputy shouted.  “Let’s go, everybody out!”  He was ushering and even pushing them out the door.

Armstrong took a seat in the chair next to the Sheriff’s desk and put his feet up.  “Damn” was his only comment.

“Good riddance, that’s all I got to say,” the Sheriff said.

The Deputy shut the door, and said, “So I did see Tom Horn ride in this morning?”

“That you did.”  Armstrong leaned to shake hands with the younger man.  “John Armstrong. Good to meet you, son.”

“Drayton Solly — please, call me Bud.”

“That, I can do.  So, Bud, you’re the lone Deputy?”

The Deputy nodded.  “Others are fightin’ the war.  We have volunteer policemen, and some voluntary Deputies … but not a one of ’em have any experience or grit to ’em.”

“You can say that again,” the Sheriff added. “ At least two of them were just in here with that silly crowd.”

“And some are hell bent on taking up arms, crossin’ that street, and makin’ a name for themselves,” the Deputy said.

The Sheriff began picking crust out of the inner corners of his eyes.  “Please don’t tell me that,” he said.

“I told them all to stay away from that saloon,” the Deputy continued.  “I catch ’em, they’re going right down that hall.”  He was pointing toward jail cells down a dark hallway, at the far end of the office.

“Any of ’em go in that saloon, with said intention, they’ll be going right down that street and straight into Oak Grove Cemetery,” the Sheriff said.  “Speakin’ of which, why don’t you head out, keep an eye on the roads. See what you can see.”

The Deputy nodded in acknowledgement, and exited.

“You ready to head back over there?”  Armstrong asked the Sheriff.

The Sheriff looked at him, blinked twice.  Then he said, “Look at this,” and held out his hand, laterally.

His hand wasn’t trembling.  It was vibrating.

Armstrong had a belly laugh that turned his face bright red.


Read more in “WESTERN LEGEND,” by James Allder. 

e-book available from Whiskey Creek Press, Amazon.com, and Fictionwise.


e-Readers: the KindleFire Vs. the NookTablet

Amazon’s new #KindleFire e-reader was officially released earlier this week, and hot on it’s heels will be Barnes & Noble’s #NookTablet, tomorrow (11/18.)  On behalf of potential buyers of these devices, as well as potential readers of my own e-book, I decided to take a look at these fairly affordable devices and compare and contract their attributes.  For the casual buyer, I’ll try not to get too technical or redundant.

Amazon’sKindle Fire

Kindle Fire

For a hot minute, the most popular will undoubtedly be the Kindle Fire.  At a price point of $199.00, the Fire will make a likely gift for anyone purchasing an inexpensive color e-reader for a friend or loved one.  It’s a $300 difference in price from Apple’s iPad.  The next thing you need to know is that the Kindle Fire is Wi-Fi ONLY !  That means no cellular access.  Although you can read or watch any downloaded content on it without wireless internet access, you will need wireless internet access in order to get the content onto the device.  Typically any coffeeshop or bookstore (if there are any left) provides free wireless, but you need to know this in advance of Christmas morning.  The positive side, is not having a required monthly cellular subscription tied to your device.  Re: the Apple iPad.  (Note: Kindle does make earlier model e-readers which do utilize cellular technology; why they have not included it here, has not been explained.)

And Amazon is offering something unique with their tablet — a FREE month of something called “Amazon Prime.”  It’s a free one month access to Amazon’s “lending library.”  Just like checking out a single book at a time, and reading it, then returning it when your finished.  This temporary month of Amazon’s Prime program is designed to get the user hooked on borrowing books, as opposed to buying them.  And to demonstrate the ease of ordering product from Amazon.com.

Downside ?  While the iPad and the Nook Tablet offer the ability to download books from third party vendors, such as Amazon, etc., the Kindle will only download books from Amazon.  (Note to comic book fans: Amazon Kindle has an exclusive deal with DC Comics, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook line now has an exclusive deal with Marvel Comics.)  Kindle’s own comic reading app has quickly garnered some negative criticism.  Though the Kindle does allow comic book readers to purchase and download the “Comixology” app for reading comic books.  Of course, as always, you have to pay through the nose for each comic.  The days of 35 cents an issue are long gone.  Expect around $4 to $6 per comic book.  Which will be a major issue with comics addicts.  Most perpetual readers of comic books can easily set up a discount deal at their local comic book store of between 15% and 20%, and save a bundle, in comparison to current digital comics prices.

Apple iPad 2

Getting into the technical specs, the Fire has a 7″ scratch resistant screen,  a single power button (everything is done by touch on this device,) a power jack and a headphone jack.  And it’s very portable.  About the size of one of those lengthy paperbacks you now see on stands.  Because it’s in color, you can view magazines and comic books on it.  But, the text is often too small and you may prefer to use the Kindle’s “text only” mode for viewing this media.  I got around this by simply turning the device sideways.  It increases the scope and size of everything.  I should also note that I found the Fire curiously too narrow to read a book on, unless turned sideways.  Vertically, there are two few words per line and that creates a very bizarre reading experience.  This is also a problem with Barnes & Noble’s new Nook device.   If reading is your only vice and you have no need of a small tablet to watch the occasional movie on or check your email on, then you might simply prefer the new black & white Kindle Touch.

Kindle Touch

It’s only $99.00, reportedly 25% faster than the former model, and the screen — though not as long as the Fire — is a bit wider.  And after handling it myself, it seems to provide a better reading experience.  There is a $79 version, but you have to negotiate pesky, unwanted advertisements on it, and for that reason, I cannot recommend it.

Kindle Fire arrives with a free Netflix application.  A software that allows Netflix account users to watch movies and TV direct from an already established account on their tablet.  To aid in this, are two small stereo speakers on top of the device, which seem to work well unless in a crowded environment.  Please note the Kindle Fire is a standard Definition tablet.  NOT HD !  So while you can buy and watch High Definition content on it, you will be watching it in Standard Definition.  If you want HD, you will want to go with a higher end tablet like the iPad, or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Faster than the previous Kindles, the Fire has a duel core 1GHz Processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 8 full hours of battery life, without utilizing the Wi-Fi.  Utilizing Wi-Fi for downloading or surfing, uses more power and drags down the battery life.  In fair comparison, the Apple iPad gets 10 hours with Wi-Fi, and the Nook Tablet (which I will be discussing momentarily) gets 11.5 hours of battery life — but like the Fire, that’s with Wi-Fi OFF.

Another negative is that a lot more apps are available for the Apple iPad.  But, given the price point, it’s a trade off.  Amazon has admitted that they will definitely see losses given the price point of their product.  Their base cost for manufacturing each Kindle Fire device, is $210.  Therefore, their suggested retail price point should probably be set around $300 — and yet they are selling this item for $200.  Keep that in mind.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet

Nook Tablet

The new 7″ Nook Tablet is very similar to the Kindle with some notable exceptions.  First off the price point is one dollar shy of fifty bucks more, bringing it up to $249.00.  (Note: if you are already a Barnes & Noble member, you get $25 off the price, making the Nook Tablet only $25 more than the Kindle.)  But the reason for the price difference becomes obvious with a quick look at the specs.  As opposed to Amazon, who are utilizing off the shelf components, Barnes & Noble have elected to optimize their device.  With 16 GB of storage, the Nook Tablet has twice the storage capacity of the Kindle Fire, a 1.2GHz Processor, and a full 1GB of RAM.  (To be fair to the competition, Amazon offers an on-line storage bay, where everything you buy from them is mirrored and stored permanently.  So you can delete it from your tablet and re-add it again, at a later time.)  There’s also an SD card slot for an additional 32 GB of storage, should the user choose to upgrade.  It also has the free Netflix app — along with Hulu and Pandora, already integrated.  As stated in the previous dissection of the Kindle Fire, the Nook’s battery life is 11.5 hours, but it’s also cut down to 9 hrs. when watching movies/TV.

The Nook is also a weightier device.  Thicker and heavier.  That’s a knock against it.  But the screen, despite being laminated for reduced glare, is actually brighter than the Kindle.

Getting back to the subject of reading Comic Books, both the #KindleFire and the #NookTablet come with their own built in comic book e-reader, but both will also allow download of popular comic book reading applications, such as “Comixology” and “Perfect Reader.”  Both apps cost around three dollars and have a slight lag in the page turning department, which is surprising given Kindle’s duel core processor.  But software updates to remedy this are said to be forthcoming.  Actually, if you’re anticipating reading comics on one of these things, I would simply recommend the 10.1 screen size of the larger Samsung Galaxy Tab.  It’s a big jump in cost, but it’s worth it for reading comics.  (Remember that ‘electronic comic book’ idea Tom Hanks character had in the movie “BIG?”  The Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Tab is precisely THAT item.  The screen is 1280 x 800; perfect for comics.)

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

A big drawback for the Nook, is that Amazon has a much larger library than Barnes & Noble.  And another knock against both, is that neither device has a camera — though the Nook Tablet does have a microphone.  Again, if interactive features are more attractive to you for some reason, you might want to go with another tablet, such as the iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

In summation, if you’re just going to buy one of these to read books, I would personally recommend the smaller black-and-white Kindle Touch for $99.  If you want to also occasionally watch a movie and check your email  (when near Wi-Fi,) I would recommend the Kindle Fire.  If you’re a student and want to hide the fact that your reading comics, get the Nook Tablet — it’s amazingly smooth at this, due to better processor and memory.  And if you can afford a better option, and want full interactivity, including HD video, a camera, a microphone, etc., then I would suggest either the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.  I hope this information helps you make your decision.  Whether you intend to purchase for yourself, or as a gift.  However, as always, you should really get out there and physically hold these things “before” purchasing anything on-line.

Jim

Amazon’s Link for the Kindle Fire:  http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Amazon-Tablet/dp/B0051VVOB2/ref=tsm_1_fb_kin_111114_B0051VVOB2

Barnes & Noble’s Link for the Nook Tablet: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/nook-tablet-barnes-noble/1104687969?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-NOOK-_-product_page-_-acclaim_buy_now

Samsung’s Link for their Galaxy Tab 10.1: http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxytab/10.1/index.html

Apple’s Link for their iPad 2: http://www.apple.com/ipad/