Archive for February, 2017
For Mardi Gras or, more to the point, this was a six-month royalty for the last half of 2016 and one pretty generous as these things go. But — how to say it? — perhaps more than one thing has been disappointing about the nether parts of the past year. As the editor/publisher herself put it (as is my custom, to avoid embarrassment on both sides the actual publisher/book[s] will remain anonymous), [w]e hope it rebounds in 2017, and are redoubling our promotional efforts to that end. Unless you object, we will simply hold your royalty over through this royalty period in the hopes that it grows substantial enough to pay you at the end of the summer. And fair enough, say I. Actually this one would buy a small meal at a discount restaurant, but why not let it slide for now and maybe, by Labor Day, have enough for dessert as well!
Laissez les bon temps rouler, eh?
Another month and, on a crisp but sunny afternoon, it was time for February’s “Last Sunday Poetry Reading & Open Mic” (cf., e.g., January 29, et al.). Co-sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington and the Monroe County Convention Center, some 18 to 20 people attended, with the featured poets Indiana University MA/PhD student Nathan Schmidt reading a long poem, “Because I Would Not Stop for Him,” its title based on an Emily Dickenson line “Because I Would Not Stop for Death,” followed by Nancy Chen Long, author of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry winner LIGHT INTO BODIES and other poems and chapbooks, with seven shorter works, several on subjects related to “home.” Following the break were nine walk-on readers (including Tonia Matthews with a delightful series of variations on the theme of “chocolate”) of which I came in at number six with four previously published poems loosely about death: “Dust to Dust,” “Firelight,” “A Little Night Music,” and “The Instrument Maker.”
And so, to Mardi Gras and March!
Quoting the Indiana University Cinema blurb for February 24: Set in a dystopian Texas of the future, THE BAD BATCH is a “post-apocalyptic cannibal love story,” as writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour describes it, “ROAD WARRIOR meets PRETTY IN PINK with a dope soundtrack.” This genre-breaking thrill ride won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and features a dream-ensemble cast of Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Jim Carrey, and Diego Luna. The film opens later in 2017. Director Ana Lily Amirpour is scheduled to be present. Asked herself afterward about PRETTY IN PINK, Ms. Amirpour allowed that was something she’d said in one interview and she’d never do it again, but she smiled when she said that. As for ROAD WARRIOR, there is a Mad Maxish ambience to THE BAD BATCH with scavenger societies, makeshift cities (one making use of an aircraft graveyard), and never-mind-where-the-gasoline-comes-from automobiles, though in this case more the speed of Vespas and golf carts.
Then another question: What was the significance of the bunny? Let us go back in time for a moment to Amirpour’s earlier movie A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT* and Masuka the cat (cf. January 19, 11 2015). Masuka acts there as a sort of marking figure, passed in ownership between people who become important; in this a bunny (unnamed in the credits unless I missed it) becomes the pet of a little
girl who in turn becomes the bond between principle characters Arlen and Miami Man. But beyond that, well, animals in some way may represent innocence and purity, Amirpour allowed, but (harking to another question too) this might not be a film to put too much stock in one-on-one symbolism.
What it is, though, she said is a “personal story of a girl who feels cut down, ripped apart by life,” as well as, as she was writing it originally, her “love letter to America.” She hastened to add, this was before current times with a President Trump. Yet a pervading image is that of a Texas desert divided by a wall, behind which are thrust the “bad batch,” the non-productive, the terminally ill, illegal immigrants (Miami Man was, originally, “a Cubano”), the homeless. . . . They then are further divided into two “cities,” The Bridge (so named from homeless who, in US cities, often take shelter under expressway bridges and the like), a machismo culture and also . . . cannibalistic, and Find Comfort, a more benign hippie-like civilization whose diet tends more toward pasta.** Needless to say, they hate each other.
So what is a girl to do — who’s already lost an arm and a leg (literally) to the dinner table? Or a doting father who’s lost his daughter, but wouldn’t turn his nose up at a human filet.
Might there be a third way?
But also beware, there’s a quality of dream, of fairytale about the thing too, of don’t always take too literally what you see. Be content instead to see beautiful images, though often enough combined with the grotesque — this is not a film for the faint of stomach! Enjoy the soundtrack, and worry not too much about details like where gas or electricity come from in the desert (or pasta, for that matter, or how many humanburgers it takes to sustain a weight-lifter physique). Or if the ending is, as we say in the romance biz, “happily ever after” or even, realistically, “happily for now.” Sneak previews aside (Friday’s screening was presumably the first outside the film festival circuit), THE BAD BATCH is set for a June 23 release by NEON according to IMDb and, when the time comes, just sit back and enjoy it!
*The night before, in fact, we got to see seven short films by Amirpour including the original A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, on which the feature-length version was based (although, in the short, without any cats).
**And, surely this is just my personal eccentricity, I couldn’t help seeing a parallel to this, and especially the ending, in the 1974 Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016). Or maybe I am nuts.
Or possibly May depending on how one reads the lines, but word has come that PHOBOS MAGAZINE number 4 should be published in print “in the next 1-2 months. Shortly after, it will be available on Kindle.” This is the issue on the theme of “Deep Black Sea” with, keeping the subject in mind, my Lovecraftian story “The Dark Call of the Sea” (see December 14, October 25). This is the one about a bad summer holiday spent at Innsmouth, with overtones of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Music of Erich Zann,” and to be available if schedules hold up in time for your and my summer vacations.
Then one more announcement regarding PHOBOS, we have a sneak peek at the cover art, by Abagail Larson. Gaze and enjoy.
It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King. . . .
So begins the poem as published in DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES for May 2016 (cf. August 6, et al.), “Godzilla vs. King Kong.” Then, today, came another missive: Congratulations on having been nominated as a candidate for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2017 Rhysling Award, given by member vote for the best speculative-genre poem first published in 2016. While the award does not include a monetary prize, those included in the anthology receive a contributor’s copy, a 50% discount on further copies, and may join SFPA at half the normal rate. The email went on to explain the details, the poem would be published in this year’s RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY, I would get a copy of it but no extra money for reprint rights, the anthology, in turn, would be distributed to SFPA members for use in voting. And, one should add, even just being a nominee carries a certain amount of prestige so, the bottom line, I sent back my permission for the republication.
The Rhysling Award is actually two annual awards, one for shorter poems, one for those fifty lines long or more (at 26 lines, my poem will be in the short division). These are voted on by SFPA members, by analogy to other genre awards like the Nebulas and Stokers(R), but with this one difference, that every nominee is distributed in the anthology, so every voter will have a chance to have read all the candidate poems. More on the Rhyslings can be found on the SFPA site by pressing here.
As for who won the fight, however, Godzilla or King Kong, the answer will be in the poem itself and, even if not yourself a SFPA member, there will be a chance to buy the anthology when it comes out.
If at first one should fail to succeed, as the saying goes. . . . The ZIPPERED FLESH 3: YET MORE TALES OF BODY ENHANCEMENTS GONE BAD Kickstarter campaign (see February 3, et al.) having fallen a bit short, word is out from Smart Rhino Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge that a new campaign has been started on Indiegogo, to be up for the next month. As we might recall, part of the effort is to secure enough for professional pay for the authors included, which is to say (among others) me, so please to consider checking it out by pressing here. (My story in this, again see February 3 et al., is “Golden Age,” a surprisingly non-painful SF tale of a future pioneer and is last in the book, but for the gore-hounds among us as well there’s horror enough in the other offerings, so [as we say] give until it hurts!)
In other news, welcome the new goth cat Triana’s very own web page that went up today. To see it, check under “PAGES” in the far right column, and click on her name. Wednesday’s is there as well, with the entrance to it just beneath Triana’s.
Who can resist it? This is a picture of new Goth Cat Triana (cf. February 10, 6, et al.) taken by a friend, Eve Schultes-Ridge, last Monday. Triana is on her inherited high throne (in an earlier life, a carton for a refrigerator door gasket), relaxing with her favorite cat toy, a molded plastic human heart.
Move over Soyuz (cf. December 12), it looks like NASA has a new heavy-lift rocket ready to be on the launch pad next year. And now there’s some talk that its maiden voyage could be a manned one. No, not to Mars yet, just a lunar loop-around for now, but apparently this is the one that may be used to go there eventually as well. But see for yourself via “NASA Is Considering a Manned Flight for First SLS Launch,” by Jay Bennett, on POPULARMECHANICS.COM by pressing here. And if that is intriguing see, also by Jay Bennett, “All You Need to Know NASA’s Mammoth SLS Rocket in Less Than 3 Minutes” by pressing here.
As we may know, the goth cat Triana, a.k.a. The Cat Formerly Known As Lucy Lu, takes her name from Triana Orpheus, the daughter of Dr. Byron Orpheus, necromancer and neighbor of Dr. “Rusty” Venture in THE VENTURE BROS. cartoon series (see February 2). But what more do we know of Triana’s namesake? Fortunately we can find Ms Orpheus listed in “Goth Girls of Cartoons” by Miss Haps, on POPGOTHICA.BLOGSPOT.COM, among other goth ladies of ink and pigment translated to film and TV. Many more, in fact — one must scroll down and down to the section “Extra Shadows” to find Triana herself. And, yes, some of us may seem to have too much time on our hands on occasion.
But you know you’re curious yourself, so press here.
And it’s not really new either, only missing but now restored as a Valentine’s Day extra. VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE) is a book of poetry about vampires and things vampiric, sexy, deadly, and by moi. This is the White Cat edition which should eventually be updated, with new cover, etc., but the upgrade has been taking some time and no need to not buy the book now if one wishes. In print it only costs $7.00 (plus probably postage, but still a good price for a small love token for that special person) and even less in a PDF version. Just click its picture in the center column.
It isn’t listed on Amazon either in this edition, but probably will be when the new one comes out, although I believe print copies of this one can also be purchased through Alban Lake (for which one can press here).
Or, on this page with its link to White Cat Publishing (plus option for PDF), scroll down the center column, through books and chapbooks, to find an all-new category for Poetry. And there it will be!