Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

IndieWire describes THE LURE as “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.”  Not sure there is much more to say.  Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s fiendishly dark and sly modern fairytale is set in Communist-era Poland and highlights the havoc wreaked by two vampire mermaid sisters intertwined in love triangle.  In Polish with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including violence and nudity.  (Indiana University Cinema blurb)

So what’s not to love?  Perhaps “Golden” and “Silver” aren’t precisely classical vampires, preferring to subsist on human hearts, but they do get at them by biting through people’s throats.  At least Golden does, the one truer to her roots and, as one critic notes, the seemingly smarter of the two sisters.  But LurImage220Silver’s mistake is in taking it figuratively as well, falling in love with a dance club bass guitarist, and even enduring an operation to transplant a human lower body in place of her fish tail.  In spite of the fact that Golden warns her, should the fickle musician marry another, she has to “eat him” before the next sunrise lest she turn into sea foam.
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It doesn’t end well.
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One reason:  the film is actually a version of Hans Christian’s Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” which means part of the deal is she loses her singing voice too, and she and Golden are actually sirens of the lure-sailors-to-their-destruction kind.  And as Golden explains, she doesn’t sing solo.  In fact they’ve become a striptease act of sorts at a 1980s Warsaw night club (“Want to hang out here for awhile before swimming to America?” as Golden asks Silver early on), at one point billed as Corki Dancingu, the Polish title of the film, which I understand translates to “Daughters of the Dance Club.”  Another, perhaps, that it’s really a coming of age film about two young women, but without her sister, can Golden ever get to America by herself?
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On the down side, parts of THE LURE are a little confusing and, from a bit of a conversation I overheard outside the theater, the subtitled translations may miss some beats — but then, songs are a big part of the film too (remember:  Silver and Golden are sirens).  According to the docent before the screening, the 1980s are also important, including a sort of dance hall kitsch, as reminiscent of the director’s own childhood.  Also the music, channeling such films as ALL THAT JAZZ and CABARET, or at least a little, as well as Bjork — and the music is good!  And, the docent added, the mer-sisters do NOT wear seashell bras, but that’s not the only reason for not bringing children to this one as some of the violence does turn toward the graphic (something about “strong stomachs,” I think he said).
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So . . . maybe not the best movie ever made, but a weirdly good one.  I recommend it.

Another triple play starts the week (we seem to have had a lot of these this month).  So beginning last Saturday. . . .

1.  As we already know, eco-anthology MOTHER’S REVENGE was not to be out in time for Earth Day as originally planned (see April 11, et al.).  However I did receive payment Saturday, April 22, so things are in process —  and one might add it made for a pleasant Earth Day surprise;

2.  Also in process, CREEPY CAMPFIRE QUARTERLY plans to publish instead with DEADMAN’S TOME continue apace (cf. post just below), with a new revised contract received, signed, and returned today;

3.  And, as part of the daredevil life of the writer, much of last week for me was taken up with a second, meticulous (hopefully) proofreading of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (for information on which, plus pre-order, see its picture in the center column).  Bleary-eyed, I sent in the final corrections today, only three that I could find and all very minor, so a tip of the hat this afternoon to publisher Elder Signs Press for a job well done so far!  If all else goes well, the novel should be out in paperback form on June 1, with a Kindle edition to come sometime later.

Well, sort of.  Kind of.  Hark us back to April 1 this year, where we may recall that CREEPY CAMPFIRE QUARTERLY, scheduled later this year to reprint my story “In the Octopus’s Garden” (originally published in 69 FLAVORS OF PARANOIA, March-April 1999, as well as lead story in my 2013 collection THE TEARS OF ISIS), was not going to be coming out after all.  And so that was that.  Such things do happen.

But now it seems there may be a spark in the old campfire yet.  Through the efforts of fellow CREEPY QUARTERLY author-to-be Leo X. Robertson, CREEPY CAMPFIRE, zombie-like, is once again stirring out of its grave as a possible special adoptee,  possibly in two volumes, via Jesse Dedman of DEADMAN’S TOME.  And best of all, this won’t interfere with the TALES TO TERRIFY acceptance of “In the Octopus’s Garden” also announced in April 1’s post, to publish in the latter part of 2017, since that involves audio rights alone which CREEPY CAMPFIRE will not include.

More to be announced as it becomes known, but for now a special tip of the hat to Leo and Jesse for showing that, sometimes, you can’t keep a good CREEPY project down!

Well, yes, that’s not really what “trifecta” means, not exactly, but here’s another group of three things all bunched up in one post:

1.  THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS, a prose anthology for which I sent a poem, er, “story in verse” instead (cf. February 4, January 27, et al.) has appeared in my mailbox.  Not surprisingly, my “Tit for Tat,” originally published in James Ward Kirk’s 2015 anthology GHOSTS:  REVENGE, is the only actual poem in the book, but the editors agreed with me that it seemed a perfect fit.  Further info can be found here.

2.  MOTHER’S REVENGE, briefly noted below in Saturday’s triplet re. my story “Swarms” (see April 8, et al.), looks now as though it will slip past its previously announced April 22, Earth Day release, but hopefully will be at least available for pre-order then.  More on this as it develops.

3.  To quote Editor Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads Publishing:  You may have heard that Microsoft is launching a new ebookstore.  This will be part of an upcoming Windows 10 update, and folks will be able to purchase from the MS Digital Bookstore to read on their PC, laptop or tablet devices (like the Microsoft Surface).  I’m pleased to say that thanks to some of the distribution partnerships we have in place, all Untreed Reads titles and those of our distribution clients will be available on the Microsoft platform at launch.  My books in this batch are short story chapbooks I’M DREAMING OF A. . . and VANITAS and the novelette PEDS, all three of which (along with the anthology YEAR’S END:  14 TALES OF HOLIDAY HORROR, with my lead story “Appointment in Time”) can be found/ordered right now by pressing any one of their pictures in the center column, while more background on the new Windows 10 outlet can be found here.

Secrets, secrets.  What was my “first ever” book, and why?  (Hint, long out of print, you usually won’t see it in my current bio-notes.)  Do I claim a specific writing style?  Does my novel TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH have an ultimate message for readers (and what is the relation of TOMBS to what dramatists call “the five act structure”)?  In the process of coming up with a title, how did TOMBS differ from THE TEARS OF ISIS?  And now the answers, to questions I wouldn’t have dreamed up myself and many, many more have been revealed, courtesy of blogger extraordinaire Fiona Mcvie on AUTHORSINTERVIEWS.

And maybe a little more will be there on ISIS as well, or how Peter Lorre might have made a good “Ghoul-Poet.”  If curious, press here.  (And if interest is piqued by what you find, links are provided at the bottom for pre-ordering TOMBS as well as ordering THE TEARS OF ISIS — or if in a hurry, just click on their pictures on this page in the center column.)

On a lovely afternoon one day after April Fools, the Bloomington Writers Guild/Boxcar Books “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. March 5, et al.) featured a heady mix of dark fantasy, science fiction, and mystery.  The first by many-time participant Shayne Laughter brought the ending of “Incident at Grandmothers Cottage,” a police procedural set in a fairytale forest which she had read the first part of at the premiere of the Players Pub Spoken Word series (at which I had also presented my TOMBS-set “River Red,” cf. February 10), followed by Karen Wylie who we have also met before (see November 1 2015 and August 3 2014) with an excerpt from her “science fiction of one sort or another” novel DIVISION, and mystery author, poet, and local WHFB jazz DJ/talk show host Ray Zdonek with a portion of his novel THE LAST ROUNDUP, fourth in his northern Indiana-set Lee Kosak mystery series.  This was followed by five open mike readers of which I was fourth with a 700-word dark fantasy/murder mystery on the subject of pets cooking women (with a bit of back story, that being a “prompt” a few years back at my writers group) called “The Death of Mother Carvey.”

Then yesterday brought the opening entry of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s Rhysling Showcase, each to include mini-bios of six of the poets in this years Rhysling competition (cf. March 29), for which press here.  These will continue with new posts every other day throughout the month — with (ahem) mine scheduled for April 19.

Hello Lovelies,
 
We have another awesome guest post from author James Dorr, as he shares with us the inspiration for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, which releases in May.  I have to be honest, it has been a true pleasure reading James’ insightful posts, and I am definitely excited to read TOMBS!  Without further ado, let’s turn the time over to James!

So begins today’s blog from Heidi Angell, with one small correction:  TOMBS is listed by Amazon for release on June 1, though that’s close to May (and if you would like to see for yourself, or perhaps pre-order, one can press here).  But given her next sentence, how can I resist quoting exactly the words she uses?  This, then, is the second guest essay on TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH on Heidi’s blog, the first on “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” posted on February 9 (for which, below, see February 13).  While the first told about the structure of the novel itself, this one, titled “It Began With a Map,” is more on the structure of the world depicted within the novel and how it was developed.  To quote myself:  The original planning for TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH began with a map — different areas were defined in terms of the people who lived there.  More or less “normal” people lived in the New City and the Tombs; ghouls, the eaters of the dead, were in the Old City; boat gypsies lived on the river — they were mostly normal, but prone to disease from the river’s poisons, thus leading short but more intense lives; more or less normal people again lived in the Port City, far down the river, but had a higher proportion of mutants. . . .  And so I continued by wondering what various people did for their livings, social relations between males and females (some of which may seem a reflection on where we might be heading now), and end the post with a sort of portrait of a “typical” night in the Tombs itself, the necropolis just to west of New City across the great river.  Or, better, read it yourself by pressing here.

So, probably around the end of April/beginning of May I hope to have a third essay for Heidi, hopefully ramping up interest in the book itself when it’s out in June.  And I might mention also that this series really began with Heidi’s interviewing me at the start of the year (cf. January 10).  Those late to this blog can catch the interview by pressing here, or if interested in the novel’s structure, my first guest essay can be found here.

Something new indeed!  So said the email from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA):  We would like to try something new this year to get our members excited about and more involved in the Rhysling Award:  to post about the poets behind the poetry on our blog “SpecPo”.  We would like to post a brief bio, a picture and links to your poems online.  If your poem(s) is/are only available in print, please consider posting them to your own blog or website or an author’s website to which we could link.  Otherwise, we have access to the information and there’s no need to send a picture, bio or the links.  The idea is that six poets per day will be showcased starting on April 1 (which one hopes will not be a foolish omen) and continuing every other day for about six weeks with, if I’ve read the schedule right, my fifteen minutes of fame, or fraction thereof, on April 19.  At that time — or now as well, I suppose — the SpecPo blog will be able to be reached by pressing here.

Who knows, then, what picture of me they’ll have to post!  What biographical secrets they’ll reveal!  (Of the latter, just in case they’re out of date, don’t forget [*ahem*] I have a novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, coming out in June.)  Or, more to the point, my poem in this pea patch, “Godzilla vs. King Kong,” was published in the print-only journal DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES so where will they find the link to publish?  And so, for that last, why not . . . here (and note a small correction to lines 10-11 should you have the D&N copy with you).

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GODZILLA VS. KING KONG

It came down to this, finally,
the fight of all fights,
Godzilla against the King,
armed with his radioactive bad breath
and his lizard cunning,
while what could a monkey do?
“Do what you do best,”
Kong’s trainer, Fay Wray, told him,
“climb if you can, or else throw feces at him.”
Well, climbing was pretty much out of the question
unless he climbed up Godzilla himself,
the skyscrapers of Tokyo already demolished,
but, vis-a-vis Kong, ‘Zilla wasn’t that tall
and the other plan didn’t seem sanitary.
So Kong made sure he’d had a good night’s sleep,
a hearty breakfast of bananas by the bunch,
then stood his ground in the city’s ruins
delighted when Godzilla, stomping nearer,
slipped suddenly on his breakfast’s discarded peels,
taking a dive, backward, into the harbor.
Godzilla could also breathe under water
so, soon enough, he was climbing back out
dripping mud and dead crabs,
except Kong, by then, had already accepted
the winner’s purse,
and was halfway back to his Skull Island home.

Such is the spirit of serendipity, the things we discover.  As, last night, re-checking URLs for Saturday’s post, what should I find out but that Amazon is running a fairly hefty discount for pre-ordered copies of TOMBS.  I haven’t the foggiest idea of how long this is for — best to hurry, just in case! — but as of right now the pre-order price for the print edition of TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH is only $10.37, with publication planned for June 1.  I’m not going to do the arithmetic to find the percentage, but the full price is listed as $14.95, giving a savings of $4.58 a copy which seems like a pretty good deal to me.  So to check for yourself, just push on TOMBS’s picture on the center column or, if you prefer, press here.  And please tell your friends — not to mention, when it arrives in June and after you’ve read it, if you like it please consider giving Amazon back a review!

Hark us back to a Thursday seven weeks ago, February 9, and recall that I had a guest blog published by Heidi Angell, “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” (see February 13*), nakedly pimping — guess what? — my own mosiac novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  You thought it was over?  But now it comes out:  “What Is a Novel-In-Stories?” was only the first of a series of three essays planned for Ms. Angell’s blog, and word came today that the second of these, “It Began with a Map,” is scheduled for Thursday next week, March 30.  So what will the third be?  Well, most likely to come out in early to mid-May, anticipating the novel’s debut from Elder Signs Press on the first of June . . . well, I haven’t officially made up my mind yet, but we shall see then.  Perhaps you have some ideas?

Meanwhile, for Thursday, “It Began With a Map” will touch a bit on the geography and peoples of the world of the “Tombs,” hopefully whetting appetites further.  While I, having received an advance PDF just a few days ago, have begun the slog of proofreading the thing — another part of the thrill-a-minute life of the writer!

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*In fact, if you haven’t read “What Is a Novel-in-Stories,” why not do it now by pressing here?  Or better yet, if you would like to pre-order TOMBS, you can click on its picture or press here.




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