Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category
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 it. 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 one 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 early Sean Connery film ZARDOZ (see October 15, 2016). Or maybe I am nuts.
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.
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.
These things have a way of sneaking up on you! The essay was actually published on Thursday, February 9, as advertised last week (cf. February 4), but in the circuitous way of the internet at times, word finally only caught up with me last night. So it goes.
The essay, anyway, pertains to my upcoming novel, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but is actually about novel structure. That is, TOMBS isn’t structured like a majority of novels, as pretty much a continuous narrative, but rather is what is sometimes called a mosaic novel or a novel-in-stories. Say what? That is, like Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB or Ray Bradbury’s THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. Or what about Bradbury’s THE ILLUSTRATED MAN? Or John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy. Novels pieced together from parts, the parts sometimes short stories in their own right — but not necessarily always. And anyhow why do it that way at all?
Well, now we have an answer, courtesy of blogger Heidi Angell who, as of Thursday, has published my “What Is a Novel in Stories” as a guest blog. And did it really start with Edgar Allan Poe?
To find out, press here.
This anthology may include one or more genres such as: horror, dark fiction, dark fantasy, speculative fiction, or bizarro. Your story may occur in any time, place or space. Mix it up, but make it thought provoking and disturbing to the human conscience. It’s up to you whether you offer the world hope, provide an answer to survival, or predict final death and destruction on the very last page. Such was the call for MOTHER’S REVENGE, with a following acceptance from publisher Scary Dairy Press my first for this year (for prose fiction, that is, cf. January 21). This was the one about man’s mistreatment of the environment, with possibly not so nice consequences. And now word has come that a publication date has been set, for Earth Day 2017, April 22.
My part in the party is a tale called “Swarms,” originally published in CD ROM form in BLOODTYPE (Lone Wolf Publications, 2001) and later in print in my DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET collection, on the aftermath of the first Iraq war and some curious things that were found in the desert. More on MOTHER’S REVENGE will be here when it becomes known.
This was a first, the Players Pub Spoken Word Series (see January 29), premiered Thursday night from 6 to 9 by the Bloomington Writers Guild in conjunction with local bar and music venue Players Pub in off-downtown Bloomington. This will continue on second Thursdays every month, combining musical interludes with readings of various sorts. This time, for instance, the readings were prose, with the musical guests the group Urban Deer, while next month’s will most likely feature poetry and, from out of town, the group Shakespeare’s Monkey. The name of the series is not necessarily fixed yet either, but a flavor is already being established, more freewheeling and possibly “adult” in nature than, say, the more formal First Sunday Prose and Last Sunday Poetry programs.
That said, the first reading ever for this was by . . . me. The piece read was my story “River Red” from THE TEARS OF ISIS, but with a brief introduction from TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (“River Red” being set in the “Tombs” universe, even if not in the latter book) to help set the mood. And also . . . well, maybe . . . as a sort of commercial to push both titles. This was followed by Shayne Laughter, who we’ve met on several occasions before, with a tale called “Incident at Grandmother’s Cottage,” a part of a fiction work in progress; Arbutus Cunningham (a.k.a. Hester), a Saturday morning radio star on local WFHB with four brief and mostly funny (the exception, the third called “After the War,” combining survival and sadness) semi-fictionalized, off-the-wall reflections; and playwright and comedy performance artist Stevie Jay with longer excerpts from a newer work, “Falling Through the Cracks: a homeopathic remedy for the New Millennium in one dose.” The audience totaled some 15 to 18 people (not counting bar personnel), most of whom seemed to stay for the whole nearly three-hour period, and once warmed up seemed quite enthusiastic.
Then another note on new goth kitten Triana, who has momentarily held still and in the light long enough for a new photo portrait, this amongst the jumble and clutter of the printer corner of the computer cave. But the thing is, missing from all other pictures thus far, she has lovely golden-brownish eyes, now seen here for the first time!
DARKFUSE MAGAZINE Managing Publisher Shane Staley announced today that the print edition of DARKFUSE 6, including my steampunkish tale “The Candle and the Flame” (cf. January 13, et al.), has been given a May 30 publication date. Information and advance ordering can be found here. “The Candle and the Flame” is a variation of sorts of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of “The Little Match Girl,” sans angels conveying one’s soul to Heaven. Because there are other uses for souls, more practical ones as one might say for those who can afford it — or maybe not. With eight stories in all, DARKFUSE 6 is planned as a “mini-hardcover” collectors edition, including several signing options, and the following contents:
“Mommy’s Little Man” by Brian Hodge
“The Friday Special” by Renée Miller
“Dare To” by Bruce Golden
“Night of the Dog” by Brian Knight
“The Candle and the Flame” by James Dorr
“Fear” by Ben Pienaar
“Where They Belong” by Aeryn Rudel
“Instant Swimmers” by Ronald Malfi
Saturday brings us news that THE BOOK OF BLASPHEMOUS WORDS (cf. January 27, et. al) has been released on Kindle with, according to publisher A Murder of Storytellers, the paperback version hopefully to be available soon. More here as it becomes known. This is the one about people’s relationships with their gods, not always as lovely as one might hope, with my “burnt” offering about a lad who apparently couldn’t get to hell, with a cautionary note to preachers. Titled “Tit for Tat,” it’s a poem in the class sometimes called “Little Willies,” humorous quasi-Victorian takes on boys who cause, or have caused to them dire things.
Then one more quick note: Word came last night from Heidi Angell, who we may recall from her interview of me last month (see January 10), that she plans to use an essay by me on her blog sometime next week. Again, more here as it becomes known. The essay is titled “What is a Novel-In-Stories?” and explains why that form may be superior to more straightforward narrative for some applications, with special reference to my own upcoming TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH (due in June from Elder Signs Press, for more information on which click its picture in the center column).
So go the news cycles, days in which nothing happens at all, then periods where it all piles up, one or two happenings every day. And so, today, a twofer the first of which is by William Herkewitz via POPULARMECHANICS.COM, “Behold Bat Bot, the First Flying Robot Bat.” Yes, really, but not necessarily intended as an aid for blood drives, but rather activities where drones might otherwise be used, except they’re in close proximity to people. That is, if there’s an oopsie, even mechanical bats are softer than something with four little whirling, sharp rotors. And besides that, they’re cool! But a robot bat does provide, it seems, some unique design problems, for more on which one can press here.
Then, actually a day before, what should be met in the computer cave mailbox but my authors’ copy of MEET CUTE (see December 31, 11, et al.), with my own tale of flying beings, “Butterfly.” This is a small book of flash fiction concerning unexpected encounters between pairs of people, some romantic, some not so, but all with a touch of the unusual to them. In this case, my story met up as well with an illustration by Marge Simon, but that wasn’t necessarily surprising — Marge and I being friends for some years, I had told her about it.
Edited by Kara Landhuis, MEET CUTE can be found on Amazon by pressing here.
Word came yesterday from Smart Rhino Publications that my story, “Golden Age,” has been chosen for final position in ZIPPERED FLESH 3. This is an honor — just as the first two or three stories in an anthology are meant to hook the reader, so the last one is to provide the memory of what the book was about, as well as to prime the reader should a subsequent volume be published later. Or, as Editor/Publisher Weldon Burge explains: I’ve decided to end ZIPPERED FLESH 3 with “Golden Age.” It’s a “quieter” story than others in the anthology, and a perfect denouement for the book. I think, when you read the story, you folks will understand my decision. Also, to whet appetites a bit more, Smart Rhino has offered a list of all authors selected thus far to be in the book, with more to be announced, to be sure, as they’re added to it:
Billie Sue Mosiman
William F. Nolan
Jason V Brock
E.A. Elizabeth Black
Sandra Rutherford Webster Campbell
And then a reminder: Smart Rhino has also been running a Kickstarter campaign to, among other things, provide the ZIPPERED FLESH 3 writers professional-level payment. Need I add that that includes me? But there’s only a dozen days left to give, including reserving some rather nice premiums, so best take a look while there’s still time left by pressing here.