Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
On the Road Again!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Off to Toronto
socks and underwear - check
Ken Foree t-shirt - check (Thanks, Ken!)
2 GOTLD t-shirts - check (got to represent!)
jeans - check (not quite warm enough for shorts, darn!)
books - check
PJs - check
toiletries - check
fifth of gin for the room (booze way too expensive up there!) - check
victory cigars (though they have Cuban up there!) - check
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but, God willing, I'll be there Thursday afternoon! And God willing, holding a Stoker Saturday night!!
Monday, March 26, 2007
NYTimes Article on Horror
As a parent and an author, I'm definitely of two minds. No, make that three. No - four. (Already sounds like the premise for a horror story.)
1) I of course want my kids shielded from graphic or disturbing images.
2) I've already determined that that is hopeless. My 12-year-old sees stuff on TV at his friends' houses that I have no control over all the time.
3) I don't want the genre to be limited, or the artists' ability to produce commercially viable stuff threatened by some pollyannas.
4) But do I really want my work associated with, let alone equated with, stuff that's just imitation snuff-films? Is it really limiting people to say - not that they can't film scenes of rape, mutilation, or torture - but just that they can't ADVERTISE them EVERYWHERE? That seems a pretty basic control.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Making Fun of Writers
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Another great review on Amazon!!!
Jonah Caine is stuck in a living hell. The world has collapsed around him. Alone, he travels in the darkness of the world, the living dead his only company. He wanders and hopes for genuine companionship; someone to share in what little is left for humanity. He stumbles upon a group hiding out in a museum in a medium-small city. The group has staked their claim on their little part of the world and have lived, for a year, in relative safety. The group is lead by Jack, who was one of the military that fought against the living dead and helped discover this hideaway, and Milton, who has a special and unique gift, along with a tremendous desire to not only rebuild a better civilization but a passion for learning from humanities greatest weaknesses and strengths. This book, much more so than many other works in this genre, really explores the meanings behind both the good and evil embedded in humankind. Much like the novel "Every Sigh, The End" the author here desires to examine the human condition and does not assume that the living dead are the worst beings out there by a long shot. And how much can those who are "good" tolerate? How much do they want to not only survive, but to live? Don't let this staid description fool you, Kim does a bang up job keeping the action here moving along at a strong pace, with very few lulls. The story is told from Jonah's perspective, who was formerly a College English Professor, so his thoughts conjure up a great deal of references from a variety of literature sources and western civilizations rather vivid images of hell. I guess for me, this book was so entertaining because the author seems so intrigued at the meaning behind both the mind numbing destruction wrought by the living dead as well as the much more horrifying and unspeakable terror brought forth by our own human brethren and how God could allow such things to happen. While I like to read zombie stories to get a jolt of excitement and terror I also love these stories because to me zombies are so incredibly fascinating. Not just for what they are or what they represent, but what they seem to be able to elicit in their human counterparts who are trapped in the same dying and desperate world as they are-what do we all become everything around us is drenched in death and despair. I feel that Kim Paffenroth did an excellent job of examining the boundaries of humanity, both good and evil, and for that I highly recommend this book.
Thanks! I know it sounds crazy, but I don't know how else to say it: when I read a review like this, I realize that what I was trying to say was something that could actually be perceived and understood by another person! Until you see that reaction, you always worry that you're putting all these words down, and YOU know what you're trying to say (well, duh, of course you do!), but there's this nagging fear that someone else will just read it and go "Huh?! I don't get it!" I am so elated by this! I feel like I could take on the world!
Friday, March 23, 2007
Another Great Review for GOTLD!
WHC Final Programme
WEDNESDAY, March 28:
08:00pm – 11:00pm EARLY EARLY ARRIVALS PARTY
THURSDAY, March 29:
06:00pm – 07:00pm WORLD’S BIGGEST BOOKSTORE GoH SIGNING
07:00pm – 08:00pm TWILIGHT TALES LAUNCH
08:00pm – 09:00pm POETRY OPEN MIC
08:00pm – Midnight EARLY ARRIVALS PARTY
09:00pm – 10:00pm WHAT NOT TO DO: MANNERS AND TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME CONVENTION ATTENDEES
10:00pm – 11:00pm THE CARE AND FEEDING OF YOUR WEBSITE AND BLOG
11:00pm – Midnight WHAT EXACTLY IS HORROR?
FRIDAY, March 30:
09:30am – 10:00am OPENING CEREMONIES
10:00am – 11:00am FUTURE CHILLS: UPCOMING MOVIES AND NEW TV SHOWS
10:00am – 11:00am SIZE DOES MATTER: HOW TO SURVIVE AS A SMALL PRESS
11:00am – Noon HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION PRESENTS: AN HOUR WITH GAHAN WILSON
11:00am – Noon HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION PRESENTS: WHAT ARE AGENTS AND EDITORS LOOKING FOR, AND NEVER WANT TO SEE AGAIN?
Noon – 01:00pm GUEST OF HONOUR INTERVIEW: NANCY KILPATRICK
Noon – 01:00pm IN SPACE NOBODY CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM: HORROR IN SF
01:00pm – 02:00pm Lunch Break
02:00pm – 03:00pm GUEST OF HONOUR INTERVIEW: PETER CROWTHER
02:00pm – 03:00pm SHORT SHRIFT: CAN YOU MAKE A LIVING WRITING SHORT FICTION?
03:00pm – 04:00pm BUILDING A BETTER MONSTER
03:00pm – 04:00pm HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION PRESENTS: WHAT DO NEW WRITERS DO NEXT?
04:00pm – 05:00pm WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2007 GRAND MASTER: JOE R.LANSDALE
04:00pm – 05:00pm WRITING THE MODERN VAMPIRE STORY
05:00pm – 06:00pm BURNING EFFIGY PRESS/KELP QUEEN PRESS LAUNCH
05:30pm – 07:30pm PS PUBLISHING LAUNCH PARTY
08:00pm – 10:00pm MASS AUTOGRAPHING (Cash bar)
10:00pm – Closing WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2007 PARTY
11:00pm – Midnight WRITING HORROR IN DIFFERENT CULTURES
Midnight DARK ARTS BOOKS LAUNCH
SATURDAY, March 31:
10:00am – 11:00am WHAT DO YOU MEAN “EDIT”? HOW HARD CAN IT BE
TO PUT TOGETHER A “YEAR’S BEST” ANTHOLOGY?
10:00am – 11:00am HORROR/ROMANCE/CRIME/FANTASY CROSSOVERS: PUTTING THE SCARES INTO OTHER GENRES
11:00am – Noon MASTERS OF THE CRAFT
11:00am – Noon THE HISTORY OF CANADIAN HORROR
Noon – 01:00pm GUEST OF HONOUR INTERVIEW: MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH
Noon – 01:00pm HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION PRESENTS: HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR AGENT IS DOING A GOOD JOB?
01:00pm – 02:00pm Lunch Break
01:00pm – 02:00pm WORLD’S BIGGEST BOOKSTORE SIGNING
02:00pm – 03:00pm GUEST OF HONOUR INTERVIEW: PETER ATKINS
02:00pm – 03:00pm THE MERRIL COLLECTION PRESENTS: FORGOTTEN AUTHORS
03:00pm – 04:00pm CINEMA MACABRE: WRITING HORROR FOR THE BIG SCREEN (AND OTHER MEDIA)
03:00pm – 04:00pm THE ART OF HORROR: PAINT VS. DIGITAL
04:00pm – 05:00pm GUEST OF HONOUR INTERVIEW: JOHN PICACIO
04:00pm – 05:00pm FEMME FATALES: WOMEN IN HORROR
05:00pm – 06:00pm READING/Q&A: BRIAN LUMLEY
05:00pm – 06:00pm WALKING DEAD VS. UNDEAD: ARE ZOMBIES THE NEW VAMPIRES?
Um – This one would be with moi! On a panel with Brian Keene and David Wellington! Wow. I seem to have arrived!
06:30pm – 07:30pm MEET THE ARTISTS RECEPTION
07:00pm – 09:00pm TWILIGHT TALES’ CRITIQUED OPEN MIC
07:30pm – 10:30pm HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION BRAM STOKER AWARDS BANQUET
Yep – I’m going to be here, too! Look for the handsome fellow – in that Bill Clinton, cherubic kind of way – dressed all in black.
10:00pm – 11:00pm CUTTING BLOCK PRESS LAUNCH
11:00pm – Closing TWILIGHT TALES’ “FLASH FICTION” CONTEST
11:00pm – Midnight THE MERRIL COLLECTION PRESENTS: COLLECTING HORROR LITERATURE
11:00pm – Closing WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2008 PARTY
11:00pm – Closing HWA WINNERS AND LOSERS PARTY HWA
Midnight – Closing “GOD OF THE RAZOR” AUDIO PRESENTATION
SUNDAY, April 1:
10:00am – 11:00am QUEER FEAR: GAY HORROR
10:00am – 11:00am DON’T GIVE UP THE DAY JOB: THE CURRENT STATE OF HORROR
10:00am – Noon THE WORLD HORROR SOCIETY BOARD MEETING
11:00am – Noon GUEST OF HONOUR INTERVIEW: DON HUTCHISON
11:00am – Noon YOUNG BLOOD: NEW WRITERS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Noon – 01:30pm WHC CHARITY RAFFLE
02:00pm – 03:00pm WRITING ON THE EDGE
02:00pm – 03:00pm THE DIVERSITY OF HORROR: HOW TO REACH A WIDER AUDIENCE
03:00pm – 04:00pm WHAT’S NEXT? UPCOMING CONVENTIONS AND EVENTS
04:00pm – 04:30pm CLOSING CEREMONIES
05:00pm – 08:00pm DEAD DOG PARTY
Thursday, March 22, 2007
AAR vs. WHC
Yawn. I guess I could click on a link and see how I could have a tour to see Shamu and be chastised for how Judeo-Christian, phallo-centric hegemony has caused global environmental disaster. Yawn.
The website with info on the upcoming World Horror Convention:
Every day, I find more reasons to be glad I joined this new organization, if for nothing other than as a contrast and balance.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
First Amazon Reviews Go Up! Both Sides of the Puddle!
Jonah Caine is alone in a world overrun by the living dead. He takes his meals where he can and sleeps with one eye open. The post-apocalyptic world around him seems devoid of meaning, his survival pointless. But then he wanders into the welcoming arms of an organized group of survivors who have turned a museum into a paramilitary compound. While there, he meets Jack, the compound's military manager, for lack of a better word, and Milton, a prophet, of sorts, with a certain influence in the world of the dead. While assimilating to the compound's culture, Jonah Caine falls into a war with another group of survivors, and the struggle defines a new moral landscape for this post-apocalyptic world. Paffenroth, the author of Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Vision of Hell on Earth, does several things very well in Dying to Live, his first novel. First of all, the action is wonderfully maintained. He continually escalates the dangers his characters face, which goes a long ways towards sustaining the reader's interest. Secondly, the details of his post-apocalyptic world are exceptionally well drawn. This is not an easy thing to do. Cormac McCarthy did it quite well in The Road. Stephen King did it equally well in The Gunslinger. Paffenroth's world is drawn on that level. Thirdly, this is one hell of an intelligent book. The writing is superb, and richly loaded with references as varied as the Bible, Paradise Lost, and American pop culture. Dying to Live is wonderful first novel. Check it out!
And Sarah Hapgood, over at Amazon.co.uk:
Jonah is cut adrift in the world, living by his wits, trying to avoid being attacked by the walking dead who have risen up to bite and infect the living. He has lost his family, and civilisation has crumbled around him. He makes his way to a ravaged city, and there is taken in by a community of survivors who have holed up in a large museum by the river. Of course all this sounds very familiar (zombie horror is usually great stuff, but there's a limit to how many variations on it you can do!), but the author makes this a cut-above by creating resourceful, well-rounded characters, and by not being afraid to show his own intelligence. In "Dying To Live" the main characters haven't lost touch with their humanity, even though they've witnessed horror beyond belief, such as Tanya, who had no choice but to wall up her own children in their bedroom when they became infected. Some of the relgious symbolism I could have done without (comparing Milton, the commune leader, to Jesus for example), but this doesn't detract from the story at all, and it's refreshingly differeent to have a post-apocalyptic story that gives hope for the human race. I would also have liked a bit more of how it all started though. Jonah was on a ship when the epidemic broke out, and they arrive at land to find the world has ended. (But perhaps this is a separate story, a sort of prequel, who knows?). All in all though, I'm always pleased to find an author who treats fans of zombie horror as if they've actually got some intelligence for once. Recommended.
Wow. And this before the "official" release date. I'm thrilled.
"The Most Complex Character Ever..."
I want an Orgone Blaster!
Anyway, clearly They Live! was a documentary and no one told me! Until now! I'm putting an extra layer of aluminum foil around my head before I go to bed now.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Back from IAFA
Here's a new zombie game. I haven't gotten the hang of it yet:
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Off to IAFA
Day 1: Shmooze, Listen, Shmooze, Eat, Shmooze, Listen, Talk, Shmooze, Eat, Pool, Drink, Sleep
Day 2: Beach, Eat, Beach, Pool, Eat, Shmooze, Drink, Sleep
Busy schedule. Wish me luck.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Rejection Letters (x2)! Double Ouch!
But, I got home from the store with my frame, and the Finalist certificate looks AWESOME! Any of you who know me better than just as a presence in the blogosphere - stop by and see it!
Suitable for Framing
Great Description of Current Writing
(The anthology I'm editing isn't flash fiction, but some of the stuff on MFA and mediocre writing rang totally true with my experience.)
Monday, March 12, 2007
First, this is a story. So there are protagonists, and there are antagonists. Heroes and villains, more commonly. Let us start with the latter, as it is here where the imagery is the most overwhelming, when you take it in toto:
Politicians are evil. (Well, pretty forgivable, if pretty predictable theme. You couldn't show a double feature of movies where politicians are the heroes.)
Priests are evil. (Well, a little less common, but still pretty forgivable - if the movie were set in modern times! But when you factor in how wildly fanciful it is for the Spartan king to be talking like a combo of Voltaire, Martin Luther, and Karl Marx on how irrational and superstitious religion is, you see what a deliberate swipe this is at religion.)
Deformed people are evil. (This is just weirdness for visual effect. Forgivable in Disney animation for kids, as kids need visual cues for who are the bad guys, but it did seem pretty ridiculous here.)
Dark skinned people are evil. (That Persian empire, no matter how many times they keep reminding us that it's "All of Asia" has a hell of a lot of people in it who look African.) This one and the next are the ones that put it over the edge, I think, for sheer gratuitousness.
People of ambiguous gender and/or orientation are evil. I can't think what other message they're trying to send by casting Xerxes as 7-foot-tall, multiply-pierced man with glowing, smooth, clean shaven skin, and a resonating, throaty, female-impersonator voice, who keeps asking the Spartan king to kneel in front of him. I know, I know, I'm reading way too much into it. I do that so much.
Giant Jabba the Hutt / Lobster Men are evil. Um. Okay. I'm gonna have to give you this one.
Okay, maybe all those were accidents, or standard tropes, or just visual cues. So who are these "heroes"?
Pretty nice guys. They must be in the gym a lot. They don't like to wear shirts, even in the snow. Like red capes for some reason. They don't talk much. Mostly quip. Their roars are really cool, as are those of their non-human opponents. Oh, wait, I forgot: they're genetically selected, remorseless, raised-from-birth KILLING MACHINES. Yeah, I knew there was something I was forgetting. (Though, to be fair, compared to Miller's Sin City characters, these guys are pretty civilized. They don't torture or mutilate people, at least. Just decapitate them.)
"But come on, that's not their fault. That's how things were back then!" (you say)
Ok, then let's think about how things were back then, and how they weren't, and how warm and gaga we want to get over these buff dudes and their big, sharp swords. The king and queen must say "freedom" in every speech they give. The idea that ANYONE in the ancient world could mean "freedom" in the same way we mean it today is absurd. There was no sense of PERSONAL freedom in the ancient world, and on this the film is somewhat honest, in a brutal way: the first haunting and horrible shot of the film is of a mountain of Spartan babies' skulls, and it is a good encapsulation of what the 300 are fighting for. Their idea of "freedom" is the "freedom" for a mother to hand her child over to a city official for that child to be killed, if the city official deems it necessary. I'm willing to assume that what Xerxes had in mind for them was considerably worse, but let's not jump to the conclusion that these guys were "freedom fighters" in any way that we would recognize or approve.
"Oh, but come on, it looked SO COOL! Forget all this supposed political subtext!" (you say)
Did it? I must've missed that part. Even at six stories high, I have to admit to being unimpressed. I thought the alternation between slo-mo and real time was cool for about 5 minutes, like any new gimmick that's tried in filming action sequences. (Remember the Blind-Man-Cam from Daredevil? Looked pretty cool for the first fight, didn't it? For the rest of the movie - um, not so much. And really, the slow-fast-slow-fast effect here looked super hot in the oracle scene, which was early, so it was already getting threadbare by the time of the first battle.) The rhino, elephants, and grenades amounted to NOTHING. The guys in masks and the giant were probably the best fight, and even there, I thought the roaring was cooler than the actual clash - you got some sense of animal brutality, whereas the fight looked like a ballet with chocolate syrup flying across the screen. You know what I think has happened? LOTR set the bar so unbelievably high on pre-modern fight scenes, that if anyone ever tops it, you'll be able to tell they have when everyone in the theater is dead from heart failure.
So, Zack Snyder, I went out on a limb in my book, defending your Dawn of the Dead as an excellent zombie film, and dismissing the accusations that it was a reactionary, xenophobic fantasy. Several reviewers of my book even singled this out as a weakness of my analysis. And this is how you repay me?
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Stoker Voting Ends Tomorrow
Now, as for some other people, my detractors, and especially Little Tommy Sipos - you've been served. I have much more vitriolic versions of that sentiment, but let's leave it at that.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Super Villain Quiz
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Newer High Score - Ankle Shots!
New High Score!!
I wish I had some secret (and probably if I ever do, the score will hit 4 digits), but all I do is shoot and reload as fast as I can. My only regular visitors who seem to be hooked on this are from Burbank and Denver, so go to it men. Let's see what you can do.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Wow, that plays it as close to serious as you could. Until the shot with the "mint sauce" and "You wouldn't understand," I really thought it was meant as a horror flick. Then I started laughing till I hurled.
Sorry, loyal fans, but your humble Doctor of the Living Dead hasn't made the Big Dance card (yet). He should, however, be attending, maybe in some other "official" capacity. Plenty of time for World Domination. It works better when you kind of sneak up on 'em.
Cover Art for History Is Dead
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Satire So Subtle
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Horrorfind This Weekend - Some Class Acts