Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AN INTERESTING ELECTRONIC OPTION FOR READING:

Although I still have a strong opposition to reading electronically, this does make more sense than the Kindle. It has a wider screen and serves more than one purpose.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100127/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_apple

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CBC News - Books - Spenser crime series writer Robert B. Parker dies

CBC News - Books - Spenser crime series writer Robert B. Parker dies

A master of minimalism and dialogue, Parker was one of the few authors of tough guy fiction that added an extra dimension to his character. I read many of the Spenser novels and was a huge fan of the 1980's TV series.

It saddens me as a writer that we have lost someone of Parker's caliber. I can still remember him on the Oprah Winfrey show in the early 1990's looking at Elmore Leonard as if he was insane for confessing that he liked to act like the characters in his novels.

Parker was blunt and to the point and his relaxes style and humor will be sorely missed~

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

AN EXCERPT FROM 'Kaiju Soul" (Working title)

Ray Vargas never thought he would find himself looking forward to Monday morning, but here he sits doing that exact thing. It’s safe to say this has been the longest day of his life. Three days ago he was just good old Ray Vargas, the office wiseass with bowel problems and a love for the ladies that are easily impressed. Now he’s...what? He isn’t sure what he is, actually. All he knows is he’s seen some crazy shit these past few days and now he’s hiding out in his boy Jason’s basement, watching some old movie about supposedly forty year old ex-biker gang-members trying to save a campground run by that fine chick from “I Dream of Jeannie.” She’s older in this but he’d still love to take a big bite out of that ass of hers.


The TV movie provides the perfect background noise to what’s occurring inside Ray’s head. To say he is afraid would be doing a disservice to the concept of true fear. There is no part of him that isn’t in danger of shutting down or imploding. Though he tries over and over to reconcile what he has seen as somehow rational in the brand new context of a world filled with monsters, all he can seem to manage is borderline hysteria and shaky hands.

Maybe he would have been fine after what he saw in the bathroom at work if it had been the only thing that happened. He could have told himself there is a demon out there living inside the likeliest candidate and he maybe could have called a priest or something. But once Kareem turned out to be involved and he saw that light that sucked him up into it...well, that was about all he needed to piss his pants.

And then there’s Walter Henderson’s crazy-ass plan. Ray isn’t sure he can go along with it when the time comes. Hell, how could it possibly work without letting everybody know what is going on? Walt always struck Ray as a pretty subtle dude but this time it seems like he wants to set off fucking fireworks for all the world to see and Ray isn’t so sure he’s down with that.

Whatever. Either way, it should hopefully be over tomorrow and that’s all that should matter right now, right?

Ray squints at the screen as a young Patrick Swayze makes a pass at the divine Miss Eden and smirks. This movie is so lame it’s good.

Ray jumps as he hears what sounds like a glass striking the hardwood in the kitchen upstairs. He calls out for Jason a few times, at once terrified and unsurprised by the lack of response. Slowly, he reaches over and picks up the TV remote control, opting to lower the volume rather than completely mute it. He gets off the couch as silently as possible and tip-toes to the edge of the stairs leading to the upper portion of Jason’s house where he cranes his neck and listen for any other strange noises.

Nothing.

But Ray is far from easily satisfied. He knows better than to let his guard down so soon. Without another thought, he takes hold of the baseball bat Jason keeps near his storage closet and holds it at his side. If there’s anybody up there ready to start shit, they’re gonna have to come down here if they want him so badly.


He thinks he hears what sounds like a brief, high-pitched noise, almost as if someone is trying to speak but can’t quite get the air necessary to form words. Ray feels that funny sensation at the back of his knees that usually results from standing too close to the edge from a high point. His palms run slick with sweat and he nearly drops the bat.

“Well, ain’t this a lovely shit sandwich we got here?” he mutters.

He scans the basement for signs of a makeshift exit, eyes coming to rest on a window near the furnace. It’s not very wide, definitely not wide enough for the average adult male, but Ray’s skinny and pliable. His homies used to call him “Rodent” because of the way he could flex his muscles and contract his bones to get under and between shit most people could never access. He chuckles; this would be the first time he uses it for a good reason, though.

He trots over to the furnace, his footfalls light and barely creating any noise. He carries the bat at his side, striking the basement floor once by accident in such a way that he is convinced will provoke whoever is upstairs from coming down. Behind him, the TV movie drones on at a low level, just loud enough to make it seem as if no one has adjusted it. He wishes he could just turn the fucker off but that would be like lighting a fire leading right to his scrawny ass.

Ray kneels down and goes to work on the window which is, of course, stuck shut due to probably decades of no use. He puts his entire weight behind the effort, trying like hell not to make much noise as he does. Now he regrets having turned the TV down at all. After a few more pushes, the stupid window finally gives enough to slide outward with a low grinding sound. He allows himself to rest for a moment, gratified that his efforts have paid off when Jason’s voice comes from upstairs.

“I don’t know what you want!” he screeches. “What do you want?”

This is followed by a scream that is so primal and loud it literally echoes into the basement. Ray feels himself lose a little bladder control as he suddenly renews and doubles his efforts to get that goddam window open. So what if it makes noise? He needs to get out of here now!

Poor Jason. All he did was try to help his friend out and now…No, don’t think about that. Deal with that later. Just get out.

The window opens with a creak and Ray slides out and into the front yard of Jason’s house so fast he actually rolls a bit down the slight hill before coming to a halt along the fence line. He jumps to his feet, realizing he’s forgotten the baseball bat, and quickly convinces himself not to go back for it. Behind him, he hears a door swing open. He doesn’t want to look but something seems to take hold of him and force him to do so

He thinks he sees three people standing there, all of them Asian; Two guys and one chick. The guys look like twins and not in that “I can’t tell them apart” way some Americans claim. They literally look like clones of each other. Somehow he gets the idea that they’re actually triplets.

“Who are you?” Ray hears the panic in his voice. He repeats the question a moment later.

If the three of them hear him, if they even understand what he’s saying, they give no indication. They simply remain in the doorway, standing and…no, they’re not standing at all. Ray’s jaw drops as he realizes they’re floating in mid-air.

“Oh, Jesus!” he yells.

He tries to turn away, to run like hell from these people that aren’t people at all, but he can’t seem to send the message to his feet. A moment later, he sees what appear to be purplish light beams coming from the three of them, snaking across the lawn toward him like snakes. Then the house explodes and everything goes white.


*If you enjoyed what you read and haven't done so already, don't forget to join my Facebook fanpage- Together, we can make a difference! I don't know what that has to do with anything but join anyway!*

http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/group.php?gid=96749012614&ref=ts

Sunday, January 10, 2010

REVIEW: AVATAR

The most vital question we must ask ourselves when watching a film like “Avatar” is: Would I rave about this film if not for its impressive visuals and pounding musical score? If the answer is yes, we have a film that transcends mere blockbuster status and is well on its way to classic status. If we say no, well you can probably figure out the rest.

There’s nothing remarkable or ground-breaking about the tale told in “Avatar,” that’s for sure. In fact, it’s safe to say the plot is a by-the-numbers exploration of corporate greed and the Great White Hope who will save the defenseless savages against exploitation. It’s Flash Gordon on a lush tropical world that is the ultimate eco-system. Yawn.

While “Star Wars” used archetypes and Joseph Campbell’s theories on mythology to tap into something that spoke to our inner children, Cameron opts to preach his not altogether incorrect belief in the sanctity of indigenous people and their lands. He does this by presenting the worst kinds of bad guy stereotypes; the greedy and unfeeling corporate bureaucrat and his violence-loving military stooge, both played with great effectiveness by Giovanni Ribose and Stephen Lang as they slum in under-written roles not befitting great character actors.


The plot of “Avatar” can be summed up in one sentence: Bother of dead scientist has suitable DNA to take over brother’s experiment pretending to be alien in hopes of getting them to like us so we don't have to kill them for some new metal resource whose purpose os barely discussed so as to avoid cheesiness.

Naturally, he goes native a la’ “Dances With Wolves” and tries to convince his new people, the “Navi,” to leave their Hometree, the source of their connection to their world and each other.

Cameron always gets good performances out of his actors, even in the stunningly awful “Titanic,” and this film is so exception. The visuals are wonderful, often seeming as if they will leap off the screen and enter the theater even in 2-D. The homeworld of the Navi is rendered flawlessly. Images of winding and twisting trees hurl past the eye faster than one can keep track and floating mountains fill the screen in a rich, lush tapestry. But again, without those visuals, what is “Avatar” really?

Sadly, it's yet another product of the Cameron Cliché Factory. There is absolutely nothing original in this film. Much like “The Terminator,” Cameron has again mined the ideas and concepts of science fiction writers and passed off things that were done twenty years ago as his own for people who don't know any better. Back when he wrote and directed “Aliens,” Cameron confessed a desire to make Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers" into a film,” settling for that film instead. Since Paul Verhoeven beat him to it, he has instead made another version of the humans as aggressors tale, this time just in time for Earth Day.

Aside from the great visuals, it’s the same old story of the young, damaged hero in over his head who sees how things really are just in time to make a difference. Oh, and there’s yet another love story tacked on as well as the proud and angry native (or Navi) who initially hates our Great White Hope but then proudly stands with him in battle. Not to mention the crusadingscientists who are the only decent people minus one token military pilot and a bunch of complete dumb-asses in uniform acting like mindless lunatics. And of course, we have the virtuous and spiritual people of the land whose struggle culminates in a giant bloody battle.

That battle is necessary, contrary to some idiotic reviews I’ve read condemning it. After all that melodrama and speechifying, it’s the one pay-off that makes the film worthwhile. A more intelligently written screenplay might not have required an extended action sequence, but a more intelligent screenplay wouldn’t have preached at the audience for three houre either.


*** out of *****

Monday, January 4, 2010

Might as well Post this here, too.

Author John Fitch V's Interview of Me:

Dec. 23rd, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Our latest installment of author interviews brings us to Christopher Nadeau. Chris is a top shelf southeastern Michigan author who interviewed me a few weeks back, and now it's time to repay the favor; that, and he said I could be one of the puppet dictators when he takes over the world. Chris has a great novel out, Dreamers at Infinity's Core.

JFV: Hi Chris. How about introducing yourself to my readers? (Tell them about your genre, books written/published and all that jazz)

CN: When I hear the word "genre," it shrivels up all my working parts. Genre to me is a method for maintaining literary segregation. I understand its necessity on the bookstore shelves but I don't believe writers should hem themselves in with it. If pinned down, however, I suppose I would call what I write "literary dark urban fantasy," meaning I tend to take the approach of a so-called "non-genre" writer to fantastical elements in a modern-day setting. "Dreamers at Infinity's Core" is my first published novel.

JFV: Let's talk about the book, which was published through COM Publishing. First, what inspired you to write this novel?

CN: "Dreamers" was inspired by the work of Kurt Vonnegut, the man whose writing changed my approach and intent when it came to writing. I realized when I read his work that I needed to find a voice and a point to what I was doing. In particular, "Breakfast of Champions," which features Vonnegut as narrator, was the direct inspiration since "Dreamers" is also narrated by the person writing the book. Vonnegut stops short of making himself able to interact with the characters until the very end; I took the concept further and speculated on what it would be like if the narrator wasn't able to interact with anybody but also wasn't able to escape his supposedly fictional world.

JFV: What is Dreamers about?

CN: "Dreamers" focuses on an unnamed narrator whose fictional world suddenly develops a life of its own. This at first fascinates him but soon grows rather frightening when he realizes he has no control over this much more real place than he thought and can't seem to stop whatever is happening from spilling over into his world.

JFV: Is there a specific process you go through with your novels? Are you a brainstorm-as-you-go type of writer or do you have everything mapped out beforehand?

CN: Generally, I know how my novels end before I start writing them. That doesn't mean the ending is written in stone, but that's how I start off. However, I find outlines to be too restrictive, usually opting to brainstorm as I go. I like to have general ideas but, like life, they need to have the flexibility to adapt and change.

JFV: How did you get your start as a writer?

CN: My start...well, according to a childhood friend I recently talked to, I was always writing while the other children were doing normal child things. Early on I knew I had a talent for telling stories. I used to come to school on Mondays and embellish movies I'd watched for the kids in my class and they ate it up. Despite the fact that I was always creating stories, I didn't really decide to write until I was in my late teens. From that point on I did everything "they" tell you to do if you are serious about the craft without even knowing what those things were. I read up on writing, attended classes and workshops, read the styles of writers I admired and even learned from those I didn't. I guess when I won an award for a commentary piece while in college I knew I might be able to get people to dabble in my own peculiarities.

JFV: Let's dig deep: What is an average day in the life of Christopher Nadeau?

CN: LOL An average day for me is pretty dull. I don't work in a field even remotely related to writing, although it sure as hell gives me lots of fodder for writing! I basically work, come home and either write, read or watch movies. In-between I observe people and listen to how they speak and what they do and do not say. I have been told I have an ear for dialogue.

JFV: Every writer has an author they look up to, the author they aspire to be. Who is it for you and why?

CN: I have a few authors I look up to. I mentioned Vonnegut because he changed the the way I do things. Stephen King's another one I think uses literary techniques in genre fiction. Clive Barker is a master. I've recently gained an appareciation for Neil Gaimain. Chuck Pahlaniuk is the best kind of twisted artist. David Mitchell's ability to weave disparate storylines into a coherent narrative is astounding. So, basically anybody Oprah recommends. LOL

JFV: What is next on your plate, book-wise?

CN: My plate is full of yummy side-dishes and edible garnish. As far as my publisher is concerned, "Echoes of Infinity's Core" is next on the slate. I look forward to its release because I think it is an improvement over the first one in every significant way. It also takes the concept into a much darker and more complex territory. I'm currently writing two books at the same time. One is called "The List" and the other is a novel that pays tribute to Japanese kaiju epics, i.e. man in rubber suits demolishing buildings. I don't have any giant monsters in the book but if you've seen the film "Unbreakable," you might have some idea how I'm using the exaggerated concept as a basis for something much darker.

JFV: And if you could spend one hour picking the brain of a famous writer, who would it be?

CN: I would choose Chuck Pahlaniuk, because I am in awe of his ability to take anecdotes from his travels and observances and turn them into some truly effed up fiction.

Sunday, January 3, 2010