Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fanatics, Fools, Santas and Devils

Warning: This post may contain content considered obscene/objectionable by some viewers.

Photo Credit: Danny Hennesy/Kristian Svensson/Wikimedia Commons

I ran into a bunch of teens from a church while I was walking back to my house from town late this afternoon and they gave me an invitation card to their play. It turned out to be from a fundamentalist church. I get along with fundamentalist Christians as much as Jews got along with Samaritans in Jesus's time. You can't blame the kids, though; they're just going along with what their parents believe. But in the words of the British butler Cruikshank from 1966's Munster, Go Home!, I said as I tossed the invitation in the garbage as soon as I got in the house, "Adolescent, swine!" Only I replaced "adolesecent" with "fundamentalist". Man, I hate religious fanatics telling me what to believe and how. There's just no room in this horror writer's life for religious fanaticism since he is already a fanatic--a sci fi/fantasy fanatic, that is.

Anyway. . . Unfortunately my book, The Fool's Illusion, won't make it out before the New Year. As indicated on the book marks that I finally had printed and copied off, it's now due out early 2013.  Which may be better because the "13" in the year goes better with many of the stories in the book. (No, I didn't hold off publishing it just for that reason!) I don't know the specific month or day when it will be out, probably by the end of January (but I'm trying to get it out sooner). Just keep checking back here for more updates on the book. You can also follow me on Twitter.

If you want a book mark and are in the Sacramento area, you can get one at Movies On A Big Screen's (MOBS's) Crappy Christmas screening of the B-rated and mostly forgotten film, Santa Claus Vs. Satan, tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. (when the movie begins) at the Grange theatre. Provided that I'll be able to get a hold of one of the employees or organisers there to give them the book marks since I won't be able to make it to the screening itself.  But hey, if it turns out nobody is available to receive the book marks and therefore you see none there, you get to see the movie and laugh along at it's poor quality with your cool cat of a B movie/horror host, Mr. Lobo of syndicated Cinema Insomnia who will be there! So as far as the book marks go, it's just a maybe for the reason mentioned above, but like I said, you get the movie no matter what provided that you pay the five dollar admission fee. (Hey, the five bucks are for the show, not my book marks--those are free).

What's the movie about? It's about Santa versus Satan. If you want details, you'll probably have a better time reading them at MOBS's website than listening to me yap on about, what's said to be, one of the worst holiday movies ever (though I didn't think it was). Now if you do like listening to me yap on about such movies, then go to my review of it from last year's Crappy Christmas screening series. Or you can just wait until I talk about it in an upcoming article of mine on strange holiday movies, but I can't guarentee you it will be out on before the movie tomorrow.

Until next time and . . .

Happy Hallow-days, everybody!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rain Men, Gibsonian Constructs, and Books on a Rainy December Night

Warning: This post may contain content considered obscene by some viewers.

Sorry for ditching the blog for the last three weeks. The holidays really keep a person busy as I'm sure most of you know. Hopefully that won't be the case anymore until Christmas, but even then I'll try to post each weekend through the end of the year.

A beautiful rainy Saturday, and I don't say it with sarcasm because I love the rain at this time of the year. For those of you used to white Christmases, I can't say I love the snow at this time of year since we don't get any here in Sacramento (except for Grass Valley maybe or somewhere around there, but I'm not even sure if they get that much snow).  So what do we Sacramentans do during this time of year when people elsewhere are making snow men? Simple. We make rain men. Don't ask me how, we just do it. Okay, so we don't make rain men (or rain women); at least nobody I know does.  Nevertheless, it's more the holiday season to me when it rains like it is now, with the wind howling and hissing and the chimes making mystifying music. Or when there's fog, but that can be pretty damn dangerous because it obscures one's view, so I don't prefer it. 

Speaking of rain men, I'm working my way to the end of China Mieville's super thick novel, Perdido Street Station, which in several scenes there are frog-like beings who make something like tiny rain men/women, in that they make them out of water and, if I remember correctly, I think they can bring them to life like Faust does with his homunculus in a bottle. You're probably wondering how can I forget when I'm reading the book. As I said, the book is damn, thick. It's 500-plus pages. Perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising because it's a steampunk novel in which the subgenre of steampunk has been heavily influenced by Victorian literature such as Charles Dickens' novels. And so, believe it or not, people, I've been on that book for at least the past year if not longer. Not to mention that I'm a relatively slow reader and that's not the only book I'm reading. Some people have been somewhat shocked that I read more than one book at a time. I say to those people, "Come on, now! I'm a writer. We writers have to read more than just one book at a time unless, like some people, we can read at a rapid pace and so read several whole books a week.  I often don't have the patience to read just one long book before beginning another. I need variety.  No matter how good the book is, I will get bored and lose focus if I'm reading a single book for too long.

What else am I reading?  Here's a list:

  • Witchcraft by Charles Alva Hoyt. It's a historical account of the witch craze from Medieval Europe through early American settlement, namely the Salem witch trials.
  • Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach. That's a good one, but many people may find it boring as a science fiction novel because, for one reason, most of the science fiction in it is now science fact. For another reason, because it is a news reporter's account of a, what was future, ecological based utopia of the 1990s it reads like a National Geographic article.
  • Witches, an anthology of fiction about witches edited by Isaac Asimov and from his Worlds of Fantasy series of books.
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart, an Arthurian novel about the life of Merlin narrated by the legendary magician himself.
  • The Queen of Darkness, by Miguel Conner, which is set in a postapocalyptic Earth where vampires are at the top of the food chain and human mortals are their livestock.
  • Man and His Symbols, an anthology of long but intriguing articles on the psychology of myth, edited by no other than Carl Jung. It includes his own article that opens the book.
How about yourself? What are you reading at the time? Please feel free to share your comments in the box below. It's nice and snug for both dead and living authors' titles!

Speaking about reading, I just saw the 1975 film adaptation of Harlan Ellison's novella, A Boy and His Dog. I had to view it for a review I was writing which you can read at The review is actually part of an article announcing a screening of the film that occurred here in Sac last Thursday. So even though the announcement portion is outdated, you may find the review portion helpful. The movie isn't bad and has several great scenes in it. Being a die-hard Harlan Ellison fan, I have to confess that I haven't read the book yet but will be sure to.

And while we're on the subject of science fiction in particular, do any of you believe we have reached the fullfillment of William Gibson's "prophecy", if you will, of a cyberpunk society?  Did you hear about the "Human Barbie Doll" that was so hot of an issue last month? There had been a debate about whether she really existed or if she was a digital construct. I discuss this in relation to cyberpunk in my most recent article  at as well. So please feel free to take a look at it.

If you don't have enough books to read at this time, hopefully the two above articles will give you enough to read for now and . . .

Until next time . . .

A neo surreal painting by George Grie.
Credit: George Grie/Wikimedia Commons