Tuesday, July 16, 2013

You can keep your Thor and Batmen. Here's what I'm excited about.

I just heard some news that has me fairly excited about the Amazing Spiderman sequel. Specifically, that they are going with more rarely used and mentioned villains with this one.

If you haven’t seen Amazing Spiderman, you should. Especially if you didn’t see it because you thought it was stupid to reboot the series so soon after Sam Raimi’s now iconic vision (at least with the first two films, we’ll forget that sad, pathetic third one).  I really appreciated that Mark Webb made it his own and didn’t  just try to copy what was done before and the result was a damn fine film.

Mostly, I geeked out because the fucking Lizard, people! I used to love that character and the dichotomy he represented.  And the fact that they used the Gwen Stacy relationship instead of the overused Mary Jane was awesome.  Check the comics, it was a big deal in them.

Now, I’m seeing that they will have Electro and the Rhino. With Jamie Foxx playing Electro (in what looks like more of the Ultimate version-which fits better with the feel of this run of movies anyways). And Paul Giamatti playing the Rhino. Paul Giamatti! Color me giddy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Do they serve sannakji hoe in the states?

So, the Oldboy remake, which has been in the works for a few years now, is ready to drop its first trailer. Redband even. I’m not sure what to think about it.

Yeah, I enjoyed the original. It was odd, mean and perfectly willing to ick out the audience. I also liked how it played with the cycle of revenge and methodology of vengeance. It was some ballsy fun and I had a heck of a time with it. 

Mostly, I’m concerned about the two central pieces around which this revenge drama centers. Either you know what I’m talking about, or you need to see the film. It’s on Netflix streaming, so I’m sure you can get to it easily enough.  I will be surprised if they both appear in their original form, given how touchy we Mur’kan audiences can be. Or at least how touchy studio heads seem to think we are.

Spike Lee directed it. I'm pretty cheesed about that. He’s proven several times that he’s willing to go to some uncomfortable places. 

Then again, screenplay was done by Mark Protosevich, who wrote the screenplay for I Am Legend. I’ve heard that he originally went with the real ending from the book, which provides promise. Of course, we all know what ended up on the screen.

Then there is the poster art they are sending around. It looks like it belongs to a romantic comedy about a spy or some other odd growth. If the movie is authentic, that is going to draw in people with entirely wrong ideas. 
for comparison.

Actually, that might be kinda funny.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

an interview with Nayad A Monroe

What depths of evil lie in that smile?

At this year’s Mo*Con, I had a chance to meet and chat with writer, editor and one time reader for Clarkesworld Magazine, Nayad A. Monroe. What struck me at the time was the passion and excitement that poured from her when discussion literary matters. Over the course of the discussion, it became clear to me that this is a lady that knows her shit and has a very clear vision of what she wants to contribute to the literary world.

Then, a couple weeks later, I find out that Alliteration Ink had paired with her on an anthology centered around one of my favorite fixations: the futility and fear associated with a desire to know the future. After all, as a great man once said, that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.

In an effort to pay the authors what they deserve, Alliteration Ink has started a Kickstarter for What Fates Impose:Tales of Divination. So, I yanked Nayad aside, yammered in her ear for a bit and managed to get some information about the anthology for you, oh my dear minions.

"What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide"

-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Anton Cancre:  Dispensing with any pleasantries whatsoever, why should we be excited about this anthology?

Nayad A Monroe:  I think the authors in the book are a big thing to get excited about. They're so talented and full of unusual ideas. I found diversity with some of the most interesting people writing speculative stories right now. The book includes stories from well-known and well-regarded authors with a lot of prizes and experience between them, such as Lucy Snyder, Tim Waggoner, Ken Scholes, Cat Rambo, and Maurice Broaddus. 

I've also included stories from newer writers who are bringing in awards and publishing their stories in major magazines, people who have learned from workshops taught by writers like Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers. Their writing ability comes through into stories that explore a wide range of human motivations: revenge, jealousy, greed, ambition, grief, love, and desperation. Usually people who want to see into the future are not entirely happy in the present.

AC:  What drew you to this subject? Was the Amazing Criswell whispering to you in your dreams?

you can feel him in your mind, can't you?
NAM:  There was no whispering as far as I know, but then I don't always remember my dreams. Well, that's a creepy thought. Moving on. I was actually trying to write a story about a fake Tarot reader when I started to think about ideas for anthologies to mention to a couple of publishers I knew I was going to see at a convention. The character in my story could psychically "read" objects by touching them, but she didn't want people to know she had a real power, so she hid behind reading Tarot cards. I couldn't quite figure out the ending, and I had a deadline coming up, so I set that aside and wrote "Quintuple-A" for Sidekicks!. Despite not finishing the Tarot story (yet), it all worked out because the idea of fortune-telling was on my mind just at the right time to talk about it with Steve Saus, and he decided that he wanted to publish the anthology through Alliteration Ink.

AC:  The StevenC. Gilberts cover art is gorgeous. Evocative and eye-grabbing without being so on the nose as to destroy imagination. Did you have him in mind from the start, or did you struggle in finding the right cover?

courtesy of stevengilberts.com

NAM:  Steven Gilberts had his art on display at Mo*Con, and Steve Saus asked if I thought his style would work well for the cover. I thought that was a great idea. I worked with the artist by pointing out paintings of his that I liked, and showing him examples of elements that I hoped he could include in the cover. My top priority was to have a wheel that evoked the Wheel of Fortune card in Tarot decks. I told Steven G. what kind of color scheme I thought would be good, but made a point of encouraging him to use his own judgment on the details. He came back with a sketch that's almost exactly what the cover looks like, but without the birds, and I asked him to add crows to the tree. That was both for atmosphere and to tie the cover in Erika Holt's story, "Murder of Crows."

After we received the final image, I did the cover design: stretched the top a bit, cropped the bottom, darkened the top and bottom, and added the title and other text, along with the lens flare effect behind the title. I love the way it turned out, and I'm glad the artist is happy with the finished cover, too.

AC: What is the big thing that you were looking for when going through stories?

NAM:  I wanted weirdness. I have read so many short stories, because I spent three years reading submissions for Clarkesworld Magazine, that I've seen a lot of ideas before. I knew that all of the people I invited to submit stories could write sentences well, but I was only going to accept their stories if they came up with characters in situations that kept my jaded mind curious about what would happen next. I wanted most of the stories to have a dark, edgy quality, and that's what I got. Not all of the stories are horrific--some are pure fantasy--but that's good because I wanted variety in the approaches, too.

AC:  Speaking of Clarkesworld, did your experiences there and the expectations of that magazine affect your approach to this anthology?

NAM:  Yes. I learned a lot from Neil Clarke, because whenever he would reject a story I recommended for publication, he would explain what he didn't like about it. He has great taste. Reading and making recommendations on that many stories, and seeing which ones made it into the magazine, changed my way of thinking about fiction. I also learned that I like horror more than Neil does, so I'm more likely to accept scary stories than he is. Being able to make the decisions about what to include in a book is so satisfying.

AC:  I know it is like picking a favorite child, but was there a story that completely knocked it out of the park for you?

NAM:  I have to mention three. There's "Black Swan Oracle," by Ferrett Steinmetz, which is psychologically grim, and also
Waggoner, stealing your soul.
plausible assomething that could almost happen in the near future in our world. "The Goggen," by Tim Waggoner, is so creepy, and it just keeps getting creepier as you discover the real motivations going on with each of the two characters. The other one I have to bring up is the longest story in the book, a new novelette by Ken Scholes about a woman getting pulled into an old and dangerous conspiracy. It's called "All Our Tangled Dreams in Disarray." It's hard for me to stop myself from gushing out spoilers about these stories. I can't wait to find out what other people think of them.

AC: You managed to snag a story from Lucy Snyder right before she won a Stoker for "Magdala Amigdala", why did you decide to approach her for participation in this project?

Snyder, stalking Henry the Red.
NAM:  I've known Lucy for several years, and I like both her writing and her personality. It was incredibly easy to get a story from her because I just started to describe the book's theme, and she said she had one that would fit. It's almost as if she predicted the future. But seriously, I love the twisted stuff Lucy comes up with in her fiction, so I expected that her submission would work out. Her story, "Abandonment Option," was the first one I accepted for What Fates Impose.

ACAs I’m sure you know, there are a few of us in the horror community that like it wet, goopy and dripping with greasy, grimy people bits. Then you had to go and mention to me a little something about Andrew Romine’s contribution. Any chance you’d be willing to tease us a bit with what to expect from that one?

NAM:  Oh, yes. I can confirm that your needs for wet, goopy, drippy, greasy, icky bits will be fully satisfied by Andrew's story, "Ain't Much Different'n Rabbits." It's the grossest, grimmest story in the book. It makes me uncomfortable. And I like horror!

Those of you who read my reviews know that I don’t fuck around. If something sucks, I’ll tell you. If it’s good, then I’ll smack you on the ass and point you to where to get a copy. Given the people involved and the subject matter, I can honestly say that I’m excited about this project. So much so that I dropped sixty bucks on it myself (granted, I get an opportunity to have a recent Stoker winner tell me how much my own writing sucks but that is just a bonus). This is the type of thing that makes me giddy to be in this business.

Nayad A. Monroe read over 5,000 submissions for the Hugo Award-winning semiprozine, Clarkesworld Magazine, before she started to work on becoming an anthology editor. Several of her short stories have been published in various anthologies, such as: Space Grunts: Full-Throttle Space Tales #3, Space Tramps: Full-Throttle Space Tales #5, The Crimson Pact: Volume Two, and Sidekicks! She has also contributed an interview with Tim Powers to Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and her story, "Quintuple-A," is scheduled to be made into a short film by Wild Hawk Entertainment. She blogs at http://nayadmonroe.blogspot.com/. You can find her making odd remarks on Twitter as @Nayad.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Check Your Insurance, You May Be D.O.A.!

To paraphrase a high pitched nutcase from a rather rowdy clan, I tend to enjoy getting a bit fucked up, then partaking in actions and events that are of an equal condition. Okay, maybe more than just a bit. Why am I telling you this? More importantly, why should you care?

Because, if you’re like me, then you should be fairly excited about some fucked up shit Blood Bound Books has coming your way via their followup to 2011’s D.O.A.  If you follow my reviews, then you know I didn’t feel the original was as “extreme” (whatever the hell that term is supposed to mean) as I expected it to be, but that it showcased some damn good stories and enough blood to paint an old Victorian three times over. But, now, the folks at BBB have upped the ante and I’m pretty damn excited.

You like J.F. Gonzales (of Clickers fame)? Yep, he’s here. Ever read the craziest damn Santa story to ever hit my eyeholes (Santa Steps Out)? Say hello to a lovely gift from Robert Devereaux. Your flesh not suffering enough? Fear not, Monica J O’Rourke has a cure for that. How about that two ton titan of terror, Wrath James White? Poised to kick your teeth down your throat and make you vomit up your religion. And, creeping up the back stair with a somewhat disconsolate gleam in his eyes, comes Jack “if you don’t know who I’m talking about then I kinda want you dead” Ketchum. Plus, I have a story in there, and I know you all love me.

Maybe that’s still not enough for you. Sometimes, even masters like these can slide out some crap, after all. Maybe you should check in with the grand high mutha fucka of Hardcore, big daddy Ed “Peckersnot” Lee, who had a chance to check it out early and had this to say:

"Make sure your health insurance covers psychiatric counseling before reading this book, because you're gonna need it. The experience of this collection may be likened to getting run over by a 666-car locomotive engineered by Lucifer. This is the cream of grotesquerie's crop, a Whitman's Sampler of the heinous, and an absolutely gut-wrenching celebration of the furthest extremities of the scatological, the taboo, the unconscionable, and the blasphemous."

Buy it here. (don’t worry if you only see the Kindle version, hard copies will be available starting July 4th).