Feb 26, 2007

Bullpen Bulletins Podcast Interview

The latest Bullpen Bulletins podcast features an extended interview with yours truly on Hellstorm, the Ultimates novel, and The Narrows, among other things. You can also hear about Civil War, the latest Wolverine, and more. Listen to it here, or wherever fine podcasts are hosted.

Feb 19, 2007

Best Amazon Review I Will Ever Get

From one K. Inouye, in regards to Batman: Inferno...

I purchased this when I did a search under Batman TPBs/ Graphic Novels. I ordered this and it did come immediately. However, it was an actual Paperback Novel. It has no elements of a comic book what so ever. It is definately misrepresented on the Amazon website. It's a FREAKEN BOOK!

Consider yourselves warned. It's a freaken book.

Feb 15, 2007

Because We All Need Pandemonium in Our Lives

Pandemonium Books and Games, once the pride of Harvard Square and now even sweller in Central Square, is in trouble. The ongoing chain-store annihilation of independents has hit specialty shops harder, if anything; now Pandemonium looks to be in dire straits.

Help out if you can.

Feb 6, 2007

Voices from the Street

Here's a Los Angeles Times review of Philip K. Dick's Voices from the Street, which I encountered briefly while doing dissertation research on PKD at Cal State-Fullerton. Sadly, I had to focus on other things (there's a couple of chapters of a never-pursued sequel to The Man in the High Castle there, by the way), so I never read the entire manuscript, and I'm dying to do it now that the book finally exists. If it weren't for this damn teaching and writing, I'd sit down and read it right now.

Dick's literary novels are really a treat. Those of you who only know him for his science fiction should take the time to explore the rest of his work. Mary and the Giant is terrific, as well as The Broken Bubble of Thisbe Holt (published, I think, as The Broken Bubble; the titular event includes, among other things, a really chilling depiction of what 50s accountant types might get up to at professional conventions) and Puttering About in a Small Land.

Now if only someone could discover/reconstruct The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike, the PKD corpus would be complete...or have I just missed it?

Vandermeer on Aylett

The estimable Jeff VanderMeer has written about the estimable Steve Aylett, whose work you should all be reading (Jeff's too). Let us all join the Aylett Literary Parade.

Feb 4, 2007

Of Zombie Brides and Silver Bullets

Saw the Serpenteens last night at Trash Bar. Man, are they a blast. Any of you who are into monsters or music (which is all of you, right?) should check them out.

Afterward came karaoke...

Feb 3, 2007

"Days of Glory"?

So L and I went to see this French movie the other night at the Alliance Francaise somewhere in the wilds of the not-quite-upper West Side (or whatever you call 59th and Madison). Indigenes, by Rachid Bouchareb, tells the story of Algerian and other African soldiers fighting in the French Army in World War II. The Nazis are their biggest problem, but the film's real subject matter is the different ways the four Algerians at the center of the film react as they come to realize that the ideal of "liberte, egalite, fraternite" that they're fighting for doesn't really apply to them.

Some American reviews have compared it to Glory, the 1989 black-soldiers-in-the-Civil-War film that was pretty okay, but Indigenes has the kind of complexity that would have just bogged down Glory's headling rush to the slaughter of its heroes. Except for two scenes in which the polemic gets ahead of the characterization, and a last scene that's a little too Private Ryan-ish, Indigenes is striking in the way Bouchareb delivers the cultural conflict almost entirely through the kind of nuanced characterization that seems not to interest most Hollywood filmmakers. Maybe the most interesting character is Sergeant Martinez, a pied noir (read: French white guy who grew up in Africa) who on the one hand tries to keep the lid on his men and his own prejudices, and on the other tries to stand up for them against the bureaucracy of the French Army. Another neat little flourish is the naming of Corporal Abdelkader, the most Frenchified Algerian soldier--evoluee is the French term--after one of the leaders of the Algerian resistance movement before the war; the most educated of his compatriots, Abdelkader is the one who stirs up the most trouble, and at the same time the one who believes in France the most. A. O. Scott's NYT review does a pretty good job of unpacking how it all works (although the economy and precision he sees in the filming of the battle scenes comes across more like by-the-numbers scene-painting to me; Bouchareb is a much better director of character than of action).

Anyway, I can't help but wonder if some bright bulb at the Weinstein Company said in a meeting, "Hey, Africans fighting in the army of a country that oppresses them! That's kind of like Glory!"...and that's why a movie called Natives (and using a term that in French is patronizing if not pejorative) somehow becomes Days of Glory. Given what happens in the film, it's about as ironic a title as you could come up with.

Feb 1, 2007

Art and Aphorism

Maurizio Manzieri notes in his blog that his cover illustration for my 2003 F&SF story "Pictures from an Expedition" (also, as you've probably figured out, the title story in my recent collection) has enjoyed a productive life after its birth as an F&SF cover.

Maurizio also lets the cat out of the bag regarding a follow-up story that I've been working on (slaving, Gordon! slaving!)...speaking of which, I once saw the blind leading the blind and a guy letting a cat out of a bag within five minutes of each other.