Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Casino Royal Quick Review

Having just recently watched Casino Royal (The Daniel Craig version) I was amazed about how much the screenwriters adapted from the book.
Bond is especially chatty in this, which I thought was interesting. This is an introspective Bond, who isn't proud of his license to kill which he was qualified for due to his combative experience during WW2. I'm surprised they never integrated his military background into the movies.
It makes perfect sense that he was a soldier, now that they mention it it makes perfect sense that he would have all of those deadly skills.
Anyway, I'm keeping this short. This is a pretty good first story of the series even if there isn't much action in it. The characterization is great. The last line of the story made it into the movie and it's great!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Wolves of the Calla

I've just finished The Wolves of the Calla. It's the fourth book in The Dark Tower series by Steven King. It picks up with the three characters (or four characters if you count their pet Oui) finding their way to a desert-like town town called Calla? They run into Callahan a kind who's a
kind of drifter.
He talks to them about the town he lives in & about their dire situation. The town is having a problem with their young children getting kidnapped. Roland (the leader) & the rest of the team are reluctant to help & get involved in their war.
Once they get to the town they discover that the town's children are being sacrificed to these things called
'The Wolves' raiders on horseback with lightsabres for weapons and wolf masks on their faces. Roland & the team agree to help the town in exchange for access to a cave where they can time travel in hidden doorways back to NYC in which they can continue their quest to find the
Dark Tower.
What I liked about this book of the series is that they have a bunch of new phrases that come with the new town that they're helping; "Say thank ya'" and "Thank ya sai" are two phrases that hilariously persist along with the number 19. It's a number that pops up numerous times in this book series, so much so that it's been popping up in my own life in the last few weeks, eerie.
Probably the best thing about the book, that stands out, is Callahan's 'origin story. He comes from Eddie Dean's NYC but a slightly different version of it. He worked in a homeless shelter & as a priest that lost his faith and has become a drunk. He ends up befriending a fellow social worker who he refers to as "fucking beautiful." he falls for this guy but there's a problem, vampires that invaded the town, much like the Wolves have in Calla.
They show up at a bar where Callahan's friend is drinking. One of the vampires ends up feeding on him. Callahan fends them off & kills them. During this time "Someone Save My Life Tonight" is playing. This song is the theme of the book, much like Velcro Fly by
ZZ Top which kept popping up in the last book, "The Wastelands." The phrase, someone Save My Life Tonight comes up almost as much as the number 19 does.
The climatic showdown with the Wolves, while short, is well planned and well executed.
King never ceased to amaze me with
The momentum and page turning rhythm of the story. There's plenty of material in each book & most of it is perfect engaging storytelling. I think the book excels when it sticks to the main characters: Roland, Eddie, Susannah & Jake. In Wizard and Glass I felt Roland's story was a bit too long even with the late great Frank Muller narrating.
It really stinks that Frank couldn't narrate the rest of the series and it just breaks my heart how he passed. I really like King's speech at the end where he talks about the effect Frank Muller had on his writing the rest of the series. Frank had a unique gift at creating a variety of distinct voices. Long days and pleasant nights in heaven Frank. You re-inspired my imagination. Thank ya, sai.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Great Courses

I've listened to some fantastic audio books lately! I've listened to one of
The Great Courses, the one on ancient myths. In this course the lecturer talks about major mythic figures from Gilgamesh, Achilles to even Davy Crocket! It's been interesting to learn about the stories in greater detail and the truths behind them. The truths are the lessons about life told through stories. Even true stories can be exagerrated and turned into myth.

Chapter 1 of The Ranger is about finished. I'm excited to share the first chapter of the awesome story. I like where it's leading . It's also got me excited about writing again, especially short stories.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Upcoming Short Stories

2 short stories have been in development for quite some time. The horror story I've been working on takes place in a costume store. It might be released chapter by chapter on here. The next story will be 'The Ranger'. I think it will also be written chapter by chapter and released on this blog. I've also been listening to several great audio books as of late. One of these has been an anthology of short stories. I've enjoyed listening to this collection and it's inspired me to keep writing mine and submit them for publication to magazines.
The book I'm reading is simply called 'Horror Stories' by Jack Kilborn & J. Konrath. While they're not all great, there are more then several worthy of reading for the season.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Neverending Story

I'm happy I grew up in the 80's and 90's. It was a great time to witness the original and inspired ideas of the 80's. I watched plenty of movies, some were kids movies, others were more adult and I probably shouldn't have been watching them.

One of my favorite movies that we had on tape was 'The Neverending Story'. It was such a great fantastic movie to watch. It totally inspired me, to write and to dream of making life, in general, an adventure. I mean, when I saw The Rock Biter, the racing snail, the bat and the amazing sets they built I was just blown away by it all. This was the age of Jim Henson and I was loving every minute of it!

I mean the scene where Atrau loses his horse in the Swamps of Sorrow, who can forget that?
The music was simply amazing as well. Every time a new bit of scenery is introduced a beautiful bit of music is unraveled. The scenes where Falgor is flying are great.
Nothing in the movie grabbed me more than Gnork, the wolf antagonist on the film. What a Jim Henson masterpiece. When he explained what Fantasia essentially was and about The Nothing, I was blown away. There's nothing worse you can do to a kids world then take away their imagination and creativeness. What a truly scary idea. When he discussed the possibility of growing into an adult and losing the ability to imagine and dream it really made me think about how many people lose that ability and embrace the horror of complacency of work, marriage and everything else life can bog us down with so we forget who we were when we started our lives out. Fantasia was the realm of human fantasy and The Nothing was people forgetting about their dreams, aspirations and worst of all their imagination.
The book takes that idea and really rolls with it and takes it further with another theme. The idea of losing yourself in fantasy so much that you forget about the people in your life that love and care about you. This theme served as a clever warning to us to not go to the other extreme and lose ourselves in fantasy so that we forget all our responsibilities and loved ones. I get the idea that we should strive to balance our lives with or creative imagination and out mundane day to day tasks and 'reality'. The other worlds/lands that the book delves into are unique and each has it's own story arc with characters coming from their own continuing stories. Each new land and adventure has a new thing for us to learn . Every time Bastian makes up a new adventure or land he gets more arrogant and mean, forgetting more memories from his life back home. There's this neat part where other people have entered Fantasia (in the book it's called Fantastica) and are just stuck spouting gibberish that over time can come out as every story ever written. They have completely forgetton who they were in 'real life' totally became characters in Fantasia and are now mindless zombies who can't escape. Wow, I have to give it to you Michael Ende, you know how to give a kid an existential crisis way too soon in their lives.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Books Read

I've been listening to many audio books as of late as well as reading a few too.

I've been listening to a few books on Quantum Theory. It's been fascinating to listen to the Multiple Worlds theories. It just opens our eyes to the endless possibilities that could be out there for us and for many story telling opportunities. I was fueled with the what-if's by Michio Kaku's book 'Parallel Worlds'.

I've seen him talk before about String Theory and many others. This book was very dense and explained the possibilities of time travel, worm holes, teleportation, multiple dimensions and parallel worlds identical to our own.

Some of these theories were created or spurned on by H.G. Wells and other sci-fi writers. I'm amazed to find that some of their theories hold water and are possible through the Laws of Relativity. Amazing! Just amazing.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

4th Hour and Short Stories

I have finished a basic spell check of
4th Hour and am now over-looking each chapter and placing them in their proper spots within the book.

I have to rewrite a missing chapter that I left in storage in California. This has
Been frustrating since it's a key scene in the plot and one of the first ones I wrote when I started writing the story many years ago.

I have begun plotting a short story called 'The Ranger' (working
Title). It involves a man who used to be a pirate and finds himself stranded in a new land and has to defend himself and the local villagers from plunderers. Using his new skills as a Ranger he must utilize the land and its resources to turn the tide against them.