Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I love old school Science Fiction novels


I love out of date Science Fiction, Cari and I have started a collection of vintage science fiction paperbacks, so now you know what to buy us for birthdays and V-days (vegan anniversaries). We want the books with most whacked out silly fifties, sixties and seventies covers you can find. Ace doubles oh yeah we want them!

I want to on this blog from time to review some of these lost gems that are worth reading. Some for fun stories, and science fiction concepts that often beat out the modern stuff. I love the works of Ursula K. Leguin and Phil K. Dick as much as the next geek but their books get the respect they deserve. How about the works of Clifford Simak, Barry Malhzberg or Norman Spinrad?

Anarchists have noticed the work of Leguin certainly her novel the Dispossessed is very anarchist and her more recent Always Coming Home even more so. Spinrad is even more radical also an anarchist he has explored the concept of anarchism in several novels including Child of Fortune and a Void Captain’s Tale. I owe Mister Cody Goodfellow for pointing me to Spinrad’s work

Ok two short old school Sci-Fi reviews starting with Spinrad. At some point in 1966 while Star Trek was just getting under way (just to give some perspective) Norman Spinrad was writing Men in the Jungle.

It’s about a team of interseller gangsters who fancy themselves revolutionaries going from planet to planet starting insurrections. They make money until the natives finally get sick of their shit and off to the next revolution. For 1966 this is some serious badass sci-fi. Ok so the computer prints out revolution indexes and the tech is out of date but hell the heros end up on a planet of cannibals who eat 2/3 of the babies born.

Men in the Jungle is a great read, and still has many important things to say.

Let’s go further back and stay with the anarchist Science Fiction. How about a novel released in 1940 by a man who went on to brainwash celebrities. When I was very young the first long novel I ever read was Battlefield Earth while more respectable than the film L.Ron Hubbard was not the best Science Fiction writer on the planet.

However Final Blackout is a bleak doozy of a short novel that I feel had an anarchist message. Obviously shortly after Poland was invaded but before the Americans joined WW II this novel is quite an amazing feat of speculative fiction. Indeed Hubbard predicted a fair amount of stuff right.

The novel is about a U.S. Lieutenant who becomes a cult leader (hmmm) in the aftermath of atomic devastation across Europe. This leader sees that the problem was in our leaders who created these governments who were bound to fight. The Final Blackout is a rip roaring adventure and makes a clear statement against hierarchy. Hubbard didn’t seem to hold on to those beliefs.
Try to find the Final Blackout used or at your Library because you know where that money is going right?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

PDX Zombie walk!

Highlights…

1.The where’s waldo zombie.
2.Woman in wedding with pregnant belley where the belly had fingers tearing out of her tummy.
3.Punk zombie bloc interrupting world series by banging on window at sports bar.
4.Two guys came in full umbrella corp riot gear.
5.It stretched at least three city blocks – 600 zombies easy.
6.Mall locked us out. Watching hundreds of zombies pound on the locked doors of the mall was awesome. Some zombies did make it in.

“What do we want?” “Brains!” “When do we want them?” “Brains!”

Pretty amazing…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bradley Sands- new king of the absurd!


It came from below the belt By Bradley Sands
Afterbirth Books 2005 190 pages

Brandley Sands writes books that are not for everyone, infact if you are one of people who connects with his work finding ‘It came from Below the Belt’ would be like being struck by lightning. Perhaps the most absurd of absurdist novels I have ever read this book has many laughs as a Mel Brooks film in seventies. Well on the surface the novel itself seems to suffer from ADD it is actually deviously constructed to have a plot complete with a choose your adventure breakdown that if all the directions are taken still kinda makes sense in the whole.

Mister Sands is well aware of what a non-bizarro friendly reviewer/reading might think of his novel. On page 125 there is fictional review of the book. “It is written in a manner that embraces style over substance, using an onslaught of wordplay, gimmicks, deconstructed clich├ęs and low brow humor.”

So the question is are you ready to read a science fiction novel about a man swallowed by a giraffe and vomited into the far future that has to run his sentient penis for public office? If that sounds like the type of story you always been missing than get afterbirth on the horn and get yourself a copy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Movie picks of the last two weeks


Sunshine:

While the hollywood bean counters want to tell us that the smart science fiction movie is dead, they are claerly not speaking about Quality. Dark, bleak and intelligent with a great cast Sunshine is a great film and more proof of Danny Boyle's skill as a filmmaker. What he did best perhaps was gather an excellent cast who worked well together. the captain of the space vessel was Hiroyuki Sanada the star of the underrated Twilight Samurai and Michelle Yeoh who is fantastic in a non-stereotypical role.

Rescue Dawn: Warner Herzog is back in the jungle and it was worth the wait. This tale of a U.S. fighter pilot shot down and captured in Vietnam is pretty amazing film. Christian bale proves again that he is the bravest actor out there. Great stuff.

No retreat no surrender: Amazing crappy action movie directed by Corey Yuen who made respectable films in china staring Jet Li. This film kicks ass but i would not use the word respectable. It is a low budget rip-off of the karate kid complete with breakdancing scenes,training sequences featuring the ghost of Bruce Lee and best of all early Jean Claude Van Damme as the villian. Watched it with Bru-dawg, he approved.

The Thing: Watched this on the big screen at the HP Lovecraft fest, the place was packed and wow what difference watching with an audience and all huge on the big ass screen makes. A funnier, creepier(as if it wasn’t enough on TV)experience. Reminds you the value of the movie experience.

Tears of a black tiger: Crazy off the hook set design and color add a great dimension to this Thai western. The battles are bloody squib-tastic fests and include bazookas. Is this the birth of the Pad Thai western?

Demons:

Bru-dawg pick. Argento produced Italian gorefest with Motley Crue, the scorpions and Rick Springfield(!?!) on the soundtrack. The paper thin plot about a demons siege of a movie theater is awesome and most importantly short.

Yor Hunter of the future: Bru-dawg brought this gem over. What an awesome – yet god awful piece of crap. Amazing prog-metal theme song into a strange post nuclear war cave man fight aliens movie. With a finger poised on the fast forward button you will enjoy this. if you watch this and Zardoz in the same night your brainwill just stop working.

Book and the sword:

A made for Chinese mini-series based on my favorite Kungfu wuxia pan novel was nerve wracking choice at movie madness. On one hand I wanted to see it. On the other I assumed the production value would be crap. I was surprised to find excellent fights, well done wirework and the budget only shined through a few times. If you are a kungfu dork who wants to see a somewhat faith adaptation of a Wuxia pan classic it’s worth a rental.




Sunday, October 14, 2007

I’m reading at the PDX Vegan Holiday fest!



Hey folks! I have good news. First off I happy to tell you that we were discussing Punk Horror Biz a few weeks ago and decided that do to the excellent critical response to my short story chapbook Screams from a Dying World, we are doubling the length for the second edition and publishing it as a trade paperback.

You can get a preview of the expanded material at the Portland second annual Vegan Holiday Fest. I’ll be reading Value Menu at a special reading during the event. It is one of my favorite vegan themed dark comedy tales. I read it on the Midwest half of the Screams book tour and it went great.

This will also be your last chance to buy the first limited chapbook edition of Screams which will be the only edition to have the story 'Normal' in it. I have only six copies left. Also you can buy the second edition in the fest silent auction and win one of the first five test copies!

The fest will have amazing food, great speakers and I can’t wait. Those of you in the northwest - I hope to see you there!

http://veganholidayfestival.com/

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Extreme Horror novel Classic!

Cellars by John Shirley

Like many people I believed that the psychosexual extreme horror that Clive Barker introduced the mainstream with the books of blood came out of nowhere. The discovering of the works of John Shirley (shamefully I have to admit my first Shirley book was his nano-tech monster novel Crawlers) taught me that there was at least one novel that beaten Barker to the punch.

Released in 1981 John Shirley’s novel Cellars is his most traditional extreme horror novel. Reading the new revised edition that was released in 2006 from Infrapress has shown me what an influence this work had. Perhaps not directly on Barker but the splatterpunks like Laymon, Skipp, Spector and of course Edward Lee who wrote the introduction for this new edition.

Set in New York the city is character - a trick Shirley is known for having done more literarily in his Cyberpunk classic City Come-a-Walkin. Something is under the city trading the lives of persons found slashed and marked with occult symbols for power. Long before American Psycho Shirley explores the limits that the yuppies and power elite of New York will go to expand their power and influence.

Along the way you get satanic cults, romance, gore, suspense and one of the most bizarre horror novels of the early 80’s. A must read for fans of extreme horror that still has it’s bite after 27 years!