Monday, May 31, 2004

Godzilla and religion

The Revealer looks at Godzilla, exploring the religious ideas behind the Japanese cut of Godzilla and what it means. I don't like their contention that Serizawa was a suicide bomber. He's reluctant to use his weapon at all, unlike suicide bombers who are hoping to strike a blow against their enemies. He kills himself to keep the weapon secret. And I'm also not sure Godzilla is a metaphor for America. Nevertheless, it's a good article, check it out.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Giant mushroom in the Congo

An 18 inch high, 3 foot wide giant mushroom has appeared in the Congo and it's baffling scientists. All I know is you'd better not eat it.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Godzilla plus

Henshin!Online has a full round up of what we know about "Godzilla: Final Wars" now. Monster Zero has loads of stuff about the movie as well. All the talk about this movie has really got my giant monster movie engines revving. I watched two Gamera films last night and I'm planning on watching "Mothra" and "Atragon" in the next few days. Some day I'll have to write about why I like these films so much (although I'll have to figure it out for myself first.)

What is blogging, exactly?

Stephany Aulenback at Maud Newton's blog has a humorous reply to some of the rather silly articles that have appeared about blogging. She also brings up an interesting point:
The terms blogger, blogging, and blog are so overused they have become pretty much meaningless. They seem to indicate any individual (as opposed to a corporation) who posts anything – anything at all -- on any sort of webpage, with any regularity.
Is there a way, or should there be a way, to distinguish between people who use blogs for linking to news (boingboing, Bookslut, The Write Hemisphere), those writing about their lives (Tequila Mockingbird, Where is Raed? wKenShow), and those based around the lives of well known personalities (Neil Gaiman, Margaret Cho, Caitlin Kiernan)? And there are plenty of other blogs that don't fit into those categories. The Mumpsimus doesn't, and that's one of my favorite blogs.
A little while back, Terry Teachout at About Last Night wrote about what makes a blog. While a good starting place, I don't think he's entirely correct in his points. (One rule I think is just plain wrong: 3. Blogs without links aren’t blogs. Blogs without blogrolls aren’t blogs. Blogs without mailboxes aren’t blogs. Half of the blogs I mentioned above would be eliminated in that case.)
In general, I'm not all that concerned. But sometimes it's hard to talk about the differences of these various places. You start introducing somebody to blogs and they say something like, "Oh, you mean like Fark." Sort of. I have no idea if Fark is a blog or something else, really. It was certainly created before blogs were around, but it would be very hard to point out the difference between Fark and a blog. In that same category, gangster of love seems to fit into the blog world, but she doesn't use a blogging engine and she insists on being called a journal, not a blog.
Is blogging becoming too vast a word? Should we categorize things into blogs, journals, news feeds, etc.? I don't know. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

What we talk about when we talk about Raymond Carver

Rake's Progress and Maud Newton mention that yesterday was Raymond Carver's birthday. Carver was one of my biggest influences back in college and I always enjoy rereading his stories, which now I'll probably do for the next few days. At both of those blogs, they gives links for learning more about Carver and what books to start with.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

New Godzilla: Final Wars information

On the Japanese Godzilla: Final Wars Web site, there are lots of new things. One is a trailer made up of images from the movie, most spectacularly Godzilla standing in the center of a huge crater, the devastation of a city behind him. The Web site also includes a list of the 12 monsters who will be in the film. The design for the new Gigan has been revealed, and he looks very robotic now. You'll need Flash to see the Web site. Monster Zero, however, has put up images from the Web site. Apparently the movie will include an alien invasion. "Final Wars" looks to be totally old school Godzilla.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Ryuhei Kitamura

Here's an interview with Ryuhei Kitamura, the director of the upcoming "Godzilla: Final Wars" as well as his own films like "Versus" and "Azumi."
(Link found at Monster Zero.)

Jeffrey Ford: new fiction, a giveaway and a list of online stuff

Jeffrey Ford has a new story, "Rabbit Test" up at Fantastic Metropolis. After you're done reading it, you can check out what The Mumpsimus has to say about the piece. And you can discuss his fiction at the Night Shade Books message boards.
Ford has been my absolute favorite writer for the last several years. I was lucky enough to have won "The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque" in a Fantastic Metropolis contest a while back and since then I've been hooked on Ford's fiction. So I want to do the same for somebody else.
I've got second hardcover copy of "Mrs. Charbuque" that I would like to give to some person who is intrigued by Ford's fiction and wants to read more. If you want the book, e-mail me. The first person who does, and expresses a real interest in Ford's work, will get the book.
In the meantime, check out some of Ford's short fiction online:
The Empire of Ice Cream
Floating in Lindrethool
The Far Oasis
Malthusian's Zombie
The Shadow Year [excerpt]
The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque [excerpt]
Quiet Days in Purgatory
Horrors by Waters
Out of the Canyon
Exo-Skeleton Town
The Beyond [excerpt]
And here's some interviews:
Infinity Plus, BookSense, SF Site, Book Page, "Trampoline" promotional interview
Some nonfiction:
Distant Voices, about H. Rider Haggard
Ford interviews Kim Deitch
On "The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque"
Read and Appreciated 2003, 2002, 2001
A biography.

Charles Grant auction has begun

The auctions to benefit horror writer Charles Grant have begun. There's a lot of interesting stuff here, from signed Alice Cooper T-shirts to lots of horror novels signed and numbered, comic books and something called the rarest Stephen King item ever! Some of it is already pretty expensive, but there's some reasonable starting prices and it's all for a good cause, so check it out.

Author's new blog

Matthew Woodring Stover has a blog, studioMWS. Stover is the author of several books, the only one of which I've read is "Heroes Die," which was a combination of sword & sorcery mixed with science fiction. He has also written Star Wars tie-ins and is writing the Episode III novelization. There's not much on the blog yet, but he's only had it up a couple of days.

Friday, May 21, 2004

The fiction of the Mumpsimus

Matt Cheney, the terrific blogger at The Mumpsimus, has a story up at ideomancer called "Prague." The story is what I would expect having read his many reviews of speculative fiction stories. It's smart, short, beautiful and rewards re-reading. If you enjoy it, be sure to check out some of his other fiction at his personal Web site. Besides short stories, he's also written plays, screenplays, poetry and nonfiction.

Notebook love

moleskinerie is a blog about the Moleskine notebook and how great it is. I love the Moleskine, it's a got a great romantic look and at the same time is totally functional. The only problem is it's terribly expensive. For a tiny little notebook, you spend $10. It makes me afraid to write in them.
(Link found at scribbling woman.)


Couple of interesting Godzilla things:

Henshin!Online has translated a long interview between Godzilla director Masaki Tezuka and writer Wataru Mimura. Most of the interview is about the Japanese film industry from the 1970s on, but there's some interesting stuff about Godzilla too:
"MIMURA: But including my script, what do you think of the film?
TEZUKA: Reflecting on MEGAGUIRUS, what I wanted to do was to provide a scientific background to the story. I needed clear scientific reasons. It is impossible to create a Black Hole Gun, Godzilla himself is totally unrealistic, but I needed them for the story, therefore I thought providing scientific rationales were all the more important.
MIMURA: I see.
TEZUKA: So this I time [for GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA], my staff researched both robot computer technology and DNA engineering for Mechagodzilla. I paid so much attention to this part of the story.
MIMURA: So you think, even for a fantasy film, some amount of reality is necessary and the story should be based on the scientific fact. You cannot accept a totally unrealistic subject.
TEZUKA: No I can't. I think a scientific background contributes to maintain a steady storyline. Speaking of a steady storyline, if the capital had not been Osaka [in GXM] MECHAGODZILLA could have been a sequel to MEGAGUIRUS, as you said to me before. [laughs] Kiriko would have been in the new film. When you told me that I should have used Megaguirus again, I thought it was a good idea."

At DVDtalk they have a review of ADV's new "Destroy All Monters" release. It's a bare bones DVD of the movie with bad dubbing, no chapter stops and no extras. But it comes with the soundtrack.
The movie is quite enjoyable, but the poor print and many digital artifacts makes this movie a rental.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Mamatas on mainstream horror

Nick Mamatas dissects mainstream horror.
The mainstream of horror fiction of the past five years:
makes the following statements as regards class, gender, race, urbanization and pets:


creates a sense of identification by displaying the thoughts of the POV character in increasingly annoying italics

offers a protagonist demographically slightly better off, whiter, and more suburban than than stereotypical drug store/Wal-Mart (as opposed to bookstore) book buyers

...who consumes name-brand products, especially Pepsi

...and who, while looking in mirrors, contemplates either a recently-broken nose or a widening ass

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Writing interview

So Maud Newton has started her series of interviews with writers about writing, called "Making Book." Her first interview is with Salah Abdoh, whose 1999 book "The Poet Game" stirred up interest after Sept. 11 because of its look at Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Maud asks some good questions, and in at least one place, the question is more interesting than the answer. It's definitely worth checking out and I'm looking forward to see what she's got lined up in the future.

Hunting giant squid babies

The New Yorker writes about a giant squid hunter!
Steve O’Shea, a marine biologist from New Zealand, is one of the hunters—but his approach is radically different. He is not trying to find a mature giant squid; rather, he is scouring the ocean for a baby, called a paralarva, which he can grow in captivity. A paralarva is often the size of a cricket.
“Squid, you see, hatch thousands of babies,” O’Shea told me recently, when I called him at his office at the Earth and Oceanic Sciences Research Institute, at the Auckland University of Technology. “Most of these will get eaten up by larger predators, but during periods of spawning the sea should be filled with an absolutely fantastic amount of these miniature organisms. And, unlike the adults, they shouldn’t be able to dart away as easily.”

That annoying First Amendment technicality

This story is outrageous. Apparently, there is a New Mexico principal out there who is condemning students and teachers for producing articles critical of the government. He's destroyed poetry and tore down art from walls. Then he proudly read his own poetry during a ceremony in which a flag was raised and praised himself for his actions.
And it gets worse! He fires the teachers, won't rehire the art teachers and he won't release their records so the teachers can get new jobs. Is this man insane?
Here's another Web site about it:
A cloud of silence, censorship and fear hangs over the RRHS school district. A once-vibrant student literacy and critical-speaking/critical-thinking initiative has been crushed. In May, 2003, the RRHS Military Liaison and the Principal triumphantly raised a flag on school grounds and read out a poem telling critics of war policy to "shut your faces". Principal Gary Tripp told local press that this was "a high point" of his principalship.
You can donate to help the teacher fight Principal Gary Tripp.
I'm hoping this is a somewhat isolated incident. But there's been so much of this kind of crap going around, I begin to wonder.
Then there was this case a few months ago about an art school in San Francisco that freaked out when a student wrote a violent story.
I wonder, do Americans just not support free speech anymore? I mean, I know over the years many, many people never understood the concept. But it seems like this kind of censorship is more and more accepted. I hope not. I hope it's a couple of isolated incidents that will fall away in time.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Axl Rose v. Buckethead

I'm way, way behind on this, but apparently Axl Rose slagged Buckethead in a press release he wrote back at the end of March. Basically, he blames all his problems on the bucketed one:
During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and commitment - despite being under contract - creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals and live plans with confidence.
Later, he goes on to say that Buckethead was just in Guns N Roses to get a deal with Sanctuary Records.
Now, I'm not one to question the words of Axl, and certainly, Buckethead is a little on the odd side. I've even heard he needs a chicken coop in the studio to do his guitar solos.
But here's the thing, which of these two musicians has taken more than a decade to get an album? Which one has alienated most of his friends and fellow musicians? If you're not sure, let me point you to the discography of Axl and Buckethead. (For godsakes, Bucket has 2 albums out this year! And that's not counting the other band names he's appeared under.) I'm just saying is all.

Girly-man elf boy

At In Search of Pith, JeremyT reviews his weekend and gives a fun review of Troy:
The Trojans were pretty damn hampered by Paris. In the original text, you've got Aphrodite saving Paris's ass constantly, so you can have a little sympathy for him. In the movie, he's a philandering twit who deserves to have the shit kicked out of him. He's a coward, and he's played by that poncy stupid elf, which means every woman in the theatre coos at the very sight of him. I'm kind of hoping at this point he suffers some kind of debilitating injury and never acts again. I'm tired of listening to all the sub-30s women in the theatre have little orgasms when he pulls the string on a bow. There's some weird Freudian shit going on there or something.
And by the way, "Troy" has a tomato next to it on Rotten Tomatoes front page, yet it has a 59 percent rating, which means it should be a little green splatter. Why is that? Could it have anything to do with "Troy" being the feature sponsor today? No, I refuse to believe it.

New blog

John Joseph Adams, slush reader for Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, has a blog called THE SLUSH GOD Speaketh... He's only got a few entries up so far, but he's already got star-studded posts about Harlan Ellison, Bruce Sterling and how he got the job at F&SF. It just reminds me that I have to update my blog roll soon.
(Link found at Write Hemisphere.)

Aleister Crowley in the Desert

Here's an excerpt about Aleister Crowley in the Desert from the book "The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern" by Alex Owen.
(Link found at wood s lot via scribbling woman.)

Maud Newton does author interviews

Maud Newton has announced that she will bedoing interviews with writers on their writing habits. I can't wait. I love to read this stuff.
Learning of a writer's methods and preoccupations makes me feel I'm that much closer to solving the puzzle of inspiration, not only in the case of that one writer, but in the world. After all, as Anita Brookner has said, "Great writers are the saints for the godless."
I remember Joyce Carol Oates making fun of this sort of thing. She asked how it could make any difference what kind of pen she uses? It probably doesn't, but for other writers or wannabe writers, this can be interesting stuff. It can also make a writer look at one's own habits and consider what works best.
In the end, though, I just find it entertaining.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

The Incredibles

A trailer is up for Pixar's new movie, The Incredibles and it looks good. It seems to be a humorous film about a group of superheroes. I immediately recognized Samuel Jackson's voice as "Frozone." This looks really good.

Monsters in movie court

The Washington Post has an odd little article called Monster Films: Bringing Out the Beast in Us. (Unfortunately, you'll probably have to register to see it.) It's set up as Movie Court, with the prosecution, Ann Hornaday, arguing that with all the horrible images of brutality and torture we see on the news every day, there's no need for monster movies to cater to our darker side.
For the defense, Stephen Hunter makes the argument that monster films appeal to the child in more imaginative people, like himself.
I still like it when things get blown up, squished, smashed, mashed, creamed, fragmentized, atomized, liquefied, pureed and mulched. For destruction I hold with those who favor the carnivore, but the alien is also nice and would suffice.
While I'm not sure his argument entirely answers Hornaday, I certainly agree with what he's saying.
When the screechy mandibular chompers of "Them," with their hunger for sugar and human flesh, come out to play, or when the Giant Squid the size of the USS Forrestal squashes the Golden Gate to a sodden swizzle stick, it's a hoot. See, that's one of the most profound joys of the movies -- the subversive pleasure of seeing what society tells us is bad and wondering: Gee, why does it make me feel so good?
I'm going to start looking at Hunter's reviews more often. (And I'm going to ignore Hornaday, who doesn't seem to get horror at all.)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Auction for Charles Grant with lots of cool stuff

Following orders from Nick Mamatas and my own belief that it's a good cause, here's the press release for a Horror Writers Association auction to benefit Charles Grant:


May 13, 2004

Contact Information:
Horror Writers Association
Nicholas Kaufmann,
(718) 855-0970


The Horror Writers Association holds auction
to benefit stricken author

NEW YORK, MAY 13. The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is holding a benefit auction for legendary author and editor Charles L. Grant, who has been hospitalized indefinitely with severe cardio-pulmonary disease and emphysema. Mr. Grant, whose body of work spans five decades, faces a tremendous burden on his health and substantial health-related expenses.

In response to this dire situation, the HWA called for contributions to a benefit auction for Mr. Grant. Although HWA is not a charitable organization and contributions could not be considered charitable donations, this didn’t stop a flood of concerned writers, editors and publishers from contributing to this cause.

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub, Clive Barker and nearly fifty other accomplished authors have confirmed contributions to the event. Publishers such as Leisure Books, Earthling Publications and Night Shade Books have also contributed.

“The response has been amazing,” said Joe Nassise, president of the Horror Writers Association. “The absolute generosity of everyone involved has been truly overwhelming.”

This two-part fundraiser, being held in conjunction with the HWA’s annual Bram Stoker Awards Banquet weekend, is the first of its kind for the organization. One component of the fundraiser is a high-profile auction to be held on eBay beginning May 23 and running until June 5, the evening of the awards. Bidders can find all auction items by searching the eBay User ID “bookwyrm55.”

The second component is a silent auction to be held on June 4-6 at the HWA annual meeting in New York City where the Bram Stoker Awards will be presented.

THE HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION (HWA) is a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. HWA was formed in the late 1980's with the help of many of the field's greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe Lansdale. Today, with over 1,000 members around the globe, it is the oldest and most respected professional organization devoted to the genre.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Nicholas Kaufmann at


And if you can't do the auction, you could still donate to help Grant at this Web site.

You must read this

"The Voluntary State" is one of the best science fiction stories I've read in a long time. The author, Christopher Rowe has an interview here and a bibliography here and a blog here. You can also discuss the story here.
It's just more proof of how good Sci Fiction is. At least the SciFi Channel will be able to say it's done one good thing during its existence.
It's also proof of how great reading all these blogs is. I've seen this story mentioned in a whole bunch of places, all of them ecstatic for the story. It intrigued me enough to seek it out. I'm glad I did.

Godzilla stomps box office

Do you know what was the biggest box office hit, per screen, this past weekend? That's right Godzilla, the uncut Japanese film playing in two theaters, in New York and San Francisco. It earned $38,030. Per screen, that beats out Van Helsing and the other tripe out in the multiplexes. Now, hopefully it gets a wider release.

Snakehead fish update

A snakehead fish has been found in Northern Virginia. It's only a matter of time now, they'll be taking over the whole eastern seaboard, and of course, crawling underfoot looking for new prey.

Giant monster movie news

A few months back, you might remember I linked to a trailer for Dragon Wars, or D-Wars as it seems to be called in some places. Well, there's more scenes from the movie up at this site. The monsters are still looking pretty impressive. The scenes show the dragons, giant snakes and armed dinosaurs stomping through the streets of a modern city (including blowing up a building with an AT&T sign prominently shown, gotta pay for it somehow). This is exciting stuff, although I'm still worried the story and acting will be as bad as "Reptilian," the totally awful first film from this company.
And in other giant monster movie news, I was reading a rumor that John Sayles would be writing the screenplay for Jurassic Park IV, but I can't find anything to confirm that. In fact, most sites say William Monahan, a new writer, is writing the script. Also rumored to be part of the film is Keira Knightley.
Sayles is working on a political satire, however, that will star Chris Cooper and be out before the 2004 presidential elections.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

New Nintendo stuff

Apparently, Nintendo is planning some big changes, most importantly a new GameBoy that includes wifi. There's also a new Zelda game coming and some other goodies, plus hints about a new home system to replace the GameCube. Video games have been losing my interest over the last year or so, but this still sounds pretty neat.
(Thanks to Charles for the link.)

Remembering William Burroughs

Marianne Faithfull talks about William Burroughs and her connections with him. Apparently, she is starring in a new production of The Black Rider, which was written by a collaboration of Burroughs, Tom Waits and Robert Wilson. I think the album is great (and I think that review is totally wrong, though the review of the song Briar and the Rose is better), and it's great to hear Burroughs sing "'Taint no Sin":
"'Taint no sin to take of your skin and dance around in your bones." I didn't know that it was Burroughs' last work.
(Link found at Bookslut.)

New magazines

So Wildside Press will be publishing three new magazines this year. The first, H.P. Lovecraft's Magazine of Horror, is already out and I have to get a copy. At the very least, it's got a Ramsey Campbell interview, so I know there's something I'll enjoy. The other two magazines are Adventure Tales and Underworlds. Adventure Tales appears to be a reprint magazine, bringing work of pulp authors back into print. It'll be interesting to see what selections they make. Underworlds is "the unique magazine of noir-influenced suspense, crime, and supernatural fiction."

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

The horror, the horror

Richard Kelly seems to be in the news a lot these days. The director of "Donnie Darko" is teaming up with Eli Roth, the director of "Cabin Fever" to write a movie based on a Richard Matheson story called "The

Also, director Lucy Mckee will be releasing his new movie "The Woods" on Oct. 1. McKee directed a great low budget horror movie, "May."
With all these guys working, I think things are looking up for horror in the movies.

More about reviewers

At the DarkEcho blog, Paula Guran says:
Okay, so I am glancing through my new issue of LOCUS (#520) and I come across a favorable review of a book that does not even deserve ink in the magazine. Am I the only reviewer in the world who wants to pick up other reviewers by their (no doubt ass-like) ears and shake sense into them?
She goes on to wonder if reviews (and Guran writes reviews for Cemetery Dance magazine) really matter, which brings us back to Ed Gorman's point.

Reviewers, what are they good for?

Over at Ed's Place, author Ed Gorman says:
"Variety pointed out that this year five different movies that have been scourged by critics not only opened at numero uno but even had legs. This weekend's 'Van Helsing' is the latest example. I probably read eight or nine reviews of it. None had even one good thing to say about it.
"I'm pretty sure publishing operates this way. A number of bestselling writers are consistently trashed by reviewers but it hasn't damaged their careers. That's why I'm usually reluctant to show prospective editors my good reviews. How nice, they say, being polite. But they know and so do I that reviews generally don't sell books. It's like saying to the editor, My Mom thinks I'm really swell."

It is interesting, no? I know more than a few people who say they look at reviews and whichever movies are given bad reviews, they go out and see them.
I, on the other hand, like reviews. But I rarely like just one. I want to read a whole bunch of reviews to get a sense of what the movie is like and what reviewers have problems with. This is why Rotten Tomatoes is brilliant. In one burst, I can see a whole lot of reviews. And looking at Van Helsing, I can pretty much say it's not going to be very good.
But this isn't always true. Take Deep Rising, an earlier Stephen Sommers film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 26% rating, just 2 points over Van Helsing. All right, admittedly it's kind of stupid and is all about giant monsters and explosions. But it doesn't sell itself as anything else. In fact, it gives you some characters and humor to boot.
And horror movies, I almost never trust reviewers on gory horror movies. They seem to get so blinded by blood and guts that they can't comprehend the rest of the movie.
So what do you do? I'm not sure. I usually only go to the theaters to see movies I'm sure about it. When I'm renting movies though, I'll pull out anything that vaguely interests me and give it a try. This means I miss a few good films in theaters and I suffer through a lot of bad ones at home (although at home I can turn it off without losing $10.)
In the book world, things are a bit different. I only use reviewers to tell me about books I know nothing about. Otherwise, I stick with authors I know, classic books or books recommended by authors I love.
So, use my new comment feature, tell me how you use (or don't use) reviewers.

Donnie Darko: Revised

Richard Kelly says Donnie Darko will be dramatically revised for its re-release to movie theaters.

"Ultimately, for me, I'm just psyched I finally got to finish the film," he said. "While I'm proud of the theatrical cut, I feel like there were some elements that were never fully realized that I'm excited to be able to realize now. It's been a dream come true, and I'm really lucky to have gotten to do it."

I'm really mixed about this. There's no doubt that "Donnie Darko" is a flawed movie. Unless you start looking at a lot of the supplemental material, there's no way you'll understand all the manipulated dead and chest spears things that are referenced in the film. But that's also part of the charm, things are left a mystery and the film becomes personal to you.
Not to mention I'm mixed on the whole idea of going back and revising your movie (or whatever artwork you've created) after it's been in the public eye.
"Star Wars" is always the thing that comes to mind for me. George Lucas went back and changed all the special effects and made a few other changes. It has always upset me that Greedo fired first in the new version. And some of the Jabba part is a little silly. On the other hand, I did like the new special effects and most of the other additions were either helpful or not a problem.
And we've all come to expect director's cuts, right?
So maybe I'm just worried over nothing. And, anyway, I've got my copy of "Donnie Darko" on DVD anyway, in case I don't like the new version. (Unlike Star Wars, which will most likely never be released on DVD in its original version.)

Look, I can use pictures now! Posted by Hello

Change is here to stay

OK changes have been made succesfully. Now everyone can post comments and they will forever be attached to my entries. The template has changed. There's a few more futuristic, bubble type designs available, but I like this more subdued look. Do you agree? Leave a comment! I've updated a few links but have yet to add any more. All right, now with luck I can get back to more regular posting.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Peter Crowther interview

S1ngularity publishes a new interview with Peter Crowther. Crowther is a horror writer, a publisher of fine science fiction, fantasy and horror novellas and is now becoming a magazine editor. He's one of the most important people in the speculative fiction field right now, so the interview is well worth your while.

Nick Mamatas interview

Beatrice does 5 Questions With Nick Mamatas. Nick has a LiveJournal here and here's a listing for his novel, "Move Under Ground."

New stuff, when it works

Aargh. Blogger has added all kinds of new elements, most importantly permalinks and a commenting system. Well, I've managed to get the permalinks working, but the comments defy me at every turn. In the meantime, all the old comments have been deleted. Sorry. Once I get the new comments system working, they'll be attached to the permalinks so your writings will never again (theoretically) be lost in the great Web void. If anyone else with a Blogger site has had problems with comments, let me know and tell me how you got through it.

Going to a Monster Show

In San Francisco, the Shooting Gallery will be hosting "The Tokyo Monster Show 2004."

The Shooting Gallery is excited to pay tribute to Godzilla and his friends with “The Tokyo Monster Show”. Over 30 artists will take part in this homage to Japanese monster movies. Paintings, photography, sculpture and drawings will all be on display for everyone to enjoy. Never has there been such a gathering of creatures since “Monster Island”, when Godzilla proved he was The King of All Monsters

The site has a few examples of the giant monster paintings. They're very good.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Rambling on dolphins

Trained dolphins are being used to search for a secret American submarine. I think it's amazing the things dolphins are being trained to do these days. In southern Iraq, dolphins were used to clear mines.
It all reminds me of a science fiction story by Alexander Jablokov called "A Deeper Sea" (it was also rewritten into a novel, but I didn't read that.) In the story, a Russian scientist learns to communicate and control dolphins. What, at first, he doesn't know is that he's also torturing them. The dolphins are used as soldiers in a global war. It's a good story and made the Year's Best Science Fiction anthology for 1989. Jablokov's last book, "Deep Drive," (which I enjoyed) came out in 1998. His Web site hasn't been updated since then. I wonder what he's been up to.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The Great Mahakali Write-A-Thalon

The Great Mahakali Write-A-Thalon is another novel writing contest. This one asks you to write a 35,000 word novel between 9 a.m. May 14 and 7 p.m. May 16. Considering it takes me the whole 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, this would be quite a challenge. Unfortunately, I work weekends, so I can't miss the sleep I'd need to in order to participate. Still, sounds exciting, good luck to all those participating.
If this is the kind of thing you're into, there's also Anvil Press's Three Day Novel Writing Competition which takes place on Labor Day weekend.
Ah what some of us will do for a deadline.
UPDATE: The Anvil Press Three Day Novel Writing Competition has apparently come to an end. Ah well. Thanks to Rohit Gupta for the heads up.
ANOTHER UPDATE: All right, maybe that Three Day Novel Writing competition still exists, but it's not easily found. There is this under construction Web site, which may yield something in the near future.

In search of...

Speaking of horror comics, there's something I wonder if any of my readers could help me with. When I was a young teen, in maybe 1981 or so, I bought a comic book at a fair. It was a collection of Polish legends and fairy tales. I remember liking it, but I can remember very little of it. I haven't seen it anywhere in years. The only story I remember had something to do with a king, many rats and a flood. It was in color.
I know it's unlikely, but does this ring any bells for anyone?

EC comics

Apparently, it's been 50 years since William Gaines, publisher of EC Comics, appeared before a Senate committee to defend his horror comics. Richard Corliss discusses the history of EC Comics and their gory fun in this interesting article from Time magazine.
The Comics Journal did a nice issue a while back that had interviews with many of the creators of the EC comics. Unfortunately none of it seems to be online.
The link was found through the DarkEcho newsletter. And I should also mention that DarkEcho now has a blog. It just started, so I'm not sure where she's going with it. But Paula Guran is always interesting, so it's worth keeping an eye on it.

Any tentacled hole will do

Apparently giant squid aren't too choosy about their sexual partners.

Pat Tillman: Human being

This opinion piece shows a side to Pat Tillman that we haven't been getting elsewhere. Using quotes from the memorial service, Tillman is shown as a much more complicated person than the prescribed story would make you think.
Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.
"Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''

There's a lot more. It's a good article check it out.
By the time the ceremony ended, after his brother and brother-in-law sipped the Guinness that Garwood poured in Tillman's honor, the funny, thinking, wild, crazy man had come to life. The family's loss, the loss of every soldier's family, seemed more real.

Monday, May 03, 2004

UFOs over Iran

Connecticut man saw a UFO over Iran. Apparently, this is becoming increasingly common in that country. Skeptics say people are seeing the planet Venus filtered through the night sky, while others say it's spy planes.

Alien fish returns

Ah, the return of the snakehead fish. The snakeheads were a big story last year. It's a Chinese fish that eats everything in a pond and then will travel over land to the next pond where it starts eating again. The fish can wipe out ecosystems pretty fast. This year, Maryland is considering banning the fish. Pine Lake in Maryland was drained and cleaned out after a fisherman found a snakehead there last week.

More Godzilla coverage has a couple of articles on Godzilla and the original print of the movie.
But Godzilla isn't just the bomb -- he's hate and anger, war, the poisoned environment -- in short, he is mankind itself, the destruction wrought by the rage within us, an inner ugliness we can never quite seem to shake.
There's an article on the making of Godzilla and a timeline of Godzilla films and reality that influenced it.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Godzilla's metaphor problem

The New York Times takes a look at the first Godzilla movie -- that is, the Japanese version, sans bad dubbing and Raymond Burr -- on its 50th anniversary. The article looks at Godzilla as a metaphor for the A-bomb and what that really means:

The most peculiar thing about Godzilla as a metaphor for the bomb is the creature's simultaneous status as a legendary beast of Japanese islanders' mythology: surely a more precise representation of the disaster that befell the country at the end of the Second World War would be an agent of destruction from far away, unheard of even in legend, not this native, almost familiar monster. Is Godzilla, then, also on some subterranean level a metaphor for Japan's former imperial ambitions, which finally unleashed the retaliatory fury that leveled its cities?
Maybe. But the the runaway metaphor of [director Ishiro] Honda's Godzilla isn't nearly so easy to pin down. It's more ambiguous, more generalized and perhaps more potent than that. And its significance can be glimpsed only in the Japanese version of the movie, because what Honda's "Godzilla" is most fundamentally about, I think, is a society's desire to claim its deepest tragedies for itself, to assimilate them as elements of its historical identity.

The article says the later films seem to subvert the message by turning Godzilla into a hero. Actually, I think the metaphor was simply dropped. None of Godzilla's sequels have been as serious as that first movie. And "King Kong vs. Godzilla," the film that revived Godzilla's career and was the template for the next 20-odd movies, was intended as a humorous monster bash.
The only Godzilla movie that attempts to be as serious is Shusuke Kaneko's "Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack." But "GMK" seems to be confused as to what it wants to say and its rushed filming schedule shows.
(Thanks to Professor Hex for the link.)