Monday, December 29, 2014

Intellectualism and Education

First off...wishing you all a very happy and prosperous and New Year in, 2015 especially to all those who have read this blog so far today, in order of numbers reading from the...United States, Russia, France, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Australia, Brazil and anyone else my analytics page didn't mention!

Now I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I've considered myself an intellectual for decades. Though I know in some cases now a days it's considered un "PC" and some revolutions they tend to kill first, all the intellectuals. Which, I'd argue, is really stupid. When all the doctors are killed off during a revolution with fighting and shooting and the killing and all, well, doctors are a necessary thing, kind of.

Since childhood it was my primary orientation to learn about new things, to stretch my imagination, to expand my mind. Oddly enough, I just seemed stupid to many around me, mostly because of our educational system and parents who didn't have a clue what to do with a kid like me who was always getting into trouble. And asking questions.

Mostly because no one knew how to channel my needs. My mother was quite good however and inadvertently, in her being exhausted and simply farming me out to the best teachers she could find, just to take me off her hands in the afternoons for a few hours. A purely selfish thing, turned genius.

I saw intellectualism as a pursuit that is aside from ego concerns, had nothing to do with it, really. I've seen many groups over the years devoted to "intellectualism" that really should have been labeled as Ego or Social groups.

All that intellectualism was ever to me was a pursuit of the mind. And again, not the ego. Although one can't ignore the ego, one can certainly give the pursuit of knowledge a far higher consideration.

One can have an IQ of eighty (not that it's important as a number but it's a good cliche everyone understands), and still be an intellectual. It has nothing to do with how smart you are, it's just an orientation, a pursuit in your life.

I find people who hammer on this concept and those who hold it oh so dear, as again, being all about ego. Either because they have either run into those groups I referred to above, or they are themselves people to whom intellectualism is some kind of a threat; and so once again, an ego issue.

I see many people in the public eye now a days demanding to be considered intellectuals, and yet all I see in that is their ego. Or a misrepresentation of intellectual pursuits, an inability to properly navigate the pillars of knowledge among the pits of misrepresentation and illusory knowledge. Of information dressed as knowledge with people trying hard to show how knowledgeable they are, when they have a complete inability to interpret information into knowledge.

I'm sure there was a point in all this....

I guess what this is all about is that being an intellectual, it is far more important than being considered or viewed as one. Perhaps it should be a quiet and personal pursuit? So when it does come out in public it should be carefully played and deftly used. Otherwise it merely supports the generally accepted misconception that intellectualism is all about (once again) ego.

And, it's not.

It's just, not.

There is more to that, too. It's about seeing a broad spectrum of things and not just the specifics of one's trade, or the areas most needed by society.

The reason I mentioned the higher education situation is that it's important, it has to do with our future, and bettering society. Also we need as some have indicated, alternatives to college or education. An environment allowing young people to brainstorm, to learn, to start businesses.

However, having a generation learn through this type of paradigm only advances certain elements more than others, though not enough elements. The thing about liberal arts educations is it offers a broad spectrum understanding of the world.

To find one day that we have a majority of new people running things who have very specific educations is to support and pursue leaders who do not have a broad spectrum of understanding on a wide variety of issues, and at more in depth levels. Something that would lead to very different kind of society. Possibly one that will not fully consider everything that needs consideration, merely from a lack of perspective.

Obviously we need people with more specific and technical educations, but certainly not all of them and we seem to be heading that way.

The thing I never understood was what people think intellectualists are. If you are the bluest of blue collar workers, if you dig in a coal mine, an oil field, or whatever, a garbage man, there is no reason you can't also be an intellectualist. At very least, learn about your field. If you are something, be professional about it. Be the best you can be. And if you are going to do that, learn all you can about your field, and ANY FIELDS that touch upon it.

Then, you will be the best, smartest, the most safe, the most productive...coal miner, oil field worker or garbage man (or woman), or whatever, that there is. And even if you're not, you can certainly try to be and that, enhances the quality of your life, the life of those around you and you could argue, the entire world.

Typically, an intellectual might be considered to be someone who strives to know much about many things. There is however, nothing wrong with choosing a slice of that to be best at or most knowledgeable at. It is also to strive to enhance one's intellect and pursue things that increase various aspects of one's intellect, and that is up to your own interpretation.

There has been a move for some time now to fight against the more liberal arts degrees. To give up on them altogether because the corporate mindset has finally invaded our education system at a systemic level and that, is problematic to say the least.

We are at a crossroads and need to see the map and not just gaze down the road to guess at what direction we should take. Or to simply take the road nearest, or most easy to travel upon. Otherwise, this direction that we've been on for some time now, and are finally starting to understand is not the best road to take, will become the only road available to us.

It already in many ways, appears to be. But it isn't, not really. Not yet.

There is still time to do something about it. We just need to understand that being an intellectual is a good thing, and understand what that good thing is really about. And then, do something about it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Pantheistic Anarchist Libertine?

This might be a tough blog article to follow, partially because I'm going to skip through it very quickly. If you don't see the connections, the islands of thought I'm running through, I believe it will become clearer if you think on it long enough and may start to make more sense.

I know when I read something like that and at first it doesn't make total sense to me, if I think long enough on it or perhaps research it a bit, in the end I'm pretty sure I'd start to make sense of it.

Sometimes brilliance is not in the genius of the person speaking, but of the person listening.

I was just thinking about labels and came up with one for my thoughts on something I was talking about with someone this past week. I don't much like being labeled. As (believe it or not) Chris Hardwick said about social media postings, it's just a snapshot of an emotion and in minutes, it can change. In reality, I can vacillate myself as is needed.

Life in general is a grey area that changes from moment to moment which is in part why laws and religions are so disingenuous. Yes, it is better to have laws than not and to seek guidance in moral endeavors outside of oneself. But it is also necessary to realize as individuals and in dealing with others, that reality is more than merely how it appears to us and can appear differently from one to another, and again, thus the laws in a society which are necessary for a cohesive, agreed upon reality and its repercussions in able to achieve some kind of fairness.

I was talking to a guy at work the other day who said that you have to have your ideals and stick to them, regardless. Really? Maybe to a point, but when your ideas turn dysfunctional in a new environment or situation, or even simply in a new group, you have to adapt. For the best of your future, and possibly for all involved. To do otherwise is, stupid. "Sticking to your morals at all costs can be extremely dysfunctional. Or at very least, quite base and just simple thinking.

The problem with any absolute is that there is always a situation that won't fit. Where it becomes itself, dysfunctional. Something that Law and Religion don't account for, absolutes that will always in the end, fall down.

T'he gentleman I was talking to was talking with me about political campaign trails, presidential candidates, being the President, and lies. He thought that when it happens that the president said one thing and later did another later, the president was basically lying.

He didn't see at all that it was really reality hitting the candidate who becomes president and then with new previously information unavailable to him, that the realization set in that what he had intended during the campaign, meant now just about nothing in some cases. Reality actually dictates that what he had wanted just ain't gonna fly.

Yes, that probably doesn't happen as often as not. Still, he was very solid on his belief in absolutes. And yet, some of the greatest atrocities have occurred under some one or some group sticking to their absolutes. In fact, it's the great danger in religions.

"Life is black and white," some say. No, it's not. If you believe that, then mentally you're understanding of reality is that of a child.

Life is really various shades of grey, and then there are the colors. So one has to have a multi-layered comprehension to even somewhat accurately understand reality.

I sometimes wonder if this black and white way of looking at things isn't a social class issue or something that mostly first world people have the luxury of claiming adherence to. Is it something endemic to many Americans because they have it so good? Because many of us do not.

What I mean is, when you live in places where you regularly watch people die of starvation, crime or political abuse, maybe you simply don't have the luxury of seeing life as black or white because it can quickly get you or your loved ones killed.

There are many things we are not involved in during our daily lives: Presidential decisions, pilot's decisions in a plane that disappeared or in any flight for that matter, Israeli decisions on attacking their enemies; so many, many things.

God, could do all that, some might say.

If "God" does all that (whatever "that" is), then how can we ever understand reality, if we don't clearly see what is really going on, too? Or at least, try to.

I get my own orientation from espionage considerations years ago, in asking myself, how do spies need to think? What does a scenarist consider or need to know prior to walking into a dangerous situation where all die if they conceive incorrectly?

Writers are known as scenarists but so are spies. They constantly, sometimes in the moment, need to fully comprehend and plot out various resolutions to scenes. A writer does it for dramatic purposes, for entertainment and enlightenment. Spies do it to survive and to achieve a greater nationally (or corporate) bases solution.

One has to view any situation on the level of psychology, sociology, the groups involved in the scene, the individuals' orientation, family, friends, oneself, the weather...everything you can imagine.

You walk into a situation where the opposing group is against you and they will do one thing, but two of them have family situations leaning them otherwise. One has his faith shaken. One is for women's rights. The overall situation is not therefore, black and white. Thinking that way is what gets you killed. Therefore, life is various shades of grey. In that way, you walk out of their alive, perhaps with what you needed.

Hey, that's my scene. And this just turned into a blog article, so here we are.

This is my argument, you have to stick to your beliefs, but only an idiot sticks to them 100% of the time, in all cases, even when they no longer retain meaning. That makes some (mostly conservative types, ignorant types), uneasy. Because they cannot trust someone who is changeable like that. But if you consider all the possibilities too, if you are clever enough to see the grey and not just the black and white, then you will see what they see.

What bothers conservatives is they know they usually aren't clever enough to see the options others do and so it's unfair to them. Irony there is, they base their entire premise of politics, especially economic politics, on their being able to achieve, and the poor, need to on their own.

Pretty hypocritical, don't you think?

That isn't to say one becomes sleazy or a lowlife, but try to maintain your essential-ness. One has to be intelligent enough, mature enough, sophisticated enough, to see things clearly, to understand the situation and in the end, even when it goes against your nature or your morals, that you "do the right thing".

Anyway, that label that I thought of was:

Pantheistic Anarchist Libertine.

I searched on that and found this:
"Jesus Was A Pantheist".

Who knew?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

North Korea's Fat Bastard Regime Whine Over Comedy Satire in, The Interview

UPDATE 12/23/2014: I'm happy to report that as of this time, the film "The Interview" will be released on Christmas day across the nation, after all. I have to wonder if this wasn't the plan after all. Sony spoke with the  White House. Did they come up with plan like this? Say you won't release it, give no time for action by North Korea (even if they could) to put a plan into motion, and then release it nearly at the last minute. I'd argue even if NK attacked, it would merely give us reason to finally pay attention to NK like we have parts of the Middle East and put an end to the pudgy little dictator's family line regime.

Can you imagine if NK fell under the Obama Administration, Republicans' and Conservatives' heads would explode.

Is there anything more offensive that the leader or regime of a nation or group who misuses their authority or uses their powers to abuse their citizens or to invade another country? Yes, I get the irony but I see Iraq or Afghanistan as quite different than say Crimea or Chechnya. But this isn't about that.

Nor is it about one whom I've been picking on for a while, Putin. A lot recently because of Crimea, but there is a far bigger national pansy on the world stage. By the way, what IS my beef with Putin? I know his kind. His old cold war mentality, his KGB indoctrinated mind, his Soviet attitude, when Russians should be enjoying prosperity, rather there has been finger pointing away from the reality of Putin that has led to, among other things, this:
So it is now sounding like Putin is becoming more conciliatory all of a sudden. I hope so. I want to see Russia become successful. And regardless of his background, if he becomes a good leader for his nation, which so far he hasn't, I could change my attitude about him. Here's hoping.

But like I said, there is another far worse, outclassing Putin and making him look like a pussycat and not just Pussy Riot fodder.

There is the hermit kingdom of North Korea and their grandson of their ridiculous God King, son to another of their fools in wool, the tiny soul of, Kim Jong Un.

Dictators and especially so called, "God Kings", don't do so well with satire. Especially when it's aimed at them. Too bad. Because I've always thought that the sign of a highly intelligent being was a thorough understanding of humor. That always made me wonder about the concept of God in general. How can He not have a sense of humor if He's so all powerful and smart?
Kim Jong Un
Anyway, the chubby kid who went to school in Europe and now runs North Korea under the behest of the military, is no God and certain not much of a king. Un's recent debacle is this Sony company hack and whining on a State level about a mere comedy film.

I mean, seriously? If you want proof that someone, some group or State is a wimpy, whinny cheesy cretin, it's whining about comedy or satire. Cracked has some interesting details about this regime.

Like the uproar over the Muslim satire of Mohammed, The Innocence of Muslims, that allegedly had to do with (shhhh I'm gonna say it...) Benghazi. (Wonder how many conservatives just had orgasms in the US reading this...pretty sure none because they wouldn't read this in the first place because I have repeatedly over the years called them out with reason and rational, two things diametrically opposed to their posturing and lies, ignoring American citizens needs of them for their sad political dreams of domination).

There is nothing wrong with satire. Get a life you little porker.

Screw him. Here's some funny, satiric or weird examples of videos about ol' Un baby:

There are also interviews done with Un's ex classmates in Switzerland where as one article indicated, "We went to great pains to interview almost everyone – classmates, others – to try to get a sense of what his character was like," Campbell said. "The general recounting of those experiences led us to believe that he was dangerous, unpredictable, prone to violence and with delusions of grandeur." Though there are other articles claiming he was a good time Charlie. Guess it depends on how you ask.

As for that Muslim video, and I've said this many times before, get over it! Maybe Muslim's can't show images of Mohammed or make fun of him, but Muslim's have no right to bother others who do. Religion is based in ridiculousness, some more than others, with the most ridiculous of all religions being the God King's as they have in North Korea. Finally, to the point....

"Kim Jong Un" as portrayed in The Interview (2014)
The Interview, a film about two guys going to North Korea to interview their leader, the fat and pompous Kim Jong Un, who like his father and grandfather is essentially a buffoon propped up by the military. In fact, that family line is possibly no more than just a mere puppet of the NK military regime.

Look, North Korea needs to be dealt with. Their people need to be freed, but the world shies away from it because of their military. Apparently, we got our asses handed to us in the Korean war and so we tread carefully around those ignoramuses. But we're rapidly approaching a time in the history of the world where enough is enough.

Punks with nuclear weapons and missiles? Seriously, we'll be dealing with them one way or another sooner or later. Better sooner, of course, timing is everything. That being said, waiting forever, most likely isn't the answer either. It's like the school yard bully. You want to put it off but eventually if you need to kick his ass or he will yours. Repeatedly. Now they are trying to bully Hollywood and Americans, especially Texans, and the world lovers of Hollywood films, simply won't have it. Not for long.

The world really doesn't need to suffer a Fat Bastard regime like NK who grossly abuses their people and forces things upon them to the point that many of them, after generations of this kind of abuse, support and wish for continuation of their ridiculous nation's leadership. Mostly because they don't know any better because of all the mind washing and ignorance, and lack of the internet. The abuse there is rampant in so many ways, God King worship not being the least of them.

The full note (initially and incorrectly thought to be from the hacker group, Anonymous, which made no sense) is from the NK State hackers, and reads:

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY."

Homeland Security says that it has no real evidence to suggest that these threats will be carried out.

Seriously? Get a grammar dictionary. Good grief. We're supposed to fear this guys? Well yeah. They've brought down airliners in the past. They are in many ways, nuts.

Their rantings have led to this film, The Interview being pulled from screens nationwide. What better free marketing for them, right? DVD and streaming sales should go through the roof. So I'm not sure how badly I feel for them. It will just take a little longer to recoup their investment.
Kim Jong Il puppet from Team America
Well, a theater in Texas (Of all places right? But then again, who better to stand up to a punk like Un and NK?), have come up with an alternative. Rather than playing The Interview, they will be playing, Team America, the film where the actors are puppets and they make great fun of Kim Jong Un's papa, Kim Jong Il. Where's their World Police when you need them?

"I'm so ronrey" video from Team America.

UPDATE: This is just sad and pathetic. Word now is Paramount is pulling screenings of Team America and won't be releasing The Interview at the same time that it would have appeared on screens nation wide, as well as now cancelling other films that might offend our fat friend in his NK fantasy land kingdom. So sad, so pathetic, so not freedom of speech being affected by a punk minor kingdom north of the very cool South Korea.

On that thread, Nerdist, one of my favorite people \ groups (Chris Hardwick and friends) and in this case, the awesome Jessica Chobot reporting, who asks in the video this week, SONY: Is the response worse than the hack?

I would say, yes. Aside from their being money grubbing wimps of a bigger dimension than even the subject of the film, they are missing a bet on a few things as Jessica denotes.
From Kim Jong Il's funeral procession, who died at 69 so not so much a God
According to the article in the Hollywood Reporter about the Texas Team America screening:

"American flags and other patriotic items will be given out by theater employees, Wallace says.
The plot of Team America, co-written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, revolves around Kim Jong Il, the father of current North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The posters promoting the R-rated movie in 2004 included the tagline, "Putting the 'F' Back in Freedom."

One of the Kim Jong Il puppet scenes in Team America.

Some may see this caving as lame. But in my view, agreeing to not screen The Interview and instead simply put up another film that makes fun of the Kim Jongs anyway, is even better and a big poke in their lazy eyes with a hot, sharp stick to the big Fat Bastard regime of a No Knowledge leadership who seriously abuses their country's citizens, people who deserve far better than what they have been getting for decades.

Sony says they did not pull the film, but no one would distribute the film for them and they are still looking into it. The President said Sony should have talked to him first but CEO of Sony Lynton said he had talked to the White House. What will happen is still up in the air.

Journalist Fareed Zakaria has published an article about about why Sony shouldn't have caved in by way of his article in the New York Times, "Caving to North Korea on ‘The Interview’ sends the wrong message to terrorists."

Fun stuff, right? What's that? More? You ask, you shall receive....
Well played sir! But then, hermit kingdom "god king' Puppethead Pansy going up against Corporate Dweeb type pansies....meh.

Oh what the heck, you can look up your own and see what's new here.

Then there is the activist who may drop DVDs and thumb\flashdrives of The Interview by way of balloons. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Is this the Golden Age of Horror?

Just throwing this out there cuz it's what I do. Writing horror that is, among other things. Why? I just seem to be good at it? 
Rocky Wood, Pres. HWA 2014
That being noted, I'd also like to say that we (Horror Writer's Association) have recently lost our President Rocky Wood after a long fight with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Rocky passed away on 1 December 2014. Rocky Wood on Wikipedia.

Stephen King had this to say in the Author's Note to Doctor Sleep: "Rocky Wood was my go-to guy for all things Shining, providing me with names and dates I had either forgotten or plain got wrong. He also provided reams of info on every recreational vehicle and camper under the sun (the coolest was Rose's EarthCruiser). The Rock knows my work better than I do myself. Look him up on the web sometime. He's got it going on."

So out of respect I'm including this link above to comments by a friend of his as someone who shared his thoughts about Rocky. I only got to interact with him on a few occasions, but he was always very helpful and such a really nice guy.
Okay then...I've been trying to post less political blogs and post more writing based ones. I've given away free ebooks recently and lowered the price on my Death of Heaven book through the holidays. 

This will be another in that vein. 
I'm just sick of some of the things going on politically in our nation and the world. Though admittedly there are some good things going on, the bad ones just seem to hold precedence as they hold more of need to be addressed. But they will be there and in the holidays I want to take a step aside from all that.

I will say this on the report about the US using torture after 9/11, that came out recently. Using torture is wrong, it's not who we should be or who we should be projecting as who we are. It needs to be addressed and never sunk to again. The more we are treated poorly the more we need not to be that way. If America is to be an example of what is good, I think we need to be, good.

So, on this horror thing. 

They say that the "Hostel" type films were taking things over in 2005 when that film came out. It bled over into novels and covered the horror genre for a while. Everyone seemed to think that is what horror was. Some authors see horror not as a genre but an atmosphere to a story. For years libraries didn't even have a horror section and you'd find horror in the science fiction section, typically where you'd also find speculative fiction. 
The Hostel form of horror has been slacking off and now some are beginning to call this the Golden Age of Horror as it comes into its own to be seen for what it is. 
Writing horror, in my mind, is not just about the slash and burn type stories but exploring the dark sides of the human experience in life. It's how a turn of events can change things just enough that they go horrible wrong. Or how disease can become far more disturbing with just a little nudge in the right direction. It is the mind, losing itself. It's people's good intentions taking a turn down a dark alley and finding something that simply doesn't belong. And sometimes yes, it's just your worst nightmare scenario.
Hopefully these are all done in ways that are entertaining, that take the reader from their real life so that when they return, their life feels just that much better for their not being in that story after all. It should be cathartic, entertaining, and in some way hopefully, educational. Otherwise it's just gratuitous and granted, that too can be fun. But that is not all of what horror is about.

If you look at my first book, Anthology of Evil, there really isn't that much of the slash and burn kind of horror in it. I wanted to try and get people back to realizing that there is horror in detail and not just gross movement, not just in murder and mayhem type stories. Most of these stories in the book are also available as standalone ebooks and I also have some audiobooks available but from this book, only The Mea Culpa Document of London is available to listen to.

Here's a run down of the stories in Anthology of Evil:
  • In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear - Sci Fi / Dystopian / Horror. A world famous doctor is contacted by his late son's best friend and tries to help him. But things go worse and worse until a defective mindset is foisted upon the world. There is no blood or gore in this, it is all conceptual and in fact at the end the protagonist doesn't even realize how his mind has changed which is even more horrible.
  • Gumdrop City - Horror / based on True Crime. This is a story I learned about in my university abnormal psychology class. It's the story of a father ruminating about his life, pretty much destroyed after his wife's death. He comes to realize that his young daughter is late coming home. In his considerations, he comes to realize they do have a neighbor who might be a prime candidate for his daughter's disappearance, fanning the flames of his fears. This has some violence at the end of the story but really, it's incidental, as the actual horror involved has already happened and the horrible effect on the father comes after the fact. By the way, I am also working up a screenplay on this one that I had worked on with a Hollywood producer. 
  • Quantum History - Sci Fi / Humor. This isn't true horror and is actually a humor driven piece, but the idea that an experiment that happens clear across the country could affect someone in their bedroom in this way, while they sleep is really pretty frightening in the end. And yet, no violence.
  • The London Mea Culpa Document - Lead in to the next story, the deceit here is that this is an excerpt from a published journal leading into an actual ancient document that details an actual event. Some of the horror is listed in the "non-fiction" side of this fiction piece.
  • The Mea Culpa Document - Pure Medieval Horror. This being the story was led into by the previous introduction, it is the story of an Inquisition torturer who sees himself as a "good man". There is really very little violence in this story even though it mostly takes place in a torture chamber in a dungeon. The true horror here is a coming of age tale. A man realizing that he and his mentor may not be as pure as he once believed. It is a devastating discovery, much as many can go through in their lives as they age and grow wisdom only to realize that something they did in their youth, wasn't as benign as they once thought. 
  • Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer (To A Question He Knever Knew) - Medieval / Horror / Surreal. This is the story of a Medieval Lord. A tale of his degeneration into possible madness. His is a sad story of inbreeding and attempted murder. There are a few scenes of violence but again, the true horror of the piece lay in the situation, how it is perceived by the protagonist, and in what it has done to him, his family, his love. This story was chosen by actor Rutger Hauer in a contest back in 2004 because he said he likes stories with "heart"..
  • Sarah - Horror / Surreal. Actually, there is no gore or violence in this tale at all (save for one fowl moment) but the horror here is in what disease can do to a person's mind. That mixed up with how a well intentioned family can push someone they love into the back of their lives, even when the person lives with them. This is all juxtaposed with, well, I'll let that alone for now.
  • The Fall - Horror. Nothing gory, just misplaced love juxtaposed with insanity.
  • Japheth, Ishvi and The Light - Horror / Zombies. Okay, this sub-genre almost requires violence and at least some gore. 
  • Andrew - Novella - Horror / Paranormal / Sci Fi. A little bit of everything but mostly about a child's mind being stretched way beyond normal limits by his parents and life events. By the way, I am currently re-editing this story as well as the entire book. 

Horror isn't just blood and gore, it's not just pain and death. It's also dread, fear, expectation and a clear understanding that someone thinks they have a clear understanding and yet they don't or, they are totally 180 degrees off from reality, like a pilot flying upside down, disregarding the instruments that simply can't be right! .And yet, they are.

When you have a string of stories as with the Hostel or Saw franchises, eventually you need to pull back and zero back in, doing a kind of sensate focus (as Masters and Johnson put it), only for your genre sensibilities. 

My story, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear is a prime example of that pulling back. There isn't really any violence or gore in this story, but to me it's one of the most terrifying stories in this book. Perhaps because it's the one story that is in many ways, closest to reality. 

On the surface In Memory feels like there isn't that much going on. But by the end, you  consider the possibilities and what they have done and it's pretty damn horrible. Not to mention that by that point, the one who was so against things has fallen into step as if nothing has happened and the entire world too is falling into the deceit. You'll notice how, isn't it odd how Canada and Mexico, the two nations closest to the US, seem to be backing away in fear, and yet it's the further away nations who want in on the party.

If this is the Golden Age of Horror, it's nice to be starting out (sort of) during this period. It offers horror writers some hope. Hope for the future of horror, hope for their writings, maybe some recognition and appreciation down the line and a hope that more people will come to appreciate the more refined nature of what has been a fringe genre for well over a hundred years. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Liked Interstellar? Consider reading Expedition of the Arcturus

I keep doing this. I write a story and publish it, then a film comes along on a similar topic. At least I seem to be staying abreast of the Zeitgeist of what's interesting.

I wrote and released "Simon's Beautiful Thought" sometime before the film "She" was released. That film was in the works for about ten years though so I'm not claiming anything here other than that I see a relevant and current topic and I like to write about it. I consistently come up with stories prior to film's being heard about or released.

By the way, if you haven't read my story about Simon yet, it's a good story to check out, and it's always free. It will give you the idea however, of whether it's worth checking out my other works and I suppose, it gives you a good perspective on whether or not I can write. Though it is one of my more general audience, tamer tales of in this case, science fiction.

ebook version cover
I'm happy to say that coming up with timely stories has happened again with the release of Christopher and Jonathan Nolan's, "Interstellar", by way of my short story, Expedition of the Arcturus (also available as an audiobook I should add). It's a quick but fun read.
audiobook cover version
I produced and narrated the audiobook myself. It was an interesting and lengthy process requiring some degree of technical expertise on the recording and production end. So far I've produced three of them. Arcturus, The Conqueror Worm, which is the first full chapter of my book, Death of Heaven, and The Mea Culpa Document of London, a medieval tale of horror and regret by a Judge of the Inquisition and a Witch Hunter.

The Arcturus story was first released on, a first rate, "hard" sci fi kind of an online magazine, where stories on the magazine are free to read online. I highly suggest, if you love good sci fi, to definitely check them out and support them. Let your friends know.

I also reported on an incredible documentary for PerihelionSF titled, Chasing Ice (page down a bit there to see it; there were originally two parts and there is only one left on the magazine archive now. For the entire article including the Q&A with a team member after the film and with photos, you can download my pdf of the article from my web site. I highly recommend watching this documentary, for the visuals if not for the reality it portrays and the warnings it offers.

I am also currently working on a new sci fi story for the magazine called, Rapture.

Expedition of the Arcturus, is a story about Earth's first generational spaceship sent to find a new home for humanity because of an impending global disaster. This isn't your clean, straightforward kind of story however, but it's not a bloody mess either. So if you like SF and not gore, this is a good story. Sam (the publisher) is strict about sci fi and not horror.

There is something else going on under the surface on Arcturus, however.

Told in reverse timeline, we are at first introduced to some of the crew of the spaceship Arcturus at the end of their journey. Then we step backward through time as we come to know more of them and about them and their situation until finally, we see how it all began and start to understand why things turned out how they did.

The title of the story came from a book I read years ago, A Voyage to Arcturus by Scottish author David Lindsey, published in 1920. A fascinating tale considered by some to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time.

I'm not trying to compare my story to Lindsey's in quality or story, it was just a tribute to a book I had greatly enjoyed and appreciated, and I wanted to pay tribute to the author and his tale. Much like I did with my first published story of social horror, In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear in Anthology of Evil, 2012, which we have begun a re-edit on, and was a tribute to Isaac Asimov's first autobiography, In Memory, Yet Green, as I mentioned in last week's blog.

My Arcturus tale is a straight forward sci fi story. If you want something closer to David Lindsey's, you'd have to check out my book, Death of Heaven. Or perhaps the story I'm current writing on Wattpad, The Unwritten, a free and curious tale involving backwoods incestuous, serial killers, scientists in another universe and, a demon spawn's repeated attempts to literally escape from Hell.

I put all parts of The Unwritten into a Word doc and so far it comes to, 41 pages and 23,286 words with more to come. The gory, grisly scenes I had been talking about the last half of November (in case anyone reading this remembers or knew about that), those scenes are finally written and now available on there. That scene, part sixteen, grew into three parts and went on for a ways; but hey, when you have ten people tearing one another apart, took some space. As well as some time to plot out where everyone was standing and what they were doing.

Regarding Arcturus, people wonder sometimes if a story written in a reversed timeline was originally written in a straightforward, linear fashion, then cut and pasted regressively into form. Maybe some are. But I wrote this story of earth's first generational spaceship, a ship where people live and love, procreate and die during the course of their seventy-five year mission as it is and how you would read it now.

I wanted to open with some action. In coming up with the opening I thought it might be interesting to show the end of the mission, first. From there, came the thought to write it backward. I decided on the time frames to leap backward through, and then I wrote it that way, then repeated the process until the final and first scene played out in the end. It was a fun though somewhat melancholy story to write and I wasn't sure if Sam (the publisher at would like it or not.

See, originally I had written and sent him another story. About twenty years ago, I had come up with an idea for a story. Quite different than the story that played out and was eventually published, the original had a scientist who invented a new technology, trying to sell it off to avoid being killed for it. It involved spies and intrigue but it just didn't work out for me in the end for some reason. That story was about a new technology, something no one saw coming, and which may just be coming someday.

There have been advances recently actually leading toward that. It was also a technology first shown in the neo-noir dystopian sci fi film, Blade Runner, which they are now gearing up to producing a sequel to. I'm hoping that Ridley Scott gets to direct, but that's still up in the air. Interesting side note many people don't know, there are sequels to the first novelization of the original film (Blade Runner The Edge of Human (book 2), Replicant Night (book 3), Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon), all by K.W. Jeter.

According to Wikipedia: "These official and authorized sequels were written by Dick's friend, K. W. Jeter. They continue the story of Rick Deckard and attempt to reconcile many of the differences between the novel and the film."

The Blade Runner story originally being from a Philip K. Dick book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and having little to do with the film, really. I had posted in newsgroups back in the late 1980s that I was working on a sequel screenplay to the original film and got several death threats from around the country. I wished them all the best and indicated I lived in Seattle at the time if they wanted to come visit. No one took me up on the offer. However two people did offer to help me with the screenplay, which I never got around to completing, though I did map out a story line.

The story I was getting around to mentioning using the new technology, was EarVu and  the story is about a technology that could blow the social structures of the world because of what would ensue from it's utilization.

Consider what would happen if you could take an audio tape, any audio tape, play it through a machine and then be able to watch a 3D video of whatever was going on in the environment surrounding the microphone(s) at the time of recording. Of course, that's not just what happens in this story, not by a long shot.

Getting back to my Expedition of the Arcturus...

Check out my own story on my version of Earth's first generational space ship, if you get a chance. And see, Interstellar, as from what I hear, it's a definite yes on a film to go see.

Cheers! And a very merry Holiday season to you all, all around the world!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Where'd Russia go?

I really seem to have lost my readers in Russia.

I have consistently had Russian readers on my blog for some time. It saddens me that just because Putin is what he is and I said it plainly and simply, that I lost readers that I never meant to lose. Trust me, if I thought our own President Obama were a bad guy, I'd say so. When George Bush was in office before him, I had plenty to say about him and his cronies.

I respect the Russian people, always have.

I just don't think they deserve someone like Putin who is stuck in the dark ages from his formative years in the KGB and his education enjoying sucking off the teat of old KBG masters a bit too much.

Admittedly, I don't have much respect for the little bastard. If that's a problem or if they are concerned about repercussions in reading a fair account of their cheap man's faux knock off lame example of a minor Napoleon figure who wormed his way to the head of a large, one time super power nation, well, I understand.

I shall endeavor in the future to be more circumspect in calling him appropriate things like, "маленькая сука". or a three legged egotistical female canine; that is to say, a President cum dictator, come to office repeatedly by underhanded means, probably a murderer or murder architect, having affected a national environment on the world stage wherein the good people of the world question his actions that just scream for his replacement with a fool or lesser so, even a Texas or Florida governor type.

Though again, Russians deserve so much better. But then, so do the American people.

Perhaps better a fool than a devil.

And besides, Pussy Riot doesn't like him....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday Special - Mind of a Writer, the Evolution of a Story... Andrew

Welcome to CyberMonday! Today I have for you a blog about the evolution of a story.

Once a short story, now a novella, it is called, "Andrew". Want a free download of it? If you wait, you can have the re-edited version, but it might take a while, we're working on it now. Or you can have both! Either way.

Currently I am re-editing it with my editor, Ilene Giambastiani. If you are interested in reading it as it is now, here is a coupon ( GN32P ) good through this week. If you contact me later after we re-released it, just let me know you read this blog, I will give you a coupon for a free copy of the new version at that time. But stick with me, there's more coming.

This, is a story that has had big ramifications for me.

"Andrew", cover by Gosling called "Andrew's Final Vision"
This is the story of that tale....

Before we get started however, allow me to invite you to read my ongoing story on Wattpad titled, The Unwritten. A mixture between old fashioned horror, sci fi and biblical nightmares, I doubt you've ever read anything quite like it. But then, that's my forte. The odd, the unusual, the macabre and the horrifying.

Okay now, let's get on with it....

In 1983 I was a senior in the Psychology Department at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, up near the Canadian border. I was taking my first university fiction writing class. Finding that I had enough credits to get a double major if I took another two or three quarters of classes, I decided I would settle for a minor in Creative Writing .

I took Fiction 101 as my first class toward that minor. I wanted to force myself to actually write a story, beginning, middle and end, as I had written quite a few interesting stories with no endings, much to the frustration of my friends.

Our professor in Fiction 101 tasked us to write a story, make enough copies for all in class, then everyone would read the stories for the next day, the night before, and the writer would read the story in class. We would then round table and critique it.

There were some interesting stories, but mostly as I remembered it, there being more females than males in the class, there was a high degree of romance based stories. The Assistant Editor of our school magazine wrote a story but I found it rather dry, though well written. Then it came to my day. I wrote a story that I titled, "When Fades The Shadows" (later titled, "Andrew").

After I read it in class, I discovered two things. They all liked my story. Our Professor hated it. Perhaps partly because I was overplaying my hand, writing beyond my capabilities, but also because he didn't like how melodramatic it was. He especially mentioned a scene in the TV room when five year old Andrew envisions a horror all around him in the room.

Cover art by Marvin Hayes
I was voted along with another, to write one extra story than the others in class to be read on finals day, as we had no finals in that class.
Also available as an audio book
My stories were, "Mea Culpa" (which I've expanded now and have included in my collection of short stories, "Anthology of Evil" and as a standalone ebook); and, Sarah (same situation), about a woman with Alzheimer's disease and based upon the story of a coed's grandmother that she told me right after Abnormal Psych class one day at Western Washington University.

Cover art by Marvin Hayes
Over the years I fooled around with Andrew and it grew and changed. But the core of the story is the same. A child who is very advanced, who has parents who were into using their child as an experiment, did everything in their power to push his intellectual capabilities to their extreme limits and beyond. This is juxtaposed with his adult pursuits and an ending for Andrew that is really just a new beginning.

Years later, I had an opportunity to put my stories into a collection of my works but it was over 1,000 pages. So I made one volume ("Anthology of Evil") with the stories in it that I couldn't fit into a more novel like book I titled, "Death of Heaven" (for more see, Here is a coupon for this book, good through December 7th: RM89D - feel free to share this with your friends and their friends.

Here is what one reviewer had to say about it:

"[Death of Heaven] ... has a Books of Blood vibe [referring to Clive Barker's seminal book series], which really works well. It's in these tales that the author's writing ability shines. He demonstrates a lovely turn of phrase and some of the writing is almost poetic in its beauty.
Michael Brookes - Author & Reviewer

All that from two tiny little stories. Well, little stories with massive story lines. Story lines big enough to evolve into an epic science fiction horror story.

To create that book, I also took another short story I wrote on a lark at midnight one night on a single page, single spaced and then turned it in to my Psychology professor the next day. He then made copies and passed them out to all his classes so that I walked in the next day and received an unexpected handout of a purple inked, mimeographed copy of my own short story, "Perception", which is now included in the back of "Death of Heaven".

Between those two stories, in 2012, "Death of Heaven", was born.

I finally got an editor, end of 2013 and she agreed to work on Death of Heaven with me. We republished that on my birthday August 30, 2014. Because that book meant so much to me and the reviews were so good,
Cover art by Marvin Hayes
I realized I should try to re-edit all my stories in my first book. In that book was my first ever published story, "In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear" and the last story was "Andrew", the lead in to my next book, Death of Heaven". I just thought that Andrew and In Memory, both, especially, deserved to be properly cleaned up and re-released finally.

So now I am working on the re-edit of Andrew, my first short story written for Fiction 101 at my university in 1983. Now a novella, it is the basis in part for my book, Death of Heaven, along with another story titled, "Perception".

I had originally labored so hard over this first story while both fear and trepidation watched over each shoulder as I concocted this story that brought such great irritation to my writing Professor and yet such awe and fascination from my fellow students on that day that it was read in class for the first time.

Now after so long, so much tinkering with it over decades, after publishing it and now working on it with my editor (thanks Ilene Giambastiani), it is so very strange indeed to be thinking once again on those words burned so long into my mind. I find myself once again struggling to find the rightness in the morass of meaning and words that it is or maybe, has become.

The words are there and like a sculpture chiseling at stone, I'm trying hard to find the art that has been set in stone for so very long. It's a process of birth and death, joy and sorrow, of rebirth and, like a phoenix rising, honing it down to a deft flame of time and tale into an appropriate foundation for what a vast story that has come of it since it was originally conceived and shared.

Here is the original version presented to my class that day in 1983, the first published version released in 2012 and the newest version, so you can see how it has changed over the years. In these three snippets, you can see how I was writing in the beginning, how I had gotten to be after several decades had passed, and finally how I am now after several very intensive years of writing in the public eye.

Original version of Andrew:

When Fades The Shadows (1983)
"Invisible movements. Billowing, cotton-like breaths of pressure descended gently from on high. "Appearing to be only a breeze, the molecules conveyed along ever so imperfectly, the breeze gathered unto It any and all particulate matter; whatever was accessible to it; thereby hiding somewhat, It's violent loneliness. The gregarious animation of those particle's, was forced plastically, and yet...gently...tenderly, even perhaps, affectionately. One whispering sigh of wistful ardor, slowly succoring up to the clean, bright, and powerful Lifeforce of...a child; listlessly sitting within the confines of a window frame.
"An owl, sensing something amiss, swooped serenely into the midst of the Entity's presence. She then stumbled, surprised, in mid-flight. Never had she ever come across anything with such purpose, and yet, almost completely hidden within Nature."

Then I published it in a book, Anthology of Evil and after that as a standalone ebook novella.

Andrew (2012)

"Invisible movements of a honeysuckle fragrance; billowing, cotton-like Breaths of gentle Pressure cautiously descended into the suburban neighborhood from on high. It hesitated, looked down into the white, picket-fenced yard, and pondered on Its achievement. Appearing as a mere cool dry, fall breeze, the molecules conveyed along ever so— imperfectly; it gathered unto Itself any and all, particulate matter in proximity. In fact, whatever was accessible to It, hiding somewhat in a loneliness of vast and violent proportions.
"The gregarious animation of those particles was forced plastically and yet— gently, tenderly, perhaps even affectionately, up against a window. A whispering sigh of wistful Ardor that slowly succored up to the glass and the clean bright, powerful Lifeforce of— a little child. Listlessly, the boy sat on the window bench, one leg bent partially beneath him, looking out the window. He shifted his feet allowing them both to dangle loosely at the ends of his legs.
"Sadly, he remained crowded within the white rectangular confines of the untattered window frame, vacantly staring off into the yard beyond the panes of glass, bearing forth no remembered regrets.
"Trailing the breeze at a distance was an owl."

As I said, I am now re-editing it with the help of my editor, Ilene.

Today as I write this it is November 30, 2014. I wrote the following and including this version of the first few paragraphs, in an email to Ilene.

"Here are the first three paragraphs, of Andrew, reworked. It took me all week to get up the strength to work on this, though I had the week off from my day job. I was a bit hungover from a great time on Thanksgiving. Today, I think this sudden cold change in the weather is messing me up and I feel pretty lousy. But bucking it up, I finally tried to work on this, but after only three paragraphs, I feel artistically and emotionally drained.
"You know, I wrote this living with Monica in college and I wonder how much of that is tied up in this. In working on this, aside from the poetic nature of my attempts in writing this originally, to expand myself artistically and creatively, this is like reliving my college years, including a long term, intense and failed relationship and memory of how much has happened since with two more failed marriages, living alone, and so intensely wanting to quit my job in IT work, being where I am now and also where I'm headed to.
"What a chump, right? I do find working on this story much harder than anything else I've worked on, and not because of the difficulty of the piece, though that is some of it, but for all the emotional reasons. SO here is today's pass: "

Andrew (2014)
"Invisible movements of a honeysuckle fragrance; billowing, cotton-like Breaths of gentle Pressure cautiously descend into the suburban neighborhood from on high. It hesitated. Looking down into the white fenced yard it pondered this achievement, concealed somewhat in a solitude of vast and violent proportions.
"Appearing as no more than a cool, fall breeze, airborne particulates of all kinds were gathered unto it and carried along ever so lightly into the picket fenced perimeter. The gregarious animation of those particles was forced plastically and yet— gently, tenderly, perhaps even affectionately, up against a window. A whispering sigh of wistful Ardor slowly succored up to the glass and the clean bright, powerful life force of— a little child.
"The young boy sat on a window bench, listless on the warm side of the glass, one leg bent partially beneath him as he gazed out. Shifting somewhat he unfolded his slightly numb leg, allowing both feet to dangle freely. He remained sadly crowded within the white rectangular confines of the untattered window frame, vacantly staring off into the yard beyond ancient panes of glass, bearing forth no remembered regrets.
"At a distance an owl trailed the entity, sensing something amiss."

And well... that is where we have gotten to so far and there is much more to come. It may get another run through of these passages as I've not yet heard back from my editor. We will continue to edit and re-edit until "Andrew" finally becomes the story it could always have been.

Once we finish, I'll repost this blog and update it.

Stop by my web site for information on any of my other writings. at

Cheers! And have a great holiday season!