brothercyst: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

TRANSUBSTANTIATE

I'm interested in Richard Thomas's first novel, Transubstantiate, which is out this weekA Craig Clevenger blurb is promising.  I bookmarked the sample chapter to read, I just read the first few paragraphs and was intrigued.  (God, I've got to read The Passage at some point soon as well... seems really dense... I wish I were going to the woods or something, or an island.  Too much stress right now.  Can't think properly.)  There's a giveaway on goodreads.

I saw The Killer Inside Me.  It was pretty engaging but I don't know if I'd call it good.  The most notable thing about it is that the infamous murder scene--which prompted film festival walkouts and outcry for its allegedly intolerable brutality--was relatively tame, no worse than anything in Eastern Promises or Casino, in fact not as bad as Casino.  God forbid those who were outraged ever watch Irreversible or Martyrs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DILIGENT WORKER

I've been up for about 30 hours, working.  Since Sunday morning, I've been poring over two novel manuscripts (one is more finished than the other) and maniacally editing and revising them.  I'm not sure what's going to happen with them.  I haven't posted much about them on here, because in 2007 or so, I wrote a lot about a manuscript I was working on, and I ended up throwing it away.  So I told myself I wouldn't chronicle the process of writing the subsequent project(s).  Now I have these two manuscripts bedeviling me.  They are:

Wanderfurther: A YA novel.  This is my favorite novel that I've written.  It's close to finished.  I think of it as William Sleator meets James Ellroy with some David Lynch.  It has giant rabbits, a serial killer, psychotropic moss, sibling rivalry, body jumping, a romance, and John Lennon.

The Mandevores: This is an early first draft.  A horror novel with brainwashing, cults, a dead grandmother who isn't dead, people wearing animal masks, a love triangle, graphic sex, identity switching, Canadians, bikers, and a messed up family.

It's really gloomy outside.  I'm going to take a walk--I need to get out, even if the sun is uncharacteristically absent.  Walk to Trader Joe's, buy some raspberries and oranges to eat.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Q&A

The Shirley Jackson Awards blog is doing short interviews with nominees.  Here's mine.

Looks like I'll be attending Readercon this year--in Boston from July 8-11.  Anyone driving up from NY with an extra spot in their car?

Friday, June 25, 2010

BUCHLAS

Do you know what a Buchla 100 Modular System is?  It's basically the earliest synthesizer used to create electronic musical compositions.  My dad wrote a blog post for the Library of Congress website about how the composer Morton Subotnick, for whom the Buchlas were created, donated them to the LOC.

LAST EXORCISM

I saw The Last Exorcism at the LA Film Fest tonight.  Loved it.  It's a fake documentary in the vein of Paranormal Activity, which I loathed.  Exorcism justifies the constant presence of the camera, pulls it off seamlessly, and uses it to great effect (as when they all go to sleep and turn the camera off, and then it comes back and we realize we're in the POV of the possessed girl, who has risen from her bed and stolen the camera, which she uses to bludgeon a cat to death while still filming).  It's well-scripted, creepy, very much a Louisiana film, and scary as shit.

The screenplay is the foundation--light years better than Blair Witch or (certainly) Paranormal Activity.  There's a really excellent and ingeniously constructed second act in which, without giving too much away, the father character's motivations are perfectly set up (and a great sequence, the best in the film, in which it seems he's about to kill his daughter, and we see him from inside the house crouching and praying outside, as the frantic documentary crew tries to decide whether to flee immediately or risk death via shotgun by trying to find, subdue, and rescue the maddened daughter before the father can kill her).  The script does a great job of parsing and dispensing crucial information in an OH SHIT way that doesn't feel contrived.  The very end--maybe a little much.  But I didn't see it coming, and it is ingeniously set up, so I admired the writers' guts.

The trailer, which makes it look a lot less nuanced than it actually is.  (The preacher actually doesn't believe in the literal power of exorcism, and he's performing one in order to demonstrate the power of suggestion and reveal the smoke and mirrors that exorcists use.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

SCREENED

This evening I had the first experience I've ever had of watching a feature film directed by a friend/peer/classmate.  (I believe he's also 27.)  I was asked not to write about it, so I won't, except to say that it was awesome.  A grindingly intense horror movie/political satire shot for a relatively low budget--a couple million dollars--I watched it in a tiny screening room on Wilshire with a test group of horror fan types.  A few things weren't tweaked/finished, but it looked pretty much done.  I watched it with hands gripping the armrests and teeth clenched, flinching from time to time.  People are going to have extreme reactions to the movie when it gets out there.  I will write more about it when I can.

On another movie-related note, I want to see this.

And I saw something called Life is Hot in Cracktown.  Yes, that's actually the title.

And check out this Laura Miller piece about YA dystopias in the New Yorker.

And the Eugenides story is pretty great in parts, although I don't know about the end.  He writes well from a female perspective.

Now that I've seen every episode of True Blood, I'm switching to another Southern-fried show: Justified.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

I called my dad twice today and haven't gotten him yet.  He's driving to the beach.  I'll call him again when I'm done writing this.  I finished watching True Blood season one.  The cliffhangers are egregious.  This weekend I feel fairly depressed.  Probably more so than at any time since I broke up with my ex-girlfriend four months ago. However, it's extremely sunny.  If I look slightly to my left, I can see out the window how sunny it is.  That alleviates things somewhat. On the other hand, my old sublet was a lot sunnier. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

MONKEY-FACED CAT

This week was long and eventful.  Tuesday I tuned out/turned off and didn't do anything except work on a novel manuscript.  I stayed up all night and took an hour-long nap on Wednesday morning.  Wednesday night I had dinner with a small group of friends cobbled together from like four different social groups, which was odd but weirdly invigorating.  I saw a guy who looked like a resting lion, and then I realized he was Ridley Scott.  Thursday I went swimming and worked during the day and tried to figure out how much I'll lose by cashing out of my 401K from my old job before it matures--when I'm 55.  In the evening I went to an event for the Imperial Bedrooms release.  They had free copies of the book; it has a great opening sentence and a great closing sentence. 

Oh--I also saw The Human Centipede.

Today I spent most of the day hanging out at my friend's house and watching True Blood's first season.  While I enjoy it, part of me is enjoying it as a sociological artifact (and education).  Because it is clear that this is a show whose pleasures in their most intense form are not available to heterosexual men.  That level of appreciation is reserved for gay men and for women of any sexual orientation.  That is, True Blood is most resonant to those people whose desires are not the desires most actively encouraged by American culture.

Anyway, in the seven episodes I saw, I think this was my favorite scene:



My friend has a cat named Monkey whose face looks quite like a monkey's face, with a smashed-in little black nose and huge intelligent eyes.  It was wandering around the whole time.  I like cats that don't care if you pick them up and mush them around like play-doh, so I got along all right with this one.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

NO HALF MEASURES

Can I talk for a moment about the most recent episode of Breaking Bad?  I just watched it last night.  So fucking good!  I have a sense for some reason that the majority of those who read this site (it averages about 100 readers a day, although I have absolutely no idea who most of them are) aren't regular Breaking Bad viewers, for some reason... but maybe a few are.  Last night's was absolutely killer.  (I really thought, after the private detective's monologue, that they were going to kill Jesse.)  So was the episode about the fly a few weeks ago--one of the best hours of TV I can remember seeing.  And so was "I.F.T." from early in the season.  And the scene when the Mexican hitmen come after Hank.  The show is really good at creating a slow build... long chunks of subtle drama, filled with portentous monologues and tiny, eccentric character moments--and then suddenly exploding into catastrophic and devastatingly cathartic moments of violence.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

CAN'T SLEEP

So what did I do yesterday?  Other than get pulled over by a cop at 1 a.m. and get a ticket, I mean.  I saw Splice and I watched Drag Me to Hell.  Both delightful.  Splice really sort of has to be seen to be believed.  SPOILER WARNING.  I repeat, SPOILER WARNING.  I'm going to give everything away.  After being created by a romantically entangled pair of scientists, the creature grows from a little rabbit chicken that looks like this:

into an adult female that looks like this:


... and then seduces its "father."  Bestiality and incest!  And then it spontaneously converts into a male, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park... and it rapes its mother.  There were at least five moments in the movie where I was like, Whaaaat?

And Drag Me to Hell was fun, too.  Also I went swimming and worked for a few hours on a proposal of sorts.