A beautiful and sad novel which is impossible to fit into any particular genre, explores the complex moral issues raised by a religious family’s decision to refuse medical treatment to their son Adam as it involves a blood transfusion. Adam, 17, almost 18 – and this is crucial to the story – agrees with them.
I need ya, Deck…I need the old Bladerunner, I need your magic Read the rest of this entry »
Today I watched, It Follows, a traditional horror film. The main idea is that an entity follows people and kills them. You become pursued by the entity once you have had sex with the person who is currently being pursued by it.
Read the rest of this entry »
Delphi Edition of the Complete Works of Bram Stoker Read the rest of this entry »
A serious adult story must be true to something in life. Since marvel tales cannot be true to the events of life, they must shift their emphasis towards something to which they can be true; namely, certain wistful or restless moods of the human spirit, wherein it seeks to weave gossamer ladders of escape from the tyranny of time, space and natural law.
H P Lovecraft
My stories deal with the hidden and disguised; things we see that we do not recognise or that we wilfully put aside because they are too challenging. The characters in each story I write are forced to understand what they have ignored, potentially to their peril. In that sense, ‘the evil’ or the supernatural which wreaks havoc in characters’ lives can also be seen as beneficial. However, cruel and horrifying events in these stories are, these events also bring enlightenment, however partial or conditional.
Every serious writer of horror and the supernatural should read Lovecraft.
As well as reviewing dark fiction, I review music, including biographies of iconic musicians. One of my recent blogs reviewed: Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre (Biography of The Doors by Mick Wall)
Watch this space for more reviews, include: Steampunk Erotica and Bram Stokers (stories include alternative endings).
Not to be missed DVD for Doors fans and a worthwhile watch for those who appreciate great music.
This DVD is essential for any Doors fan. Even casual fans should buy it as it may well inspire them to investigate the band’s music further. The restoration of the film of the Doors’ 1968 Hollywood Bowl concert is a triumph of modern technology and a credit to the original cinematographers. The video and audio is now so good that the concert could have been filmed last week. The process of restoration is covered in detail in one of the excellent Extra features on this DVD. The mini-documentaries are well worth watching and there are some bonus television performances included.
The concert itself shows the band at their peak in a live setting. At the time much of their best music was still to come, particularly the albums Morrison Hotel and L.A. Woman, but this performance is a good representation of their work up until this point. Later in their career live performances would become often shambolic and unpredictable as Jim’s erratic behaviour took increasing hold over him, and the band. This performance is tight and professional. The richness of their music works well in the live setting where their improvisation and extended versions of songs are developed and explored musically and lyrically. The impression we get watching is of a well-rehearsed band with an intuitive understanding of where each song is going.
The concert takes you back to a time when bands just came on stage and played. Unlike the garish and tacky antics of some modern performers, the Doors grab you and hold you with musicianship and the power of their music. There is not much theatricality, except in The End and The Unknown Soldier. Jim is the brooding presence you’d expect, but with boyish smiles and charm, he is also an engaging frontman, and expressive vocalist. Robby is never less than tasteful and astute in his playing. Like the others, he makes it look easy, until, in one of my favourite shots, we see him close up, breath condensing in the cold night air, sweat pouring down his face. Laid back, but intense. Ray is perpetually smiling, hunched over his keyboards with his head cocked sideways, absorbed in the music, playing brilliantly, giving the band so much of their unique sound. The revelation for me was John Densmore. His work is powerful and expressive, subtle and complex. He is easily the equal of any rock drummer, including Baker, Bonham or Moon (and considerably more sane!)
Great concert, but I was saddened when it finished. Ahead lay trouble with the law, controversy, and for Jim, decline, and a squalid death three years later. That we know how the story ends makes this wonderful concert also quite poignant.
Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre: Biography of The Doors by Mick Wall
Misunderstood genius and lost soul – couldn’t put it down
This biography of The Doors, America’s version of the 1960’s Rolling Stones, is brilliant, engaging and sometimes difficult to read. Wall paints an evocative portrayal of the path to self-destruction Jim Morrison paved for his short life. Tragic and intense, Wall captures the essence of how the band’s singer, young lion and iconic sex symbol, packed thirty years into three. Wall aptly foreshadows Morrison’s demise as tortured, often misunderstood genius, musician and poet. Along with his downward spiral he pulled his band down with him. Despite the open anarchy Morrison inflicted on his entourage and society the band seemed to miraculously resurrect itself. What makes this read even more compelling is his how Morrison College educated, awkward and overweight with no obvious musical talent became an accidental rock star.
Wall’s criticism of Morrison and the band’s keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, is often harsh. But it is easy to read against the flow of this and to see Morrison’s story as a tribute to the poet and social critic he wanted to be known as. Despite being comfortable as a misfit, he initially couldn’t resist the adulation he gained. However, it didn’t take long for the gloss to wear off and him shunning fame and the power it wielded it was always going to be too late for Morrison. Wall captures the decent of a lost soul so destroyed by drugs, alcohol and fame that he resembled the living dead. Even when Morrison was at his lowest points and inebriated he was still able to capture audiences with his poignant lyrics, unique voice and thought provoking philosophy.
I read this as a tribute to Morrison and The Doors regardless of what Wall may have intended.
I thoroughly enjoyed each of these stories as they are all as well written and dramatic as the best known of the collection, The Lost World. Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing here has stood the test of time; modern readers will find his prose engaging and accessible, not dated or impenetrably dense.
These stories are generically interesting too – fantasy, romance, adventure, thriller mixed in with a kind of early science-fiction. What also struck me was that there is a strong thread of social criticism implicit in some of the stories, most notably in Land of Mist, which I’ll return to in just a moment. Doyle has a social conscience; although it may seem elitist, his decrying of his period’s general scientific ignorance and closed-mindedness is just as relevant today. Another example is in The Disintegration Machine, with its trenchant condemnation of the amoral development and sale of weapons of mass destruction.
Arthur Conan Doyle is sometimes mocked for what some take to be his naïve credulity in matters of the occult. The story in this collection, Land of Mist is criticised by another reviewer as merely an apology for the author’s spiritualist beliefs. Rather, it is a study of how society may ruthlessly crush those it deems heretical, and its focus on institutional authoritarianism, police duplicity, the corruption of the law and the exploitation of the helpless is quite moving. Some of the scenes recall Dickens’ depictions of poverty and squalor.
For the price you cannot go wrong with this collection. Reading these stories has inspired me to seek out other examples of the author’s lesser known works.
I’ve been over-whelmed by the task of undoing the damage an Editor has inflicted on my work. I have self-published a novella and two novels. My next novel a supernatural horror, Who’s Watching Samantha is due for publication in the first quarter of 2015. As I go through this final draft I am finding approximately one error for every hundred words. Some of these are missed proofing errors; others errors the Editor has imposed on my manuscript.
The lesson here is writer beware. It’s a travesty that in the arts the creative person is the beginning of work that flows from them. Unfortunately, the money flows the other way so the artist is the last person to see anything if at all. As part of my research I read prolifically, and am currently reading a biography of The Doors, titled Love Becomes a Funeral Pyre. Even a group as famous and iconic as The Doors often stared poverty in the face.
In the past three years I’ve engaged a number of publishing services. Some have been exceptional, others average and sadly some appalling as with this Editor accredited by Editors Victoria. Regardless of their quality these people have to be paid and it’s the old story of everybody making money before the artist. I accept that these services are necessary, but I am galled by how many self-appointed experts there are in the publishing industry seeking to ride on the writer’s coat-tails. Just as anyone can buy a truck and some tools then call themselves a tradesman, I have discovered that the publishing services industry is replete with those who make claims about their expertise and craft with nothing more than hollow promises. I remain sceptical of any publishing services provider until they prove themselves otherwise.
Beware the Editor
Whether you self publish your work, are preparing a manuscript to send to a publisher or the publisher has your manuscript beware of the sloppy editor. I engaged an editor to do a proofread and light edit of my next novel Who’s Watching Samantha due for publication early 2015. The first 60% percent of the work was properly done; 40% was amateurish revealing many missed proofing errors. More alarming the editing style differed suggesting that the editor had passed the work onto someone else for completion. Doing business with this person was frustrating as she was difficult to communicate with and very touchy. When the work was completed she solicited for further work even though my brief was clear. Beware publishing services providers and treat them as a necessary evil until they prove otherwise – at least this has been my experience. The publishing industry is full of self-appointed experts. For my previous works I engaged a reliable, experience English teacher who provided a much better result.
If you would like more information you can contact me by personal message.