Monday, August 27, 2012

Free Writing 7

Nothing can be saved. Nothing will be found.
Please let me know why you don't stick around.

You can see,
                    I cannot,
Makes me rot.

Withering junkies, bloated egoists
Self-destruction masks for marital bliss.

I can see
              Your li'l lie.
              Fooled me once,
Now I'll die.

The path was split, but you said it was whole.
Our sad undoing was your only role.

Hearts are dead.
              I can't see
              Broken thoughts
Sent to me.

It is he whom you have clearly chosen,
But it's I whose heart is dearly frozen.

Bloody blade,
                  Quickly slashed.
                  I know I've
Acted rash.

Dry those tears that stain your beautiful face.
All time passes, regardless of our place.

Deep breaths won't
                   Help you live.
                   You've giv'n all
You can give.

I'll say my goodbyes with a slight regret.
But nowhere near your great and sinful debt.

Close those eyes,
                     Just let go.
                     Have fun in
Hell below.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cycles of Death, Part 4


[Exit MARY]

                                         But that's not
What I want. There are so many great things
About you, Mary. But sometimes I don't
Think you see it. Sometimes, I think you let
All the bad things and all the bad people
Affect you. I do dream, Mary. But not
Of fantastic places or near perfect
Ideas. I dream of you, and of myself
Standing at opposite ends of a long
Hallway, impossibly long, a gap that
Lies between us, impossible to cross.
You don't see it, but I always will. It's
My ever-present reality, a
Constant vision, a truth that I cannot
Deny. Static, stuck, stimying the wish
I hold closest to my heart. But you can't
See how much I hold you dear. But I won't
Stop trying. I won't stop until you see
How much I love you.


                                 You must let her bloom
On her own. She needs to grow. She needs her
Chance to be her own person.

                                              I can't change
How I feel. I can't stop my love. Why can't
I know the joy of love, of someone who
Will be there with me. Mary is great. She
is an angel, beautiful, wonderful,
All that I could ever want.

                                     But that must
Wait. She needs time. You need to be patient.
Give her this and you'll have a chance.

                                                        But I
Need more than a chance. I think if it is
Between another and me, I'll fail. I
Have waited so long for her. She was with
Eric. I was patient then. But now he's
Gone and I'm supposed to wait more. How
Long? How long do I have to wait? Will she
Ever see me as I see her? It's not
Fair that I have to wait. Eric never
Deserved her. Don't I deserve this chance?

Can't force it. You'll lose yourself just as she
Might get lost. She needs a friend right now. Not
More pressure.

                       I've waited so long. Life's not
Worth living without her.

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Cycles of Death, Part 3


[Exit ROBERT, Enter DOUG]

Mary. I called you earlier, but there
Was no answer. I was hoping to see
You later. Mary, you're quiet? Are you

           Doug, do you dream often?

                                                     I don't
Often remember them.

                                    I always do.
I see so much in my dreams. How nice it
Would be to walk around them. To see, to
Touch and feel this fake world as though it
Were real, as though it were a place one could
Live forever.

                   I've never thought of it.

I imagine my own perfect world.
A place just for me to be free and 'live.
No dismay, no despair. Freedom, pure joy.
All the things I could ever want.

All you want?

                  I'm speaking in broad strokes, Doug.
Those are the general things that I think
Everyone wants.

                          That's true.

                                           Don't you want to
Live in such a world? Don't you want to
See a true fantasy? Don't you want to
Know this kind of perfection?


MARY:                                           But it
Can't ever be truly perfect, can it?
Our thoughts will always get in the way of
Our ability to find our pers'nal
Utopia. No matter how much we
Look for that bright path, we'll only find the

              Sometimes we need a guide. Someone
To help us find the way when we've lost it.

I don't know if I'll ever find that sort
Of guide again.

                      You miss Eric?

                                              I do.
And my father. Instead, I have Robert,
The dreg who puts his sick spell on my mom.
She's innocent, sweet, and knows only love.
But this monster, this cretin with no sense
Of morals or justice, exploits her and
Uses her for what she has. He only
Loves the material.

                            You're not alone.
I mean, you have me. I'll always be here
When you need me. I mean, someone. I won't
Ever leave you alone if you need a
Person to be with.

                            Thank you, Doug.

                                                        I'm here.

You'll always be my best friend.

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Cycles of Death, Part 2



                 Mary, are you here?
Mary? I have been looking for you. Where
Are you, girl? Where have you been? Ah, I
See you now.

                    I've just been thinking.

You shouldn't run like that, your mother is
Worried sick. What would I tell her should you
Be lost or hurt.

                       I don't know. I guess you'd
Have her to yourself after all this time.

Young lady, that's enough! I put up with
Your bullshit every day. Your mother might
Think you in need of guidance, but I know
That your just a manipulative li'l

         But, Robert, or perhaps I should call
You father, since that's the job you've taken,
It's not manipulation since I can
See that you really deserve it. No more
Pretenses dear step-father.

                                          Oh, Mary,
Don't think for a moment that you have a
Chance of getting me out your mother's
Life. She wants me here, to take that awful
Job you so happily mock me with. You
Can't have the life you miss so much, but you
Will know a good and honest punishment.
I'll make sure you're put in your proper place.

I know you'll enjoy that. Maybe mother
Never has to find out the man you are.


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Cycles of Death, Part 1

(Author's note: I'm not entirely sure where this is going. It's more me goofing off, but there is an underlying thought driving it. I will organize it by French Scenes [when characters enter and exit] so keep your eyes out for more.)

I dream of lost passions. I dream of life.
I dream of new worlds. I dream of death.
Yet still, I linger here, lost in my thoughts.
Why did you leave me alone? When you left
Here without so much as a second word.

Dream not of dreaded sorrow, dear Mary.
Think not of the things you shall never have.
Linger instead on the path in front of

       But it is he that I desire. No
Time passes quickly without his voice to
Hear. It is not hard to see my anguish.
Not difficult to understand my pain.
Why do I suffer when I gave it all
To him.

           Your soul's rhythm no longer finds
Harmony with his. Now yours is a trip
For you to make on your own, a solo
Act for a lonely heart who must find her
Way back to personal harmony. Dear
Mary, lost and alone, find your way back
To us.

          I do see a path before me.
But it is not the only path. Lying
Next to it is a second path, draped in
Shadow, layered with dark, filled with shaded
Emotions that match my own. There's comfort
In that path. The path of light, however,
Is blinding, chaste, naive, and sickening.
It is not a path I can take. Shadows
Can serve as my allies, my companions,
And my friends.

                        It's hard to turn away from
That path once you have chosen it. Mary,
Dear Mary, please heed my warning. Take my
Advice and use it as your shield and your
Guide. Dear Mary, fear the shadowed forest
When you cross its borders.

                                           The shadow calls.
The shadow calls me.


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Friday, August 17, 2012

Free Writing 6

Ugh. Your broken body lies sickly still.
Not my fault, yet I know I brought this on
When I decided to go behind your
Back with her. But it's as much your as
Mine, and maybe a little hers.

                                             Yet you
Chose to act on base instinct without so
Much as a thought for the consequences.
Look what it has brought to these poor souls. In
One case, a dead man who was once your friend.
In another, a woman wracked with grief
For all that she has lost.

                                    I do not need
Your council father of death.

                                            True, this will
Be the second time you ignored my best

            I must make my decisions as
I see best. Not rely on the thoughts of
A wretched fallen one who has lost his
Hold over a simple domain.

Simple about the hold I used to have.
But you'll learn now, won't you?

                                              I fear nothing.

You will.


                          We'll see.

                                          I've heard enough.

Book Review: "Odd Thomas"

Let me make one thing clear, first and foremost; I love Dean Koontz. I'm not the biggest fan of commercial fiction and, when I read, I generally avoid most contemporary  fiction altogether. But there's something about Dean Koontz and his writing style I adore.

It started when I was younger, the first book I'd read by Mr. Koontz was Door to December, and I was hooked from the beginning. I don't love everything he's written, but I'm generally entertained at the very least, and absolutely ecstatic and breathless at best.

Odd Thomas is a sort of departure from his usual style, but not by much. The hallmark of Dean Koontz has always been his characters, and I think he likes it that way. They're filled with depth, they are interesting and engaging, and they are the kind of characters that can carry a story. Many of his villains, even, could almost have their own volumes, and that's something I can really get behind. He lovingly crafts each character and treats them with the sort of reverence that people usually save for the likes of Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, or Gizmo the Mogwai. And that sort of devotion really comes through as any time a character shows up on the page, you can literally feel the depth and back story dripping through, even if the prose is only giving the vaguest of hints.

Odd Thomas does indeed keep that style of characterization, but takes on a different tone than a "typical" Koontz book. Koontz has crafted a world, the world of Odd Thomas that is, that is filled with an assortment of odd... Er.... Strange characters who all have eccentricities and peculiar habits that really enhance the story instead of serving to its detriment.

Let's focus on the titular character, however, as that is the driving force behind this novel. Odd Thomas, which happens to be his actual name, is a lovable creation. Blessed (or cursed) with the power to see the dead, he has lived something of a purposefully sheltered and anonymous life, while helping those who have died move on to the other world, all the while living the life of a cook at a local diner.

There are very distinct things that I pick up from Odd in the course of this book, and its sequels; he is very much the voice of reason in these books. Many writers have such a character present in the tellings of their stories. JK Rowling very much used Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books for that purpose, Cleante is very much that guy in Moliere's play Tartuffe, and we can't forget Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (though Skakespeare promptly kills him, but let's be honest; that's ballsy and bad ass.)

In the case of Odd, we have the voice of reason character in the pilot's seat, which is something that many people often don't like, my good friend and comrade in arms Nick Michael being one of them. Heck, I usually am as well. But in this case, I really enjoy it. Koontz gives him enough personal obstacles and a heck an obstacle at the end of the book (no spoilers, I promise) that it doesn't bother me that this character gets a little preachy.

In fact, I often feel like he's doing it as a response to the constant dangers in his life, which I find interesting. As well, it feels like this was Koontz's chance to sort of talk about his philosophy for life, to almost step into a dream world for himself. And I think, as prolific a writer as he's been, he's kind of earned that privilege.

It also almost served as a spiritual successor to the Chris Snow books, a series of books that I need Mr. Koontz to finish. But if you look at the the tone of Odd Thomas after reading Fear Nothing and Seize the Night, you can see a logical bridge there.

(Still, Dean Koontz, I want to know what happens to Chris and his friends!)

You'll notice I've not said much negative about the story. I think the biggest negative people find in Koontz's books is that his stories are a bit basic or generic. I'll agree with that, but the stories have never been the focus. And if you liked movies like Avatar, Super 8, Aliens, Titanic, any super-hero movie, and the vast majority of Hollywood fare, even much of the good stuff, and you're complaining about the simplicity of Koontz's stories, you are a hypocrite. You're entire mentality doesn't make sense. I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't insult readers out there. But come on. Looking at this logically, I would never call The Avengers an amazing plot, but I will call it an amazing movie. I feel the same way about much of Koontz's library.

There is almost nothing else to say about the book. I couldn't nit pick with this one, for good or bad. I loved this book. I still feel Watchers was his best, but this was great. And it looks like the movie version of Odd Thomas will be a lot better than previous films based on his books. Watchers the movie was awful, but if I ever see Phantoms again, I'll need to commit murder. So there you go, go read it. It's great.

And we're getting this guy as Odd!

I love Anton Yelchin! Anyway, I'm out.


For more book reviews, head over to Beauty and the Armageddon! For movie reviews, check out Out of the Void Production and the Void Zone podcast!

And if you want to check out my book, check out The Brimm-Stone Chapter!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: "2001, A Space Odyssey"

I'm a big fan of hard science fiction. There's something about the honest and serious views of the scientific world that are so fascinating to me, and they capture something that the more popular genres of space opera, science fantasy, and the Michael Crichton-style cautionary tales don't have. It's almost undefinable for me what that thing is. Maybe it's the realism. Maybe it's that these stories often deal more with the reality of how we deal with the changing world.

I love that concept so much. So it's with great shame that I confess I hadn't read Arthur C. Clarke's famous novel until very recently. Awful, I know.

Before I begin reviewing it, one might note (and rather fairly I might add) that this review is pointless. It's a book that was published in 1968, and has run the gamut of reviews, both loving and scathing, and doesn't need yet another one. But I would argue that were in this phase of storytelling where people typically don't take many chances on their fiction. They prefer the tried and true and tested before going to the different, no matter how celebrated or famous. I think, however, that people can be warmed up to newer ideas if there given something of a hint of what to expect. I think younger generations can be shown newer ideas and, in time, warm to them. Heck, as I said, this was the first time I've read the book.

Now, I've seen the movie many times, and am a big fan. I love Stanley Kubrick's style choices in that film and I love that there is nothing on-the-nose about that film. Everything has to be thought of, put through cognizant processes. It's not like a Transformers film where the movie tries to think for you. No, the film 2001 invites you to think for yourself. And I love that.

So, moving on to the book after all this time was a bit of an experience for me. I suspected that there would be differences between the two. And yes, there were, but I think the biggest difference between them wasn't the story changes. They were there, sure, but what set these tellings of the same story apart were the differences in tone.

The film is famous for long stretches of silence. Scenes are laid out before you, pulling you slowly into this universe, increasing both the mood and the constant underlying tension with distinct visuals, sounds, and pacing that results in what is basically perfect filmmaking.

The book did something else; it gave a detailed explanation of everything that was going on. That's not to say that the book thinks for you, because that's certainly not the case. As well, the book could have had a similar tone to the film. But I'm glad that this isn't the case.

I think in some ways, the film almost becomes a thriller. The book really sticks to the sci-fi guns throughout. You're constantly let in on the back story of everything that's going on. In between the sections of story being told, there is the kind of reading that feels almost like a history book, and Clarke brilliantly blends real information with the necessary fictional inventions that were required to fill out the path of man into the further reaches of the solar system.

Like the movie, the story structure is unconventional. Of course, Clarke and Kubrick developed the story together, but I love the way it changes. And in the book, more than the movie, the structure really works well. The movie felt like it had to rush (well, as much as it could rush) to get to the meat of the story. But I feel like prose gets a little more stretching room when it comes to structure, so to my delighted surprise, there were many sequences that were greatly expanded in the novel. The primitive ancestors to man in the beginning of the story are given a great deal of space. And it was fascinating. Clarke's description of the primitive thought processes of these creatures as they stood on the cusp of great change was amazing. 

The lead up to the Discovery mission was also great in its expansion. The political environment was an interesting one, painted very well by Clarke, which adds a different kind of tension in the book than in the movie. You're constantly made aware of the issues on Earth and it adds a layer of great depth to the characters' personalities as you can see the issues that influence their daily life and thoughts.

I think my biggest complaint about the book is HAL, and it's probably unfairly affected by the film. I love HAL in the film. He's terrifying, he's interesting, he's one of the best characters on film ever, and he's only ever shown as a red light and a room with large panels. The scene in the film where Bowman starts disabling HAL haunted me as a child, and it's still one of my favorite scenes of all time.

In the book, however, it felt less powerful. HAL didn't have the same character, the same impact, the same intensity that he does in the film. Again, maybe unfair, but I felt that HAL was less important in the book.

The last third of the book is a little long as well, but I did enjoy seeing how a man, now completely isolated and alone in space, with only little contact with Earth, and no real way home, would react. The very idea of seeing the monolith was what pushed Bowman, and the only thing that held off madness.

If you haven't read this novel yet, I think you should. Yes, there are elements that are dated, not even counting the fact that we haven't sent a man past the moon, and it's now 2012, but all in all, it was still an amazingly prescient novel with a great sense of pacing and tone. Will it be for everybody? I can't answer that. But it's definitely an important novel. And one that has really reignited my love for space exploration.

"The thing's hollow-it goes on forever-and-oh my God, it's full of stars!"

Rating: 9/10


Want more book reviews?! Check out Beauty and the Armageddon! Movie reviews?! Out of the Void Productions here!

And, if you want to read my book, check out The Brimm-Stone Chapter!