G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

Reads

Third day in a row to wake up with a migraine. Beginning to think that the culprit lies in my new supplements.

In other news, my TBR pile has grown rather unruly.

Some of these are partially read (a terrible habit), and that's not even taking my Kindle titles into consideration. I also have a borrowed copy of Rushdie's THE SATANIC VERSES coming in from a friend. Will have to move onto that one so I don't end up holding onto it for too long, and then I think I'll get going on Thompson's FEAR AND LOATHING which I have actually yet to read but am kind of dying to after watching the film adaptation for the first time a few weeks ago.

It's a hot, beautiful day here in Houston, Texas, temperatures soaring at 26 celsius just asking for one to kick back and linger but I cannot turn off my brain from the great many to-do`s on my plate, whether it's continued work on some of my ongoing projects or the resuscitation of things I've been neglecting like the website and newsletter. I've also been putting off accounting for way too long now, and there are a number of houses things to tend to.

Also thinking about how to best maneuver work stuff with the summer month I'll be getting to exclusively spend with my kid (a first for me). Was initially thinking of planning a trip for us to Egypt during that month, but there are time, cost, and logistical considerations to take into account.

No wonder my head hurts.

#journal #reads

Another thing that stood out to me from HITCHCOCK TRUFFAUT; apparently, a great many films from the silent era were based on plays. That is fascinating, because dialogue tends to be the core story engine of playwriting, whereas silent filmmaking is concerned, you have to do without dialogue altogether, save for a handful of title cards.

It's got me thinking about adapting plays to silent comix and all the different changes one would have to make along the way. Changes that would inevitably alter the plays rather drastically I think.

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Woke up in the middle of the night and decided to crack open the volume of HITCHCOCK TRUFFAUT that's been jeering at me unread from my shelf for a while now. A few pages in and I was prompted to beam Mernau's DER LETZTE MANN on the projector, which both Hitchcock and Truffaut express their admiration for. First minute into this 1924 silent film and I was hooked! The framing and shots are just absolutely gorgeous, and the story intense, told entirely without words got me thinking about the big vacuum left unfilled by the absence of silent visual storytelling in today's world. The potential to reach people across borders regardless of language or culture is immense, especially if phones/social-media were to be utilized as the delivery mechanism. But that would necessitate coming up with short ultra-condensed narratives of about one minute or a minute and half tops. Which in itself is something of an attractive limitation.

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Painting of living room has commenced. My break between coats has been to read passages from Isaac Asimov's FOUNDATION TRILOGY, a 1955 hardback edition I purchased for $8.50 back in Denver some six years ago and never got around to reading.

First of all; I really cannot believe it's been six whole years, and second of all; thus begins my mission to read all the unread books in my possession in the new year to come before buying anything new.

Right.

130 pages in and enjoying it a great deal.

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Comp copy of THE BIG BOOK OF CYBERPUNK arrived, and what a sight to behold it is. Obligatory glamor shots of the thing below, along with a look at the impressive table of contents and the opening page of my story, CRISPR Than You.

I quite like how they're categorized by theme, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jared's sub-intro for each section. A truly masterfully put-together collection that—at over 1100 pages—will take me quite a while to get through and most likely fuel years of inspiration in the process. Very humbling to be a part of.

#work #reads

“There’s no question that cyberpunk had a shockingly brief existence as a cohesive entity. Born out of science fiction’s new wave, literary postmodernism, and a perfect storm of external factors (Reaganism, cheap transistors, networked computing, and MTV), the genre cohered as a tangible, fungible thing in the early 1980s, most famously exemplified by the aesthetic of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and the themes of William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984). The term cyberpunk itself, as coined by Bruce Bethke, came into being in 1983. The neologism captured the zeitgeist: the potential of, and simultaneous disillusionment with, techno-capitalism on steroids.”

From Jared Shurin's excellent introduction to THE BIG BOOK OF CYBERPUNK in which I have a story called CRISPR Than You.

“Cyberpunk was born of the punk ethos. A genre that, in many ways, existed against a mainstream cultural and literary tradition, rather than for anything definable or substantive in its own right. This is, at least, an argument posited by those who believe the genre peaked—and died—with Bruce Sterling’s superb anthology Mirrorshades (1986). Accepted as the definitive presentation of cyberpunk, Sterling had pressed a Heisenbergian self-destruct button. Once it was a defined quality, cyberpunk could no longer continue in that form.

“Although this is a romantic theory (and cyberpunk is a romantic pursuit, despite—or perhaps because of—the leather and chrome), it is not one to which I personally subscribe. While collecting for this volume, I found that the engine of the genre was still spinning away, producing inventive and disruptive interpretations of the core cyberpunk themes through to the start of the next decade.”

I love Jared's intro a great deal. Read more at CrimeReads.

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A book I attempted to read in my early 20's but never quite got into has been on my mind lately: HOW TO BE GOOD by Nick Hornby. I turned to it on the strength of Hornby's other immensely popular novel, HIGH FIDELITY, but despite the enjoyable writing style, I found the subject matter of divorce to be way far removed from where I was at the time. Now that I'm going through a divorce of my own twenty years later—one that is getting evermore sour by the minute—I am considering taking another look at Hornby's book, because I remember its take as being fun and humorous, which is a miraculous feat if the developments of my own divorce are anything to go by.

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Finally got around to taking some glamor shots of Sim Kern's THE FREE PEOPLE'S VILLAGE. which I was very honored to design the cover(s) and endpapers for.

#work #design #reads

THE BIG BOOK OF CYBERPUNK drops in just 13 days, and its impressive table of contents has been announced on File 770.

Like other Best-Of tomes, this thing is a doorstopper coming in at 1136 pages. It is very humbling to see one's name listed alongside giants you've read for years; like Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Bruce Sterling, but it's also great so see the book bringing together many awesome contemporaries like Omar Robert Hamilton, Ales Kot, and Corey J. White. Not to mention boundary pushing thinkers like Samuel R. Delaney, Charles Stross, Lauren Beukes, and many more.

Looking forward to seeing it in person and spending the next 10 years attempting to read it all.

#work #reads

Peter Biskind's DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES is worlds apart from his EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS. Whereas the latter is inspiring, the former is just icky. Not a fault of Biskind, but the Hollywood scene of the 90's he's writing about is very different from that of the 60's/70's. You feel like you've been thrown into a pit of sheer nasty backstabbing scum. Everyone is terrible. Every time I read a bit, I just feel like taking a shower and sitting on a park bench somewhere pleasant, where you might strike a delightful conversation with someone without want or ulterior motive.

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