Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Personal Discovery


Edgar Rice BurroughsEdgar Rice Burroughs is a favorite author of mine, however my interest in him and his work is relatively new.  Burroughs captures some of my favorite genres easily and comfortably by exploring science fiction through character development and creating modern day fairy tales which represent philosophical movements.  His prose his clean and simple which really wasn’t a popular style till about a decade later after his first foray into publishing.  Both accounts amaze me, but alas I was and still am a neophyte.  I was clueless and ignorant (as I often am), until I watched Disney’s film adaptation of Burroughs second most popular series, “John Carter.”

Personally, I enjoyed the quality of the film, but what I got most out of the movie was the love and appreciation for an author that (at the time) I knew next to nothing about.  I dived headlong into his work.  I quickly read the first three John Carter novels in a collection that I purchased off of Amazon for a small, paltry sum.  They are truly magnificent.

If you ever get a chance, gobble ‘em up.  They are incredibly well-written, but the human quality and realism that Burroughs brings to his writing makes the otherworldly settings and characters background noise rather than the main spectacle.  From there I dived into Tarzan.  Contextually it seems oddly, but in actuality it is a fairly logical segue considering Burroughs’ work.  I’ve made limited headway on the series (partially because there are over 20 novels), because honestly I am not a big fan of the character.  Unfortunately, I am several generations removed from enjoying the meaning of the series.  The primitive movement was big after the second World War and it just has never connected with me as it did to so many upon their release.

At the Earth's CoreHowever, I did dive into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Pellucidar” series, which begins with the Vernian “At the Earth’s Core.”  “At the Earth’s Core” is a quick read (it only clocks in at roughly 150 pages), but it does create a great founding point for Burroughs to expand upon and unlike Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center” Burroughs builds an entire franchise (and thus universe) upon the back of the ideas originally laid down by Verne a generation before.

I have yet to find a copy, but I have heard that there was a film adaptation of “At the Earth’s Core” in 1976.  I haven’t explicitly removed everything from my plate to seek it out, but I am positive that I will one day find a lazy afternoon in which I will be able to sit down, find, and watch “At the Earth’s Core.”

Tangentially, I first discovered “At the Earth’s Core” at a wonderful bookstore out in Coeur d’Alene, ID called, Browsers (not to be confused with Mario’s archenemy).  I ended up purchasing “At the Earth’s Core,” “The Land that Time Forgot,” and “Llana of Gathol.”  All of which were copies re-published throughout the 1970’s, which greatly pleased me because I am exceedingly tired of solely coming across movie and television book covers.  For whatever reason, they sour the experience for me.

Regardless of cover, I encourage all to read at least something of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  He is an amazingly talented author, and his breadth of work has spurred various schools of thought, inspired millions, and ultimately helped shape current pop culture even though he began writing over 100 years ago.

 

My Open Love Letter to Music


Feeling the quick-paced displacement of your heart, as it flutters to the beat of a specific drum, is nothing shy of facing mortality.  Music gives you the momentum to strive for inner greatness.  Immortals lack creativity, because that one moment that gives life meaning…never comes.  It hangs stagnant in the air, being ignored by those that don’t care; however for us mere mortals we thrive off of the thought of death.  We design our society around it– For death not only accentuates life…it gives it meaning.  Music is an extension of this elongated metaphor.  It makes my heart beat rapidly, just as it does when I think of Celeste, or put pen to paper.  It is an eternal muse, that I will always try to please, because it has given me so much.  Thank you musicians of the world.  Thank you.

A Rough Draft of the Introduction of “At the Top”


“At the Top” is an idea that I originally had centering around the concept of a serial killer pyramid scheme.  I wanted to write a story about a hierarchy of serial killers, however, I ran into a speed bump almost immediately.  Pyramid schemes only exist and work because the lower layer always give something to the layer above them, some sort of commodity like currency.  What commodity do serial killers possess to be able to provide that would make an interesting and believable story?

Nothing.

Coincidentally enough, the next day I ran into my writing partner Josh Bartylla at work and I posed him my conundrum.  After  several minutes of conversation we came up with a solution.  What if instead of a serial killer pyramid scheme it was an assassin’s pyramid scheme?  That way the incentive would exist, and we could nuance it.  From there we started adding layers to it, and now the project (which has been named “At the Top”) includes a poignant look at our memories, aging, and the importance of friendship all framed out by Frank Sinatra’s album, “September of  my Years.”

Check out these opening pages to “At the Top,” which will one day soon be a complete manuscript that Josh and I plan on adapting into a screenplay to submit to Amazon Studios.  Cheers.

“At the Top”

Prologue

The plantation was settled deep within the confines of a Cajun bog in one of the most remote regions of the Louisiana wetland.  At one point the white pillared beacon of the old world aristocracy had sat dead center in one of the largest production lands of the South, but as the decades had waned, the land had turned against the ones who had spent generations taming it.  The family had perished or fled once the house had practically burned to the ground in the latter part of the 19th century.  The rest of the outlying buildings slowly rotted from the outside in as the once profitable lands began to slowly turn to mush and the swampland turned against the rich soils.

The first half of the next century was just as unkind to the manor as it was the surrounding area.  At the conclusion of the Civil War economic turmoil after economic turmoil plagued the region, and thus the Lebeau family plot was never purchased or truly lost to the family.  However, it wasn’t till 1970 that the sole heir of the decrepit mansion returned, and returned to rebuild it.  By the time the long, lost scion came into possession of the house that was no longer a home, it was near collapse, but that didn’t dissuade Remi from buying the land and the manor in an effort to refurbish it to its former glory.

Now, almost thirty-years later, Remi sat contemplating in his office overlooking the same marshlands that had encroached upon the Lebeau lands a century prior.  He sat alone.  He cradled a Brandy in his palm knocking the ice cubes back in forth in a repeated riposte and parry.  In his other hand he held, masked by shadows save for the ember tip, a rare cigar to match his drink and mood.  He was in a large overstuffed chair with his feet upon his Oak desk.

Thinking.  Always thinking.

Papers and books laid askew, and the steeping bookshelves on either side of the room were just as disheveled.  He blew a single waft of smoke up into the air and let it catch the moonlight from the recessed, latticed windows.  Below, his glass ensconced pool reflected and refracted the softly lapping waters’ light, resulting in a dance of shimmering waves across the ceiling of his study.  Between the smoke, the moonlight, and the mirrors Remi was overcome with introspection.  This meditation allowed him to remember.  It allowed him to recall, but more-importantly, it allowed him providence.

Memories

Memories are fiendish.  They have far-reaching, burnished talons that can stab into the cerebrum with fervency and lust.  They are malignant because all memories are apocryphal.

For those individuals with poor memories their ignorance is as the saying goes, ‘blissful.’  The beast still lurks within, but instead it has evolved.  These memories exist in the wretched.  The lonely thugs who play with children and drive nails into coffins.  They are brutish to say the least, but on the whole they are as weak and fleshy as is anything without a spine.  However, these ingrates are protected by their own lies.  The falsities that have secretly roosted into their thoughts.  These birds of prey live and breath in the shadows.  They blend when searched for and are always finding there way into the folds and tears of the remaining gray matter, entrenching itself like a solider in the darkest days of the Great War, except with memories there is no neutral zone, there are no shared Christmases, just fear and nerve gas.

Those with eidetic memories can recall the past immediately, however, it is always in sepia.  No matter how much the Polaroid is flicked back-and-forth it never achieves focus.  It’s blurred, hazy.  It exists.  It can be put in box, lost under the bed, pulled out to reminisce, and shoved back under to be forgotten by the unfaithful.  The photo is a lie though.  It was always a lie.  It exists in a separate, fabricated reality, guarded by the ego, but by most it is irrevocably regarded as the truth.  It is never quite right, nor will it ever be right.  These individuals are dangerous, and here is why: with upmost conviction they believe that they remember the truth.  They believe so wholeheartedly that their past is grounded and accurate that it borders on religious faith.  They rely on it, they believe it, and they adhere to it.  It is always right, and therefore no questions are ever asked.  It is has divine as the Lord, and just as intangible.

Faith is a powerful beast, and it has a way with ambitious men.  It forces them to do things with unwavering judgement and persecution.  Nothing is off limits, and no one will ever present an argument that will dissuade them from their path.  It forces men like Remi to contemplate their past…to remember the stings and the horrors, first kisses and Sinatra songs.

Lloyd

His cheek stung and he could taste the blood dripping from his left nostril into his swollen lips.  It was salty.  Tangy.

“Fuck you,” he spat.

He took another smack.  This time he fell back upon the stained carpet and his left wrist twisted awkwardly.  He screamed and received another backhand for the noise.  He laid whimpering, holding his arm upon his back.  The fucker stood over him like he owned him, and unbeknownst to the boy there was some truth to that.

Lloyd was a brute.  In and out.  He always wore the same wife-beater, a dusted cowboy hat, and a pair of carpenter jeans.  Remi surmised that those were the only clothes that Lloyd owned, but the one time he had cracked that joke within Lloyd’s earshot his other arm had been broken.  A long time ago, Lloyd had worked for Tony Slates crackin’ skulls for pennies, but one drunken night, Lloyd broke the nose of Tony’s nephew; Slate cut him and then cut him loose.  Lloyd still sported the deep scar across his left cheek like a badge of honor.  Once a Scout always a Scout.

He stood over the eight-year, reeking of moonshine and piss.  He scowled, sauntered off, and collapsed into the most prominent lawn chair of the living room.  His pants around his ankles, loudly snoring off whatever booze and drugs Lloyd had consumed before striking Remi.  Quickly violent, and quickly asleep.  The women loved Lloyd.

Still nursing his arm, Remi scuttled out on his back, trying to make sure he held his cries.  As-soon-as he hit the backdoor of the sprawling ranch-styled house, Remi ran for it.  He hit the alley hard and kept running.  He didn’t make a sound, but tears were streaming down his face.

Remi ran almost two miles straight before he made it to Miss Rose’s farmhouse.  As always, she was sitting upon her porch softly rocking and reading on of her famous novels with her big Basset Hound, George, at her side.  She was young in a way that her beauty was true and her years were low, but she was old in the same way Remi was.  She understood him, and during all the years that Remi was with Lloyd Miss Rose was there as well.  She never ratted on him, and she never caused him trouble.  She only helped him.  Rose was the first and last person to ever do that for Remi.  The rest of his life was hard, but Rose never was.  As Remi aged he thought about Rose more often and that small farm town.  Winston, MI was a hard place for Remi to forget, but in his age he realized that, that is how it would always remain and that there was nothing wrong with that.

As he ran holding his ruined forearm, he let the wheat part and the burrs catch in his dirtied hair.  He didn’t care or notice.  He just ran.  He ran with a heavy heart and a purpose.  Miss Rose would help him.  She was his savior.  She would make everything better.

Rose saw Remi break the field, she was up in a shot and came running down the creaky steps to meet Remi before he even made it halfway to the porch.  She held him as he cried.  They didn’t exchange words, nor did they need to.  On that hot afternoon, she clutched the son that was never hers as he sobbed into her shoulder.  She cried to a God that didn’t seem to care.

This was Remi’s first memory.

The only sepia that remained from this particular memory was the part that existed between the breaking of Remi’ arm and the removal of Lloyd’s jeans.  If prison had taught Lloyd anything it was that he liked boys, and like a gift from God he had been given one from the man in the cocked Bowler.

 

Pickup Stephen King’s new novel “Joyland” now!


JoylandStephen King’s recently released novel “Joyland,” which hit stores with a bang last month courtesy of Hard Case Crime, received solid marks from the NY Times, EW, and Goodreads.

Hard Case Crime specializes in mimicking the hardboiled, pulp novels of the 1940s and 50’s, and does so by recreating the process in which was taken when publishing similar novels of the aforementioned era. King first published with the imprint in 2005 with his novel, “Colorado Kid.”

Even though “Joyland” is only the second novel King has published with Hard Case Crime it fits with their mantra so snugly that King’s prose supposedly brought his editor, Charlie Ardai, to tears.

Amazon describes the tale as “the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.”

Stephen King has been a main proponent inePublishing and continues to support Amazon’s Kindle rigorously. However, this being said, “Joyland” will not be released digitally in an effort to support brick-and-mortar bookshops this summer, and marks one of the few occasions in which King will not be releasing an eEdition along with the hardcopy.

Stephen King had this to say about “Joyland,” working with Hard Case Crime, and taking a step back from the eBook industry this time around:

I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.

Long story short, check out King’s newest novel, “Joyland,” at a book store near you. It is a wonderful coming of age tale, that harkens back to the one-and-twenty or the one yet to come. It’s universal and a fun read. Check back here for the review for “Joyland” in the coming weeks.

 

“Barsoom” Covers by d’Achille


Barsoom!

I have finally gotten around to reading the “Barsoom Series” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and just like watching the “Star Wars” films or reading Tolkien I have been transported into another realm…and have become mildly obsessed.  Thus far, I’ve finished the first novel, “Princess of Mars,” and I have just cracked into its sequel, “Gods of Mars.”  I will mostly likely have a review up in a short while, but until then check out these original covers for Burroughs highly regarded series by d’Achille–they’re absolutely spectacular:

Barsoom

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: