“Resurrection”


I have definitely been remiss in my posts.  With the holidays, and my reentry into University my time has waned quite considerably.  I do apologize for my lack of updates and posts, especially to those of you who follow regularly or subscribe via Kindle…it truly is not fair to you who are paying for monthly content and not receiving it.  If you’ll stay on board a few months longer I do promise to up the post count by providing (hopefully) quality posts that’ll draw in more readers and keep the ones that have always supported me.

As a sort of symbolic gesture I give you “Resurrection.”  I have never been one to enjoy poetry, but this last quarter I was required to an introductory poetry course at Eastern Washington University that really opened my eyes.  I fell in love with T.S. Eliot…and hard.  “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is magnificent, and after reading it you open up to the world a little bit more than you were before.  Others also caught my eye and others I will always be disdainful of, but in the end I had garnished a bit of appreciation for the art which has led me to the writing of some of my own poetry.

Personally, I find my foray to be a bit shallow, but I am trying to improve.  “Resurrection” is the first hopefully many shallow forays, but for the content of the preface I think it fits quite wonderfully.  Read, comment, and enjoy.

“Resurrection”

His Walther PPK loosely holstered and licensed
A weathered Q Branch hidden with gadgets
to aid in his explosive endeavors;

Globetrotting to gather women–
left garbless & satisfied
they strike and parry in lust

Till the sky fell he was flat,
and
while he slowly declined the world became…
not enough.

The women fade under forgotten title screens
And, now he is grizzled and worn.
But
like his chief hobby

The Double-O is Reborn

Review: Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver


Carte Blanche (James Bond)Carte Blanche by Jeffery Deaver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since Ian Fleming’s death in 1964 numerous writers have taken up the task of penning James Bond novels in an effort to keep the Fleming and Bond legacy alive and well. Some of these authors have had lengthy runs that have allowed them to frame out their version of the titular character with years of careful growth, however, others have had only a mere moment to make their mark on the famous character. Suffice it to say, some of these authors have been more successful than others, because of their respective opportunities.

In particular, I enjoyed John Gardner’s James Bond series, which primarily spanned the 1980’s, as well as Raymond Benson’s more-American take on the most-British of spies.
Recently, the popular fiction author, Jeffrey Deaver, was plucked from the ranks to write the latest 007 novel and on the whole I think he does the series justice. He does not take any chances, but he does hold true to the character and the universe which I think will appease fans but in the end deny them poignancy and relevance.

Deaver begins by taking Bond and bumping him into the twenty-first Century. By doing this, Deaver effectively alters the rules and the environment to create a new stomping ground for Bond to partake in, and because of this drastic change small facets of Bond’s backstory were changed but nothing that compromises the character. Besides these few details Deaver doesn’t really change anything else about the James Bond universe. He stays fairly grounded in the lore, and merely uses the revised setting to make a contemporary tale. As far as research is concerned it probably relieved some potential stress for Deaver as well. All things considering, it is an intelligent decision.

Interestingly enough the plot takes places over the course of a single week. It is quick and seamless. Each scene transitions smoothly to the next and it rarely has slow points because of its rapidity. Also, like most (if not all) James Bond plots, it trots the globe. The introduction takes place in Serbia and finally ends in Sudan with stops in Dubai and of course the United Kingdom.

The first several chapters follow James Bond as he thwarts an Irish hit man from derailing a train and polluting the Danube. This seemingly secluded incident then traces back to the villainous Severan Hydt and a much deeper plot that Bond must unravel before the death toll mounts. Hydt has an affinity for death. He enjoys it so much that he photographs it in order to get off on it privately. Severan is truly a villainous character that fits in to Bond’s wheelhouse of world dominators to a ‘T.’

The plot takes countless twists and turns and introduces various faces; some are familiar, while others are fresh takes on espionage archetypes. In the end and in traditional Jeffrey Deaver fashion, the conclusion is not so neatly sewn up as it may seem. There are numerous twists in the last fifty pages or so, but all-in-all, the good guys win the day and Bond has something left to ponder.

Carte Blanche” is not the best James Bond book ever written, nor is it the worst. It fires on all necessary cylinders to function accordingly, but it does not go above and beyond. It doesn’t push the boundaries, and unfortunately I think it will be easily forgettable a couple years down the line. With this in mind “Carte Blanche” receives three-and-a-half stars out of five.

“Carte Blanche” is not as in depth as a John le Carré or Joseph Kanon’s novels, but it gets the job done. It is a quick read, and the characters (whether new or not) seem familiar to the reader. Deaver pays homage to Fleming, while simultaneously holding true to his own form.

(SOURCE: Review: Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver)

View all my reviews

“Skyfall”


“Skyfall” with Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Rory Kinnear

Directed by Sam Mendes

Skyfall 01The latest installment of the Bond franchise marks the twenty-third in the series as well as the fiftieth anniversary of the very first Bond film, “Dr. No.”  Not only are the stakes and expectations high, but Daniel Craig is still relatively new to the character and has only just surpassed Timothy Dalton’s two-time efforts with the newly released “Skyfall.”  Craig has some big shoes to fill.  Does he hit the mark…does he hop and surpass it?

Yes, with resounding success, and the resultant is “Skyfall” being the best James Bond film to date.

It opens very traditionally with the titular hero chasing down a wanted criminal with the aid of another MI6 field operative.  Bond pursues the escapee in a superb chase scene that spans terra-cotta roof tiles and narrow ledges; the two adversaries ride motorcycles through crowded markets and buildings in a lengthy scene that dwarfs the introductory ‘race’ scenes in “Quantum of Solace.”

However, besides the aforementioned Bond introduction the rest of the film completely breaks convention, but that is what makes “Skyfall” the best James Bond film.

Bond does not use the traditional lines or the quick quips that we have all come to expect.  Instead the writers aimed to pay homage to the franchise by referencing to its predecessors.  With a bit of dialogue, Bond commands his fellow operative, Eve, to remove her hand from her ear in a direct reference to Craig’s debut, “Casino Royale.”  In a similar fashion, the new Q makes a jab to the absurdness of an exploding pen, which was of course used in Pierce Brosnan’s “Goldeneye.”  These are just but a couple references amidst a myriad.  There are several films that are referred to directly by name, but being used in dialogue throughout the film.  Even his trademark, “I like my Martini shaken not stirred,” is switched out for a brief scene depicting Bond telling the bartender that she made his drink “perfectly.”  The drink is still the same Martini, and the bartender obviously shook the drink rather than stirring it, but it is all handled within the scene rather than passing it off to Bond in dialogue.

But, besides this shattering of shackles and subsequent retelling of a classic character “Skyfall” aims higher.  It ponders questions of loyalty and global warfare, but through the lenses of cold war throwbacks.  Are individuals like M (Dame Judi Dench) and Bond meant to exist in a constantly shifting realm?  Are there any shadows left to skulk in?  It turns out there is.

For the first time “Skyfall” divulges some of M and Bond’s backstory.  Rather, than keeping with this shallow persona of what a secret agent should or should not be “Skyfall” rounds them out by adding substance and history to them.  It essentially serves as the conclusion to an ad hoc trilogy of films.  In “Casino Royale” we see James Bond become a 007 and flounder a bit as a new agent.  He is talented, but new to the trade–arrogant and hotheaded.  In “Quantum of Solace” the plot solely revolves around his want for revenge.  He possesses the skills and has been dealt the sorrow of experience, but in “Skyfall” we get to see what James Bond might look like if he lost his ‘oomph’ for the game.  It is the perfect end cap to the overarching plot.

Javier BardemAnd, not only does the plot dig deeper than ever, the acting is top-notch.  Silva (Javier Bardem) is the best Bond villain since Stravos Blofeld.  He is crazy and demented on a whole level on his own.  He is not about toppling the Crown or reaping the rewards from some nefarious plots; he is only bent on revenge.  It is personal for him, and not in the way that 006 (Sean Bean) grappled with 007 in “Goldeneye,” but in the way that an asylum patient stews over forgotten events by blaming the voices.

Although, Desmond Llewelyn is a legend and played Q with a certain sort of finesse that will never be matched, Ben Whishaw plays the part for modern audiences. He represents the modern era–forethought, rather than odd ingenuity.

Exploding pens?  No.  Radios.  Yes.

Ralph Fiennes plays his part wonderfully.  He fits into the Bond-a-verse with ease, and I am excited to see how his part expands into the future.

Overall, the film is exquisitely crafted.  It pays homage to its roots, but firmly moves forward.  It dismisses convention, and dives into the causation of Bond not Bond’s causalities.  I cannot recommend this film enough–even non-Bond fans will be surprised…who knows maybe you’ll become a fan?

Here is a trailer for “Skyfall” by Sony Pictures:

“Dorian Waters”


I’ve been slowly working on a new short story titled “Dorian Waters,” which will be an Amazon exclusive upon release.  I wanted to take the charisma of 007, the cheesiness of a ’70s sci-fi flick, and the ridiculous strength of Stallone’s Rambo–with all that being said…let me introduce you to Dorian Waters:

Dorian Waters

Dorian rocketed towards the outer crust of the lush planet at speeds almost intolerable for his Tibranium launch suit.  At just the precise moment he jotted in his PI code and the blackened outer shell of suit unbuckled from his frame in a thousand fractured pieces, rocketed past him, and immediately burned up in the upper atmosphere.  Dorian repositioned himself as he fell into a sort of Swan dive and fell headlong into a thick layer clouds.  With a flick of his wrist he yanked the ripcord and his blue shoot billowed from his back pulling him upwards briefly before eventually allowing him to slowly descend into the dark green canopy below.

“Terra de Verde,” Dorian muttered in awe as he came into the canopy lining.

The landing was a bit rough, but with only a couple scratches from broken branches, and the consideration that little to no preparation time was had when he rashly jumped out of the low orbit Skirt Pod, it could have gone much, much worse.  He hung gently swinging, listening, and thinking about the sounds he was hearing before finally unsheathing his knife and cutting himself loose from the thick, brown branches that held him captive.

He awoke flat on his back, clutched for his knife which was missing.  He glanced upwards towards the canopy where he had fallen through several strata of branches–loll and behold he could see the glint of steel lodged into the bark in the distance.

Quickly thinking, he pawed for something close by, found a rock, and struck the cat-like creature as it leapt for his prone body.  The 180-lb creature growled in pain and fell to its side in a hiss of dust and a belabored roar.

“Kitty’s got claws,” Dorian mumbled to himself and then promptly passed out.

He awoke in awash of his own blood and rain.  Dorian sputtered water as he jolted awake in a nightmarish-like fashion.  He grimaced and propped up on his elbows.

“Fuck…it’s wet.”

Waters was ironically drenched and thoroughly pissed.

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