Everytime I search Amazon, I always end up falling into this maze of lists, each opening to more and more. And I find some cool stuff in there, thought I’d take a stab at a couple myself.

And yeah, that Slasher 101 one really should be a ‘guide,’ but I clicked on making one of those and, man, they’re set up to let somebody write a real and true article. Which, for someone addicted to lists, isn’t nearly as fun. Granted, you don’t get as many characters/words to play with in Listmania, but that kind of keeps me from burning too much time on them too, time which I specifically, right now, need (started another novel yesterday, kind of).

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After Lazarus

Man, turns out Only Revolutions, at 360 pages, was an easy read, yeah? I mean, as compared to three million pages. But it is Richard Grossman, so maybe three million pages is just the right amount [ see below ]. As some of y’all know, I’m always pushing that seventy-page sentence fragment from his The Book of Lazarus as maybe the most beautiful piece of prose in the English language (like I know any other languages — it just sounds ‘grand’ to qualify it like that, I guess). At least that piece of writing which I’m most jealous of. Anyway, cue the trumpets, here’s the blockquote:

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The other (first) Stephen Jones

Looks like Amazon has me having a hand in a couple of books I only wish I’d had a hand in:

[ apologies for the ‘see more’ junk on those images — no time right now to dig for clean images ]

Don’t guess I’ll be getting any checks for them, though. Anyway, just to clarify, this Stephen Jones, he’s pretty much an institution in the horror world, not just some hunger artist like me, trying to see over the fence. Really, he’s the reason I use my middle name. Otherwise, these kinds of mistakes would happen just a lot more than they do.

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You might be a novelist if . . .

. . . you could never*say :

  • No, please, no — my book would make a terrible movie.
  • Actually, I never thought about if this book would outlive me or not.
  • Well, I mean, that book’s obviously better than mine. That’s the only reason it’s on the best seller list.
  • Of course I would only ever talk bad about a book I’ve read.
  • Man, if the reader doesn’t get it, that’s just all my fault.
  • Really, I think my publisher may have even spent too much on marketing my book.
  • No, I never call my agent too much. I completely trust him.
  • I’ve never stooped so low as to rearrange my books on a bookstore shelf, no.
  • My editor knows commas so much better than I do.
  • No, no — I’m sure that award committee knew what they were doing.
  • Novelists don’t really deserve the rock star treatment. I mean, that’s something I knew from day one.
  • I probably wouldn’t have even accepted a blurb from Her, no.
  • Yeah, it was a totally fair review. Whoever wrote it gave my book the same amount of time and attention I put into it.
  • Semicolons are for hacks.
  • Yeah, I probably could have lopped off twenty thousand words and told pretty much the same story.
  • Amazon has ratings?
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    What I wrote after (finally) reading Ben Marcus’s piece in Harper’s on Jonathan Franzen and experimental fiction

    [ the title and the whole piece here may not make much sense–it may not anyway–without cueing into, which, it looks like, may have the orignial Marcus article in PDF ]

    Just what is experimental fiction, then?

    The easiest definition for experimental or innovative or non-conventional fiction is fiction that, both at armslength and upon closer inspection, doesn’t look or read at all like standard, mainstream, commercial fiction. A more biased definition would be ‘fiction that takes chances.’ The other side of that, of course, would be ‘fiction that doesn’t sell.’ Take them both together, and what you have is ‘Fiction that plays enough with form or language or narrative syntax that, quite often, it loses the audience altogether.’ The ‘innovative’ writer’s response to this will often be that it’s not their job to spoonfeed their story out in easily digestible bites—that the real corruption here is an audience that feels entitled to ‘easy’ stories; the ‘mainstream’ writers will counter that, really, it’s not all that hard to make your story difficult to swallow. The hard part, actually, is making it not only edible, but sweet enough that the reader will want more and more.

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    So a while back a friend i was borrowing DVDs from asked what horror he might need to have a somewhat complete collection. I told him I’d pen him a list sooner or later. Only just now remembering this. And, yeah, two disclaimers before I even start here: 1) I’m surely forgetting as many as I’m remembering, and 2) my tastes of course kind of dictate what I remember, what I don’t. And I love slashers. Too, I started out trying to have just ten movies per decade, but, really, any deeper than 1970 and my record gets more than spotty (again, taste: Nosferatu and The Golem and Caligari and White Zombie and all those were neat and important and pretty much shaped everything to come, but still, I’d rather watch all the stuff they influenced). So I lumped the fifties and sixties together, still barely made ten there. But then the seventies and eighties, I was having to leave so much out. Anyway, no, I haven’t checked all these dates. Just kind of dartboarding them where looks good. And yeah, I’d guess I’ll go back in, edit this a bit. But of course post any obvious misses as comments; I’ll try to float them up into the main thing. And, yeah, I could make this complete just by cracking DEMON THEORY open, but I’m trying hard not to even look at it until it’s real–until it shows up leaning against my storm door. Anyway, what I came up with during what few commercials THE COLBERT REPORT had:

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    The Gospel According to Demon Theory

    The best place to hide from an axe-weilding maniac is with your back pressed up against a wooden door you’re pretty sure is both solid and impenetrable. This is because that maniac who’s after you, his first strike with the axe will nearly always be from two to six inches from the left side of your face, thus allowing you both to know exactly where she or he is, and thus escape into the next room, and getting the maniac’s axe caught in the door long enough for you to make that escape. As for why these maniacs strike the door to the left of your head instead of your right, there’s at least two theories:

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    Ludovico Treatment, Demon Theory style

    Been trying to figure out what scenes/images from horror movies have become so indelibly imprinted on pop-culture that even people who don’t watch horror kind of have to know them, or at least of them. Which is to say I can’t just pick the coolest or best horror clips–the ones that imprinted me once upon a time. I mean, that’d be Freddy’s long arms from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, kid-Jason at the end of FRIDAY THE 13th, Gage cutting grandpa’s Achille’s in PET SEMETERY, John Carpenter’s spider-head thing in THE THING, how Michael was just suddenly gone at the end of HALLOWEEN, the girl in SIXTH SENSE’s tent, the floating nurse-nun in EXORCIST III, the scuttler in THE GRUDGE’s attic, the kill scene in IRREVERSIBLE, the end of DARKNESS, etc. But the whole movie audience isn’t cued into those so much, I don’t think. And no, I’m not doing best kill-scenes here either, or best gore or fight scenes or a top horror list (here, here and everywhere). Just the stuff that changed us. Or that I think might have:

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    A Sense of an Ending in THE DESCENT

    First, as this is just all about the end of THE DESCENT, then, yep, it’s just chock full of spoilers. So stop here if:

    • you’ve not seen it
    • you’re going to see it
    • and you don’t like to know how a thing’s going to end

    Not meaning to say THE DESCENT has a gimmick-ending or anything — we don’t change perspective and slowly become aware that these are just action figures in a toy bin. But the two endings it does have, in being at odds with each other, are also kind of polarizing the horror audience one way or the other, it seems.

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    Best of the Cineplex, 2006

    And I think I can say ‘cineplex’ there — none of these are really indie, or at least didn’t end up that way. And, before I even list them, the caveats: I’ve yet to catch BORAT or PAN’S LABYRINTH or APOCALYPTO or INLAND EMPIRE or CHILDREN OF MEN or THE FOUNTAIN or the BLACK CHRISTMAS remake, all of which’d be likely contenders, I suspect (and I generally duck all the snoozers, like PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, etc (‘etc’ here meaning I don’t even know how many of these there were — I mean, I’m sure they’re good, but I’m more of the summer-movie type)). And, when I thumbnailed this list, going just on memory instead of digging around for what actually came out in 2006, man, it was a good list: BRICK, HARD CANDY, KONTROLL, KISS KISS BANG BANG. Which is to say, thankfully, happily, no CAPOTE stuff, no BROKEBACK stuff. Too, V IS FOR VENDETTA was (and is) on there, even though, like THE DESCENT and HOSTEL, IMDb has it as 2005. But it’s the USA wide-release dates that matter out here in west Texas. Too, I know, where’s THE DEPARTED, where’s BABEL, where’s THE PRESTIGE? On everybody’s else’s lists, I suppose . . .

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