Thursday, December 30, 2010

One of My Favorite Books of 2010

2010 was a great year for books and graphic novels. Many incredible authors published phenomenal works this year, including, Joyce Carol Oates' slew of non-fiction and fiction, Stephen King's new book of novella's, Full Dark, No Stars, his short novel Blockade Billy and his co-created comic-book series with Scott Snyder American Vampire. Philip Roth gave us another gorgeous short novel, Nemesis and then there is the posthumous Kurt Vonnegut book of unpublished short stories. Joe Hill offered his novel Horns, a follow up to the original and brilliant Heart-Shape Box, as well as the hardcover graphic novels to his amazing series Locke and Key. Also, it seems that everybody had a memoir this year, like Keith Richards and Pat Conroy's My Reading Life. Oh yeah, a beautiful book of Saul Bellow's correspondences have appeared on the shelves this past week called simply enough, Saul Bellow: Letters. Lest I forget, a one-hundred year event in the making occurred
this year as well, The Autobiography of Mark Twain volume 1. of a three volume set. I've dipped into that masterpiece and I am blown away. There are other books I want to talk about as well and I plan on writing more about the above mentioned books.
What I really want to touch on though, is and independently published SF novel called Withur We. I review books for a print and online periodical that specializes in reviewing books from independent publishers, small press, vanity press, publishing on demand, etc, called ForeWord Magazine. I review between 2-3 books a month for the magazine and this past summer I was given Withur We.
Here is part of the review and the link for the rest of it:

Withur We
Genre: Science Fiction
Author: Matthew Bruce Alexander
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 9781450531009
Rating: Four Stars (out of Five)

"Withur We is a magnificent epic in the grand tradition of such works as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and Frank Herbert’s Dune. Matthew Bruce Alexander, a first-time author, combines the warfare orientation of John Ringo and the lyricism and storytelling ability of Ray Bradbury with philosophical, political, and economical treatises similar to the works of such thinkers as Thomas Paine, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, and Noam Chomsky.
Protagonist Alistair Ashley 3nn is a young Marine back on his home planet, Aldra ll, after serving “four cycles” on the war torn planet Kaldis. Physically enhanced by the Marine corps to be an elite fighter and a killing machine, Alistair tries to acclimate to living a “normal” life but has difficulty adjusting to the current government and its dystopian elements. He joins a group of freedom fighters that are labeled terrorists by the powers-that-be, the “Realists.” Taken prisoner, Alistair and many others are banished to the prison planet Srillium. The planet is controlled by prisoners who hail from all over the galaxy and who have devolved into barbaric tribes of cannibalistic hunter-gatherers..."

click here to read the rest of the review:

Here is a link to Withur We on

and here is a YouTube trailer

Enjoy all and Happy New Year.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010


I want this bad!

Here is a link to an excellent article by Peter Davison the man that edited the 20 volumes that makes up the Complete Orwell
Here is the link to the site to purchase the damn thing which is currently out of print.
Here is the link to the Orwell page.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

BBC E-mail: The abandoned villages of Britain

Lee saw this story on the BBC News website and thought you
should see it.

** The abandoned villages of Britain **
Readers of the new edition of the Times Atlas of Britain are being asked to send their memories of some of the villages and towns that have been abandoned during the last 100 years.

** BBC Daily E-mail **
Choose the news and sport headlines you want - when you want them, all
in one daily e-mail

** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.

If you do not wish to receive such e-mails in the future or want to know more about the BBC's Email a Friend service, please read our frequently asked questions.

Posted via email from Lee's posterous has shared: Station Ident: Paul Sizer

Dig this! Live this!
Station Ident: Paul Sizer

the “cannibal gang” has sown terror in the far-flung villages at the borders of Glan, Sarangani and Jose Abad Santos in Davao del Sur. --In the 70s to 80s, the first “cannibalism” pratice was attributed to the group of “Kumander Bucay,” whose members were reported to have eaten the flesh of their Muslim victims during the “Ilaga ... sent this using ShareThis.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Real Link to Review of Philip Roth's New Novel Nemesis

I don't know where that weird link came from in the last post. I know I screwed it up somehow. Oh, well here is the actual Link to David Finkle's review of Roth's latest novel, Nemesis in The Huffington Post:

Sent from my iPhone

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Stuff-I'm-Thinking-About Mondy November 8th 2010

The links below the following book links in the body of this blog lead to some random items as well as information pertinent to writing I want to do in the future. When I finish my book reviews for November I think I will take a hiatus from book reviewing for the holidays. I'm on vacation for most of December and I want to take advantage of the time off to complete my novel and another project I've been working on. I am looking forward to reading for pleasure for a change. I have Philip Roth's new novel Nemesis, Here is an excellent review from reviewer David Finkle in The Huffington Post Joe Hill's graphic novel Locke and Key, Welcome to Lovecraft, Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, and after writing this blog I might meander to Walmart to snag Stephen King's new book of novellas, Full Dark, No Stars that will be released to the general public November 9th. One of the stories in his new book is about a man making a deal with the devil called "Fair Extension." You can find more info about his new book and Mr. KIng at his website. Funny thing is I have an idea for a story or maybe a short play that has a different twist on the whole selling your soul to the devil/crossroads thing. My approach to this trope might actually be something completely brand new, not sure yet. But first I have to get my deadlines out of the way.
Here is some other stuff I am thinking about.

This Nutty Chick Explains it All, Now everything makes sense to me.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Cory Doctorow and William Gibson

Oh boy, oh boy Cory Doctorow and William Gibson on the same stage. This is sweet.

MP3 Link

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New Stuff That Floats My Boat

Anthony Burgess and Noam Chomsky sparked my interest in linguistics. This story made my brain catch fire with curiosity and my imagination race with maniacal glee.

I've always been interested in the methods and tools of creative people. This video from Boing Boing is great.

Desk - Music and Sound Design from Aaron Trinder Film:Motion:Music on Vimeo.

Check out Albert Einstein's desk. My home office looks a lot like this and if not careful my main office can quickly turn into that type of organized chaos. I'm not comparing my intellect to Einstein's, but still it's fun to see the differences in the creative process. Before I forget, I purchased and read the hard cover collection of American Vampire 1-5 written and created by Scott Snyder and Stephen King and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque. I highly recommend this book. Check out the info here: 
With all the wuss vampire crap saturating pop culture, it is wonderful to see two talented artists bring back the fear, horror, gore and bite that has been missing from the genre.
I'm writing a novel about vampires that encompasses all my own ideas about the genre, stuff I've been toying with in one aspect or another close to twenty years. Writing the novel is a pleasurable experience that I cannot describe, except to say that it is coming at a rapid pace, as if the story is writing itself, or as Stephen King once said it is like, "falling into the hole of the paper," or in my case sucked into the laptop screen.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pod Cast writing opportunities

I've noticed that paid online opportunities have become better and better for writers. The print markets are shrinking and more discriminating. I will continue to submit to both.

Here are some links to podcasts seeking submissions.


Science Fiction


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Thursday, September 30, 2010


 The creeping crud and sinus crap got the best of me over the weekend and part of this week. I still don't feel the greatest and I'm about to sleep for the fourth night in a row on one of our living-room recliners. I can only sleep sitting up, otherwise, I feel like I'm coughing up my lungs. Today was the first day in almost a week that my brain thought about writing, stories characters, etc. I always know when I'm very sick because I have no interest in anything and my thinking and creative process seems to dry up and go away. It is the only time in my life when I feel lonely when I'm alone. I don't like it.

So here are some thoughts from a brain slowly coming awake.

Learned about the god like architect Nicholas Hawksmoor 
from reading Alan Moore's wonderful graphic novel From Hell which blew me away. Not only was I flabbergasted by Moore's genius on so many levels, the lyricism of his prose, the meticulousness of his detective work and research and his epic story telling abilities, but his notes and annotations were amazing. He actually supported his work with a graphic retelling of his research that was a brilliant achievement by itself.  The novelist Peter Ackroyd also wrote about Nicholas Hawksmoor in his novel Hawksmoor 


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Monday, September 20, 2010

My Play "Quaternity"

I participated in a poetry reading for Freedom this evening with a bunch of excellent poets. I wrote a poem specifically for the theme I call "Duality." Written in two parts, the first section was about what acts have been committed in the name of freedom, the second part examined what I consider freedom. The reading went well to be in the company of such distinguished poets that consider me their peer. I have been inspired to write more poetry. I don't know if I will write poems with the furious frequency of prolificness I showed when younger. I will be writing more than my average output for the last couple of years.
While searching for "lost poetry" in my documents file I came across the following review of my play "Quarternity," The review is good and pleases me. I had almost forgotten this review, it has provided me with a much needed boost about my writing,

here it is...

New play offers a bleakly comic view of life By BOB ROSE Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Special to The Post-Star

GLENS FALLS -- It's always exciting to be included at the beginning of a new play. Such was my case when I attended a workshop production at Crandall Library of local playwright Lee Gooden's latest effort, "Quaternity."

Produced by The Random Act Players, it will have its initial public run this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Hilton Music and Theatrical Center in Albany.

"Quaternity" bears some kinship to Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit," which, in fact, is referred to by Gooden's four characters as they sit around a table in a brightly lighted room where time seems to have stopped and life is on hold.
Gooden's play employs some of C. G. Jung's psychology of requiring four functions.

These functions are an awareness that something is present, called sensation; an identification of what it is, called thinking; a decision as to whether or not we wish to accept it, called feeling, and then some indication of where it came from and where it is going, known as intuition.

His four characters apparently aren't dead, though they might as well be, since they have stopped living, if by that we mean experiencing and expanding their existences.

One lady obviously cheats at cards, a game she plays continuously, always dealing, always establishing the rules and always winning. She seems to possess no other interest.

A young fellow is basically hungry, recalling and yearning for his favorite meals, which are pretty much of the fast food variety. Impatient to leave the group, he plans for but delays execution of his escape.

Meanwhile, he is quite entertaining, though his character's talent is somewhat meager. He does an Elvis impersonation and threatens everyone with a Michael Bolton audio tape.
The third character, a lady who hates Bolton's voice, smashes the tape before it can be played.

The fourth character, really the main one, who selfishly controls the behavior of the other three, is a loud-mouthed brow-beater insisting that where they are and what they are doing is all there is. He says there is nowhere else to go and nothing else to do.

During the course of the four short acts, these characters attempt to interact but they have nothing in common and apparently no control over what they feel, think, or do.

Gooden has included some very comic lines to lighten the overall sense of hopelessness and doom, though at this point the earlier scenes accomplish this more effectively than the later ones.

It's an interesting concept that holds one's attention. It is not a picture of hopelessness alone. If three of the characters can motivate themselves to do so, they can escape and regain control over their lives.
Gooden, who directs his own play, has a talented cast. Mike Cannon is the controlling character, Veronica LaMaire is the card player, Daryl Peterson is the hungry fellow, and Georgianna Bull is the Michael Bolton hater.

Peterson stands out, whether he is in a comic situation or a dramatic one. When he falls to his knees sobbing, you find your own eyes tearing up. And when he partially disrobes in a poker game, you burst out laughing. I mean, a big, brawny fellow wearing a bra?

He's not a transvestite. As he says, he was cold and donned whatever he could find. He handles it very well.

"Quaternity" is different, it's interesting, it's funny, and it encourages us to take a look at ourselves to see how well we are faring in what we perhaps too glibly call our "lives."

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I love this Site!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ideas on flash drama cont...

The whole microblogging, Twitter, utube....and sound bytes. Flash Dramas (not quite sure it that term has been coined yet) are sound bytes, sight bytes and thought bytes (think bytes?) combined. More later. Sent from my iPhone

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The Begging play notes part 2:

Here is some insight and a sneak look at my weird thought process. I've been working on two flash-plays (1-2 mins long.) If things go the way I want they
will be showcased at a venue that makes me very excited. The begging play is based on a dream I had and I'm attempting to flesh it out without losing the dream quality. Some of the notes have been posted on Twitter, but not in this complete format. If you're into the whole looking behind the scenes thing then please enjoy this little DVD extra from my noodle.

The Begging play notes part 2:

1) Working title: Please,
Please Me (yes, taken from
The Beatles tune)

2) A: a man of undetermined age.
B: a boy or a girl:
Using a little girl as a character could help add the creepiness factor. Plus, there is the whole little girl/ Lolita thing that could be exploited which brings the psych/sexual tension to the forefront. Kind of like Mamet's Oleanna
Also, I'm thinking an actress in her twenties, small, could play a young girl.
In an ideal situation B will be played by an actual young girl...

C: A woman of undetermined age B's mother or sister.

(ooooh, wait, what if C is the father or brother of B?)

Interesting, interesting


3) Completely different thought, need to check my notes on tumblr for other ideas. Been awhile.

4) Back on task (man, I just love iPhone notes app) (legal pad look pumps my gnads.)

5) Hungry. Hope Lin brings me dinner soon
Yay, she brought me din din.

6) Need to put characters in a little scene and see how they behave.

7) A's reactions will be exactly how anyone else from a relatively "normal" background would react. I think.

8) Wonder if I can copy tweets about the play and post them into my notes?

9) And here they are:

A. Thinking abt manners and their true function. When we ask someone to 'please' do something are we begging?
B. And when someone asks something of us and we tell them to say 'please' are we telling them that they need to beg?
C. Think: When a child wants something we tell them to ask politely and say please. They expect tmanners to help them achieve their wants and needs.
D. Thus even if they use their manners and we refuse their request they become perplexed and resort to what they have been taught.
E. Sometimes they even come up with their own version of begging, like, 'please, please, please with sugar on top.'
F. They initiate a beta- version of begging.

G. And I ramble on.

Thoughts on flash plays:

A. Thinking about writing two flash plays abt 1-2 minutes long.

B. A 1 minute play is easier to write than a 2 minute play. In 1 min you must establish what the main character wants and what he/she will do to get it.

C. The second person is either helpful or attempts to stop the first character from achieving what he/she wants.

D. This isn't new, we're talking Aristotle's poetics and David Mamet 101.

E. Stretching the premise for 2 mins by adding another character or a secondary situation is difficult without going over the allotted time span.

E.2. Just saying.
E.3 Searching through my mental notes I think I found the perfect scenario.

F. Now I have to decide if it (the begging play) is a complete dramatic entity or just a fragment of a smaller scene. Flash...

G. Flash fiction and flash drama is not simple.

H. I'm reminded of William Carlos Williams writing his quick poetic lines on prescription pads. (on Twitter I spelled prescription wrong idiot!)

I. I can do this. But each line, hell, each word must contribute to the development of the play. Nothing wasted

Sent from my iPhone

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The begging play: Lindy thinks that my idea I dreamt for the 'begging' play' isn't exciting enough to hold an audience's attention. I disagree. If I can capture the unreal feeling that exuded through my dream on stage, that moment of WTF, the disturbing d

The begging play: notes part 1
Lindy thinks that my idea I dreamt for the 'begging' play' isn't exciting enough to hold an audience's attention. I disagree. If I can capture the unreal feeling that exuded through my dream on stage, that moment of WTF, the disturbing discomfort, like the Joker's music in the movie Dark Knight...that underlined insane buzzing of the situation. It must go against the grain of one's ethics and morals and it must hurt like a forked scraped against a chalk board. It must turn everything around and make the innocent protagonist question his own values, make him experience guilt and society must look at him as something deviant all the while the audience knows very well that what they're watching is wrong they leave questioning their own value system.
To be cont...

Sent from my iPhone

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Legacy

Norman Mailer, Unbound and on Film: Revisiting His Bigger-Than-Life Selves

Neal Boenzi/The New York Times

Norman Mailer, left, with Jimmy Breslin, in the garment district of New York during his 1969 race for mayor.

Published: July 20, 2007

Who was Norman T. Kingsley? No Wikipedia entry exists to provide a full biography, but in his day Kingsley — or N. T. K., as he was sometimes called — was a figure of considerable world historical significance. A filmmaker who invited comparison to Buñuel, Dreyer, Fellini and Antonioni, he was also a formidable potential candidate for president of the United States, an object of relentless media fascination and the target of far-reaching conspiracies of the rich and powerful. Backed up by an entourage of hoodlums and street fighters known as the Cash Box, he was, in equal parts, artist, outlaw, pornographer and saint.

Michael Evans/The New York Times

Norman Mailer in his office in 1969.

Kingsley lived in perpetual danger of assassination. He reveled in the company of boxers and beautiful women and was said by some to have “a proclivity toward Greek love.” His background was somewhat mysterious — Russian, Irish and Welsh with rumors of Gypsy and what in those days was called Negro blood — and his accent seemed to travel, in the space of a single utterance, from Brooklyn to Harvard to Texas. If one man could be said to crystallize the violent contradictions of his time and place, surely it was Norman Kingsley.

Not that such a person ever really existed. But somebody — one person in particular — had to invent him. Norman Kingsley is the main character in a movie called“Maidstone,” and the alter ego, avatar and namesake of the film’s director, Norman Mailer (whose middle name, by the way, is Kingsley). “Maidstone,” shot in the Hamptons in the summer of 1968 and released in 1971, is the third of four feature-length films Mr. Mailer directed, following “Wild 90” (1967) and “Beyond the Law” (1968). The fourth, an adaptation of his 1984 novel “Tough Guys Don’t Dance,” is the only one in which Mr. Mailer does not appear and the only one that can be said to obey the conventions of commercial narrative cinema. It stars Ryan O’Neal as an ex-convict and aspiring writer mixed up in a series of murders in Provincetown, Mass.

All four of these will be shown as part of “The Mistress and the Muse: The Films of Norman Mailer,” a fascinating and wide-ranging retrospective taking place during the next two weeks at three Manhattan cultural institutions: the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Paley Center for Media and Anthology Film Archives.

The cinematic oeuvre of Mr. Mailer, now 84, cannot quite stand by itself; the movies he directed run the gamut from curiosity to catastrophe. Happily, this retrospective turns out to include a lot more: adaptations from his books (notably the excellent mini-series made out of “The Executioner’s Song,” his nonfiction masterpiece); movies suggested by his life and personality (like Karel Reisz’s “Gambler,” written by Mr. Mailer’s disciple James Toback and starring James Caan as a singularly reckless literature professor); and a generous smattering of documentaries and television shows (from “Firing Line” to “Gilmore Girls”) in which he appears.

The objection can be made that all of this stuff is trivial and secondary, an amusing distraction from the substantial and vexing edifice of Mr. Mailer’s real work, which is his books. Many of them, it seems to me, are too infrequently and poorly read, and some of their boldest gambits and thorniest truths are overshadowed by their author’s reputation for excess on and off the page.

To see him as he was in his various nonliterary incarnations — as cinéaste and talk-show guest, as politician and polemicist — is to understand some of what he was up to in books like “Advertisements for Myself” (1959), “Armies of the Night” (1968), “Of a Fire on the Moon” (1970) and “The Prisoner of Sex” (1971). And Mr. Mailer’s first three films — “Maidstone” in particular — are worth seeing for the insight they provide into the ideas and ambitions that fueled Mr. Mailer’s writing in the 1960s and ’70s, the wildest, most productive and most contentious period in a career that has never been especially calm or easy to comprehend.

In those years Mr. Mailer’s extracurricular pursuits, including the forays into filmmaking, sometimes attracted more attention than his prose. He seemed perversely intent on transmuting his early fame, acquired with the commercial success of his first novel, “The Naked and the Dead” (1948), into cheap media celebrity or even tabloid notoriety. His ego seemed boundless, his appetite for the spotlight so ravenous that it could look like a hunger for public ridicule. In 1967 he treated antiwar protesters in Washington to a drunken, rambling, scatological impression of Lyndon B. Johnson; two years later he undertook a quixotic run for mayor of New York City on a platform of municipal secession; he spewed obscenities at Germaine Greer on the stage of Town Hall in Manhattan in 1971. That same year he exchanged insults with Gore Vidal on an especially memorable episode of “The Dick Cavett Show.”

All of these events and many more can be witnessed anew in “The Mistress and the Muse.” Their entertainment value — see Mailer the candidate pressing the flesh on the streets of Harlem and Queens! Watch as Mailer the male chauvinist pig does battle with the assembled Amazons of the women’s liberation movement! Thrill to Mailer the literary pugilist as he accuses Mr. Vidal of “intellectual pollution”! — is undeniable. And so is Mr. Mailer’s charisma, his remarkable ability to mix the roles of crusader and clown, prophet and fool, rabbi and ham.

Some of this magnetism derives from his sheer physical presence — the jug ears, the piercing blue eyes under the woolly, graying thatch of hair, the stubby frame capable of surprising turns of quickness and grace. And then there is the voice, the rapid, forceful stream of half-baked nostrums and brilliant aperçus delivered in that inimitable accent, an audible palimpsest of Mr. Mailer’s Brooklyn childhood, his Ivy League education and his World War II combat service in an Army unit composed mainly of Texans and Southerners. He flexes his upper lip like a boxer testing his mouthpiece, and his impressive eyebrows jump up in mirth or bear down with exaggerated menace.

In short Mr. Mailer is, as he might put it, no mean performer. He has appeared in a handful of movies by other directors, including Milos Forman’s “Ragtime” (1981) andJean-Luc Godard’s “King Lear” (1987). And his improvisational gusto as an actor is the most striking aspect of “Wild 90” and “Beyond the Law.” In the first he plays a gangster of some kind, his voice, often unintelligible because of poor sound quality, taking on Irish, Italian and African-American inflections when he is not on his knees barking in the face of a perplexed German shepherd. In “Beyond the Law” he is a detective with the soul of a poet, whose blend of sensitivity and profane machismo seems to be both a knowing parody of Mr. Mailer’s self-image and its sincere apotheosis.

On screen, whether he is playing Norman Mailer or Norman Kingsley (or, much later, King Lear), Mr. Mailer is almost always testing a hypothesis that the most hyperbolic presentation of the self will also be the most authentic. Fame was not only his burden, but also his subject and his method. “I was a node in a new electronic landscape of celebrity, personality and status,” he wrote in “Advertisements for Myself,” looking back with some ambivalence at his transformation, at the age of 25, from college man and ex-G.I. to the most acclaimed writer of his generation. And that book chronicles, among other things, his awakening determination to figure out how to use this curious existential condition as the basis for his work.

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