Posts filed under ‘READER’S OPPORTUNITIES’

THE GIVER BY LOIS LOWRY: AN OPINION FAR FROM THE USUAL

The other day I was getting my seasonal haircut, when I began discussing books with my barber and authors she enjoyed.  During our conversation she mentioned The Giver.  I have read this book and the books concept remains a sore point for me.  I found it lacking in belief, even for fiction.

I know who am I, a totally unknown writer, and who am I to detract from a classic, but here it goes.

I had no problem with most of the story until the fact was revealed in the warped world of The Giver, all you needed to do is cross a bridge over a river and enter the world of normality.  Salvation was just on the other side of this bridge, yet no one dared cross it.  I find that unexplainable.  Perhaps my readers can tell me how my thinking is wrong.  My barber said they did not cross the bridge because they had been brainwashed.  I feel it should have taken a lobotomy.

I shall now boldly go where no one in their right mind has gone.

I shall suggest an alternate ending to the novel.  I would have preferred to see the novel take this turn.  On the other side of the bridge there exists a sinister forest constantly cloaked in darkness.  In this forest reside malevolent beasts, some part human, who kill and devour all foreign life they find.  The journey through this forest would be dangerous beyond belief, but I feel some barrier must exist for the souls inhabiting the land of the Giver, to overcome.

Beyond this forest is another bridge over another river which these monsters of the forest dare not cross.  Beyond this bridge lies a normal society.  Those who risk the forest will find a fulfilled life.

That’s how I would have ended the story.

Comments?

February 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm Leave a comment

HARUKI MURAKAMI: HIS EARLY EFFORTS

This Japanese author writes the type of story I love to read.  His tales describe a mundane Japanese life, but include an element of fantasy and unreality.

I have read a great deal of his work, beginning with Kafka on the Shore, then journeying into his beyond and past works; a career with efforts I have never found disappointing.  Wind/Pinball were his first attempt at writing.  If only I could have reached this level in my first attempt, or for that matter my last.  I feel there is something that exists in writing which defies explanation.  These stories are a prime example.

Please read this work.  For if you are a first-time Murakami reader you will become addicted to his style.  If you are already an addict to his work, you will see the beginning of a voice destined for greatness.

February 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm Leave a comment

PORTRAIT OF JENNIE: A HAUNTING ROMANCE

As promised with my piece about The War of the Worlds, a romance would follow.

Here it is and I hope you pursue this haunting story.

The movie follows a starving artist, played by Joseph Cotton, during the Depression struggling to survive in New York.  An art dealer, played by Ethyl Barrymore, recognizes that he has talented and buys some of his paintings.  Then he meets Jennie, played by Jennifer Jones.  The book, written by Robert Nathan in 1940 and made into the movie, Portrait of Jennie, in 1948 is well worth viewing.  Nathan also wrote The Bishop’s Wife in 1928, made into a movie twice, beginning in 1947.

Now back to Jennie.

This has to be one of the most hauntingly beautiful movies ever made.  When Jennie is a child she and the artist first meet.  As the story progresses, Jennie rapidly matures.  Finally the artist paints her and that portrait becomes the highpoint of his career.  Jennie and the artist become an eternal love.  Jennie is the most haunting character I have ever seen.  Please watch this movie, sometime offered on TCM, if you have a chance.

During my last viewing I looked for the author’s name which was Robert Nathan.  Nathan, born in 1894 and died in 1984 wrote many novels, along works in other genre as we all do, but I feel Portrait of Jennie is exceptional.  I recently purchased to book and found, for the most part, the movie closely followed the book.

If you are a romantic, such as this author even though I write horror and science fiction, watch the movie when you have an opportunity.  And read the book and be mesmerized.

As a side note, I want to mention the enjoyment and importance I find in bringing to light past authors who are forgotten, unknown authors making a contribution to their art but whose name has been lost to time.

 

 

February 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm 2 comments

A VALENTINE FOR MY READER(S)

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Here’s my present; a free story.

 

 

A VALENTINE’S GIFT                                 

 

 

Jim Reed sat in a desolate park in a seedy section of the city and pulled the collar of his badly worn coat up as the North wind howled, he sipped from the bottle concealed in the brown paper bag and, with each sip, a grimace spread across his face while momentary warmth filled his empty belly.

“That god damned day is coming,” he thought.  He did not have a calendar for a calendar needed a wall on which to hang and his watch was gone, hocked long ago.  Jim kept track of the date and headlines the world produced from the newspaper machines along the sidewalk.                          

He drank rapidly; trying to prevent his mind from wandering to the day he lost his future, his purpose, that Valentine’s Day five years ago.  But he could not prevent his numbed mind from reviewing his life and recalling the day his reason for being was erased.

                                              * * *

While in college, Jim developed a drinking problem, and it lingered after graduation.  He found a job as an accountant, worked hard during the day and drank hard during the night.

A friend from work wanted to fix Jim up with a girl.  A date was arranged, a Dutch-treat dinner.  Jim arrived at the Italian restaurant early, sat at the bar drinking red wine when a stunning woman with long black hair walked in searching for someone.  She approached Jim and said, “I’m Debbie Wilson, could you be Jim Reed?”

Jim could not believe that this woman was his blind date.  He gulped down his wine, took her hand, and headed for the restaurant area.  He drank less than he usually did on a blind date and just enjoyed talking to Debbie.  Before he knew it, they had spent two hours over dinner, and he was sober.  He wanted to pay for dinner but Debbie demanded to pay her own way.  She smiled and said, “Next time you can treat.”  This brought a grin to Jim’s face.  Debbie paid her part of the bill, and as the cashier placed the change in her hand, Debbie exclaimed, “What’s this?”  She looked down at the dirty white penny in her hand.

“That’s a steel penny,” Jim explained.  “One year, during World War II, pennies were made of a lead composite in order to save copper in order to make shell castings.”

Debbie’s eyes brightened as she said, “This is going to be my lucky penny and always remind me of this night.”

Their relationship grew into love, and six months later they were married.  They bought a small house and soon Debbie was pregnant.  Jim’s life had a hope he had never imagined as he watched Debbie grow with their child.

They found a hospital providing a room for natural birth, but had the facilities to cope with any problems that might occur.  One day, as Debbie was preparing a special dinner to celebrate a special day, her water broke.  Jim rushed her to the hospital thinking, “By the time this Valentine’s Day is over, I’ll have two loves, not one.”

After they entered the hospital, a nurse took Debbie’s blood pressure and immediately had her rushed to the emergency room.  Debbie’s eyes reflected the fear Jim felt as he sat at her bedside.  When Debbie began to convulse, Jim was escorted to the waiting room.

Hours later their obstetrician entered the waiting room and sat next to Jim.  The doctor’s eyes never left the floor.  In a soft voice he told Jim, “I’m sorry but your wife is gone, we lost the baby girl too.  If you will come with me, I’ll take you to your wife.”

Jim felt horror, shock and helplessness all at once.  On shaky legs he followed the doctor and soon found himself standing next to a bed and staring down at Debbie’s pretty face.  She seemed so much at peace while Jim was in such torment.

The next few days were a blur; Jim drank himself into numbness while friends and family expressed their regrets.  Jim stayed numb for five years, never cried over his loss, keeping the grief tied up inside.  He stayed numb as he was fired and eventually lost his house.  He had been homeless for two years now and just didn’t give a damn about anyone or anything.

                                                * * *

Jim left the park and made his way into the city.  He mumbled, “That god damned day is here,” as he sat on the grate of an office building immersed in the steam, trying to stay warm.  The hour was late and the street strangely deserted.  Steam created an odd glow around the streetlamps. Through the mist, a small girl approached and stood before him.

“I’d like to help you mister,” she said.

Jim yelled, “Get the hell away from me,” but the girl wouldn’t budge.  She just stood before Jim as her eyes filled with tears.

 “I’d like to help you mister,” she repeated as she placed a small cloth sack before Jim.  As she turned to leave she said something strange, “We love you.”

Jim watched through the mist as the girl departed; saw the tall figure of a woman waiting in the distance for the child.  The child stood next to the woman and they joined hands as they looked back, and then melted into the mist.

Jim sat there, drinking from his bag and lifted the small cloth sack.  He opened it and spilled its contents into his hand.  He sat there looking at the single dirty white penny.  He lifted the paper bag to his lips, and then tossed it away as tears coursed his face.

 

 

                                              THE END

 

February 14, 2016 at 8:11 pm Leave a comment

Kurt Vonnegut – ‘So It Goes’

When you read the last line of this article, you should know that Dresden was bombed by the British.  No matter who did the bombing, war is hell.

Today in Literature presents Kurt Vonnegut – ‘So It Goes’, and other stories about the great books, writers, characters, and events in literary history.

Source: Kurt Vonnegut – ‘So It Goes’

February 13, 2016 at 10:12 pm Leave a comment

SCIENCE FICTION AND ROMANCE

WAR OF THE WORLDS

 

For my blog, I don’t write long pieces.  I want to make my point and hold my readers’ attention.  (Notice I use the plural, perhaps wishful thinking.)  Not boring those reading my words.

This may gain your attention.  The entry following this discusses a story of haunting romance, a story captivating me most of my life, along with classic science fiction.

I seldom watch movies more than once, but there are exceptions.  Every chance I get I watch War of the Worlds – the original starring Gene Barry.  For those who may have missed it, he also appeared for a moment at the end of the remake starring Tom Cruise.  In some respects the remake has details reflecting H. G. Wells’ classic novel closer to the original movie.  Let me discuss these comments in more detail.

The original, made in the 1950’s, scared the hell out of me when I was a kid.  The way the suspense builds is magnificent.  Unfortunately, after multiple viewings, I have found some incidents which make little sense.  For one, when to original ship lands it is too hot to approach, yet when Gene Barry, and his almost girlfriend use the wooden farm and another ship lands destroying part of the house, the structure does not catch fire.  Also, for the act which finally results in the death of the Martians is that they venture into a new world without any protective gear.  Would a civilization traveling through space take that chance?  Maybe, if you enjoy something, you should not revisit it multiple time, and keeping the love alive.

Now for the remake starring Tom Cruise. The weaknesses are strong, yet also keep true to the book.

If you watch the movie you may remember when Cruise and his daughter are trapped in a cellar with a character played by Tim Robbins.  I could wrong about it being Robbins.  I’ve been wrong before.  I believe the character Robbins represents is a minister who is killed by the protagonist in the book.  This act of murder is hinted strongly in the movie.  But before this event, Robbins tells Cruise the belief is that the Martian machines were buried on the Earth a million years ago.  I should mention that the Martians come to Earth by way of lightning strikes to power up their machines.  Here comes the ‘give me a break’.  It’s like burying a Model T, and in the meantime, your society develops spacecraft able to travel twice the speed of light.  Yet, to save your civilization, you use the Model T.  Don’t you think that the Martians would have used technology which currently existed?

To the remakes credit, they do depict the Martian’s machines closer in the book than what the original movie.  But overall, I feel the original movie is the best.

Now onto the romance.

February 7, 2016 at 10:12 pm 1 comment

ARTHUR C. CLARK AND I: WE THINK THE SAME BUT HE IS THE BETTER WRITER

I’m sure you’ve read multiple blogs and messages wishing you ‘Happy New Year’.  Well of course I wish you that, but I also wish you a ‘Productive New Year’.  Whatever you do, do more of it and do it well.  Make this a year you’re proud of and can look back on with happiness.  I’m going to try to accomplish those goal.  We’ll see what happens.

 

He is the better writer by about 100 orders of magnitude, but I’m trying to catch up.

But seriously, I am in the process of reading his novel, The Songs of Distant Earth.  I was lucky enough to be able to search a mass of science fiction novels donated to a small local library.  Books for which no room existed.  When I saw this novel in the boxes of donations, I immediately acquired the book to bring home.  I’m happy I did for now a novel I planned to write, formally on the back burner, is now going into the incinerator.

Let me explain.

I had written a short story, December Omen, as yet unpublished.  I will try to find this work a home in the coming year.  The work dealt with the end of the world, not a unique subject, but I thought I had a lock on a new scenario.  Turns out, Clark beat me to it.  We both end the world, but by different means.  We both send mankind into the cosmos in order to survive.  I through frozen embryos; Clark through genetic material and robotic factories to manufacture mankind on some remote Earth-like planet.

At this point, let me include a fact I know I read somewhere.  Whether it is reality or conjecture I do not remember.  Chalk that up to maturity (senility).  The article dealt with DNA, a very stable molecule, and the possibility to incorporate information using its structure.  What a concept!  How much information could reside in a gram of DNA?

However, what inspired this piece was a common scenario in both our stories.  In the new planet was created no religions would exist.  For reasons look at today’s newspaper or read a little history.  I could not believe Arthur C. Clark and I had the same thoughts.  The commonality, unfortunately, ends in that single instant.

January 4, 2016 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

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