The Fourth of July holiday has come and gone. While others spend their time with fireworks and grilling hamburgers, for me 1996 gave birth to a new Fourth of July tradition, a film that must be watched every year.
I’m back with another reading recommendation for all you voracious readers out there. This time it is another short story entitled “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison.
Published in 1967, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is a classic of science-fiction horror. The story focuses on five humans who are held captive by a supercomputer, AM. The rest of the human race is gone, destroyed by AM decades ago. AM puts the five humans through various tortures as the story progresses, just as AM has tortured them continually for the last 109 years. “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream” is grotesquely dark and fascinating, portraying a living hell from which there is only one escape: death. But when one is made immortal by a supercomputer, is the escape guaranteed by death even possible?
During undergrad, my film professor said that were she trapped on a desert island, the two films she would want to have with her were Sunset Boulevard (1950) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The woman had impeccable tastes and inspired in me a deep love for horror and the macabre. While I am not sure about films, I have often thought about the books I would want with me on a desert island. The following, in no particular order, are some of my essential desert island books.
I discovered Hyperion late in high school when I had just started to really read book with depth, and what depth this book has! Simmons weaves the structure of The Canterbury Tales and the poetry of John Keats into a masterful scifi epic. A book one can read over and over, each new visit to Hyperion reveals nuances and references previously missed. It is a scifi epic that has something for everyone: a father worried deeply for his daughter’s health, a military man battleworn and weary, a forlorn poet in search of his muse, a detective searching for the answer to a complicated mystery.
Even though each traveler’s tale is different than the last—sometimes moving into what seems to be an entirely different genre—the shifts never feel awkward or disjointed. Simmons’ skill in storytelling shines here as each character spins a separate tale which gradually interweave and coalesce into a complete, interconnected whole.
Last year saw the release of Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman, and subsequently rebranded as Live. Die. Repeat. It is an adaption of the Japenese light novel All You Need is Kill by Sakurazaka Hiroshi.1
Edge of Tomorrow follows William Cage (Tom Cruise) as he is forced to fight on the front lines against the alien Mimics. In a disastrous battle, Cage is cornered by a Mimic and he detonates an explosive, killing them both. This would be the end for our brave protagonist in most other films, but instead Cage wakes from death at the beginning of the previous day only to return to the same battle to fight and die again as the film’s tagline suggests. Cage quickly discovers he is trapped in a time loop, the most recognizable example of which is most likely Groundhog Day (1993).
The end of February is here and it has been busy! As a result, I have two new releases for your reading pleasure: Two in the Bush and “Dead Meat Running.”
This last week I have been writing and editing up a storm with the result being a novelette, Two in the Bush, of 10,400 words. This piece was written for a contest on /r/WritingPrompts. Two in the Bush focuses on a down on his luck scavenger who tries to pawn off some items and gets a bit more than he bargained for in the end. Two in the Bush is written in first person perspective, a bit of a departure from my usual style, but it was a fun exercise to do something different for a change.