Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review - "Ransom of the Healer"

In any book review, there is always the potential for some plot point or other piece of vital information to be inadvertently leaked.  I will make my best effort to leave the stones turned face down, but also recommend you proceed with caution, as you should in reading any review of a book you have not already read for yourself.  After all, your own review upon entering the shiny, untrodden world of the unknown is really the only one that truly matters.  And rest assured, oh lover of the unexplored worlds lurking on bookshelves everywhere, the world found in the Ransom Series is one well worth adventuring.  But for now, the review of this, the first novel from A.C. Autry, “Ransom of the Healer.”

The pace in the first half of the novel is slower, as the primary characters are introduced and the world is created.  The author spins the web of the story line by line, pulling the reader into an unknown, mysterious new world a little at a time, carefully not revealing too much too quickly.  You spend most of the first half gaining an understanding that there are supernatural things afoot, but without understanding the full details.  A.C. Autry’s world for the Ransom Series is not just a new spin on well-travelled landscapes.  The author takes some fundamental concepts from the rich traditions of fantastical literature, and crafts an entirely new race of beings.  The setting is modern, so the idea is that these beings are among us even now - we just don’t know it.  The story is told from a “his” and “hers” point of view, alternating between Catryn and Nathan, and seeing the world through two sets of eyes, some of which might or might not even be human, effectively builds the mystery while providing the back story needed to move into the present action. 

The second half of the book is a breakneck speed race to the finish, only to find that the finish is just setting the stage for a much larger story to be continued in the next edition.  A.C. Autry hints at many subplots throughout the book, and leaves the reader with much to wonder about and speculate on.  The true power of this book is that the characters themselves become so important to you.  Kurt Vonnegut believed that a compelling story always required at least one character for the reader to root for.  In “Ransom of the Healer” the reader will find many such characters, and they are not your stock, two dimensional archetypes either.  They each carry their own backstory, their own flaws, and their own hopes.  All of which I can’t wait to find out more about as the series unfolds.

In the world of fantasy, the Ransom series breathes fresh air into a genre overrun by vampires and werewolves, and provides we lovers of worlds beyond our own an opportunity to visit a place that just might be there, if only we could see it.  I wait with eager eyes and space on my bookshelf for the sequel to “Ransom of the Healer.”  May it find its way to print quickly!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Swallowed by a whale.

Well, my goodness.

It has been a long time since my last blog posting, and for that I apologize.  I'm certain that all five of you have been deeply impacted by my absence.  The only excuse I can offer is that I was swallowed by a whale, and that pretty much took up most of my time for the last few months.

My whale was not a literal whale, of course.  My whale was comprised mostly of working long hours and then working some more long hours.  Not as exciting as a rogue orca, I know. 

After such a long hiatus, it would be safe to assume that I would have a backlog of topics to kick around and rant about, but the thing about being inside a whale is that pretty much all you think about while you are in there is the whale itself.  And no one really wants to read about all of that.

One thing that has started to bug me though, and it has bugged me enough that it managed to seep through the whale walls, is how extremely dang derivative everything has become in the world today. 

Every where I turn, everything is just a reboot or a reimagining of something else.  This is okay to a certain extent, but it has gotten out of control.  For example....

I recently became aware that there is a new version of Carrie coming out this year.  Okay.  I get it.  It was a great book and a really successful movie in 1976.  So much so that a sequel was created and released in 1999.  So much so that another remake was released in 2002.  And, apparently, so much so that we need another version of it to come out in 2013.  I'm sure it will be great.  The source material is great, so it's hard to screw it up, but come on.  It's a little too much, isn't it?  Do we really need to see it all over again?  We know it ends badly.  Blood.  Fire.  The works.

When you tack this on to the recent / upcoming remakes of Red Dawn, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, the Evil Dead, The Great Gatsby, Conan, Footloose, The Lone Ranger, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fright Night, the Karate Kid, Clash of the Titans, The Thing, The Last House on the Left, and the 4 million other films / TV Series that aren't readily available off the top of my head, it just too much..  AND, that doesn't even tap into the constant rebooting of superhero films, which relaunch every 5-6 years.

Okay... So I'm excited to see the Evil Dead remake.  I'm inconsistent and hypocritical. 

I'm also a shameless self promoter, and with that in mind....
The short film I worked on last year, which can be read about in more detail by clicking HERE, is being made into a full length feature film this summer.  You can make your own contribution to the demise of the hollywood remake merry-go-round by donating to the making of an original independent film.

You can help change the world, one zombie movie at at time!

If you are interested in contributing, click on the link below to go to the indiegogo donation page.  From there, you can also see the trailer and the original short film, and can interact with some of the cast and crew.  There are some really great prizes and giveaways for donating.  Go make me famous!

Blessings, until the next post find its way beyond the whale.