Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Immortal by Gene Doucette (2012)

You might remember that my favorite book of 2010 was Immortal by Gene Doucette. Well, it's being re-released (squee!) so I got Gene to come by and tell me about the re-release and what else he has coming up. If you haven't read Immortal yet now is a GREAT time to pick up a copy (click here! click!!).

Thanks for coming by the blog today, Gene! I was so excited to see that you are re-releasing Immortal and have a sequel coming out soon, too. Everyone knows I'm a huge fan of the book - or at least they will when they see me quoted on the back cover now! When you started Immortal did you think you would have other books coming after it?

I don’t think I was thinking of anything special when I started writing Immortal. I was just hoping I could make it to the end. But then I funny thing happened...

See, the first draft of Immortal had a different ending than the one everyone is familiar with. Specifically, some questions that I ended up leaving open were not initially left open. (All right, maybe that was an abuse of the word “specifically.”) But the story didn’t work with all of that information crammed in at the end so in the rewrite I pulled out a lot of expository/revelatory information, and once I did that I knew there was going to have to be at least one more book.

And, since I didn’t use all of that information in Hellenic Immortal, there will have to be at least a third book.

A third book! Exactly what I was hoping you would say. For anyone who doesn't understand how excited this makes me you should probably check out the article I wrote about Immortal over on my sister blog Writing Insight. Gene, you know I love not just talking to you about your books but about how you write your books. I'm hoping to find out how you do it so well! So now I have to ask what is the best part of writing multiple books? What’s the worst part?

The best part is I get to write as Adam some more. As a reader you (I hope) enjoy reading what he has to say, but the pleasure is all mine. I’m hoping he never runs out of things to talk about so I never have to stop writing for him.

The worst part? There are a lot of potential pitfalls. For one thing, since I am writing from a very narrow first person perspective it is very difficult to not repeat myself. Keeping Adam interesting is just in general somewhat challenging at times, because sometimes it seems like he doesn’t have anything new to say about a certain thing. And since he is so fond of throwaway comments about certain people or events, I have to be extremely careful not to contradict myself by, say, putting him in two different historical places at the same time.

What are your plans from here?

I need to write that third book. I’m cramming on the Euro-Asian historical period from the fall of the Roman Empire to about 1450, Celtic mythology, and advanced physics. Hopefully that will give me all I need to flesh something out. Beyond that I have a completed novel called Fixer I’m hoping to roll out next year in time to keep everyone looking for the third Immortal book from forgetting about me while I finish it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Back in Time Review: The Mothman Prophesies (2002)

We all have "those" movies. The ones that we return to again and again even though we can't always explain why. The Mothman Prophesies isn't a great movie. It's good, but not great. And the actors don't exactly put it over the top. I'm not much of a fan of Richard Gere, I like Debra Messing but she isn't in it much. It is the first film where I noticed Laura Linney, who I adore, but she isn't in it a ton either.  The really standout performance is the crazy guy played by Will Patton (won't ruin it for you, but you'll know who I mean) and he isn't in it the whole time either. If you read the real accounts it isn't really "true" to those stories, so it's not the crypto-nerd points. It's just... everything. It's a quiet, subtle movie that slowly reaches up and takes hold of you the way that all classic horror stories do. It gives you more questions than answers, more chills than thrills. But it all adds up in a way that will probably make leave all the lights on when going to bed.

The Mothman Prophesies is loosely based on some mysterious reports in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia back in the 1960s. Residents reported having seen a large (often seven feet tall) man-shaped being with wings and glowing red eyes. All of those reports seemed to come in advance of a catastrophe in the town.

From a plot perspective they make a good choice with having the main character be a high-power investigative journalist -- John Klein played by Richard Gere. That career (and some other personal things) make his drive to figure out what's going on very believable and create a thread that the real accounts don't have. John Klein arrives at Point Pleasant under somewhat mysterious circumstances and that also makes his quest for the truth have some weight.

What's particularly enjoyable to those of us who watch so many things like this is that the Mothman is just downright different. You get to a point where you're tired of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. Mothman is something else. I could write a whole post about what the Mothman might be, but don't want to ruin it for you if you haven't seen it yet. So watch it now and we can discuss it on Twitter!

The Commander's Rating: Four out of five Vulcan salutes.
Pros: A creepy, thinking-person's horror movie with an unusual supernatural phenomenon based on real accounts from the 1960s. If you're a Gere fan I think this is one of his most engaging performances. Laura Linney (Connie Mills), Alan Bates (Alexander Leek), and Will Patton (Gordon Smallwood) all turn in highly engaging performances.
Cons: Not the right film if you are looking for a scream a minute. Also, maybe you don't want to get the Mothman's attention.
Recommendation: Late night fare so that the quiet creepiness can really get to you. Be prepared to be intrigued. For your convenience here's the link to the Mothman wikipedia entry but I suggest you watch the movie first since they didn't follow the accounts very closely and I think foreknowledge would just be distracting. And as a caution here's a link to our own Mothman experience.