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An awesome classic trailer for one of my all-time favorite films, BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES. Straight outta the grindhouses of 1970, baby.

As a lifelong Apes buff, I’m glad to say I’m enjoying Boom Studios’ new PLANET OF THE APES comic. It really has that old-school greatness but with a modern storytelling sensibility. I highly recommend reading it, and watching (or rewatching) BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES. Exquisite pulp brilliance.

Starlight

When we look into the night sky we look into the past of the universe,
with some locations millions of light years ago…

Reality

 "Perception is different in different states of consciousness. Therefore reality is different in different states of consciousness. Every state of consciousness creates its own pattern of neurochemical circuits. The brain changes according to the state of consciousness." -- Chopra
  

LOVECRAFT EZINE #1...read it NOW and catch up on the last four issues. It's CREEPTACULAR!

Horror fans and Lovecraft afficionados have been darkly singing the praises of LOVECRAFT eZINE. Editor/founder Mike Davis and Crew offer monthly chills and thrills that “share the tone and themes of Lovecraft.”  That is, cosmic fear, or simply “weird fiction” if you prefer. Within that spectrum there is a vast array of possibilities for horror, dark fantasy, and beyond. Some of the zine’s current best include tales by horrormeister W.H. Pugmire, an Old School Gent when it comes to all things Lovecraftian, as well as stories by Joe Pulver and David J. West.

In its forthcoming August issue LOVECRAFT eZINE will be featuring my story “The Lord of Endings,” a tale inspired by Lovecraft’s Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, the Black Pharaoh, the Haunter of the Dark, the Faceless God and Messenger of the Old Ones. It’s also about hate, and the power it has to poison the dreams of the living. Fans of Lovecrafts’ Dreamlands stories will either love it or weep about it.

The inspired art at the site is done by Pat (mimulux). Above is the fantastic cover of the first issue. Issues #1-5 are available for reading at: http://lovecraftzine.com/

Check it out now and keep an eye open for “The Lord of Endings.”

Sweet dreams!
John

The world you experience everyday is your interpretation of it.

SEED OF MEMORY


Brave Dreams
That Are Kindled From Ashes
Rise Out Over All The Battle Below
Spread Wings Over All That He Passes
So His Life Can Stay Immortal 
To His Country
All The Shades Of Green That Fall Beneath This Tree
So Let The Winds Of Change
That Rearrange The Country
Let It Also Sow A Seed Of Memory

Marlena In The Cool Satin Sashes
Spread Dreams Over The Battle Below
Bring Love With A Song As She Passes
So His Life Can Stay Immortal
To The Country
And Let Every Man Aware Of Being Free
Mmm, When She Talks Of Times When Wine Is Handed To Me
From A Face That Walked Out Of A Memory

And Now That The Battle Is Done
And You Wake Up In The Morning
With The Sun Up In The Sky
Summer Never Gives You No Warning Then
Flowers Are Getting Thrown Up To Cover The Mud Up On The Line
Valleys Getting Greener And There's
Nothing But Love On Your Mind

Brave Dreams That Are Kindled From Ashes
Rise Out Over The Battle Below
Spread Wings Over All That He Passes
So His Life Can Stay Immortal
To The Country
Other Shades Of The Green That Brought For Me A Victory
But The Winds Of Change
Have Rearranged This Country

SEED OF MEMORY by Terry Reid

Momoa as Khal Drogo (left) and Conan of Cimmeria (right). One man, two barbarians.

Tonight’s episode of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES was written by the creator George R. R. Martin himself. And it was off the hook!

The show has been a slow build, and tonight Martin and Co. pulled the rip-cord. The result is one of the most thrilling, violent, fast-paced, and plot-twisting episodes since ROME’s second season.

Jason Momoa finally gets to cut loose as the barbarian horselord Khal Drogo. Upon watching it, one has no doubt that he will play a pitch-perfect Conan in the upcoming CONAN THE BARBARIAN movie.

This single episode of GoT had the bang of most Season Finales…but there is more to come. Tyrion, as usual, ends up being my personal fave of all the great characters. But it’s hard not to love the Kaleesi. Emilia Clarke is stunning and unforgettable as Daenerys Targaryen. The seeds of her great slave liberation are sewn right here as she curbs the bloodthirsty nature of the horse tribes.

So nice to see the author of the novels so essential and involved with the adaptation of his work.

Peace!

John

Emilia Clarke's version of Daenerys Targaryen steals the show on more than a few episodes.

REVOLUTION


“Consciousness includes human mental processes, but it is not just a human attribute. Existing outside space and time, it was “there” “before” those two words had any meaning. In essence, space and time are conceptual artifacts that sprang from primordial consciousness. The reason that the human mind meshes with nature, mathematics, and the fundamental forces described by physics, is no accident: we mesh because we are a product of the same conceptual expansion by which primordial consciousness turned into the physical world. The difficulty with using basic terms like “concept” and “physical” is that we are accustomed to setting mind apart from matter; therefore, thinking about an atom isn’t the same as an atom. Ideas are not substances. But if elementary particles and all matter made of them aren’t substances, either, the playing field has been leveled. Quantum theory gives us a model that applies everywhere, not just at the micro level. The real question, then, isn’t how to salvage our everyday perception of a solid, tangible world but how to explore the mysterious edge where micro processes are transformed into macro processes, in other words, how Nature gets from microcosm to macrocosm. There, where consciousness acquires the nature of a substance, we must learn how to unify two apparent realities into one. We can begin to tear down walls, integrating objects, events, perceptions, thoughts, and mathematics under the same tent: all can be traced back to the same source.”


— How Consciousness Becomes the Physical Universe
http://journalofcosmology.com/Consciousness140.html

Stone-Age Love

Just throwing up one of my favorite Frank Frazetta paintings today. 

 

BLACK GATE #15, a huge issue with my story “The Vintages of Dream” inside, is in the mail as you read this. It’s also available for downloading as a PDF file at: www.blackgate.com  So whether you like your fiction on paper or onscreen, BG’s got you covered.

I’m particularly pleased to share this issue with two of my good friends, Darrell Schweitzer and Fred S. Durbin. And there are so many other great stories and so much great artwork, I can’t stress it enough: This is the mag to get.

Here’s a preview of the art that goes with “The Vintages of Dream,” my story of a two-bit rogue who hits the bigtime when he robs the tower of a wine-making wizard. It’s a heist tale with an ironic edge and plenty of strange sorcery.

Ken Burles did a terrific job with the illustration:

www.blackgate.com

“You are not a passive observer in the cosmos.
The entire universe is expressing itself through you at this very moment.”

Static Movement Press’s new anthology of multi-genre monk tales, MONK PUNK, is finally available at Amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/Monk-Punk-J-French/dp/1617061166/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1304059327&sr=1-2

The book features my story “Where the White Lotus Grows,” which was inspired partly by my love of the ’70s KUNG FU television show (starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine).

Caine remains one of the most iconic characters in television, and for good reason. KUNG FU, which was co-developed by the great Bruce Lee, contrasted Zen and Taoist philosophy with the savage violence of the Old West. As a child, I spent hours absorbing the lessons of Caine and his venerable mentors, Master Kahn and Master Po, watching this peaceful soul wander through world of brutal conflict in search of peace. There has never been a television show with this much soul-deep wisdom at the very core of its concept.

“Where the White Lotus Grows” reimagines this idea of the “peaceful warrior” in a dark fantasy setting. It stars Kantoh, a Disciple of the Empty Hand. Imperial soldiers and demonic forces dog his steps as he walks a dangerous path whose destination even he does not know. But the greatest threat to his cryptic mission may be his own human compassion.

Other tales in MONK PUNK include horror, sci-fi, and other genres, with the presences of Eastern or Western style monks the one consistent element. According to the anthology’s editor A.J. French: “Monk Punk is a variant strain of science fiction where lovable monks are the heroes (or anti-heros) of events unfolding in a post-apocalyptic era, alt-history era, fantasy setting, or historical fiction setting.”

Here’s the complete Table of Contents:

The Second Coming by Joe Jablonski
Nasrudin: Desert Monk by Barry Rosenberg
The Last Monk by George Ivanoff
Snowfall by JC Andrijeski
Don’t Bite My Finger by Geoff Nelder
The Birth of God by Jeffrey Sorensen
Capital Sins in a Dominican Monastery by Gayle Arrowood
Suitcase Nuke by Sean Monaghan
Wonder and Glory by Adrian Chamberlin
The Just One by Willie Meikle
Vortex by Joshua Ramey-Renk
The Liturgy of Hours by Dean M Drinkel
Black Rose by Robert Harkess
The Cult of Adam by Mark Iles
Brethren of Fire by Zach Black
Xenocyte: A Kiomarra Story by Caleb Heath
The Path of Li Xi by A.J. French
Rannoch Abbey and the Night Visitor by Dave Fragments
Fistful of Tengu by David J. West
The Key to Happiness by R.B. Payne
The Power of Gods by Sean T. M. Stiennon
Citipati by Suzanne Robb
Where the White Lotus Grows by John R. Fultz

MONK PUNK is available right now at http://www.pillhillpress.com/books.html

Peace!
John

“I will step into the field of all possibilities and anticipate the excitement
that can occur when I remain open to an infinity of choices.”

GOOD & EVIL: A Definition

“Evil is that which creates suffering. Good is that which creates joy.”
–Deep C.

“Green Machine” (1992)

I’ve got a wind inside my head. The wind of understanding.” — KYUSS
That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

“Desires are seeds waiting for their season to sprout.
From a single seed of desire, whole forests grow…” –Chopra

JACKIE BROWN Reconsidered

It’s been said many times before that Age brings Wisdom. Sho’ nuff.

I am a HUGE fan of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, everything from RESEVOIR DOGS to INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. When a new QT movie is released, I anticipate it for weeks or months beforehand. And Quentin rarely disappoints. Until now, I’ve always considered his 1997 film JACKIE BROWN as the “weak spot” in his filmatic career, and couldn’t understand those who insisted it was QT’s best work. As of last night…I get it.

The first time I saw JACKIE BROWN was in its first run, December of 1997. I was 28 years old and married at the time, and I saw the film with my then-wife Jenny. I was expecting something as wild and off-the-wall as QT’s first two movies, and the director was still riding high on the phenomenal success of PULP FICTION (one of my all-time-faves, naturally). Unlike his first two movies, which were conceived and written from idea to script to celluloid by Tarantino himself, JACKIE BROWN was adapted from another writer’s work, in this case Elmore Leonard’s RUM PUNCH. That accounted for a very different feel and tone…and certain stylistic differences…that make JACKIE BROWN an entirely different experience that the Tarantino movies that came before—and after—it. I remember being mildly entertained, but a bit disappointed. My former wife and I agreed (keep in mind we were both 28 at the time) that it “Just wasn’t as exciting as Quentin’s other movies.”

Yet last night I viewed JACKIE BROWN again, for the first time since ’97. I’m no longer married, and I’m 41 years old. Let me tell you, my ability to identify with the two main characters here—world-weary bail bondsman Max Cherry and beleagured flight attendant Jackie Brown—is WAY more powerful at this age. Looking back, I don’t think I was in a place where I could connect with the chief theme of JACKIE BROWN…which is basically the idea of growing old and being stuck in a less-than-ideal existence. Max is tired of his con-chasing, bail-paying life, and Jackie knows her days being a “foxy mama” are numbered. These are two characters who come together because they share a concern for finding a path toward a better future. In the end, Jackie finds her way out (with Max’s help), but Max is ultimately too set in his ways to start a new life and run away with her.

The 28-year-old me left the theatre mildly entertained. The 41-year-old me could barely keep from weeping. The sheer artistry that Tarantino displays on this movie is stunning. It’s not a breakneck race to impress and shock…it’s a leisurely stroll through a cinematic world of desperate criminals. In fact, many of the characters, chiefly Jackie herself, spend scene after scene actually walking (usually with 70s soul music evoking the pathos and funky melancholy of the best blaxploitation movies).

Samuel L. Jackson is chillingly vicious as arms dealer Ordell Robbie, and Robert Forster is a rock, an American noir icon, as Max Cherry. The thing that impressed me the most as I reconsidered the film was the sheer versimilitude of the characters. These people seem REAL. Jackie, Max, Ordell, and even Robert Deniro’s ne’er-do-well thug Louis Gara and Bridget Fonda’s inspired portrayal of a SoCal pothead surfer-bitch Melanie Ralston, they talk, move, act, and FEEL like real people. They’re believable. Tarantino is great at evoking iconic characters and larger-than-life heroes and villans—but not here. This film, as Elmore’s novel, is about creating a vision only slightly removed from our own reality, where financial security is an elusive dream, street crime is a means to an end, where cops put leverage on whomever is available in the ongoing search to snare a big fish, and where middle-aged protagonists find each other but fail to capitalize on their shared tenderness.

The last scene, where Max declines to run away to Spain with Jackie and her stolen half-million dollars, is heartbreaking. As he answers the phone to take yet another bail bond order, she walks out of his life forever. Only when he hangs up the phone does his face reveal the pain and remorse of his indecision…he knows he should have taken this chance for a one-of-a-kind love affair. But the inertia of his own lonely existence kept him right where he is. Meanwhile, Jackie’s driving away with tears in her eyes, halfheartedly singing along to one of the most heart-rending soul songs imaginable, Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street.” The film opened with that same song, and now it has a new relevance for Jackie as she’s finally found a way out of the “ghetto.” She has a half-million dollars and will be set for life. But she’s alone.

Tarantino’s restraint throughout the entire film is what I didn’t quite understand the first time I saw JACKIE BROWN. Where were the wild action shots and the ultraviolence? They weren’t here, nor were they needed. QT was trying to create a glimpse into the “real” lives of “real” people struggling to make a dollar and find their own slice of the American Dream. Of course, as I’m many years older in 2011, I’m also moving a bit slower, so the speed of the movie was a lot easier to take. Overall, I’d say the 29-year-old me simply wasn’t “ready” to appreciate JACKIE BROWN.

I get it now. And I find myself hoping that Tarantino will take this type of measured, character-driven approach in his next movie—whatever it happens to be.

“I’m not saying what I did was alright,
Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day to day fight.
Been down so long, getting up didn’t cross my mind,
I knew there was a better way of life that I was just trying to find.
You don’t know what you’ll do until you’re put under pressure”
–Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street

Peace,

John

Strategies for Existence II

“Be comfortable with and embrace paradox, contradiction, and ambiguity.
It is the womb of creativity.”
— Deep C.