The moon, a filmy oozing orb framed by the blackest of nights, bathed my sleeping chambers in a most menacing light. Freshly awoke from a feverish slumber, this state of affairs did little to dispel a sense of unease, no doubt emanating from the disturbing dream that I now feel compelled to share with you. Seized by the wonderlust, I sunk my fangs deep into the warm and throbbing jugular of the Internet. I was immediately overwhelmed, nearly driven mad by the ceaseless babble of meta-data coursing through my neural circuitry. Of particular note were three twisted tomes, whose titles were repeated over and over, like some sort of perverse mantra, an unholy chant if there ever was one. All I can say, dear reader, is that if you decide to proceed further, please prepare to be scared witless…
Posted by Bill Good
Steven Bein’s Daughter of the Sword is a story taking place on numerousl levels. A detective is assigned to look into an attempt to steal a samurai sword from elderly professor Yasuo Yamada. In between passages, we are given a glimpse into the history of this blade, and others from the same forge.
More than a century before the other great sword makers of Japan were beginning, Inazuma was crafting his blades. To most, his story is little more than fanciful legend. Few realize he was real, and that his swords still exist. They have traveled down the centuries, cherished by those who hold them, because Inazuma put magic as well as superb steel into his work. But magic is not always benign.
Mariko Oshiro, the first female Detective Sergeant of the Tokyo P.D., has been assigned a task below her skills and pay-grade, looking into an attempt to steal a samurai sword. Professor Yamada knows what he has, and dares not whisper the truth to his peers, for his expertise would be dismissed did he talk of Inazuma. Detective Oshiro needs to learn of swords and swordsmanship, if she is to stop a dangerous Yakuza who already owns one such blade, and will stop at nothing to have another.
“If you have any interest in Japanese culture, samurais, bushido…ah hell, just read it…freaking epic.”
Posted by Anne Nelson.
The Library’s free Tuesday night Film Festival has not yet started for the fall season, and the free movies screened by Art in the Public Eye (every Friday night in City Park) are just wrapping up now. So what can you do if you really, really like coming downtown to watch movies on a big screen? First, be patient: our Film Festival is starting again soon and it’s going to be a good one (because it always is). But for the meantime, you might check out The Wood Theater’s calendar. Their movies are not free (it’s $5 for a ticket), but they’ve chosen some fun titles, including the quintessential 1980s time-travel picture: “Back to the Future”. Coincidentally, if you went to all the free A.P.E. movies then you already saw the loony, loopy “Time Bandits”, which is a terrific (albeit less-famous) 1980s time-travel picture. So what do you do if after “Time Bandits” and “Back to the Future” you want more 80′s-era time-travel movies? How about borrowing some titles from the Library and hosting your own 1980s time-travel picture night? I would suggest: “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” for the kids, “Terminator” for the bigger kids, and perhaps “Donnie Darko” and “Hot Tub Time Machine” for the grownups. And “Star Trek IV” of course. All are available here at Crandall and all are worth revisiting. Well, maybe not “Hot Tub Time Machine,” but it’s certainly worth watching once if you’ve never seen it. And all the rest are worth revisiting, even “Star Trek IV.”
Brother in law Bob said that I Like Killing Flies is the bomb. What about Bob you say? Well, he’s a fine father to my nephews, and a ferocious foodie. Given the latter, I just had to check this one out. Much to my delight, the library has the film, which according to the blurb on the cover is a Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Nominee. Serious cred for shizzle.
Gritty and genuine feeling, the film has the ambiance of a meal at South Street staple Pete’s Diner. It chronicles Kenny Shopsin, his dining establishment, and the cast of characters populating his universe. Mr. Shopsin is by turns delightfully philosophic and crusty. In fact, he is the inspiration for the classic Seinfeld character the Soup Nazi. If the essence of cool is making something out of nothing, then Mr. Shopsin has definitely got it going on, as he is apparently capable of generating nine hundred dishes with limited ingredients and space. This one is culinary theater of the most original sort, has a flavor all its own, and is recommended without reservations.
“If Russell Banks hadn’t become a writer, he thinks he would have wound up stabbed to death in a barroom brawl. He is the son of a two-fisted, drunken New England plumber, and the grief of fatherly combat resonates through his work like the background radiation of the big bang.” –Amazon
Visceral. Lost Memory of Skin evoked a visceral response. On more than one occasion, the act of reading it left me downright queasy, stomach tied in knots. Mr. Banks has penned a brutal bare knuckled novel that punched my buttons, left me prose drunk and reeling. It’s a literary left hook to the conscience, and certainly unsuitable for the faint of heart. Dark matter indeed. By turns vile and sublime, I often found myself watching the clock at work, desperate for the day’s toil to be done, so that I could go home and read some more. I could not get enough. I am not ashamed to admit that on more than one occasion I lied to friends and lovers in order to climb back in the ring with this one. I hung with it to the final bell, and all I can say is, Russell, you beat me up, but I feel you, I really do.
The Monday Evening Book Group gathered on May 20, 2013 to discuss Thomas Cleary’s illuminating The Essential Koran: the Heart of Islam. The Koran is the subject of much attention these days, and given that the group is composed of some seriously curious sorts, this was an intellectual itch just begging to be scratched. Our purpose—to neither convert nor condemn—arose out of a desire for greater understanding.
Posted by Bill Good.
I’ve been hounding readers for submissions, and my friend Bill Good was kind enough to pass along the following thoughts on far-out Urban Fantasy novel Mob Rules, which was penned by talented newcomer Cameron Haley.
Dominica (call her Domino) Riley was born on the wrong side of the tracks, and the wrong side of the law. Some folks get out, some stay, some prosper. Domino’s prospered. She’s got a little something extra going for her. She can handle the juice. And she can handle it well enough that she’s second in command to Shanar Rashan, the Turk. Rashan’s really a 6,000 year old Sumerian, but in the L.A. Underworld he’s known as the Turk.
Things have been quiet, business has been going well, but now one of Domino’s crew is dead. Skinned and squeezed. By someone using juice. And as the Turk’s representative, it’s up to Domino to find out who, why, and make an accounting for it. She’s a gangster, not a detective, but her people expect her to get the answers and get payback, so she’s doing what she can. And she’s got the juice to do a lot…
I enjoy Urban Fantasy, and I enjoyed this variant of it. It’s a different take from anything else I’ve read, and the idea that most magic users end up on the outside of the law makes quite a change from the more standard heroic setting.
Mob Rules is the first entry in the Underwold Cycle series. The second installment is fresh of the presses, is titled Skeleton Crew, and you can snag a copy here.