December 13th, 2006


Hannibal Rising, the Short Version

Thomas Harris' Hannibal Rising in five hundred words or less:

"We have reached that random point in the plot where I need to introduce some looted art treasures," said Popil. "So I need your help tracking down your family's long-lost Leonardos and Titians."

"Ah, good," laughed Hannibal. "I expect the looters are the same people who killed my family. That will give me an excuse to go to Lithuania and kill a few of them in graphic detail."

"I know you executed those people and ate some of their flesh," Popil snarled, "but I can't prove it."

"Oh Noh, Hannibal," sobbed Lady Murasaki, undoing her gown and exposing her nakedness. "You can take me if you renounce your course of violence."

Prequels: show me a good one.

The Zombie Plan.

What's your zombie plan?

It's really simple: on the day of Zombie Apocalypse, perhaps because of viral TVs, perhaps not, but perhaps, I plan to have myself cyrogenically frozen. This will be in the first days of infestation, of course, because everyone knows the power goes off eventually. Workers stop working. Zombie workers never run power stations. They just shamble around eating and decaying. So, in an effort to defeat this, within the first twenty-four hours of infestation, I will have myself killed, and then cryogenically frozen. It'll just be my head, I suppose, but I won't terribly miss my body. I figure any period of futre that can cure my decapitation can give me a new body. Stage two of the plan, however, is to ensure that a rocket is readied.

Stage two has already taken place, actually. It was the preparation stage. A large rocket. In it is a nice freezer for my head. I will be placed into this rocket and, before the first twenty-four hours of infestation is up, I will be shot into space, where I will either find an orbiting pattern over Earth, or plow through the galaxy, looking for a super advanced society to glue my head onto a body and bring me back to life.

The rest of you?

Well, who gives a fuck about the rest of you.

I imagine, as the rocket that takes my frozen mind out of the atmosphere takes off, and there's that rush of fuel and fire and that explosion, I imagine, I just do, I imagine hundreds of shambling corpses igniting in its wake, a burning farewell of which not even the dreaded hint of cliche will be able to diminish.

(This is part of the Ask Me A Question, Get An Answer thing I'm doing on this blog. Anything goes.)
  • Current Music
    tex perkins - can't say no

In Which I Help the Helpless

We are flying into Darwin in late February for the sole reason that we can get a $100 roundtrip there from Bangkok. Any recommendations on how to get out of Darwin cheaply and over to, oh... Sydney or Cairns with an eventual destination of Wellington, NZ?

Cheap domestic flight would be your best bet, I think. It'll probably run you a couple of hundred bucks per person to get to Sydney (try for the cheaper services like Virgin and Jetstar, if the latter run out of there), but the extra money will save you the agonising time spent in a coach or on a train. If, however, you don't mind the time spent in travel, you could always hire a car in Darwin, and drop it off at Sydney or Cairns, and jump from camping ground to camping ground at night--they're not very expensive and, I believe, there is a map of them around online. A friend of mine did it from Bundaberg and had a great time, though it took him four or five days. Car rental might set you back some, though. The cheapest alternative, I believe, is to take a coach, but really, all that time spent in a bus?

If all that fails, hitchhiking gets the nod. All those murderers of visiting foreigners are long caught, or so the TV tells me.

(This is part of the Ask Me A Question, Get An Answer thing I'm doing on this blog. Anything goes.)
  • Current Music
    the cruel sea - better get a lawyer

Something About Writing.

Your work has some wildly different voices to it. Which one do you enjoy writing in the most?

I probably find that modern, third person style I've got most enjoyable to write. It's the most natural, the one in which I don't, later, have to weed language tics out of, and which allows me to write the dialogue I like. Quick, snappy dialogue is my favourite thing to write, so anything that allows me a moment to write that is always a good bit of fun (and it's why I started using that dialogue style, so I could just cut out everything resembling a bit of scene setting). But largely, I just find that when the voice and the story mesh, I enjoy writing it, simple. When the voice and the story don't mesh and the tone and pacing of the story just gets fucked, it stops being enjoyable, and becomes a chore. Mostly because I'm fixing what got fucked and there's no one to blame but me.

What influences have ... er ... influenced these various voices (i.e., who do you like to read and who, among those you like to read, have ... um ... influenced you)?

What doesn't influence me is probably a question that'll get you a shorter list. For me, when I pick up a book or a graphic novel or poetry or play or anything else you can read or learn a narrative from, there's bound to be a trick or turn of phrase that I works its way into me, even if it's just by osmosis. Sometimes it's a bad trick that I reckon I can perform better.

But, more specifically, I've always enjoyed George Orwell, and I suppose I got a little too much of his non-fiction right after High School, when I was an impressionable sort. I remember Michael Ondaatje's Coming Through Slaughter having a big influence on me. It's a small book, but Ondaatje throws just about every style he has into it. Likewise, I found Charles Bukowski when I was young and impressionable, though fortunately it didn't end badly for me. Possibly because the first book of his I read was Pulp. Fritz Leiber was always impressive, and I learnt a lot from reading his books and short fiction. Haruki Murakami. All that fantasy I read as a kid. All the American comics I read, especially for dialogue. The list is huge. I'm looking round at books right now and thinking, 'Yeah, that, and that, and that...'

My biggest problem is, nowadays, when I write, I don't want any voices near me because of that kind of influential thing. It fucks with the specific voice I'm creating for whatever I'm writing, so I tend to stop reading fiction when I write now. Then, once I finish something, I'll go through two or three books, and then go back and write for a month or however long till I'm done with what was in my head. Weird and wanky, hey?

(This is part of the Ask Me A Question, Get An Answer thing I'm doing on this blog. Anything goes. If it makes it till Friday, it'll end then.)
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    the butterfly effect