Scary Musings on the Future

Ah, the 2010’s, the decade where it all fell apart. 😈

As this nightmare decade draws to a close, I sit back on the sidelines and contemplate where the creative world is now, how it became that way, and what will be in the future.
We all know damn well that “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” would not get published now, in fact they almost weren’t published back in the day.
Twilight Was Rejected Fourteen Times Before Being Accepted

How Many Times Was Harry Potter Rejected By Publishers?
The Answer:

Twelve times or twenty-two times, but this doesn’t help you understand the present-day publishing climate.

The internet and the self-publishing industry have changed since the mid-1990s when Harry Potter was published. Rowling sent her submissions in as hardcopy and you would need to multiply twenty-two by at least a factor of four to get a reasonable comparison.

How many authors today are willing to get rejected (or ignored) hundreds of times?

Only the crazy ones, I’d guess.

“The Hunger Games” might still make it to print today, but it sure as hell would not be a movie trilogy in this Marvel day and age.

So now that the “movie-from-book” Golden Goose is cooked, what happens when the Marvel movie arcs runs their course, as is eventually inevitable?

Not my circus, not my white elephants… 😈

Skeleton Writer

The Real World Of Harry Potter

The Real World of Harry Potter
©July 15, 2011 by Daven Anderson

The Harry Potter saga has been a significant source of inspiration for my novel, Vampire Syndrome. No, my muse is not Severus Snape. Or Remus Lupin, for that matter. What has inspired me the most is the seamless interweaving of the magical and muggle worlds, and the power with which it bonds to all Harry Potter readers. Would any muggle pass up the opportunity to take one of London’s many Harry Potter Tours? The only downside: you might have to keep an eye on your kids to make sure they don’t smash luggage trolleys into the Platform 9¾ wall or try sneaking into the actual building used for the exterior shots of Gringotts Bank.

The power of blending fantasy and reality worlds is not limited to Harry Potter. Just ask anyone who’s been to Forks, Washington, recently. Before Twilight, you couldn’t have dragged the average young girl there, kicking and screaming. Now, if you’re a parent, your adolescent daughter(s) will drag you there, kicking and screaming. Good thing I have a pulse and my skin doesn’t sparkle, or the ever-present mob of middle-school-age girls prowling the streets of Forks would have ripped me to pieces in piranha-like fashion.

Many of us living in the Denver area write stories based in Colorado. We seem to be following a variation of an ancient rule, in this case expressed as “write where you know.” Why not? It worked for Joanne Rowling. Who among us wouldn’t smile standing next to the “real” Platform 9¾, walking into the Leaky Cauldron, or even driving your rental (excuse me, hire) car over the bridge where the Knight Bus squeezed past the double-decker buses?

Joanne Rowling made the most of her location. So should all other authors. Don’t all authors harbor the dream that people would tour our novel’s locations with the enthusiasm of those currently visiting London or Forks?

My vampire novel is set right here in Colorado. An odd choice? Ten years ago, Forks, Washington, would have seemed just as bizarre. Like Rowling, I make the most of my setting. Does anywhere else in the world have a better candidate for a “vampire” statue than Denver International Airport’s menacing, mysterious Blue Mustang? Conventional wisdom says never judge a book by its cover, but we all know people do anyway! It was a bit more complex to explain why vampires would choose to live in a location with over 300 days of sunshine a year, but I managed. This required some new interpretation of classic folklore. Again, why not? Stephenie Meyer chose cloud-covered, rainy Forks so her vampires could keep their sparkling skins hidden from direct sunlight.

For millions of readers, Rowling made actual locations magical and her fantasy world real. Others’ stories should do the same.

“The Radleys” book review

It’s no surprise that Alfonso Cuarón has signed on to direct the motion picture version of The Radleys.

Matt Haig’s twisted take on a family of vampires living in British suburbia is redolent of the “co-existence with normal neighbours” humor in the early books of the “Harry Potter” saga (including “The Prisoner of Azkaban”, of which Cuarón directed the film version).

But will the movie give us this thought from inside Will Radley’s head?
(from Page 306 in the U.K. novel version)

“I am Lord Byron.
I am Caravaggio.
I am Jimi Hendrix.
I am every bloodsucking descendent of Cain who ever breathed this planet’s air.
I am the truth.”

Lines like the above are why movies will never replace written words’ power to put you inside their characters’ heads. 😀

The basic plot: Peter and Helen Radley live a “normal” life in Bishopthorpe, their adolescent children Clara and Rowan unaware of their vampire status until Clara is turned by an unexpected event. Her brother Rowan then realizes he is the “freak” his taunting enemies have made him out to be.

Then the family has to deal with Peter’s nomadic brother, Will. A chap “allergic to responsibility”, and a fair bit more than just the Radley children’s “eccentric uncle”. 😈

“The Radleys” has been marketed for both adult and young adult readers, but many lines seem to aim for the “firmly adult” audience, such as (from Page 90, U.K. novel version):

“Or even the Stones, when the vampire was still with them.”

A bulls-eye for those of us who feel the Rolling Stones were never the same after Brian Jones left, maybe less so for young adults who may not “get” the above in-joke without the help of Google, Wikipedia, and/or their grandparents. 😉

That said, the anguish Clara and Rowan feel about their new lives will resonate powerfully with readers in every age group. Peter and Helen’s realistically depicted marriage is a nice counterpoint to the typical paranormal romance sagas where companionship is seen only through rose-colored glasses.

There is a great twist concerning Helen Radley’s past. Her brother-in-law Will, however, turns out exactly as any decently astute reader would expect him to. I was left wanting a little bit of a twist for Will, but this didn’t happen.

Other than this minor quibble, I give “The Radleys” four-and-a-half stars out of five. Light on gore, heavy on characters’ heartfelt emotions and Matt Haig’s wicked, sardonic sense of humor. I can recommend this novel for those who don’t usually like to read “vampire” novels. This is a novel I wouldn’t mind having written myself, although I would have had to make a few changes to pass my critique group’s strict standards. 😈

Special thanks to Canongate Books and Vampires.com for making this review possible! 😀