January 29, 2006
All You Do to Me Is Talk, Talk:
January 28, 2006
To many, it might be old news, but I just read S. E. Hinton's
Hawkes Harbor (Tor Books, 2004) which was originally scheduled
to be the third novel in the HarperCollins' Dark Shadows series, to which
Elizabeth Massie and I contributed
Dark Shadows: Dreams of the Dark. When Harper canceled their
entertainment division (HarperPrism), sadly, the whole Dark Shadows
line went with it. Being one of the writers in the series, I probably
looked at Hinton's novel from a slightly different perspective than the average
reader, so I thought I'd post the following review, which I wrote for the
Dark Shadows fan forum,
Bear in mind, this
review is primarily geared to fans of the show, who are familiar with the
storyline and characters; there be spoilers here.
In and of itself, S.
E. Hinton's Hawkes Harbor is not a bad book; as an entry in the Dark
Shadows novel series, however, it would have flopped mightily.
I enjoyed Hinton's prose, and she developed a convincing background for Jamie
(Willie Loomis) Sommers. It's easy to envision John Karlen in the role and Dennis
Patrick playing Kellen (Jason McGuire) Quinn in flashback fashion, particularly
in their travels around the world. Her delving deeply into Jamie's psyche --
devastation he feels being a victim of a vampire -- is masterful, and that rich
character development is what keeps the novel going.
The other characters, however, are a complete bust. I have no idea how much she
altered them to make Hawkes Harbor a stand-alone novel, but the character
of Grenville (Barnabas Collins) Hawkes is so far removed from anything Jonathan Frid
would have portrayed that one has to forget the novel's origin as an entry in
the DS series -- not so easy when you consider that Jamie Sommers and Willie
Loomis are virtually interchangeable. Mind you, in some scenes, I can see Ben
Cross (from the 1991 Dark Shadows revival series) delivering Grenville's lines, but even that becomes a stretch after a
while. I honestly don't know if Hinton purposefully worked the dialogue so that
there'd be no real resemblance to Barnabas or if it was due to a lack of
understanding of the character; given her sharp portrayal of Jamie/Willie, the
latter seems doubtful. Taken as a unique character, Grenville isn't terribly
interesting, although the growth of his relationship with Jamie has its moments,
especially at the novel's conclusion.
Louisa (Julia Hoffman) Kahne bears some slight resemblance to her television
counterpart, though she tends to be more sharp-tongued and self-centered than
the "real" Julia. While most of the other characters are recognizable as Collins
family members and Collinsport townspeople, none of them are developed to any
great extent. While both Grenville and Jamie are quite smitten with Katie
(Maggie Evans) Roddendem, apart from an "unusual" sexual liaison with Jamie,
she's almost a non-entity, generally in the background, occasionally intruding
on the main characters' thoughts.
(And yes there is a blooper, much-discussed in Dark Shadows fan
circles, in which Roger Collins and the Collins Shipping Co. are mentioned by
Structurally, the book tends to be a little disjointed, due to scenes occurring
in non-linear fashion, a plot device that can work when there's a point to it, but if
there is one in this case, it's fairly muddled. Action and suspense there is
none (with the possible exception of a few scattered moments during Jamie and Kellen's sea voyages). I think even fans who care
more about Dark Shadows' colorful characters than its occasionally
over-the-top action would be disappointed
by Hawkes Harbor's sedate pace and lack of adrenalin-inducing
I give it a marginal recommendation as a novel of dark fiction, with a nod to
Hinton's stylistic prowess.
* * * * *
Note that Lara
Parker's new Dark Shadows novel,
The Salem Branch, (a sequel to her original entry in the series,
Angelique's Descent), is scheduled for release in July 2006 (Tor Books).
January 25, 2006
Got the nice news today that I've sold my story, "Lake of Shadows," to
The Book of Dark Wisdom, which has become one of my favorite
small press magazines. It will be featuring "Terror From Middle Island,"
which I co-wrote with Durant Haire, in issue number 9, coming up this
as well post it now...World Fantasy Award-winning Sarob Press (UK) has
accepted my novel, The Nightmare Frontier, to be published as a
signed and limited hardback edition, probably in late summer 2006. I'll
soon be putting together a nice
promo page for the novel. In the
meantime, you can read an excerpt
January 23, 2006
My latest essay for Storytellers Unplugged is now finished. Look for it on
January 22, 2006
daughter Allison was home for several days, and she called this evening on her
way back home -- a truck hit something on the side of the road, which flew up
and cracked her windshield. She's fine, but if it's not one thing, it's another.
She made contact with the driver of the truck, so I hope they'll work it out
where she doesn't have to pay to get the damned thing replaced.
time on writing and promo stuff this weekend; completely rewrote an old story
called "Zeitgeist," now titled "The Spiders of Galley Cove." Quite different
from the original version. Also started my new Storytellers Unplugged column
this evening. Managed some quality time with the missus and young'un watching
movies on DVD too; caught The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which I like a
lot (I'd seen it at the theater when it first came out); Kingdom of Heaven,
which was pretty good, but more Lord of the Rings than history, I think;
and The Heebie Jeebies, a low-budget horror flick so disjointed and
un-creepy I nearly zonked out on it. Probably would've been better off if I had.
Received payment for my story in Shivers IV, which will come in handy,
given all our recent expenses. Phooey, though; I was hoping to spend at least a
portion of it on something fun. Well, we did go out for sushi on Wednesday
night, so that counts. And Mexican dinner on Friday. Also goot.
January 19, 2006
Well, if our travel budget for 2006 hadn't been shattered by having to replace
the water heater and heat pump/AC, it pretty much has now. Peg and I just had to
spend $600 each on our respective vehicles, and since we don't have $1,200 just
lying around looking for something to do, it's gotta come out of what we've been
trying to put away for something a little more fun. Still going to try to make
Horrorfind this summer, but that's going to be about it for the big shows.
January 17, 2006
Received a copy of
Insidious Reflections #5, which features Stephen
Sommerville's interview with me, conducted at Fright Fest back in October. I'm
always a little bemused by interviews that were conducted "live," since
I don't have the ability to go back and fix the things that make readers
say, "Aha, another imbecile comes out of the woodwork." Still, I enjoyed
sitting down with Stephen at the Lazy Lion Bookstore, and I'd say he made the best of a tough
other decent news that I'll be announcing shortly.
January 15, 2006
with some friends last night, drank, and played a movie game called "Scene It,"
which was kinda fun. Stayed up half the night and slept late this morning.
Haven't done that in a while. Well, at least not since New Year's Eve.
brother Phred came for a visit, so we went out to Green's Supper Club
and ate at the oyster bar. I consumed many shellfish. And some dead cow.
managed to finish the revisions for
Blue Devil Island for Five Star this
evening. Got to
practice a little cartography and created a map of the Solomon Islands to go in
the book, which turned out quite decent. Didn't find any errors on Five Star's
part, which is good. (Those will no doubt all show up in the ARCs, which will
come down the line.)
January 13, 2006
I usually have good days on Friday 13ths, but today my computer at the office
bit the dust, leaving me to work on a second-rate machine down the hall, where
it was too hot and the chair was about as comfortable as a pile of broken
bamboo. No biggie, though, and tonight, Peg and I joined artist
Wayne Miller and his S.O. Carmen at the Taste of Thai restaurant for dinner,
which was friggin' fabulous. Thai food is quite the favorite of mine, and
tonight I had a broiled squid appetizer and soft -shell crab with tamarind and
pepper sauces. No complaints there.
worked diligently on proofing Blue Devil Island for the past few nights,
and I expect it'll take a couple of more to get it done. Nothing major by any
stretch, though I'm never very happy reading something I've written in the past.
Most times, I already know how it ends.
Battlestar Galactica is on in a little bit, so I'm a happy boy.
January 9, 2006
Five Star sent me the copy-edited file of Blue Devil Island for
me to proof -- though it's still about a year before the book comes out.
Spent most of the evening on that; only a couple of gaffes so far, both
mine. This one is a slow beast in the beginning, which begins to lumber
unstoppably onward, and I personally enjoy the hell out of where it
goes. I'll post any updates from the publisher here, of course.
January 7, 2006
Finished up my newest short story today; kept the title "Up From the
Underground," just because it seems most fitting, though I'm not terribly happy
with it. Probably appears on one of the most overused titles list. Regardless,
the story came out quite good, running 6,000 words, almost on the nose. This has
been a productive few months for me.
I'm gonna go watch something monstrous. Maybe a Godzilla flick!
January 4, 2006
I've put up my umbrella because I believe the sky is about to fall. Something
upstairs must have burst because, in the last couple of days, I've received more
fan mail than I've gotten in the last twelve months, leading me to believe that,
finally, I can claim that more than two human-type peoples have actually read
some of my fiction. Cthulhu approves.
Working hard on my newest tale, the "Up From the Underground" thingy, though the
title may yet change. It's meant to be a bit campy, but maybe not that
campy. 3,500 words so far.
January 1, 2006A late
Christmas present from our dear friends Dan and Maria Smith arrived
today: a plush Cthulhu in Miskatonic University graduation robes. Hoo
yeah! This one's hanging around in a prominent spot in my office now, I
can tell you.
Nice New Year's Eve last night, with Bill Trotter in attendance. Watched a
documentary on DVD about the Russian-Finnish War of 1939, which prominently
features his commentary, as he's quite the authority on the subject. His
The Winter War deals with the subject in detail; and for a look
at the period in fiction, his novel
Winter Fire is one of the best historical fantasies I've ever
read. Check them out.
I began a new tale, tentatively titled, "Up From the Underground" (subtitled "An
Account by Mike Pflug, Journalist, The Chicago Times-Bulletin"). This one's
something of a hardboiled, noir-esque tale of urban terror, intended for a
specific anthology. Managed just over 1,000 words this afternoon; will post
progress as it happens.