08 January 2014

Sisyphean Triumph, Promethean Binding, Red Rubber Gloves, Zombies Vs. Vampires, and a Free Flash Fiction Course


Andrew Leon at Strong StrangePegs offers us a story of unusual feats of strength involving hills, boulder-sized trucks, and putting one foot in front of the other. Simultaneously, he inspires us to keep publishing, promoting, and generally getting our stuff out there.


Over the holidays I re-read Prometheus Bound, the play by Aeschylus. (I read the Philip Vellacott translation, which is both elegant and modern, so I recommend it, but this one looks okay.) I mention it because hey, did you know that before Prometheus gave humanity fire and a little education, Zeus considered us to be an inferior blunder and was planning to wipe us all out and replace us with something better?


I've been listening to the excellent Pseudopod for a while, and hands down my favourite story they released in 2013 was Christine Brooke-Rose's "Red Rubber Gloves," narrated by the incomparable Kim Lakin-Smith. (The previous sentence contains a lame joke if you've listened to the story. My apologies.) Along with its sister podcasts, Escape Pod and PodCastle, Pseudopod offers some of the finest encounters with short fiction you're likely to have. I've written about this before, but one of the best things about the Pods is the way they meticulously match reader and story. Lakin-Smith's precise and unrushed narration really allows this story's hypnotic and horrifying repetitive nature to shine through. Load "Red Rubber Gloves" onto your mp3 player or perch your laptop next to you and have a listen. Better yet, listen while you're doing dishes or chopping up some nice, red meat for dinner.


Zombies vs. Vampires, right? If you are *ahem* of a certain vintage, you'll remember the explosion of blood-sucking deliciousness spawned by Anne Rice and others, the resurgence of interest in Bram Stoker's work back in the 1990s, and sundry other events that resulted in David Bowie starring in a vampire movie that never once used the word "vampire." In an excellent column for Nightmare Magazine, Nancy Kilpatrick considers some of the many factors that make zombies the more salient of the two monsters in this modern world of ours today ("And Then the Zombie Killed the Vampire").

In order to jump start my year, I'm working my way through Holly Lisle's free flash fiction course (aka "How to Write Flash Fiction that Doesn't Suck"). Flash is great because you can practice building character, setting, situation, and all that without the investment of a longer story or (gasp!) a whole novel manuscript, and, thanks to our ever-decreasing attention spans, it's more salable than ever. The course includes three lessons in fill-out-these-forms format, and helps you draft five different stories simultaneously, so it's great if you don't feel like writing, and when you're all done, you'll have a lot to show for it. If you're skeptical, this review is worth reading even if all you get out of it is how to write curmudgeonly reviews.


Mark K said...

Love the classic art work - and The Hunger... oh David, how I miss your odd acting skills on our silver screen.

A belated Happy New Year to you, ma'am ;)

Andrew Leon said...

Wow! Thanks!
That was awesome of you!

mooderino said...

Bowie' had a strange acting career. Vampire, Goblin King and the man who fell to earth. I think maybe Johnny Depp is following a similar trajectory.

Moody Writing

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

You should watch the movie "Prometheus" just to "round out" your education.

That, and you might just think it's cool.

Elizabeth Twist said...

@Mark! Good to see you here. And not too surprised to know you're a Bowie fan. Great minds and all that. All best for 2014.

@Andrew: You're welcome. I calls it like I sees it.

@mood: That's a good analogy. There is a similar eccentric vibe. Does anyone else remember Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence? I wonder if I didn't see it, though I remember it coming out. It might have been too heavy for me (I was twelve the year it was released).

@Michael: Hey there! I adore the Alien movies, and I was over the moon about Prometheus coming out. Sadly, I didn't love it. It had amazing things going for it, but I thought it was a muddle. Aesthetically lovely, though, which is enough for me to have a second look at some point. Plus Fassbender. The basketball-playing, bike-riding moment was a stroke of genius.

mooderino said...

Ah, yes another great oddball performance by Bowie, with one of my favourite Japanese actors Takeshi Kitano (also fairly odd).

Elizabeth Twist said...

Beat Takeshi, right? Is his IMDB page missing a ton of stuff? I seem to recall him being in more films than the ones listed there. I most recently saw him in Battle Royale.

mooderino said...

He's been in a ton of stuff, a lot of gangster movies, but directed some great movies too (Hana Bi (Fireworks)is really good). Beat Takeshi is the name he uses when acting.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

The oldest are the bestest!! Not proper English , I know, but you get what I mean?
I love the classics...