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BLOOD SPLATTERS QUICKLY reviewed by Book and Journal Reviews

September 17, 2014

Contained within these oftentimes silly, hastily written tales are earnest and forthright attempts at creating serious, hard-hitting, character-driven stories that seemed incredibly out of place in magazines of this nature. In “No Atheists in the Grave,” Reverend Paul Carstairs, a veteran of several wars, has a crisis of faith in the jungles of Vietnam. “The Wave Off” concerns itself with Larry Easton, a top-notch fighter pilot, who ponders his life and failed marriage during a firefight. The most fully formed and coherent of these attempts is “Dracula Revisited.” In the story, an unnamed narrator journeys by carriage to the home of Count Dracula. With a mighty tip of the cap to the style of Edgar Allen Poe, this is perhaps the best-written selection of the 32 stories, creating a chilling mood and eerie atmosphere that is incredibly effective.

The best story in the collection is the hysterical “To Kill a Saturday Night.” In it, the sly, dark humor that appeared in flashes during Wood’s days as a filmmaker are in top form (if ever there was such a thing). The story revolves around Pete and Art, two ne’er-do-well drunks who discuss the pros and cons of spending a Saturday night killing whores. I won’t say what happens, but it’s well worth the read.

Read the full review on Book and Journal Review

BLOOD SPLATTERS QUICKLY praised and excerpted on Boing Boing

September 17, 2014

Blood Splatters Quickly: the Collected Stories, Edward D. Wood, Jr. marks the first authoritative attempt to compile the ephemera of this elusive and transverse man's career in pulp fiction. Despite his persistent and prolific filmic and literary output, Wood is deservedly best known for being Ed Wood — the subject of the eponymous biopic directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp.

It’s never easy to be an original, either in life or art, but it’s fair to say that Wood pursued his own vision in a post-war society vastly more committed to the conventional than the America of 2014. The odds he faced were vast. Time and again he was met with resounding failure, but he persevered with his tales and stories of “killers in drag,” bloodthirsty housewives, and at times much more. Blood Splatters Quickly provides a peek inside the mind of one of the great American cultural visionaries, someone who has helped shape contemporary culture in ways he never would have dreamed possible.

Few in the Hollywood orbit have had greater influence than this patron saint of the low-brow –– and few have experienced greater failure in a lifetime. This collection features in myriad settings unbounded exploration of gore and sex, and an equally unfettered use of adjectives. Many of the stories (including “Blood Splatters Quickly”), memorable for their sheer outlandishness, appeared in short-lived “girly” magazines published throughout the 1970s. All have been verified as authentic Wood creations by Bob Blackburn, a trusted associate of Kathy Wood, Ed’s widow. And none of these stories has been available to the public in the forty years or more since their initial publication.

Wood not only straddled the line between horror and romance: he seemed to take pure joy in the convergence of the two. He was as quick to dramatically highlight relations of violence and power between genders as he was to pervert them between, and within, his protagonists. He often started at the extreme and offensive height of male fantasy, only to let it unravel into something even more nightmarish.

Wood died in 1978, but the legacy of the director of Plan 9 from Outer Space, Glen or Glenda, Jail Bait and so many other beloved screen classics has only grown in importance.

Read a story from the forthcoming collection on Boing Boing

BOWIE reviewed in Full Stop

September 17, 2014

For teenagers the world over who felt somehow unfinished, discovering Bowie was the key. For this supposed adult who feels somehow still unfinished, there’s work to be done on my own. “Just as Bowie seemingly reinvented himself without limits,” Critchley says, “he allowed us to believe that our own capacity for changes was limitless.” Each one of us smiling and scowling and smirking dodecahedrons, from Mars or Potsdamer Platz. This soft spot is still here, and I myself am not much for sewing.

Read the full review on Full Stop

BLOOD SPLATTERS QUICKLY mentioned on Horror Society

September 17, 2014

Ed Wood, the king of camp and horrible film making, is more known for his schlocky films but very few know that he is also an author. We received word that OR Books will be releasing 32 stories from Wood himself.

See the post on Horror Society

EVERY NIGHT A LITTLE DEATH a short story from A TALE OF TWO CITIES available on Medium

September 16, 2014

All of this was potentially macabre given that we didn’t know if the attorney on twenty-eight was dead or alive, but I was so happy to be included and so giddy from lack of sleep that I was ready to lie down on the floor to get a laugh. But before I could embark on my moment in the spotlight, Rebecca got up from her desk and carried her Zippy the Chimp doll over to where I was standing.

“I’ve been here seven years!” she said. “No one has ever asked me to do the floorshow!”

She was kidding, I thought, but when I glanced at her I saw that her lower lip was quivering.

“So do it,” Abhinav said.

Rebecca sniffed. She lifted her doll. “This is Zippy.”

The room fell silent. We were all waiting, I thought, for the actual floorshow, given that she’d been carrying this monkey around for at least the five weeks I’d been working at the firm.

“What does Zippy do?” I finally asked.

Rebecca’s lip stopped quivering. She screwed her mouth into something close to grin, and her eyes twinkled with mischief. “This!” she said. Then she moved her hands to the doll’s ankles, swung him through the air, and brought his nose down on my head.

Zippy’s face, it turned out, was made of hard plastic. I felt such a blinding shot of pain that I thought I might pass out, and when the focus came back to my vision, I was seeing flecks of silver. “What the fuck?” I said, clutching my scalp.

That’s it!” Mr. Norwich shouted, getting to his feet and reaching for his coat. “I am not suffering this abuse a minute longer! Not the F word! No sir! I am going home right now, and I am talking to HR tomorrow! I was not hired to wallow around in a pornographic truck stop!

Read the full story on Medium

JULIAN ASSANGE, author of WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS answers questions on Gawker

September 15, 2014

Matthew Phelan:There was a piece in Slate last year about Google, that I kept thinking about with respect to this book, about how Google's internal culture and goals are bound up in Star Trek. For example: Amit Singhal, the head of Google's search rankings team, told the South by Southwest Interactive Festival that "The destiny of [Google's search engine] is to become that Star Trek computer, and that's what we are building."

It makes sense to me in that there's a real Camelot-era liberal pro-statist ideal underlying Star Trek's vision of the future, and I'm curious what your sense was as to whether or not Eric Schmidt really buys into that. AND/OR I am curious to know how your idealized vision of the future differs from that Google Star Trek model.

Julian Assange:I hadn't seen that piece. At a glance, it reminds me of the discovery that the NSA had had the bridge of the Enterprise recreated. In my experience it is more reliable and fairer to look at peoples interests and expenditure rather than try to diagnose their inner mental state, as the latter often lets people project their own biases. As I say in the book, I found Eric Schmidt to be, as you would expect, a very sharp operator. If you read "The New Digital Age", the apolitical futurism of Star Trek seems to fit what Schmidt writes quite well. I also quite liked this summary of Google's vision for the future: "Google's vision of the future is pure atom-age 1960s Jetsons fantasy, bubble-dwelling spiritless sexists above a ruined earth."

Read the full conversation at Gawker.

BOWIE is reviewed in The Rumpus

September 15, 2014

In Bowie, Critchley does for the artist what Bowie does for the realities of modern life: he observes closely and with sensitivity, revealing the omnipresent underlying tension in the material at hand, the light in the darkness and the darkness in the light. “There is no final reconciliation and no final peace,” Critchley writes about life, though he could also be describing Bowie’s best work.

Read the full review at The Rumpus.

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Radiolab

September 12, 2014
Listen to the episode at Radiolab.

FOUR MORE YEARS, a story from TALES OF TWO CITIES available on Tin House

September 9, 2014

“But you don’t own no shovel.”

“How do you know that?”

“Look at you,” the man said.

With that, the civility of negotiation was pretty well shot. The possibility, even, of a more physical resolution seemed to Chris to have been suddenly introduced. And, shovel or no shovel, he had reason to feel confident should things take that turn. But he knew he couldn’t let it play out that way. Not only couldn’t he instigate it, he couldn’t even defend himself, couldn’t pop this lowlife in the jaw no matter how legitimately threatened he might feel, on his own doorstep no less. Because he knew how that could all be made to look. Poor people lived for the opportunity to sue you. It was just one more way they tied your hands.

“So it’s robbery, then, is what this is,” he said. “Let’s just call it by its name. You’re a fucking thief. No different than the rest of them.”

“It’s called the marketplace, bitch,” the man said. “It’s called knowing what your customer will bear.”

“You know what’s the really galling part? The only reason we were out tonight at all was because we were doing something for charity. For you, basically. And it’s not even like I’m asking for charity in return. I’m willing to make a fair transaction. But to you it’s just an opportunity to steal whatever I haven’t already given away. She’s right. You do hate us.”

They stood in their deep footprints for what seemed like a long time. They could see each other’s breath. At the end of the block they heard another plow pass by.

Read the full excerpt at Tin House.

BLOOD SPLATTERS QUICKLY is reviewed in Forces of Geek

September 8, 2014

So how does this collection change our attitudes about Wood? It forces us to admit that Ed Wood, while incompetent as a film director, was skilled as a pulp writer. I mean no disrespect here. There is an art to the pulp story, as there is an art to the B-movie.

Wood's impulsiveness prevented him from learning the art of directing. But this same impulsiveness helped him create these breezy, nutty, short pulp stories. He's aiming lower - but he's hitting his mark.

When these stories are funny, they're SUPPOSED to be funny, so - after all these years - we're finally laughing WITH Ed Wood rather than AT him. Reading Blood Splatters Quickly, you'll be impressed by, and even proud of, Edward D. Wood, Jr.

Read the full review at Forces of Geek.

Prague Post reviews WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS

September 8, 2014
When Google Met Wikileaks raises constructive ways around the growing totalitarian state, including the use of mobile peer-to-peer communications that don’t require going through a telco; comprehensive encryption (files and communication); and the use of non-persistent operating systems on a USB stick or DVD, such as TAILs.

This will be the face of freedom in the new digital age: Running and hiding and subverting goofy billionaire philanthropists who only want what’s best for you, who only want to help you make the right choices, all watched over, as Adam Curtis would have it, by machines of loving grace. And if you won’t be watched over, you will be targeted, put on the president’s future Tuesday morning hit list. You will never see it coming.

Read the full review at Prague Post.

HORN! THE COLLECTED REVIEWS reviewed by David Abrams at The Quivering Pen

September 4, 2014

As regular readers of The Rumpus know, Thomas has been deconstructing contemporary literature in nine-panel comics since 2010. His Horn! reviews are spare, compressed works of art that infer the merits of a book rather than tediously bloviating about plot, character and theme like some reviewers (including this correspondent) are wont to do. The first panel is usually reserved for Thomas' interpretation of the book's cover, then we're treated to eight pen-and-ink snapshots of scenes and objects which may or may not actually appear in the book under consideration. In his Horn! review of Kyle Minor's Praying Drunk, for instance, we see starfruit, dentures, baking soda, a house cracked by an earthquake, a fossilized human footprint overlaid by one from a dinosaur, wasps swarming over a Precious Moments figurine, sides of beef, and a hamster on a wheel. Beneath those panels runs this review (I've squashed the eight panels together into one sentence): "Though this book is full of profound personal upheavals: a crisis of faith, families riven by death, Haiti and its many convulsions; it's the experimental flourishes--an epistolary novella, a sci-fi bit, a meta-dialogue on the book's own fictionality--that raise it to the sublime."

Read the full review at The Quivering Pen.

Belén Fernández reviews THE JIHADIS RETURN for the Middle East Eye

September 3, 2014
A standard feature of imperialism is that empire-induced disasters are deemed to require imperial solutions, one effect of which is, inevitably, further disaster.

Take the case of al-Qaeda, a force whose development was encouraged by US policy and military machinations. Even the imperial apologist Thomas Friedman has admitted: “It seems likely that some of the Saudi [September 11] hijackers first came in contact with al-Qaeda and went through Terrorism 101 when they signed up for the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets.”

The hijackers’ practical application of the lessons from their terrorism course was, obviously, 9/11. In response, the US government prescribed the War on Terror. Thanks in part to that effort, we’ve now got ourselves a caliphate in the Middle East, proclaimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), formerly al-Qaeda in Iraq. The new territorial entity is being attended to by US drone strikes and other schemes by the empire and its friends.

In his just-released book The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising, veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn sets the record straight with regard to the ongoing fiasco and the advance of ISIS - now called simply the Islamic State (IS) - and other jihadist groups.

Read the full review at the Middle East Eye.

WHEN GOOGLE MET WIKILEAKS is reviewed in The Independent

September 2, 2014

But having believed Schmidt to be “a brilliantly but politically hapless Californian tech billionaire”, Assange concedes “I was wrong”. He had not appreciated the Google chief’s relationship with the US government, including the National Security Agency (NSA). The penny dropped when Wikileaks formally warned the State Department of its publication of cables and received an email response from Lisa Shields who, as Schmidt’s partner, attended the Ellingham Hall interview. “At this point I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone,” claims Assange.

He acknowledges that the Internet giant began with a “decent, humane and playful culture” and is still widely-seen as “a magical engine”.

But after reading The New Digital Age he decided that Google’s aim was to “position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary”. Angry, he wrote a disparaging review in the New York Times headlined “The Banality of Don’t Be Evil” (after Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ slogan). Four days later, Snowden made his revelations of the NSA’s accessing of Google data.

Read the full review in The Independent.

The Rumpus reviews TECHNOCREEP

September 2, 2014

Once upon a time this vision qualified as dystopic and its message cautionary. But as Thomas P. Keenan makes clear in Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy, we have entered a new Kuhnian paradigm that doesn’t necessarily include a future for the human species—at least as we know it. As Keenan puts it, the digitalization of humanity is now as unstoppable as climate change. Its impact can be reduced with certain uncomfortable adjustments, but the lag in any collective action will make it utterly reactionary and useless.

Keenan lays out the evidence calmly, methodically and without polemics: he lets the evidence speak for itself. This is not to say the book is devoid of humour—far from it! But his wit, like his politics, takes a back seat to the civil and civic-minded purpose of his endeavor. In 15 separate but related areas of human activity, Keenan provides examples of the way technology is bleeding over into the very essence of human life. He makes a convincing case that humans’ capitulation to the Machine has been, like the switch of data transmission from analog to digital, welcome, blind and unstoppable. And we have been hurtling along ever faster since.

Read the full review at The Rumpus.

This Is Hell! with Chuck Mertz interviews PATRICK COCKBURN

September 2, 2014
You heard of ISIS before you heard of ISIS – they used to be called “resistance fighters,” or “anti-Assad forces,” – back when we were providing them with arms and aid. Patrick Cockburn covers the full story of the Islamic State’s sweep across the wreckage of Syria and Iraq in his book The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising (excerpt at CounterPunch.)

Patrick calls into TiH! to set up a broad political context for the history and current state of the ISIS/ISIL, from the internal tensions stoked by Western policies that enabled the group to flourish in Syria and then Iraq, to the region’s religious, political and financial backers operating in the open, and finally the realization that nations can support and combat violent groups at the same time, in a cycle that costs lives but makes certain people lots and lots of money.

Listen to the full interview at This Is Hell!

PATRICK COCKBURN named "Truthdigger of the Week" at Truthdig

September 2, 2014

Every week the Truthdig editorial staff selects a Truthdigger of the Week, a group or person worthy of recognition for speaking truth to power, breaking the story or blowing the whistle. It is not a lifetime achievement award. Rather, we’re looking for newsmakers whose actions in a given week are worth celebrating.

One of the major stories of the summer, the takeover of huge portions of Syria and Iraq by a highly organized militant strain of political Islam, came as a surprise to many in the West. But not to Patrick Cockburn. A journalist whose coverage of the Middle East goes back three-and-a-half decades, the Ireland-born Cockburn, whose family Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer described as responsible for some of the most important reporting of the last 50 years (he is the brother of fellow journalists Andrew Cockburn and the recently deceased Alexander Cockburn, and the son of Claud Cockburn), was lauded by colleague Seymour Hersh as “quite simply, the best Western journalist at work in Iraq today.” A look at the reporter’s new book about the region’s latest, most ferocious and conspicuously ambitious pretenders to power will give readers an idea why.

“The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising,” published by OR Books, began to take form earlier this year during Cockburn’s work on a series of lectures and articles. Describing his thesis in the book’s acknowledgements, the author explains that what “seemed a marginal opinion in 2013 and early 2014”—that the stability of post-intervention Iraq was endangered by jihadis overtaking moderates in the struggle in neighboring Syria—was borne out “spectacularly” by the militant group ISIS’ capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul in mid-June. With a quarter of that country and a third of Syria now under its control, ISIS declared sovereignty over a territory larger than Britain and home to a population (6 million) that exceeds some European countries.

Read the full article at Truthdig.

THE JIHADIS RETURN is reviewed in The Irish Times

September 2, 2014

“For two years Iraqi politicians had been warning anybody who would listen to them that if the civil war in Syria continued it would destabilise the fragile status quo in Iraq,” Cockburn writes. “When Mosul fell everybody blamed Maliki, who certainly had a lot to answer for, but the real cause of the debacle in Iraq was the war across Iraq’s border. The revolt of the Syrian Sunni had caused a similar explosion in Iraq.”

If western governments have been blind to the threat represented by groups like Isis, many journalists have also been pleased to fall in with the orthodox narrative about the conflict in Syria.

Cockburn notes that much western reporting of the Arab Spring was informed by a naive belief that technological innovations such as social media had fundamentally changed political realities. “Antagonisms that predated the Arab Spring were suddenly said to be obsolete; a brave new world was being created at hectic speed,” he writes.

Read the full review in The Irish Times.

The New York Times writes about Ed Wood and BLOOD SPLATTERS QUICKLY

August 29, 2014

And in October, OR Books in New York is to publish “Blood Splatters Quickly,” a collection of more than 30 short stories written by Wood, sometimes under the pseudonym Ann Gora, that appeared in 1970s girlie magazines like Gallery.

Wood’s erotic films “are rough and tumble and ugly, and if you can accept them on that level, then good or bad stops being a question,” said Andrew Lampert, Anthology’s curator of collections.

Wood wrestled with notions of dual sexuality in his personal life. A fan of Buck Jones westerns and a decorated Marine who fought in World War II, he was also a cross-dresser with a lifelong fondness for pink angora sweaters...

“These are contradictions I don’t think you ever quite resolve,” said John Oakes, the co-publisher of OR Books. “He deserves credit as an extraordinary original who set his own standards.”

Read the full article at The New York Times.

THE JIHADIS RETURN is reviewed in The Independent

August 28, 2014

While the mainstream media trumpet moral outrage and airstrikes, Patrick Cockburn deftly unveils the elephants in the room. At the heart of Western failure since 9/11 is Washington's craven unwillingness to confront the political and financial might of Saudi Arabia.

Not a subject Washington wants to talk about: 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report dealing with Saudi Arabia were cut and never published. It was only thanks to WikiLeaks that a Hillary Clinton cable complaining "that donors in Saudi Arabia constituted the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups" came to light. But Cockburn points to another twist: "Jihadist social media is now openly attacking the Saudi royal family." Is it too late for the Saudi rulers to rein in a jihad of their own making?

Read the full review in The Independent.