Friday, September 21, 2012

Hard Labour & Other So-Called Travails

Bloody brilliant news for me – since I’m an Aussie, albeit currently an expat stuck in Tokyo – is that the fellow Melburnians @ Crime Factory are publishing their first anthology (Hard Labour) of Australian writers involved with the crime, noir and hardboiled genres.

This book is coming out on Oct. 8th, with sublime pulp cover art by Erik Lundy.

The line-up here is pretty mad – think Leigh Redhead, Helen FitzGerald, David Whish-Wilson, Garry Disher, JJ DeCeglie, Deborah Sheldon and more, including the Crime Factory crew themselves. I also have a story in the anthology, an unpublished prequel yarn featuring Floyd Maquina and Laurel Canyon from Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

By the way, if you’re interested at all in Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, the paperback is still just $4.74 from the publishers Another Sky Press, and they also offer the epub/pdf versions for FREE.

Otherwise, I’m hanging out for the publication of my 2nd novel One Hundred Years of Vicissitude next month (Oct. 26th) through Perfect Edge Books. This is where the Japan references hit hard. We just received a wunderbar review by very cool writer Raymond Embrack.

Recently I’ve done a couple of wayward interviews with some very nice people. I chatted with Lloyd Paige first up @ Today’s Paige, mostly about life in Japan, how it’s affected my writing, and specifics about character development in the upcoming novel.

I also just had gas-bagged with author Jeff Shear at The Six-Degree Conspiracy about both writing and making muzak (mostly my side-project Little Nobody) – hence allowing me to waffle on ’bout both passions – and did an interview in the latest (September) issue of WQ Magazine @ the Queensland Writers Centre, thanks to Jason Nahrung.

At the moment I have my head pretty much entrenched in novel #3, which I’ve blabbed about before in this blog. It’s titled Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? and is now sitting round the 60,000 word mark. There’s a lot more editing and reappraisal to go – but I’m pretty damned happy with progress here. Fingers crossed.

Other stuff coming up include a short story I’m lucky enough to have included in the charity-oriented Off the Record 2 – At the Movies, edited by Luca Veste and Paul D. Brazill and out at the end of this month. This actually features an all-star-cast of currently active pen-pushers I really, really dig – check out the line-up here. For this one I went with a kind of old-school, fun, Biggles-style.

I have more noir/horror aligned stories in Weird Noir (edited by K.A. Laity) and Crime Factory’s horror collection in the suitably titled Horror Factory, put together by Liam José.

Okay, personal rant out. Back to Japan-related stuff next entry.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Much ado about 'Kamen Rider' 仮面ライダー

The new Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Wizard, kicked off on TV screens here in Japan last Sunday morning in the show's usual 8:00 am timeslot, right before Pretty Cure.

Wizard (far left) took the mantle from Kamen Rider Fourze (the pin-headed hero in the picture, left) - the twenty-second take in a long-running franchise that kicked off in 1971.

That series commemorated the Toei Company show's 40th anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of spaceflight.

Fourze, a.k.a. hilariously rowdy high school rebel Gentarō Kisaragi, was a barrel of fun.
Gentarō switched into Fourze via a transformation belt to fight monsters called Zodiarts, each of whom was modelled after one of the Western constellations.

Initially completely incompetent, after twelve months of fisticuffs he was quite the hero.

My daughter and I also loved the Kamen Rider before that: Eiji Hino, who took on the mantle of Kamen Rider OOO in the 2010-11 series and fought off villains called The Greeed. Of course, Eiji was aided and abetted by the disembodied arm of a Greeed called Ankh.

Aside from Ultraman and Super Sentai, Kamen Rider is perhaps Japan's best-known tokusatsu series - toku being the term applied to live-action film or TV romps that feature superheroes, martial arts, and much ado about special effects.

Funnily enough, Kamen Rider is also modeled on insects. The whole caboodle was created by manga artist Shōtarō Ishinomori (Cyborg 009) and I would say I'm a fan of the guy. A novel I recently wrote (One Hundred Years of Vicissitude) has a key character paying homage to manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka - but there's a secondary character dedicated to Ishinomori-san.

In that, however, he's called 'Shōtarō-kun' and he collects insects in a bucket.

(Read more of this article @ FORCES OF GEEK).