Cut You Up In Little Pieces

images.jpgYou are probably aware that the murder capitol of the world is Cabot Cove. Ever since The Manchurian Candidate I have cast a jaundiced eye at Angela Landsbury and the pokey gendarmes of Maine. But that was just fun entertainment (meaning there wasn’t a lot of blood and gore) and Cabot Cove has easily been replaced by the unnamed town in Japan frequented by Goth chicks and body parts stapled to a tree.

While seeking to throw some variety into my reading, I came across a recent volume titled Goth: A Novel of Horror by Otsuichi. I’ve got a soft spot in my scary parts for Japanese horror and this one seemed ideal for a midnight snack. It all takes place in a small corner of Japan where severed hands are buried in the backyard like kimchi and an occasional ear or nipple stapled to the side of a telephone pole is not an unusual sight. But after a half-dozen of these bloody dismemberments and three or four instances of being buried alive on the side of the potting shed, one does wonder why there are no traditional murders in this town: shootings, knifings, nunchuckings, poisonings.

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Noir Novels

imgres.jpgThere’s one thing (amongst many) that truly shivers my timbers and that is when I am forced to admit that I never heard of an author … at least a serious author that doesn’t have Fabio on the cover of his book. But the Library of America series knew enough to publish a collection of five of the works of David Goodis: David Goodis: Five Noir Novels of the 1940s and 50s.

Now I am not an inveterate reader of mystery novels (like my mother was: she would read three a day) but I have read authors such as Georges Simenon, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, even John D. MacDonald, still, I never heard of David Goodis. I was even familiar with the Bogart movie based on Goodis’s novel and I’m certain that my daughter, who teaches Cinema Noir at the university, is well aware of Goodis, but not me.

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Iron Sky

imgres.jpgI enjoy watching subtle movies that make me smile (or cringe) just a little bit but when they sign-off I’m feeling satisfied but still thinking about them. Then what is it that made my watching of Iron Sky one of the cinematic highlights of 2015?

Forget the reboot of Star Wars and get a copy of Iron Sky.

The story behind the movie is a common space opera with real heroes, corrupt politicians, greedy corporations, race relations, and a secret colony on the dark side of the moon that is preparing to conquer the Earth … for the Fourth Reich! Yes, although never explained, a group of Nazis escaped in 1945 and built a new civilization on the dark side of the moon. Here they have constructed a swastika-shaped fortress and have been building the engines of war needed to return to earth and destroy all opposition.

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Illuminations of Desire

LesbianI was watching an independent film titled Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same when I stopped to consider whether Barnes and Noble has a marked-out section for Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Fiction. Then I asked myself the question: should B&N strive for genre exactitude and expand the signage in their stores or should they continue with a reasonably limited collection of genres that will avoid the clutter and confusion of too many categories but at the same time will allow for many worthy titles to be lost in the morass of titles that are mistakenly related: Fish For Sashimi filed in the Aquarium section; The Great God Brown lost in Speculative Religion; Stephen King mistakenly placed in with the good books; Rikki Ducornet sorted under Hot Authors.

We seem to get into a discussion of genres at  least once a year. I personally subscribe to the theory that genres were created so that booksellers would know where to exhibit their wares. For most readers, if they enjoy reading, say, Science Fiction, then if someone tells them a book is science fiction, they will read it. Besides, where do we slot Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same: under Psychology, under Sexual Preferences, under Science Fiction, or even under Stationery Stores.

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