Into the Interconnectedness of All Things? Then explore ‘Cloud Atlas’ from one mind shore to another.

I’ve encountered a few folks who can’t seem to make heads or tails of this film. Does that signify some fundamental dysfunction with their brain-pans or something else? I have no idea. Some people find this film too confusing to follow. Others seem blind to its subject/theme/ideas — much like the people who complain about the ‘details’ in The Lone Ranger while missing out on the huge outraged SHOUT against injustice the film serves. Yes, The Lone Ranger is much more than a fun gig when it takes on genocide, exploitation of everyone and everything, and the military – industrial complex. If you can’t ‘see’ that then perhaps we might have a little film dissection course online at some point in time.  But–Cloud Atlas is the name of this post game. Yes, I’ve beat the drum for this film previously. And I’ll probably beat it again in the future. It’s not a perfect film–but it is a truly GREAT film for all it endeavors to accomplish. It’s not an accident that it is the film it is.

Enjoy the trailer.

Anyone have any other film to recommend that even comes close to the quality of Cloud Atlas? Come on, I know there are all sorts of things going on in the universe about which I have no clue. Share and share alike, please.

OOps, yes, Cloud Atlas is also a book by David Mitchell.  —>>>   Yep, the Wikipedia piece is rather interesting all by itself.  Hmm, something about the first edition cover art is just so engaging to my eye.


Is Your Publisher ‘Unbound’–or all tied up in Gordian Knots? Or Should that be – Nots? As in, “Hell no, I don’t want to read that! Why did you waste a tree printing it?”

Ever wish book publishers paid some real attention to what really interests your reading brainpan? Hmm? Care to put your dollars and scents, yes that’s a deliberate misplay on words. Cents is so predictable. Let’s play with sense a little more. After all they’re very important to your nose, your taste buds and your memory–scents are.  Got that? Okay, now let’s get back to Unbound–as in being unfettered, untied, unchained, unhindered–and free to move about at will. Would you like to pick the books you’d like to have published? You can at Unbound. Seriously. You might have to forgo some of that instant gratification that characterizes much of modern culture but eventually you can get what you want–as long as some other folks want it too.

Case in point:

Author Paul Kingsnorth is pitching The Wake on UnboundThe Wake is a historical novel about resistance fighters after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  What the novel needs are pledges, supporters, interested potential readers willing to pay for the digital, hardback, or collector’s edition of the novel. There are other perks offered for greater levels of support for Kingsnorth’s novel–such as Dark Mountain’s anthology.  The book has garnered 70% of the pledges necessary for publishing via UnboundUnbound is a bit like Kickstarter for publishing. Sort of. Agents are still part of the publishing mix. View that tidbit as you will.

Read an excerpt from The Wake here –>>


Visit Unbound’s home –>>  Yes, you can buy books already published here too. See if what the authors are serving agrees with your reading taste.


Kingsnorth chatting about The Wake:


PS. Some bait to get you to take a gander at all Unbound offers.

A freebie from Unbound for which the clock is ticking now. Click the cover art to get there asap! midnight-Deadline November 30, 2012 at midnight –their midnight I suspect.


Sign in/up at Unbound, it’s absolutely free, to get a digital copy of Evil Machines FREE. Be quick–this offer ends at midnight on Nov. 30, 2012.


420 Characters by Lou Beach complete with quixotic collages

All lovers of small texts this is for you. Tiny tales of woe, love, insanity, murder, mayhem and epic dreams no longer than 420 characters each.Perfect for snarfing between salami sandwich bites on feudal timed lunch breaks. Quick taste and daze day-dream prompts galore.  Example per review. Beach’s writing boxes heartily.

Lou Beach: Stories & Pictures

In the Garden of Iden with Kage Baker’s Company — Damn, will the Spanish Inquisition Never End?

Ah for years and years my old bud Mervius insisted my reading buffet would never be complete until I consumed Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden. On several occasions I tasted a page or two before detouring off to sample other fare.  I suspect the Spanish Inquisition just failed to fan the flares of my reading pheromones. It’s not good to venture into dark historical times when dark storm clouds are already cramping one’s interior mental landscape. So, time travel and Dr. Zeus notwithstanding, again and again I only wandered so far into Baker’s Garden–until now. Still plenty of dark shadows lurking in my attic, but this time Mendoza’s voice resonated with my own tuning fork and I ventured beyond the first chapter and into the second to meet Mendoza the child full of piss and vinegar galore. This child of the Inquisition is no snivelling little shy kitty but one determined plucky yard cat with an attitude that might make the rack think twice about its own viability.  When ‘baby’ Mendoza meets Joseph of Dr. Z and The Company affiliation the drawing and quartering  horses are off and running–straight to an English garden in Kent–of all places!

There have been many time travelling immortal cyborgs in fiction and film–but how many have been botanists sent on a mission to save a medically significant plant from certain extinction? Hmm? And how many of those cyborgs have had to endure life in the time of Bloody Mary? If I didn’t know better I’d think the English slang cuss word “bloody” had its dubious origins with Henry’s first-born child.  Furthermore, what other cyborg is a teenager experiencing first love with a very physically appealing religious heretic? Hmm? Ah yes, the catnip crazed kitty has nearly clawed its way out of the bag now.  What happens when a young cyborg on her first field trip into history falls in love with a human in times of pure political and religious lunacy?  Oh cyborg, cyborg, what does your garden grow? Hmm…yes, you will have to go smell Kage Baker’s garden offerings to learn what was going on in not so merry England prior to the Golden Age of the Virgin Queen. Hmmm, now there’s a reference to a personal garden that cunningly never grew nor bore fruit.

Hmm, I suspect I’ve been having way too much fun gleefully flipping images and mixing metaphors in my own little garden plot here. But–what the hell!

A few reasons why you should entertain notions of reading the late Kage Baker’s first novel:

You’re a fan of historical fiction that mixes it up with science fiction.

You’ve got some ethical issues about time travel you’d like resolved.

You’re a sucker for love stories.

You’ve got a thing for smartass dialogue.

You’re in the reading market for a completed series of tomes featuring a strong woman with ‘real history’ and a mission for eternity.

You enjoy damned good writing.

You’re bored out of your mind with the offerings on the current bestseller list and are willing to mine for reading gold in veins you’ve not yet explored.

Oh, yes, about the question in the title of this blog post–hmm, sits twiddling her thumbs for a moment–um, yes, well considering current events in the states, eg, NDAA,  one HAS to wonder if the Inquisition ever really ended.

    [Mendoza] “For God’s sake, it’s crazy! These people are giving up their civil rights! It’s a step back into the Middle Ages!”

“Funny thing about those Middle Ages, ” said Joseph. “They just keep coming back. Mortals keep thinking they’re in Modern Times, you know, they get all this neat technology  and pass all these humanitarian laws, and then something happens: there’s an economic crisis, or science makes some discovery people can’t deal with. And boom, people go right back to burning Jews and selling pieces of the True Cross. Don’t you ever make the mistake of thinking that mortals  want to live in a golden age. They hate thinking.”

“But this doesn’t have anything to do with intellect!” I [Mendoza] protested. “It’s a question of survival! Don’t they realize they’ve just voted absolute power to their enemies? My God, where’s their common sense?”

Well, Mendoza, I do believe that when we are brutally honest with ourselves, we mortals in general are keenly aware of our entire lack of any sense at all–common or otherwise. Resumes twiddling thumbs now.

Website for the ‘late’ Kage Baker’s wonderful literary work. Yes, I wrote “literary” in regard to a science fiction text. I dare anyone to read In the Garden of Iden and argue the point.

The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone — OMG! There is hope for contemporary American Fiction!



“Tonight Hector  would call Lilia and tell of the funny gringo’s joke, of the alligator who lived beside the beautiful river beyond the trees, and of the senora’s skills in driving the tree-digging machine. He’d describe the colorful sunset and the way the pale full moon rose above the field just as it rose in their village. He’d tell her of the optimism brimming inside him, his confidence in their future, in the reality of his dreams for them.”


      O hell, I’ve been on a review whirl-a-gig ride just long enough now to wonder what if I can pull off a decent enough conversation to actually encourage anyone out there in cyberspace to read something really worth reading.  Yes, I want to encourage folks looking for contemporary American fiction with substance and bite to consider The Iguana Tree by Michel Stone via Hub City Press, an independent publisher flourishing in South Carolina.  This title came my via one of Roxie’s posts and the title intrigued me enough to put in a library request which plopped Stone’s tome in my greedy reading palms within a day. I like The Iguana Tree very much because it’s a dam good piece of writing.  Now I doubt that statement will get anyone else scrambling to lay hands on a copy. So let’s try this: I would like to force read this book to that Huppenthal dictator of Public Education in the state of Arizona where some folks don’t want others getting any ideas about their own self-worth. Or this:  If you have no clue why the English Language Only movement is insulting and doomed to failure in the U.S. of A–then The  Iguana Tree might be a first step in comprehending the issues of migration–legal and illegal–and why people from Mexico risk their lives to come to this not so sweet land of opportunity. Or this:  Many folks fear hordes of illegal immigrants so much that they think building walls will steam the flow northward. Well those folks need to think again about that wall building. Guess what, it’s not going to keep anyone anywhere. If you read The Iguana Tree you’ll understand better why such walls are useless to prevent desperate people from migrating to where they perceive there are greener grasses agrowing. O and by the way, even if your family has been on American soil for 500 years–they’re still all from immigrants who came here for many of the same reasons espoused by modern-day immigrants–and an argument can be made that unless you’re a full-blooded member of one of the 500 plus Indigenous Nations that you’re an invasive non-native species that emigrated from another homeland nowhere near Plymouth Rock.  How am I doing on that patriotically offensive scale rating so far? Give me more words and I may crank it up a few more notches.  Hey, my people didn’t settle stateside until around 1914 when they decided they’d had enough of living in the middle of one of Europe’s favorite battlegrounds. Yet I’m aware that even knowledge of one’s own family history of migration does not breed compassion nor understanding in the minds and hearts of many modern Americans who are threatened by anyone not like themselves. Or this:  So I ask do, you know who picks those strawberries, avocados and tomatoes we all enjoy finding at the American grocery store all year round? Hint, not the sort of folks who used to work in Detroit building automobiles–and I doubt those folks would work for the wages or under the conditions of migrant workers.  Furthermore, if the folks who put their lives, hopes and dreams in the hands of the human variety of coyotes (who give the real critter by the same name an EVIL reputation) could make decent livings in their places of origin I doubt they’d be motivated to experience the adventures of Hector and Lilia in The Iguana Tree. I sure as hell would not.  I don’t think I’d be willing to place bets on finding employment with the likes of Lucas and Elizabeth in South Carolina. These are people who seriously need Hector’s willingness to work hard as much as he needs the employment opportunity their tree farm offers.   

     The Iguana Tree does not offer up any nice neat little packaged political economic solutions. What it does offer is some insight into the hearts and minds of real people all trying very hard to do more than just survive in a harsh world full of obstacles and hazardous conditions.  If you don’t care about someone in this book then there’s something wrong with your internal tic tocker for sure. It’s your heart Michel Stone is trying to touch with this story of bitter hopes.  Stone writes deftly and candidly about the horrors of border crossings, lives lived in fear of deportation, families separated, sudden injury, death, identity issues, language and cultural barriers. Being an illegal immigrant in the United States is no picnic in the park.  The Iguana Tree presents the high cost of “coming to America” as such that this qualifies as a modern shop of horrors–exploitation, greed, corruption, rape, child theft. What truly is painful is that this well crafted work of fiction reflects an all too real grim reality.  Stone softens The Iguana Tree with elements of friendship, love, and relationships built on mutual benefit.  There is the suggestion that the only way to humanely deal with the issue of illegal immigration is with humanity and treating people as valuable in their own rights.  

     So I hope you soon meet Hector, Lilia, Miguel, Pablo, Lucas, Elizabeth, Carlos and Rosa.  If you’re an American wondering what the hell is going on at the border between Mexico and the United States maybe you’ll get a few ideas. I’m not saying you’ll like what you learn. But you might gain a sense of the human complexity of what motivates illegal migration. I seriously doubt The Iguana Tree will bore anyone.  It might make you want to visit Puerto Isadore or South Carolina–legally, of course.

     By the way, The Iguana Tree is a story about love.

        Hub City Press link

       Roxie’s blog post regarding The Iguana Tree



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