Thursday, March 27, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Well, this little horror novel is certainly introspective, certainly plays out a stream of consciousness, and seems more like an epic (even satirical) free-verse prose-poem, divided into long stanzas (like you used to study in literature class in college) than a conventional novel. There are eleven chapters, starting with “Me” and run through “Me11,” each starting with a pre-stanza in italics. There are three epilogues (composer Arnold Bax as always satisfied with just one in almost each of his symphonies), the last of which is a letter from his publisher. This arrangement pretty much washes up "the Me Generation," even with Bill Clinton as part of it.
In fact, the gay content (the publisher is well known for that niche market) in some ways seems almost incidental to the literary form. Or perhaps not. The book is a meditation on the meaning of self, and a metaphor on the fear of self. The protagonist is the “young man next door” who works in the coffee business. I had a good friend in Minneapolis who did just that (he was straight and liked to try the local comedy circuit), and could tell you how cutthroat the business is – particularly on the Skyway. Here, the setting could be Anywhere, but it seems LA-ish.
Of course, “you know the story.” Doubles of himself start showing up, taking his job, thieving his identity. He’s not sure if it’s schizophrenia, bad memory, bipolar, or someone really doing him in. He sometimes seems unclear about which home is his. Along the way there is some real fantasy fulfillment. Is he with an imaginary self or someone real? I might have written the intimate scenes with a different kind of sartorial detail, inasmuch as I have a couple scenes in my own novel draft (in third person) a bit like Christian’s p. 140. Clive Barker could really turn these kinds of scenes out in “Imajica,” even when the partners were aliens or beings with ambiguous and bending gender.
Of course, here is where the “gay” part really matters. I have the impression that the protagonist, as much as he claims he likes himself, is self-indulging in “upward affiliation,” a kind of narcissism that George Gilder used to write about in the 80s in his bashings on “the perils of androgyny” (as in his 1986 these “Men and Marriage”). He would like to be affiliated with, or perhaps possess (I’m not sure which) a man who is as perfect as possible, before having his own family. He wants to become his own “god” before taking the dive. Then, it’s perfectly safe – except that you wind up in a world with “children of Men.” The problem comes if he is asked to stick his neck out, and take responsibility for someone else (perhaps a dependent, perhaps by having children), just “as he is.” In the epilogues, the author makes points about the Internet, which he fears has the potential of forcing more social conformity ....
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Shot entirely in New Caledonia, South Pacific, this was made with 900 USD $ and recorded with a Sony Mini DV Camcorder. The Actors were shot on a black backgound and the lighting is from torch lights or Garden projectors, I don't have anything to record audio and to produce sound itself.
My actors are friends, students and teachers doing it for fun. No drama training at all.
What you see is 2D frame by frame animation, all done in photoshop. My main area is pre-production and graphics so the lack of dialogue don't really bother me at all.
As my strength lies more in the image department: GIJOE WIDEVISION TRADING CARDS, JOE COLTON CARDS, BIRDS OF PREY SEASON 2 LITHOGRAPHS, TRANSFORMERS LITHOGRAPHS
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
M.Christian 1: So I’ve finally apprehended you, foul fiend!
M.Christian 2: What the hell are you talking about? I caught you!
MC1: There’s no denying it: you’re the wretched scoundrel who’s been impersonating me, writing books under my name, soiling my creative reputation, attempting to profit by using my name –
MC2: Hold it right there, buddy! I don’t know what kind of twisted game you’re playing but you’re the one who’s been copying me, ripping off my name –
MC1: Liar! J'accuse! It is you who have stolen my identity, my very existence, and sought to supplant me as the rightful owner to the life of ‘M.Christian!’
MC2: You’re freaking nuts!
MC1: No, sir, it is you who is the clearly unbalanced one. To even attempt such a reckless and audacious act reveals a tentative grasp of reality.
MC2: Look, you clearly need some kind of professional help: hardcore therapy, some good meds, maybe even a straight jacket. What I don’t get is why you even bothered to try and steal my name. It’s not like I’m a damned Stephen King or anything. I’m not worth very much. Hell, it’s not like you really needed to be me anyway. You’re a crook, okay, but you’re still a damned good writer. I really hate to say it but Me2 is a really good read. If you just hadn’t been so damned stupid to try and take my name away from me, you might have been able to make a real one for yourself.
MC1: Devil! Miscreant! How contemptible you are. How arrogant! Not only do you attempt the theft of my existence but now you play the game of mock sincerity and even praise your own impersonation. Well, sir, I think that the evidence of your crime is written on the very pages you try to pass off as my work. Agreed, the novel Me2 is the work of a writer with no small amount of talent but it is clearly not a subject matter that I, the true and real M.Christian, would ever create. For example, just look at the following text featured on the back of the current edition: “He looks just like you. He acts exactly like you. He takes away your job. He steals your friends. He seduces your lover. Every day he becomes more and more like you, pushing you out of your life, taking away what was yours … until there’s nothing left. Where did he come from? Robot? Alien? Clone? Doppelganger? Evil twin? Long lost brother? A shocking new view of queer identity, Me2 is a groundbreaking and wildly twisted novel that you’ll remember for a long time – no matter who you are, or who you think you may be.” That, sir, is not a book that the real M.Christian would ever deem to write.
MC2: Forget the pills and straight jacket, it’s a nice rubber-walled accommodation for you, buddy: you’re the one who wrote the damned book. But one thing you’re right about, Me2 sure isn’t something I would write. Sure it’s got a real interesting theme and all: existence, identity, the horror of losing who you are, of not only being replaced by a copy but even one who does a better damned job of living your life than you ever could. Yeah, it’s got an interesting and very readable style, even though it’s dealing with a lot of weird crap, but it sure isn’t something I would do.
MC1: Again you distort the truth of the situation. Curse you, impostor! I have worked for too many years to build up what I can only hope is a moderately respected literary career only to have to try to co-opt all my hard-won successes for your nefarious ends. I will fight you with every fiber of my being, thief! I am the one and the only M.Christian. I am the author of more than 250 short stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, and many, many other fine publications. Only I am the editor of 20 anthologies such as The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, The Mammoth Book of Future Cops, The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (both Mammoth books with Maxim Jakubowksi), and Confessions, Garden of the Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant). I, and I alone, am the author of four collections – Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy – and the novels Running Dry, and The Very Bloody Marys. You, sir, can never take that away from me!
MC2: God, you are a complete and total fruitloop, aren’t you? You’d have to be to sit there and rattle off my writing credits as yours. I tell ya if you weren’t such a 98-pound weakling, I’d be tempted to drive you into the ground like a tent peg. But since you are, I’m just going to keep reminding myself that you’re a little loose, brain-wise, and try not to take you too seriously. For God’s sake you don’t need to pretend to be me to get your name out there. Like I said, Me2 is a damned good book. Take the way you knock out all the usual explanations -- robot, alien, clone, doppelganger, evil twin, long lost brother – and offer up a totally unique explanation, and then totally screw with the idea of who the main character is. I tell you, I hate to say this, but it was quite brilliant. And then there’s the way you use humor as well as horror … you don’t need to pose as me: you could be right up there with me (if I’m even ‘up there’ to begin with) with a little work.
MC1: Is there no end to your infamy? Is there no depth to your depravity? How contemptible you are to stand there and claim to be the one, true, original M.Christian and then to compliment yourself for the work that you, yourself, created! The audacity! Beyond the insult to my person, however, is the loathing I feel for you for what you have done, in my name, to people I thought I could claim to be friends, associates .. people I respected. How did you manage to deceive so many people that you were myself? People who were not familiar with me or my work I could understand but to trick such luminaries as Felice Picano and Michael Thomas Ford … that is beyond fraud, bordering on evil criminality. Just look at what you tricked them into writing about this book you have written under my name. Lisabet Sarai, of Incognito and Fire fame says: “Absolutely brilliant. M.Christian explores the meaning of identity and humanity in a generic world where literally everything can be manufactured -- a world frighteningly like our own.” Art & Sex in Greenwich Village author Felice Picano writes: “Me2 is a unique and always entertaining fable-novel about what exactly identity may entail and how we may or may not decide whether it's worth the price of keeping it.” Mari Adkins contributing editor, Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest, says “M. Christian has a delightful, marvelously twisted way with words which cause his narratives to crawl beneath your skin and fester there, making you go back for more. He writes with a strong, unique voice which is not only entertaining but also makes you think, makes you ponder the improbable. You'll think you've read this delicious, fast-paced story, but did you? Or was it you?” And Full Circle and Changing Tides author Michael Thomas Ford writes "With delicious slyness , M. Christian creates a world in which the familiar becomes sinister and the comfort of daily routine is replaced by a growing sense of dread. His modern parable lays bare the all-too-real dangers inherent in the sacrifice of individuality in the pursuit of cultural homogenization.” I say again, and with heightened furor: how dare you, sir!
MC2: Okay, that’s it. I’ve had enough of you … you … damned copycat.
MC1: Is this it then? Are you so cowardly you resort to brute antagonism, simple violence?
MC2: You damned well started this – but I’m gonna finish it.
MC1: Unhand me, I say! I warn you, Sir, I was quite the pugilist in my day. Do not force me to defend myself.
MC2: Put ‘em up, you thief!
MC1: Have at you, sir!
MC1: You leave my mother out of this, reprobate!
Monday, March 17, 2008
I should first of all say this book is not a romance at all, so doesn’t really come under the umbrella of ‘original slash’ or whatever you want to call it. However, it’s such a clever bit of writing, it’s a shame to pass up the chance to draw readers’ attention to it.
The story is told from a POV - not necessarily a single POV, but that’s part of the conceit of an unnamed male narrator. He’s gay, but this is not about him being gay - his sexuality is just part of what makes him who he is and how he lives his life. If you’re tired of gay novels which are all about the anguish of being gay or how to find gay love, then this will be a refreshing change. [Interestingly, on his website, the author claims to be straight - but there’s a good deal of fucking with readers’ heads going on there, so I don’t know if that’s meant to be taken at face value.]
Our narrator’s life isn’t exactly challenging his intellect. He makes a habit of assessing people by their appearance, judging, tagging them, never really delving under the ensemble to the person’s soul. He treats himself in the same way, living superficially, obsessed with his looks and how he appears to other people. He works at Starbucks, doing the same thing, living the same meaningless existence in the same way every day, his customers no more distinct or real to him than the kinds of coffee they order. Until he talks to a crazy man who tells him about the doppelgangers, the doubles, the fakes, and how there are people walking among us who are mere simulacra of humanity, trying all the time to perfect the imitation. Our narrator starts to wonder if he has a double too, and the horror starts for him when he realises he does - and that the double is rapidly taking over our narrator’s existence. For the first time, he has to question just what makes him, his life and what is there that he desperately wants to call his own and no one else’s.
It’s a clever story exploring identity, mass consumption, the search for individualism in a world which promotes uniformity, where differences are superficial, and we become the labels we hang on ourselves and which are placed by the people. Christian asks in Me2, exactly what is the nature of self, and how much of what we believe we are, is merely a product of accumulated possessions, experiences and delusions. He also asks how can we hold onto true individuality in a consumer driven mass-marketed society. It’s a rather bleak portrait of American life, very time and place specific in its popular references, though perfectly comprehensible to the well-read non American. As ‘McCulture’ takes over the world, and rage against consumerism and Americanisation grows, Christian is taking pointed aim at the emptiness and meaningless of an existence dominated by brand names and advertising. It’s the same target that American Psycho went for, but in a very different and less bloody manner.
It’s a confusing, gripping story, though it loses pacing slightly towards the end, where it becomes a tad tiresome with its extremely long denouement. It demands closed attention, and the writing is layered, literate and intelligent, so not something for a lazy afternoon after a big meal. He builds the horror of the narrator’s situation beautifully, but the elliptical narrative with all the quotes from other speakers, told out of sequence, will be challenging to read if you’re not used to science fiction or the horror genre.
The idea of cloning, of doubles taking over one’s life, isn’t exactly new, but Christian’s spin on the idea and the execution is crisp and fresh. If you want a sturdy, well-written horror novel which will make you think, with a protagonist who’s gay in a completely non-exploitative way, then Me2 is one to buy.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Let me be very clear about this: I did not write the novel Me2. Yes, the book certainly sounds like a book I would write: a unusually constructed tale about queer identity, human existence, and the horror of having your life copied and stolen from you. Certainly it's with a publisher I have worked with many times before, having edited many anthologies, written one novel - Running Dry - and three previous collections of short stores - Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, and Filthy. Absolutely the style of the book - surreal yet lightly conversational and easily comprehensible - is very similar to styles I've used in past, for instance in my recently released gay vampire novel The Very Bloody Marys (from Haworth Books).
But I did not write Me2. Someone else did: someone who is attempting to steal my identity as a writer. Through devious means this shadowy impostor is attempting to supplant my career and even my existence. Rest assured that even though he at first appears to be my equal or even - I must grudgingly admit - my superior with regard to writing ability, I will not rest until he is exposed for the impostor he is. I want my life returned to me.
But if I did write Me2 here's how I would go about it.
I have to admit that I've always been fascinated by the illusion of individuality; how every one of us clings to the idea of being unique in the world yet feels comforted by a crowd of strangers who might share only the most superficial of interests with us. I also am interested in situations were lives are stolen: identity theft, impostors ... notions like that. What does it say about us if our 'selves', our identities, can be stolen, replaced, or sold off?
So if I was going to write a book like Me2 the proposal would come first. Then, with fingers firmly crossed, I'd submit it to, say, the great folks at Alyson Books. If luck and potential sales were on my side, Alyson Books would agree and a contract would be sent.
Then would come the fun -- and the hard -- part. That is if I were to write a book like Me2. Which, as I've said, I did not.
But if I had, I'd then break the book down into eleven or so pieces, each a set length -- say 5,000 to 6,000 words. After doing 5,000-word chapters for my first book, Running Dry, I swore I'd only do 3,000-word chapters going forward, which I did do for The Very Bloody Marys, but there's something about the idea of a book like Me2 that lends itself to longer chapters. In fact, what I might do -- if I were to write a book like Me2 -- is start each chapter with a brief monologue from a character trying to explain the presence of the double (Robot? Alien? Clone? Doppelganger? Evil twin? Long lost brother?). That way the reader would have their own guesses about what's happening tossed out until it gets to the wonderfully weird ending and final explanation to What's Really Going On.
Even though I didn't write Me2, I imagine that writing it would be a lot of fun, giving me the chance to have a lot of crazy, strange, surreal fun with the story. So crazy, strange, and surreal that I would never tip off a reader by, say, going into too much detail in a How I Wrote The Book piece like this one. Instead I'd only drop vague hints as well as warped and twisted tricks such as claiming not to have written the book, blaming the whole thing on a mysterious impostor ... which, naturally, is what the book is all about. That is, if I were to write something like Me2, which, as I've said, I didn't.
I usually write about 3,000 or so words a week, which is what happens when you have a day job as well as friends and family, so I'd probably have the book done in about six or so months. With Running Dry, I practically rewrote the book after I'd finished the first draft but since then I rarely touch the finished manuscript except to give it a final, careful read. Even so, no one can proof their own work, so I'd then send the manuscript over to my cherished partner-in-all-things Sage Vivant, who'd then read and copy edit the manuscript for me.
I should probably mention an interesting fact about writing a book like Me2. The book, if I were going to write it, would technically be a gay horror novel, as it would be written with a gay male focus and would be published by Alyson Books, which publishes gay and lesbian fiction as well as non-fiction books. Even though I did not write Me2, the one that has recently come out from my impostor, I would have no problem with it being a gay book as I am extensively published in that genre. Running Dry and The Very Bloody Marys are also gay horror books and three of my four collections were queer-specific.
But I'm straight.
I've never hidden my orientation. Far from it: I've written several essays and such on being a straight man writing gay stories. How it happened, and for that matter why it still happens, is simple: I'm a writer. I love to write, more than just about anything else. What it's about and who the stories are for really doesn't matter to me: having an audience who likes what I do, and gives me chances to write more, is what gets my motor going, so to speak. As I like to say, I might be straight but my orientation really is writer.
Starting out, I wrote a lot of queer porn. It was wonderful to sell what I wrote, and to have readers, editors, and then publishers want more of it. In fact I consider it a glorious compliment that I've worked with so many gay and lesbian writers, editors, and publishers who look beyond my own orientation and see just a writer who lives to tell a fun story.
A fun story like Me2. If I'd written it, that is.
After the book would be copy edited, it would then, naturally, go out to Alyson Books for their final thumbs-up. After that the novel would enter Alyson's pipeline: editing, cover design, back cover copy, promotion, distribution -- all of that.
Then it would be finished: from an few bubbling ideas to a proposal, from a proposal to an agreement, from an agreement to a manuscript, manuscript to finished book. From nothing to a few megs on my laptop's hard drive, then from bits and bytes to something you could go out and buy and, hopefully, enjoy.
But I didn't write Me2. I don't know who did. I've read the book, of course. And while I have to admit that it is well written, clever, haunting, disturbing, but also witty and evocative, I am still very disturbed that there is someone out there who is not only attempting to steal my life and writing career but is somehow doing a better job of being me than even I could have.
So I implore you: buy this book! Read it for yourself and discover the horrible truth of Me2!
I just wish I written the damned thing myself.
-- The REAL M.Christian
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Frequently Felt is my playful little blog -- “ ” – where I’ve been posting this, that, and everything betwixt and between having to do with sex and erotica. What I’d like to do is open Frequently Felt to very short stories, on a first-come-first-posted basis.Here are the specifics:
- Stories or literary pieces no longer than 500 words.
- No underage characters, excessive violence, incest, homophobia, or bestiality
- Please include some form of contact information at the end (email, Web site, etc.) to be published with your piece
- I reserve the right to refuse to publish anything – it’s my blog, after all
I’m also interested in interviews, reviews, editorial pieces, artwork, blog posts and other fun things. If you want to help out with that, just write me and we’ll chat about it.
Friday, March 07, 2008
For Impersonating Author M.Christian
Sketch by Daryl Walker
Do You Know This Man?
Do You Even Know Yourself?
He looks just like you. He acts exactly like you. He takes away your job. He steals your friends. He seduces your lover. Every day he becomes more and more like you, pushing you out of your life, taking away what was yours … until there’s nothing left. Where did he come from? Robot? Alien? Clone? Doppelganger? Evil twin? Long lost brother?
This impostor has even duped such notable authors as Felice Picano and Michael Thomas Ford, getting from them rave blurbs such as:
- Lisabet Sarai, author of Incognito and Fire
Me2 is a unique and always entertaining fable-novel about what exactly identity may entail and how we may or may not decide whether it's worth the price of keeping it.
- Felice Picano, author of Art & Sex in Greenwich Village
M. Christian has a delightful, marvelously twisted way with words which cause his narratives to crawl beneath your skin and fester there, making you go back for more. He writes with a strong, unique voice which is not only entertaining but also makes you think, makes you ponder the improbable. You'll think you've read this delicious, fast-paced story, but did you? Or was it you?
- Mari Adkins contributing editor, Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest
"With delicious slyness, M. Christian creates a world in which the familiar becomes sinister and the comfort of daily routine is replaced by a growing sense of dread. His modern parable lays bare the all-too-real dangers inherent in the sacrifice of individuality in the pursuit of cultural homogenization."
- Michael Thomas Ford, author of Full Circle and Changing Tides
If you're a reviewer and you'd like to receive a review copy of this one-of-a-kind novel -- as either a paper copy or as a pdf file -- please contact M.Christian for a copy of this outrageous book: