Sunday, 27 September 2009

Film Ramble: The Jacket

If Kurt Vonnegut had ever written a mainstream Hollywood movie then it might have turned out something like The Jacket. Slaughterhouse Five is one obvious jumping off point for a plot that sees Adrien Brody's damaged Gulf War vet end up in an asylum after being wrongly accused of murder, and then coming unstuck in time thanks to some deeply unorthodox treatment. Another is Jacob's Ladder, and yet another is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The fact that The Jacket can stand up to all of those comparisons without embarrassment, and without seeming derivative, is a fair mark of how good it is.

It's pretty obvious that Warner Bros. had no idea at all what to do with it from the tag line, "TERROR HAS A NEW NAME" - although I guess they showed restraint in leaving off the exclamation mark. The Jacket never stood much chance of being appreciated for what it really is - not a horror movie (although if you're claustrophobic you'll probably pee your pants) but a smart mishmash of genres: horror yes, but also science-fiction, social commentary, crime, and romance. It spins around a small handful of beautiful, primal concepts, and a handful of great performances - Brody is downright excellent, a completely charming cypher, and Keira Knightley turns in probably the only genuinely good acting of her career. It's clever, strange, touching and downright unnerving, and it should have reached a whole lot more people than it did.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Rindelstein Committed

Rafe McGregor, friend and persistently excellent crime writer, says that Rindelstein's Monsters is my best story. He should probably know, having read just about everything I've written (a staggering task for anybody), assisted in more than a few rewrites, and generally helped to keep this show on the road for the last three years or so.

I would certainly place it in my top five, and I have to admit I'm very proud of it. I've always been determined that, however everything else fell out, Rindelstein's would make it to a good home - one where it's oddities (and it has a lot!) would be appreciated as well as its virtues.

Well, finger's crossed, Comet Press is that home. Rindelstein's Monsters, my possibly-best-yet story, will be appearing in their forthcoming horror /crime anthology, which - judging by their output and reception so far - should be nothing short of awesome. If you're going to buy one anthology with a David Tallerman story in this year, make it this one. Or failing that, one of the others. Or donate the money to a kitten sanctuary. Or buy yourself a new T-shirt, maybe one with a funny slogan or something. Hey, it's your life.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Feeler Strikes Again

It's funny how things work out. Even when sometimes it doesn't look like they're going to be the least bit funny.

Regular readers will know that my story Feeler was recently accepted by Tyree Campbell for a new Sam's Dot publication going by the charming Shelter of Daylight. This was of course good news, if for no other reason than that I'd had a hard time placing Feeler, and it was a story I felt sure of and believed in too much to see it languishing on my harddrive forever.

Before Sam's Dot, Feeler had been with Ballista, who recently announced that they would be closing shop with their seventh issue. Perhaps understandably, I took this as a rejection - those of you who write will no doubt understand my logic. It's a sad fact of the industry that magazines, even very good magazines, fold on a fairly regular basis, and it's rare to ever get a reply back once that's happened.

Long story slightly less long, Ballista just got back to me saying that they would like Feeler for their final issue. My first reaction was to feel pretty gutted, since acceptances are a rare breed at the best of times and it's no fun having to tell an editor you've sold a story out from under them. In desperation I threw myself at the mercy of Mr Campbell, and he very kindly agreed to let Ballista have the first shot, so to speak.

So I'm immensely pleased to announce that Feeler has found not one but two good homes. Expect Ballista along in the near future, and Shelter of Daylight in April of next year.