Monday, May 31, 2010

Dennis Hopper 1936 - 2010

This is a couple of days late, but I didn't want to let the holiday weekend to end without taking a moment to recognize the passing of one of the great talents of American cinema, actor, director, and writer Dennis Hopper. Though he'll probably be remembered best for his higher-profile work in films like Apocalypse Now, Cool Hand Luke, and Rebel Without A Cause, I personally will always recall him first in his magnificent (Tarantino-scripted) scene with Christopher Walken in Tony Scott's True Romance (which you can watch here), which just might be the greatest moment in the history of American movies, full stop.

My sympathies go out to Dennis' family and friends. He will be missed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Current Reading: "The Monster Of The Prophecy" by Clark Ashton Smith

(Note: This is the first post in an occasional series where I'll write about books or stories that I'm currently reading, rather than books that I've finished reading like I do at Amazon.)

Right now I'm reading "The Monster Of The Prophecy" by the great weird fiction author Clark Ashton Smith. The reasons I'm posting this are: (1) I'm a huge CAS fan and will use any excuse whatsoever to drop his name; and (2) I think the cover of the original Weird Tales magazine in which it first appeared (pictured below) is pretty freakin' cool.

Cover of the January 1932 issue of Weird Tales. Art by C.C. Senf

I'm about halfway through it right now. So far it's pretty interesting - sort of like one of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom stories as written by Charles Baudelaire. I'll let you know what I think of it when I'm done.

UPDATE (5/23/10): Well, I finished it tonight. An odd mixture of decadent and twee, but the language and imagery are beautiful, as always. 4 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Memoriam: Steve Tompkins

I just came across a great tribute to the late Robert E. Howard scholar Steve Tompkins over at the REH: Two-Gun Raconteur website and thought I'd post a link. Why? Simply put, it's because I believe that Tompkins was a great writer and amazing critical thinker whose work deserves to be more widely read than it is, which, outside of the Howard fandom community, it largely is not. Tompkins was an intellectual whirlwind whose essays slalomed breathlessly from topic to topic - he could veer from Quentin Tarantino to Stephen King to Herodotus and then back to his original subject (usually Howard, less often (but just as ably) J. R. R. Tolkien or Charles R. Saunders or Ian Fleming), leaving the reading's head spinning trying to keep up with him. If you care about great writing (and particularly if you are as dismayed about the ghettoization of genre fiction as I often am), you should check him out. Click on the link above, or, better yet, take a look at his archived posts at The Cimmerian, which remains some of the finest work of his I've seen on the net.