Interview with MICHAEL MORECI

MoreciM-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Michael Moreci?

I am the man behind the curtain, the eye in the sky watching us all.

Kidding, kidding. First and foremost, I’m a dad. I stay at home with my two boys, and they are my life to a very profound degree. After that, I’m a writer. I’ve been writing professionally (or at least close to professionally) for a few years now; I got my start in comics, creating/writing books like Roche Limit, Burning Fields, Hoax Hunters, Curse, and more. I’ve also been lucky enough to write for established characters like Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Conan the Barbarian, The Shadow, to name a few. Now, I’ve written a novel. Writing books has always been my passion; I’ve been writing prose since I was a teenage and followed that all through college and graduate school. Finally, around two years ago, I got my break and, viola, Black Star Renegades was born. Continue reading

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Books on Film: YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

This movie is based on a novella of the same name by Jonathan Ames (a review copy of which I received quite recently). A brutal crime story, the movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, who is hired to rescue a young girl kidnapped by a sex ring. The movie, directed by Lynne Ramsay, is already racking up accolades and awards, and was the winner of Best Actor and Best Screenplay at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Here’s the trailer:

The movie is due to arrive in cinemas in April 2018 — distributed by Film 4, Amazon Studios, and others.

AmesJ-YouWereNeverReallyHereJonathan Ames’s You Were Never Really Here is published in North America by Vintage (a movie tie-in edition is due out in March), and in the UK by Pushkin Vertigo. Here’s the synopsis…

A gritty, harrowing story of corruption and one man’s violent quest for vengeance.

Joe has witnessed things that cannot be erased. A former FBI agent and Marine, his abusive childhood has left him damaged beyond repair. He has completely withdrawn from the world and earns his living rescuing girls who have been kidnapped into the sex trade.

When he’s hired to save the daughter of a corrupt New York senator held captive at a Manhattan brothel, he stumbles into a dangerous web of conspiracy, and he pays the price. As Joe’s small web of associates are picked off one by one, he realizes that he has no choice but to take the fight to the men who want him dead.

Brutal and redemptive in equal measure, You Were Never Really Here is a toxic shot of a thriller, laced with corruption, revenge and the darkest of inner demons.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Books on Film: First FAHRENHEIT 451 teaser from HBO…

A couple of days ago, HBO released the first teaser for their upcoming adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, here it is:

So, not hugely informative, but I am certainly looking forward to watching.

BradburyR-Fahrenheit451US-60thThe novel is published in North America by Simon & Schuster, and in the UK by Harper Voyager. Here’s the synopsis:

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Upcoming: THE POPPY WAR by R.F. Kuang (Voyager)

KuangRF-1-PoppyWarUSYesterday, Barnes & Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog unveiled the cover for R.F. Kuang‘s upcoming debut novel, The Poppy War. This novel had only just come onto my radar, but I’m really interested in reading it.

The novel is inspired by China’s 20th Century history, according the above-linked post (I’m assuming early 20th), which made this novel shoot up my Must Read list — Chinese history is very much in my wheelhouse (BA and PhD). Couple that with the fact that I’m always on the lookout for interesting new authors… well, I’ve got to read this. Here’s the official synopsis:

When Rin aced the Keju — the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies — it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard — the most elite military school in Nikan — was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power — an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive — and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity… and that it may already be too late.

The Poppy War will be published in North America and the UK by Harper Voyager in early May 2018.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: CITY OF DEVILS by Paul French (Picador/riverrun)

FrenchP-CityOfDevilsUSI’ve only recently started to read Paul French‘s books. I’ve been aware of his stuff for a long while, but this past Christmas I went on a Penguin China Special reading-binge, which meant I finally read two of French’s titles: Betrayal in ParisThe Badlands and Bloody Saturday — all three of which were excellent.* I promptly bought Midnight in Peking (for myself and family members), and will read it very soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d some information about his next non-fiction book, City of Devils. here’s the synopsis:

1930s Shanghai could give Chicago a run for its money. In the years before the Japanese invaded, the city was a haven for outlaws from all over the world: a place where pasts could be forgotten, fascism and communism outrun, names invented, fortunes made — and lost.

‘Lucky’ Jack Riley was the most notorious of those outlaws. An ex-Navy boxing champion, he escaped from prison in the States, spotted a craze for gambling and rose to become the Slot King of Shanghai. Ruler of the clubs in that day was ‘Dapper’ Joe Farren — a Jewish boy who fled Vienna’s ghetto with a dream of dance halls. His chorus lines rivalled Ziegfeld’s and his name was in lights above the city’s biggest casino.

In 1940 they bestrode the Shanghai Badlands like kings, while all around the Solitary Island was poverty, starvation and genocide. They thought they ruled Shanghai; but the city had other ideas. This is the story of their rise to power, their downfall, and the trail of destruction they left in their wake. Shanghai was their playground for a flickering few years, a city where for a fleeting moment even the wildest dreams seemed possible.

In the vein of true crime books whose real brilliance is the recreation of a time and place, this is an impeccably researched narrative non-fiction told with superb energy and brio, as if James Ellroy had stumbled into a Shanghai cathouse.

City of Devils is due to be published in July by Picador in North America (Raincoast in Canada), and in June by riverrun in the UK.

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

 

* The Penguin Specials series is fantastic in general: around 100 pages or so, compact and focused non-fiction narratives. I’d highly recommend them. They appear to be focusing on a different theme every year (or so). Last year, for example, they released a handful of Hong Kong Specials, which I’ll be buying and reading very soon.

New ALTERED CARBON trailer!

Netflix has released a new trailer for its upcoming adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon! My anticipation levels for this series are very high (I’ve mentioned before on CR that the novel carries much of the blame for getting me into sci-fi), and this trailer further ramped up my impatience. Here it is:

Here’s the official synopsis for the series:

In the distant future, human consciousness can be digitized and downloaded into different bodies. Brought back to life after 250 years by Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) the richest man on Earth, ex-Envoy soldier Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman / Will Yun Lee) must solve Bancroft’s attempted murder for the chance to live again in a world he doesn’t recognize.

Altered Carbon releases on February 2nd, 2018. In the meantime, the novel is published by Gollancz in the UK, and Del Rey in North America (a new, series tie-in edition will be released in February).

MorganR-TK1-AlteredCarbon

Interview with TYRELL JOHNSON

JohnsonT-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Tyrell Johnson?

Well, my Twitter bio says I’m a father, husband, writer, editor, and donkey trainer. So at least a few of those things MUST be true.

Your new novel, The Wolves of Winter, will be published by HQ this month. It looks rather fabulous: How would you introduce it to a potential reader? Is it part of a series?

It’s a post-apocalyptic thriller about a young woman surviving in the Yukon wilderness with her family. When she encounters a strange man in the wilderness, his dark past calls her to a role she never imagined. I’d love to announce that it’s part of a series, but since nothing is “in the books” yet, I don’t want to jump the gun. Continue reading