Great Expectations!

So I’m over at Jason’s blog again, talking about my all-time favourite book – surprised I’ve been asked back?  Hmnn, I don’t have a gun this time,  so maybe that has got something to do with it?  I’m talking about my favourite novel, the fantastic Great Expectations by the tremendously talented Charles Dickens.

Jason asked me some interesting questions, and I did branch out little, discussing themes and Victorian social problems and other great works of literature. Jason has added some great illustrations too, and the blog is gorgeous, take a peek!

I did manage to slip in, ever so subtly mind you, a discreet mention of my new book, Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights which is out with marvellous NTTK in February 2019!

 Over to Mr. beech…

So, a classic of English literature. What do you love about it?

I do believe that Charles Dickens was a genius, but there are a couple of reasons I like the novel so much. Firstly, I think it has the best plot of any book I have ever read – it’s so engaging, complicated and has a fabulous revelation, which ties up the actions of the seemingly unconnected characters and different strands of the plot! Not only has Pip been deluded about his benefactor; he has placed his trust in a future which doesn’t exist, believing that steel-hearted Estella was meant to be his wife…read more

 

An interview with Renato Bratkovič ~ creator of Alibi International Crime/Noir Festival!

As you may know, I have just spent a wonderfully creative weekend at the amazing Alibi International Crime/Noir Festival in Slovenia, which was the hosted and created by the very talented writer and creative advertising director,  Renato BratkovičThe festival is unique in its concept and originality, and so I was it was a real  pleasure to catch up with Renato, to ask him he felt about this year’s event…

Alibi is a unique, noir festival, set in the beautiful Slovenian mountains. What was the initial inspiration for its creation?

Nino, our friend photographer, and I made the film about Gora pod lipo (http://www.gorapodlipo.com) back in July 2015. When the film was finished I realised, what a lovely place this was. I could imagine a bunch of writers writing there, eating, drinking, having fun … I told Lena (she runs the place with her boyfriend Primož) about the idea and she said, “Yeah, sure, create a concept and we’ll do something about it.” After two weeks I had this idea about inviting five writers for a weekend, let them draw titles for their stories, write them and present them in the end. The last weekend in September the first guests arrived.

This is the third year of the festival, how has it has evolved since the beginning?

We try to add little bits every year – the writing workshop concept, where participating writers get their titles and have to write the stories, is unique I believe, but I wanted a film night as well. The first Alibi happened so fast and the film I wanted to present (the first official Slovenian film noir Case: Osterberg)  but I was travelling from festival to festival at the time, so we ended up with Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me.

We hosted Case: Osterberg with the screenwriter and the producer last year, and this year we presented a film based upon my story and we invited my favorite director, Damjan Kozole, with his film Night Life.

What are your feelings about this year’s event?

Well, it seems I’m lucky to choose writers who form a brilliant team. And this year was no exception. But most of all, I’m happy I had more women than men this year. Women tend to write even darker stories then men, I think.

Alibi differs from many other literary festivals as the writers create their stories while in attendance – do you believe it is important to celebrate spontaneous creativity?

I believe we need this sense of accomplishment in the end. I mean it’s great if you’re able to visit a festival where you read your own work, but when you find yourself with a task of having to create something on the spot and present your work, you win twice: you get this beautiful feeling of having created something and you have one more story that year. I guess this is what drives my guests to come here and I’m happy about it.

How has the festival evolved over the years, and what are your future aspirations for Alibi?

Well, the workshop concept will definitely remain the core of the festival. In the future I’d also like to have Slovenian publishers as guest – maybe some collaboration between them and our participating writers might come out of it.

My story began with Bistrica Noir literary evening at our local library a couple of years ago, so I’ll try and find a way to get them involved in the festival. And I feel one film night is not enough.

As this was the third year, my plan is to have an anthology with 25 stories published every five years. So in three years, all the writers from the first five years are going to be invited to join us again for the sixth edition when we’re going to promote the book and have some real fun. But we’ll have to find some additional sponsors.

Thank you for your interesting insights Renato!

For more information on the festival why not visit the Website and Alibi FB Page?

For further information on Renato please visit:

 Radikalnews

Artisan advertising and publishing house.

Renato at Amazon

 

 

Sci- fi Review! 10 Cloverfield Lane~Synchronicity~ Uncanny

10 Cloverfield Lane vs Cloverfield
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I must admit to being a big fan of the alien Invasion genre; so it was great to see what an amazing job the makers of the Cloverfield franchise, have done with their latest film, 10 Cloverfield Lane. In the original film, which was out in 2008, the alien invasion began in Manhattan, New York, with a monstrous almost mammalian type alien, inflicting its own brand of terror on city residents. The original film had its viewing drawbacks in that it was supposed to be shot on a home video recorder, complete with shaky shots and sharp camera angles, which were quite a trend in those days, especially in paranormal films of that era…

The new 10 Cloverfield Lane has none of this home movie quality about it, and would have been an excellent psychological thriller in its own right, even without those poisonous gasses spreading predators.  John Goodman is superb as the psychopathic Howard, who runs a very tight bunker indeed. Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)the main character is tenacious, aggressive and resourceful, much like Ripley in the Alien films.  The aliens, it must be noted, have been updated since their original outing in 2008; they have a more much sophisticated looking spacecraft and lethal toxic gas at their disposal.

The thing I really liked about 10 Cloverfield Lane, was that it wasn’t a strict sequel from the first film, because the invasion happens simultaneously in a different area; but as the characters were holed up in a bunker for an undisclosed period, this also allows for the passage of time from the original invasion. Apart from the wonderful acting, it is the first film I have seen in years that made me literally jump out of my skin…poor Emmett!

Synchronicity (2015)maxresdefault

It had all of the hall marks of a decent Sci- fi film, but it seriously failed to deliver on that promise.  We have an obsessed scientist who was trying to create a wormhole for the purpose of time travel (always a good thing). But his scientific obsessions are quickly derailed when he meets a beautiful and mysterious woman, rapidly transferring his obsession on to her. The whole movie is set in a small laboratory and a seventies style, concrete block of flats, which doesn’t add that much to the atmosphere.

The obsessed scientist spends much of his time running through a tinfoil tunnel (so achingly low budget) and repeating earlier scenes, which have apparently acquired new depth and meaning, with small dramatic tweaks now added. Most of us have seen this type of thing before, (it was done beautifully Memento 2000 with Guy Pearce), and this film really doesn’t have the depth or brilliant acting, to make it that interesting, unfortunately.

Uncanny (2015)

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For lovers of all things android! It has a solid plot and some real potential, when a struggling but beautiful young journalist interviews a reclusive, brilliant scientist, and discovers he has made exciting new progress in creating a stunning, realistic looking android; who is trying to learn the nuances of being human. The journalist agrees to spend time with these two strange males, and a love triangle ensues. I am not going to give away any spoilers, but the whole plot hinges on a dramatic twist ending, which unfortunately seems to make nonsense of the previous half hours dialogue. Still worth watching though – especially if you like androids…