Thursday, October 28, 2010

Celebration times four

There will be at least four reasons for celebration when I arrive in London on Sunday.

I have completed my novel "At the end of the rainbow", the fourth installment of my series The Janus Clan tonight. It will be published next year.

The Slaves, the second book in the series is officially published on Sunday.

Being in London is, in itself a reason to celebrate.

It's Samhain Sunday night, an ancient All Soul's Night where Life itself is celebrated.

At the very least those four. But I'm convinced one or ten more will easily manifest.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Machine not

«What is it that makes us human? It isn't something you can program. You can't put it into a chip. It's the strength of the human heart, the difference between us and machines».
Marcus Wright - Sam Worthington - Terminator Salvation (2009)

There are those who would disagree with the above statement, claiming that humanity can be quantified, can be measured and defined like a chemical solution in a dish. Most people calling themselves scientists would make that claim without hesitation.

Such an approach to humanity, to life itself is certainly one major flaw with science in general.

One of several disastrous results of such a horrible outlook is the society civilization and its advanced technology has created. The society previous humanity has made, current humanity is making is a Machine, and humanity is its nuts and bolts and wheels, one where many scientists and techno-freaks speak about artificial intelligence being potentially superior to mankind’s, where people like Hans Moravec boast about their desire to download human consciousness into a machine and brag about its advantages.


What follows is my review on the movie Terminator Salvation and related subjects, translated and expanded from my original Norwegian article:


I watched the film for the second time tonight, re-experiencing the greatness, the experience further enhanced in my mind, one motion picture many professional reviewers have called «painfully bad».

The film is a masterpiece from the first to the last frame. There is something about the Terminator movies bringing out greatness in everybody working with them.

John Connor has been played by at least four people. Three directors and several writers have contributed to the story. Quality remains high throughout the series. All four films are up there with the very best. They say so very much about fate and what it means to be human, and are rare gems of deep, intense action-films.

Before each new installment I have been pretty much without high expectations. I don’t know quite why that is, but I guess I have feared that it would be impossible to repeat past greatness. Each and every time I have been beyond pleasantly surprised. There is something about the theme and story that obviously bring out the best in the various crews working on the films. One can see and sense, easily notice how thorough they are.

We’re finally watching John Connor, humanity’s «leader» in the war against the machines, follow him in the future, a part of the story we believed we would never be told. We know a few things about what happens, about what must happen, before the film starts, but the excitement and tension is still high, in spite of that. Connor is no longer absolutely necessary for the war against the machines to continue. Kyle Reese is, but not John Connor. And we’re kept on the edge of our seat to the final frame. The story is about Man and Machine, literally. In a time where humans become ever more organic machines, robots, puppets hardly doing anything but dance in strings a film like this is increasingly valuable. Marcus Wright says that humans can’t be programmed. I don’t know if I share his optimistic view there, but what’s certainly true is that not everybody can be. The fire burning within all humans cannot be extinguished.

Reviewers are, as I often say the art community’s parasites. They have no true function. They have no true knowledge of film, what is great film, or rather: don’t have any better knowledge than most people and far inferior compared to those of us burning for a great story, an experience beyond description inside and outside the theater or living room. Reviewers state their ignorant view and present it as a bible of what movies (books, music, art in general) are supposed to be.

In a strange and startling and very telling way they remind me of scientists. Both groups are beyond eager to classify, define everything. If they can’t label stuff, they grow very cranky and self-serving, and even desperate and yes, dangerous.

I’ve always made sure to watch movies slaughtered by reviewers and they have, practically without exception shown themselves to be great films.

That these people are paid to publish their shit is absolutely incredible.

You’ve just read one man’s opinion.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Author’s word - The Slaves

The Slaves, the second installment of my series The Janus Clan is my most violent novel so far, one that takes the art form of transgression far and beyond, I'm proud to say. A friend of mine told me that reading it had been an ordeal, and I said thank you. He said he had a hard time dealing with all the wounds it opened, and I beamed at him. I want my readers to have a hard time with it, want them to ask themselves the hard, the truly hard questions.

But it’s also, in many ways an upbeat tale, one about empowerment, liberation from enslavement, or at least the start of the long road to true Freedom.

It is extremely violent, an attack on the senses, both mentally and physically, but it has to be, with the story it's telling. It's a tale for adults, in all meanings of the word, one hardly subtracting anything from the horror that is the current human society.

I remember once when I discussed it over the phone with a representative for a publisher. «It’s so rough, so beyond brutal». I could virtually see him sit there and shake his head.

«So what»? I asked him.

He never really replied to that one, except in hopeless generalities. I discovered a startling truth that day, in my youth and naiveté: A story that explicitly revealed the horrors of modern life just wasn’t feasible to established publishers.

Eventually I would discover that a lot of stuff wasn’t feasible to any established publisher. They would speak a lot in public about the need for fighting censorship, but when push came to shove… they would turn away. The obvious reason for this is that they’re an integral part of the public censorship, one bastion of several erected to keep troublesome and truly alternative material from reaching the public.

I am a Storyteller, I want to tell stories, but I’m also a very engaged, passionate human being. I look at the current world and want to change it, change it dramatically, also through my art. Censorship, in all forms has always been one of many pet peeves of mine, and I certainly don’t hold back when I’m writing in fear of what timid, domesticated people may think.

Thanks to David Huxley for the crowd picture, one which turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Thanks also to Obskur (not Obscure). I didn’t end up using his picture, but it still helped me in the process.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A better world (I)

I want a better world, a much better world.

A good start on our path to such a distant place in time and space would be to let go of the pretense and blatant hypocrisy dominating today’s global society, locally, nationally and internationally.

There are very few good things about the current world. We, humanity live in a hell of our own making, and we claim it’s a good thing.

A better world wouldn’t celebrate something like Columbus Day, but would call it the horror it was and still is, and always will be. In a better world most people wouldn’t say good things about bad people in the bad people’s funerals. They wouldn’t feel the need to hide real problems because of convenience and fear of losing face or influence or stature.

The white Europeans exterminated millions of native «Americans». You would believe that a fact like that should have a greater impact on a society claiming to be more evolved and «civilized»… right? Yes, it has happened, it can’t be undone, but that isn’t really the issue here. You see, instead of being condemned Columbus' arrival in the land now called America is celebrated, yet another sign that nothing really has changed, and that the same mechanisms are still present today. The forces driving the state of israel are allowed, openly to do the same to the Palestinians, and the rest of the world shrugs in its indifference. There are countless other examples.

Might makes right.

You might claim that the custom of never saying bad things about anyone after they’re dead is a minor thing, a way of softening grief, but it isn’t really. It’s one example of many of how pervasive hypocrisy is today.

Hypocrisy serves the tyrants, obviously so, keeping important issues from being discussed. It’s one major type of oil keeping the wheels of the Machine going, like fear on the keys to the Kingdom to those people thriving in this thoroughly unjust, unequal and destructive society.

This as a modest start…

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Multicultural

It suddenly occurred to me, when I first published this article a couple of years ago that I hadn’t written this before, at least not quite like this. There is too much that stays unsaid, because it’s self-evident, but perhaps it should be said anyway, and far more often. The way the world works today, one should definitely do that.

I’ve traveled quite a bit, a lot in my life. The places I enjoy the most is filled to the rim with cultural variety. London is such a place. The city is a smorgasbord of cultures from all over the world, both residents and visitors, travelers. One million people that aren’t residents are visiting the city at any time. You’ve never quite experienced the true value of the multicultural society until you’ve visited or lived in London in spring. Growth is everywhere, and the plants are just a minor part of that. You hear dozens of languages and witness virtually an infinite number of behaviors. I used to live there, and have visited countless times beyond that, but every single visit is still an experience. Even whatever may exist of daily routines become a great experience there.

New Orleans is another city with similar pleasures. It enjoys Spanish, English, American, French and native roots, and has for centuries been a melting pot of cultures. You notice it easily when you walk through the distinct streets, the amazing mood virtually assaulting you. New Orleans is a poor city in financial terms, also before Katrina, but aside from that it isn’t really poor on anything.

These are two cases. There are many more, all over the globe.

The obvious truth, heard and stated rarely, way too infrequently is that this, in such melting pots is where true creativity and display of humanity is exhibited in earnest. To a true seeker and artist such places are a fabulous inspiration. Throughout history they have been an ever-growing source of growth, the reason a group of people have moved on from possible stagnation, while people living in isolation and being full of themselves have ended up on the graveyard of history.

I’ve never truly understood racists and people hostile to strangers, and I never will. They’re scared and sad creatures, a fact that’s easy to understand. But what’s going on in their heads aside from that is impossible to guess. They close themselves off from life, and wish to do the same with everybody else. They give me the creeps.

But in melting pots like London and New Orleans one forgets those kind of humans, dismisses their narrow view on reality like the bad dream it is, and remembers easily, beyond memory… what it means to be human.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Hooded Man

«The greenwood is the outlaw's friend. Now, the orphan boys make us welcome. No tax, no tied, nobody rich, nobody poor. Fair shares for all at nature's table. Many wrongs to be righted in the country of King John.»
Lady Marian - Cate Blanchett - Robin Hood (2010)