Monday, September 24, 2012

Dredd 3D!

What would it be like to observe someone fall 200 stories in slow motion if you were the floor they land on? This is one of the important questions addressed by Dredd 3D, the latest attempt to bring a comic book icon to the big screen.
Long on graphic depictions of violence (how many different ways can you blow a man’s head off?) but short on originality, Dredd 3D takes place in a distopic future where it seems that our current economic and environmental policies have condemned our descendents to live in a sort of hyper East LA. As police, judge and executioner, Dredd (Karl Urban looking shell-shocked under a perma-helmet) has the combined power of all three branches of our current government, and like many campaign donors, he is not required to reveal his identity. Ghetto block justice replaces frontier justice as Dredd and his psychic protégé (Olivia Thirlby who isn't given the opportunity to hide behind a mask) deal out life and death sentences and then summarily carry them out with their voice-activated Swiss Army side arms. Or maybe he has an iPhone25.
Things start out all guts and gory but then go downhill from there as the Dredds capture a key member of a mob boss Ma-Ma’s (Lena Headey wearing her scars quite well, thank you) drug ring and rather than just dispensing their justice on the spot (why not here, why not now?) they threaten to take him back to headquarters for further questioning. Oh what secrets he’ll reveal! This can’t be allowed by Ma-Ma and she proceeds with a lockdown of her own, sealing off the 200 story building with mega blast doors and blocking all transmissions. This of course is not as big a deal in this future distopia than the secret Ma-Ma wants to keep: she has a new Slo-Mo drug to bring to market. Yes, taking over an entire apartment block will definitely attract less attention. What’s a Judge to do? With no access to the Law Enforcers’ iCloud and running low on ammunition, it’s survival of the Dreddest.
This type of gritty cell block paranoia was handled better in Attack the Block which at least had a sense of humor. As other reviewers have noted, much of the same ground was covered to better effect in the recent Indonesian film The Raid: Redemption. If it’s true that science fiction is written to prevent the future rather than to predict it, Dredd 3D gives us a solid case against future sequels.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Tedium is the Message?

My presentation at the New York Public Library Authors Series: "The Tedium is the Message: Communicating and Creating with the New Social Media" September 4, 2012 is on Slideshare

Friday, September 7, 2012

Here at last in one post are all the great reviews, awards and notices Executive Severance has earned!

First there is Jerry Seeger's insightful review,"A Novel Written in Tweets" where he notes:

"There were occasional tweets that I sat back and admired just for their economy. Wee tiny poems. One thing for sure, doing a story in this medium requires skill (and the willingness to drop the occasional punctuation mark).

It is a thought-provoking story, not so much for what it says, but for what it is. Which is something the story itself tells us."

Leslie Wright's wonderful book review in Blogcritics and the Seattle PI:
"Writing a novel using twitter seems such a daunting task, and yet Blechman persevered and did it with certain panache."

Glynis Smy's fantastic indie book promoting page where she celebrates authors and their books and many thanks to everyone over at Indies Unlimited for their support!

Robert Barry Francos' terrific take on the Twitter novel genre:

"The book is a fast read, short and sweet, but it is worth the experience. If the reader is not laughing or wincing at the pun, or noting a particular reference, you are certainly enjoying the easy flow of the novel.

Throughout the book, there are a number of illustrations that are perfectly suited for the theme, done by crack cartoonist David Arshawsky."

And of course, there was the Mary Shelly Award for Outstanding Fictional Work from the Media Ecology Association!

Finally, thanks again to Paul Levinson, Marleen S. Barr, Marvin Kitman and Michelle Anderson for reading advance copies of Executive Severance and providing wonderful jacket blurbs:

"A delightful 'twitstery' - a mystery written in real time Tweets - that is compelling, entertaining, and shows off what can be done in the 140-character form with style and mastery. Blechman's delight in the language shows in every tweet - that is to say, every thread of the story. His plot is tight, tingling, and diverting. Poe would have been proud of the new form Blechman has given to the mystery story."
-Paul Levinson, author New New Media (now in its 2nd Edition) and The Plot to Save Socrates

"Executive Severance, a laugh out loud comic mystery novel, epitomizes our current cultural moment in that it is born from the juxtaposition of authorial invention and technological communication innovation. Merging creative text with new electronic context, Robert K. Blechman's novel, which originally appeared as Twitter entries, can be read on a cell phone. His tweets which merge to form an entertaining novel can't be beat. Hold the phone; exalt in the mystery--engage with Blechman's story which signals the inception of a new literary art form.”
- Marleen S. Barr, author of Envisioning the Future: Science Fiction and the Next Millennium

"A He Dunit. Sometimes a little verbose, but OMG this is the best twitstery I ever read. It's got everything: narrative drive, mystery, comedy, thrills, tension, laughs. Blechman is on to something, a genre as important to literature as the invention of haiku in rhyme. ..."
- Marvin Kitman, author, The Man Who Wouldn't Shut Up: The Rise of Bill O’Reilly

“Embracing the challenges found in publishing via the medium Twitter, Bob Blechman’s super silly story Executive Severance is stuffed with punny dialogue, clever character conditions, and a total lack of adherence to the old “rules” of storytelling. It’s a meaty tale told in deliciously rare, bite-sized chunks that I'd recommend for consumption to anyone hungering for fiction that satisfies. Well-done, Bob!”
- Michelle Anderson, mediaChick, author of The Miracle in July - a digital love story

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TODAY All Your Twitter Questions Are Answered!

Is Twitter dumbing us down? Messaging via Twitter has been called tedious, mundane and often "TMI" (too much information). Though slides, video clips and discussion, the author, a media scholar and published Twitter novelist, explores of the power and potential of communicating through Twitter.
Among the topics examined are celebrity Tweets, marketing via Twitter and Twitter as an artistic medium. As an example of a growing effort by writers and artists to develop the creative potential of this new social medium, the author will read from Executive Severance, his fast, funny murder mystery composed entirely in Twitter. A Q&A session will complete the evening.