Monday, February 27, 2017

THE TOWN OF JASPER, stunning debut by James Gianetti, NEW REVIEW Celebrates THRILLER that crosses genres. (MAY) Elevation Books


NEW REVIEW celebrates thriller that crosses genres.

The Town of Jasperis a powerful thriller that features a detective struggling with his own addictions who is tasked with facing a small town that has been quarantined from the outside world when half its population succumbs to a deadly illness.

While the book initially sounds like either an investigative story or a survivalist saga, the pleasure ofThe Town of Jasperlies in the fact that it's both - and neither. The American beliefs and values represented in this small town are transformed by 'The Incident', which leaves survivors trapped in a deadly scenario in which faith, order, and ideologies are challenged by evil, chaos, and addiction.

Special interests rise from the ashes of anarchy to place Jack Sutherland at odds with his new world as well as the old one, leading him to confront his strengths, failures, and a changing world as an idyllic small town and its family values fall prey to disease and destruction.

At the other end of the spectrum is the newly-emerged town leader Richard Morrissey, who carves order from chaos and must form some questionable alliances in order to do so. Sutherland has become "reckless and dangerous" since the accident. Morrissey has become clever and ruthless. Any alliance between the two would have been impossible under normal conditions. Now, it may be a key to the survival of everything.

As readers pursueThe Town of Jasper, they will notice that the book crosses several genres without falling into the trap of formula writing. The town's contamination and isolation reflects shades of apocalyptic science fiction. The detective's struggles with his personal failures and much-changed circumstances both before and after the vast changes that sweep his world incorporate investigative techniques that focus on powerful psychological processes, yet stop short of the kind of structure that would lead to deeming the story a detective piece. And, the evolving social and political struggles and alliances between the survivors compete with the best of survivalist sagas.

Suffice it to say that 'thriller' perhaps best defines the progress, action, and attraction of a novel which should neatly appeal across the board to sci-fi, medical mystery, thriller, and survival readers alike, adding a healthy dose of intrigue to thought-provoking philosophical, ethical, and moral challenges.


D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

























TOWNSPEOPLE



“What do I do, honey? I don’t think I can keep going like this. Please. Tell me.”
The gold ring glimmered elegantly off the florescent light. His wife, Diane always knew the right thing to say to him when he was in a time of struggle. She was great like that. Now, Richard had no one but himself to turn to. The acknowledged leader of Jasper, found himself in a dark corner.
THE TOWN OF JASPER, an ordinary town-- like no other.... 

"I thought nothing of it. Just a couple of teenagers getting ready for school, who didn’t want to be bothered.”
Kathy cracked a fake smile in an attempt to hold back her emotion.
“I walked up the stairs and into my daughter’s room. Her name is Alyssa. My first reaction was anger. I screamed, GET UP! HOW ARE YOU STILL ASLEEP? When she didn’t respond, I shook her.”
Kathy’s lips quivered as she looked to her right. Again, she looked into the detective’s eyes and whispered.
“Nothing”.

THE DETECTIVE

"He threw the vial on the seat next to him and stormed out of the car into the rain. As he marched up to the door, he placed a grey ski mask over his dirty blonde hair and oblong face. He knocked on the door several times and waited for an answer."


May debut from Eelevation Book Publishing. Below is a review and interview.


Jasper is the kind of place that couples would drive through and tell each other, “This is the kind of place I want to raise our family.” Enriched with the conventional feel of a perfect suburban town with family friendly neighborhoods and a town square suited for the affluent, Jasper is the ideal community to the eyes of the oblivious."

What happened in THE TOWN OF JASPER?

THE TOWN OF JASPER by James Gianetti is a completely original mystery-thriller, which brings to mind Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Nic Pizzolatto's True Detective, even Hitchcock's The Birds. Like the work of these writers, the ordinary becomes the extraordinary, as this wildly unexpected yet plausible mystery unfolds. There are elements of horror, yet little violence and no supernatural elements in this suspenseful page turner (May from Elevation Books). 

It's a day in the life of small town America, except as Detective Sullivan discovers in The Town of Jasper by James Gianetti something is very amiss. The couple he meets in this too quiet town are shell-shocked cowering, incoherent survivors of a disaster they can't exactly explain. By bits and pieces, Sullivan puts together "the Incident," that began two years ago and even now has the town in its grip. People collapse, they die, recover and are comatose. Young and old, a third of the town are in hibernation.


At first the government sent aid, food, water, medical supplies, but after two years with no end in sight, the aid has stopped. Jasper, uniquely stricken, has been abandoned. In an anarchic town meeting, Richard Morrissey steps forward to bring the town together. Yet Morrissey and the townspeople are in a fight for survival and are opposed by the Redeemers, crazy vigilantes and must seek the Fillmore Whites, natives, who live in the wilds.


Sullivan's quest to find out what happened in Jasper, leads him in a circle which includes his own alienated wife and daughter and a search for a partner disappeared with no trace. Whether Jasper is "cured" or returns to normalcy is a frightening, remorseless journey to the breakdown of civilization and a detective, almost beyond hope.


The resolution to Gianetti's journey is also both completely plausible and unexpected. The Town of Jasper is at once original and part of a tradition that stretches back to Poe's use of the Pendulum to evoke the undertow of human imagination. 

S.W.

The Town of Jasper pre-order link.  https://goo.gl/PgxHvt

An Interview with James Gianetti, author of The Town of Jasper to be published by Elevation Book Publishing

Q. What inspired you to write Jasper?
A.  Before I put pen to paper, I did a lot of reading. I also watched a lot of TV to see what worked well. I looked at Steven King, Perotta, Bonansinga, Scott Gimple [The Walking Dead], and Nic Pizzolatto [True Detective] and others. There were plots and themes that were very strong and stood out to me. We are in a "golden age" of TV.

Q.   How were you influenced by Benjamin Smith and Joseph Gilford?
A. I took screenwriting with Gilford and worked closely with Smith on Jasper. Both taught me a lot and through different perspectives. But I found my style through writing the story and breaking down the characters.

Q. Jasper brought to mind Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, Village of the Damned, whose work have you found useful? 
A.  Funny, I just read The Lottery. I do listen to a lot of Indie Rock music. The lyrics to songs are useful to me.

Q.   How in Jasper does the tangible merge with the extraordinary?
A.  Jasper is very real. The characters are not too far-fetched. There are no supernatural elements. Villains are real. If something happens, it really occurs. The "Incident" is extraordinary but not outside the realm of possibility.

 Q.  What genre would you consider this novel:  horror/suspense/thriller or its own category?
A.  Mystery with thriller and horror elements in it. But it's a mystery/thriller at its core.

Q. What is "the incident" that occurs in Jasper?
A.  There is a strange illness. It's unimaginable. A third of the town goes into hibernation. It's only in Jasper, no other place. The victims are dead and then come back to life. And this occurs at different times.

Q.    How does Richard Morrissey become the leader of the town?
A.  He becomes a default leader because of his character. At a Town Hall meeting there is anarchy and he steps up and organizes people. His actions show that he has a sense of how to be a leader in a town that is so desperate for direction. He is appreciated by the town for being able to bring them together.

Q. What part does friendship play for the detective, Sutherland?
A.  Friendship for Sutherland is a big value. He knows so much about his partner but really nothing at all. Besides his partner, he has nothing. He's estranged from his wife and daughter. After the Incident, he has nothing to occupy him but Jasper’s unsolved mystery.

Q.     Why does the government refuse the town basic supplies?
A.  At first, they were given food and medical supplies. After two years, it was seen as a kind of fool's errand. They didn't believe the people would wake up. The government was first cutting them off. Then they would bomb the town. Aid was seen as a waste of money and resources. So they took a kind of slow burn approach to it.

Q.  You have an amazing group of opponents for the suffering towns people. Tell us about the Fillmore Whites and The Redeemers, not to mention huge feral wolves.
A. The wolf showed that though Morrissey is a good guy, he can be bad when he needs to be. The Fillmore Whites are natives of Jasper, they live off the grid. The Redeemers are people in the town, within the walls, who see nothing getting better. They go crazy and adopt vigilante beliefs. They are destructive, kill people, but they cover their faces in ash to remain anonymous. They claim to be working with God, whose will they believe they serve.

Q. Did you intend Jasper as a kind of religious fable?
A.  It's a fateful town with fateful people. They are in a desperate situation, where they need people of faith.

Q. What would you like your audience to feel, when they finish this book?
A.  A sense of relief and remorse. There are incredible emotions in this book, love. All possible emotions are experienced in this book. It's exciting and the end is satisfying.

Q. What other stories do you have in the works?

A. I would like to do a sequel. And I am working on some short stories. I am also exploring the idea of another novel.

www.jamesgianetti.com









Thursday, February 16, 2017

PARADISE GARDENS Blog, Dystopian Business proposal?

New review of PARADISE GARDENS New Edition
Fiction Bookshelf
Midwest Book Review

Synopsis: Something that could easily have been ripped from today's newspaper headlines in this our second Golden Age of Robber Barron capitalism as evidence by President Donald Trump turning his administration over to corporate executives and millionaires, and appointing to be heads of various governmental agencies men and women hostile to them in line with Steve Bannon's aspiration to 'deconstruct' the government."Paradise Gardens" by Susan I. Weinstein is a truly Orwellian novel of speculative fiction that is set in an all too believable near future world, where the Federal government has dissolved amid ecological breakdown.
"Paradise Gardens" becomes the home of the United Business Estates (U.B.E). Capitalism has devolved into the corporate feudalism of the U.B.E., where employees are conceived as Superior or Average to fit the needs of business. It is a vision at once strange and familiar. The recognition it brings is a dark pleasure.



Critique: Part of the attraction of "Paradise Gardens" is that it is all too believable given the political climate today where corporate money clearly dominates all three branches of the federal government (even to the point of running well funded television commercials promoting the appointment of a member of the United States Supreme Court), and the top 1% of the population control 80% of the country's wealth. Deftly written, "Paradise Gardens" follows in literary tradition of dystopian novels and his very highly recommended for both community and academic library Literary Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Paradise Gardens" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).




I appreciate support of these New Editions of my books and if a person would like to buy these books, please consider buying directly from the publisher www.pelekinesis.com. The Amazon brand takes 60% of any sale. Small presses, like microbreweries, make books with care.


PARADISE GARDENS Blog
Paradise Gardens, ultimate real estate project 2250s (4/20/17) Pelekinesis- excerpt
"If Madge Chilton wasn’t sure she was alive, it was clear she wasn’t dead. The problem was a matter of personal style and professional necessity. Being pleasant and agreeable was the stock and trade of public relations. Who cared about the emotional burn-out after decades of calculated pleasantness—her real personality mourned like a memory? Eject self-pity, she thought, crossing the eerily deserted lobby of the crumbling New York Sheraton. You can’t afford it. Wasn’t it her reputation for equanimity that helped her win Paradise Gardens?
    Madge reached the peeling brown and gold enameled elevator doors and hit the Up button. Where was Security at 9:30 Sunday morning? The conference was at ten. Greenfield was expecting her to deliver his guests in good condition. No easy teleconference for this job, the content was too sensitive. Why they needed outside PR and Greenfield had chosen her when he could have had anyone. “Cracker-jack,” he said. Big agency quality yet small enough for the personal touch. Small is right, she thought, examining herself in a mirror beyond re-silvering. She pressed the elevator button and took a last professional look."
PARADISE GARDENS Blog #1
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” TALE OF TWO CITIES
“What’s creativity but the instinct to destroy in order to start over?We are starting over, but this time we won’t destroy ourselves.”
“To that inspiring idea,” said Nate. “I look forward to seeing you all in Paradise Gardens?”
The world is  controlled by the UBE, The United Business Estates. The Unconnected, outside corporate enclaves, barely live on the entirely polluted surface. In 2055,  the U.B.E. flees for the last great real estate project, PARADISE GARDENS. 



 PARADISE GARDENS, home of The United Business Estates, after the government dissolves, hiding in Washington bunkers. Here is a re-education helmet for wayward employees and the endless fires of  polluted Hoboken.



Advance review of PARADISE GARDENS New Edition. This  definitive edition has significant new material, original illustrations, preface w/historical context, Reader's guide and reedited text. Thanks.

Feb 20, 2017Carla Sarett on GoodReads
Upton Sinclair meets Philip Dick in Susan Weinstein's dark, dystopian novel, which is illustrated by the author. In it, a quasi-messianic real estate mogul creates an underground "paradise" from which to escape an ecologically damaged world. There's not much joy here-- predictably, even sex is sanitized (but it's still around) and life is organized through a database. The novel spans centuries, shifting back and forth; as characters appear and re-appear, no happier or wiser than when we last met them. Personalities are bleached out, in this grim, corporatized future in which a "lucky" few get to live in a joyless Paradise, and the rest are left to fend for themselves or fight. It's no secret who seems worse off. A timely, ambitious novel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:




PELEKINESIS TO PUBLISH PRESCIENT PARADISE GARDENS, AN ORWELLIAN NOVEL

“From the infinitely imaginative mind of Susan Weinstein, Paradise Gardens spins a fabulous web. Clever, funny, serious, and prescient. Lovers of Aldous Huxley's and Margaret Atwood's dystopias are in for a satisfying treat."
Sonia Taitz, award-winning author of The Watchmaker’s Daughter and Great with Child.


"One of the most disturbing yet oddly funny science fiction/dystopian sagas I've ever read. When corporations have wrung every drop out of nature and mankind has no other option but to build entire communities underground, how do you spin it to make it seem like a dream destination? You call it PARADISE GARDENS of course and you sell it like everything else. When we have no natural water, no natural food, and even the wind and the sunlight has been poisoned you will still have hucksters selling whatever is left for top of the line prices. A thought provoking story well conceived and brilliantly executed."
--Patrick King, author of the Shane Cullaine detective series



In the 1980s of Reagan’s America, Susan I. Weinstein wrote PARADISE GARDENS, an Orwellian speculative fiction that imagined a corporate feudal world, the United Business Estates, after the Federal government dissolved amid ecological breakdown. In the 2250s, Nate Greenfield, real estate visionary, with the help of P.R. maven Madge Chilton, sells corporate business on his “eden underground.” Left behind are the Unconnected, people outside corporate protection. Capitalism has devolved into feudalism so total, that employees are conceived to fit the needs of business.

Suspended between the settings of 2250s on the Earth’s surface and 3011s underground, chapters alternate with a revolving cast of characters. Fates are determined by the Psychologicians, who manage the civilization’s data base. Yet, when model employee Janet McCarthy finds herself caught in a web of alternate identities, only her lover Michael can attempt to cut her loose. At stake, is the reset of the planet. In this cautionary near-future, Upton Sinclair’s classic It Can’t Happen Here, has already happened. It is a vision at once strange and familiar. For instance, though written pre- Internet, there are Information Pirates dedicated to keeping facts free.





“It may look like a vintage filing
cabinet on wheels, but it’s a supercomputer
capable of retaining the
genetic information of the human
race and the requirements of your
corporation. Not just projections of
how many individuals will be needed
for your work, but the qualities of
those individuals and the number
of people essential to consume your
products"

PARADISE GARDENS is the second of three groundbreaking novels by Susan I. Weinstein to be released by independent publishing house Pelekinesis. The Anarchist’s Girlfriend (Dec.) and Tales of the Mer Family Onyx (June) complete her new definitive editions. Each includes a beautiful new layout, preface, visual material and other expanded content.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan I. Weinstein is a writer, playwright, and painter. Paradise Gardens was read in-progress, at the original Dixon Place and at Darinka, whose archive is now part of NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections. Pelekinesis published the new definitive editions of The Anarchist’s Girlfriend (2016) and Paradise Gardens (2017), previously serialized by maglomaniac.com. Susan’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in literary magazines, such as The Metric and The Portable Lower East Side. Currently, she is at work on a WWII novel based on blacked out V-mail.

NEW EDITION of Paradise Gardens by Susan I. Weinstein
Publication Date: April 20, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-938349-50-8
Suggested Retail Price: $21.95
http://pelekinesis.com/catalog/susan_weinstein-paradise_gardens.html
Pelekinesis full catalog and ordering information available at www.pelekinesis.com
To pre-order book directly:  https://squareup.com/store/pelekinesis/item/paradise-gardens-by-susan-i
weinstein


WHY THIS BOOK NOW?  Read preface if so inclined.

Preface to Paradise Gardens

It was the age of Reagan, 1980s, when I began Paradise Gardens. I had just read a book on how capitalism evolved from feudalism and was living in "Morning in America." I began to imagine capitalism devolving into a modern corporatized feudalism, as a conservative ideal of America. Originally entitled Inside the U.R.S. (The United Religious System), the novel was written as a cautionary tale, since this was a time of ascendancy for far-right religious groups. Some were believers in the rapture, the apocalypse and rise to heaven of the faithful--after the 4 horsemen did their work. It seemed those in power were doing all they could to accelerate the end times.

Whether messianic or fiscal ideals, they manifested in actions, such as closing mental hospitals and having patients on the streets with no treatment. A vague plan for patients being integrated into "the community" never occurred. Benefiting corporations, stockholders and generally wealthy individuals was the higher objective. They had risen, because they were superior beings. It was a point of government to serve the elite doing the deity's work. Ayn Rand was again in vogue, along with a social Darwinism.

This attitude trickled down, not any financial benefit to average people, from huge tax breaks and unfettered business. I remember a casual conversation at a bar with a Wall Street investment banker. He told me, quite earnestly, that I should leave my rent-controlled apartment. I was preventing the real estate from achieving its market destiny. I was impeding the greater good of business. So before 1984, in this environment (an ethos culminating in 1987's "Greed is Good" in Wall Street), I began to dream Paradise Gardens.

The novel began with an image of a young woman in a corporate office, who was a model employee. In that time, I worked temp jobs in corporations and had a publishing job in the devilishly numbered 666 Fifth Ave building, which had a lush red carpet. I also was a publicist for Bluejay Books, which focused on science fiction classics in beautiful hard covers.

I was a literary person, who had an interest in utopias, from Thomas More's to America's Utopian experiments, from the Shakers to communes in the 1960s. Writing press kits and talking to people like Harlan Ellison, Vernor Vinge (whose True Names anticipated the Internet), and most of all Theodore Sturgeon, widened my idea of classics.

Sturgeon, who started out wanting to be a fiction writer for The New Yorker, fairly invented in the '50s the genre of something weird in the suburbs. Spielberg once acknowledged that if he hadn't read Sturgeon in his youth, he would not have made his suburban movies (his E.T. is a direct cousin of Sturgeon's story, "It!") Sturgeon also inspired Vonnegut's janitor Kilgore Trout (one of his various roles in Vonnegut novels). Science fiction could be literary and down to earth. I read Philip K. Dick and remember how Time Out of Joint blasted the complacency of day-to-day life. I could see the direct line from Kafka's Penal Colony to Dick's Man in the High Castle.

But my roots are in social realists, Zola and the Americans, Dreiser, Dos Passos, and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis' It Can't Happen Here is a cautionary tale about fascism, through America's Jaycees and Lions Clubs. Patriotism is flacked by a president, an Ad Man selling America a bill of goods. It was written in the thirties and I considered it a period piece, though a very plausible one. Paradise Gardens has an edge of satire and Dick's wide-ranging freedom of invention. This story grew, was improvised, cut back and redrafted for about ten years.

Paradise Gardens is a dark book. It begins when the Earth's surface is too polluted to support human life. In the wake of the dissolution of the Old Federal government, corporations flee underground to the ultimate real estate project Paradise Gardens.

I have been haunted by what occurs, because it is lived by characters who became real to me. And as the story was always present, in the back of my mind, I dreamed segments, as well as imagined them awake. The characters evolved their world in my consciousness. Before it was serialized, I found I had to update things that had already occurred in my book, before they happened in reality. The World Trade Center is partially destroyed, the Information Pirates, their billboards and missions to preserve facts, operated before there was an Internet. Some things had to be updated for our time.

Now we find ourselves at what to the apocalyptic seems the beginning of the end of our democracy, with a president-elect who has sold angry voters what appears to be another bill of dubious goods. To the more pragmatic, this presidency just means four years of a regressive agenda--yet it's crucial for the international climate crisis, which can't be undone. Like all dystopians, I hope that reality does not continue to merge with my fiction.

If a cautionary tale has a function, it raises consciousness of what can happen--to ward it off. This novel may be the equivalent of shamanic practices, where a tribe wards off a disaster by transferring negative energy to an object. Some also use earth to cleanse negative energy, water or fire to change its nature. Knowledge for any society is the best protection. And in our time, perhaps negative visualization has a function. This novel can purge our fear, allow a passage for changing dark "unthinkable" visualization to a positive future. Paradise Gardens is a passage and at the end, there is unity--of people, place, and nature.

S.W.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Peter Cherches' entertaining AUTOBIOGRAPHY WITHOUT WORDS, metaphysical sleight of hand, slapstick and shtick






This "book will consist solely of blank pages in white and black and shades of gray..." begins an untitled page after the table of contents in Peter Cherches' AUTOBIOGRAPHY WITHOUT WORDS. Conceptual put-on or truth about a life? That's the knowing metaphysical sleight of hand of this book, along with slapstick and shtick. It is as though Borges worked with Monsieur Hulot, while smoking George Burns' cigar.

Cherches, called by Publishers Weekly "one of the innovators of the short short story," in just a few lines to a few pages entertains with stories from his life. Here are childhood perceptions, food and smells, as well as adult travels to India and Mars. In Cherches' progressive life, the real and surreal meld together, in a consciousness that sees around corners. There's a thin line between memoir and fiction and this book plays with it.

In Part I, Cherches, the adult, sees a group of kids, who look exactly like his childhood friends, talking of Sandy Koufax. One comes up and says he looks like their friend Peter, "If he was an old bald guy, that is." In another story, Martin Scorsese is making a film about young Peter Cherches and Peter objects to the actor playing his earlier self.  Another story, through the eyes of a two year old self, explains how he knew his father died, when his apartment shrunk. 

Part 2 finds the adult Peter investigating perplexing situations. More often than not these lead to new unanswered questions. There's the Chinese restaurant, which he lost on a trip to the restroom. When he recovers the place, his party of friends are in exactly the same continuum time and space. Cherches' dreams and waking life intersect in a the Mars story, a sly send-up of a classic Twilight Zone episode. They also intersect in one of my favorites:

YOUR LANDLINE IS DEAD

I canceled my land line about four years ago, but for some reason I never removed my old phone from the jack in the wall. I had completely forgotten about the phone until the other morning, when it rang, How could this be? I wondered. I've canceled my service. I picked up the phone, "Hello?"

No voice on the other end, just silence. "Hello?" I asked again. Still nothing.
I hung up. Must be some crossed line or something, I figured.
I returned to what I was doing when the phone rang again. I picked it up. "Hello?"
Still nothing. "Anybody there?"  I asked. Nothing. I hung up.

It didn't ring again until about two years later. "Hello?"
Nothing. I hung up and unplugged the phone from the wall jack.

Then my cell phone rang. I picked it up.
"Your land line is dead," the voice said. I recognized the voice. It was a friend who had died three years ago in a car crash.

"Jim?" I said.
"Your land line is dead," Jim replied. Then he hung up.

Pelekinesis publishes this singular book in March. http://pelekinesis.com/catalog/peter_cherches-autobiography_without_words.html.

(Borges, Argentinian writer, poet, essayist, known for contributions to philosophy and fantasy. Monsieur Hugo, comedian Jacques Tati's creation of an every man, whose adventures involved clashes w/technology and problems of living in an impersonal world. George Burns, comedian and vaudevillian.)