Now it can be revealed: Joe R. Lansdale’s HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE

Cover by Elizabeth Story

Cover by Elizabeth Story

As many of you may know, I was the editor for Tachyon Publication’s Hap and Leonard, a collection of Hap and Leonard short pieces. It contained all the extant stories (several have been published since) and timed to premiere with the SundanceTV series of the same name. Turns out the book, much like the TV series, was a success, enjoying a reprint shortly after publication. I was tasked by Tachyon publisher Jacob Weisman with approaching Joe about a second Hap and Leonard collection to come out when the second season premiered.

Joe: No. I won’t give Tachyon a second collection.

 

Me (flabbergasted): Huh? But.. the book.. it sold well.. it has a cover you love… we can guarantee Elizabeth [Story, who did the first] again… but.. why?

 

Joe (with a cocky smile): I want to do an original Hap and Leonard novel.

 

Me: I think Jacob will be okay with that.

The book Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade is a mosaic novel of sorts. That’s when you take a bunch of related stories and connect them with adjoining pieces ala The Martian Chronicles and the like.

Here’s some copy I threw together to help explain the book. I hope the fine folks at Tachyon can gussy it up a bit.

Since their first appearance in Savage Season through the recent hit SundanceTV series, the unconventional ass kicking duo of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine captured the hearts of fans everywhere. Now in this unconventional novel, creator Joe R. Lansdale explores the beginnings of the decades long friendship between the white, liberal, good ‘ol boy Hap and the black, Republican, gay, Vietnam veteran Leonard. The complicated tale of violence and humor, set in the racist, homophobic late 60s East Texas, introduces the two boys who grew up into the men, who become far more than friends. They call each other brother.

Watch for Blood and Lemonade this March.

It’s ArmadilloCon time again: Where I’ll be talking, signing, etc.

 

It hasn’t rained in forever, the mercury is hitting triple digits, and we’re just passed the halfway point of the baseball season. It must be time for ArmadilloCon once again!

This year’s con, the 38th such affair, takes place this coming weekend (July 29-31).

Guest of Honor: Wesley Chu

Special Guest (Artist): Dominick Saponaro

Artist Guest: Christina Hess

Editor Guest: Joe Monti

Fan Guest: Ken Keller

Toastmaster: Joe McKinney

 

Tachyon publisher Jacob Weisman and I having a good time at Armadillocon 38 (photo: Brandy Whitten)

Tachyon publisher Jacob Weisman and I having a good time at Armadillocon 38 (photo: Brandy Whitten)

 

As I have for roughly the past 25 years, I’ll be in attendance and because apparently the con organizers have learned nothing, I’ll be sitting in on several panels.

Tarzan
Fri 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Ballroom D
Allen, Finn, Klaw*, Lansdale, Williams

This session will include a history and appreciation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s character Tarzan, the evolution of the character over time, how different Tarzans have been suited to the times in which they were created, and, of course, the 2016 movie.

Cover by Rocky Kelley

Cover by Rocky Kelley

Autographing
Sat 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Dealers’ Room
Cupp, Klaw, Hilbert, Johnson, Reasoner

 

Attack of the Sequels
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom D
Johnson, Klaw*, Maresca, Moore, Sisson, Sullivan

All of this year’s big budget SFF movies were sequels. What are the implications for writers and fans?

 

Classic SFF for Your E Reader
Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Southpark A
Hardy*, Klaw, Rose, Simmons, Wagner, Young

Out-of-print SFF classics are now showing up as e-books. What should you be downloading?

Cover by Alex Solis. design by Elizabeth Story

Cover by Alex Solis. design by Elizabeth Story

Comic Books on TV
Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom E
Benjamin, Bennett, Ewing*, Klaw, Oliver, Rountree

Panelists talk about comics we are seeing on TV, which ones they like and why, plus any hot rumors as to what is coming up.

 

There will be one difference from previous years. I’ve decided to clear out some of the massively overcrowded Geek Compound, so I have a table this year where I’m selling a bunch of books, graphic novels, comics, and DVDs. Most of the books, graphic novels, and DVDs will be half cover or less (with a sprinkling of collectible books marked higher). Comic books will all be 50 cents each and ARCs $1. For every 4 items, you purchase you get one free (of equal or lesser than your lowest price item).

 

Hope to see everyone this weekend.

Come see me discuss Tarzan & other apey goodness

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Luckily for me some things never go completely out of style. For example, Tarzan comes and goes. And for that reason, I’ll be discussing the legendary ape man from 7-8pm on Thursday, July 28 at Austin’s Malvern Books as part of their bi-monthly Fantastical Fiction series.

Cover by Alex Solis. design by Elizabeth Story

Cover by Alex Solis. design by Elizabeth Story

I’m guessing some other ape goodness will abound as I’ll be signing my anthology The Apes of Wrath (and pretty much anything else you put in front of me).

Hope to see you there.

What’s Old Is New or Kickstarting Joe Lansdale’s RED RANGE

First edition cover by N. C, Wyeth with Martin Thomas

First edition cover by N. C, Wyeth with Martin Thomas

In the 90s, I co-founded MOJO Press, first as a way to publish Weird Business (which I recounted in “The Secret History of Weird Business”) and ultimately as way to introduce the burgeoning graphic novel industry into mainstream bookstores.

Of MOJO’s 18 titles, I edited 15 of them including Joe R. Lansdale’s and Sam Glanzman’s Red Range. Shortly before the graphic novel’s publication, I left my post as managing editor with the press itself going away soon after.

Though the book received largely positive reviews, due largely to the press’s demise, Red Range became one of Lansdale’s rarer books.

Joe R. Lansdale’s certainly a modern legend himself, having been around for some time now. But comics artist Sam Glanzman’s got an even more legendary historical grounding, having been professionally drawing for six decades or so. These two worthies have collaborated on Lansdale’s graphic novel, RED RANGE. The first page of RED RANGE itself begins full tilt with graphic ultraviolence as Lansdale and Glanzman plunge us into a 19th century Klan lynching of a black Texas family. Abruptly in the midst of the atrocity, the Kluxers are interrupted by a mysterious rider who’s a deadly shot with both his pistols and long-range Sharps buffalo rifle. It’s the feared and hated (by the KKK, at least) Red Mask, a tough, lethal, black man who wisely keeps his identity concealed. Writer Lansdale’s unerring ear for exotic period and regional dialog remains constant. His penchant for grim humor appears throughout. His hardcore, hard-nosed sense of social conscience remains intact.

–Edward Bryant, Locus (1999)

Sam Glansman cover to the new edition

Sam Glanzman cover to the new edition

Thankfully, Drew Ford’s It’s Alive is attempting to bring Red Range back into print through the auspices of Kickstarter. This new edition will be in full color (previous was in b&w), have an afterword by the legendary Stephen R. Bissette, and introduction by me. Yes, some 15 years after I finished working and promoting the book, I’m revisiting the striking work.

If you’d like to see Red Range back in print, and really what Lansdale fan wouldn’t, go support the Kickstarter. For a few shekles, you can score a beautiful, new edition of this “lost” Lansdale.

Lost Review: Attack the Block

Beginning in December 2005 with my history of apes in film essay “Gorilla of Your Dreams” (the substantially update and revised version appears in The Apes of Wrath), I regularly contributed to Moving Pictures Magazine. First in the print incarnation and then for primarily the website. I contributed reviews and essays for the last three years of the publications existence. Following the June 2011 demise of both the print and website editions, all of the digital work for MPM disappeared into the ether. In the coming months (years?), I plan on reposting many of my reviews and articles.

With John Boyega getting his “big break” in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought it’d be a good time to take a look back at his first starring role.

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Attack the Block
Reviewed by Rick Klaw
(July 2011)
Directed and written by Joe Cornish

Starring John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, and Nick Frost

Following in the successful footsteps of recent low budget science fiction films District 9, Moon, and Monsters, writer/director Joe Cornish’s freshman outing Attack the Block, produced for an estimated £9 million (roughly $14 million), delivers a superior diversion, grounded in a quality script and innovate direction.

After mugging young nurse Sam (Jodie Whittaker), a group of South London teens witness a small meteor crash into a nearby car. While searching the vehicle for valuables, an alien, a three foot high being that looks like a hideous skinless baby, bites gang leader Moses (John Boyega) and runs away. The boys give chase, eventually catching and killing it. Wielding their trophy, the thugs return to their block, an urban apartment building for the poor similar to the America projects. Soon terrifying creatures—a cross between a large dog and a small bear with pitch black fur, no eyes, and glowing white teeth—hunt the scared young men. In desperation, they eventually turn to the savvy Sam to help keep their wits and sanity.

Masterfully manipulating his meager budget, Cornish effectively employs actors in suits, rather than the now-standard and more costly digital portrayal, for his scary monsters and uses his native South London as the gritty backdrop. Employing age-appropriate actors, fronted by the mesmerizing newcomer Boyega, the motivations and emotions of the clever and impetus group lend an air of realism to an otherwise absurd concept. The wholesome Whittaker supplies a much needed counter to the testosterone-infused scenes as the mother/sister/object of desire. The popular Nick Frost (Paul) adequately supplies his nearly stereotypical comic relief role as the bumbling stoner.

The intelligent story offers no explanation for the origin of the aliens nor does it ever waiver from the ground level urban perspective. The fun and creative action sequences provide more excitement than the vast majority of big budget productions.

An exciting, often humorous and unique 88 minutes, Attack the Block, much like the movies mentioned above, heralds a major new imaginative filmmaker. See it now before Hollywood spits out the inevitable crappy remake.

Michael Moorcock Presents The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup Award

The occasion of Michael Moorcock’s birthday got me thinking about a little known aspect of the extraordinary polymath ‘s award-winning career: The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup Award.

Michael Moorcock presenting the The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Award Cup to Howard Waldrop

Michael Moorcock presenting the The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Award Cup to Howard Waldrop (photo: Elze Hamilton)

 

Maintained and awarded by Moorcock, The Jack Trevor was originally presented to the writer of the story in the Time Out series of London stories that he best liked. In more recent times, a special committee, organized by Moorcock, determines the winner, typically for excellence in humorous writing. The five hundred guinea prize is given with the following conditions: The entire award must be spent “in a week to a fortnight” and the recipient must have nothing to show for it. Most winners use the money for a big night or a foreign vacation. One winner, a trawlerman from Hull who spent the money with the expertise of a drunken sailor before he got home, had to spend the money all over again just to prove to his shipmates that he’d won it.

The Cup awarded to Steve Aylett

The Cup awarded to Steve Aylett (photo: John Coulthart)

The unique terms of the award are based on Jack Trevor Story‘s famous words when asked at his second bankruptcy what happened to money from his films The Trouble with Harry and Live Now, Pay Later. The judge wondered how he managed to go through so much without having a thing to show for it.

You know how it is, your honour ‑‑ two hundred or two thousand ‑‑ it always lasts a week to a fortnight. You can spend a couple of hundred easy just going around the supermarket.

Past winners have included Fred NormandaleSteve Aylett, Nicholas Lezard, and Howard Waldrop (the only American so honored). The memorial cup is just that. A cup with the words Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup written on the side in magic marker.

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The Other Worlds Austin 2015 preview Day 3

Designed by tattoo and graphics artist David Poe

Designed by tattoo and graphics artist David Poe

After last years successful first offering, the Other Worlds Austin scifi film festival returns thisThursday, December 3 at the Galaxy Highland Theater. The three day event has grown to include 13 full length films, a secret Star Wars-related screening, and a variety of shorts. Not terribly surprising to anyone who regularly follows my writings, I’m covering the festival.

Over the next three days, I will preview the 13 features.

House of Time

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Jonathan Helpert | France | 86 min

Writer: Jean Helpert
Cast: Maxime Dambrin, Laura Boujenah, Benjamin Wangermee, Julia Piaton, David Atrakchi

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Robert d’Eglantine has uncovered secret Nazi scientific research on time travel. He tells his guests he has taken them seventy years back in time, to 1944, during the French Occupation and only few weeks before the landing in Normandy. Although the house and everything inside seem the same, the appearance of a woman in the French Resistance, on the run from her Nazi captors, make them question if Robert may just be telling the truth. Or is the woman just an actress? Or was she an actress before the occupation and now a revolutionary?

(Saturday, 5)

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The Other Worlds Austin 2015 preview Day 2

Designed by tattoo and graphics artist David Poe

Designed by tattoo and graphics artist David Poe

After last years successful first offering, the Other Worlds Austin scifi film festival returns thisThursday, December 3 at the Galaxy Highland Theater. The three day event has grown to include 13 full length films, a secret Star Wars-related screening, and a variety of shorts. Not terribly surprising to anyone who regularly follows my writings, I’m covering the festival.

Over the next three days, I will preview the 13 features.

 

Projet-M

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Eric Piccoli | Canada | 98 min

Writers: Julien Deschamps Jolin, Eric Piccoli, Mario J. Ramos
Cast: Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Julie Perreault, Julien Deschamps Jolin, Nadia Essadiqi, Pierre Verville

download

Orbiting the Earth aboard a space station for 1,000 days to prepare for a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa, four astronauts face unforeseen crises when a war breaks out on Earth below. Arguing whether to break off their mission, or what to do about the loss of communication from headquarters, or what to do about the other satellites orbiting the Earth, the team and themselves more alone than they could have prepared for.

(Friday, 10:15)

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The Other Worlds Austin 2015 preview Day 1

Designed by tattoo and graphics artist David Poe

Designed by tattoo and graphics artist David Poe

After last years successful first offering, the Other Worlds Austin scifi film festival returns thisThursday, December 3 at the Galaxy Highland Theater. The three day event has grown to include 13 full length films, a secret Star Wars-related screening, and a variety of shorts. Not terribly surprising to anyone who regularly follows my writings, I’m covering the festival.

Over the next three days, I will preview the 13 features.

 

Boy 7

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Özgür Yildirim | Germany | 110 min

Writers: Philip Delmaar, Marco van Geffen, Özgür Yildirim based on the novel by Mirjam Mous
Cast: David Kross, Emilia Schüle, Ben Münchow, Jens Harzer, Jörg Hartmann, Liv Lisa Fries

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Sam wakes up in the middle of the tracks of a subway tunnel. He can’t remember his name or how he got there. When he sees himself on a wanted picture, he realizes that his life is in extreme danger and his pursuers are hot on his heels. Unexpectedly, he finds a diary written in his own handwriting, and it seems to be the key to everything. When a young woman appears, who has the same burn as him on her left hand, a dangerous journey into thepast begins. BOY 7 is a SciFi RUN LOLA RUN, an adrenaline dash through a dystopian society where juvenile delinquents are recruited by the government for their particular ‘skills.’ An adaptation of a best-selling young adult novel that made its World Premiere at Fantasia in Montreal.

(Thursday, 7:42/8:00)

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Fantastic Fest 2015 Preview Day Eight

It’s that time again for my sojourn to Fantastic Fest, the annual Alamo Drafthouse week long love letter to horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world. This year’s festival runs from Sept 24-October 1, here in Austin at the South Lamar location.

As in year’s past, I begin my coverage with a multi-part/day preview.

 

Fantastic Fest Preview Day Eight

 

Evolution

Life probably began in the sea. Billions of years ago, amino acids joined together in the primordial soup to form the first simple microbes that evolved over the eons into the complex organisms that now dominate this world. Because of this, we’re frequently drawn to use the sea in film as a metaphor of life. Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s newest film, EVOLUTION, takes our longing of the sea and shows its beauty; even lingers on how wonderfully alien it can be. Life probably began in the sea, but it’s still unknown and deadly to us, as life can certainly also end in the sea.

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