twilight of the wolves released today

Twilight of the Wolves - Edward J. Rathke

It’s finally available! Buy Twilight of the Wolves and earn my forever love! If you want to read more about the novel, click over to the page devoted to it where you can find reviews and so on. It’s being released by Perfect Edge Books, the brainchild of Phil Jourdan.

Blurbs:

–Kyle Muntz, author of VII and Green Lights

Twilight of the Wolves is an unusual and poetic epic fantasy, with a world, civilizations, and mythologies all of its own, yet unmistakably reminiscent of our past and current world. Best of all, Twilight of the Wolves puts on center stage the people and socioeconomic classes who are often marginalized, suppressed, or overlooked in other types of epic fantasy and secondary worlds, in a passionate and compassionate study of love, languages, and humanness.

Berit Ellingsen, author of Beneath the Liquid Skin

I think these two blurbs capture exactly how it feels to me, and exactly what it means to me. I’ve always said that I’m more influenced, stylistically, by film than I am by literature, and I’ve always strived to capture that beautiful cinematic poetry of Terrence Malick, and I think, with this novel, I finally reached it. It’s an aesthetic I’ve worked for years to reach, and Twilight of the Wolves is the most perfect representation of that. And then there’s all the postcolonialism surging up through the cracks in the novel. My whole life is in this novel. My entire heart. I’m so immensely proud of it that I want to share it with the entire world, but a part of me fears no one will love or understand it.

So, yeah, I hope you love it. I’d recommend it to fans of experimental and postmodern literature as well as people who just love fantasy. It’s everything I ever wanted one of my novels to be and I’m so very proud of it.

Kyle Muntz also had this to say today over on the book of faces:

I’d add that this book stretches fantasy to the limit–with beautiful writing, formal experimentation, lots of feeling, and a profound look at themes of post-colonialism and sexuality–while always remaining true to the genre, which I think is really important and difficult to do.

Basically: I hope everyone takes a look at this book. I think anyone who does will definitely enjoy it.

So don’t just take my word for it! Mostly, I hope people just give it a chance. I’ve found that publishing a fantasy novel on a literary press is sort of a marketing tool fighting against itself. Literary minded folk aren’t interested and fantasy folk think it’s too high-minded, or something. I think it’s a blending of the two, and I hope it’s enjoyable to fans of both high literary genre and gritty fantasy.

It’s not a book for everyone, but I think it should work well for fans of Ursula K Le Guin, Samuel R Delany, Gene Wolfe, China Mieville, Steven Erikson, and George RR Martin.

Also, join me tomorrow night for my first and maybe last reading ever at The Beat Coffeehouse in Uptown, Minneapolis.

And now promotion for the next novel already begins. I have some amazing secret news about that too.

things to talk about

Many things, as it turns out, but I’ll probably be brief, because that’s just how I am.

First and most importantly: Entropy Magazine has launched! There’s seriously so much great content on there, and though I’m an editor, I can’t really take credit for any of it, though I did write about Fathoms by Joe Russ in my weekly column about short films.

I chose to write about short films because it seems like no one ever does, and because I wanted to engage with people about such a vibrant and awesome artform. It’s largely ignored, I think, but I’m hoping writing about it every week will grab some attention. So talk to me in the comments there. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Seriously though, there’s so much great content on Entropy. I’d link it all, but that would take too much time, so I’m just going to keep telling you to go to the website and enjoy the brilliance there.

Kyle Muntz, friend and possible genius, was interviewed by Literary Orphans today too. He talks about his own writing and video games, which I’ll probably make a post about soonishly.

My brother was on the front page of the Pioneer Press website today:

My first and possibly only reading ever will be this Saturday at The Beat Coffeehouse in Uptown. J Alexander Genz will be performing and Anthony Jacques arranged the whole thing.

And, finally, Twilight of the Wolves is officially released on Friday, but you can get some copies early on amazon. I’m hoping to have them sell out before the release, because that’d humor me.

But, yeah, not much else. Check out Entropy and buy my book!

film lists

This is going around the social media, and while I shared one list, I think I’m going to dump a few more here. I’m going to make some rules, though. Each list will focus on a different continent, with the exclusion of Africa, Australia, and Antarctica because I’ve not seen enough films from those continents to have any real opinion. The other thing is that I’ll only name each director once, though I’ll probably cheat and include too many films by each director under the same post. Also, I think I’ll count Russia as Europe because whatever. The Asian list is identical to the original one I made, but without the Russian films. It’s mostly stuff made in my lifetime, which means it’s missing a lot of great older Japanese films, but that’s the way it goes. Also, still missing a lot of awesome Taiwanese film.

But, yeah, let’s begin?

Asian

  1. In the Mood for Love & 2046 – Wong Kar Wai
  2. 3-Iron – Kim Ki-duk
  3. Last Life in the Universe – Pen Ek-Ratanaruang
  4. The Good, The Bad, The Weird – Kim Ji-woon
  5. Ran – Akira Kurosawa
  6. Dolls/Sonatine/Zatoichi – Takeshi Kitano
  7. To Live/Hero – Zhang Yimou
  8. Farewell, My Concubine – Chen Kaige
  9. Fist of Legend – no idea who actually directs it, but it’s all about Jet Li
  10. Legend of Drunken Master – again, no idea about the director, so Jackie Chan
  11. I’m a Cyborg but That’s OK – Park Chan-wook
  12. The Chaser – Kim Yoon-seok
  13. Infernal Affairs – Andrew Lau and Alan Mak
  14. Pulse/Cure – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  15. Memories of Murder – Bong Joon-ho

Europe

  1. Hiroshima, Mon Amour – Alain Resnais
  2. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Dreyer
  3. The Return – Andrey Zvyagintsev
  4. The Russian Ark – Alexander Sokurov
  5. Solaris/Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky
  6. Persona – Ingmar Bergman
  7. Une Femme est une Femme/Pierrot le Fou – Jean-Luc Godard
  8. Le Belle et la Bete – Jean Cocteau
  9. Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro
  10. Talk to Her/Volver – Pedro Almodovar
  11. Reprise/Oslo, August 31st – Joachim Trier
  12. Hunger/Shame – Steve McQueen
  13. La  Double Vie de Veronique/Trois Couleurs – Krzyzstof Kieslowski
  14. In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
  15. Nights of Cabiria/La Dolce Vita/8 1/2 – Federico Fellini

Okay, so Europe is too hard to do properly, and I really only touched the very surface. Didn’t even get to Germany or most of eastern europe, or even much of anywhere. Should’ve done this by country. Should’ve done all of the lists by country, but so it goes.

North America

  1. Tree of Life/The New World/Badlands – Terrence Malick
  2. Upstream Color – Shane Carruth
  3. The Fountain/Requiem for a Dream – Darren Aronofsky
  4. Post Tenebras Lux – Carlos Reygadas
  5. Videodrome/Eastern Promises – David Cronenberg
  6. The Thing – John Carpenter
  7. Memento – Christopher Nolan
  8. Synechdoche, New York – Charlie Kaufman
  9. The Fall – Tarsem Singh
  10. The Third Man – Carol Reed
  11. Magnolia/There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson
  12. O Brother Where Art Thou? – The Coen Brothers
  13. Y tu Mama Tambien – Alfonso Cuaron
  14. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola
  15. The Game/Seven/Fight Club – David Fincher

So, doing North America isn’t as difficult as Europe, but it presents its own problems, since I really like Mexican and american cinema. Canadian film is mostly unknown to me, oddly enough.

I decided not to include South America, because in the writing I realised my knowledge of South American cinema is pretty poor, but I like what’s been happening there in recent years, so send suggestions along. I’ve seen a lot recently, but they’ve all been one off films that I can’t remember the name of.

Also, because almost none of the films mentioned are comedies or horror, I decided to include special lists. Also, these will be more anglo-centric because I almost always forget foreign language comedies. Also, I can’t remember any old comedies, so this will mostly be newer stuff.

Comedies

  1. Withnail & I – Bruce Robinson
  2. Dumb and Dumber – The Farrelly Brothers
  3. Tommy Boy – Peter Segal
  4. Amelie/Delicatessen – Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  5. Woody Allen
  6. Adaptation – Spike Jonze
  7. Dr Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick
  8. Life of Brian/Quest for the Holy Grail – Monty Python
  9. Groundhog Day/Ghostbusters – Harold Ramis
  10. Be Kind Rewind/The Science of Sleep – Michel Gondry
  11. Rushmore/Royal Tenenbaums/Life Aquatic/Darjeeling Limited – Wes Anderson
  12. Submarine – Richard Ayoade
  13. Zoolander – Ben Stiller
  14. Mel Brooks
  15. The Marx Brothers

Horror

  1. Alien – Ridley Scott
  2. Diabolique – Henri-Georges Clouzot
  3. Audition – Takashi Miike
  4. [Rec] – Jaume Balaguero
  5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Tobe Hooper
  6. Them – David Moreau & Xavier Palud
  7. The Hills Have Eyes – Alexandre Aja
  8. Night of the Living Dead – George Romero
  9. The Shining – Stanley Kubrick
  10. Jaws – Steven Spielberg
  11. Silence of the Lambs – Jonathan Demme
  12. The Exorcist – William Friedkin
  13. Gojira – Ishiro Honda
  14. Let the Right One In – Tomas Alfredson
  15. 28 Days Later/Sunshine – Danny Boyle

And then this list is going to be all kinds of cheating.

Animated

  1. Hayao Miyazaki
  2. Perfect Blue/Tokyo Godfathers – Satoshi Kon
  3. Children Who Chase Lost Voices – Makoto Shinkai
  4. The Sky Crawlers – Mamoru Oshii
  5. Grave of the Fireflies – Isao Takahata
  6. Disney 1937-1940/1967-1981/1992-2000
  7. Pixar, with a few exceptions
  8. Dreamworks, with several exceptions
  9. The Iron Giant – Brad Bird
  10. Fantastic Mr Fox – Wes Anderson
  11. South Park – Trey Parker & Matt Stone
  12. Waking Life/A Scanner Darkly – Richard Linklater
  13. Ice Age – Chris Wedge & Carlos Saldanha
  14. Persopolis – Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Parannoud
  15. The Brave Little Toaster – Jerry Rees

I know it’s not fair to group studios together that way, but it’s the only way to even try to make this list.

we used to be smarter

By we I mean me.

And I’m not just saying that. I think it’s true. I think I worked very hard to become intelligent when I was younger, and since then it’s all been a slow slide into whatever my brain is now.

The thing is, I don’t really think anymore. I mean, I do, of course, but I never just sit down and think thoughts. I used to spend all day holed up in my room thinking, and then all night staring at my ceiling or out the window, thinking. I used to think so much I don’t know what else I did with my time.

I think it made me smarter too. I loved playing with difficult ideas and challenging myself, challenging my beliefs about life, morality, and all kinds of other things. Now, though.

I feel that my brain is in a state of rest until challenged. It’s like I keep my brain in a cupboard and it only gets use when someone knocks and lets me out.

I think it makes my thinking reactionary. I can form thoughts pretty quickly and wholly, but that’s all because other people are throwing things at me. It’s more like I’m catching light and redirecting it, or refracting it. I no longer generate light.

I’m a cave.

I actually don’t see this as a negative thing, or even a backwards step. I think it’s progress.

Thinking thoughts never made me happy and never got me anywhere. It’s when I started doing things that my life became worth living. Foolish people feigning at insight will tell you that the unexamined life isn’t worth living, but I find that examining your every move, thought, and opinion is rather destructive. Deconstructing reality at every turn doesn’t grant you any deeper sight or meaning. It just means you’re a wrecking ball.

I chose to stop being a wrecking ball several years ago. Maybe even seven years ago, give or take. I’ve had my share of unahppiness since then, but I’ve found myself to be much happier.

There’s a lot of ideas, ideologies, systems, structures, and opinions that I’m constantly fighting against, battling with both hands and feet, gnashing my teeth, but I don’t scorch my self.

But probably I’m being absurd. I don’t think that thinking is bad or a disservice, but I think it can lead to some real damage, not just personally, but interpersonally, and socially. Western culture has become so obsessed with tearing things apart, delineating and separating every possible facet until we’re all these neatly cut and differentiated categories that can be shuffled. People will tell you that this makes the world easier to handle, or better, but I think it’s extremely destructive, especially since there’s no push from the other direction, to show how similar we are, how the same we are, how whole and beautiful we are, even in our squalor.

But I wanted to talk about writing, because I think the same thing happened, though in a different way.

I used to be in love with the sentence. I wanted to be Virginia Woolf, because who wouldn’t want to write sentences like that? And so I worked very hard to push my sentences in that direction. While I’m glad I did it, I found it to be ultimately useless.

I mean, not useless, but that’s not how I want to write. That was fine for her because she’s Virginia Woolf, but I’ll never be Virginia Woolf, so there was no point in trying to be.

So I re-taught myself how to write. I talked about this a bit a while ago. I’d find the link, but it’s probably on the page like five posts down. Anyrate, I keep reteaching myself how to write, and I think it’s a very positive thing, but I think this has been a progress towards simplification of prose. I took the complexity of those old sentences and pushed that into complex novel structures.

Twilight of the Wolves was actually meant to be my simplest prose piece, but I think I failed there. And this goes back to me not being smart anymore: I honestly don’t know how to judge my writing anymore.

I don’t think I know how to judge any writing.

Spending so much time reading difficult literature and trying to write it has skewed my perceptions, I think, and so now it’s more of a gut reaction to literature, and I think that’s translated into me aiming more for your gut and heart, rather than your brain. Though, hopefully, the ideas are still interesting and coming through, but they come in a different register.

I bury the ideas and try to demonstrate them with drama. There are intellectual writers who are very good, and I even know some. Phil Jourdan and Kyle Muntz are great intellectual writers, where the idea is on the surface but also deep as an ocean, so you can peer into the idea and see it ever expanding.

I throw a lot of ideas into every novel. Probably too many, which is why I cheat and use multiple narrators, because then I can make every novel a kitchen sink novel, which is what I do. But hopefully those ideas are only beneath the surface, and you can enjoy the novel without ever considering them. But, if you’re willing to dig a bit deeper, there’s [ideally] an ocean of ideas swarming there.

Twilight of the Wolves is very much meant to be that way. There are a lot of ideas on the surface, but hopefully people dig into the ones underneath.

It’s hard to know if you’re good at these things.

I just can’t tell anymore.

But I do like what I write, and I think I’m getting better, though I’m growing very differently than what I originally envisioned. Ghostwriting has helped that, too, as I’ve had to learn to write simpler. I’m writing a screenplay for a romance right now, and I keep wanting to twist the logic and structure, turn things inside out, and cheat some magic in there, but it’s a very strong exercise, learning to strip yourself naked and rely on action, on motion, emotion.

But, yeah, just some rambling.

twilight of the wolves reviews and readings

People are saying very kind things about Twilight of the Wolves.

The first review of Twilight of the Wolves.

As soon as Twilight of the Wolves begins, you know it’s music. Music made by the hands digging deep into the underground, into determined earth-dirtying of the senses. The symmetry of notes makes this crystalline, each clause engineered into mantra-like potential. “And then he fell away, his life drifted away, the vision inside him, growing, rebuilding, creating newness, wholeness out of neverness. The song, nothing but the song, and Her eyes, ephemeral and purple, galactic dust swallowing him, and he swam in that twilit world of nothings and nowheres until it thickened, viscous, and filled him again.”

The second review.

An absorbing read that offers readers a grim, bleak and dark tale. It paints a word in flames, dying from within. Imagine a dark night sky, with a sole star. You know something’s there but you can barely make it out. Well that star will grow and become a brighter star and perhaps light up the night sky until it is day. Well, that star is Sao.

First paragraph:

Sao meets a dying god:

Because Connor reminded me of high school:

awp: when the internet sits in the same room

AWP is always one of the most fun things to happen every year. All these beautiful and insane people I know through the internet all arrive in the same place, drink too much, talk way too much, and don’t sleep enough. This year was no different, but it was also completely different.

I think this year was my favorite AWP yet, so hopefully this trend continues.

My first AWP was pretty intimidating. I didn’t really know very many people, didn’t really know what to do, and tried to do way too much, which resulted in me missing a lot of cool things and sort of wandering back and forth. I worked at the Lit Pub/MLP table where I got to hangout with JA Tyler, Molly Gaudry, Josh Denslow and a rotating cast of others. It was probably the best introduction to AWP for someone in my position. If you don’t know what to do, where to go, or who to talk to, just latch onto a table because people will think you’re important. It also gives you a break from the insanity that is the bookfair. I also got to finally meet a lot of the Velvet/Manarchy crew. I had known them for years and it was super awesome and fun to finally get to highfive and hug them in person, instead of just through the internet.

Last year was my second AWP and it was better than the first because I learnt to accept that you can’t see everything. You’re always going to miss out on most things, so just surround yourself with great people and let them guide you. Got to finally meet the CCM people, hangout with Phil Jourdan again, and hangout at the MLP/Dzanc table with JA Tyler and Matt Bell, which was awesome, of course. Though this year was better than the first, I still felt like I was running around, trying to see/meet/talk to as many people as possible.

That’s what made the difference this year. I felt much less of a need to explore and meet all the new faces and places and books and publishers. I feel like I met the group of people that I wanted to meet in 2013, and this year I got to spend more time with them, and get to know each of them better. In addition, the cast of characters grew. I got to meet Janice Lee and Peter Tieryas who are so so awesome. I wish I got to spend more time with both of them, but I’m really glad we had a few great talks. J David Osborne, too, was the bee’s knees and sort of completely different from who I expected him to be. JS Breukelaar was the big surprise for me, since I knew nothing about her, but then I spent hours just talking to her. She made me miss all my Aussie friends and reminded me how much I need to finally get there. Then there’s Rose O’Keefe and Patrick Wensink who are just so awesome and talked with me about ballet, because I guess we all really just needed to do that for a while. D Foy and Jeff Jackson are two of the coolest guys around and I’m excited to see D in Minneapolis in a few months. Oh, and then there’s Stephen Graham Jones. Coolest and nicest guy around. I’ve been reading his novels for almost a decade now and it made him seem intimidating at first, but he’s just a great person who also happens to write my favorite books.

And then there was the core crew from the previous year: Michael Seidlinger, Kyle Muntz, Cameron Pierce, Kirsten Pierce, and Alexander Allison. Michael, unfortunately, fell ill, which was a huge bummer, but I had an awesome time with Kyle [as always] and it was great to talk more with Kirsten and Cameron, who might be two of my favorite people in the world. They remind me of two of my best friends and they’ve convinced me that I need to be in Bizarrocon this year. And Alex was very english and very awesome and just always interesting.

And it seems like I’m falling into that bizarro crowd and I honestly think they might be the best people to know. To be honest, before I met Kirsten and Cameron last year, I thought bizarro was just a silly genre full of stupidity and weirdness. But you can’t talk to Cameron and Kirsten and ignore how intelligent they are, and if you pick up any of their books, you know there’s a lot more happening there than just strangeness. But most of the people I met this year are tied to bizarro in some way, and they’re all so awesome, so down to earth, and just so intelligent. They’re all normal people, and I think they’re actually quite a bit normaler than a lot of the literary genre folks. I really dig the people, their sense of community, and I’ve come to find that I really love their odd little books.

But, yeah, probably I’m forgetting people. Molly Gaudry and Jason Cook were great too! Seeing Molly always just sort of warms my heart, and Jason wears the dopest suits. Ah–Bud Smith and Sam Snoek-Brown too! Michael Kazepis and Nick Mamatas and and and-

Okay, I’ll just leave it there. If I forgot to mention you, just know I love you privately.