Friday, November 20, 2009

King, Cronenberg and New Moon

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Stephen King at the Canon Theatre in conversation with David Cronenberg, and later, at midnight, drove to the depths of the suburbs (Mississauga) to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon.

King, who received a standing ovation the second he stepped out onto the stage, kicked off the night by reading from his new (massive) novel, Under the Dome, about a small town--you guessed it--trapped under a dome (like in The Simpsons movie, but bloodier). After that, David Cronenberg came out and the two of them sprawled out on some leather chairs to talk shop. My favorite part was when King said that it would be awesome if someone wrote a book about getting emails from the dead, to which Cronenberg replied, "I get those all the time--from agents." Ha! They then went on to the discuss trials and tribulations of adapting books for film. One of the major difficulties they found was expressing internal dialogue cinematically. King, rather poignantly, said that writing a novel is like swimming, you're completely submerged in the story and its characters, whereas film is like skating, whizzing about on the surface.

Nothing could be more true of the film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon. I'll start by saying that I was beyond excited to see this movie (like, hyperventilating-into-my-Icee excited); the production's improved tenfold since the last one, and it's heartbreakingly faithful to the book, which I definitely appreciate. That said, this wasn't really a book about action but rather one of pure inner turmoil from start to finish. At the end I could have sworn they cut it to pieces but upon conferring with my friend (who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the text) they really didn't cut out much of the scenes/dialogue/action. What they did cut was all of Bella's inner dialogue, so that we were left with her reactions instead of her thoughts and feelings. Not everything in the movie was affected by this though; the scenes with the CGI wolves were exciting, as was the introduction to the Volturi. But I missed the obsessive, over-wrought narrative during Bella's scenes with Edward... You probably won't read this in any other reviews, but ultimately I felt that New Moon just wasn't angsty enough.

Friday, November 6, 2009

One More Reason to Write a Thriller

Forget Oprah, Glenn Beck is the new TV book guru, and (surprise!) he loves thrillers. Beck's program on Fox News attracts roughly 2.7 million daily viewers, but don't fret, he doesn't discriminate; Beck often promotes books which reflect political views different from his own. And a reccomendation from Beck goes a long, long way:

At a time when the book industry is struggling to maintain, much less increase, sales, publishers and authors say an appearance on Mr. Beck’s television or radio programs helps attract new readers. After James Rollins, the author of “The Doomsday Key,” a thriller about a group of Defense Department scientists trying to solve an ancient mystery, appeared this past summer on Mr. Beck’s radio program and then his television show — on which Mr. Beck promised viewers “it will keep you on the edge of your seat — Mr. Rollins met several people at a book signing who told him they had bought the book based on that recommendation, he said. According to Seale Ballenger, a publicist for William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins that released “The Doomsday Key,” the novel remained in the Top 10 of the New York Times hardcover fiction best-seller list longer than typical for its type. “It was totally driven by Glenn Beck,” Mr. Ballenger said.