My tastes have become so narrowed that I really have to wring out the internet to find something I want to read and watch. Thankfully I came across Joseph D. Newcomer’s book Diminishing Return last year and I’ve been a fan ever since.
I finished reading the anthology From the Dead, which features the work of many other wonderful writers, and the Darkest Day over the weekend. It was just what the doctor ordered.
“So what are these stories about?” You might ask.
Not sure. don’t know how to read 🤷♂️
So you’ll have to check them out yourself.
But to give you a taste: you know, like, how your mind starts to wonder on a long car ride so you start coming up with strange scenarios: what if I get mindfucked by a drier monster? Or, what if Elon Musk manufactured another 9/11? And now imagine if these outrageous scenarios became full fledged stories, much like that delightful episode of Black Mirror where the Prime Minister fucks a pig on live TV.
That’s the work of Joseph D. Newcomer. That’s Dead Star Press.
You can find these works and other merchandise here at Dead Star Press.
Why I obsess over Jesus and the New Testament, I don’t know. Just do. Get off my ass.
But I just started reading The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. I’m only about halfway through it, it’s a long book. I don’t expect any twists and turns to a story that I’m already familiar with.
But the book is nothing like the film, let’s just get that out of the way.
I couldn’t have written in a million years. It reads like an extended version of the Gospels. But it weaves between perspectives-from Jesus (Son of Mary, as he’s often called), to Judas, to Mary (wife of Joseph) to Mary Magdalene, to the Apostles, etc-to create a rich tapestry of these events. Because Kazantzakis writes like the authors of the Gospels, the book actually breaths life into the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
While reading it, I honestly forget that this book was deemed “controversial”. Of course, I haven’t gotten to the “last temptation” part, which might understandably piss some people off, but as Kazantzakis explains in his prologue, Jesus (at least if you’re Christian) was both full divine and fully human. Can you imagine the burden of having to live with that? Everyone hears about the “divine” part. But no one wants to confront the “fully human” part. So Kazantzakis takes that perspective and runs with it.
Anyways, finished taking a shit. Gotta get back to work.
The film is clearly more influential (I’ve probably seen it, but I’ve drank a lot since then). Clint Eastwood was inspired by it. That’s obvious in Pale Rider, but Unforgiven has some echoes of it. Logan was also heavily under its influence but I don’t watch that kind of shit.
I’m intrigued by the subject of reality meeting myth. Which is why it’s high time for the book or film be updated into a “neo-western”, or whatever buzzword the kids are using, albeit with a more pessimistic ending.
The story is told from the perspective of a kid. And when we think of our childhood, we recall the magical times we had. But when we think objectively about it, we miss all the fucked up shit around us.
Remember that cool neighbor that would let you shoot his Glock? He was a registered sex offender.
Of course none of that occurs to you because you assume everyone is nice and pure.
Now I’d never write an updated version of Shane, I’d instantly lose interest. But maybe someone with more discipline would be willing to put pen to paper.
I imagine a story set during the Great Depression or some shit, where banks are harassing farmers and threatening to take their land. Then a mysterious stranger with a dark past comes into town and befriends a family.
The boy is instantly taken by the stranger. The father is handicapped in some form or fashion, unable to tend to his land properly, so the stranger steps up. The boy eventually begins to look up to the stranger more so than his father.
Then, of course, the banks and henchmen come in, threaten the townsfolk, blah blah blah…we all know the story: Shane essentially sacrifices himself, his death is ambiguous, and he achieves mythical status in the town.
But I’d like to see a more pessimistic conclusion. And as I think about it, my ending sort of resembles that of Blood Meridian: decades later, like the 1960s, the boy runs into Shane, very much alive, but the truth about him is revealed. Shane was nothing more than a drunken murderous hitman who actually cuckholded the father.
Naturally all of this went unnoticed by the boy, now a man, but he chooses instead to remember that summer as a magical time when a stranger came into town.
I’m sure that story has been told a million times. But good stories are worth retelling.
Of course I ain’t retelling it. I’ve got fart and cum jokes to write.