How authors can bring their books to life by Dane Cobain

The internet age has its perks. You can access cat videos when you’re supposed to be reading. You can order books to be delivered on the same day. And your favourite authors can create immersive experiences that add a whole new dimension to their relationships with readers.

New technology, such as virtual and augmented reality, has paved the way for a whole new type of storytelling, and while it’s still in its infancy, it shows a lot of potential for the storytellers of the future.

The concept of blending storytelling and technology isn’t a new one. Tom Clancy, for example, founded computer game maker Red Storm Entertainment back in 1996, and his name has been attached to the Rainbow Six series of games since 1998, across eighteen different releases.

New Technologies

It’s easy to see how new technologies could revolutionise the way we interact with our favourite fictional worlds. Imagine if Stephen King worked on a virtual reality game, for example. With a mixture of traditional writing skills and an interactive platform, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

An early sign of this potential is demonstrated by J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore, which allows visitors to be sorted into houses and to access bonus material that isn’t available elsewhere. Of course, Rowling has a bigger marketing budget than most authors, but as new technologies become more widely available, the cost of using them tends to decrease over time.

Another popular trend is the rise of 360-degree video, which sits somewhere between VR and a regular video. Some filmmakers have started to experiment with the format, but we’re yet to see a high-budget, long-format production that’s been developed with the aid of a well-known writer.

Which Genres Work Best

The interesting thing about this new technology – and I have VR in mind in particular here – is that it paves the way for stories to be told like a video game, allowing the ‘reader’ to interact with the action. In many ways, this is reminiscent of ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ books, where the reader is asked to make a decision at the end of every section and to navigate to the relevant page.

But VR is much, much more interactive than this, and it also offers up the ability to generate an entirely fictional world. That means that fantasy authors can bring their books to life in a way that wasn’t previously possible – imagine a virtual Ankh-Morpork that you could walk through, or a full-sized replica of King’s Landing. Horror authors can get into the game, too – ghosts, ghouls and goblins are much, much scarier when you can see them right there in front of you.

Science fiction is also rife with possibilities, because virtual reality experiences can take people literally out of this world or show them new types of technology that we can’t even begin to imagine. In fact, it’s basically a sci-fi writer’s job to know about new technologies, and readers will soon come to expect them to lead the way when it comes to them taking advantage of it.

An Exciting Time To Be A Reader

For readers, the future is looking bright. We’re already benefitting from new devices – like e-readers and tablet computers – and audio book production values and accessibility levels are higher than ever. But we’ve got plenty to look forward to, too.

Of course, the printed book is unlikely to ever die out completely. There’ll always be a certain pleasure to be had from the actual aesthetics of a decent paperback. But what will change, though, is the ways in which books are promoted and augmented, and how authors’ words are brought to life.

We’re in the digital era now, folks. What a time to be alive.

Your Turn

What do you want to see from authors in the future? Let us know what you think with a comment!

About the author

This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that helps authors to develop their indie website to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books.

Many thanks to you Dane for putting together this post for The Scary Reviews. I’m sure it will be enjoyed by my followers as much as it was by me. Please feel free to come back again and share your thoughts!

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the Most Terrifying Movie Ever Made by Thomas S. Flowers

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the Most Terrifying Movie Ever Made

By: Thomas S. Flowers, author of the Subdue Series
Conceiving, Book Three, is Out Now!

In the glamor of watching a Steven Spielberg film, it is easy to understand how caught up we can get in the chaotic wonder of colorful kaleidoscopic strobes blinking over and over and superb John Williams magnum opus scores. But I have to wonder, while we were in that childlike stupor, did we see what was really going on? The visuals dazzled us, no doubt there, but is there a subversive message behind all the pizazz? Okay. I’m not really sure how subversive we’re talking here. Certainly, there is something to be said. Something to meditate over. And maybe even some revelation, some hidden fear to cause us to cower. Since watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I’ve kept a somewhat precarious eye on the night’s sky, glaring into the dark depths of the cosmos and wondering who or what is out there. And not only who or what, but what capabilities do they have? What technological power do these “beings” possess? Mind control? Abduction? Electromagnetism? Blackouts? Radiation burns? Sickness? Madness? All these are terrifying symptoms, no? If you’ve paid attention you’ll find the terrifying powers listed above are all in that Spielberg film we’ve loved and adored since 1977. And this is why I think Close Encounters of the Third Kind is the most terrifying surreptitious movie ever made. While we were dazzled and awed, strange elongated aliens were abducting children in a blaze of orange fog. While we giggled and cooed over the keyboard synthesizers and light show, a husband and father of three aggressively and tragically lost his mind, eventually being taken away by these so-called visitors. If we sit back down and watch this movie again, carefully, point for point…well, I’m sure you’ll agree: Close Encounters of the Third Kind IS a cosmic horror movie. Why? Well, this goes back to that ole Lovecraftian fear, not knowing “what’s out there” or “why they’ve come,” and having zero control over “what they do.”

Since the movie’s release in 1977, Close Encounters of the Third Kind has grossed over $337 million worldwide.  Ray Bradbury declared it the greatest science fiction film ever made. The film was nominated for several Oscars; having only taken home one in cinematography. Had Star Wars not released the same year, I’m certain Close Encounters would have won all the eggs. No surprise there, if you’ve seen the movie then you know there is no denying the film’s powerful dream-like quality. There’s nothing uber complicated with the plot or story structure. It’s actually rather cut and dry, in which some may say is a tad slow for our rapid-fire attention spans. I too recall watching this when I was a kid on VHS and thinking it had its fair share of boring scenes; however, as an adult now, I think the movie has a fantastic pace in which every moment is important in some way. I think a part of why we never watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the idea that it is a horror movie is because of the simplicity of the story, we glaze over and…Again, cue the musical numbers and flashy bulbs. Look at the film, watch the movie, even those on screen, especially at the end, the characters are all moon pied as if they’ve surrendered to some kind of trance or hypnosis. AGAIN…isn’t that in itself a terrifying factor? Losing our will.

dwelling

And we have to ask, what exactly do these aliens really want? If they’ve been abducting people for generations, what do they want with the one man crazy enough to have made it to Devils Tower? If they’ve been taking people all willy-nilly since before WWII, or even longer, well…it goes to say they probably already have a clear understanding of human anatomy. And if they can insert images and thoughts into our minds, well… this begs the question, how much more of us do they really need to know? To me, it all seems like a subjective test. A greater intelligence than our own giving humanity the equivalent of a SAT exam. Consider this bit from an article published by Keith Phipps:

“When Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), a humble lineman for an Indiana electric company, investigates a power outage, he witnesses an unidentified flying object, a run-in that leaves him with what appears to be a severe sunburn. Nearby, 3-year-old Barry Guiler (Cary Guffey), follows some lights outside as his mother Jillian (Melinda Dillon) chases after him. Both Roy and Jillian, who soon meet, are fascinated by their experiences, but this feeling soon takes a turn. Having strayed from his duties as a result of his sighting, Roy first loses his job then seems to lose his mind as he becomes fixated on alien encounters while his family looks on in horror. Jillian’s life turns even more dramatic than Roy’s when the UFOs return and draw Barry to them as Jillian fights their efforts to avail, in a scene Spielberg stages like an otherworldly home invasion, with Barry’s unwitting delight only amplifying the horror. Something from beyond Earth has arrived, but its intentions remain vague, as does its respect for human life.”

emerging

And at the end, we get the impression of open communication with the whole sign-language gag. But I wonder…how open is that communication really? Roy Neary was still taken. He was obviously still insane, giving no thought or hesitation of leaving behind his wife, two sons, and daughter. My impression is that these intelligent aliens are still rather indifferent about humanity. And indifference can be dangerous. I question the “friendliness” of the final encounter, the film to me reeks of its post-Watergate-pessimistic era of misguided trust. Sure, they are taking Roy Neary to some place that might be benevolent and beautiful, but how do we know, and to make matter worse, we’re never guaranteed his return. Will they bring him back as they did the countless others? (Did you see the billboard with all those names and pictures of people they believe had been abducted? Freaking insane number, right?) The final act is the answer to the entire mundane meets the spectacular and secretive undertone of the movie, we don’t know, we don’t know if Roy Neary will return, we don’t know what they’ll do with him, and we have absolutely no power to stop them from taking him. For all we know those seemingly kind disco-friendly aliens dissected him, leaving his amputated parts floating in murky glass jars as they cruse the solar systems jamming to KC and the Sunshine Band. And this begs the most horrifying question of all, as the credits roll and the spaceships float away, would we ourselves want to take a ride with these cosmic visitors? Could we stop them even if we didn’t?

Three Shots and a Chaser by John Quick

 

From Slasher Novel to Short Story Collection: Enter to Win Debut Novel CONSEQUENCES

by John Quick

2016 has been a strange year, both rough and rewarding by turns. I am pleased to announce that my second release, a short-story collection called Three Shots and a Chaser, is now available in both digital AND print editions!

If you’ve read my first work, Consequences, you experienced brutal, bloody horror in the style of the old slasher movies from the eighties, only told in my own way. But that’s not all there is to me; this collection demonstrates that quite clearly.

Here, you’re going to find a more subtle horror than I did before, horror not only of sight and sound, but of mind. And if you heard Rod Serling say that line, well, you’re on the right track. See, this time, it’s not Jason or Freddy or Michael or Pinhead that influenced me. Instead, it’s a Twilight Zone, reaching for The Outer Limits, and telling a few Tales from the Darkside.

While the stories here are still based in horror, there’s more than just horror, too. There’s a bit of a sci-fi bent, a little fantasy. Add a hint of the supernatural, and a dash of my normal dark humor, and you’ve got some idea of what you’re in for. There’s even a bit of that old-school anthology feel, where there’s a story around the stories, too. For that idea, though, I have to credit Patrick Rothfuss and the Kingkiller Chronicle for showing how it can be used this way.

Basically, this is something different, something to show I am more than a one-trick pony. And honestly, while I’m a bit nervous about trying something so vastly different from what I’ve done before, I’m also excited as all get-out for everyone to read these tales!

 

consequencesI’m celebrating, but it’s YOU who gets the reward! In honor of this collection’s release, not only is Consequences going on sale, but I’ll be giving a copy to one lucky person! So take the chance; if you haven’t read it already, here’s your opportunity to do so. I suggest you read it alongside Three Shots and a Chaser, see for yourself the range of my creative insanity. I’m curious which one you prefer: fast and bloody, or subtle scares!

Either way, if you enjoy yourself, if you lose an afternoon or two in the worlds I’ve created, then my mission is accomplished. Just don’t lose yourself too much… you’ll want to be around for what comes next!

Enter the GIVEAWAY for a Print Copy of Consequences! http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b33/?

You can purchase CONSEQUENCES at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E6B9ZV8

 

 

Three Shots and a Chaser, Synopsis

Three twisted tales to tempt your palate…

A man who drives the back roads looking for something interesting finds more than he bargained for….

A woman with a very special gift for her husband on their wedding day….

A couple headed for the beach who find themselves tasked with a responsibility they never anticipated….

These are the tales told by the patrons of the Last Hope Bar, a way for them to pass the time while waiting for another new face, someone looking for a drink, or a place to wait out a storm, or just someone unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Someone like you, perhaps?

Step right on in, have a seat at the bar, and order up THREE SHOTS AND A CHASER.

You can purchase THREE SHOTS AND A CHASER at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M2ZITNS

 

Biography John Quick

John Quick has been reading and writing scary and disturbing stuff for as long as he can remember, and has only recently begun releasing some of his creations upon the world. He is the author of the novel Consequences and theshort story collection Three Shots and a Chaser. His work has also appeared in the Full Moon Slaughter anthology from JEA Press. His second novel, The Journal of Jeremy Todd is due for release from Sinister Grin Press in the summer of 2017.He lives in Middle Tennessee with his wife, two kids, and four dogs that think they’re kids. When he’s not hard at work on his next novel, you can find him online at www.johnquickfiction.com, Facebook at johnquickbooks, Twitter @johndquick, and Instagram at johndquick.