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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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Jumpers

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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If you were dictator of the world, or a village, or inside your house, the main perk is that you hold everyone else hostage, strapped to a post. They listen to you. You offer comfort in an uncertain, dangerous world. Still, the larger reality is people listen not because they want to; but because they have no real choice. Corporations are built on the dictator’s model of giving comfort. If you fly United Airlines in the United States, remember they’ve got you where they want you. They have your undivided attention.

I’ve been spoiled flying in Asia. The number and length of announcements are relatively limited and short. Even repeated in a couple of languages they are brief. In America, when you board your flight, you find that you’ve entered George Orwell’s Room 101. I speak from recent experience on a United Airlines flight. There were very long announcements about what you can and cannot do, the penalties involved, the commands of what you must do if you occupy an exit seat. It was like being in school. Reform school. With a little editing, it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine their test audience had been passengers on rendition flights that American Intel agencies operate.

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Posted: 10/25/2010 10:46:40 PM 

 

You know that you are going to die sooner or later. Authors are no exception. Like their books, they have a shelf life. After you get over the shock and accept your fate, one of the first orders of business is put your affairs in order. I’ve always like that expression. Especially in Thailand where that can be a tall order during one’s life let alone on one’s death.

What caught my attention was an article in the New York Times about Franz Kafka:

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Posted: 9/30/2010 11:24:39 PM 

 

How do you feed a one-year-old baby?

Mind you this isn’t about what you feed him or when you feed him. This isn’t a trick question. It’s actually a quite profound cultural issue. Feeding a baby is an activity that takes planning. At this age they are like activated jelly with no hard bone structure to slow them down. Babies at feeding time are all waving arms and hands, and the mouth is a moving target. In other words, babies are pretty much the same around the world, but how we go about growing them into self-sufficient adults is highly dependent on the culture where they are born and raised.

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Posted: 9/24/2010 1:40:45 AM 

 

At times it seems in Thailand (and large part of Asia, including China) nothing in the public or private sector advances, no decision is made, no event announced until an ‘auspicious date’ and “auspicious time” have been calculated. Setting a wedding date, opening parliament, launching a new aircraft, meeting a client, opening a new business, and on and on.

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Posted: 9/16/2010 10:30:09 PM 

 

Horror stalks us wearing a cultural mask. So how does one explain the commercial success of writers like Stephen King and Peter Straub who have written horror stories that have sold around the world and have been turned into blockbuster movies? King and Straub have a reputation for pushing the right fright buttons to make an international audience wince, sweat, and shiver with fear. But nothing beats the local boogey man to put the torch of fear into young children.

When I first came to Thailand more than twenty years ago, Thai parents trying to control a child who misbehaved or refused to go to bed at the appointed time, had a surefire way of ensuring See Uey. “If you don’t do what I say, then See Uey will come into your room in the middle of the night, cut you open and eat your liver.” That’s not an exact translation but reasonably close.

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Posted: 9/9/2010 10:07:02 PM 

 

While fellow blogger Colin Cotterill has his hounds lined up on the beach conducting a seminar on the finer points of the Trotsky movement inside the dog world, I am reporting from Eel Swamp. I am light years behind Cotterill’s mind-meld that merges him into oneness with his dogs. The truth be told, I don’t have all of my ducks in a row. ...
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Posted: 9/3/2010 3:00:41 AM 

 

I am back from the country hovel at Eel Swamp. For nearly a week I had mud, water and shit midway up my wellies. It is the Monsoon season. Rain or shine, spending time with animals is a good thing. Animals have a lot to teach us. Here are a couple of observations from studying my five dogs and two ducks. First, animals aren’t divided into religion let alone into religious sects that target rivals like insurgents setting IEDs for the next Humvee to roll over. Second, animals don’t hang out with each other because of a share ideology. They have no real politics to speak of. Like religion, politics, is simply absent from their day. You may protest that animals aren’t rational, don’t have logic or analysis working for them. True enough but at the same time animals never consult astrologers before making a decision.

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Posted: 8/26/2010 10:34:03 PM 

 

I want to write about sex and about death. Since writing was invented it is hard to think of a writer who didn’t embrace these two states of the human condition. They jockey throughout life like two racecars fighting for pole position, and we go along for the ride, strapped into the passenger’s seat of both cars, pretending that we are at the wheel. We avoid thinking that sooner or later we are going to crash both cars. Our brains program us to believe that we are Formula A professional drivers. That individually our skill shapes, alters and controls our destiny. It’s a simple delusion that sitting in the back is the same as being at the wheel but it does pull us through the day (and night).

That’s the reality of life. Your two cars are going over the cliff and into the void. Sex is the one that usually stalls out and sputters to a stop first. Old age sputters, too, and sometimes needs a little push before gravity takes over. And if you look in the rearview mirror, you’ll see a long line of cars right on your bumper about to follow you into the void.

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Posted: 8/19/2010 10:19:57 PM 

 

The role and importance of the enlightenment continues to be debated. The early start is traced back to the 1660s in England.This article reviews that past and the twist and turns these ideas have taken through later centuries. "Even more important was the Enlightenment notion of freedom of expression. In our age, we think of technological change as natural and obvious; indeed, we consider its absence a source of concern. Not so in the past: inventors were seen as disrespectful, rebelling against the existing order, threatening the stability of the regime and the Church, and jeopardizing employment. In the eighteenth century, this notion slowly began to give way to tolerance, to the belief that those with odd notions should be allowed to subject them to a market test." And the nature of nationalism: "In the nineteenth century, Europeans used their new technology to oppress, exploit, and murder non-Europeans; in the late nineteenth century, they replaced the transnational ideals of some enlightened thinkers wit:h an often ugly nationalism that taught the masses that the way to show love for their country was to hate its neighbors; and in the first half of the twentieth century, they turned on one another with a brutality and destructiveness that history had never witnessed before."

Link:
http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_3_enlightenment-ideas.html...
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Posted: 8/8/2010 11:19:47 PM 

 

If you enjoy novels with a political twist, here is a list of the best 50 novels for political junkies.

The top five are:

· Brave New World, Aldous Huxley: Aldous Huxley’s classic novel is set in a world where a global government limits procreation and forces its citizens into a cycle of endless economic consumption. A must-read for anyone interested in tales of the extent to which a body will go to control its subjects.

· 1984, George Orwell: Released in 1949, Orwell’s novel depicts a totalitarian society in which the government constantly revises historical records in order to appear blameless and correct. Chilling and ahead of its time.

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Posted: 8/8/2010 11:18:03 PM 

 

J.Sydney Jones's interview with me is up at Scene of the Crime "Bangkok’s Multiple Personalities: Christopher G. Moore's Vincent Calvino Novels." http://is.gd/e5pVZ...
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Posted: 8/6/2010 1:36:56 AM 

 

To understand hardships from the inside, you need to be patient. People who suffer either complain all the time or stay silent. In both cases, the nature of suffering is communicated. It is in the crucible of anguish that defines the person in later life. Withstanding adversity in the face of overwhelming odds is difficult as it is rare. But people do arise above their hardships and we call that ability to keep going a virtue.

Our eyes are wide open to our own injuries, despairs, and insults but we are often blind when others around us have the same inflicted on their lives. We walk passed the beggar. We don’t notice the blind lottery seller. Or the old man selling baked bananas wrapped in banana leaves.

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Posted: 8/5/2010 10:57:54 PM 

 

Red light means stop; green light means go; and yellow light is proceed with caution. Except Thai drivers have a way of blurring the meaning of traffic lights. Signaling what is expected, what is wanted, or what one can get away with are mentally built from the cultural bricks of education, family, friends and neighbors. Simple signals such as yes, and no, like traffic signals aren’t always to be relied upon.

In Thai culture, it is a well-established tradition that before you enter the house of a Thai, you first remove your shoes. The feet, according to local custom, are the lowest part of the body. Walking on streets and pavements makes for dirty shoes. There are a couple of levels at work. First, your feet (and everybody else’s) occupy the lowest realm (pointing with your foot at someone is a major cultural gaff). Second, there are some practical health issues packaged with living in the tropics. Dog shit is one. Along with various parasites and bacteria which have been known to hitch a ride on people’s shoes and into their houses.

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Posted: 7/30/2010 5:41:33 AM 

 

Writing a novel is the end product of a long creative journey. Much the same conclusion can be said about writing and directing a film. Since Monday I have been guiding Hollywood screenwriter Chase Palmer through Vincent Calvino’s world. Chase is writing the script play for Spirit House. During the past couple of days, I have been thinking about how a novelist transfers and shares his world with a screenwriter.

The Vincent Calvino series—soon to have 12 novels—is over a million words spanning nearly twenty years. A screenplay runs about 120 pages in length. The film going audience will never read it. Instead they will watch the film. Their experience is what they see on the screen; not what is put on paper for the director, producer and actors. People who watch a movie (unless they are in the industry or writers) don’t understand or much care about the screenplay. Why should they? It is like the building you live in. How often to you think about the blueprints that were labored over, changed, revised in order to realize the physical structure. I suspect not often.

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Posted: 7/22/2010 10:26:10 PM 

 

Experts are people we rely on when we are ill, build a house, buy a car, board an airplane, or invest in equities or bonds. We also buy books written by an ‘expert’ because we trust that this person’s knowledge, experience and wisdom will shed a light on a subject that is of interest.

Crime fiction also has increasingly become the domain of authors who have developed expertise about police procedures, investigations, police department culture, as well as psychology, justice systems, politics, and language.

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Posted: 7/9/2010 12:18:42 AM 

 

Everyone, it seems, has a complaint. Now and again. Some people complain more than others. You likely know someone who fits the bill. We all do. No matter how we trim back our relationships, Facebook pages, and socializing, we find ourselves in a situation or next to a person who complains bitterly about not getting a backstage pass to Lady Gaga’s dressing room.

Some cultures are complaint infested. Other cultures are complaint adverse. Men complain about women. Women complain about men. People complain about restaurant service, hotel rooms, the size of airline econ seats, their boss, their spouse, their neighbors, their weight, their hair, their teeth, small dogs, religion, cold food, sex, bad diets, boredom, dating, noise, taxes, the weather, the government, TV news, foreigners, genital warts and, of course, other drivers.

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Posted: 7/2/2010 1:30:26 AM 

 

"We should read to give our minds a chance to breathe the oxygen of ideas."
—Christopher G. Moore
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Posted: 6/30/2010 11:57:04 PM 

 



Four of the Vincent Calvino series: Spirit House, Asia Hand, The Risk of Infidelity Index and Paying Back Jack are widely available in the United States, Britain and the Commonwealth. That would also include the second-hand market, too. You won’t have to search high and low in your city to find a copy published by Grove/Atlantic.

The problem readers have is finding other titles in the Vincent Calvino series or anyone of my 10 standalone novels. That means English language editions for 17 of my novels, outside of Thailand, are not available through bookstores. Online vendors, seeing an opportunity, often quote staggering prices of up to $483.00 for a copy of A Bewitching Smile. A fair number of the backlist of my books are on offer for over $100.

My Thai publisher sells online my books for less than the Thai retail price found in any bookshop in Bangkok. Have a look at my publisher’s website. http://www.heavenlakepress.com/buybooks.htm

The fly in the ointment—there’s always one—is the cost of international shipping.

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Posted: 6/29/2010 12:11:24 AM 

 

Review

I place a lot of stock in authenticity when it comes to fiction. The best novels are written by authors who aren’t only talented writers but draw upon first hand experience, bringing to the reader insight into matters that are largely hidden from the general public.

Barry Eisler is such an author. He’s a former CIA agent who has become a best selling novelist. Inside Out, is his most recent novel. It will be released on Tuesday 29th June 2010. It is the kind of book that only someone with Eisler’s background could write. And it is a book that should be read not only as a first-rate thriller but a testimony from an author who has seen inside the cage and understand the nature of violence that goes on inside.

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Posted: 6/28/2010 3:26:07 AM 

 

The Black Cat (Grove imprint) edition of Asia Hand is now on sale at amazon.com for $9.45. This is the fourth novel in the Vincent Calvino series to be published by Grove/Atlantic. Copies should be (or soon be) in an American, Canadian or British bookstore near you.

Asia Hand had good reviews when first published by White Lotus in 1993.
The Black Cat edition is also getting good press.

Asia Hand is a skillfully crafted, addictive ride through one of the planet's most raw and vivid cities. Moore and Calvino define the dark pungent cocktail that is Asian noir.”
—Eliot Pattison, author of the “Inspector Shan” series

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Posted: 6/25/2010 10:38:07 AM 

 

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