by on Aug.15, 2013

I haven’t read all of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels. But of those I’ve enjoyed the one that moved me most was BRIGHT ORANGE FOR THE SHROUD. So slender a book, but each page a well-honed blade.
Boone Waxwell reads like an up-river Mephistopheles. That’s just one of the things that’s so wonderful about MacDonald– he knows how to make monsters. (I use the present tense because like all great writers, he is always with us and still very much alive for me.) Though more prolific than Raymond Chandler he had the same gift of fashioning living, breathing, human gargoyles. And he knew how to give those gargoyles play; he let them run out some line and tear up the scenery; he savored extravagant violence, understanding that monstrosity is a baroque form, requiring resonant and detailed confrontation with evil–sometimes charismatic evil.
Waxwell’s rape kills both its victim and her worthless husband, who dies by her hand (so right that gesture).
But oh, the monsters death when it comes! How more than fitting! How tailored (though large in the bias!) to his crime! It’s among the most fulfilling climaxes in popular fiction.

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LA Area Readings This Weekend!/ Oswalt/ Goodfellow

by on Aug.14, 2013

I’ll be in San Diego at Mysterious Galaxy on Saturday, August 17th (2 p.m.) and also at Dark Delicacies in Burbank on Sunday the 18th (also at 2 p.m.). The incomparable master of triple media: film, print and stand-up, Patton Oswalt, will be introducing my second book of THE EXTRA trilogy: ASSAULT ON SUNRISE from TOR books.  Cody Goodfellow, editor and writer will be there as well.  We hope that the occasion will be like a Light in the vast darkness of the San Fernando Valley.

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Michael Shea at Dark Delicacies in Burbank on August 18, 2013

by on Aug.12, 2013

To all interested readers in Los Angeles! Michael will be also reading at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, Ca.
from ASSAULT ON SUNRISE, the second volume of THE EXTRA trilogy, on August 18th at 2p.m.

You can preorder your signed hardback copy of ASSAULT ON SUNRISE:

Patton Oswalt, Comedian/ Actor/ and Author, will be at the Dark Delicacies reading to introduce the book. Thank you Patton!

Dark Delicacies is located at 3512 W. Magnolia in Burbank, CA.
Tel 1-818-556-6660
Toll Free 1-888-DARKDEL 

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Michael Shea in San Diego on August 17, 2013

by on Aug.08, 2013

Mysterious Galaxy

Michael Shea is coming to San Diego to the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore!

Come and listen to Michael as he reads from his latest novel “Assault on Sunrise.”

Join us on 08/17/2013 at 2:00 pm for this interesting event

The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore is located in San Diego at 7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite #302,

For more information you can call the bookstore at tel. 858-268-4747

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Locus Magazine’s Faren Miller reviews ASSAULT ON SUNRISE

by on Aug.06, 2013

Faren MIller reviews ASSAULT ON SUNRISE in Locus Magazine

Faren MIller reviews ASSAULT ON SUNRISE in Locus Magazine

Locus Looks at Books: Faren Miller

Assault on Sunrise, Michael Shea (Tor 978- 0 -7653-2436-8, $25.99, 288pp, hc) August 2013

Though I haven’t been able to keep up with everything Michael Shea has written in various subgenres of SF and fantasy since I started reviewing his work more than 30 years ago, he never disappoints. Even when I arrive in midtrilogy (Assault on Sunrise is book two), it’s not hard to catch up with the quirky cast of players and techs associated with the future Hollywood introduced in The Extra.

As cities like Los Angeles become more like enormous slums and a few industry moguls run amok without fear of governmental restraint, some people escape to their own odd little communities: towns like Sunrise, up in the Trinity Mountains where the air is still clear and the corporate fist hasn’t quashed all freedom. But that’s about to change.

Mainly in order to strike back at the little group of upstarts who disrupted filmmaking in The Extra, Panoply Studios’ vengeful CEO trumps up a murder charge that condemns Sunrise and all of its inhabitants to the latest, most sweeping and ruthless form of judicial sentence: a ‘‘live-action’’ filming of an attack (also known as Assault on Sunrise), that follows an exhaustively planned script where invading monsters aren’t just special effects. Instead of digital manipulations, Panoply’s Hollywood conjurers deal in something more like mad science, an unholy combination of genetics and robotics.

The refugees have enough experience, and links to insiders still in the business, to get some notion of what they’ll face, yet they can only scramble to set up makeshift countermeasures as the attack escalates and grows ever more complex. Soon they’re busy stealing ‘‘rafts’’ (the flying ships suitable for either camera shots or bombings), lab testing a sample of the bizarre gel that develops into seemingly immortal, selfregenerating giant bugs, or pursuing an urgent quest for design flaws in the finished products.

Shea doesn’t simply give us harried action figures in a sketchy landscape. By Chapter XII, ‘‘The Monster’s Flesh’’, we know these people well enough to feel the host of individual presences and high emotions that jostle against each other in a passage like this one:

At the back corner of Ike’s Engine Repair’s
big-vaulted garage was a small, crowded
machine shop. Devlin bade everyone in.
Mazy, Lance, and Radner were already
there. Shutting the door, she sealed them
all in the cold oily smell of machinery. It
was somehow the right scent, a smell of
mustered weapons, of danger and urgent

One character – whose wife is four months pregnant in the book’s opening scene – takes a more direct hold of later chapters, speaking in the first person. Like a film’s occasional uses of close-up and specific focus among larger vistas, Curtis takes us with him into the heart of his own adventures, though he never looms as an epic hero would – not even after managing, with a ‘‘lucky shot,’’ to blow the head off an insectile invader.

Amid such mayhem, not everybody can survive, and each loss cuts deep. But enough do make it through, or get born into chaos, to leave me eager for the battles of book three, Fortress Hollywood.

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