All posts by ERTorre

E. R. Torre is a writer/artist whose first major work, the mystery graphic novel The Dark Fringe, was optioned for motion picture production by Platinum Studios (Men In Black, Cowboys vs. Aliens). At DC Comics, his work appeared in role-playing game books and the 9-11 Tribute book. This later piece was eventually displayed, along with others from the 9-11 tribute books, at The Library of Congress. More recently he released Shadows at Dawn (a collection of short stories), Haze (a murder mystery novel with supernatural elements), and Cold Hemispheres (a mystery novel set in the world of The Dark Fringe). He is currently hard at work on his latest science fiction/suspense series, Corrosive Knights, which features the novels Mechanic, The Last Flight of the Argus, and Chameleon.

The Ebb of Time (2022)

While the cover for print still requires a couple of small tweaks, the digital cover to my new novel is for the most part good and I went ahead and uploaded all the information onto Amazon for the Kindle digital publication.

Within 72 hours, hopefully less, my latest novel will be available for purchase or, if you have Kindle Unlimited, borrowing.

As soon as that information is available, I will present it here and it will also appear at my author page, which is here:

Amazon.com: E. R. Torre: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

In the meantime, here’s the cover to The Ebb of Time.

Hope you guys like it!

The novel’s description:

They called it the Frenzy and in a matter of days it caused the fall of Civilization.

Ten years later, inhabitants of a small settlement receive an eerie signal originating from a distant military base.

Who sent it and why?

To investigate, they need to journey outside the safety of the settlement walls and face a savage world that hides many dark secrets.

Secrets which could not only destroy what’s left of humanity but destroy the world itself.

June 24, 2021 to June 24, 2022

Today marks the one year anniversary of a date that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

It has been one year since the collapse of Champlain Towers South and the deaths of 98 residents within that building.

Among them were my parents.

There are memorials being made during this day, religious services, and general gatherings but I don’t know if I have the emotional strength to attend them.

Since the collapse of the building one year ago, I have ventured near 8777 Collins Avenue only one other time. I went to the Red Cross station at 93rd street, some six blocks north, a couple of days after the collapse to provide DNA samples via a swab. These samples were used to identify my parents’ bodies and truthfully since that time I haven’t had a desire to drive by the site either before or after the rest of the building was knocked down.

Since that day, June 26th, I haven’t passed near that area and, frankly, I don’t want to.

I don’t want to see the now empty land that once housed a building my parents, and I for near a decade, lived in. I don’t want to come face to face with what’s left of two lives I still hold so dearly and can’t believe are gone.

So I sit at home, remembering their smiles and the many times we spent together while trying to understand the unfathomable.

I spent the past year working at our family business and finishing writing my latest novel, which in many ways has been my grief therapy. I finished the actual writing of the novel a week ago and, by an odd coincidence, I strongly suspect the cover will be completed today and I should be able to start the process, on this day of all days, to upload it and perhaps even make it available… at least through Amazon Kindle.

But there will be hours I’ll be sitting around today wondering if I should go and join the other mourners. I don’t know if I have the courage to do so.

Truly, I don’t think I have that courage.

It’s been a very tough year, frankly, and I can honestly say there has been maybe one day where I’ve felt like my old self, a day where I actually felt good.

Today, I’ll have another flood of memories along with the realization of the passage of time. I will once again mourn my losses, as will my family.

But I’ll get through it.

One day at a time.

The New 2021/2022 Novel Update #20

Last time I posted I noted how quickly I was getting the revisions into the new novel (Draft #8) and was hoping by this week to be done.

Welp, not only did I put all those revisions into the book, but I went back and found a few pages in particular where I had some more lengthy revisions to do (there were some pages that required very minimal revisions and some were a little heavier), printed them out, and went over them in a quasi-9th draft and…

…I’m done.

Sure, I could go over the entire book one more time but at this point whatever changes are done will likely be incredibly minor and I’ve come to realize after so many years of writing that there does come a point where you gotta let the book go.

So as of today, Tuesday the 14th of June, the novel is effectively finished up and all I’m waiting for now is the commissioned cover to show up. If its good (I really hope it is!) and doesn’t require any major fine tuning, I can see this book becoming available perhaps next week digitally via Kindle and, hopefully, in the next couple of weeks as a paperback.

The book took a lot of effort to get done, perhaps more than most of my others because of the things I went through the past year, but I’m proud of the work and feel it fits beautifully with my other works.

Now to keep checking my emails to see when the cover comes in…!

The New 2021/2022 Novel Update #19 

Quick and thrilling update to offer:

I finished reading through my latest novel and adding all the red notes/revisions and yesterday was the first day of putting those revisions into the computer.

In one day’s time, I managed to revise a little over 1/3rd of the book!

Now, this was the earlier sections of the novel and I’m keenly aware there is at least one section near the midpoint where I felt it needed a little more work but that amounts to no more than a few pages and, at least in the section I just finished, there may be only 1 page I wish to give a quick other look before declaring those pages done.

This is my 8th draft of the novel so plenty of hard work has been done on it but it is such a pleasure to see things finally sorting themselves out and looking like we’re near the end.

I have already commissioned the cover so I’m looking forward to seeing that soon as well.

I strongly suspect by sometime next week this novel will be completed and then I’ll post it to Amazon’s Kindle for purchase. The actual paperback will take a little longer as I have to see the proof and approve of it (provided there are no glaring problems) but the reality is that this book will be available in all formats no later than the later parts of this month or very early parts of next month.

Hoorah!

Alien: The Director’s Cut (2003) a (chestbursting) review

Back in 2003 Fox Studios released on BluRay the Alien Quadrilogy, the four films (up to that point) in the Alien franchise. Included were Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), and Alien: Resurrection (1997).

However, to make the set truly a ”must buy” for fans, included were “Director’s” or ”Alternative” cuts of each of the four films. Thus, fans got to see David Fincher’s rough cut assembly of Alien 3 (his experience making the film was supposedly quite sour and he rejected the theatrical cut due to his many clashes with the studios. This rough cut assembly may be the closest we’ll have to Fincher’s original vision of the film) along with the version of Aliens which incorporates scenes cut from the Cameron film.

Perhaps the most curious extra feature was the ”Director’s Cut” of the original Alien

Now, for those who read ”Director’s Cut” and think this is the preferred version of the film the Director (in this case, Ridley Scott) wanted, rid yourself of that notion right away.

The fact is the ”Director’s Cut” of Alien was purely made as a promo for the Alien Quadrilogy release. It boasts some alternate ”takes” of certain scenes but truly has the same story… only not as well told, IMHO, as it was in the theatrical cut.

In fact, Ridley Scott himself said the truest version of the film remains the theatrical cut and that this ”Director’s Cut” was an exercise/lark and nothing more.

In fact, I would go so far as to say there is really only one sequence worth checking out in this ”Director’s Cut” and that’s this one…

The scene is, IMHO, a potent one. We realize Dallas, the ship’s Captain, is not dead and, further to this, we get the whole mythology of the Alien creature spelled out. Specifically, how the creature procreates using “live” subjects.

So… why was the sequence cut from the theatrical version of Alien?

Timing, as it were.

The sequence occurs during the film’s climax, when (SPOILERS FOR THE VERY FEW WHO HAVEN’T SEEN THIS TERRIFIC FILM YET) Ripley is the last survivor and is running for her life. She’s quite literally set the ship on self-destruct and is running against the ticking time bomb.

Unfortunately, the cocoon sequence takes what is a thrilling, high tension sequence and quite literally slows it almost to a stop. We have Ripley walking slowly on, taking in the sight and processing what she’s seeing, then we realize we have Dallas still alive but obviously not well, then she kills him after he begs her to.

Again, great scene but it completely stopped the flow of the movie at that point and, IMHO, it was wise to remove it.

Is the “Director’s Cut” of Alien worth checking out?

I have to say, for the casual film goer I would stick with the theatrical cut and, if you’re curious, the bit I posted above. Watching the “Director’s Cut”, while intriguing, truthfully doesn’t add that much to the film’s experience. If anything, it shows Ridley Scott used the very best material he had and wisely chose to exclude what was a good scene because it simply didn’t work where it lay.

Therefore, recommended only to those who are fans of the film and want to see some more/alternate material.

This n’ that

There’s been plenty of… uh… interesting news of late.

In the Ukraine, the war between Russia (or should I say Putin?) and that country rages on and… what a fucking mess.

Seriously.

There are rumors going around that Putin is ill/has cancer and one wonders if this is indeed true and that perhaps he’s got a terminal illness, if that may have been part of the idiotic impetus of his to launch this ill conceived attack.

Either way, the news coming out of the Ukraine is maddening. Cities essentially left in rubble, people dying for essentially nothing but a madman’s whim, and unimaginable tragedy.

Ukraine has held off Russia incredibly well but as time goes on, one wonders if they can sustain their defense of the country. Russia, similarly, seems to be low on soldiers as reports have surfaced that they’ve allowed people over 40 to enlist.

More worrisome are the threats Russia keeps making. Many of them, I suspect, are hollow and laughable. But Russia has nuclear arms and one has to nonetheless deal with this bully in as strong a way as possible.

*****

Ah the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp defamation trial.

It ended last week and, frankly, I was shocked by the verdict. The jury essentially found Heard had ”defamed” Johnny Depp and… I just can’t see it, frankly.

Johnny Depp’s career was already swirling the proverbial toilet well before her supposed ”defamation” of his character in the article she wrote about being an abuse victim.

Bear this in mind, folks: That’s what this entire trial was about, despite the fact that it got so out of hand with so many other things. Johnny Depp was suing Heard because he felt the editorial she wrote defamed him.

That’s it. That’s all.

One article.

This despite the fact that well before the article was written his career was essentially in the toilet and he had starred in one flop movie after the other. This despite the fact that there was ample evidence he was an in an incredible spiral involving drugs and alcohol and had become unreliable as an actor. That he wrote some truly horrendous text messages about Heard to friends. Messages that were as dark and bleak as can be. That he admitted to hitting her but now claimed he had ”blacked out” due to said drug use.

Convenient!

Was Amber Heard “abusive” to him? Quite possibly. They clearly had a very corrosive relationship but there was evidence she was trying to get him sober and, finally, simply gave up.

But, again, did she defame him with that article?

Really?

Now, her career and reputation is in the toilet, and all because -I strongly suspect- Depp and his people decided to go nuclear against her online. For a while there I couldn’t help but stumble into commentaries that were incredibly nasty and incendiary against her. I’m not the first person to wonder how many bots were hired/used to insult and, yes, defame Amber Heard through the course of this trail.

And isn’t it curious most have essentially disappeared following the verdict?

I also blame the judge for this. She allowed this trial to be televised which, given we are talking about abuse, and would involve deeply personal and embarrassing things related to not only Heard but also Depp, it shouldn’t have been presented to the public. In the end, televising the trail proved another way for those who had skin in the game to parse and rip apart any action Amber Heard took during the trail, up to and including her testimony.

Again, I don’t doubt this was a toxic relationship, but I find it incredibly difficult to accept that Amber Heard, and ONLY Amber Heard, was in the wrong here, especially given all the evidence presented against Johnny Depp in this trail. And especially given a similar trial was held in England against a newspaper and where it was found they had not defamed him when they said he was an abuser

*****

Elon Musk.

Oh, Elon Musk.

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again: I have a Tesla Model 3. I recently purchased, for my wife, a Tesla Model Y.

I love both cars to death and feel they are a quantum step up from gas powered vehicles. Further, despite the many other EV models that have appeared of late, I believe at this moment in time and given their price and the wonderful Supercharger network, the Model 3 and Y are probably the best choices for EVs.

I really wish Mr. Musk would focus on the competition and try to make sure Tesla remains at the forefront of the EV revolution but it seems like he’s decided to be as out there as possible in the past few weeks.

First was his newfound ”conservative” political ideation.

Look, its fine to feel comfortable politically in one place or another. But Musk made most of his gains, and managed to get his company going, thanks to the very liberal state of California and the very liberal aid of the Obama/Biden administration. He received plenty of tax breaks and incentives to get his company moving and boy oh boy oh boy does it feel like he’s decided ”well, I got mine, screw everyone else”.

Suddenly he’s attacking ”liberal” ideology. For Mr. Musk, the timing couldn’t be worse given we’ve had the Roe v. Wade leak from the Supreme Court (I will get into that in a moment) and all the mass shootings which have resulted in the conservative ideologues doing their best to blame everything but the gun for these massacres.

It’s… all too typical, sadly.

Then there’s the whole Twitter silliness. With a great flourish Elon Musk announced he would purchase Twitter at a certain price and now he seems to be doing his best to backtrack and/or cancel those plans.

Again: You are a very busy man, Mr. Musk. You have a successful car company that has arguably shaken the entire auto industry from its internal combustion engine status quo. You have a space company that seems to be cutting edge. You even have satellites in outer space providing internet connectivity to Ukraine…

…why did you get into this Twitter mess?

I genuinely don’t understand the motivation or the end game here. Is Twitter really that important? I know many people have used it quite successfully (Donald Trump may not have become president without his ability to ”tweet”… which IMHO shows just how toxic it can be!) and Musk is among those who have used it to their advantage.

But his latest craziness is neither endearing or particularly helpful to his career and his companies.

*****

A few weeks back a shocking leak of Justice Alito’s opinion against Roe v. Wade, the decision which legalized abortion, was released. To this date, no one know who exactly leaked Alito’s first draft opinion and, tellingly, while we suspect the court will ultimately strike this very popular civil right (don’t believe me, just google it!), it doesn’t appear they have come close to figuring out who did this.

Currently, the Supreme Court’s popularity is at a low and part of the problem lies not only in this potential new ruling but because people increasingly view the Supreme Court as just another political apparatus versus the supposed ”fair umpire” that Chief Justice Roberts has tried to portray them as.

There is precedence regarding Roe v Wade, fifty years of it, and those much smarter than me who have read the Alito draft have noted some of the more specious arguments he makes to reject it.

But perhaps the very worst aspect of all this is the cool calculation made by Republicans, especially Mitch McConnell, to not allow Barack Obama his choice to bring Merrick Garland into the Supreme Court and, subsequently, the speed and hypocritical efficiency these same politicians had in bringing 3 new Justices to the court under the presidency of Donald Trump.

This ensured a very right tilting court and, frankly, it seems to me we’re going to soon see a ”what goes around comes around” type of situation. If the conservative justices are so quick to strike down precedence, they need to beware that this could be a two way street.

It may take a while but once the dam is broken, the waters unleashed could wash away just about anything in its path.

If precedence no longer matters in law, then where will this lead?

THE NEW 2021/2022 NOVEL UPDATE #18

So on 5/31 I finished putting in the revisions into my Word file to my latest novel and, as of today, June 5th, I’m reading through it and writing down notes/corrections in red ink. I’m not quite halfway through reading this latest draft (it will be #8) but at least so far I’m confident this will be the last revision needed and, further, I am confident I’ll have the book available, at least via Kindle, by later this very month.

Fingers crossed!

The book has taken quite a bit more out of me than some of the other books I’ve written and that’s in part to the tragedies I’ve faced this past year. It’s been an incredibly rough year and, at this moment, I’m very busy with other stuff so finding the time to finish this book up has been a little harder than usual.

But I will get it done, dammit!

Soon, dear readers, very soon…!

Night Moves (1975) A (very) Belated Review

I first saw the Gene Hackman starring, Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde) directed film Night Moves many years ago, perhaps somewhere in the 1980’s. I thought it was ok and presented an interesting take on the classic pulp private detective, which I will get into in a moment, but not all that much else lingered in my mind.

Over on a bulletin board I got into a discussion about the film and, as I was flying (It seems that’s about the only time I have the ”free” time to actually watch something), I decided to give the movie another go.

I’m glad I did.

Here’s the movie’s trailer:

What I remembered about Night Moves was that Gene Hackman’s detective character, Harry Moseby, was something of a failure as a detective. I recalled that, while he was a very decent man and he tried very hard to do what was right, he missed clues, both subtle and obvious. He wasn’t in the class of a, say, Inspector Clouseau and the film does not ridicule his faults, but this winds up being an interesting reversal of one of the more standard cliches of the pulp detective fiction genre.

If you’ve followed these classic detective works, there are certain things many of the detectives in the works have. Women are attracted to them and they know how to use their fists and/or weapons. They are often very sardonic/sarcastic but insightful. Regarding the later, they often see through situations and other characters with an almost god-like understanding.

Harry Moseby is an intelligent man who tries his best to do what’s right but, in the course of the movie, we find he’s misses things that us regular mere mortals would likely also miss. This is the central theme of Night Moves, though its presentation is done in sometimes very subtle ways. I suppose I’m spoiling things a bit by saying the case he’s involved in does eventually get ”solved”, but if one thinks about it Moseby’s presence may have made things far worse for everyone concerned rather than any better.

Moseby’s lack of awareness is presented early on when (MILD SPOILERS) Moseby quite by accident (again, showing his general lack of awareness) find out his wife is cheating on him. The trailer above gives this away but its only the first instance where Moseby is unaware of what goes on around him. Later in the film and with another character, Moseby shows off a chess moves (it too is shown briefly in the trailer above) involving a ”knight” that was played in a professional match back in the 1920’s (Knight moves, so to speak!). Moseby notes how the chess player missed a certain move and how he likely regretted it his whole life.

That, in a nutshell, is the movie’s way of telling you Moseby is in for a similar circumstance.

Having said all the above, what delighted me about the film was the realization -something I didn’t known way back when- was that the plot of Night Moves hews very closely to both Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and, especially in the movie’s wrap up, to Dashiel Hammet’s The Maltese Falcon.

Now normally I wouldn’t be too happy about a movie taking so much from other works, but in this case they did it in mostly clever ways. Moseby is hired, as in The Big Sleep, by wealthy Arelene Iverson (as opposed to wealthy General Sternwood), an older woman who was once a minor figure in Hollywood’s golden age, who says her very wild step daughter, Delly Grastner (a very young an alluring Melanie Griffin) is missing (In The Big Sleep, Detective Phillip Marlowe is hired to check in on the very wild Carmen Sternwood). Arlene is the embodiment of the golden age of film’s darker side, a bitter alcoholic who is all too wise to the way women are used and abused in this ”magic” town.

Moseby gets to work and, in short order, figures out where Delly is hiding and eventually goes across the country and to Key West (another homage, I suppose, to a film like Key Largo) to get and retrieve her. There he meets Paula (Jennifer Warren, who is simply fantastic), another world weary woman who’s seen too much and done too much. There is an attraction between the still hurt Moseby, who has yet to deal with his wife’s infidelity. In Paula we have a good approximation to The Big Sleep’s more world weary Vivan Rutledge, Carmen Sternwood’s big sister, who was played so fantastically by Lauren Bacall in the movie version of The Big Sleep.

After a shocking find (I won’t go into more spoilers), Moseby takes Delly home and to her -we find- hellish life.

While his case is resolved, the story is only beginning at this point and to reveal much more would be criminal (pun intended).

Suffice to say that things aren’t entirely what they seem and Moseby’s just starting to realize how entangled many of the characters are, and how this leads to multiple murders.

Just as this movie presented characters who were close approximation to The Big Sleep’s General Sternwood, Carmen Sternwood, and Vivan Rutledge, we have James Woods (in a very early role) playing Quentin, a surly mechanic, who is clearly meant to echo The Big Sleep’s Owen Taylor, the Sternwood’s chauffeur. Further to that, we also have a close approximation to the character of Rusty Regan from The Big Sleep as well. And when the movie reaches its climax, we have certain fascinating elements of The Maltese Falcon appear in the movie’s climax.

And, if you look closely enough, Harry Moseby’s character in Night Moves seems to be something of an approximation and expansion of Sam Spade’s doomed partner, Miles Archer, from The Maltese Falcon. In that novel, Archer’s wife has an affair with Spade and winds up losing his life in the case that Spade eventually takes up. Was Archer, like Moseby, someone who didn’t see all the angles? Regardless, its fun to see Sam Spade’s name evoked in the above trailer.

Moving on from the echoes to other works, I have to especially note the terrific acting by Gene Hackman. There’s a reason he’s a legend in the movie industry and I have to say this may be one of his all time great roles. Having said that I would also reiterate Jennifer Warren was also terrific and its a shame she doesn’t seem to be very well known today.

Night Moves is an easy recommendation, especially to fans of the pulpy detective novels of yesteryear. The movie cleverly uses many plot details and ideas and presents something new and fresh yet which delightfully echoes the best of what came before.

So I highly recommend the film.

…however…

There is something that needs to be brought up, something that probably relates more to the era in which this film was made and which, IMHO, is something that detracts from the overall work.

Night Moves is a movie that, I felt, fell under the ”male gaze” problem other works have. The three main female characters presented in the film all have nude scenes and, frankly, it felt like director Arthur Penn was doing this to spice things up when it wasn’t really needed (there’s plenty of steam between Bogart’s Phillip Marlowe and Bacall’s Vivian Rutledge without the need to show her nude!).

Worse, Melanie Griffith’s Delly Grastner is presented in the film as under age (I’m not certain what the actress’ age was when filming, but my understanding is that she too was …gulp… underage at the time). She’s a wild child, a girl (not a woman yet) who sleeps around and does try to seduce Moseby as she seems to think this is her function in life. At one point in the film, a character talking to him notes about Delly that ”there ought to be a law” and Moseby says ”There is.”

That’s all good and well but why then present several scenes where Ms. Griffith is nude? It seems like the movie wants to eat their cake and have it to and, truthfully, that sort of stuff should make today’s viewers very uncomfortable.

Regardless, that’s perhaps the only blemish on an otherwise very well done film.

The New 2021/2022 Novel Update #17

So last week Saturday I posted that I had finished reading through and putting down the red ink revisions for Draft #6 of my latest novel.

I wrote I felt the novel was nearly done and, as if to prove that fact, today and six days later I can announce that I’ve put all those red ink notes into the Word file and the book is ready to be printed out one more time and given a -perhaps last!- red ink-revision before putting those edits into the Word file.

If you’ve been around here you’ll know that as my novels get closer to be finished up, I tend to need less time to do these revisions. The earlier drafts require quite a bit of reworking and revisions and it is not unheard of that a draft can take me several months to finish up. The fact that I was able to put all these revisions into the Word file in less than a week speaks to how close I feel the book is to being finalized.

So perhaps tomorrow (its getting a little late today) I will print this puppy out and give it a read through.

If all goes well, my next announcement should confirm whether we’ve reached the last draft or not!

Fingers crossed!

THE NEW 2021/2022 NOVEL UPDATE #16

It’s Saturday the 14th of May and its not quite lunch time and I’ve just finished the read-through and red ink revisions of Draft #6 of my latest novel…

…and I’m freaking ecstatic.

One of the very best feelings in the world for an author is reaching a point where you feel like your novel is just about done. With regard to this book, that’s exactly where I’m at at this point in time.

The revisions happened pretty quick considering I did spend one weekend flying out -and therefore was unable to do any work on the book- so in reality I’ve taken maybe a little over two weeks to go over this books and write my revisions down.

Even better is the fact that, in looking over the revisions, I suspect it won’t take me much more than a week to transfer those revisions into my Word file and print the whole thing out once again.

When I do that, I intend to give the book one more read through but I feel confident in saying this will be the final one.

So, if all goes well and I’m not delayed by anything, maybe another week or so to add those revisions to the Word file, maybe another couple of weeks at the most to read it one final time, then maybe less than a week or so to add whatever final revisions are necessary.

The book will be ready by June, there is no question about this.

Let’s see when exactly I’ll have it available for purchase!

Stay tuned, it won’t be long now!