Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Walter Greatshell

Walter Greatshell's books include Xombies: Apocalypticon, Xombies: Apocalypse Blues, and the newly released Mad Skills.

Recently I asked him what he was reading.  His reply:
I've been thinking about the new movie version of True Grit, so I'll mention the terrific Charles Portis novel on which the movie is based. True Grit is one of my favorite books of all time, and Portis is perhaps my favorite author—or at least in the top three. Anyone reading my work can probably hear the echo of Portis, and it is my goal, however futile, to someday write dialogue as beautifully, hilariously perfect as his. All of my favorite authors have a certain Portis thing going—an absurdly funny, grim, yet strangely hopeful sensibility. And they never write the same book twice. Names that spring to mind are: Kurt Vonnegut, Patrick McGinley, Joseph Heller, Thomas Berger, Cormac McCarthy, John Fowles, Robert Graves, Anne Tyler, Thomas Hardy, Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro (who wrote a little gem called Sergeant Getulio), Mark Twain, and Vladimir Nabokov. There are about ten thousand others, but I don’t want to get crazy here—these are the writers I find myself going back to again and again. They are my personal horcruxes.

In terms of recent books, I find myself reading a lot of nonfiction, and one book I really enjoyed lately was The Making of Star Wars, by J.W. Rinzler. This book is pure crack for old-school Star Wars fanatics (like me), who may think they know everything there is to know about the original movie, but don’t. What it boils down to is that George Lucas was a daring, experimental filmmaker who set out to do the impossible: make a science-fiction movie that was far beyond his own talents, or the individual talents of anyone in his crew, for a movie studio that all but sabotaged the project. But through sheer willpower, George accomplished it…and then never did anything interesting ever again. Wow. The book may be expensive, but it’s the next best thing to taking a time machine back to 1977 and witnessing the whole thing first-hand.
Read more about Mad Skills, and visit Walter Greatshell's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: Xombies: Apocalypse Blues.

The Page 69 Test: Xombies: Apocalypticon.

--Marshal Zeringue