Folks, it’s my joy to have Paul J. Joseph on the blog today. We chat about books to movies, villains, geeky arguments, and plenty more! Also, don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of the post.
If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?
Honestly, this is something I think about surprisingly often, but not necessarily the way one might expect. The game I often play with a favorite movie or any kind of story would be to wonder how it would be perceived by somebody else. Imagine if you could share with a young Gene Roddenberry some of the more recent Star Trek movies just to find out if in fact those things based on his vision are anywhere near his original expectations. And, though it may sound like a really silly idea, I’ve often wondered how an earlier version of myself might perceive my own writings, especially before I wrote the first one or while I was thinking of the initial details.
But seriously, there are loads of movies and books that I love, but those that stand the test of time are relatively few. Some that rise to the top may not be all that popular or well known, but I suppose that’s the point of the question. I love the movie Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis. As both a film maker and a writer, I can’t speak highly enough of the true mastery of the details of that movie. I honestly prefer that to all the other works of M. Night Shyamalan. I also liked The Thirteenth Floor, another obscure science fiction movie. For dystopian masterpieces, (I know you may hate me for this) I’d have to choose Soylent Green, yes I loved that movie and there is now a food company called Soylent, imagine that!
Looking over my favorite books, it’s surprising how many good science fiction stories don’t actually have obvious villains. For example, who was really the villain in 2001? Who was the villain in AI or Solaris? In 1984, the most depressing book I’ve ever read, I would have to say that the villain is not the O’Brian character, but Big Brother himself. The scary thing there is that, since he really didn’t exist, he couldn’t be killed, and that’s really the point. In science fiction, villains can stretch the boundaries a bit, and I’m particularly proud of some of the villains I’ve designed. In general, I don’t like one-dimensional villains. Most cheap horror stories and bad science fiction have villains that like to kill people for no particular reason. Even though it worked, Alien would fall into that category. The alien could not be reasoned with and it had no back story. It was pretty much like fighting a virus or any other force of nature. The Terminator was also like that, though he did it with class. The T-1000 was a far better villain in the second movie, however, because he didn’t look like a villain and could basically be anybody. My favorite villains are the ones who have charisma and possibly curb appeal. Magneto in the X-Men movies always had a point. We may not want him to win, but we understand where he’s coming from.
My most significant phobia would be heights. I can go to the top floor of any building and look out the window, but there is only so far I can climb up a ladder. When I visited New Orleans one time we stayed at a hotel that had a rooftop pool. I could swim in it, but I had to hold on tight to the railing in order to look at the skyline. Grandfather Mountain is another matter. There are no railings!
Is there a book to movie/TV adaptation that you found excellent? Is there a PC game to book adaptation that worked for you?
This is a particular passion of mine because I’ve seen some terrible bastardizations of books in my time. Almost every attempt to recreate a Dean R. Koontz book has ended in disaster, though I haven’t seen them all. Two great attempts of novel into film would be 2001 (and 2010) though much of what made those books so interesting really didn’t translate visually. Solaris was the other. The Tarkovski version was fascinating, but hardly scratched the surface of the book. The later George Clooney version was far worse, however, to the point that much of the story was completely different than the book. Honestly, the best I’ve seen thus far was the John Hurt version of 1984 that was actually made in 1984. Both the movie and the book left you feeling just as empty, and I can’t really think of a single scene in the book that wasn’t represented. I’m not so much into PC games, though I did play them when I was younger. I will say that Silent Hill, which I only played briefly, made an excellent movie! That’s the best example I can think of. Generally, there isn’t enough information in a video game to make a truly great movie or book in my opinion. The best that can be done is a movie based on the idea of the game, which is a very different thing. Honestly, most games based on movies or books are greatly over-simplified.
I will step out and say that I don’t really like self-promoting. I honestly prefer to let my work speak for itself whenever possible. Social media campaigns are the way to go these days and I’m very glad we have these, but the work involved is often tedious, repetitive, and ineffective. Because I have a media background, I have no problem making my own websites, some book covers, and general graphics. I enjoy that kind of work because it involves producing something that can be later evaluated for what it is. A social media campaign is more amorphous and often involves posting just to post. I’m just not good at that.
I actually have a lot of those. All of my books are available as podcasts and I have loyal listeners all over the world. One woman told me I had a hypnotic voice. I didn’t quite know how to process that. Several people have told me they would drive places just to keep listening to my chapter installments. I have a friend in Australia who corresponds with me from time to time, and I had a very nice couple of phone conversations with a fellow in Detroit who wanted to help me market my work. One of the strangest encounters I had was with somebody who kept asking me very detailed questions about the universe I wrote about, surprisingly detailed based on only listening to my work. He also put together an elaborate timeline that supposedly kept track of elements in the story. In short, he may have known more about the details of the story than I did, and I was amazed that he would spend so much time studying it. I like to converse with readers and am happy to make time for them. The only author I’ve ever been in contact with is Nathan Lowell, who wrote a series of books called the Age of the Solar Clipper. I became interested in this series when I first learned to podcast.
I must admit that it’s hard to write science fiction without breaking some rules, and there are some arguments that always come up. For example, most space-based adventures have real time conversations between planets and stars, where time delays would be inevitable. I write about VR links where my space explorers can visit their families in real time. I allude to the existence of some kind of faster-than-light transmission, but that’s really just a copout. My father was a physicist, and the most interesting discussion I ever had with him was one where I thought he was going to laugh out loud at one of my more far out ideas, but he actually said it would be possible, or at least not impossible. This was concerning an alien environment I write about in Web of Life. There we have what amounts to a massive “bubble” in space in which there is an atmosphere, but no gravity. From the inside it appears to be a never ending sky where wind currents go in all directions, but there is no up or down. Considering that my father didn’t like most science fiction, I took his lack of laughter as high praise.
What is the first book you remember reading on your own?
The very first book I ever read was The Mystery of the Talking Skull by Alfred Hitchcock. My mother put it in my notebook in the sixth grade. I don’t think there is a single Three Investigators book I haven’t read. I didn’t read the Hardy Boys, though.
Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?
I don’t have a lot of national or international activity in the near future, but I will be participating in a small private book signing on the 10th of September at a store called 2nd and Charles in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The fun begins at 12 and it goes until 2PM.
Other than this, my most immediate plans include publishing a short story anthology, possibly called Twisted Fire. The next series I am working on concerns an artificial intelligence on a journey of self-discovery. He kind of exists in the same universe Sally Buds inhabits, but he chooses to make his home on Mars.
Where to Find Paul J. Joseph
Paul J. Joseph is an independent film maker as well as a story teller through writing. One of his recent films has been featured in the 2010 Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival. He has been teaching mass communication courses at a college level for 20 years, and currently works at a small private university in North Carolina. He lives with his wife Tyreese, his son Ian, a mother in law, and three cats.
Paul Joseph’s first love has been and always will be science fiction. He looks for ideas that are based on plausible trends in technology, both good and bad. He is particularly interested in space travel and time travel, which can include alternate realities and paradoxes. He tends to avoid fantasy and magic. So, if you are looking for elves and fairies, this is not your guy. On the other hand, ESP and other observable phenomena may well be fair game.
Book Blurb for Marker Stone (Book 1 of Through the Fold series): There’s trouble on CMC-6 and it’s been brewing for a long time. The golden age of space travel and asteroid mining has ended and the bean counters have taken over. Sally Buds’ patients are all suffering from low-gravity syndrome because the Canadian Mining Consortium won’t spring for gravity generators and the miners won’t exercise. On top of this the station might be facing hard times. An expensive mining robot disappeared while surveying a region of space known and Kelthy. But then, after a replacement is over, it reappears. How could the station personnel have been so incompetent? But Sally has another question. Where did the probe go when it was out of contact? Where did the strange rock samples come from and why did the images it saw not correspond with known star charts? Her new friend Ian Merryfield, an RAF shuttle pilot, wants to know, too. But the station commander does not. What is in the Kelthy region and why do things disappear there? Is it a hoax intended to scare away claim jumpers or is it the greatest discovery of the twenty-first century? Ian and Sally intend to find out even if it means risking their careers or even their lives. Not knowing would be worse.
Book Blurb for Homesick (Book 2 of Through the Fold series): The mission to New Ontario, isn’t going as planned. Scott Anderson walked ten paces onto the new world and disappeared from radio contact. Not knowing Scott’s fate but fearing the worst, Captain Sally Buds embarks on a rescue mission that risks her life and that of her pilot, Ian Merryfield. There Sally and Ian uncover a chilling reality. Something terrible has happened on New Ontario. The evil regime of the Masters have consumed an entire civilization and established an empire of unspeakable barbarism. And now, so far away from home and help, it becomes clear that the Masters’ rapacious attentions have been drawn to Earth. Sally and Ian must now defend themselves and their planet from a tyranny that goes beyond slavery.
Paul is generously offering up five Kindle copies (international) of Homesick and two print ones (USA only). Homesick works quite fine as a stand alone novel. Do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer these questions in the comments: 1) Is there a book to movie/TV adaptation that you like? 2) What country are you in – ebook or paperbook? Contest ends October 3rd, 2016, midnight.