The business of imagination

A life long Connecticut resident, Brian Trent, was born in Waterbury CT, once nicknamed ‘Brass-City’ for it’s manufacture of watches and clocks through the first half of the 20th century.  Since his earliest memory, Brian has had a life long fascination with discovering how the world and space ‘tick’.  A passion, he most likely picked up from spending time his family, also science fiction fans.

This past April, Brian Trent was honored by Writers of the Future in Hollywood for his story “War Hero”.  We asked him to write about his experience.

Trent-BlogI had been writing stories since childhood, scribbling adventure tales on stacks of yellow legal pads. For my sixth birthday my parents bought me a typewriter (a metallic blue Brother 11) and my way of thanking them was to incessantly pound out stories late into the night like an over caffeinated drummer. Then I’d mail these stories to prospective magazines; since my penmanship resembles a cross between drunken cuneiform and double-exposed Chinese calligraphy, I can’t be sure how many ultimately reached their destinations.

Flash-forward to 2012. I wrote “War Hero” on my computer, which is quieter than my typewriter and doesn’t jam if I type too fast (although most of the white lettering has long since worn off of the keys; I still type like other people drum.) I mailed the story to the Writers of the Future Contest, one of the most prestigious competitions of the genre, and waited. Half of the struggle in this business is learning to wait.

In December, I get the phone call: “Mr. Trent? I’m calling to let you know that your story has just been selected as a winner in the 29th Annual Writers of the Future Contest.”  Ah! I could finally justify to my parents the many nights I kept them up with the clack-clack-clack of my typewriter!  In April, I was flown out to Hollywood, taken through an exquisite week-long writing workshop, met the luminaries of the field, and got to give an acceptance speech.

I first sat down to write “War Hero” in order to explore an idea:  If minds can be uploaded and downloaded at will, how does that change the face of war?  What if the war criminal you’re tracking can literally be anyone, and you’re never really sure if you’ve eliminated the last copy?  To be sure, mind-uploading is a theme I’ve explored before (Apex Magazine’s latest issue features my story “A Matter of Shape-space” which also tackles this prickly issue) but “War Hero” took the concept and galloped straight into an especially grisly lair of ideas.

Whether grisly or not, ideas are the fuel behind all fiction.  Ideas are what kept my six-year-old self up late at night, hammering out tales of exotic places and possible futures.  Ideas are what books communicate across generations and civilizations, from stone tablet to electronic tablet, from yellow legal pad to whatever we’ll be using tomorrow.  What WILL we be using tomorrow?

Time to explore another idea…

Brian Trent
Read War Hero – Here
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“Books: A Documentary” Kickstarter Campaign Launch

Hello world,

Our first Kickstarter Campaign has launched with the goal of raising funds to finish “Books: A Documentary”.  By backing our project you’re telling the world that you believe in us and our film.  We know that you all have influence and when you share something, people pay attention.  Not only that, you can receive some amazing rewards.  So please, take a few seconds to take a peek at our Kickstarter Page and use this link http://kck.st/13pQtEO to spread the Book love.  Early Christmas shopping anyone..?

Thank you ~ Mathew, Sara and the entire “Books: A Documentary” team.

Books

This past August over 300,000 antiquarian books from Larry McMurtry’s Booked Up were sold at auction:  This is the story of those books.

With a timeless legacy of 32 novels and 14 non-fiction books to Larry McMurtry’s credit, it is his avocation as a rare book scout, dealer and connoisseur that “Books: A Documentary” explores.  By recounting Mr. McMurtry’s self-proclaimed love affair with books, beginning over forty years ago when he opened the first Booked Up storefront in Washington, D.C., we tell the compelling story of the American antiquarian book trade: its past, present and future.

Visit “Books: A Documentary”

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5 Books every American should read…

In celebration of Independence Day, we asked Larry if he would give us a list of the 5 books he thinks every American should read, here is what he said:

One of the fun things to do in a well-stocked bookshop such as the one shown in this lovely, haunting documentary is to create Best Book Lists.  I was working on a history of these harmless exercises for Barbara Epstein, a great woman of letters and editor for The New York Review of Books, when she passed away.

Here’s a sampler of five great books every American should, at the very least, hold in their hand and browse:

“The Journals of Lewis and Clark,” by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – the journey Lewis and Clark made across North America in 1806 helped secure for us much of the continent. It is also a robust work of literature.

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“Awakenings,” by Oliver Sacks – a tragic account of those victims of the l9l8 Spanish flu epidemic who didn’t die, but instead slept their lives away.

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“Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain – the book Hemingway said all American literature derives from; he was far from wrong.

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“The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway – the novel that set a new high standard for American prose.

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“V,” by Thomas Pynchon – the great book of the Seventies generation.

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—Larry McMurtry

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A movie about books

Books is a feature film documentary directed and produced by Mathew Provost and Sara Ossana of Studio Seven7 Films coming soon.

I grew up with writers in my family, as a result, books have always been a big part of my life.  I first started visiting Booked Up in Archer City when I was 11 years old.  I still remember the stillness and silence of the stacks, the smell of the books and endless possibilites as I spent hours leafing through and reading books on my favorite subjects: Photography, Fashion, Travel and Design.

When Larry told me that he was planning on auctioning off over 2/3 of his inventory over 2 days, I knew that we had to document this once-in-a-lifetime event.  As I spoke with Mathew about the inevitability of the auction, initially we were both sad,  this was seemingly the end of an era.  Larry expressed excitement about the auction and felt that it was not an end but a new beginning for these thousands of books, a way for young bookstores to replenish their inventory or start anew.  A kind of diaspora of the years of acquiring his massive collection of rare, used and scholarly books.  This mass exodus of books was feeding the book stream.

Larry has a life-long history with books, both writing and collecting them, and this is our ode to him.  Books is not only the story of the Last Book Sale but is also the story of the books themselves; what they represent and their value to those around them.  We hope you will follow us on this journey as we finish the film and share the story of Books with the world.

Sara & Mathew

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