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Famine, Catholicism, Debt, Suicide. Yes, Ireland has had a rough old time since, well, forever.

Epic Fiction
Famine, Catholicism, Debt, Suicide. Yes, Ireland has had a rough old time since, well, forever. But this Irish short story collection, THE WRITER AND OTHER STORIES, begins in first century Rome and ends near Jupiter, passing through pre-Revolutionary France and New York on 9/11, spending time in Ireland during the 1840s, the 1930s and the 21st century. This is no St Patrick’s Day delusion. This is raw, epic, startling.

An Irish author, Irish themes, but mainly the bigger themes that unite all humanity. This thrilling collection of stunning short fiction will force the reader to challenge every assumption, to question everything, to conclude that each individual’s influence on the development of human civilisation is as critical as anybody else's. Ever. Human society has always been controlled and manipulated by the few, but can the many fight back?

THE WRITER AND OTHER STORIES is now available as ebook from Smashwords and Amazon and in print from Amazon, and is working its way into all online distribution channels in both formats.

When not writing, Gary J Byrnes works as an ebook and epublishing consultant. If you're doing any kind of story about ebooks, he would welcome the opportunity to share his experiences in the creative and production process, distribution options, the scalable business model. He can be contributor, quotee, lead writer, anything. He’s also open to any other ideas/media angles that are presented.

Bio: GARY J BYRNES (Dublin, Ireland) is an Amazon number one bestselling thriller writer whose stories are edgy, controversial page-turners. Nominated for the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award with acclaimed Limerick crime thriller PURE MAD, published in 2009. Has also published atheist/DNA conspiracy thriller THE GOD VIRUS (2011) and THE DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN - AN ALTERNATIVE HISTORY (2012). Has also written a series of kids' thrillers about witches and magic in Ireland, WITCH GRANNIES. VAMPIRE STORY is his debut short film. Gary actively promotes secularism in SECULAR IRELAND.

Gary says: ‘Stories are what make us human. The beauty about writing fiction is that there really are no limits. Fiction is so powerful that the world is controlled by it, from the Bible to political manifestos. But my fiction is about escape, entertainment and excitement.

‘Pure Mad, my crime thriller, is set in Limerick, Ireland and was nominated for the UK Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger. I've since revisited the work and published The Author's Cut. The God Virus is a wild conspiracy thriller about an atheist forensics scientist who gets hold of DNA samples that raise huge questions about the origin of humanity, the power of religion and the ultimate questions of life, gods and where we're going as a species. All my writing is about questioning the world in which we live.

‘I try to focus on building strong and interesting characters and letting them breathe in plots that have no limits. My stories are epic, controversial and, I hope, like nothing you've read before.’

ENDS

For more, contact Gary J Byrnes on (Ireland) 087 249 3051 or email garyjbyrnes@gmail.com

Join the conversation. Visit www.garyjbyrnes.com

Wednesday

Cloud Atlas - Huge Book Becomes Epic Film

'Drink your soap, Sonmi!'
(Plot Spoiler Alert!) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is one of my favourite books, a sprawling beast of a thing, with many disparate characters telling generally unrelated stories across the centuries. Six tales, structured in a way that can infuriate, then reward. Tricky thing to film, Cloud Atlas. The only possible solution would be to get three great directors on board, mix all the stories up, make everything even more dramatic, especially the chase sequences, and get some of the best actors working today. Thankfully, the producers went for the only possible solution.

Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski divvied up the six stories and some of the actors. The theme of reincarnation/karma wasn't pushed strongly in the novel but, by using the same actors in the different stories, the film really goes for this idea. We are united across time; by ideas, by actions and by cosmic chance, possibly including rebirth. All the actors are superb, with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry excelling in so many key roles, especially a joint-smoking Berry looking about 25 years old as investigative reporter Luisa Rey in the beautifully filmed 1970s sequence.Tom Hanks was less successful as an Irish thug (!), but good effort all the same. But my favourites were Doona Bae (The Host) as Sonmi-451 and Ben Whishaw (Q in Skyfall). Whishaw is superb as rakish young composer Robert Frobisher (my favourite character in the book) and you really, really want his outcome to be a positive one. Sob.

The Sonmi-451 story happens in a nightmarish future, the teeming metropolis of Neo Seoul, where soulless corporations control free thought and clones serve junk food to the masses. Nothing much new there then. But this element of the film has been injected with extra imagination, adrenalin, epic sets and edge-of-seat action sequences. Doona Bae is simply perfect as the clone that rocks the boat, with Jim Sturgess equally good as Hae-Joo Chang, her rescuer and lover. Again, I wanted a good outcome for who had become my favourite character in the film. Sadly, the outcomes have to be shared out across all the characters. In my opinion, the Sonmi-451 storyline would make a great film all on its own.

While the book was all about the characters, Cloud Atlas the film tries to do more, with superb cinematography, sound and effects. It's all about love, karma and the need for constant revolution. Its message is very timely, for Earth in 2013 is a dull and nasty place for most. Can this film transcend its pure, epic entertainment value and flick some switches inside its viewers' heads? The Matrix worked in the same territory but life has become unarguably less bearable since that release. Will Cloud Atlas cause a Sonmi or two to wake from their soap-induced stupor and lead us towards to a society where love, truth and fairness actually matter a damn?

Is everything connected or are we selfish, egotistical beasts? Big questions from a big film.


Gary J Byrnes, The Writer and Other Stories

Gary J Byrnes, 2013