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Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy
edited by Karen A. Romanko
Raven Electric Ink, 167 pages

Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy
Karen A. Romanko
Karen A. Romanko writes poetry and short stories. A former professional librarian, Karen began her writing career in 1986 with a "My Say" column in Publishers Weekly. She has since seen over over 100 of her works published. When not hunched at the computer, she enjoys the sun of Southern California with her biologist husband, Bob Desharnais. A long-time movie buff, she loves the proximity to Tinseltown, but misses the fall foliage of her native Boston and always roots for the Red Sox.

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A review by David Maddox

Tinseltown has been the birth of many fantasies and tales of the unusual. But many of the stories that created such tales are just as bizarre as the stories made. And what if you blended those stories with the cultural consciousness that is Hollywood? That's what Cinema Spec: Tales of Hollywood and Fantasy, a book of short stories edited by Karen A. Romanko attempts to do.

Featuring 32 stories by a plethora of authors, this slim collected work is a gem for anyone who's part of the Hollywood scene or just enjoys watching it from afar. The stories vary in style from narrative to surreal memory to prose. Each author incorporates some element of Tinseltown whether it's based in fact or part of the Hollywood illusion. Daniel R. Robichaud's "Bootleg Images" covers a Johnny Mnemonic/Strange Days-type world, Simon Logan's "Nuclear Shadow" shows how paparazzi will manage to still exist and harass 'celebrities' even after the atomic wars.

The ultra-short stories manage to cling together and coalesce into a strange dystopian image of what people believe Hollywood to be. They're a quick read, but form a cohesive fantasy world that is not only an homage but a sly parody and tribute to the silver screen.

Anyone who actually lives in Hollywood knows that the reality is far less magical and can even be less bleak than the romanticism of the perception that is Hollywood. But, honestly, people prefer the illusion. It has grown beyond the true stories and even larger than the made up ones to become its own creature, its own genre and its own reality. Cinema Spec captures that idea and runs with it. Any fan of any version of Movie-land life will love it.

Copyright © 2010 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories while acting on stage, screen and television. He can sometimes be seen giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood and occasionally playing Norman Bates. Really.

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