Interview: Ex-Heroes Author Peter Clines

Peter ClinesSince 2010, Peter Clines has steadily released some of the most engaging novels imaginable. Through the fan-favorite indie publishing company Permuted Press, Clines has released the first two books of his fantastic superhero/zombie mash-up Ex-Heroes series, The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe (which needs no description, really), and most recently the stellar science fiction/mystery/horror outing 14, which was easily my favorite novel of 2012, and which has put Clines into the stratosphere of popular authors. Near the end of last year, Random House’s Crown Publishing snatched up the rights to the Ex-Heroes series, and has recently released the same-titled first book of the series in bookstores nationwide, a first for a Clines novel.

The Maine-born author was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about Ex-Heroes, the route it took to getting published, and a few bits about writing in general. Luckily, he couldn’t see me robotically pumping my fists in the air while going through his responses.

In brief, Ex-Heroes takes place in a world where certain humans have developed superpowers, and used them to keep the world safe. The all-powerful Mighty Dragon, the unstoppable Cerberus, the muscle-headed Gorgon, the life-saving Regenerator, and the electrified Zzzap, all under the watchful eyes of the mysterious Stealth. It isn’t long before the world faces its greatest threat ever in a zombie apocalypse, and the ragtag team of heroes must work together to save what little slice of humanity they’ve tasked themselves to protect. From cover to cover, it’s an astonishingly fast-paced read, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, regardless of your feelings about zombies or superheroes. And without further ado, a few words with Peter Clines.


Futuristic, Shape-Shifting House Modeled After Mathematical Formula

I’ll admit that I’ve never before found myself saying, “The reason why my house is not optimal is because it isn’t able to transform into different shapes that take the different seasons into account.” But I’m definitely saying that now. Also, there are some cracked tiles in the bathroom, if there’s a mathematical formula to fixing those without having to pay out of pocket.

The company D*Haus, founded by architects David Ben-Grünberg and Daniel Woolfson, has been hard at work for a couple of years adapting designs for furniture around a formula discovered by Henry Ernest Dudeney, the mathematician that figured out how to separate a square into four polygonal shapes that can then be fit together to make an equilateral triangle. The duo wants to do the same thing with a full-size house, set up on some kind of track that allows it to constrict and expand per the user’s wishes, though they’re taking the seasons into account, saying that colder weather will make the tight cube shape more optimal, while warm summers call for an opened-up floor plan. Of course, the blueprints aren’t all set in stone just yet. (Otherwise I would have “borrowed them” for my own benefit.)


That Baby Got A Lightsaber, Y’all!

“All right, lightsaber trumps broom handle in this situation. And every situation.”

If you’re a frequent reader of this website, then your life was probably affected by Star Wars at one point or another. And I think everyone out there will share my gratitude that the film hasn’t affected our lives to the point where lightsabers exist and are able to be wielded by children. That’s what guns are for, apparently.

The above video, titled “Darth Baby’s Lightsaber,” was created by the Gnarly Tooth media group, specifically Joel Erickson, a sound assistant on many Hollywood films, and his similarly sound-minded brother, Jared. It was filmed using iPhones and Android phones, with Adobe After Effects for all the post-production stuff. It’s strange how even in this three-minute clip, the aggravating “Why are they still holding the camera?” aspects of found-footage movies are present and hard to ignore. But I guess if I’m one of the people involved in this situation, I’d rather be someone holding a camera than the one actively trying to retrieve a lightsaber. [I’d like to point out that they’re 1/3 of the way to a game of “Hoverboard Lightsaber Portal Gun Fight. – Ed.]


Disney Shuts Down LucasArts, Gives Star Wars 1313 The Axe

Star Wars 1313Well, this sucks. A move that’s been speculated about since the Disney/Lucasfilm merger last year has become a reality today, with word coming that Disney is shuttering the venerable LucasArts game company. According to Kotaku’s sources, around 150 employees were laid off this morning, and both of the company’s in-the-works projects — Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: Final Assault — have been canceled. It’s part of an overall restructuring of all things Star Wars as Disney gears up for the new trilogy and the inevitable associated media avalanche.

That’s particularly disappointing in the case of 1313, a very promising-looking third-person shooter that was described as “Uncharted meets Star Wars,” and which would have cast players in the role of a bounty hunter blasting his way across the seedy underbelly of the city-planet Coruscant. Kotaku notes that there is a slim chance that either or both of the games could be outsourced and completed by other publishers, but Kotaku’s sources say that’s extremely unlikely. Balls.

Disney will still use the LucasArts name for licensing, and it sounds like any future Star Wars video games will be developed by third parties. It’s not necessarily a bad plan, it’s just a shame that it means an end to a developer whose name has been attached to tons of amazing games over the years, from classic adventure games like the Monkey Island series to many top-notch Star Wars games including Knights of the Old Republic (collaborating with BioWare). Hopefully Disney will license the Star Wars name out to other talented developers as the franchise becomes even more in the public eye than it has for years.


Massive Alien City Made Out Of Over 200,000 Legos

contact 1

Once a person has decided to make Lego construction the thing that they are amazing at, their path is set. We’re not talking about mere model-builders here. People can make fun of obsessive model builders. Things get a little tricky once people up the ante on those models, recreating beloved locations from Ghostbusters or The Fifth Element’s Fhloston Paradise. But you definitely can’t make fun of a guy like Mike Doyle, whose massive and original Lego art-chitectures even come with their own backstory. And no Chris Tucker!

His latest project appears to include creating an entire alien planet, with the above photograph standing in as the gigantic first piece, titled ”Contact 1: The Millennial Celebration of the Eternal Choir at K’al Yne, Odan.” The alien cityscape that required more than 200,000 individual Lego pieces and over 600 hours of building time. Though it appears to reach into the sky, the model is a modest five feet high and six feet wide, which means this could become the bedroom installment that eventually ruins a marriage because someone doesn’t understand how fucking awesome my side of the room would be, and she’s just jealous.


Transformers 4 Will Shoot In China


A few weeks ago, Paramount Pictures announced that the production of Transformers 4 would head to Michigan to shoot in the Great Lakes State and the city of Detroit. It also appears that Transformers 4 will head to China to secure distribution in the world’s second-biggest — but also closed off — box office market.

Paramount Pictures announced a new partnership with Chinese movie production companies China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises. This means that some of Transformers 4 will be made in China and will feature a number of prominent Chinese actors. China is a large player in worldwide movie distribution, so it’s important for Hollywood movie studios to tap into this lucrative market. By law, only a small number of foreign movies, including ol’ fashioned American movies, can be distributed throughout China, but if a film was co-financed or was a Chinese co-production then that would guarantee distribution in the country.

Teaming up with Chinese producers and financiers has become a trend in Hollywood, and movies like Iron Man 3 and Rian Johnson’s Looper reaped the benefits of a bigger worldwide box office. Transformers 4 will most likely follow suit.