Friday, October 31, 2014

"LIBERATED CARBON" song by musician Andy Revkin to be theme music of THE CLIFFIES -- cli fi movie awards program -- on February 22 - PREVIEW HERE

"LIBERATED CARBON" -- a song written and composed by New York state musician Andy Revkin -- and a longtime friend and student of Pete Seeger -- is to be the ''theme music'' song of THE CLIFFIES -- the cli fi movie awards program -- on February 22, 2014 - [PREVIEW HERE]

Note: upon request, Andy kindly and generously donated the song to the movie awards event. Here is his song. Perfect music for THE CLIFFIES

"Liberated Carbon, it'll spin your wheels." The new recording of his song about the fossil fuel age -- including some fun Thomas Edison stop-motion animation. The CD here

How to correctly pronounce movie title "INTERSTELLAR" for Oscars speeches

INNER- stellar
IN ter STELL ar
interSTELL ar


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Channeling your inner 'Interstellar" - innerstellar vs interstellar?

America is a large country, north, south, east and west, and regional accents abound. Some say tomato and some say tomahto, and some say potato and some say potahto. I'm from the Boston area originally and I sometimes say "wah-der" for "water" and "eye-dear" for ''idea.'' So what I am writing about today should be read with a dollop of good old American humor and regional nitpicking.

ON OSCAR NIGHT how to say  'Interstellar" - PRONOUCE GUIDE inner-stellar vs inter-stellar?   - 

 Case in point: I recently heard a television reporter on CNN, beamed into my home here in Taiwan via satellite, pronouncing the new Christopher Nolan space cowboy epic as "inner-steller -- with her emphasis on "inner."====================

 Or at least that is what my Boston ears "heard." But a quick check on Youtube shows a list of pronounciation tutorials for the word "interstellar" and they all say the correct way to say the movie's title is with the "t" in ''inter'' pronounced just as in ''international'' or ''interview'' and with the emphasis on "stell" as in "inter-stell-ar."===============

 But what is the correct way to say "Interstellar" and is there one correct way or not? Come the upcoming pre-Oscar and Oscar awards season, the movie's title is sure to be spoken from a host of podiums and banquet hall stages. And maybe on Oscar night from the Oscar stage.====================

 When I contacted the CNN reporter and asked her is she was aware of the unique way she pronounces "interstellar," she replied in a kind and understanding email: ''Dan, please isten carefully and you will see that I pronounced it 'Interstellar' in the news segment. However, my Southern California accent tends to make the 't' a little silent. I say Internet the same way."===============

 So it is "Innersteller" or "Interstellar" and does it make a difference? We shall see.===================

 Meanwhile, I did some research on South California accents, where the CNN reporter is from, and I found out that in fact, many people born in that area of the country do in fact leave the first "t" out of words like "Internet" and "interstellar" -- so for some folks it's "innernet" and "innersteller." And that''s cool.===================
 Even though we are a nation of 50 states united on one huge continental landmass, with Alaska and Hawaii a bit off the map in some places, we Americans do speak with a plethora of regional accents. So I say "Interstellar," but someone else will say "Innersteller." And during the movie awards season we will find out just what most people say and how they say it.=======================

 Here's one Youtube tutorial among many that explains just how one should say "interstellar" -- ON OSCAR NIGHT how to say  'Interstellar" - PRONOUCE GUIDE inner-stellar vs inter-stellar?   -

 How do ***YOU*** say it?

"CLI-FI IS REAL" -- The THILL is not gone.


The THILL is not gone. -----------------------

Scott Thill comes up today with the most important cli fi cultural essay of the 21st century. --------------Read it ten times. -------------------

The man is a genius and he teaches us that cli fi is a cultural prism, in which to see our world. ---------------------

Huffington Post major splash: ------------------------------

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

''INTERSTELLAR'' is a silly, ridiculous sci fi movie that could have been an important 'cli fi' movie with a different script but....

HOW TO PRONOUNCE "Interstellar" movie title? ----- re a reporter in Hollywod pronounced the title of the movie as "INNER-steller" when in fact the correct way to say it is "inter-STELL-ar". ------------------Where did he ever get the inner thing there? SMILE. ----------------No biggie but for future reference see this video explains it better; ------------------



NOTE BEFORE READING BELOW: -- "Interstellar" suggests the survival of the species may depend on enough people extending a sense of empathy beyond their immediate family. It acts as a tribute to those adventurers of the past who were able to sideline short-termism in the service of exploration. But the cast agreed what would be needed to prevent such action from becoming necessary in the first place was a rapid and concerted effort.

and one comment at the Guardian review said it well: from ClareLondon -- ''It is typical but it irks me that someone as rich and famous as Michael Caine did not 'believe' in climate change - while knowing nothing about the subject.
Then, once he knew something about it, suddenly he 'believes' in it.
I just wish the media during this last generation of internet had not allowed anonymous right-wing trolling which has totally confused the educational message for a huge number of people, who seem to continue to believe that it's a matter of 'belief' rather than scientific fact.
So frustrating.
Also frustrating is hearing about Hollywood stars 'trying to support small ethical businesses'.
Look - Hollywood stars - what you need to do is proclaim the message loud and clear that you will not travel on aeroplanes anymore unless it is for a medical emergency in your immediate family - that you will travel only in hybrid or electric cars, that you will stop supporting the meat industry and go vegetarian and that you will vastly reduce the huge CO2 emitting contraptions in your homes, including no longer using your heated pools.
That kind of thing would be useful. 'Trying' to 'support' small ethical local businesses; is not going to do rat shit towards reducing emisisons and saving humanity.
When will you lot wake up? When will politicians wake up?
Maddening. And no - I do not want to watch a film where any effort to curb climate change is replaced by a boy's adventure story concerned with fleeing the planet. Where does humanity go? This is an obscenity.
Save the planet. Act on climate change first.

 ''INTERSTELLAR'' -- al169 minutes of it! -- is a great sci fi movie that could have been an even better 'cli fi' movie but....that mvoie will have to wait for another director, another time, another Hollywood awards season.

As it is, Christopher Nolan's INTERSTELLAR achieves all it set out to achieve and more, and it's getting strong, powerful, positive reviews worldwide as we speak. It's a sci fi lover's sci fi movie. It's a sci fi geek's sci fi wet dream. It's the sci fi movie of all time (at least until some other director dreams up an even better story with even better visuals). But...

 But think of what INTERSTELLAR could have been had it focused more on the climate =-changed world on view in the first part of the movie and left the sci fi part out of the picture completely. As it is, the movie is pure escapist entertainment, food for thought but almost a total waste of time.

 Christopher, we are at war! The Earth is on fire. And you are going on and on about wormholes and journeys to other planets?

Imagine if a Hollywood studio could put together a movie with the power of ON THE BEACH in the 1950s, but this time an ON THE BEACH of the 2020s -- and not about nuclear war and nuclear winter but about the devasating impacts of climate change and man-made global warming. AGW. The IPCC reports. The fate of the Earth, the fate of the human species.

 A movie is just a movie, and Hollywood is mostly there to entertain us. But imagine if instead of focusing on the sci fi silliness of wormholes and black holes, ''INTERCLIMATE'' focused more on the reality of life in an AGW-impacted Midwest farming region where the crops were failing and the food (and water!) were scarce.

Shades of Paolo Bacigalupi's 2015 cli fi novel-in-the-works THE WATER KNIFE (due out for public reading in May of 2015).

And a character named {Gary} Cooper who looks like he just stepped out of a John Steinbeck novel, with maybe a dash of Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD and some of Margaret Atwood's apocalyptic scenarios linked in for good measure -- and focus not on Cooper's silly search for life in outer space since there is only more genertion left to survive on Earth but rather on what the next 30 generations of humans HERE ON THIS EARTH are going to face IF WE DO NOT deal with the reality of a warming world and ocean acidification and rising sea levels and globam warming impact events worldwide and not just for white blue eyued movie actors from North America to entertain fellow white movie fans from North America (and the global market, too: Hollywood is not stupid; they know a good money maker when they produce one!)...

 The ''caretaker generation''? We need cli fi movies in the future about the caretaker generations to come, over the next 500 years.

Time is runing out. And all Hollywood can offer is silly sci fi extravaganza space epics with no basis in reality and no real usefulness other than to spend three hours forgetting about the real world and the real climate issues we humans face?

 I wonder what people like Joe Romm and Andy Revkin and Chris Shaw and Elizabeth Kolbert and Nathaniel Rich and Barbara Kingsilver will say about INTERSTELLAR after they see it? Is this what the world needs now? Sci fi escapism? Sci fi silliness?

US$160 million spent on movie to take people away from the very real problems we face now as a species vis a vis climate change impacts events coming down the road within the next 30 generations? Is this all that Hollywood can offer? No! Hollywood can rise to the challenge and start greenlighting some good and important cli fi movies. There's still time for cli fi to make an impact in Hollywood. But at the same time, as we all know that time has maybe already run out. And we are doomed, doomed.

And all Hollywood can offer is more escapism?

Even some of the stars of INTERSTELLER agree the movie was offbase and waste of time.

The Guardian notes that ''Interstellar'' suggests the survival of the species may depend on enough people extending a sense of empathy beyond their immediate family. It acts as a tribute to those adventurers of the past who were able to sideline short-termism in the service of exploration. But the cast agreed what would be needed to prevent such action from becoming necessary in the first place was a rapid and concerted effort.
“I think mother nature’s gonna be just fine,” said Matthew McConaughey. “But we might not. The masses have to have a personal stake in things to take action.”
Ann Hathaway pointed to societal structures as a cause of such inertia. “I don’t think we’ve learned how to broach with the topic with your average person that your life is being controlled by a small group of people who are themselves controlled by greed.”
But to be fair, both actors, as well as Chastain and Nolan, reported that they nonetheless remained optimistic, and had faith in the sentiment of the film’s tagline: “The end of Earth will not be the end of us.”
Caine, however, remained sceptical. “If Earth screws up, I think we all go,” he said. “How many people can go through a black hole in a rocket? It’s not a bus.”

Asked if he was taking measures to try reduce his own ecological footprint, Caine jokingly protested that he was still making up for a frugal youth. “I was so poor for so long. I didn’t use anything or eat very much so I figured the world owed me a debt. Now I’ve been eating very well and have had a big car for a long time.”
His fellow cast-members banged the ecological drum a little harder, with vegan Jessica Chastain championing “meat-free Mondays” and Anne Hathaway saying she timed her showers and tried to support small, ethical businesses. Nolan, meanwhile, expressed enthusiasm for pooling resources, “gathering people in one place, like a movie theatre – you can save an enormous amount of electricity”.
McConaughey’s character is mentored by a man played by Michael Caine and loosely based on the astrophysicist Kip Thorne. Thorne’s work both inspired and informed the film, but Caine, 81, said that until he spoke with the scientist, the only wormholes he’d been familiar with were those in his garden.
Caine, who has now worked with Nolan six times, said his own re-evaluation of the reality of climate change coincided with his making the film. “When I went to do this movie in LA two years ago I left on 2 October. It was 86 degrees here and when I got to Los Angeles it was pouring with rain. That is the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to be. That worried me. I’d never believed in global warming and I went: ‘Whoops. Maybe there is something in it.’”

How Interstellar made Michael Caine think again about climate change

Mother nature’s going to be fine – but we might not be, adds Matthew McConaughey, star of film that addresses humans’ place in the cosmos

''Interstellar'' suggests the survival of the species may depend on enough people extending a sense of empathy beyond their immediate family. It acts as a tribute to those adventurers of the past who were able to sideline short-termism in the service of exploration. But the cast agreed what would be needed to prevent such action from becoming necessary in the first place was a rapid and concerted effort.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An interview with the curator of the Cli Fi Movie Awards

WEBPOSTED NOVEMBER 15, 2055 QUESTION: The Cli Fi Movie Awards is a great idea, and it seems to be catching on. What's your future plan with this? CURATOR: I hope to see the project grow year by year, and over the space of some 25 years become part of the Hollywood cycle of important awards shows. I'll be dead then but it's been fulfilling to take part in its inception. QUESTION: Okay, you came up with six good cli fi movies this year, well, five and a third, so to speak, with your humorous comments about INTERSTELLAR being just a third of a cli fi movie, so what's your hope for next year? CURATOR: I hope to see at least six more good cli fi movies on the list and maybe ten. The goal of the Cliffies is to inspire more and more cli fi movies from Hollywood and idie directors. But this will take 10 to 25 years. Movies don't get written or greenlighted overnight. So this awards program has a long arc. But for the awards in 2015, I hope we can find ten good cli fi movies. Time will tell. QUESTION: Okay, the normal awards categories were given out, Aronofsky for best director and screenplay (with co-writer Ari Handel) and "Snowpiercer: for best movie and best adapted screenplay, things like that. And recognizing actors like Robert Pattinson and Elle Fanning and Tilda Swinton and Ed Harris, way cool. Nice. But what was the deal with the two below the line catepories for INTO THE STORM with gongs for best PR campaign and movie that best mirrors current climate science and has broad public appeal? CURATOR: Good question! You know, the Cliffies have two purposes: one is to honor and recognize good cli fi movies each year and serve as a kind of incubator for future cli fi movies the fight against climate change we humans are in. So I was keen this year to give out some awards with a social conscience to them, a science feeling, and a PR feeling as well. INTO THE STORM's press material called it a cli fi movie and the critics in several non-English nations picked up on it and called it a cli fi movie in Spanish reviews and in Portuguese in Brazil and in French, mostly thanks to the AFP news servioe which published news stories on INTo THE STORM in those three languages. But not in English. I don't know why AFP did not use the term in their English news stories. C'est la vie, I guess. So yes, it is important to note the three awards for best mirroring of current climate science, and also for best PR campaign for a studio using the cli fi motif in press materials and also for a movie that most impacted the public. So INTO THE STORM did well. QUESTION: What's next? DAN BLOOM: Getting ready for next year now. QUESTION: Has there been any press on this awards launch? DAN BLOOM: Yes, good stories in USA TODAY, THE WRAP in Hollywood, The San Diego Jewish World online newspaper and TELEREAD. IWith more to come. The media interest in the Cliffies will last for the rest of this year and into the first half of next year. And then we will get ready for the next awards event in November 2015. We are all on a roll. A nice quiet roll with not too much fanfare but just enough. I like it this way. We will grow the Cliffies slowly, step by step, year by year. QUESTION: And then? DAN BLOOM: Well, and then I die. I am getting to be an old man now and my days are numbered. I am just glad I lived to see this day. I did what I set out to do. I can retire in peace and contentment. There's a deep meaning to the Cliffies and I hope they make a difference and impact the world somehow. Cinema has power. QUESTION: I noticed that when one of the news stories about the launch of the Cliffies was published on a website in Hollywood, the initial subheadline that was online for about 24 hours before being fix read: "Online climate-based awards also honor Robert Pattinson, Tilda Swinton, Elle Fanning, Ed Harris and Gwyneth Paltrow." But of course the copy editor who wrote that subheadline meant to say JAKE Paltrow, not Gwyneth Paltrow. She is his elder sister. Cute gaffe. Did you see that mistake? DAN BLOOM: Yes! I saw and smiled and then sent an emergency email to the editors of that site asking them to fix it. They did fix in about three minutes after some inter-office emails among editors and sub-editors there. I loved that little mistake. Makes the Cliffies experience all the more human. Gwyneth? Jake? It's all in the family, in the end. But yes, they corrected it now. I am sure nobody saw it but me. I am a retired prooofreader from way back and worked at newspapers in Washington, DC and Alaska and Japan as nightshift proofreader. I wasn't very good at it. But when I read for leisure, for fun, my eyes still catch a few typos here and and I especially love these things called "atomic typos." QUESTION: What's an atomic typo? DAN BLOOM: Great name, right. I will tell you next time we chat, or better yet google it or see the blog site at QUESTION: Thanks for your time, Dan. You must be tired after all this work 24/7 on behalf of the Cliffies. DAN BLOOM: Not tired. Energized. Deeply, madly, passionately energized. Doing this was important. It wasn't work. It was an assignment I took on, and also a personal commitment.. QUESTION: One last question, Dan. DAN BLOOM: Shoot. QUESTION: You or one of your colleagues in the cli fi community has nicknamed the Cli Fi Movie Awards as "The Cliffies" -- with a capital T and a capital C for both words. How did you arrive at the nickname of "Cliffies" and did you do it in a semi-humorous way or what? DAN BLOOM: I get that question a lot now. We came up with the Cliffies as a good, easy-to-prononce (and write) nickname for the movie awards program since I wanted something short and memorable and useful for newspaper headlines and such -- and also easy to say, yes. But of course, Cli Fi is pronounced as ''clye fye" or "klye fye" with a long "i" sound and in "eye" or "my" or "sigh." Yet for the nickname of the Cliffies, we use a short "i" sound as in the word "cliff" or "if." So the nickname is a bit different from the formal name of the awards program, but I feel it's a cute nickname and good for PR and headlines and even acceptance speeches for the winners. And yes, it was done in a semi-humorous way, to add just a bit of lightness and levity to these very serious issues of climate change and global warming in the movie world. QUESTION: Have their been any jokes about the nickname? DAN BLOOM: Surprisingly, no one has ever really made a joke about it yet, and you are the first interviewer to even ask about that side of the name. But yes, everyone once in a while, I get a tweet or an email that asks if "The Cliffies" has anything to do with female Radcliffe College graduates at Harvard who are called ''Cliffies'' or if the name has anything do with movie or TV "cliffhangers" or anything like that. One joker asked, I think seriously, if the name had anything to do maybe with humankind at the edge of a cliff in terms of climate issues and if maybe the Cliffies was intended to signify people jumping off a cliff of despair or something. No, no connection with Radcliffe or TV cliffhangers or lemmings at the edge of cliff about the jump down to their eternal demise. No, no, no. Just a nickname taken from the "cli-fi" term, and yes with a dollop of semi-goofy humor, too. QUESTION: Well, good lucky with all this, Dan. DAN BLOOM: Thank you. We are going to need all the lucky we can muster! Global warming is the most dangerous existential threat the human species has ever faced. I hope these movie awards, and the attendant publicity that surrounds them every year, can play a small role in serving as a kind of wake up call on the issues we are facing and will be facing for the next 1000 years, if we get that far. QUESTION: Are you a pessimist or an optimist? DAN BLOOM: I wouldn't be doing this if I was a pessimist! I am a full-speed-ahead pedal-to-the-metal optimist. But yes, I am worried. Concerned. Very concerned.

‘Interstellar’ Review: Christopher Nolan’s Absurd Reality

Mike Ryan October 27, REVIEW BY FILM CRITIC MIKE RYAN Read More: 'Interstellar' Review: Christopher Nolan's Absurd Reality |

Darren Aronofsky wins 'best screenplay' at Cli-Fi Awards

Hollywood director Darren Aronofsky was awarded a best original screenplay award at a new climate-themed movie awards program called the Cli Fii Movie Awards, dubbed "The Cliffies." Aronofsky's writing partner Ari Handel co-wrote the screenplay and received the award as well.

The Cli Fi Movie Awards is the brainchild of this climate activist and social blogger, who not only works as a freelance journalist but also does volunteer PR work for climate causes and themes. The Cliffies are being set up as an annual cli fi movie awards program, and while the event is happening online only at the current time, plans are for a real venue to host the show in 2016.

The Cliffies are a PR exercise and a conciousness-raising tool to help raise awareness in Hollywood and in the general public about the power of cinema to influence world leaders on vital issues relating to climate change and man-made global warming. In addition to recognizing current movies each year that have a strong climate theme, the Cliffies also intend to push Hollywood movers and shakers to greenlight more and more climate-themed movies year by year.

So the awards program is about good climate movies and it's also about raising awarenss in Hollywood about the need to focus more and more on climate-related issues. Movies have power, and Hollywood holds the power. The Cliffies hope to inspire Hollywood producers and directors to get with the program and use their resources to fight the most important fight that humanity has ever faced: the fight against runaway climate change and global warming.

Some people say it takes a village to change the world. I say it takes a good Hollywood studio to change the world. Movies can help sound the alarm. Welcome to the Cli Fi Movie Awards.

Other winners this year include Tilda Swinton for best actress for her role in "Snowpiercer," and Elle Fanning for her role in the Jake Paltrow directed movie "Young Ones." Ed Harris got a nod for his supporting actor role in "Snowpiercer" and Paltrow received a Cliffie this year for "best new director."

Best movie went to "Snowpiercer," and a special children's award for best animated cli fi series went to Taiwan director Chiu Li-wei for his "Weather Boy" animation movie.

The poular summer movie "Into the Storm" received two below-the-line type awards, one for best movie that most mirrors current climate science, and another for best PR campaign for a cli fi movie by a Hollywood studio.

Heartthrob Robert Pattinson received a "best actor" award for his role in the Australian movie "The Rover," directed by Aussie helmer David Michod.

Korean director Joon-ho Bong and American screenwiter Kelly Masterson received a Cliffie this year for best adapted screenplay.

To see an online list of the Cli Fi Movie Awards nominees and winners, go to:


Paolo Bacigalupi his new 'cli fi' novel ''THE WATER KNIFE'', will be published May 2015.

Paolo Bacigalupi his new cli fi novel ''THE WATER KNIFE'', will be published May 2015.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

An American storyteller in Berlin who 'just happens to eat in other places'


Ivo Lederer was a refugee in the only group of
European Jews given
special passage by ship to the United States by President Franklin D.
Roosevelt during World War II, and he later went on to became a
well-known Russian
and Eastern European scholar in America. He also gave the world a rather special
literary gift -- his son the Berlin-based writer Michael Lederer.

I recently saw Lederer fils on a German TV interview show, speaking in
English with the show's British host Robin Merrill. Fascinated by the American
author's colorful life and new novel, titled "Cadaque,"I reached out
via the Internet and
asked if we could chat a bit about life and literature.

Graciously, Mr
Lederer wrote back to me here in Taiwan and told me some of the background
to his late father's rather unique voyage to and arrival in America.

He told me his father was born in 1929 in Zagreb, Croatia and was 11 when the
Nazis invaded, with his grandfather arrested for defying a ban against Jews
practicing law.

However, as luck would have it, or by the grace of God, the Lederer family
was able to flee to Italy using false papers to get across the border.
There, with the help of friends and people in the Catholic Church, they lived in
hiding for three years.

Later, the Lederers boarded the ''Henry Gibbons'', a Liberty ship
dispatched by Roosevelt to transport wounded soldiers and 982 refugees,
mainly Jews. They set forth on a new adventure and sailed from Naples
to New York.

Fast forward to 2014. Michael Lederder, 58, lives in Berlin and is
preparing to publish a new novel -- just completed and being edited
and prepared for publication as you read this --  titled "Don Quixote
Saving America."
More on the new novel later, but first I wanted to find out how the
ever-wandering Michael ended up
doing an interview in English on a German satellite TV network
broadast worldwide.

"The TV program that you watched in Taiwan
was taped in August 2014 in Berlin and first aired in early October," he
told the San Diego Jewish World. "It is still available online, at
both the Deutsche Welle website and on
YouTube. The producers of the show knew about me through the U.S. Embassy
Literature Series here in Berlin, and I got an email from them requesting
the interview. I'm glad you saw the show and wrote to me across the seas."

I wanted to know what had brought him from his earlier life in America to
life now as an expat in Berlin, where has lived for over ten years.

"I lived in London as a student of theater in the early 1980s, after
college in New York," he said. "Later, I lived in fishing village in the
south of Spain in the mid-1980s. I also have lived in Vienna, London,
Berlin, Warsaw and Dubrovnik. I am still
an American, I just sleep and eat in other places."

In Berlin, Lederer lives with his second wife, a Polish-born woman, and
works on his writing every day.

"Here in Berlin,
I am a member of the Kunstlerhof group," he told me. "We are painters,
writers, sculptors and musicians sharing an old factory space in Berlin.
They say that misery loves company, so does joy. At this point in my life I
am very happy man and writing novels one after the other."

I asked Michael what his new novel is all about.

"Without giving away too much of the plot, I will say that the question of
solar energy plays a big role in the story," he told me, knowing of my own
interest in ''cli fi'' and global warming issues. "Because if we hope
to leave this place intact for our great grandchildren, and someday their
great grandchildren, we need to act beyond mere thoughts of the next
electoral cycle or accounting quarter. Our better instincts can maneuver
ahead while our lesser instincts are inclined toward crash and burn. It's
our choice which path to take, and that choice has to be made very soon."

"Don Quixote Saving America" is about an older man who lives on a broken-down
houseboat in California and who reads Cervantes' famous novel "Don Quixote"
and then decides that just like the knight in that book he will venture
forth to "banish evil from the land, Michael told me.

"In his case, that involves driving across America in an old car he
rechristens Rocinante," he added. "He picks up a young hitchhiker he
insists on calling Sancho, and together those two set out to 'get America
back on her feet.' Miguel de Cervantes was 58 when he wrote
the first part of his 'Don Quixote'. I am that same age now."

BLOGGER NOTES: Dear readers, -- Although I am not a book critic, and have not read Mr Lederer's novels
yet, I feel that his books deserves a much wider
readership than he has been able to find so far, since living overseas and
being published by Berlin-based publishers makes it hard for Americans to
get to know the writings of one of their native sons.

My hope after this
brief interview we had over the invisible cables of the Internet is
that Americans -- and American publishers -- will discover a true
treasure with an international ear for things that matter



The Insight Germany program about me was taped in August 2014 and first aired 8 October 2014. It is currently available online, at both the Deutsche Welle site and on YouTube. I believe they knew about me through the U.S. Embassy Literature Series, which this year included my novel CADAQUES.  I got an email from DW requesting that interview, in the same way that you have now written to me.
As an alcoholic I drank from the age of 12 until I was 47. Too close to death too many times, and after too much damage caused to others (broken relationships, job failures, DUI arrests, wasted money…the usual suspects) something went click and by some miracle I have now been sober for 10 1/2 years.  One place I used to go to drink and get stoned with friends was the fishing village of Cadaqués in Catalonia, Spain.  We were a colorful group...lots of sex, fighting, climbing rooftops, midnight swims, etc.  Always taking things to the edge, and in a few cases over the edge. I kept going to Cadaqués after I stopped drinking and it all looked, sounded, felt so different then. One can be too careful in life (perfect student, perfect job, car, house, 2.3 kids, hair always combed…).  One can be too crazy.  Or there's that sweet spot in the middle. I wanted to explore the line between nice-crazy and too-crazy. Cadaqués was the perfect place for me to do that.
I've always been from someplace else.  My mother Johanna was born in the U.S. in 1930, but her parents both were from Stettin, Germany (now called Szczecin in Poland). My father Ivo was born 1929 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia) and moved to the U.S. in 1944 when he was just 14 years old. He became a professor of contemporary European diplomatic history (Princeton, Yale, Stanford), and so the family point-of-view was always a mix of American and pan-European.  I do have relatives in Croatia. I do not have any relatives I know of in Germany.  We spent 1961-62 living in Vienna, Austria, where my father was writing a book about Yugoslavia at the Paris Peace Conference.  I went to an Austrian kindergarten in Vienna and loved living there. The bread was better, the coffee was better, people dressed better and knew languages, and above all there was a feeling of MYSTERY even in the little things everyday things.  We spent many summers in Europe, and when I got older I began to go there under my own steam as often as I could.  I lived in London as a student of theatre 1980-81.  I lived in another fishing village in the south of Spain 1984-85.  I have lived in Vienna, the south of Spain, the north of Spain (Catalonia), London, Berlin, Warsaw, and Dubrovnik.  I am still an American, I just sleep and eat in other places.
In 1984-85 my first wife Judy and I spent almost a year living in a tiny fishing village called La Herradura in Andalucia in the south of Spain. A young goatherd drove his goats through the unpaved streets, fishermen sat on the beach below our balcony mending nets, and at night those same fishermen would return with their catches and stick torches into the ground and people would come from the village to buy the fish. I had read Hemingway in school, and there was a rough-edged authentic air that I loved in that simple place.  Beautiful, unadorned, direct, and powerful.  BUT…there were building cranes everywhere along the coast, and ours was one of the last real fishing villages in that area. That made me sad. They even tried to make some of the condos springing up look "Spanish." Ersatz Disneyland-Spain was replacing the real thing.  Everyday I would run along the thousand-year-old goat path along the cliff tops, and I would pass by the ruins of a building that I imagined had once been a family farm with a fine view of the sea and the village below. In the hills, we got to know many farmers and we would watch them making sausage and making cheese and using firewood and candles at night, and I wanted to capture that world before it disappeared like a flame disappears from a candle. There was still a burning ember there and I wrote about it in NOTHING LASTS FOREVER ANYMORE. I had a very small publisher in Barcelona in 1999 (the book was first published 14 years after I wrote it), and I now have a very small publisher in Berlin who has reissued the book. Neither publisher has had much luck generating reviews, so the book is still a secret.  But if one knows it's there, one can buy it as hardcopy via or elsewhere in Europe, also as an e-book available via the US Amazon

Yes, I am a member of the Kunstlerhof group. We are painters, writers, sculptors and musicians sharing an old factory space in Berlin. They say that misery loves company…so does joy.

I am not interested in loss.  I am interested in recovery.  Someone said, "Turn your wounds into wisdom."  On the macro level, when I was a boy we had nuclear war exercises in the classroom. "Kids, in case of bombs falling get under your desk and kiss your you-know-whats good-bye." Hard not to be aware of what you call the "cracks" appearing along the highways and byways of our lives. Today the stakes are higher yet: global warming, nuclear proliferation, loss of privacy…  People always had a destructive strain, but we have never before had such power to destroy so much so fast and so effectively. Yet, I am an optimist. I believe our urge to build is greater than our urge to destroy.  On a micro level, at the age of nine I saw what I thought was my happy family torn asunder by alcoholism and divorce. Nothing felt safe after that, and I dealt with that insecurity in ways that led to further losses. But from all that I have discovered the art of recovery. Loss marks the end of one thing and potential beginning of another.  Some people stay down while others get back up. That's what interests me.

There is a Facebook page called CADAQUES NOVEL. We have 16,000 followers now. I know that I also need to start using Twitter.

After an early false start as a writer in my twenties, I then spent 25 years doing a lot of other things: theatre actor, rare book dealer, art gallery director, managing editor at Citigroup in New York, committed traveler, all of that in the cloud of alcohol and drugs. As I mentioned, the cloud lifted a little more than ten years ago, and it is only in the last five years that finally I have seriously turned to writing. And so the irony is that at 58 I am in some ways a "young" writer just starting out. So no, the honest answer is I have not built my audience yet. People do not know about me. CADAQUES was my first novel. I have just finished my second novel. I am giving this everything I have now.

This was a big world once. We didn't know what was over the next hill or beyond the water or even around the next corner. You'd throw something away and it seemed to do just that, go away.  Nothing came back yet. It's starting to come back now…floating in the water, or in the air. In ten or twenty thousand years it may be that the human chapter of earth's history has come to its end. And there will be no one to play or listen to the music of Mozart, speak or hear the words of Shakespeare, or marvel at any of the rest of what we've done.  If that happens it will take time for the oceans and forests to repair themselves, but they'll do it. Creatures will make their homes in the ruins of the Great Wall of China and the Empire State Building and the…fill in the blank.   Or…or…we can get smart. In the span of just one human lifetime we went from Wright Brothers to the space shuttle, from telegraph to radio to internet to the Smartphone. We are a clever lot and can do as much good as bad when we set our minds to it. Without giving away too much of the plot of my new book, DON QUIXOTE SAVING AMERICA, I will say that the question of solar energy plays a big role in the story. Because if we hope to leave this place intact for our great grandchildren, and someday their great grandchildren, we need to act beyond mere thoughts of the next electoral cycle or accounting quarter.  Our better instincts can maneuver ahead while our lesser instincts are inclined toward crash and burn. It's our choice which path to take, and that choice has to be made very soon.
I have just finished writing my second novel, which is called DON QUIXOTE SAVING AMERICA. In it, an older fellow who lives on a broken down houseboat in California reads Cervantes' novel, then decides that just like the knight in that book he will venture forth to "banish evil from the land."  In his case, that involves driving across America in an old car he rechristens Rocinante. He picks up a young hitchhiker he insists on calling Sancho, and together those two set out to "get America back on her feet." The older man has a romantic view of America taken from old black and white TV shows of the 50s and 60s…Andy Griffith, Leave it to Beaver, etc.  Of course it was never as simple as that, but try telling that to the fellow in my book.  Miguel de Cervantes was 58 when he wrote the first part of his Don Quixote. I am that same age now. Also, Cervantes' book was finished and the last part published in 1615. To mark the 400 year anniversary of that date, my German publisher PalmArtPress will release a very limited edition of DON QUIXOTE SAVING AMERICA in 2015. I am also looking now for a bigger publisher. And I have written a screenplay based on my book. If anyone knows Bill Murray, please forward him my contact info.


Notes to Michael Berry of SALON piece on ''cli fi'' and Paolo Bacigalupi

Hi Michael, 


Michael, excellent piece, bravo. I asked Paolo earlier in the year if
I could call his WinddUp Girl etc as cli fi novels, and he replied to
me, basically the same as he replied to you: "Dan, I had not heard of
the cli fi genre term before but it makes sense to me, and sure you
can call me novels as cli fi. I really dont care what label people put
on my books as long as they read them!" (emoticon smile followed this
remark) --

RE: His quote here to you, above, "I don't think of myself as writing
'cli-fi' but I'll take the label," Bacigalupi said. "I'll take any
label that makes someone think they might be interested in my
stories." [i lovE IT!]

Hi Michael, 

GREAT PIECE in SALON! addition to cli fi novels in many languages, not
just English, and not just for American readers, there are now cli fi
communities of writers and academics in Germany, Finland, Spain,
Chile, China, Taiwan, Japan, France and Norway, among other nations.
One day there might appear a cli fi novel with the power of 1957's ON
THE BEACH by Nevil Shute, some cli fi novel to really wake up the
world. But this will take time. Maybe another 20 to 30 years. But some
writers I am sure are "thinking"' and plotting all this now. It will
happen. Cli fi is in the air. People aroudn the world feel it now. As
Scott Thill has said "cli fi is a prism, a cultural prism, a critical
prism, in which to see the world we live in today." And Thill is
right: cli is not a marketing buzzword, or a bookstore shelving
category, it is a cultural PRISM in which to try to understand and
discuss the world our descendaants will face over the next 500 years.

THE CLIFFIES: And Michael , in connection with cli fi movies, a new
movie awards program called the Cli Fi Movie Awards, and dubbed THE
CLIFFIES, will debut on Feb. 15, 2015, a week before the Oscars to
honor and recognize the best cli fi movies and scripts and directors
of 2014, and it will become an annual Hollywood event. USA TODAY's
Leslie Miller just did a very good preview of the upciming CLIFFIES at
the newspaper's website. Take a look!

Info for THE CLIFFIES at

“I didn’t think of myself as writing ‘cli-fi’ but I’ll take the label,” Bacigalupi said. ”I’ll take any label that makes someone think they might be interested in my stories.”

“I didn’t think of myself as writing ‘cli-fi’ but I’ll take the label,” Paolo Bacigalupi told SALON in a recent interview. ”I’ll take any label that makes someone think they might be interested in my stories.”


The rise of 'cli fi': When climate-themed literature and movies take on global warming and devastating droughts

"The more you pay attention, the more horrifying the world is," says writer Paolo Bacigalupi

SALON's Michael Berry on the 'cli fi' genre and Paolo Bacigalupi's telling quote on how he has now embraced it, too!

SALON's Michael Berry on the 'cli fi' genre and Paolo Bacigalupi's telling quote on how he has now embraced it, too!

The rise of 'cli fi': When literature takes on global warming and devastating droughts


Climate fiction is hot right now. Just ask Paolo Bacigalupi, author of  the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning”The Windup Girl” and the young-adult novels “Ship Breaker” and “The Drowning Cities”; there is plenty of narrative potential in depicting global warming, rising seas, peak oil, extreme weather and other aspects of a changing climate. MORE AT LINK