Saturday, December 13, 2014

Under the Influence – When you don't even know it.

I wear a lot of my influences on my sleeve.  As a child of the 80s (the 1980s, I should probably specify.  I'm not from the future.  At least not yet.  I am, however, working tirelessly to turn my Hyundai into a time machine), I was raised on a diet of Jim Cameron movies, He-Man cartoons, permed hair and big, puffy shoulder pads.  Good times, right? 

In terms of books, I've been influenced by the works of Clive Barker, Robert Jordan, and countless others. 

But there are times when I track down a film I've mostly forgotten—when I revisit a movie or TV show or a book that lives only in the comforting embrace of nostalgia—that I realize I have influences I didn't even know I had. 

Take RoboCop, for example.  I liked it well enough when I caught it on tape as a kid.  I barely remembered it as an adult, though.  I knew a guy got turned into a Creature From the Black Lagoon by toxic waste (toxic waste was huge in the 80s, btw).  I knew a guy got blowed up real good after snorting coke out of a chick's cleavage (cocain was also huge in the 80s, btw).   And I knew there was a giant, hulking cop who did super bad-ass stuff like punching terrorists through drywall. 

What I didn't realize, however, was how much this movie got into my head.  How much it stuck with me.  And I might never have realized this, had I not rewatched the film after picking up the original RoboCop trilogy the other day (the less said about the cringe-inducing second and third films, the better). 

My first novel features a man named Brandon Morales—a cop, no less—who dies at the start of the book, gunned down in the line of duty.  Sound familiar yet?

Okay, so that's pretty much where the similarities end between my book and RoboCop (Brandon doesn't become a giant, hulking robot who does bad-ass stuff like punching terrorists through drywall.  Instead, he gets sent to Hell, meets a chick who's far more bad-ass than he is, and together they try to escape the afterlife), but still... 

Reviewers have compared the novel to everything from “The Matrix” to “Dante's Inferno."  But RoboCop?  Yeah, that was unexpected.

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