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Showing posts from 2018

The Tragic Last Sailing of the Lusitania

Publisher: Crown Publishers When World War I was raging in Europe, German U-Boats (submarines) infested the waters off the British Isles. The Lusitania, a luxury cruise ship, was sailing from New York to England in 1915. Some passengers worried; most did not. Cunard, the venerable British cruise line that owned the ship, was confident that all would remain safe. After all, the Lusitania was big, strong, and fast. One of the speediest passenger vessels of its era, the Lusitania could slice through the ocean at 25 knots. That would allow the ship to outrun an enemy submarine, should one be encountered. Alternatively, the hefty Lusitania could simply ram tin-cans like U-Boats and cut them in half. A U-Boat ended up sinking the Lusitania via torpedo. It took less than twenty minutes. The job of the German submarines was to enforce a naval blockade, to isolate Britain and prevent inbound supplies. At first, adhering to international norms, Germany only attacked military ships. To s

Author Interview at LFBooks

It's not everyday that someone wants to talk to me and hear my silly thoughts. Not even close to everyday. Therefore, I am excited and grateful that LFBooks, a book review blog, has published an interview with me about my recent book, Rapture . (Note: The interview contains a spoiler.) Be sure to check out the blog  for other book stuff. Laura Freestone, the blogger, is prolific. Her site has tons of straightforward, succinct reviews on a diverse range of book genres, with sci-fi, mystery, and thriller popping up the most. And she writes fiction too. Many thanks to Laura.

Shackleton: The (Almost) Impossible Story of Surviving in Antarctica

Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers I like love survival stories. Being neither mentally tough nor physically strong, I’ve always admired those who overcame overwhelming adversity despite excruciating pain and nearly impossible odds. One of the best books I’ve read is Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. It is about the 1996 Mount Everest  disaster, during which many experienced mountaineers died from a blizzard. I didn’t think another adventure story would fascinate me more. I was wrong. Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 ocean expedition to Antarctica may be the most gripping survival story ever. In his 1959 book, Endurance , Alfred Lansing recounts the experience in a real page-turner. There is something about true stories that makes them extra riveting to read. None of the fiction thrillers fiction I’ve read rival this nonfiction by Lansing—remarkable, considering that I knew the ending before I cracked open the book. It wasn’t about how the story concluded; it was about the

Take This Waltz

Credit:  Magnolia Pictures Love is hard to do. It's hard to do it right in life. And it's hard to do it right in fiction. Most love stories on the big screen fall into one of three piles. The cheerful type, exemplified by rom-coms. The classic of this genre is When Harry Met Sally . Then there is the sad kind, e.g.  Titanic . Lastly, there is the contemplative variety, like  Take This Waltz . It is possibly my favorite movie love story of all time. Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley's 2011 indie movie starring Michelle Williams, explores romance in all its complexities, including the contradictory bits. The film is poignant but not overwrought. Thoughtful but not neurotic. Poetic but not pretentious. Perfectly crafted. Freelance writer Margot (Michelle Williams) is married to Lou (Seth Rogen). He is a cookbook author and a really swell guy, but seems to be more into his recipes than his wife. She meets Daniel (Luke Kirby), a rickshaw-driving neighbor in their quai

Rapture, a sci-fi thriller

My newest novel, Rapture , is out. Giant thanks to my beta readers—you are worth all the bitcoins in the galaxy. Blurb, retail links, and excerpt are here .  You can win a free paperback at Goodreads. Goodreads Book Giveaway Rapture by Alex P. Wu Giveaway ends February 06, 2018. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway I wanted to write something completely different from my first novel, Morocco, Maybe , a travel love story. My favorite TV show of all time is Battlestar Galactica. S eriously. Nothing compares. The closest contenders are maybe The Newsroom (exciting, smart, and moving) and The Walking Dead (before most of the beloved original group got offed). Thus I tried to write a story with elements similar to those that made BSG appealing to me: science, action, philosophy, politics, religion, friendship, romance ... and in particular, moral ambiguity

Oooh That Feels So Good I Can't Keep My Eyes Open

We usually go to the animal shelter that's within walking distance of our home, but this past Friday we drove to a couple of other shelters: West LA Animal Shelter and NKLA . On Sunday we went back to the same two shelters to look at the same dogs. Again. Most of the dogs at the two shelters were pit bull mixes, at least 90%. That gave us mixed feelings. We love pit bulls, but it was sad to see so many languishing in the cages. The yellow dog above is Max. He is 1.5 years old and supposed to be energetic but was quite mellow when we saw him. He would lean against the cage, let Michelle stroke him, and close his eyes. He was either super sleepy or trying to better enjoy the massage. Max has been adopted. Some lucky human got a swell dog. There were many lovely dogs, but I'd like to plug a few especially nice ones. The cutest thing about Frances is her wrinkled face. It makes her look so worried. She's 38 pounds and two years old. And there's  Sprout

Stop Making Me Cry

Credit: Poignant stories make me cry, especially if they are true. If you're a fan of public radio, like me, then you might've heard of the show Snap Judgment . It's true stories narrated by the real people behind them. The stories tend to be short, many merely a few minutes long. Recently I heard one that made me sad. The next story made me all teary-eyed. The first one had softened me up, so I had no defenses left. In preparation for this post, I listened to both stories again. I ended up with the same reaction. Damn those storytellers. Story #1   Thom had a wonderful boss who held an annual karaoke night for the company they both worked for. The boss had a favorite song that left an emotional, lasting impact on Thom in a way he never anticipated. The song, by the way, is Radiohead's Creep . A great, melancholic song. No surprise why I love it. Story #2 Derrick had a bad heart (four heart attacks by age 27), but Emma fe