||Apr 1 2001
Time is of the essence. What did you do today? Yesterday? This week? Last month? How did your life scratch the pages of future history and leave your name indelibly marked? Pulp Fiction for Arthur Clarke and Elmore Leonard. Casey Kowalski runs a nightclub in West Coast Florida today and Marie Cherillo has to analyze his story for the Culture in 2248. Romance, Mystery, Sci-fi and Thriller combined on a variable time with unexpected quirks. On sale now.
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Casey Kowalski's best friend and boss gets murdered over a high money drug cartel. Marie Cherillo needs to analyze the 2000 story for the powers that be. She must do this under the security of a Saturn space station in the year 2248.
Melodrama surrounds Marie as she follows Casey's tale of romance and adventure. Her lover from college is in charge of her security and the commander of the Cassini Three Saturn Station has taken an interest in her mission.
The gritty Florida tale reeks of lust, drugs, money, power and deceit. Marie's story amplifies all of the same bringing a coinciding conclusion to a harrowing tale. Sex threads the theme to two driven main characters being manipulated by powers beyond their initial imaginations.
Marie had been very annoyed with Stanley that there had not been more data available to her. Stanley claimed that her clearance was in place for her requests. The sources were being cautious, that’s all. Information before the holocaust was rare and often contradictory to the Culture’s goals. Stanley had almost reprimanded Marie for worrying about the background information. Stanley was convinced that she should be more interested in the story. Marie was convinced that Stanley had manipulated the data she had requested. She was not sure why he would have done such a thing though. “Stranger and stranger, this assignment.” Marie thought.
The story that the Culture had contracted her to read was gaining Marie’s interest. She had place inquiries on several of the principals. Predominantly, she had been curious about Casey. His life had nearly ceased to exist historically since he was not a prominent figure in politics or business. He was just a citizen after all. Since the Upheaval, many records had been lost and Marie believed this to be the case on Casey Kowalski.
Kowalski made for an interesting protagonist. The passage with Amy made Marie think of him as a common male pig of the era. The alcohol that Casey was responsible for was an indication that Casey’s morality was, at best, shaky. Marie also knew of this drug’s popularity until the Upheaval, when the world had nearly turned its back upon the numbness of the liquid substance forever. The world that Marie had grown up in had renewed its desire for intoxication by many means. Alcoholism was not as untreatable in the disease sense as it had been 250 years ago. The pendulum had swung from the far right conservatism of Brother James and the fear of a disorderly humanity. Now the stuff was a reward for a hard worked week again and the crow bar for sexual encounters that it had once been before.
A Rare Mix of Genres by Jo Rogers
Beyond the Words Past
By Jo Rogers
James J. Marry Interview Shut Up Review
Who is Jo Rogers?
Welcome again to the many worlds of science fiction and fantasy. This month, we will discuss a novel called SHUT UP, a story as strange as its name. It takes place in familiar space, on our own Earth and in orbit around the gas giant we know as Saturn. It is a blend of many genres, not just science fiction, which makes it a difficult book to classify. But it is an interesting tale. Let's look at it, and then visit with its creator, James J. Marry.
The Nuts and Bolts: A Creator's View
Interview with James J. Marry
By Jo Rogers
Now, let's have a visit with Mr. Marry, and ask him some questions about his work.
Jo Rogers: Mr. Marry, you say that this story was taken from many of your own experiences. What actually triggered the idea for this series? Was it one thing or a combination of things?
James J. Marry: I have been writing fiction in many different guises since I was quite young as a form of escape from some rather dire conditions in my life. The "trigger" that set "Shut Up" to be fired off was that a very close and dear friend of mine was killed in a traffic accident. On that night, I lost three friends because I had introduced he and his girlfriend to the man who actually ran him over on that very night that he died. The girlfriend and the man who was responsible drifted away from me very quickly.
I was running a night club in Tarpon Springs very similar to Club A Go Go from the book, so a lot of my pain from the incident circled around alcohol and the bar. It became very difficult to not see my best friend around every corner or to take another drink in his name. I needed to vent some of that frustration in a positive way and writing the Casey Kowalski part of "Shut Up" gave me the avenue that I needed for that relief.
JR: You tell the story of Casey Kowalski in the first person. How much of the character is based on yourself, and how much on other people you know?
JJM: (a smile and a chuckle) I guess that I will never be able to get away with telling people that Casey is entirely fictional. I lived Casey's life pretty close to a "tee" for a good eight years and building the character with the martial arts and the honor that Casey exhibited, I can only say came quite simply. The friend who died in the accident was also named Danny, but he didn't ever employ me as a bar owner. He was the life of the party most of the time though.
Since writing "Shut Up" the two characters that I get asked about the most regarding that setting are Ramon and Jennifer. Ramon is definitely based on a real person- right down to the Puerto Rican Samoan look. He's watched my back for longer than anyone I ever knew. Jennifer, though modeled after one that got away, was more fictional in character.
J.R. What about the rest of your characters? Are they based on one person, or are they a conglomerate of people as most fictional characters are?
JJM: Many of my characters for "Shut Up" were created from the ground up. I realize that this means that there were some conglomerations to be be worked in, but I knew that to increase the mystery and suspense of the piece, it would be necessary to character base most of the fiction. I think this was a strong point for describing the novel as "a comic book written by Elmore Leonard and Arthur Clarke" since both authors elevated the level of their novels' intensity with a similar modus operandi. I wanted more caricature to my villains and I'm sure that they paint vivid images in the reader's imagination. I hope so anyway.
J.R. Now, please tell us about the location in Florida, where Casey Kowalski lived. Is it an area where you grew up? How did you become acquainted with it?
JJM: I grew up a Dead End kid from NYC. Really - no joke intended. You know - Chief, Satch, Whitey, Louie. I was pretty much on my own most of my adolescence. When I was out of High School, I intended to make it to college as easy as possible so I followed my parents to Holiday, Florida. That was 1977. Tarpon Springs is the largest city to the south (if you call it a city), New Port Richey to the north. Though I did spend a lot of the next twenty or so years traveling about with Air Force Special Operations, then some Naval reserve, plus a career in Daytona Beach - my home has always been in the West Florida area.
J.R. I noticed that the explosive used in the story was the same as the one used in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. This interested me, since I live in Oklahoma and had a friend who survived that blast. Why did you choose this particular explosive, other than its simplicity?
JJM: For reasons of simplicity almost entirely. I admit that many people are likely to correlate the two devices, but I needed to make Daniel's death a believable accident. I also don't think that most people realize the danger that might be in their very own sheds. If just one person reads my book and moves the diesel fuel from above the fertilizer, I think I'll feel mighty good about that. I needed the accident look anyway to allow a non-cop like Kowalski to get his butt into a lot more trouble anyhow.
J.R. The descriptions of Saturn and Titan evoked some strong images. Are you as well acquainted with the NASA website as it seems? How did you do your research on these heavenly bodies?
JJM: First, I must say "Thank You". I really did a lot of brain pickling when I went to Saturn with my story. Not only did I fall into good repute with the NASA site but I easily dogged six other support sites to the current Cassini Probe and astrophysicist pages. I never divulged my reasoning along side the questions though. They would have thought that I was nuts. Really - a larger part of my research intake revolved around the cataclysm in the earlier phase of the future story. I had very expressed limitations to operate within there and even more possible scenarios.
J.R. Why, particularly, did you choose Titan to play a role in this story? Why did you select Saturn?
JJM: The Saturn twist was fairly elementary in my thinking. I needed a reason for the station to be there and to be so large. I was attacking the story with a very broad brush regarding the vision I wanted my readers to take. But, I had to have a reason to take them to Saturn. I don't think that there is an American who can say they are not familiar with our energy crisis. We have all seen the results - rolling blackouts and line up rationing. Hydrogen would be a very good answer to rid us of this problem with exhaust and waste coming down to another necessary natural resource - water. I think most of the sci-fi guys out there might think Jupiter could serve the same goal and I wasn't really running from that possibility, but the Ringed Queen of the Solar System attracted me more - plus she didn't offer that nasty gravitational problem that Jupiter throws in the way.
Titan on the other hand served two purposes for me. I wanted some familiarity with the locale and Arthur C. Clarke already led the way with the 2001 sequel. Also, I needed to be able to set aside my secondary villain somewhere so that I could use the bad guy later. The Titan Exploratory station answered that as well as a staging ground for the other nefarious deeds that my bad guys needed to be up to.
J.R. What about the business operations around Saturn in the story? Where did that idea come from?
JJM: Well, to be honest - the idea comes from a strong seeded love of history. I was always fascinated at all of the things that I didn't realize about the Civil War and Napoleon's Russian Campaign and Hannibal's elephants. I liked the idea of dressing up something that most people didn't know about a commonly taught historical event. But, I thought that might be a touch too boring for me to write, so I turned the concept upside down. What if something happening today could be affecting the future 250 years in advance - like we know it damned well is - without any of us recognizing it? I mean, we know that Monica Lewinsky may actually affect history for maybe another week or two - but what about Joe Blow tripping over a curbside on Sunday at 2:00 in the afternoon? Isn't that just as likely to change history?
The cataclysm and man's survival begin the second part of the story. The business operation is a BIG development of that incident. The exposition comes from the journal of a nobody who saw the whole thing get touched off like a fuse to a powder keg.
J.R. You have five novels planned for the series. Will we see more of Casey Kowalski, or will we just go forward into the future from here on? How far into outer space and the future will you take us?
JJM: It may seem like a mission of unproportionate challenge, but I write a very socially aware story, I think, for a fairly vast audience. Many of the readers who have contacted me expected me to drop Casey off as the beginning to a story based in the future. I think that would cheapen the experience - at least for me it would. I insist that Casey learns more and develops as a character and that means that Marie HAS TO find a way to get her tough mitts on another journal by the guy. Luckily that was easy to work out since I planned out five separate stories before I finished the first one.
J.R. What is your opinion of space exploration? Do you envision space colonies and mining operations as useful or not worth the expense?
JJM: I truly hope that we can all see that we are using the Earth's reservoirs of natural resources at an alarming rate. Conservation is a must. But it won't do. Extreme right activists are always going to be able to make arguments that are sensible enough to demote Zero Population Growth - they may be right, they may be wrong. Regardless, we will need to find ways to support mankind. If the planet is getting short on supply and we can't create the resources we need then we have to get the stuff from somewhere. Where else but from up above? The fundamentalist view might even be that God put it all there so that we could use it.
J.R. When do you expect GO FIGURE to be finished?
JJM: GO FIGURE is being finished right now in fact. The rough version gets about 20-30 rewrites. I have to since I try to squeeze so much in to so few pages in layman's language. It should be a little longer though. Possibly 340 pages and I will be sending it around the blocks by the last week in October.
J.R. Will all of your novels explore a social issue, as did SHUT UP? I'll not divulge the name of the issue so as not to give away too much of the story.
JJM: There will inevitably be some social condition exposed by the GO FIGURE novel - possibly an even uglier one or two on a micro basis. The sensitivity that some have said comes with my work (not me, mind you) can only be explained by trained observation. Sure, some of that was from college and some of that was from everyday living. But I hope that a greater part of that comes from my experience writing things down and describing them.
The issues that a reader will see in my writing are much more internal to the reader than they are to me generally. Yes, I do try desperately to invoke those reader honed emotions, but if they were never there - I think they might slip by. Yes, I will definitely subscript the social issues again though. I have to.
Thank you so much, Mr. Marry, for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to reading your next novel, GO FIGURE.
Shut Up by James J. Marry
First in a series of 5
Writer's Showcase - April 2001
ISBN: 0595169287 - Paperback
Science fiction / Mystery /Suspense / Romance
Strong language, Graphic Violence, Explicit Sexual Content
Reviewed by Jo Rogers, MyShelf.com
Buy a Copy
SHUT UP is a strange title for a book, but then, it is a strange book. The author says it was intended to be primarily a romance, and there is romance aplenty. But this romance involves murder and government cover-ups, so it is a suspense thriller. But the romance also involves being in space, and it contains scientific procedures, bringing it into the domain of science fiction.
The story begins in Florida in the year 2000, and moves back and forth from there to the year 2248. In 2000, Casey Kowalski is living in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and for him, life is good. His best friend, Daniel Newman, has bought a nightclub, the Club A Go Go, and Casey works for him. It is a flourishing business, and both men are living well from it. Life is sweet. Then, Danny throws a party and Casey is invited. Dimitri Mavropoulis is invited too, but Danny never introduces Casey to his new visitor. Something about that isn't right, because Danny never kept anything from Casey before.
A few days later, Officer Phil Georgiou from the Tarpon Springs drops by and asks Casey if he has heard about Danny dealing heroin. Danny had been arrested in Michigan and had done time for dealing drugs there, but never in Florida. Casey knew something was wrong, but he didn't know how wrong until Danny was murdered, and Casey almost died too. The police call Danny's murder an accident, but, unknown to the police, Casey was there when the murder was committed. He is looking for the killer, but as far as the police are concerned, he can only take his mother's advice - shut up.
In 2248, a conglomerate called "the Culture" intrudes into every facet of life for its members. Founded by one Brother James after the Upheaval, it has brought order out of chaos, and prosperity for all. The Culture has a job for historian Marie Cherillo - find the secret hidden in a novel about Casey Kowalski. She is being paid well to read a book, and there are promises of future rewards. But they have insisted she travel to the
Glazium-Rush mining station Cassini 3, which orbits Saturn, drawing hydrogen from the gas giant, fueling Earth cheaply.
Why would Glazium-Rush and the Culture want her out there to read a book she could as easily read and analyze on Earth? And why would Stanley Merton, her supervisor from the Culture, make things so difficult for her to do her job? He had promised access to all research data, yet many of her requests were being denied. And who at the research station on Titan is sending her messages, warning her not to trust Stanley Merton? Could finding the answers to these questions be more important than finding the secret in the story of Casey Kowalski?
Despite the explicit sex, violence and language, the story is a strange and intriguing tale, drawing the reader in deeper as the story shifts from Casey to Marie and back again. The reader is forced to wonder what secret from one man's life in the year 2000 could be so important. The clues to the riddle are all there, if the reader can but put them together. Though the story stands alone, it leaves many unanswered questions, which we will find answers to in the second novel in the series of five, called GO FIGURE. I, for one, anxiously await the sequel.
Next month, we will take another journey Beyond the Words and visit another world where science or magic rules. I won't say where we will go, but it will be somewhere we haven't been before. Until then, Happy Reading!
© Copyright 1998-2001 MyShelf. All Rights Reserved.
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Reader Reviews for "Shut Up- mystery tinged with scifi"
|Reviewed by Victoria Murray
|I agree with Vicki Sullivan completely in her wonderful assessment of this 'Must Read' book by clever storyteller James Marry. 'SHUT UP' is a book not to be missed!|
|Reviewed by Charles Gregory
|I had the good luck to find out a bit about "Shut Up" by James J. Marry at an author's convention at the University of South Florida last year. I have to admit that I was curious, for one since I met James in a completely different venue before that, and two- because of the interesting theme of the novel. I don't read as much as I would like, so I wanted to be sure that I would get something that was interesting and not too far above my head. To be honest, I would have gotten bored. "Shut Up" filled that order high above my expectations. Though there is a constant hum of science fiction in the background, I found that the two main characters- Casey Kowalski, a bar owner in Florida circa 2000, and Marie Cherillo, a historian circa 2248 were gripping and highly endearing. I read the novel in four days!!! I hope that James will give us a sequel and I hope it is soon. By the way- I love the site though I'm surprised you gave up the first three chapters of the book!!!|
|I have reviewed and rated this excerpt of Mr. Marry's book, Shut Up, with a 10 because I am impressed with it as a sci-fi fantasy thriller. Anyone who appreciates sci-fi will know how difficult it is to write it much less do it right, as has Mr. Marry in his book. I would love to write sci-fi as it is one of my favorite reading past-times but as yet I find it much too difficult and demanding a task to begin much less imagine the year 2248. I say, WOW! What a book! I can't wait to buy it and read it. It reminds me of the novel, Safe House, set in NY City. This book is going to be a block-busting movie! Cheers and Chow, Vicki|
|Reviewed by E. Annette Merz
|Shut Up is a clever blending of two genres, futuristic sci/fi and contemporary thriller.
Two stories are happening simultaneously, one about Casey Kowalski, a present day
business man who can take care of himself in most situations, and the other about
a woman 250 years in the future who must read Casey's auto-biography and make
sense of it in terms of the history of his day. James Marry's style is straight forward
and flows easily, and he makes the reader comfortable in both present
and future settings. One chapter spent with Marie and her friend, Stanley, and I felt acclimatized
to their time, and the oppressive expectations of their government, called the Culture.
Casey Kowalski has a sort of charm that made me smile, even laugh aloud. I recommend
Shut Up to anyone who loves a great story. Good Job Mr. Marry!
|Reviewed by susie harrison
|Marry has made an excellent sci-fi fantasy with the real emotions that humans of any age experience. One with the capability to imagine,let alone, write such an 'accurate' description of what it might be like in the year 2248 takes the talent that only this author can provide. The characters are made real by the current day problems that would still most likely exist endless through time.
I would recommend this book to other with interest in the world beyond our own.