In 1941, a group of German soldiers occupy an abandoned Romanian keep. But an attempt to unearth the fortress’s rumored “hidden treasure” instead loosens a dark force that dwells within its walls. When the men under his command begin to meet with mysterious and grisly ends, Captain Woermann sends a dispatch back to Germany requesting assistance. To Woermann’s dismay, it comes in the form of the opportunistic Major Kaempffer and his squad of Nazi storm troopers. As the two men clash and more of their fellows are claimed by the evil stalking the keep, a solution seems to present itself in the form of a sickly Jewish scholar, his doting daughter, and an enigmatic stranger who seems to know far more than he is willing to reveal…
Truth be told, this isn’t my first time reading The Keep. I actually read it in the mid-80’s and I remember enjoying it immensely – although I can recall few story details from that first read. I still have my original copy and, it was while transferring it over to my office library that fellow producer Robert C. Cooper glimpsed it and remarked: “The Keep! This was a really good book!” Like I said, I enjoyed it immensely twenty years ago, but I wondered: Would it still hold up? Well, there was one way to find out – by making it a Book of the Month Club nominee.
I sincerely hope that those of you who voted for The Keep actually got around to reading it for a couple of reasons. 1. Author F. Paul Wilson will be swinging by to do a guest blog for us later this week and I’m sure he’d love to hear your thoughts. 2. It’s a great book.
Yes, twenty years later and it’s still as chilling as I remember it. Wilson does a masterful job of grabbing the reader early on and simply never letting go – or, moreover, never giving them a chance to get away. The story is gripping; the narrative incredibly well-paced. As the mystery of the keep unfolds, the author leads us through a veritable dark labyrinth of cryptic clues, startling turns, and disturbing dead ends. Seemingly straightforward at first, the novel quickly develops a surprising complexity in its focus on the strategic maneuvering between the noble Woermann and the merciless Kaempffer, Dr. Cuza’s crisis of faith, and a malevolent force that ultimately transcends the established notion of evil.
I am, to my detriment, one of those readers/viewers who will always see the twist coming, always figure things out ahead of time and then spend the rest of the book/movie impatiently awaiting the predicted reveal. Well, when it came to this book, I was admittedly in the dark, baffled as to why Molasar would only react to the sight of Cuza’s silver cross, then shocked when Woermann’s attempts to ward him off in a similar manner proved fruitless. Like Cuza, I was taken in by Molasar’s ruse, his rescue of Magda and his apparent nationalist pride. I had the rug pulled out from underneath me a couple of times over the course of this book – and I loved it.
Interestingly enough, I found the book’s flawed victims, Woermann and Cuza, more engaging than its heroes, Glenn and Magda. I’ve always preferred characters that skirt the border between black and white, and Wilson gives us two intriguingly grey players in the proud German commander and the conflicted Jewish scholar.
For fans of the horror genre, The Keep offers up some truly terrifying images: Lutz’s head-first descent into the dark, narrow passage where he meets his inevitable demise, the reveal of the hanged man in the painting, the marionette-like midnight visit to Kaempffer’s bedside by the murdered soldiers, the engulfing darkness of the inescapable shadows, Woermann’s helpless self-awareness “beyond the end”, the Germans attempt to escape the final assault, one of the victims seeking refuge beneath his bed only to be smothered by his fallen comrades. Holy smokes, this would make a great movie! Yeah, I know they already made a movie based on the book (or a semblance thereof). Did you happen to see it? If you did, then you’ll know why I feel the need to reiterate: The Keep could make for a great movie!
Although I will admit to finding the late shift from horror to fantasy/adventure a little jarring at first, I came to appreciate the unexpected progression as yet another narrative curveball that defied the genre’s conventions. The threat is finally revealed and it turns out to be a vampire – no, not your typical vampire but one possessed of nobility and honor – no, scratch that, he’s not a vampire, nor is he noble. He is an insidiously evil force – actually, it turns out it’s not as simple as that either.
A highly enjoyable read and one of my favorites of the genre.
Dyginc writes: “I loved Woermann! I see him as an anti-hero who is proud of his service, loves his country or what used to be his country, and now finds himself entwined with the arm of evil.”
Answer: I wholeheartedly agree. Woermann is an incredibly well-drawn character, one who stubbornly clings to his ideals like a doomed Captain refusing to abandon his doomed ship. I felt a lot of sympathy for this character because I knew from the get-go there would be no refuge or possible happy ending for him.
Dyginc also writes: “I was instantly drawn to Magda. […] She was not allowed to follow her dreams because of her “responsibility” to take care of her father and men like Hitler that saw her as unworthy.”
Answer: Magda is even more of victim of her father’s illness that he is. She has missed out on life’s opportunities in order to care for her father, and that loyalty is strained to the breaking point when events at the keep take an even darker turn. When things ultimately come to a head between the two, it struck me as though it had less to do with Molasar’s dark influence than with a long-standing, deep-seeded resentment on her part (coupled, perhaps, with Cuza’s realization that he had cost his daughter her best years).
Iamza writes: “It is easy to sympathize with Woermann, who is a man just trying to his duty as best he can, and still stay true to his own beliefs.”
Answer: And that’s what makes him such a tragic figure. As you said, he represents a different era. While his courage in the face of Kaempffer and his ilk is commendable, we already know how things will turn out for him. Whether he survives the experience at the keep or not, there is no place for this old soldier in the new Germany.
Today’s video: From the set of Search and Rescue. Click on the link or scroll down and watch it below –
Today’s mailbag –
Labellementeuse writes: “I’ve heard rumblings that the all-woman gate team will first be met on a survey on a planet accompanied by John (even though there’s already military on the team) and Carson (even though there’s already a doctor on the team.) This can’t be right! Surely John and Carson show up after something particularly in Carson’s field was found, and John tagged along because he was bored? I know you wouldn’t want to imply that the all-girl team needs male supervision, as the rumours I’ve heard imply.
Equally, I’m sure you didn’t consider introducing the all-female team in one episode, only to kill a bunch of them (here, have an all girl team – haha, sorry, we killed them!) Or in a horror episode so that you can have lots of screaming women running around to conform to the genre’s worst stereotypes. Right?”
Answer: Right. So I assume if John and Carson show up after something, oh, particular in Carson’s field was found, and John simply tagged along, and we actually offer up an explanation for the atypical all-female team, and don’t have them running around to conform to the genre’s worst stereotype but present them as strong, level-headed individuals – then I’m sure that when the episode finally airs and all of the criticism proves unfounded, the production offices will be inundated with letters of apology from the pre-emptive critics out there.
Zona writes: “I just realized that in your shots from ‘Ghost in the Machine’ Ronon still has his signature dreadlocks. Did the plan for them to go in ‘Broken Ties’ change or is it simple a case of things still being shot out of sequence?”
Answer: After much discussion it was decided that while Jason could lose his dreads, the character of Ronon would be keeping his.
Thornyrose writes: “If you’re reached the prep stage for Whispers, does that mean filming starts next week?”
Answer: Yep. Next Tuesday.
Smiley_face06 writes: “Sorry to hear about The Budapest closing down! Is there any possibility that they just rudely relocated without informing you?”
Answer: Nope. Sadly, it’s gone for good.
Montybird writes: “I am having problems viewing your remixes under your BaronDestructo account at Photobucket. I can view the regular videos just fine. What am I doing wrong?!”
Answer: Nothing. It’s a problem with photo bucket.
Coolbreeze writes: “The twist toward the end, where we find out that Molasar/Rasalom was not a vampire but something much older, and that he started and used the vampire myth for his purposes was cool, but I wished more time had been spent on it.”
Answer: Well, it turns out The Keep is the first in a six-book series called The Adversary Cycle. The second book in the series is The Tomb if you’re interested.
Moms2398 writes: “Any word on when R.C. will be guest blogging?”
Answer: Not yet.
Trekkiegirlt writes: “Joe, I’m looking forward to participating in my first book discussion when “The Empire of Ice Cream” makes its appearance. That said I’m not really sure what to do. Is that stupid or what!?! Anyway do I submit comments the day before the discussion?”
Answer: Feel free to submit your comments on The Empire of Ice Cream (including any questions you may have for the author, Jeffrey Ford) starting Monday, April 21st.
Lawren writes: “ OMG!!! This is how I learn about Budapest’s demise! Never again will I be able to properly satiate the desire to eat my arms weight in Schnitzel. Sure there are other places but not like Budapest. I will long remember barely being able to finish my pork or chicken schnitzel only to have Carl say “are you gonna finish that?” A dark day indeed.”
Answer: Yeah, Carl took it a lot harder than I thought he would. We’re thinking of going out later this week and drowning our sorrows in Transylvanian sausages and perogies. You in?
64 thoughts on “April 14, 2008: F. Paul Wilson’s The Keep”
is that amanda in the vid? woo hoo!! 😀
Jason has a wig on – nya nya 😉
While I am not a big fan of horror novels, I really enjoyed The Keep. My favorite part was probably when it was revealed that the painting had what appeared to be a hanged man in it and then that was how he ended up dying. I am a sucker for a happy ending and was upset when I got to the end and Magda was left all alone…until I turned past the blank page in my copy of the book and found the epilogue. I am going to find the next in the series and try that as well. Thanks for the recommendation.
Is Jason planning on allowing his hair to regrow…. so in time, he may be able to revert back to his ‘natural’ hair and not have to go through the process of attaching his hair back before shooting?
In Continuum, I heard that there is a scene where a sub comes up through the ice. 2 questions:
1) Was it hard to film that kind of a scene?
2) Do the characters go onto the sub in he movie?
Sorry, one more question. Are all of the books on yur BOTM list of the horror genre?
I don’t normally read or watch horror, but this didn’t sound like it would have the torture aspects I can’t stand, so I gave it a try. Overall I’m quite glad I did (although I didn’t like it as much as Joe did). The setting was foreboding and engaging in every sense, from the keep to the Nazis and all that was going on at the time. Kaempffer was sort of a stereotypical SS officer, but I enjoyed the insights into his behavior that came from Woermann. I loved it when Woermann got useful information out of the innkeeper just by asking intelligent questions, after Kaempffer had failed with his usual bullying approach. Re the “monster”, the gradual reveal was cool in that I expected a vampire yet got someone who found it handy to impersonate one. This was one of many twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I liked that Rasalom was so cleverly deceptive that he had Cuza believing him, although I was glad his cover story about the crosses being diversions was a lie, because it was so lame! Magda and Cuza were well-drawn as individuals, and the mix of resentment and love she felt for her father very realistic. Glenn was an unusual hero, and I’m glad he didn’t die with Rasalom.
On the critical side, I found the romance between Magda and Glenn too idealized to believe, even given the histories of these two characters. The language used for the “intimate” bits was sort of clunky, almost as if the author were embarrassed. More generally, I’m a sucker for lyrical language, and I don’t think that was a characteristic of this novel. I also found the daily trips to the keep, which were the measures of time passing, to be both a bit repetitive and sort of incredible. I mean, would even an idiot like Kaempffer not get everyone the hell out? And what was Glenn waiting for? It all worked out okay (except for the doomed Germans), but I did find myself wondering. Again, I’m glad I read it! Those were my nitpicks.
My questions for Paul Wilson: How did you approach the research for this book? Is there a building like the keep anywhere that you know of? Was there ever a real Nazi plan to build a concentration camp in Ploiesti?
Thanks for the video!!! More please!!!
Can I just say that your copy of The Keep looks just like some of my old Nancy Drew books–so well loved and often read that it shows!
Okay, maybe not quite so bad as my Nancy Drew books… most of their covers are falling off!!!
(I was quite an avid reader when I was younger… I think I got through the entire series about seven times, and the books I actually owned got even more use than that!!!)
Many thanks for all the pics and vids! I am absolutely loving the look of the S&R set, and the sound of Whispers. There are too many days until season 5.
Transylvanian sausages and perogies sound like a hilariously delicious way to drown your sorrows. Gladly I have not had the same unpleasant pleasure of needing to drown any sorrows recently, but I’ll try to think of an equally unique way for future reference.
There are an abundance of Italian eateries here on the west side, maybe there’s something to be found there.
Just finished watching Ark of Truth. Whoa…good movie (to paraphrase from Firefly). That worm from the IOA got what was coming to him, in my opinion.
I did have one question, though, if you’d be so kind. Where were the shots of Teal’c on the mountains filmed? I figure it’s somewhere up in Vancouver (duh!), but it sure is pretty! Oh, and was he freezing his…ummm….was good Christopher really cold when they shot them? ;-D
Hm. Well, I for one am curious to see how the all-girl team goes. If past experience with female officers is anything to go by (and it generally is), I don’t really think we have anything to worry about. And if they hit that Carterian balance of mostly tough and awesome, yet occasionally adorable, all the better.
So Jason opted to keep the dreads for Ronon.
Will you share how you were going to write in Ronon losing the dreads?
Regarding Jason’s hair, I believe he revealed at the Creation Vancouver con that as Ronon, he’s wearing a wig made with some of his former dreads woven into the front. I’m sure the make-up folks have created a believable facsimile, AND he gets to go home each night with a lightened load. Win-win. 🙂
I tried to post my comment yesterday, but my computer (read: Vista) and Internet Explorer were having Marital problems ;(
Have you ever tried ‘Beavers Tails’ or ‘Elephant Ears’?
During our Inter-Cultural Folk Fest, the Hungarian Kiosk offered Garlic’n’Parmasen as well as Cinnamon’n’Sugar toppings for their Langos. The line-ups for Langos were four times longer than any other countries kiosk.
I find it disappointing that Ronon is keeping the dreads (mostly because of Jason). Funny I thought the tiny story that went with it and then ongoing from there would be a positive impact giving the character even more dimension.
On April 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm Shawna Said:
…that Carterian balance…
Sounds like a piece of equipment that Sam would invent. Rodney would be only a little jealous at first, more so when he found out that it was actually going to be named after her.
Hi, there’s a poll on this blog (http://stargate–sg1–atlantis.blogspot.com/ ), Who would win in a fight? Ronon, Teal’c or Walter. Please vote (for Ronon 🙂 ). Thanks.
Hey cool, Ronon’s keeping his hair!
I’m not sure if the link worked, here it is again: http://stargate–sg1–atlantis.blogspot.com/
David Hewlett mentioned in his blog (do you read it?) that Kate Hewlett would be in The Shrine.
I remember, I think it was you, posting a similar thing, so is she having a cameo appearance or a more substantial role this time?
I think substantial for me would be around the same character involvement as she had in McKay & Mrs Miller, as apposed to the less substantial character moments in Miller’s Crossing or the totally blink and you sadly miss her appearance in The Last Man.
Also, should I be worried, when you guys talk about this episode it sounds really sad, emotional and not good for McKay? Right? Wrong? WTF is she talking about? 😛 And… last one I promise, is Jeannie still bitchy towards McKay? I don’t mind it really as I love Kate & David but sometimes even little sister can be nice to their big brothers… I know I am a little sister 😉
I know said last one, but if this The Shrine ep is emotional can Rodney and John hug? I had to ask, it wouldn’t be a comment by me if I didn’t. 😛 Feel free to answer.
About Whispers the information that was presented was:
1. There was to be an all women team.
2. It was to be a horror episode.
3. Not all of them would survive.
4. Photos of the actresses that arguably did not depict them looking like military (also perhaps in part because they hadn’t been taken to show them in their roles). Looks are part of what makes up a character otherwise there wouldn’t be casting sides and there was a difference of opinion about the look of the actors presented being suited to that role.
I mean I agree absolutely that you can’t pass judgement on an episode before you’ve even seen it, but from we knew previously, and from looking at it in the context of women in the horror genre and a tradition of television sometimes casting a very idealised and unrealistic image, I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable for people to voice concerns.
And yes, I’m sure it gets frustrating to hear people bitching and moaning, but in this instance not all the facts were available and what were set off some alarm bells.
Is television a utopian paradise that potrays every group in society in a balanced and fair way? Well society doesn’t treat people that way, so why would we think that our entertainment would? You wont get letters of apology to the production office after the episode airs, but I’m also doubtful that you’ll get people spending that kind of energy to write letters to the production office damning it beforehand. You’re much more likely to get action about characters getting removed or a push for ships than you’ll ever get for social action and at the end of the day I think it’s kind of sad.
But there you go.
Dear Baron (can I call you Bazza?),
I have just exited from a phone call with an extremely rude, arrogant and ignorant Managing Director from a company we are currently doing business with.
Seeing as there is no reasoning with him, despite the facts that have been placed in front of him, I was wondering if you may have an appropriate method of “disposing” of him.
PS: Why does everyone now say when wanting to have a phone conversation “let’s organise a time to dialogue”? WTF?
Thanks for your help.
~ Narelle from Aus
(very close to becoming Narelle from the Nearest Institution that provides white jackets with pretty buckles as uniforms)
First off. You have one of the coolest jobs in the world. Able to be a part of the mayhem and madness that translates into the best tv viewing available, and able to hang around the sets as shown by your clip. Thanks for that. It’s making withdrawal from not having a Friday night fix much easier to bear.
Now, onto the Keep. I disagree with you on the book. Yes, its very good. But I wouldnt rate it as great. It comes very close, but for me doesnt quite make that final step. But then, we are talking a genre I don’t usually indulge in. I can’t be sure that is affecting my opinion of the book.
What I did like. First, I liked establishing the charactrs. Kaempffer is “stereotypical” but believable. A more couragous SS officer would most likely have been in a Waffen SS unit. But for a “proper Aryan” with a yellow streak, the SD makes much more sense. At least, I’m assuming this is the case here. While I know Waffen SS units took over the death camps, I don’t recall anything in the texts indicating Kaempffer actually served in a front line unit. A perfect foil to Woermann, the career army veteren who epitomizes all the virtues Kaempffer lacks. Of all the characters in the book, it’s Woermann who caught my interest, whose fate most struck home. And there is at least the slight consolation of knowing that while he didn’t survive, that in death he was able to literally drage Kaempffer with him.
The early chapters fly by, with a gripping description of the Keep itself, the actions of the soldiers that unleashes the terror, and the hints of the mysterious hero struggling to reach Romania for what we know will be the showdown. I had mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, there was the mystery surrounding Glenn. On the other, it was a fairly large clue that any solution was not going to come from the inventiveness or courage of the other human characters.
I continued to enjoy the novel as the doomed Germans were picked off one by one, while their commanding officers struggled to stop the slow-motion massacre. The characters and their interactions rang true on every level. And with the introduction of Magda, I was intrigued. What role would she play? As it turns out, she was the major disappointment in the entire book. Selfless dedication is one thing. But as an intellegent woman who was her father’s hands and eyes to the outer world, she couldn’t possibly have been as clueless to the realities of the world as she is presented as being. And her reactions to Glenn, well, I suppose an immortal might have some charisma. But why a woman who has managed to “restrain” her hormones so long should suddenly abandon all restraint escapes me. I liked the character. But unlike the German officers, she failed to become fully three dimensional. And for all the pages she appears in, had the character not existed at all, would the outcome of the book been significantly changed?
Her father now, is another story entirely. A man all-too aware of the modern realities, trapped in his body and forced to suffer a slow, humiliating, painful death. Then placed in a position where he must assist the very people out to eradicate his own kind. Worse, he cannot commit ” suicide by nazi” because to do so would leave his one legacy, his daughter, to the proverbial fate worse than death. Then finally, he is snared by his own intellect and curiousity as he sees the Forbidden books provided as resource material. Cuza’s fall is almost as tragic as that of Woermann.
The best part of the book was the unfolding mystery of Molasar/Rasalom. From the enveloping darkness that brings certain death, to the apparant vampire creature with an odd patriotic streak, he remains a villian in control. The deception he plays on Cuza hooked me completely, and made Woermann’s end all the more shcoking. This is a villian I could actually imagine causing world wide havoc should he escape his confines.
The end of the book played out fairly predictably, but still written in an engaging style. All in all, enjoyable enough that I’ll look up other books by by Mr. Wilson and give them a try.
A question or two for the author. Is there a reason, other than to have Kaempffer setting up a concentration camp, that you timed the story for April of 1941, instead of say, just after the start of Operation Barbarossa? How much research went into laying out the historical context and geography of the story? Do the later books of the Adversary Cycle give more information about the nature of Glaeken and Rasalom? Thank you for guesting in the blog to answer our many questions.
The Keep brought back some memories. I remember seeing the movie back in the 80’s on VHS. I like the moment when they realize that the Keep was built to keep something in, not to protect from the outside. The movie was OK. It did have some good shots. I think that directed by Michael Mann. I would love to see a remake of it. I admit I have never read the book yet, but I am going to Powell’s this weekend to pick one up.
As for Stargate Atlantis, season 4 is my favorite. This series is really flowing great. Amanda transitioned well into the authority figure, but I still prefer to see her in action. Sad to see her leave, but Sanctuary looks good and I am sure she will make appearances back on SGA and hopefully more SG1 movies. I am really looking forward to season 5 of SGA!
Will the Asuran ship from GitM be of any combat use against the Wraith?
Also, I’m turning 21 today! (It is now Tuesday as I am writing this!!!) 😀
–ussrelativity from the GateWorld Forum
As much as I like seeing the pictures of David and Kavan, any chance we’ll get to see a picture or two of Joe Flanigan? He seems to be absent lately.
No problemo SOP, I knew you’d like it! I think the photos were stunning but Joe’s……wow! Not that I’m biased or anything. Plus he’s an incredible actor to boot.
Let us know what the mirror’s like when it gets delivered. Maybe you could get on ebay like Orlin and get the thing working LOL!
Absolutely. I wouldn’t go mucking around with those things. Very dangerous.
Dang. Pessimism is so rampant. I’m enjoying the fact that we’re going to get an all-female team and look forward to seeing how it unfolds; no matter who survives or doesn’t.
And best of luck to the entire production office during their mourning of The Budapest.
Like many have commented, Woermann was definitely my favorite character. There was just something about him: loyal, a man out of his time, a painter. It was a very interesting contrast between him and the Major. Woermann was the true soldier, the Major just a bully. It was sad knowing that, as with any typical horror book or movie, he wasn’t going to last. He was a bit of the tragic hero, he had a fatal flaw that made it so he couldn’t escape. I was glad, though, that even after death, he was able to get his back at the Major. The Major’s death scene was probably one of the creepiest parts of the book.
What I really enjoyed about the book was the writing. The narrative was fast-paced, engaging, the characters well-developed. As you mentioned, Cuza’s faith debate was very fascinating and added a lovely philosophical approach to the story I can’t imagine is in a lot of horror books. Cuza’s journey as a person, his fight with Magda and his downfall via Molasar was inevitable. He too had a fatal flaw–his curiosity. It was that which allowed Molasar to worm his way into his mind, and then into his heart by the promise to defeat Hitler.
The painting was suitably creepy and a great foreshadowing technique.
That being said, I wasn’t scared once. Disturbed, perhaps, even creeped out, but never scared. I suspect this has to do with the medium, however. There has only been one book that has ever actually made me scared. So I don’t blame the author for this.
Two things really let me down about this book. While I liked both Magda and Glenn, about page 276, when he finds her in his room, I wanted to know when the author had decided it was a romance novel. Sure, sure, relationships are part of any story. But the “perfect” sex scene and all the sappy romantic thoughts ruined it for me–it became formulaic, then. I knew no matter what, he would live as would she, with the typical “happily ever after”.
Secondly, the end seemed incredibly campy. Ok, so he’s not a vampire, though he’s the basis for the “myth”(I was pleased the author included Vlad considering that is where the vampire myths are said to come from, it was a nice historical touch), but armies of the undead? Again, the story went from interesting to a rather formulaic zombie book.
As to the cross, even before Glenn talked to Magda about it, I thought to myself, how can Molasar be afraid of it? The soldier was wearing one and yet he still died. It couldn’t be the faith of the person behind it, because then it never would have worked for Cuza who had no faith in the cross. The clues really stood out to me that Molasar was deceiving Cuza. Perhaps it was my own knowledge of myths, or the various themes of TV shows and books I read, but almost always, evil lies. Or, they tell a truth that lends credence to their story that they’re not all bad. The manipulation of Cuza was great, but rather transparent.
And finally, the end reveal was something out of a fantasy novel, not horror. It made me disappointed. The book had been going along so well, and then suddenly, it changed genres. While yes, it was a “twist” to the genre, it didn’t surprise me so much as throw me out of the story.
Well, it turns out The Keep is the first in a six-book series called The Adversary Cycle.
Ah, that does explain some of the ending.
All that being said, obvious, you can never make every person happy. Reading the above comments, I noticed a lot of readers who wanted that happy ending, while I’m more a fan of tragic endings. But overall, it was a great book to read,interesting and captivating.
A couple questions for Mr. Wilson, if you don’t mind:
How did you come to be an author of sci-fi, horror and such with a no doubt busy schedule as a physician? Is writing something you’d always wanted to do? And why these genres?
How (specifically with this book, or in general if you prefer), did you write the twists and turns? Did you have the end reveal in mind before ever sitting down to write it, or did you write from the beginning and the storyline “revealed” itself to you as you wrote?
Thanks to both you, Joe, and Mr. Wilson!
“I’ve heard rumblings that the all-woman gate team will first be met on a survey on a planet accompanied by John (even though there’s already military on the team) and Carson (even though there’s already a doctor on the team.) This can’t be right! Surely John and Carson show up after something particularly in Carson’s field was found, and John tagged along because he was bored? I know you wouldn’t want to imply that the all-girl team needs male supervision, as the rumours I’ve heard imply.”
Maybe I am missing something, but hasn’t Lorne and his team had “male supervision” on his some of his missions as well? Should we be assuming it is saying something nefarious about his “manhood”? 😀
Actually, after reading the actresses’ biographies, I wouldn’t worry about them being made to look silly by anyone. They are as tough as they are gorgeous.
I’d like to ask Mr. Wilson if he had issues with the movie version of The Keep, or if it was all just speculation by the public or media.
On April 14, 2008 at 11:32 am firefly827347 Said: After meeting Jamie Bamber and Adam Baldwin this weekend…
Ah, Jamie. Loved him back in his Hornblower days. Several of my friends have met him, and they say he’s just as sweet as can be. I REALLY wanted to like BSG because of him, but alas…the show is just too godawful depressing for me…I didn’t make it past the first three episodes. Hubby loyally watches it, but I can’t be around when it’s on because it just brings me too far down. Shame… ’cause I really like Jamie’s work.
On a brighter note – all the talk the other day inspired me to whip up a batch of chicken paprikash last night – it was YUM!! ONLY PROBLEM: Do NOT eat chicken paprikash while watching Vengeance for the VERY first time… 😕 I didn’t know about all the icky stuff in the beginning… 😛 BUT, with Vengeance and First Strike under my belt, I’m pretty much caught up! W00T!
Speaking of Vengeance, it brings me back to the whole ‘what scares you’ thing again. I think the unseen scares me the most (the shark unseen under the water, the bug monster unseen crawling through the air ducts, the alien lurking unseen outside the windows). You KNOW it’s there, but you don’t know when and where it will strike. Freaks me right out. In retrospect, and having had a few days to think about this – Shyamalan’s stuff scares the crap out of me, even when I KNOW what is going to happen. I saw The Village long after it was out of the theaters and, even though I knew every single spoiler, my heart was still in my throat throughout most of the film.
Of course, it could be just me. To put it in the words of John Turturro’s character in Secret Window – I ‘scare awful easy’… 😛
dyginc said yesterday:
Now I am in the middle of the Blade Itself wondering how I can get the third book from the UK so that I can finish that series in one fatal swoop.
You could email the people at:
and ask if they deliver overseas or not.
Or this site might have it (a mix of new and second hand books):
They list US shops as well as UK,so presumably deliver within/to the US.
I really wish I could participate in your Book of the Month Club this time around, but I am a tad too busy. 🙁
Watching the video from “Search and Rescue”, that set looks really large and complex. How are you able to make such a large set in a considerable amount of time?
Thanks as always!
– Enzo Aquarius
Sorry to interrupt the book talk, but for those who may have been waiting for it (all one of you? ;P), the second part of my Ark of Truth play-by-play review is up at Sequential Tart:
I enjoyed The Keep. The contrast between the Nazis and the German Army made me feel like I was back in Modern European History class, so I “heard” a lot of the early chapters in the rich baritone of my history professor.
The hanged man in the painting was a delicious tid-bit; the haunted painting is one of my favorite horror motifs. Fascinating.
At first Cuza’s crisis of faith was intriguing, but I read it with some skepticism. I was right, trickery. However, my magpie mind wouldn’t let vampires and Judaism alone, I kept picturing the Jewish vampire in Polanksi’s The Fearless Vampire Killers. I think of Buffy and Paul Reubens’s Bad Death Scene when I think of the Vampire Killers, because post-Buffy they’re all “slayers” instead; the read was good but it was all downhill with a Pythonesque chorus nattering away at me with imaginary comic relief commentary. Disconcerting, as I usually get lost in a book instead of being hyper-aware of the comic potential in non-comic genres.
Where wolf? See, I’m doing it still.
I know you’ve commented on it in the past, but I was wondering about your opinion on Ender’s Game. It’s a book I’ve always considered reading (I’ve rarely seen anything bad written about it), but I’m not sure about the whole 10 year old kid as the hero. I keep having flashbacks to Phantom Menace…which is not a good thing. Any thoughts to that? I’m hoping that I will have finished “The Blade Itself” in time for the May discussion and based on the commments on “The Keep” I think I’ll have to add that to my list.
Hey did’nt Michael Mann make a movie of the book “The Keep” back in the 80’s? or am I thinking of something else? Probably would not stack up to the book anyway.
We’re thinking of going out later this week and drowning our sorrows in Transylvanian sausages and perogies. You in?
It’s for gems like these that I read this blog – also, now I want to work with you folks. Deepest sympathies on your loss.
Thank you for what you’ve written about getting your work published. It was interesting and informative, and I have a quick follow-up question. I am interested in writing both books and TV/movie scripts. Would you suggest finding one literary agent who works with both or using two agents that each specialize in one field?
I had generally positivie feelings about “The Keep.” I enjoyed it more than “Children of the Night” because “The Keep” felt more engaged with the scary aspects while “Children of the Night” felt far more clinical. I think.
F. Paul Wilson is clearly a capable writer and he does a good job of introducing characters and giving them distinct voices. He also deftly maneuvers through a fairly complex plots with surprises throughout. It’s also true that he wastes no time getting into the story. As did Joe, I liked that not everything was predictable. I particularly loved the reveal about the crosses and how Molasar lied and manipulated Cuza into questioning his faith and thus undermined him completely. Completely took me off guard. I do love to be surprised.
Two well drawn characters, Woermann and Cuza. I was quite angry that Woermann was killed, but not because it didn’t make sense. No, I was upset because I really liked the character, his common sense, his sense of honor and I’d hoped he would survive. Even more upsetting was to see a character of such inner strength be forced into the living death he experienced. Absolutely the best thing that this little bit of POV from the living dead was saved for Woermann. It made it that much more horrific.
Cuza had a lot of layers, varying motivation. I didn’t like him, but that was okay. I could understand what was going on in him. He had a lot that Molasar could grab onto.
I’ve been wondering why Molasar waited so long to kill Woerman. He certainly didn’t try to corrupt him. Perhaps he knew it was pointless? Then again, why not use Kaempffer to get his work done instead of working so hard to corrupt Cuza? He would have been free that much sooner. That joy of torturing Cuza instead of focusing on the larger goal seems a bit convenient.
While Magda and Glenn may be less layered, I like what Wilson did with them. Glenn is quite old and is emotionally remote. Yet, he fears death and as a result, failed to kill Molasar and instead imprisoned him. Now Molasar is free. Glenn must react. How do you give Glenn, this ancient creature, the impetus to finally kill his enemy and risk death?
Enter Magda. He has to have a character near him who can show him what he is trying to protect. Increase his stake in the game. That increased stake will give him the strength in the end to do what he must do and risk himself to do it.
Wilson definitely knows how to ratchet up the tension and pull his characters through.
I will say that I made a point not to read this book at night. It gave me nightmares. On the other hand, I found the gore to be a bit excessive at the start (I get more sensitive to the images the older I get). I found some of the scenes overstated to the point I rolled my eyes. For example, when the dead soliders enter Kaempffer’s room and drop on top of him. I get that this is the best way to unnerve Kaempffer, but, well, kind of cliche.
I didn’t think of the battle between Glenn and Molasar, the idea of the first age versus Second Age, as a shift into fantasy. The ideas didn’t stray from the core ideas of horror and, in this case at least, the battle between good and evil. I’m curious why you define that piece as fantasy?
My question for the author has to do with how he pulls together a complex story such as this one? Does the idea for the larger concept, perhaps the ages-old battle between light and evil come first and then do you build the rest around it? It seems obvious to have set this story during WWII because it fits so well, but I know it likely wasn’t immediately obvious. Or did he start with an idea of doing something set in WWII and built out from there. Did he always want to write horror? What does he enjoy about the genre?
Thanks for the video Joe. Is that the lovely Amanda who waves at the camera?
Thanks, Chev, for yesterday’s gorgeous photo of Joe F. At least someone understands that there are a number of fans with “special” needs. Perhaps, when Whispers starts filming…?
Any news on ‘The Flan’, Joe? Will it ever make a reappearance on the menue?
1)Will there be any major disagreements between the core four this upcoming season?
2)Will anyone consider leaving Atlantis to fight against the enemies of the Pegasus Galaxy without the restriction of rules and regulations?
Hey JM,how come you don’t answer many comments about Teyla,is it because it’ll give too much away….Is there anything you can tell us about Teyla that’ll make us Teyla fans a little happier?
Have you ever thought of hiring any Female writers?
Is there any more Teyla heavy episodes in S5 apart from the Queen ep?
Is there gonna be any whump at all for Teyla in S5,either emotional or physical will do 😉
Will there be any Rodney/Teyla friendship in season 5? I love seeing those two interact.
Okay, The Keep. I wasn’t sure I wanted to weigh in on this. On one hand, it was a good read (I am a dedicated fan of F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack series), and it was a revelation to see where the Adversary story began. I know I’m going to have to delve into the Adversary books now to satisfy my curiosity.
On the other hand, I was put off by the love story between Glenn and Magda. It almost read like a bodice-ripper in parts, although I concede that’s usually a part of vampire stories, which this turned out not to be. I guessed midway that Glenn (Glaeken) is referenced in the Repairman Jack stories, and actually, I think the fact that I came to those stories first sort of spoiled The Keep for me.
The best quality of the book, though, is that you’re never on solid ground. You think you have it figured out, and then you don’t. Molasar isn’t really a vampire, but something worse which is the source of the legend. He predates Christianity, or any religion, and so isn’t afraid of Christian symbols, but is afraid of symbols of The Advocate (the sword hilt). That certainly takes care of the problem of a vampire who wouldn’t be daunted by, say, Jewish, or Hindu, or other religious symbols (there’s another explanation in Matheson’s I Am Legend, btw, but that’s a different scenario altogether.
I’m most intrigued (and disturbed) by Mr. Wilson’s philosophical take on good vs. evil. According to his stories, evil isn’t quite as evil, and good isn’t quite as good, as humans understand evil and good. It kind of has the tinge of Zoroastrianism (the dual universe of struggle between light and dark), and I wonder if Mr. Wilson’s writings were influenced by that, or if that’s just the way he sees the universe.
Thoughts on The Keep. Like you, I enjoy being surprised by the twists and turns in a book. Waiting for the unexpected to happen. The Keep was all that. I enjoy horror more than sci-fi or fantasy, so this book was right up my alley.
Small, dark, cramped places (read “caves”) have always given me chills, so when Lutz started to dig and crawl in the hole, I new nothing good could come of it. Plus, all those dark tunnels under the keep kept me hugging my pillow for safety. I really liked that the villain, Molasar, was not revealed right away. That fear of the unknown is always scarier. I especially liked that he wasn’t a vampire, even though I was duped like so many others. I read that part and said to myself, this is just another vampire story. So glad that wasn’t the case.
I found myself on Woermann’s side, wanting him to survive to the end, but recognizing why he couldn’t. I was quite creeped out by Woermann choking Kaempffer, but cheering the whole way. Weird to cheer for the death of a “bad guy” by the hands of a dead man. I could sympathize with his struggle of honor in the German military vs. the Nazis. Never really thought about that before.
I couldn’t like Cuza. I understood his need to know all about the keep and Molasar, but how he could turn on his daughter, even though he was being coerced by Molasar only made him appear to be weak in character. He let his “healing” and the lies Molasar was telling him overcome the love for and years of trust in his daughter.
I enjoyed Madga, and understood her need to care for her father, even though she was shortchanged on having a life of her own. She was written as a strong female character, with a deep sense of responsibility to care for her father. I enjoyed the romance aspect as well, and think it added to the character. The inner struggle between her doing right by her father, and her wish to have a life of her own was well written.
Glenn was also a strong character. The will to live was so strong he didn’t kill Molasar/Rasalom when he first had the chance. When he finally realized that he had to kill him, his love for Magda added to his resolve, for finally here was someone worth dying for. Wonderful ending that he didn’t die. I love happily ever after. (But since you said this is book one of a series, do they really live happily ever after? One will have to read to find out!)
Thanks Mr. Wilson for a job well done. Looking forward to the next five!
On a different note, Joe did you ever read more of the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King? I’m in the middle of book six, and they really did get a lot better after the first one. I’m enjoying them immensely!
Happy reading everyone!
Rebecca H: I’m most intrigued (and disturbed) by Mr. Wilson’s philosophical take on good vs. evil. According to his stories, evil isn’t quite as evil, and good isn’t quite as good, as humans understand evil and good.
I second this, and would like to ask Mr Wilson to please briefly discuss this viewpoint, what influenced him to form these ideas? thanks
Maybe I’ve seen too much Stargate, but I think the “Others” and the “Ori” lean quite a bit this way also.
Regarding The Keep, most of my questions and comments have been covered by other posters. As someone who “never” reads books in the horror category or watches horror movies, I picked this book up with trepedation, but I really enjoyed it. I’ll be checking out the other books in the Adversary Cycle as well as Repairman Jack.
My question to F. Paul Wilson: Who decides the category/genre for placing and promoting a book? Is it the writer, publisher, etc. Do you know where the book will be placed before you begin, or is it categorized after writing? I’m interested to know if you write with a certain audience in mind, or let the story go where it will. Thank you for answering our questions.
Thanks, Joe, for recommending books outside my “comfort zone” and facilitating such interesting discussion!
Thanks for the clip! I hope to be able to participate in your BOM discussions during this summer. Right now, with finals and final projects coming due, it’s a little harried for a high school teacher. Any idea what your pick for June will be? I’d like to order the sci-fi and fantasy picks (not so much into horror) in advance so that I can start them in finals week (1st week of June).
Have a wonderful remainder of Tuesday!
I liked The Keep, but thought the romance was a little cheesy. There are so many people in this book-I guess if I have one question it would be-why so many? I loved Woermann but kept wishing I knew more about a few of the others. Aside from all that I’d still give it 4 out of 5 -the first half is terrifying!
Thanks Mr. Wilson, great book!
Thanks Joe–good selection this month
While on the topic of horror/creepy books, have you read any of the Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I still cannot drive past a cornfield without getting creeped out after reading Still Life with Crows.
Thanks for all the wonderful Atlantis updates. I can’t wait until Season 5 starts.
I really loved the style and feel to the way “Auroa” was shot in Season 2. The costumes and colors just gave the whole thing a really cool feel. I also enjoyed “Tabula Rasa” in the way it was shot and cut and the grainy look to it. Same thing about the reds and overall construction of Atlantis during “The Last Man.”
Are there any episodes in season 5 that are going to have those types of usual feels and looks direction wise..or costume changes for the cast?
Alas I would have loved to weigh in on The Keep, but having not been able to read it I would be forming my response based on what others have told me, which as I have recently learned is considered Hear-Say and is inadmissible.
If there’s Schnitzel being served I’m there, that is as long as I’m not sequestered.
dyginc said yesterday:
and Leesa Perrie Said:
You could also try the Book Depository. They have FREE DELIVERY worldwide!!
Although perhaps it’s built into the price. It lists Retail price: £12.99
Our Price: £13.77
Amazon Price: £7.79 (normal shipping: £2.75)
I am, to my detriment, one of those readers/viewers who will always see the twist coming, always figure things out ahead of time and then spend the rest of the book/movie impatiently awaiting the predicted reveal.
Have you read Jack McDevitt’s novel ‘A Talent For War’? Usually I’m like you, I see the twists coming a mile off, but this book had me hanging till the last page. I had no idea where it was going until it got there. It had been a long time since I’d read a book that good, and I didn’t want to put it down.
And speaking of the all-female team. The only complaint my mom had was that your casting of Christina Cox meant that Blood Ties obviously hadn’t been renewed.
When Carson is written back into the show, which it seems that way. What will be his role on Atlantis? A lot of fans have guessed he would be more of a research doctor say in genetics, rather than a medical doctor. I would also think when he is needed for that infirmary call, he’ll be there as well.
I think the chemistry with Keller and Carson was great in “The Kindred Part 2” Hopefully there will be a lot of Keller and Carson on screen together next season. They make a great team!
You’re welcome. I should put together a Joe F. album in my photobucket for everyone with “special needs”. In the meantime, check out my Stargate Community page – I’m sure you’ll appreciate the front page. Oh and check out the Hotlantis page on my profile. I haven’t really created the page yet but there’s a nice vid of Joe F discussing the environment (and urinating on his garden – LOL! I don’t thing the interviewer knew quite how to take that).
I am so bummed…I had this great insight about the hilt and the cross all typed up at work…emailed to my home address and I can’t get it to open…double damn.
Mr. M…just a quick question regarding Todd…(oh, stop rollin’ yer eyes… 😉 )
Will we be seeing CH Todd, or BP Todd in S5? Love both, but Chris, of course, *is* Todd.
oops must have missed closing the link tag. Try again.
You’re welcome. I should put together a Joe F. album in my photobucket for everyone with “special needs”. In the meantime, check out my Stargate Community page – I’m sure you’ll appreciate the front page. Oh and check out the Hotlantis page on my profile. I haven’t really created the page yet but there’s a nice vid of Joe F discussing the environment (and urinating on his garden – LOL! I don’t thing the interviewer knew quite how to take that).
Joe can you rank the following from largest to smallest… thanxs
Wraith hive ship