Thursday, March 23, 2017

Fangland by John Marks Book Review

Marks, John. Fangland. New York, Penguin Press, 2007. ISBN 9781594201172

Evangeline Harker, an associate producer on a popular television news magazine, The Hour, is sent to Romania rather against her will as she is planning to get married. There she is to meet one Ion Torgu, a notorious crime boss who has decided to tell his story. This trip turns out to be the stuff of nightmares filled with hotels that have seen better days, echoes of the Ceausescu era in buildings and places, a strange American missionary woman – or is she? – who wants to help and Torgu himself, an odd, difficult man who surrounds himself with relics of destroyed places and mutters a litany of names of battlefields and massacres. Alone with him, except for some dubious servants even he warns her about, in a run-down hotel in the middle of nowhere which he owns, she soon discovers he has an agenda of his own to remove to America.

In the meantime, her colleagues at The Hour become concerned that she has been gone so long. A search is instigated but something, some force seems to have infiltrated the offices of the news program, especially after some large crates come from Romania addressed to one of the correspondents. People start muttering the names of scenes of mass murder, some commit suicide, others become victims of a strange wasting disease and a peculiar bug appears to have infected the sound system as every interview or story has a curious hissing which sounds like place names being recited. Nothing has prepared these people in their world of image and network politics for what is happening and the danger fails even to register.

This novel has been described as Dracula rewritten for the 21st century. That doesn't really do it justice. Only the bare frame of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel has been used: a supernatural resident of Transylvania inveigles a young person from the "west" to visit him in order to effect his own transferral to a "newer" modern country whose citizens are ignorant of the danger they are in. One of the protagonists is called "Harker" and the story is assembled from diaries, personal accounts and correspondence (e-mail). Everything else is wholly original.

Just as the Bram Stoker novel played on the fears and concerns of the late 19th century, so this plays on those of the 21st century: loss of identity, the way the media shapes our perception of the world and above all, the long shadow of the various holocausts of the 20th century and beyond, up to and including the attack on the World Trade Centre. Indeed, The Hour's offices are right next to the crater in lower Manhattan. However, as Evangeline realises, the whole Earth is a charnel house – there is not one place on it where blood has not been shed by humans at some point over the millennia.

Romania, particularly Transylvania, is beautifully evoked as it is now, beautiful but still bearing the scars of Ceauşescu with dilapidated places once patronized by the Communist elite and ugly spots of polluting industry (such as Ploeşti). The once splendid hotels which for most visitors retain an air of slightly seedy charm (like some of the grand Victorian hotels at English seaside resorts) here become sinister places where the past is trapped. But underneath it all, "Transylvania" is not really the villain. Torgu is not Romanian (as he is quick to point out on a couple of occasions), his servants are Greek and what he represents is universal. Other types of villainy, many peculiar to late 20th century/21st century corporate society, are found among the American characters.

Evangeline is a complex character who starts off as a self-centred rather shallow and naïve woman; she fails to see any significance in the fact that Torgu's servants are called "Vourkulakis" and hail from the island of Santorini, and is more concerned that his appearance and manner make him an unsuitable subject for The Hour's audiences. She then undergoes a series of horrific experiences that bring out her strength, determination and resourcefulness despite the fact she, too, has become "infected"; she is both a heroine and murderess.

Although there is a certain amount of satire of television broadcast news and the mentality of those who work in that field, these characters are not puppets but are properly fleshed out. This only makes the medium's obsession with image and little else the more chilling.

However, the most chilling character is Torgu. Ugly and odd, he manages to be both threatening and charming in his dealings with Evangeline. However, about him hangs a charnel house atmosphere and he literally drags a shadowy army of the dead about with him. In many ways he is as much a victim as anyone, aware of his "burden", the result of his long dead father's curse; but this does not make him any less terrible. He is the author and centre of an insidious, creeping evil and his blood fetish calls to mind that form of necromancy which requires the blood of a living victim to make the dead speak.

Novels about vampires that are intelligently written and genuinely creepy are rare. This one also offers some very black humor, provides a sharp look at the media, and plays upon the horror of the human race's bloody past.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Short Guide to Effective Public Speaking

To provide an efficient submitted to the 20 or 200 people is difficult. As the audience better access to information, because the popularity of the Internet, the audience look forward to more content from today's speakers. In addition, since most of the media and entertainment tilt of today, the audience hope and animation, humor, delivered a speech, and charm.

If you prefer to take the time to prepare than reading a book, speeches, this is a special article for you! From over l500 speeches during the past 20 years of experience, here is a quick guide to provide an effective and interesting introduction to your first time.

Things started to get the audience's attention. This may be a surprising statement, statistics, or your own story. The audience pay close attention to when a person is the beginning, "Two weeks ago, when I was driving to work the car parked in front of me had ...。" you can begin in the current events:" You may read the paper this morning about flooding. .. "a problem is another way to make people listen. "You have how many people feel that our society puts too much medical care?" May be a blow to begin the cost of presentation. Whether you use the technology, when you grasp the audience on your way to a successful presentation is concerned.

Second, we should vigorously delivery. Speak in your voice is different. Slow down a dramatic point and speed up display excitement. Pause occasionally affected. Do not just stand behind the podium, but moving one step away point. When you encourage your audience on their steps. In order to reflect the extent or wide or high or small object that you described. Demonstrate how something works or looks or move you have said. Show expression talking to you. Laughing about something pleasant and let your face show other emotions, when you tell an event or activity. Regardless of your actions, they should have purpose.

Structure of your statement. Do not more than 23 points, and preview at the beginning of what the local stations. Each point, there are two or three pieces of support, such as examples, definitions, testimony, or statistics. Audio-visual equipment is important when you want to know your audience to understand the process or concept or financial goals. The trend line chart is the best. Bar chart is a pie chart to compare and the best performance is the best percentage of revenue.

With your points and transition. These may be signs, such as "first", "2" or "final." Using a simple point, including those you have just mentioned, and tell what you plan to talk about the next one internal summary. "Now we talk on the structure, let us into the story to use," will be an example. When you have an introduction, two or three mutually supportive focus, appropriate transition and concluded that you have your own way of speech, the audience can follow you easier to organize.

Tell your own story somewhere in the presentation - especially in the technical presentations. Including the personal experience to connect to the content of your speech, the audience will contact you. You want to help are you talking about, and personal experience, the audience mood is not connected. You can choose almost any topic, you must have at least one "war story" related to the topic. When you tell this story, as long as starting from scratch, and moving chronologically through the narrative, including the "W" questions: "Who," What, "when", "why" and "where."

To add interest and understanding of your speech, including a visual aid. Visual aid may be an object, wall charts, PowerPoint presentations, overhead transparencies, or whiteboards board. Whether you are using a vision, to ensure that everyone can see it. The best way to ensure that it is your vision will speak, and then find a seat as far as to determine whether you can read the visual from that seat. The introduction of the visual properly rather than simply throw in your audience, explained that you opened it in vision. Do not let vision become a silent demonstration. The visual display allows you to talk. You are still the main event, your vision is a kind of aid. Look at your audience, not your vision. When the visual is not used to conceal audience. Human beings are a strange lot, tends to maintain a forward-looking words and objects have lost track of you!

In addition, if you provide your own story, convincing speech, including the views of experts and the audience, respect your opinion, strengthen the testimony. Add a key statistics may show you the seriousness of the discussion. For example, if I were to discuss the need to improve in order to better listen to your customer service, I would like to add that although we spend time to listen to half of our communication, we listened to the efficiency of only about 25%. In your conversation by telling stories, testimony, and statistics, in-depth to your evidence.

See you in the audience to speak. If it is a small audience, you can see everyone in a very short period of time. If it is a huge audience, in small "clumps viewers," from one cluster to another. One way to ensure good eye contact is to look at your audience, and then began to speak. To the podium and pause, smile, look at the audience, and then speak again. This will help you maintain your entire presentation, as well as command the immediate attention of the good eye contact.

This method has a good eye contact is one not to read your statement. Card using the attention to their keywords. A word or phrase should trigger the thought in your mind, then you can speak English. If you are including the quotation marks or complex statistics, notes from your readers actually more credible. If you write your address, often read, lose eye contact with the audience, and are not considered in the delivery of enthusiasm, to speak from note cards.

In your speech, the "wow" factor. Something in your speech to your audience that "wow!" This could be a story, a dramatic point, an unusual statistics, or an effective visualization, help the audience understand immediately. With the "wow" factor, and then something to look forward in the speech, you know your audience will be affected. You will become more active to speak, because the "wow" factor will get you and your audience's speech pumping.

In considering the use of humor to speak of your contacts. Do not panic, it is recommended that you not become a comedian, but rather to alleviate a serious speech, so that more people will accept your ideas and interests. Humor will help you become an amiable person that this is hard to disagree or bored if they are to you smile. Unless you have a wealth of experience to make your humor short. May be injected into a liner or a quotation. Yogi Berra said a lot of interesting things. "You can see just to see such as" a lot. Tell you that life is a short embarrassing moment, you might think that was not funny. Now, you can laugh at the experience, you know the old adage, "Humor is just the tragedy of separation of time and space." Do not make fun of your audience, you should be the object of any defects, which indicates that you can laugh at themselves. Avoid long stories or jokes. Even seasoned speakers know that, interesting stories soon become unfunny if they are long way to go. Perhaps the least risk is to use humor is a cartoon. This cartoon is independent of you, if people do not laugh, you do not feel responsible. (Be sure to ensure that its permission to use.)

Finally, something to leave the audience thinking. People remember most clearly what you said last. You might sum up, the main content or you may complete the statement, "I want you to do the results of this demonstration is ...." But beyond that, so you think about the idea last sentence. For example, I might be late with "a better speaker because of his speech Cicero said centuries ago, 'such as skills and do it."

The guidance of a more modern and effective public is authored some unknown sage: "Know your stuff. Who knows you are filling. Know when they are full."

It will never be a "perfect" speech; to develop public speaking skills is a lifelong experience. However, the main points discussed here will allow you to be talking and speakers you want to be the beginning of the audience wanted to hear.

Fangland by John Marks Book Review

Marks, John. Fangland. New York, Penguin Press, 2007. ISBN 9781594201172 Evangeline Harker, an associate producer on a popular television ...