Wesley Britton's Blog

May 29, 2020

Book Review: Beaming Up and Getting Off: Life Before and After Star Trek by Walter Koenig

Beaming Up and Getting Off: Life Before and After Star Trek
Walter Koenig
Publisher: Jacobs/Brown Press (April 24, 2020)
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
ASIN: B087N1HHFC

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087N1HHFC/...

Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton


Without question, the primary audience for Walter Koenig's new update to his 1999 memoir, Warp Factors, will be Star Trek fans who remember Koenig best for his role as Ensign Pavel Chekov in the original Star Trek along with aficionados of his role as the evil Alfred Bester in Babylon Five. Such fans shouldn't be disappointed, even those who previously read Warp Factors.

There may be those who question the value of a new version of Koenig's autobiography as it might not seem, at first glance, all that much has happened in the actor's life in two decades. Well, that's only if you are looking for insights into popular screen roles. In fact, Koenig has much to talk about in an additional 100 pages that is new and does so with his very engaging writing style. In fact, I'd say Chekov and Bester aside, any reader wishing for insights into an actor's life in Hollywood from the '50s to the present should easily enjoy Beaming Up.

That's mainly because Koenig is a very expressive writer, his story full of self-deprecating humor, lots of colorful imagery, and the fact he doesn't merely recite events and anecdotes but shares his feelings and reactions to the moments, people, triumphs and missteps that impacted his life. Among other topics, He discusses his Jewish cultural background and his work ethic, his lesser known projects, including those never produced or those seen by small audiences. But never does the reader sense an agenda, a venting, a man settling any scores. We meet a man presenting himself openly and honestly with a wisdom accrued from experience with a lively approach to his craft and behind-the-scenes life.

I'll admit, the story lags from time to time, mostly during his recounting of his appearances at fan conventions. Those were anecdotes he couldn't not include, of course, and I noticed one story he told an audience at a convention I attended wasn't included in the book. He did retell it later in a radio interview I had with him and hope to get him to retell in a similar interview soon. As they used to say, stay tuned . . .

True, Koenig's descriptions of his early years as Chekov on Star Trek are not the long heart of the book some might hope for. But that is more than made up for in his tales regarding later projects, such as his working in fan-made web-episodes and his thoughts about Anton Yelchin taking over the Chekov role in the 2009 reboot trilogy. I think I already knew this, but I was surprised to read Koenig was 31 when he was cast to be Star Trek's answer to Davy Jones of The Monkees. Among the disappointments of his professional life, the purpose of his casting became a bit muted when CBS shifted the show's time slot to Friday nights when the young audience Chekov was supposed to appeal to weren't watching. At least, not then.

But any reader interested in an autobiography well-told that is guaranteed to be entertaining should give this one a try, whether or not you're a fan of sci-fi television. There's so much more to the life and times of Walter Koenig and so much surprising wisdom to enjoy. Beam on up and get off with Walter Koenig for your summer reading and beyond--


This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on May 29, 2020:

https://waa.ai/e0S9
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May 27, 2020

New Book Review of Alpha Tales 2044!

Got this 5 Star Amazon review today from novelist Preston Fleming (Author of MAID OF BAIKAL) on my Alpha Tales 2044:

Colorful introduction to Beta-Earth Chronicles series or can be read as standalone short stories
Alpha Tales 2044 is an interconnected series of short stories that can be read as a standalone volume or can serve as an introduction to the Beta-Earth Chronicles series. The action is set in a richly imagined future where half-breed aliens arrive on earth amid a recovery from ecological and man-made catastrophes and run afoul of those who govern America.
I came as a newcomer to Wes Britton’s writings. While the stories in this short book are too brief to develop the characters as deeply as I expect they will be developed in the novels of the Beta-Earth series, one particular character, Major Mary Carpenter Renbourn stands out as someone I would like to get to know much better. I enjoyed Mary’s exploits against the Texas Neo-Nazis in the Alpha Earth Sketches and look forward to seeing more of her in other volumes.
I recommend Alpha Tales 2044 highly to new readers of the Beta-Earth Chronicles series and expect that veteran fans of the series will also find much to like in the book.


https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Tales-20...
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Published on May 27, 2020 13:04 Tags: crime-fiction, detective-stories, mysteries, post-apocalyptic, sasquatch, science-fiction

May 16, 2020

Book Review: Lumina, Volume 1 The Dragonlite Legacy by Paddy Tyrrell

Lumina, Volume 1 The Dragonlite Legacy
PADDY TYRRELL
Publication Date: December 1, 2019
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
ASIN: B0827TDXQM

https://www.amazon.com/LUMINA-Dragonl...


Review by: Dr. Wesley Britton

The first pages of Paddy Tyrrell's Lumina are a perfect model for how to start a novel. First, we're dropped into the middle of an action scene. Second, we are vividly introduced to two of the book's primary characters. Third, we immediately get insights into one of the main conflicts of the book, a cultural clash that defines a world in turmoil.

In but a few pages, we get striking samples of Tyrrell's descriptive gifts and begin to see the themes of intolerance and prejudice that are analogous to too many eras of our earth's history. I liked the fact this is the breed of science-fiction where character, world building, and cultural interaction are the thrust of the story and not exotic weaponry, space flight, or really strange creatures, although we get no shortage of the latter. I admit, these days I dread the idea of yet another overused dragon in my reading, but I have to say Tyrrell has a number of clever ways to play with dragons and baby dragons in her yarn.

Very quickly in Lumina, we can see the various paths of various distinctive characters in what opens up to be an other-worldly epic although many of the plots seem very grounded in earth lore. For example, one storyline involving the royal court of one country seems based on the life of concubines in an ancient Asian country. Other stories are obvious takes on the heroic quest involving the search for a lost brother, finding unlikely allies in a brewing war, and overcoming intolerance between humanoid species, especially against the golden-skinned genetically-engineered "Bronzites" who are excluded from human society.

So many characters in this book are memorable, some extremely admirable, such as Davron Berates who has to choose between friendship and his people along with his internal conflict over accepting his love for a strange Bronzite woman, the magical Chrystala who transforms in ways no one expected. Then there's my favorite, the lovely Salazai who suffers from the slowest-acting poison ever conceived. These characters and their friends and enemies are all center stage as war explodes in a multi-layered conflict spreading over a very wide and bloody canvas. The carnage of the climatic battle scenes is so epic it's amazing how this volume of the series could end on such a gentle note.

While this volume is a very long read, it's a welcome thought to know there is more to come that will hopefully resolve issues set up in the final chapters of book one. I want to know what will happen to the survivors of the war that left many heroes dead on the battlefield.


This review was first published at BookPleasures.com on May 16, 2020:


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Published on May 16, 2020 13:50 Tags: dragons, fantasy, heroic-epics, sci-fan, science-fiction

April 23, 2020

Coronavirus and Tales of Future Passed

Coronavirus and Tales of Future Passed

Written by Dr. Wesley Britton

Very quickly after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic began, I realized everything had changed for writers of futuristic fiction, especially all of us who have written post-apocalyptic stories. For one matter, before this pandemic, virtually everything we put into future-set stories was completely speculative. We based what we created on projections drawing from the best research we could find. Now, we have a baseline to work from, drawing from international experience on virtually every level: medical, economic, political, religious, environmental, sociological, and very personal, certainly psychological.

Before COVID-19, there was a deep well of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic literature we can now consider for comparisons between fantasy and reality. Stephen King’s 1978 The Stand or Michael Crichton’s influential 1968 The Andromeda Strain were examples of a genre grammaticizing virus outbreaks resulting from alien incursions, scientific accidents, as well as deliberately released terrorist attacks or war gone amuck.

From Atomic Age giant monsters to wayward comets to 21st century walking dead, we got cautionary tales about what might happen if we don’t do this or don’t do that. We were warned that humanity could pay a heavy price for ecological neglect, scientific carelessness, or unawareness of what weaponized plagues could be released if we’re not carefully watching groups willing to put our planet at risk to reach their nefarious goals.

Of course, a much older tradition goes to The Book of Revelation where Armageddon is what God has had in mind all along. Distinguished authors who have dealt with fictional pandemics in particular include Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley, who published The Last Man in 1826; Jack London’s 1912 The Scarlet Plague; Richard Matheson’s popular 1954 I Am Legend, and Gore Vidal’s 1978 Kalki.

I thought of all this when I watched the horror of coffins of unknown people being dumped into mass graves in New York. That was something I had used as a fictional trope in my futuristic Return to Alpha (2017) on an earth impacted by climate change as well as waves of weaponized plagues released by Islamic terrorist groups. One question at the core of my novel, and many others by other writers, is how would humanity handle post-apocalyptic life? Few such novels in a very wide genre paint optimistic portraits. Humans tend to largely revert to barbarism, or at least primitive tribal communities often cut off from the rest of the world led by powerful men with women as slaves or near-slaves. Deadly competition dictates who gets what resources. Frequently, our reliance on technology is reduced as in Machine Sickness: Eupocalypse Book 1 by Peri Dwyer Worrell where nearly every material on earth with any petroleum polymers from shoes to computers to transportation of all kinds breaks down. One word sums up what many futurist writers envision: grim. One recent example of such unrelentingly dark forecasting is Maxwell Rudolf’s The Arkhe Principle: A post-apocalyptic technothriller (2017).

Now, we are going through an experience that changes everything. Writers will now have to touch what COVID-19 did as it impacts all of human history like nothing since World War II. To paint a believable future, the COVID-19 virus will have to get at least a passing mention in futuristic fiction as it will be a serious turning point in earth history.


Like--

Subscribers to Wes Britton’s newsletter will get an exclusive scene in the upcoming edition written for a post-apocalyptic short story featuring detective Mary Carpenter. It follows the ideas expressed in this “Coronavirus” essay describing how COVID-19 has affected earth – with a surprising twist at the end.

Sign up now – the next newsletter will be coming soon!

https://drwesleybritton.com/newsletter/

More on Return to Alpha:

https://drwesleybritton.com/books/ret...

More on Alpha Tales 2044:

https://drwesleybritton.com/books/alp...
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April 12, 2020

Chat and Spin radio interview link

I can now share a direct link--more or less--to my April 11 online radio interview on Chat and Spin radio. After you click on the link below, I appear at the hour and 22 minute mark in the show. It's about 7 minutes long and the first seconds have us sharing some technical difficulties--so please be a tad patient. I'm on after the show host takes some time to plug the show's GoFundMe page.

https://www.mixcloud.com/ian-johnson2...
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Published on April 12, 2020 12:11 Tags: apocolyptic-fiction, futuristic-fiction, radio-interview, science-fiction

April 11, 2020

Book Review: Machine Sickness: Eupocalypse Book 1

Machine Sickness: Eupocalypse Book 1
Peri Dwyer Worrell
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
ASIN: B074P2PM9J
https://www.amazon.com/Machine-Sickne...

Reviewed by: Dr. Wesley Britton

While Peri Dwyer Worrell's Eupocalypse Trilogy came out years before the Covid-19 plague, it's now impossible, for me, to read any apocalyptic tales without thinking how reality has changed the landscape for speculative, futuristic fiction. As I write that sort of stuff myself, I know reality has forever made it difficult not to compare what has actually happened with all the imaginative possibilities writers have been publishing for years and years.

Not that there are a lot of similarities between the Covid virus and the illness it inflicts on humanity and the artificially-engineered microbe Worrell imagines. While the microbe was intended to clean up ocean oil spills, the microbe gets out of hand and starts to spread planet-wide. It destroies anything with petroleum-based polymers. That includes anything plastic from shoe soles to wiring to asphalt-- leading to an international inability to communicate using modern technology or have working transportation; virtually every aspect of life is stripped to the barest of essentials.

The scientist who created the virus, the book's main character, is suspected of being a terrorist and is imprisoned before she can escape and find her way to one of the remote supposedly safe havens humans create to retain some remains of civilization. But as nearly every story of an apocalypse on earth has illustrated before, humanity would most likely revert to savage barbarism. Most likely, men would impose their will on women, roaming militia-style groups would take what they want from whomever has items or desirable goods, and people would probably congregate in small, well-guarded sanctuaries while they invent and create new ways to build new transportation machines, grow crops, and manufacture nearly anything and everything in new ways.

All of this, from the beginnings of the plague to the first responses to it to what evolves internationally is demonstrated in an increasingly wider and wider cast of characters who are vividly described, beginning with the tale's main protagonist, DD, the creator of the microbe. We see how people interact to the most basic of functions, like child-birth, and witness humanity break down into small entities based on the motives and needs of populations mostly in America and Africa. It's a panorama that expands and gets more involved to the point its obvious the story can't be contained in one volume. No, it's a trilogy with the sequels, Watch It Burn and Catallaxis already available for your reading pleasure. And mine.

Machine Sickness clearly falls into the "hard science" sub-genre of science-fiction, and is consequently frighteningly believable. The well-drawn characters are also believable, sometimes alluring, sometimes chilling. Because of the graphic violence and occasional sexuality, most older readers would view this book as not for young adults but, folks, times change. What you think young adults can handle these days has changed so much in recent years. Especially now with all of us learning what a pandemic can mean in every aspect of our lives. Strange to say a fictional apocalypse can be such an entertaining diversion from the world outside our individual quarantine zones. If I wasn't clear before, yes, I strongly recommend this book. Very good stuff very well told.


This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on April 11, 2020 at:

https://waa.ai/TLIE
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Published on April 11, 2020 09:11 Tags: apocolyptic-fiction, futurist-speculation, microbes, science-fiction, thriller

February 16, 2020

Book Review: Dragon Bone Soup Edited by DW Brownlaw and P. C. Darkcliff

Dragon Bone Soup
Edited by DW Brownlaw and P. C. Darkcliff
Publisher: Independently published
Release date: December 9, 2019
ISBN-10: 1673703976
ISBN-13: 978-1673703979
https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Bone-So...

When I reached the end of Dragon Bone Soup, I realized I had just finished my favorite short story anthology I have ever read. As a writer of sci-fi short stories myself, I knew I was going to have to up my game to compete with all these folks. Especially regarding preciseness and word economy.

I also realized trying to point out the highlights of the sixteen diverse fantasy and light science fiction stories would result in a very long book review. After all, writers from three continents take readers to dystopian futures populated by dragons, witches, spirits, elves, trolls, and magicians. But no matter how non-human these beings might seem, every story explores the humanity of even the most exotic of characters. This includes the first-person narrative, "I, Dragon" by David Bowmore.

I would like to call special attention to the first two stories in the collection, "LA EMBRUJADX" by Carmen Baca and "The Witch of Wickershaw" by Brandy Bonifas as they both hooked me into this collection straight-away. Other contributors include Steve Carr, P.C. Darkcliff, R.A. Goli, Shawn Klimek, Mark Kodama, Giuseppina Marino Leyland, Zhen Liu, Lynne Phillips, Sam M. Phillips, Daniel Craig Roche, Copper Rose, L.T. Waterson, and G. Allen Wilbanks.

For readers who like to know about the authors they experience, the editors added a section of interviews at the end of the book with each of the writers describing their craft. Some might think of this section as padding as each story is indeed short, most around 3,000 words or so. (The editors provide a word count for each story in their introductory notes. ) Well, if you're not that interested in all the biographies and writing approaches of the creators, or maybe only interested in a few of the contributors, the interviews are not essential reading. I wager, however, that most fellow writers will appreciate the opportunity to read sixteen windows into the creative process. For non-writers, you could think of the interviews as icing on the cake, if you can imagine icing on bone soup.

If you like sci-fi or fantasy, you won't want to pass up this collection. Perhaps not every entree will be your cuppa tea, to mix metaphors again, but there will certainly be enough offerings you'll consider special treats.

This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Feb. 16, 2019:
https://waa.ai/TxOJ
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Published on February 16, 2020 07:12 Tags: dragons, elves, fantasy, magicians, sci-fan, science-fiction, short-stories, witches, wizards

January 12, 2020

Latest Interview with Wes Britton

Here's the latest interview with Wes Britton posted today at "Interviews With Writers":

http://interviewswithwriters.com/?p=1...
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Published on January 12, 2020 15:59

Book Review: THE GALAXY BRITAIN BUILT: The British Talent Behind Star Wars by David Whiteley

THE GALAXY BRITAIN BUILT: The British Talent Behind Star Wars
David Whiteley
Foreword By Robert Watts: Star Wars Production Supervisor And Producer
Publisher: BearManor Media
Release date: December 11, 2019
ASIN: B081YKQ2P7
https://www.amazon.com/Galaxy-Britain...


David Witeley's exploration into the behind-the-scenes British talent involved with the Star Wars franchise was first made public in a 1917 60-minute documentary broadcast over BBC television. Google the title The Galaxy Britain Built, and you'll hit on the YouTube and BBC trailers, videos, and interviews conducted by David Whiteley promoting the film throughout 2017 and especially 2018.

If you explore any of Whiteley's online videos or his new BearManor Media book, you'll quickly learn how proud he is to have been born on May 4, 1977, known to fans as Star Wars day. So, in his opinion, he grew up with the franchise and became devoted to investigating how so much Star Wars work took place in Elstree Studios in North London. Why London and not Hollywood? Costs. The studios didn't want to invest too heavily in a science-fiction film as sci-fi hadn't been big box office for them.

As it turned out, the British talent who worked on the films on the smallest of budgets and the tightest of schedules were just what the project needed, especially in terms of costumes, props, and sets. The results were so outstanding that lucas returned to Elstreet again and again, using as much of the original talent as he could retain.


Whiteley's book chronicles to beginnings of the British work in the hot summer of 1976 through undreamed of sequels produced decades later. The stories are built on interviews with participants even the most devoted Star Wars aficionados might not have heard of: These include Robert Watts, Les Dilley, Nick Maley, Roger Christian, Peter Beale, Gareth Edwards, Colin Goudie and Louise Mollo.

All of those involved contribute so many anecdotes about how the Star Wars mythos came to be. For example, Roger Christian tells us, "We called it the laser sword because we were British! I knew the lightsaber was the Excalibur of this film! I
knew it would be the iconic image . . . I went to Brunnings on Great Marlborough Street in London, whom we rented all our film equipment from: photography, anything we needed, and I’d buy equipment there. I just said to the owner, ‘Do you have anything here
that’s unusual, or stuff that might be interesting?’ He pointed me over to the side of the room. He said, ‘There’s a load of boxes under there, I haven’t
looked at those for years, go and have a rummage through.’ And it was the first box, it literally was covered in dust. It hadn’t been out for, I don’t
know, fifteen or twenty years. I pulled it out, opened the lid and there was tissue paper and then when I pulled it open . . . out came a Graflex handle from a 1940s press camera. I just took it and I went ‘There it is! This is the Holy Grail.’"

The Galaxy Britain Built is page-after-page of such nuggets and revelations. I imagine many diehard Star Wars fans will have heard many of these stories before. But I doubt all of them

Without question, you got to be a serious Star Wars fan to one degree or another to want to dive into this book, no matter how much you think you already know about the production history of the saga. It's a fast read as we get one short chunk of one interview, then another, then another, and so on. I definitely had a feeling I was taken behind the sets and scripts and actors to see how a galaxy far away had been built with a deepened sense of just how collaborative moviemaking is. If that sort of stuff is your cuppa tea, then David Whiteley's book is just for you.


This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on Sun. Jan. 12, 2020:

https://waa.ai/ObIg
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Published on January 12, 2020 07:31 Tags: science-fiction, science-fiction-movies, star-wars

January 6, 2020

The Story of a Spy and the Man Who Wrote About Him

The Story of a Spy and the Man Who Wrote About Him

by

Wesley Britton


"Eli Cohen was no James Bond, yet his swift intelligence, retentive mind, language ability, and other special attributes enabled him to penetrate the highest Echelons of the Syrian government in the mid-1960’s as an agent of Israel’s Mossad.
"Establishing himself as an expatriate from Argentina, Cohen (alias Kamal Amin Taabet) succeeded in rapidly winning friends in high places, and during his nearly four years as a spy managed to send a steady flow of information back to Israel. All in all this is a story of real life espionage more fascinating than any fictional counter part."
– Maurice Cohen


Twists, turns, surprises, and sharp curves don't just happen in espionage. They can happen when an author writes about espionage, especially the real thing.

For example, back in 2006, I was left with the task of assembling and completing the autobiography of former Mossad operative Maurice Cohen, including his memories of his famous brother, Eli Cohen, the spy hung in Damascus on May 18, 1965.

Back then, I quickly came to learn the stories of Eliyahu Ben-Shaul Cohen and Maurice Cohen, in many ways, are very representative of the lives of the Jewish populations in Syria, Egypt, and Israel throughout the 20th century. So when I took over the task of completing Maurice's work as I had promised him before his death on December 1, 2006, I found myself needing to research so much history, geopolitics, religion and culture in the personal lives of the Cohens from 1914 to 1965, from the family fleeing Allepo, Syria through their years in Egypt before being exiled to Israel just as the new country was being formed. Then Eli Cohen went undercover in Damascus before his execution by hanging in 1965.

I had come to the saga of Eli Cohen by way of all the research I had done for my second book, Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film (Praeger Pub: 2005). I had wanted to find anything I could about every spy movie ever made in English. A congenial video store owner in Dallas, Texas handed me a copy of The Impossible Spy. TIS was a bio-pic of Eli Cohen produced by Harvey Chertok for HBO and the BBC in 1987.

As I was about to do my second presentation at the International Spy Museum to promote Beyond Bond, the director asked if there was some film I could suggest with a historical bent for a screening after my presentation.

Quickly, I recommended The Impossible Spy.

On the night of the program, I learned the museum had not only booked The Impossible Spy, they had invited its producer, Harvey Chertok, to join me on stage. That night started a friendship that continues to this very day. Just talked to Harvey last week.

The next event in my Eli Cohen story occurred the weekend of October 8 and 9, 2006. A group of us gathered at the home of Helene Fragman-Abramson in Princeton, NJ, to discuss the projected Maurice Cohen autobiography. I gathered I had been invited because of my association with Harvey and the fact I was a published author with two books under my belt.

In the months to come, most of the team fell off the project for one reason or another until Maurice's death in December 2006 when everything, all his files, all his research came to me. For a short time, Helene Fragman Abramson contributed a ton of research to the project and connected with Avraham Cohen, Eli's youngest brother. From that point forward I assembled my Eli Cohen Files with guidance from Avraham.

In the end, I knew I didn't have enough for a book, so I posted a series of 4 articles at my spywise.net website:

http://www.spywise.net/cohenFiles.htm...

At the same site, you can read all about The Impossible Spy at:
http://www.spywise.net/impossibleSpy....

To this day, my Eli Cohen Files remain the most substantial resource on the Eli Cohen story anywhere on the net.

Now--

I told you all those stories so I could tell you this one:

Once a year or so after the publication of the Cohen Files, one film producer or another would contact me to ask about licensing the rights to my articles. I was amenable, even with the producer who wanted to buy the rights for two years for 99 cents. 99 cents! Well, not worth the effort and best I could tell, all the producers who contacted me weren't able to move their projects forward for whatever reasons. Not until this year when the Netflix mini-series came out, The Spy, and I had no involvement with that whatsoever.

That was until Monday of last week.

I got a request for an interview for a TV Documentary for Al Jazeera Media Network. Producer Ashraf Mashharawi arranged for a film crew to drive up from Washington D.C. to come to my house on Friday, Jan. 4 to conduct the interview at 1:00. That gave me time to reread my Cohen material that I hadn't looked at in years.

Truth be told, I impressed myself. I did all that? All that research? Impressive, even if I say so myself. But I don't say so myself. Apparently it impressed Ashraf Mashharawi who kept complimenting the depth and detail of my research. He sent me a long list of the questions he wanted me to answer and quite a few confused me. Why those details? Why those specific moments? Oh well, interviewees shouldn't shape interviews. I went through all the questions to be as prepped as I could be.

Then Friday arrived, and the two guys arrived ahead of schedule. Fine, thinks I, I've budgeted the next two hours for this interview. One hour, they had told me, they'd need to set up. One hour for the interview itself. Plenty of time, thinks I, to be free to go pick up my grandson at 3:30. Uh huh.

From 1:00 to 2:00, the two gents rearranged all the furniture in my living room--which wasn't much considering how small my living room is--set up their two cameras, all their lights, attached mics to me, had me sit in a chair before a black background they set up, and we were ready to go.

Not quite.

They kept talking with Ashraf who was in Germany taking micro-managing to new extremes. He kept wanting changes to the lighting as he wanted, and I understood this, everything to be uniform and consistent with everything else he was shooting for his documentary. He kept calling out for all sorts of technical things I didn't understand but it drug on and on and I was amazed. You'd think this was the digital age and everything could be smoothed over with a few mouse clicks. Nope.

Finally, one of the filmers sat across from me with the questions Ashraf wanted answered and said, "My voice isn't going to be on the film, so please answer everything imbedding the question in your answer." I could do that.

So the interview began, interrupted from time to time when the camera man had to change batteries. An hour interview and they needed to change batteries three times?

Along the way, Ashraf would pipe in with instructions or details he wanted or answers he wanted me to redo. I understood all that. To a point.

Then it was 3:15, then 3:30, and my ride to go get Joey was in my driveway honking to get up and go. And the interview wasn't over. "Just two more questions."

"Then you guys got to go outside and apologize to Ann. You're dragging this on and on, you should take the heat."

I went outside and she told me to just come on and get in her car. "I can't. They got my living room all messed up, they got equipment all over the place they gotta break-down and take out." And they wanted to film some "inserts" of me to, well, insert throughout the interview.

At one point, I said, "This is a lot of work and I hope I'm worth the effort." Ashraf kept saying I was. I noted I have done hundreds of interviews in the past, the interviewer asks an hour worth of questions and only a minute or so is used, only a paragraph or two ends up in the print edition. "Oh no," they told me. "Pretty much most of this will be included. You're the star of the show." Well, they did invest a lot in the filming, in just the trip from D.C. and back alone.

When will I see it, when will any of you get to see it? Not a clue. Not a word. Ashraf doesn't know. He did apologize for ticking Ann off. Her final word: "Those two Arab guys were very good looking. Too young for me, sorry to say."

So she calmed down pretty quickly.

What's the next stage of this saga? Stay tuned--
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Published on January 06, 2020 13:00 Tags: eli-cohen, espionage, israeli-intelligence, spies, the-mossad

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