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Author Archives: Ryan Sean O'Reilly

About Ryan Sean O'Reilly

I took to books at an early age and can still remember my father reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to me at bedtime. When I could read on my own, my mother brought home books from the library for my siblings and me. She tells me, that I would look at the covers and say "not interested", but if she left them on my night stand I couldn't help, but devour them--the genres and titles didn't seem to matter. Growing up the oldest of five children outside the city of Chicago, our house was always teeming with activity--so it may be no wonder that I enjoyed staying up late to read when things were quiet. There was always something transcendent about disappearing into another world while the rest of the house slept. Books taught me so much about myself and the world around. I've crossed through a few different genres trying to find my voice but mostly dwell in fantasy, science fiction, and literary fiction. A few authors who have inspired me are: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Frank Herbert, Richard Adams, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams and William Shakespeare. Official website: www.ryanseanoreilly.com

Review: “Altered States” by Paddy Chayefsky (3 Stars)

Review: “Altered States” by Paddy Chayefsky (3 Stars)

Urgent and practical prose bolstered with dialog, that at times, feels weighted with jargon while fully acknowledging the supremacy of story, and at other times—stabs right into the heart of humanity.

The story is driven by mankind’s mad, singular, all-encompassing quest to break through the illusory perceptions of reality and discover what’s behind existence. We follow the main character (Eddie) who serves as both protagonist and antagonist over the years as he explores the boundaries of science. The plot centers around the main character ingesting hallucinogens and seeking the solace of an isolation tank almost as if he is attempting to time travel. He’s actually trying to go back into a sort of collective unconsciousness to search out early man–the archetype of the noble savage. Eddie’s looking not only to go on a “trip” of his mind, but to break through the boundaries and perceptions of reality to the heights of spirituality and the depths of physics. He wants to breach past notions of time and space in a cosmic way. Yet, it is a personal quest.

In many ways the prose reads as a sort of modern Jules Verne type tale with the author shoving layers of scientific theory and research into the story to explain what’s going on. The overall read is smoother than older literature and the occasional dumps of jargon and theory are always countered with genuine passages of character emotion and grounded action. I found myself skipping over a lot of the technical talk (as I have in other such books), but the terminology is appropriate to the subject and may be more appealing to others looking for hard science in their fiction. The point is that the author is a highly skilled storyteller and hits all the right beats he should even with the heavy tech references.

There were definitely science fiction elements and even some horror present in this tale. What I enjoyed most was that everything felt realistic and tension was maintained without going overboard on the action. This reads primarily like a thriller, moving fast and light. It was very visual and the author’s steeped and much lauded background in television and film sort of came through almost as if I was reading a three-act structure screenplay (which he eventually did too—when this was adapted to film).

What the author is known for is his dialog in screen plays. This is present in the novel. There are masterful monologues where the characters give grand, yet grounded speeches professing their innermost hopes, fears, and desires. These give real gravity to the material and bolster the more fantastical elements—not that those were flimsy. The crescendo of this novel is as fitting as any such solid movie of its caliber. My only complaint, and perhaps I went into reading this with some bias having researched the author a bit beforehand, was that sometimes the shorter bits of dialog felt a little stilted and redundant (the quick back and forth). Also, the other characters who also tell the story (the wife and colleagues of Eddie), felt a bit two-dimensional at times. Though this was not always the case, and when the author allowed them to fall into monologues of their own, they did come alive.

Another interesting aspect of this book was the way the author made the main character compelling despite his unlikable personality. He’s driven to the point of neglecting those around him. Yet, he’s aware of his faults. Not that his awareness will stop him. He’s simply not a monster (ironically). In many ways the main character is searching for himself in his scientific quest to alter his own consciousness. It’s like he knows there is something wrong with himself and that things might be better if only he could get outside of his own head. He is in continual quest for a primal consciousness. A more primitive self. A simpler more animalistic time. Which is a counterpoint to his own personality that comes across almost robotic.

On the book’s jacket the author noted that he was thinking about the intersection of science, philosophy, and spirituality. This book very much explores that idea. The characters are all scientifically driven, however they get into such heady and technical science that the clear answers drift away and everything becomes just as fuzzy as spirituality might be considered.

In the end, it seems that the author is saying all these elements in life which appear to be in conflict with one another (i.e. spirituality and science), are actually in conversation with one another. That they come together in the final equation.

I don’t necessarily recommend this book for everyone, but it is a curiosity for those looking to explore another aspect of this famous script writer’s body of work or as a further exploration of the film—and, perhaps those looking for lots of science theory in their science fiction.

Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: “No Deodorant In Outer Space”. The podcast is available on iTunes, Tune-In Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play Music, YouTube or our website (www.nodeodorant.com).

Episode Link: https://nodeodorantinouterspace.wordpress.com/2019/01/15/review-altered-s…-paddy-chayefsky/

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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in Book Reviews

 

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Review: “Altered States” – Paddy Chayefsky

Review: “Altered States” – Paddy Chayefsky

New Podcast Book Review !!

No Deodorant In Outer Space - podcast

PODCAST:

S4E1B – Altered States (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Wherein Wilk compared reading this book to attending an art show by actor Gary Busey, not purchasing a painting by novelist Clive Barker (whom we covered in our episodes on “The Hellbound Heart” and “Hellraiser“), and reading the novel “Tarantula” by musician Bob Dylan. Things were further clarified when Wilk recalled some sagely advice given by his father regarding Herman Melville’s famous novel “Moby Dick” (Bob Wilkinson joined us for our review of “Starship Troopers“). Dustin Decline (from the heavy metal act “I Decline“) expressed and encapsulated the group’s general frustration with this author’s one and only attempt at writing proper prose due to the novel’s overabundance and general saturation of uninteresting technical terminology.

– Ryan

Ryan, Wilk, and Dustin ready to record. Ryan, Wilk, and Dustin ready to record.

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

“Altered States (1978)” by Paddy Chayefsky (book)

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Posted by on January 15, 2019 in News

 

Preview Episode (Altered States)

Preview Episode (Altered States)

New podcast preview episode !

No Deodorant In Outer Space - podcast

PODCAST:

S3E1P – Preview Episode (Altered States)

SUBJECT MATTER:

“Altered States (1978)” by Paddy Chayefsky (book)

Inspired by the work of John C. Lilly, Chayefsky spent two years in Boston doing research to write his science fiction novel Altered States (HarperCollins, 1978), which he adapted for his last screenplay. In the film Chayefsky is credited under his real first and middle name, Sidney Aaron, because of disputes with director Ken Russell. Some of the events portrayed in this film seem to be based on the studies of the French surrealist author Antonin Artaud; the protagonist visits a tribe of isolated Mexican tribal people & participates in their sacred shamanic ritual involving local hallucinogens for the purpose of investigating the common religious experience. Much of the setting of this part of the film also appears to be based on Artaud’s description of the natural, altho seemingly man-made landscape of the…

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Posted by on January 1, 2019 in News

 

The Return of the Podcast (season four)

The Return of the Podcast (season four)

The podcast returns !!

No Deodorant In Outer Space - podcast

PODCAST:

S4E0 – The Return of the Podcast (Season Four Announcement)

SHOW NOTES:

Announcing the return of the podcast – season four of “No Deodorant in Outer Space” drops in 2019 !!!

After taking a hiatus from the podcast to focus on my writing I decided I missed it. So, I spent the last year recording an entire brand new season, which I’m now in the process of editing for release starting in January of 2019. The format will essentially remain the same with a semi-monthly critical discussion of classic and contemporary literature turned into visual media focusing on science fiction, fantasy and horror. What’s changed is that there will not be dedicated co-hosts, instead I’ll be rotating guests for every subject premise. Don’t worry, my old co-hosts and some frequent past guests all make return appearances. Releases will be on Tuesdays: a Preview Episode on the 1st Tuesday, a…

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Posted by on December 26, 2018 in News

 

S3 – Wrap-Up Episode (finale)

S3 – Wrap-Up Episode (finale)

FINAL EPISODE OF THE PODCAST!

No Deodorant In Outer Space - podcast

PODCAST:

S3 – Wrap-Up Episode (finale)*

Listen to the podcast here (click to play/right click and select “save target as” to download):

SHOW NOTES:

img_8382-jpg Ryanin his “robot” mode. To wrap things up this year we attempted to do a season Wrap-Up Episode. Unlike last year, the conversation quickly devolved from review of the entire Season Three line up and turned more circuitously to reflections on the entire history of the podcast and the trials and tribulations of the hosts as they tried to keep this beast afloat. The discussion is more celebratory and, at times, nonsensical.We brought back two past guests: Mike O’Reilly and John (a/k/a Dole) Doyle to bring in some outside perspective.

Occasionally we did manage to get into the art of literature and film and there were some coherent thoughts that managed to squeak thru. All in all, we hope our jovial spirit puts a nice…

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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in News, Podcast

 

Preview Episode (Season Three Wrap-Up and a Goodbye) / So long, and thanks for all the fish!

New preview episode and a podcast farewell!

No Deodorant In Outer Space - podcast

PODCAST:

S3 WrapUp – So long, and thanks for all the fish! (Wrap-Up preview and a Goodbye)*

SHOW NOTES:

It is with a great deal of regret that I must announce that our podcast, No Deodorant in Outer Space (NDIOS) has come to a close. After a great deal of introspection I have decided to end things here at the finality of Season Three. The decision did not come easily, but it is one I felt I had to make. When I started this podcast with my founding co-hosts nearly three years ago I did so because of my love of fiction and in particular my love of science fiction and fantasy. The podcast was to be an ancillary project to my main focus of writing, however, over time I realized I was using more and more energy on the podcast and less and less on writing. There are other…

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Posted by on March 7, 2017 in News, Podcast

 

Review: “Dune”- Frank Herbert

Review: “Dune”- Frank Herbert

New podcast episode!

No Deodorant In Outer Space - podcast

PODCAST:

S3E12B – Dune (book)*

SHOW NOTES:

Please join us in a disjointed conversation about the greatest story ever told.

– Rick

WRITTEN BOOK REVIEWS:

Book: “Dune (Dune Chronicles #1) (1965)” by Frank Herbert

Ryan:5 Stars “…f**king Dune, nuff said…”

Wilk:5 Stars “…I recognize why people love this and like it and its overall concept, but you kind of gotta stick with it to get that out of it…”

Rick:5 Stars “…quintessential intergalactic space opera…laden with a lot of political intrigue and a lot of great ideas…”

FUN FACTOIDS:

iron-maiden-piece-of-mindDuring the show, Ryan talked about Frank Herbert using omniscient point of view. A technique not commonly used in modern literature. He cited an article about this that can be found here:http://www.shmoop.com/dune/narrator-point-of-view.html. An interview conducted years about by Dalton Books with Frank Herbert and director David Lynch, was also cited by Ryan, which can be…

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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in News, Podcast