While snuffling through our local Borders bookshop yesterday evening, I found a copy of Casual Rex by Eric Garcia. Casual Rex is a prequel to Garcia’s debut novel Anonymous Rex, which was an excellent hard-boiled detective story set in modern times, but with a slight difference: dinosaurs still exist. But humans don’t know about this. Dinos go about their business completely undetected, because they dress up in latex human suits. It’s weird, but it works.
The hero of the Anonymous Rex, Vincent Rubio, is a private detective who has fallen on hard times since his partner, Ernie Watson, was murdered. He is also a velociraptor. In the course of the story we learn a lot about the dinosaur society, about the tensions that exist because of the dinosaurs’ continual secrecy, and of course we also dig deeper into the mystery of Ernie’s death. It’s a delightful blend of whimsical science fiction and noir detective story. It works so well partly because it follows the conventions of both genres: the science-fictional side of the book explores this off-beat world in enough detail to be satisfying, while the detective side tells an exciting story about a wise-cracking gumshoe solving an intriguing crime. Garcia ties the two sides together by making sure that the crime is specific to the human/dinosaur world, and that the pay-off couldn’t exist in any other context.
I’m looking forward to reading Casual Rex. I remember finding Anonymous Rex in a bookshop in London a few years ago (probably around 1999?), on the day that Abi and I took a mad day-trip down there by train. The train from Edinburgh to London used to only take just over 4 hours (it’s longer now–thank you, privatisation!), so as long as you left early enough, and were happy to come back late, it was quite possible for Edinburghers to visit London to have lunch and do some shopping. Which is what we did. We met up with James for moules frites at Belgo (a chain of Belgian-themed restaurants where the waiters dress up in monks’ habits), and then wandered around Covent Garden for a while. It wasn’t until last year that I actually got around to reading it, though. Which makes it a little bit odd that I only found Casual Rex yesterday, because it was published in 2001. Normally if I find a book I like, I go out looking for other books by the same author. I must just not have looked terribly hard in this case.
Now that I have found it, I have also found Eric Garcia’s web site, which is where I saw that he has another book out as well: Matchstick Men. That’s right, the book that the film Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell, is based on. That’s cool. The trailer looked interesting, and it was on my list of films to watch. Unfortunately it’s also on my list of films that I never had time to go and see, and will have to catch on DVD when it comes out. No dinosaurs in this one, though, just a couple of con-men.
Garcia’s web site also has the news that Hot And Sweaty Rex, the next novel in the series is due out in March of 2004, and that an Anonymous Rex TV show is in the making. The Sci-Fi Channel have greenlighted a pilot based on Casual Rex. Very interesting. Thank goodness that TV special effects have come a long way since V did lizards in human suits back in the eighties!
2 Replies to “Eric Garcia”
WED. MARCH 3/2004/14:33
I was just notified by my agent that I have been cast in ANONYMOUS REX, based on MR. ERIC GARCIA’s book/series.
However, it was not until I read this site that I learned the film is to be broadcast on THE SCI-FI CHANNEL!
The timing of this casting decision could not be better, as I am about to be wrapped on FINNEGAN’S SQUAD, a new SF Action/Adventure series that will be coming out later in 2004.
I hope that my shoot dates don’t conflict with ANOTHER 1000 MILES gig @ AD ASTRA 2004, however, as I would not want to disappoint my bandmates by not playing that night, particularly since we shall be debuting our 3rd album, ‘THE WHEEL’
I am a great enthusiast of Speculative Fiction & have enjoyed stories involving thunder lizards since I was a lad in Manchester watching the films of MR. RAY HARRYHAUSEN, so I am not displeased by the prospect of being actively involved in an exciting project of this magnitude, & based on works of this quality.
Consequently, once I sign off from posting this, I shall be venturing off to BAKKA Science Fiction Bookshop to obtain my own copy of the story.
Be seeing you!
TUE. FEB. 16/2004/14:10
I was auditioned today for the role of a DINO COUNCIL MEMBER in ANONYMOUS REX, a new Science Fiction telefilm/series from THE SCI-FI CHANNEL, which stars DANIEL BALDWIN & SAM TRAMMELL.
Aside from the fact that I have always wanted to work on a project that would be broadcast on THE SCI-FI CHANNEL, I am not upset @ the prospect of working with MR. BALDWIN, as his work on HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET & in JOHN CARPENTER’S VAMPIRES was quite respectable, indeed.
…Besides which, it’s not every day one gets the chance to work with THE SHADOW’S younger brother! 😉
The audition went well, despite the fact that I had wasted time memorising dialogue that I was not required to learn, since I was not being auditioned for the role of RAAL.
However, there was ambiguity about that on the sides I had been given, & uncertainty on the part of my agent, who did not even tell me the correct title of the project, & could answer no questions about it that I posed of him.
I know I did well, but given that there were so many other blokes there for the same role, I am uncertain as to whether my impressions have any meaning.
FRI. FEB. 27/2004/15:15
I was auditioned a 2nd time today, against 2 other blokes, neither of whom I had ever seen before, both of whom were taller, beefier & more massive than I, & more darkly complected.
I am fairly certain I landed the role, as this time I was permitted to perform for the director, JULIAN JARROLD, & to have some personal interaction with him on my way out.
The Casting Director’s assistant informed me that I had pulled her fat out of the fire, as I had been the only person being auditioned for the role who had followed directions to the letter, thereby saving her boss & her some embarrassment.
WED. MARCH 3/14:15
My agent rang me up to inform me that I had landed the role of DINO COUNCIL MEMBER in ANONYMOUS REX.
Because so much time had passed between the primary audition, I had put it out of my mind by the time I was notified of the callback audition.
Because so much time had passed since the callback audition, I had put it out of my mind, once again, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had been offered the role.
My next step was to ring up a mate of mine who informed me of the series’ adaptation from a series of SF novels by ERIC GARCIA, who serves as Executive Producer on the adaptation from his prequel novel, CASUAL REX.
Once I rang off from him, I arranged to obtain the books, so as to be fully prepared for my work & able to bring more to the role than the adapted script by STAR TREK writer/producer JOE MENOSKY had suggested to me when I read the sides for my audition.
FRI. MARCH 12/2004/16:10
My agent rang to notify me that I have been replaced in the principal cast of ANONYMOUS REX, due to the director’s, producer’s & SCI-FI CHANNEL’S unwillingness to accommodate a single filming date conflict with AD ASTRA 2004 on SAT. APRIL 3/2004, @ which time & place I am scheduled to perform onstage with ANOTHER 1000 MILES.
This is bothersome to me on several different levels, not least of which is the fact that if necessary, the lads could have performed as a duo, which they have done before.
In all likelihood, however, there would have been no actual shooting conflict, as I would have either been wrapped before my AD ASTRA calltime, I would have been engaged for a night shoot, thereby leaving the AD ASTRA commitment inviolate, or I would not have been scheduled to film on that day.
My agent was informed of their decision after the fact; neither he nor I were given the opportunity to resolve the situation to everyone’s respective & collective satisfaction.
I have been in this position before, but this was the first time I have been actively excluded from the decision-making process after having a role offered to me.
Aside from the public & professional embarrassment of the situation, I am galled by the fact that I shall be denied the money I would have made as a DINO COUNCIL MEMBER, as well as the experience of reading & enjoying the books written by MR. ERIC GARCIA in preparation for my work on the telefilm/pilot/series, which I now cannot view, since I would feel like OTHELLO watching another man & DESDEMONA making the beast with 2 backs.
Thank GOD I had not bought the books, yet!
“…Be seeing you!”
(Nobody is digging my bones!)
Comments are closed.