Influential Material


I would venture to say every story we knock together has parts from all the stories that came before, and we hacked out bits and pieces to our liking. For my own part I've got to give a nod to Sergio Leone, who was inspired by Akira Kurosawa, and from him there's a line to Dashiell Hammett.

It can be said that Akira Kurosawa is one of the biggest influences in modern American storytelling, which is a strange case for a guy from a small island on the other side of the world. His movies were direct inspirations for Sergio Leone's Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns (Yojimbo), as well as one of the most iconic American westerns, 'The Magnificent Seven' (The Seven Samurai), and not least almost a shot for shot template for George Lucas' 'Star Wars' (The Hidden Fortress). But here's the funny thing, Kurosawa found his own influence in American movies. He grew up in American occupied Japan, watching old westerns and crime thrillers the GIs brought over for their entertainment and edification.

He went on to make a film called 'Yojimbo' about a lone samurai with no name who comes into a crooked town and stirs up trouble. It's a movie that owes a lot to Dashiell Hammett's story 'Red Harvest' (and 'The Glass Key', to be sure, but that's not my point), about a lone detective with no name who comes into a crooked town and stirs up trouble. Kurosawa took the wandering gunslinger idea from those old westerns he watched as a kid, mixed it with film noir, and made a samurai movie out of it. Then Sergio Leone (an Itialian!) comes along and remakes 'Yojimbo' as 'A Fistful of Dollars' about a lone cowboy with no name who comes into a crooked town and stirs up trouble, and the story goes full circle in a way, back into the western genre that inspired it. In some respects it makes me think of how the ancient Greeks devoted their literature to retelling the same pantheon of stories in different ways. Or how these comic books keep rebooting until the original story's been reworked so many times it's hard to figure what's canon anymore.

So all this to say there's a long trail of influences that lead here today. I can't turn a page in 'The Fell Hound of Adversity' without seeing some way the glint of a greater author behind the words.

And this without even mentioning the whole Dostoyevsky fan fiction stuff (read The Demons, equal parts comedy and tragedy, to find out where Fedka came from).


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