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Becoming Superman

My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood
Lu par : Peter Jurasik
Durée : 16 h et 6 min

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Description

Featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman!

“J. Michael Straczynski is, without question, one of the greatest science fiction minds of our time.” (Max Brooks, World War Z)

For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television and comics. Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own.

In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, and Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder, and a terrible secret. 

For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television, and comics. Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own. 

Joe's early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults - a con man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized - Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father’s desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past. 

To survive his abusive environment, Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family’s past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder. 

Straczynski’s personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life.  It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.

©2019 J. Michael Straczynski (P)2019 HarperAudio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam S Ridgewell
  • 25/07/2019

HEART WRENCHING PROSE FROM A PRO

I have been a fan of JMS since I was a small child. As the book points out from He Man, The Real Ghostbusters into Babylon 5 and Sense 8 I have followed decades of his work and this book still caught me off guard. I knew many of the stories as a dedicated fan but there were just as many I didn't know and just as many still that made me feel every emotion a reader (listener) is capable of feeling while reading a book. This book will make you angry at the injustices of the world. it will make you happy at each seemingly insurmountable obstacle that Joe overcame to become the person he is. It will make you sad at the loneliness and hardships that Joe experienced in his life. But, if like me you were a lifelong fan it will make you proud. Proud of the man he is and the work he's done and proud to have supported someone as a fan who has the integrity and drive that Joe has.

If you have never heard of J. Michael Straczynski, buy this book to learn about him and then go enjoy his work.

If you are a lifelong fan of J. Michael Straczynski, buy this book. There are things in here I promise you don't know that will change the way you enjoy his work next time you view it.

Buy. This. Book.

Thank you Joe.

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  • Aggman
  • 22/08/2019

One of the Greatest Books I've Ever Heard or Read

This book by J Michael Straczynski, a science fiction author whom I had never heard or read before, is an incredible treasure. The book is powerful, illuminating, devastating, inspiring, touching, and thrilling, all at the same time. It features the most evil person I've ever encountered in literature, but that person is real. It's Joe's father, someone who is both frightening and unforgettable, making you believe that Satan is not a fictional character. Yet, this book has compelling lessons about life and perseverance. I have struggled with writer's block for years but feel compelled to write after reading how Joe managed to keep writing his whole life against all imaginable odds. I am going to write a full review of this book soon but for now, just buy this audiobook and get started. You won't forget it and it may just change your life.

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  • J. T. Jones
  • 16/08/2019

I am recommending this book to everyone

I don't know if JMS sees these reviews. If he does, I want him to see this message:

Thank you.

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  • MG
  • 30/07/2019

I'm a better person because of JMS

Straczynski taught me to be a better person because of his choices. Thank you Sir.

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  • Patrick Strouse
  • 23/08/2019

do not hesitate buy this

the narration from Peter is outstanding and the story of straczinski is tremendous and harrowing.

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  • P. Giorgio
  • 17/08/2019

Truth. Humility. Rage. Secrets. Lies and Fear...

Some very difficult emotional parts here. I don't want to go into it because it will dilute what you will read and respond to. The trajectory of Joe's career is amazing in itself, but the foundation of his life and his moral compass are equal parts outstanding and unbelievable, given his childhood of despair. JUST READ IT. You can safely read the Epilogue to get a sense of what kind of man he is. It won't spoil the book.

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  • James T. Jacobs
  • 30/05/2020

GOOD GUYS DON’T ALWAYS FINISH LAST

Coming from a childhood more likely to produce a serial killer than a successful writer who very successfully spanned many genres from comic books to scripted TV to creating his own series (Babylon 5), Joe was always true to himself and to his muse. For B5, he wrote 92 of the 110 episodes televised. No one has come any where near that mark. After a tough spell, he then got into writing original movie scripts, moving directly to the A-list with “The Changeling” Produced by Ron Howard, directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Angelina Jolie. Later, he scripted “World War Z” Starring Brad Pitt, and “Thor” for the Marvel universe. and on and on...
He shows through his writing that he is a good man. He writes words that I believe and want to believe. I would love him if he’d only done B5 and put those beautiful words into G’Kar’s mouth, but there’s so much more. Sense8 is the most ground-breaking show in a very long time. And “Becoming Superman” tells me so much that I wanted to know but could not guess. Wonderful autobiography written by a very moral and great guy.

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  • brad
  • 17/05/2020

Outstanding!

Everyone has their own world that they live in. I had never heard of J Michael Straczynski or watched any of his shows or movies that he was involved in or read any of his comics but I was compelled to read this book when I saw such positive reviews. I love a great human interest story. This memoir blew me away and I have become an instant fan. The humor that he intertwined in such heart wrenching stories added a wonderful touch to this read. Now that I have finished this book I will look more into his work and watch and read some of the things that he has been a part of. Fantastic!

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  • sparky
  • 02/05/2020

Absolutely Incredible<br />

The most Amazing story of overcoming insurmountable challenges. One of the Best I've listened to.

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  • Stephen Hunt
  • 10/04/2020

Brutal, honest and brilliant

Joe Straczynski is the creator of Babylon 5. I mean, you may know him from many other things. You may know him as the pen behind Sense8 on Netflix. You might know him from The Changeling, the Angelina Jolie movie directed by Clint Eastwood. Or Jeremiah. Or Spider-Man comics. Or... well, you get the idea. He's been involved in writing for TV and movies for far longer than many writers manage to stay in the ring.

This is his autobiography - and while you might think it's a happy trip through the successes he's had over the years, it's far from that. Indeed, it's far more intimate and personal than that.

This is the story of the young boy Joseph, and his abusive father, who tormented his whole family. It is a story that tells of Nazi sympathising. Of murder. Of a boy trying to grow up sane with a family life that was far from stable, moving from town to town and skipping out whenever people showed up to collect money.

Sure, it tells how he went through the early cycle of writing stories that turned out to be not so great, then writing more, and more, and banging his head against the door of rejection. There's the glimmers of encouragement, such as when the stranger who read his work at a school event and said there was promise in there turned out to be Rod Serling. But this is a story of a boy who fought to be a man free of his father, of a man who fought to get his stories accepted, and a TV writer who fought against the restraints imposed by executives all too often - to the point of his agent's exasperation.

He describes one moment in his youth - in which he gets the shit kicked out of him by a bunch of kids only to stand up and taunt them so they came back and did it again as, in retrospect, being the perfect preparation for becoming a TV writer.

There's a great deal of insight in here to the projects he worked on - from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, to Murder She Wrote. As a Babylon 5 fan, I particularly hung on the material to do with the show - even the saddest notes with the death of some of the cast members over the year. I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Peter Jurasik from the show, and the poignancy of those moments came across in two voices mourning old friends, the writer and the narrator.

More than anything, though, this book tells the story of Mr Straczynski's relationship with his father. So determined was he not to be like his father, his life in some ways seem to have been defined by purposely choosing to be the thing his father was not, the shape of his life being dictated by non-conformity to the monster he grew up with.

It's a brutal story to tell. There are no end of truly shocking moments. And yet, despite what he had to endure, he ultimately defined himself, who he would be, and rose to the success his father said he wouldn't reach. Is it inspirational? I'm not sure that's the word. That's like those moments when you see what people have gone through and pat them on the head and call them an inspiration. That's not quite right. No, but it is admirable. With a stubborn streak a mile wide, he managed to achieve things that had never been done before. And he did it with a sharp wit and a ready pen.

This book has been nominated for a Hugo Award. It certainly deserves it.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 19/05/2020

Quickly became one of my favourite audiobooks.

Jurasic does the greatest job narrating Straczynski's autobiography. This set new standards concerning writing and spoken word. Then again I didn't expect anything less.

Edit: Thank you jms, thank you Peter!

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  • Mrs Truthdesign
  • 05/03/2020

Thank you - both of you

Haunting, uplifting, heartbreaking and funny.

A journey into the life of someone whose stories have accompanied me since my childhood days - without knowing it.

I will always cry for Midnight.