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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The lists are returning...

In my teen years I was a real monkey for lists. Admittedly my mate Woodsy was one step further- his list of football grounds visited in order was surpassed only by his records and where he bought them and for how much- but I was a close second, listing my books and records compulsively in a Nick Hornby High Fidelity way.
It's kind of lingered since: checking mainly, which is handy when you're an anaesthetist ( 'what was in the big syringe again? Ah, screw it, squirt it in...' ). And I still love lists, and putting CDs in order, and stuff in bullet points, and ironing (yes... I know).
So where all this is leading is a sudden compulsion to create a list. So here's the first one for a few years:
BOoks WhAT i ReAd iN 2011

- The Anubis Gates - Tim Powers
- Infernal Devices- KW Jeter
- Popco - Scarlett Thomas
- Stardust- Neil Gaiman
- The Lies of Locke Lamora- Scott Lynch
- Perdido Street Station- China Melville
- Paratime - H Beam Piper
- A Dance with Dragons- George RR Martin
- Elric - Michael Moorcock
- The Forever War- Joe Haldeman
- The Painted Man - Peter Brett
- Tales of the Dying Earth- Jack Vance
- Eleven terrible months- Rebecca Royle
- Lucy's Monster- Rebecca Royle
- The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime- Mark Hadden
- the left hand of god- paul Hoffman
- oblivions forge- simon Williams
- The secret origins of the White Wolf- Brian Kinsella
...and of course, the graphic novels
- Adventures of Luther Arkwright- Bryan Talbot
- The Boys (volume 1)- Garth Ennis
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - Alan Moore/ Kevin O'Neill
- The Tale of One Bad Rat- Bryan Talbot
- The Filth- Grant Morrison
- Neonomicon- Alan Moore
- and a stack of Avengers and Fantastic Four :b

Ooooh, I feel so much better for that list... now I need to put them in order of enjoyment...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Dreams of Darkness Rising to be published by FIBP

Had some great news this week! The first book in the Prism trilogy has been taken up by Fantasy Island Book Publishing, an American indie label. They're a label with a pretty wide range of titles- fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, horror, historical fiction- and with a really welcoming bunch of authors.
The Kindle version should be up in a few days (probably won't have changed much from existing version) and the print (hopefully with new cover) in a little while.
Their web-site is

I'm so chuffed I haven't even been tempted to make a joke about Mr Roarke or Tattoo (Look, Boss, de plane, de plane)!

Will keep you posted :)

Monday, 19 December 2011

They are maggots, Michael - Why I prefer my vampires non-twinkly

I'm trying to pin-point exactly when it changed for vampires. One moment they are vile creatures if darkness scaring wrinkly old vicars to death in Hammer horror films, the next they are doe eyed stud muffins with a queue of women inserting straws in their jugular veins to save them the effort of biting their necks.
As a kid I used to brick myself about the undead. Werewolves were terrifying monsters, not buff American Indians looking like Foxy Bingo. Witches were green and tried to set light to puppies called Toto. And vampires? Personification of evil. Lords of darkness! Not guys with big eyelashes who twinkle in the bloody sun.
So when was the transition point? When did vampire chic start?
It can only be in 1987 when the great Frog brothers waged the war against the blood sucking creatures of the night! Yes, the Lost Boys. Vampires became cool (in the same way karate did 3 years earlier with Daniel-San) in a wish I could live forever with a mullet and dangly earring way. We all wanted to hang from bridges, drink wine/blood with a chick called Sky in front of a picture of Jim Morrison (before he got fat and beardy.... Ironically like Jason Patric did), fly about a bit and annoy Mister Merlin (the grandfather). Even in the last scene in the house when the dude from Bill'n'Ted gets it through the ticker we still cultivated a desire to be one of the 'boys'- and why not? They had a spike haired Jack Bauer in command and surely he is the bastion of cool lad-ness we all secretly aspire to.
So what makes me love Lost Boys yet snort at Twilight or Vampire Diaries? Obviously nostalgia helps- I was maybe 17 when I saw Lost Boys and thought it so utterly cool. Now I'm 40 and proper grumpy. But I think the key thing is that the Lost Boys is a lads' film. The latest spate of Hollywood vamp films are all angsty girlie efforts where they stare morosely into the middle distance and lament how an immortal may love a human. The Lost Boys was a what would happen if a bunch of young lads got vamped and could spend the rest of their days partying and hanging out. And despite it's utter Eighties-ness it just seems to resonate that bit more for it.
So for those that prefer gelled up vampires and Echo and the Bunnymen doing the Doors to twinkly vampires, raise your glass of... it's wine, Michael.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

"My arrow hit first..."

When I think back to all the great films I watched when I was younger and I measure the amount of joy and inspiration that I got from them there is one that stands head and shoulders above the others. Lord of The Rings (Ralph Bakshi) Conan....LOL, no. Zardoz.... uhm, no. Star Wars... close, but no.
It was the mightiest fantasy film ever... Hawk the Slayer.
A superb film which ascended beyond its B-movie roots to gain a place forever in my heart. It's so difficult to describe the awesome overacting of Jack Palance as Voltan or the tragic death scene of Drogo, son of Voltan. Impossible to emulate the agnst ridden dialogue of the nuns as our hero Hawk resorts to some slaughtering to avenge the fallen. Traces of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (a pale imitation of this film) can be seen in the way Hawk assembles a group of adventurers comprised of dwarf, giant (Bernard Bresslaw) and elf. And the elf, Crow, with his tragedy soaked dialogue and his deadly accuracy.
And finally, the greatest legacy of the film... the rapid firing crossbow. A medieval machine gun in an era where everyone wanted an M16 cos Hannibal fired them without really killing anyone (just before BA threw them over his head into some boxes). Every AD&D game in the country must have had one.
So here's looking at you, Hawk
link to Hawk highlights on youtube

Monday, 12 December 2011

No escape from body fluids...

There really is no escape. So I've spent all day knee deep in a full Dulux colour card worth of bodily liquid. Blood from a femoral artery pumping like a little geyser whilst I remember why I need bifocals as I try to get a guidewire into it. Everywhere! Two litres of what looked like home brew from a patient's chest cavity- ironic given what he must have drunk to gain the hue of deepest yellow. Everywhere. Sputum..sputum...sputum..
So finally home- feet up whilst the missus watches Yorkshire's finest detectives trying to work out who gave Cain Dingle a long awaited brain rearrangement when....pat, pat, pat...'Daddy, I feel sick!'
'that'll be those mince pies at the cubs party,' says I to number one son Charlie Chaz.
Pat...pat...pat.. Up to bed. All quiet when, you guessed it- 100 yd free form vomit. Scores 9.2 , 8.6. , 9.1 on Strictly Come Honking.
So the main body fluid I missed from my day at work is now in a long long trail from bed to stairs.
There is no escape- I must have been wicked in my past life

(perhaps karma for the more spectacular vomits of my life... Number one being on Adnam's Ale in the Greenkeeper in P'boro after A-level results...)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Welcome to the Blogosphere

I'll admit to prevously deriding bloggers as narcissistic, yet here I am. I'll also admit to setting this whole thing up so as to try give more exposure to the stuff i've written, both by posting what I'm writing as I write it but also by linking up to my web-site.
I've got a few things ticking along:
1. Dreams of Darkness Rising-- my first book and the first in a fantasy trilogy. Have a peak via the links on the right.
2. Echoes of Empires Lost- the second one, currently being edited and read by chum Giles and bro Dan
3. The Infinity Bridge- a teen (they call it middle grade or MG in the States) sci-fi romp with vague steampunk elements.
4. Short stories- I've written six now, three fantasy and three general fiction. Two have been posted on web-zines and a third is submitted at present to

Of course a blog also allows me to rant in general, whilst coming to terms with the fact i always said i wouldn't blog. Mind you i said the same about facebook and driving a four wheel drive....