Wednesday, 2 November 2011


So I've been working on my new book for a while now. I really can't remember if I've mentioned it before, but if I did it was quite a long time ago so you'll forgive me for briefly going over it again.

I've always wanted to write about a war from two different sides. First half of the book takes you through events from one side, then for the second half the perspective changes and you see events over again from the opposition. Who you thought were evil might not be quite so etc etc.

Anyway, I've reached a bit of an impasse. Things are not following quite as well as they might(/at all) and I really don't know at the moment how(/if) it's all going to come together in the end.

To summarise, I'm stuck.

So the question is, do I continue to hack away at it, desperately hoping that eventually I'll come across literary gold, or do I abandon it for the time being and come back fresh at a later date.

Of course abandoning it would create a new problem: what the hell do I write next? I have a notebook (yes, an actual book with paper in!) with some ideas scribbled on but none are particularly fantastic, and at worse cover stuff I've already written about elsewhere.

So there we have it. Deciding between two options, none of which are really that good.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Making it up as you go along

It's an old story, dating back to...a long time ago. I think it really became big during the X-Files -

TV shows with arc plots.

But not just that; when the show has been going for a while, developing a large and complex back story. Little inconsistencies begin to creep in between the episodes, flat-out errors appear, and you begin to wonder...

Are they just making all this up as they go along?

You - or at least most of the viewers - watch a show hoping that the creators are weaving an interesting tale to draw you back each week.  That's the idea - fill it full of mysteries that the viewers want an answer to so they'll keep watching.

But with the X-Files the answers didn't come. People got bored. And they got pissed off when things didn't make sense. Suddenly you've lost the 'hook' for the show, as people realise that there are no answers. There never were. The writers didn't have a history all planned out.

Take Lost. One of (I'm not saying the only) reasons people watched was to get answers to the mysteries.

The pilot, the creators admit, was pretty much made up without any thought to resolutions. I think it was part-way through season 3 that they realised that they had to stop introducing new stuff because it was cool and provide some answers before people became annoyed a la X-Files. But even then, whether you liked the finale or not, as you sit and mull it all over after wards you don't think 'well, that was a great journey' you wonder 'why couldn't any babies be born?' or 'what was the horse all about?' or any number of other things that weren't answered.

And then there's Babylon 5. JMS planned out a 5 year arc at the beginning. And, despite everything, he achieved it. It wasn't exactly what he set out to do, but it was pretty damn close. He thought ahead and realised that actors come and go and thus every character had to have a 'trapdoor' available so they could be written out if necessary (which happened on a few occasions).

Babylon 5 wove a rich and complex tale, covering thousands of years, with a beginning, middle and end. If this relatively little show could achieve it, why not some of its bigger TV brothers?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Captain Chair and the Lost Wand

Nate continued to stare at the screen for a good five minutes after it had ended.  It was only then that he was able to summon the strength to move his finger the centimetre required to hit the button on the remote and turn off the television.

“No.  Not another one of those things.  How low can they go?”

It was four weeks later.  Nate had attempted to put the trailer out of his mind, to pretend it didn’t exist.  But there was little chance of that.  The billboards were everywhere.  Every other commercial on the television seemed to be for it now.  Every website he visited had an advertising banner with COMING SOON emblazed across. The marketing budget for Captain Chair and the Lost Wand must have been huge – well, a lot more than the cost of making the damn film, if the previous instalments were anything to go by.

The fact that it had an internet premiere told you all you needed to.  High-quality, well-developed films didn’t have their premieres as streaming videos.

There had been a slight title change somewhere along the way.  Nate didn’t understand why a ‘lost’ wand would be more likely to attract an audience than a ‘magic’ one.  Maybe someone had just made a mistake typing it out, like with Tomorrow Never Lies or that video game which had nothing to do with donkeys.

“I don’t know why you take it so personally.”  Sat next to Nate in front of the computer, Caitlyn typed the URL into the web browser.  “It’s just a bit of fun.”

“Fun at the expense of a hero.  Someone who gives his all to protect this city.”

Caitlyn shook her head.  “Captain Chair must have a better sense of humour that you do.  You only have to look at that uniform…”

As she turned away to concentrate on the screen, Nate scowled.  A lot of work had gone into putting that uniform together.

“Where’s that link…ah.” Caitlyn clicked the mouse and there it was: a painful read and yellow eyesore that some trainee web designer appeared to have cobbled together in his lunch hour.  “I don’t understand why, if you hate these films so much, you insist on watching them with me.”

It was a good question: why did he watch?  The films (and the puppet show and the cartoon strip and…) caused Nate nothing but embarrassment, not that he could let on.  Other heroes didn’t have to suffer this, why him?  He could imagine all the others sitting round, laughing about it over a pint, at one of the hero socials he was certain took place but to which he had never been invited.

He glanced down to the clock in the bottom corner of the screen.  It was almost 8pm and starting to get dark.  He could go on patrol for a while instead.  Show that Captain Chair was something other than…than…whatever it was these films made him out to be.

But he had to watch.  He had to know.  Like it or not, these films were being made and were the public’s main source of information about him.

If only the studio would reach deeper into their pockets and hand out enough money to invest in a decent script.  And some better special effects.  And some actual actors.  And…

“It’s time,” said Caitlyn.  The screen had changed and replacing the trailer was the full-length monstrosity of a film.

“Come on then, let’s get this over with.”

Caitlyn nodded, moved the mouse across the screen and clicked ‘play’...

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Rocky IV

I like Rocky IV. For a start, it's not Rocky V which is, well, it's pretty darn terrible. But Rocky IV has a couple of great scenes and, um, lots of montages.

Yeah, it must have taken Stallone about 2 minutes to write Rocky IV.

It starts - as with all Rockys - with a clip of the last few minutes of the previous film. Then Apollo and Rocky have a chat round a table. James Brown sings a song and we get the first fight. Then there are a whole bunch of musical sequences & training montages. And suddenly we're at the finale. Um, where did the rest of the film go?

"It's Rocky," you say, "it's not meant to have a plot."

Except the first one definitely did. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning 3 - including Best Picture. The second and third had decent plots too. And the forth...

Well, it was educational. Somehow. In my first year at uni, Rocky IV taught a guy on my corridor in halls about the Cold War. Seems he'd never heard about it before.

Seems they let anyone into uni in 1999.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Marvel Point 1

As has been advertised just about everywhere, DC comics has recently rebooted all their comics and started them all with new (/slightly adjusted) continuity and new #1s. The idea is that the long & complicated history of comics is off-putting to new readers who will now be enticed to start reading. I'm not convinced this is a great idea for a number of reasons, but this post isn't about DC. It's about Marvel.

Marvel have been taking a different approach to get new readers in. Instead of restarting everything, over the past few months they've been having 'point one' issues. These are supposed to be stand-alone stories which give a taster of the series and encourage interest in buying subsequent ones.

In theory, I much prefer Marvel's approach over DC's.

In practice, Marvel have managed to mess it up.

Besides the problem of many not being very well written, or not even written by the regular writer, there's the problem of advertising. Again, beside the fact that Marvel haven't advertised what Point One is all about in the press properly, there's the following problem:

Take a look at these two covers:

One is for X-Factor #224. The other is for the special 'enticing new readers' issue, #224.1

Which is which? If you saw #224.1 on the shelf, would you, from a glance, be able to tell it's a 'jumping on' point? Nope, not unless you were specifically looking for it. It's completely ridiculous. There should be a giant 'POINT ONE ISSUE' banner across the top, with 'GREAT JUMPING ON POINT' splashed across it further down.

Really, what is the point of having #224.1 look exactly the same as all the other issues? #224.1 was new out this week so I don't have the sales figures for it. I really wouldn't be surprised if it sold pretty much the same amount as a regular issue.

As it turns out, this issue of X-Factor is actually one of the better Point One issues and does a good job of being - what .1s were supposed to be - a well-written stand-alone story which introduces the main cast and will want people to buy the next issue.

It's great having a 'new' product, but if you don't market it then it's doomed to failure.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The best thing about e-publishing

We are, I am told, entering a new era of reading. Books will soon be gone, replaced forever with the Kindle (/ipad/whatever). I'm not entirely sure books will be gone forever, there are many instances when a paper copy is the best format, but this post isn't really about that.

It's about this...

For the past...quite a long time (years) I've been trying to get hold of a copy of A Stitch in Time by Andrew Robinson. Yes, it's a Star Trek book. Get over it. I've wanted to read this ever since it was first published since a) Andrew Robinson played Garak in Star Trek (and is whom the book is about) and b) it's supposed to be quite good.

For reasons unknown, I didn't bother reaching into my pocket and exchanging my hard-earned money for a copy when it was first released. I can only figure it was because I wanted to wait until it was out of print to try and get it because I like to make my life as difficult as possible.

The key phrase in that last paragraph was 'out of print'. Obviously the market for Star Trek novels isn't eternal and eventually sales fall to the point where it isn't worth the publisher printing more copies on the off-chance some idiot waited ages to try and buy it.

As I found out, when something goes out of print two things can happen:

  1. The book becomes practically worthless and you can pick up the book for nothing on ebay(/wherever)
  2. The book rockets in price.

A Stitch in Time didn't exactly rocket, but it was a bit of a pain to get hold of and it was a little pricey. Which was annoying because, you know, it's a Trek novel and I didn't want to pay very much.

Then it struck me: with e-publishing there's no reason for any book to go out of print ever again.

I could read any book ever written, if I so desired.  All that's needed is that a very small file is kept on record somewhere and then everyone would be able to easily get hold of it, whenever they desired, forever.

Forget about space-saving, or any of those other reasons thrown about. This, I think, is the very best reason for e-publishing to prosper.

For those interested, A Stitch in Time is actually available for Kindle.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tron Legacy

You know those cinema adds which go along the lines of 'it's the experience that counts' - i.e. come to the cinema to watch stuff, don't download dodgy camcorder versions from the internet.

One film this particularly applies to is Tron Legacy.

This film didn't get very good reviews. Critics said the plot was rubbish. Tron fans said it was a disappointment after waiting for long for a sequel.

- which is interesting really. I mean, have they watched the original recently? It's hardly amazing. -

I'd agree the storyline isn't fantastic, but it's adequate. And the visuals...ah, sitting at the IMAX when the picture first flicks to full and there's a GIANT Recogniser in front of you...

That's something I'm going to remember for a long time.

Not that I judge films by their visuals, in general. Transformers, for example, has some great visuals, but it has the worst plot in the world and I'd rather poke my eyes out before sitting through them again.

Then there are the light cycles, the car thingamy, the jet things...  There are a lot of cool action sequences and each one is special, unlike Transformers which insisted on hitting you on the head with rubbish.

I think everyone agrees that Tron Legacy has a kick-ass soundtrack. Hearing the Daft Punk score thumping round you... It truly is an experience. I bought the CD. It's not the same. Actually, it's a bit pants. Not the music, but the fact it's only in stereo. This was music designed to surround you. In stereo, it's all a bit flat.

It all almost works on blu-ray. But first you must do three things: find the biggest screen you can, turn off the lights, and turn the volume to 11.

Only then can you really enjoy Tron Legacy.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

[REC] 2

Ah. So they went the Aliens route with this one, mixing it with a big dose of the Exorcist. Never has the description 'something meets something' (the way film plots tend to be sold) been more appropriate.

And then found out they didn't have enough plot to fill a feature film so decided to lump in 20 minutes or so of some kids who turn up for no real reason and do...pretty much nothing.

Couple that with a finale that involves some nonsense with only being able to see stuff with night-vision cameras and other general nonsensical-ness.

Oh well.

It's one of those where a simple bit of a rewrite could have improved things tremendously, but as it is I'm wondering how its managed to get so many positive reviews from critics.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


I've been doing a lot of film semi-reviews lately. No particular reason, other than most of the time (especially if it's a horror film) I've watched the film alone, and I'd like to share my views with someone, even if it's just the endless void of the Web.

Last night (actually, it was the night before, but who's counting?) I rewatched [REC], in preparation for [REC] 2 which I found cheap in (of all places) Sainsburys. [REC] is one of a glut of 'camcorder' films that were popular a few years ago - especially with monster/horror films. I suppose the artistic reason is try and put the audience right there with amongst the action, but it's also a great way to make things on the cheap as it doesn't matter if the picture is a bit crappy.

I suppose it started with Blair Witch, and reached a peak with Cloverfield. My (and probably a lot of other peoples') memories of these films are 'snot' and 'feeling sick', respectively.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Resident Evil: Afterlife

Possibly my favourite video game of all time is Resident Evil 4. Stupidly, it was the first game I bought for the Wii, which has meant that every single game since has been a bit rubbish in comparison (it doesn't help that quite a lot of Wii games are on the poor side). The greatness of the game comes down to being based around a great story.

Which brings me to the Paul W. S. Anderson's Resident Evil film series.

Great stories these do not have.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Shining

Over the past few weeks I've read The Shining by (obviously) Stephen King. Then over the past few nights I've sat and watched the mini-series and the Kubrick film. Here are a few of my thoughts on what succeeded, what didn't, and a few other things. Expect spoilers...

Book first, which seems reasonable considering it's the original. I know it's considered a classic, and I did enjoy reading it, but I have some niggles. The main one - and one, I have to admit, I've had with a couple of King's books - is the pacing. There is a lot of material before reaching the hotel. There were a few times when I just wished things would get a move on and get to the scary part, the part you picked up the book for in the first place.

This lead-up material is also a factor in my second niggle. Jack Torrance is deeply, deeply flawed from the start. It's obvious that he's going to turn 'bad'. Danny's visions of the future seem obvious - there's never any doubt that his father could perform the actions shown by Tony.

I can't help but think it would have better if Jack had been shown as a 'perfect' dad at the start of the book. Then, as the ghosts of the Overlook Hotel work on him, reveal his history.  Gradually show that he's been violent in the past, that he has a drinking problem, etc etc.

The mini-series was made in 1997, basically because Stephen King was never happy with the Kubrick version. The series was scripted by King, so it's reasonably faithful to the book, with a few changes made to the limitations of television - the language and violence is toned down considerably.

You'd think this would be good. It's not.

I don't want to pick on small children, but... Yeah, the casting of Danny was not great. I'd go far as to say he was rubbish - even more rubbish when I watched the Kubrick film the next day and saw the part being played brilliantly. The kid playing Tony is rubbish. Rebecca DeMornay playing Wendy isn't fantastic either. Steven Weber as Jack, on the other hand, isn't too bad. But he's no Jack Nicholson.

There's too much 'ghostly' business. Every few minutes a door closes by itself, or a chair topples over, seemingly just to remind us that the place is haunted. You know, in case we forgot. I can't remember all these bits being in the book and I don't know why they were added.

I think the biggest problem with the mini-series though is that it just isn't scary. This is unforgivable.

Finally onto the Kubrick film. It's more or less viewed as an abomination by King, but putting aside changed to the story, it's very good indeed.

Danny is better.
Tony is better realised.
Wendy is a bit of a pansy, but she's a well-acted pansy.

And Jack Nicholson is amazing. The real surprise is that he's reasonably good at playing 'sane' Jack Torrance, and his descent into madness is brilliantly done. Compare the character at the start and end of the film - the difference is amazing.

The real surprise is that some of the most memorable parts of the film were never in the book. The blood from the lift. All work and no play...

Oh, and it's actually scary.

So which do I like the best? I think I actually like the idea best. If I'd been King's editor I'd have had him shift the order of the book about to make it (in my eyes) more effective. I like Kubrick, but some things don't quite fit. He shies away from the ghosts - almost implying everything is down to Jack's cabin fever - but then some things can only be down to ghosts.

I think what I'm saying is I could do it better.

Which is stupid. So please ignore me.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

What is there to say about Michael Bay's Transformers films that hasn't been said already? Sadly, as Empire mentioned in their review, absolutely everything that was wrong with the previous two films is wrong with the latest one too. Bay hasn't listened. He hasn't learned.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Star Trek: Nemesis

I know I said I wasn't going to do this, but I ended up putting it on earlier than I thought and so have some free time. So here are a handful of the many things wrong with Star Trek: Nemesis...

[There be spoilers ahead! Though saying that I can't see how anything could spoil this film more than the film itself does simply by existing]

Monday, 27 June 2011

Star Trek: Insurrection

It was always going to be hard to beat Star Trek: First Contact. I think pretty much everyone loved that film and to try and do another dark, action-packed adventure would have been a mistake. Doing something completely different in tone seemed, in principle at least, a jolly good idea.

Didn't completely work though, did it?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A post for post's sake

Apologies, this blog. I have been neglecting you a little recently (and most other things as well) due to all the toyology stuff at the Toybox. I'm slowly managing to ensure I control it, and not the other way round.

Literally a second ago I finished uploading my latest book to lulu. I know I announced it was finished a while ago, but I had the formatting to do and a little tweaking on the last chapter.

As a quick aside, I was happy to see that lulu are currently offering a free copy of any new book published, or an existing book bound in some other way. I think I'm going to take the opportunity to order a couple of things in different formats just to see how they look & what they cost. For those interested, the offer ends on the 31st of July.

Back to the main topic, the copy I've just ordered is a special one for my wife. It's her job to see whether the countless storylines in the book make it completely impossible to understand or not. Once she's (hopefully) given her approval I can start giving it a bit more of a polish.

If she doesn't give it the thumbs up then I'm in trouble. In that circumstance I'll likely start work on something new and come back to it later when I've been hit by inspiration.

That's about all really. Just a quick note to say I still exist.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Choosing to Die

Last Monday Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die was shown on BBC 2. If you haven't seen it, then I'd get to iplayer quick before it disappears.

Sir Terry Pratchett followed a number of people who had decided that their quality of life wasn't great enough to continue living and they wanted help to commit suicide. In Britain, assisted suicide is a crime and the only place Britons can do this is in Switzerland, through the Dignitas Clinic.

Pratchett suffers from Alzheimer's. There will be a time when words are no longer his to command. He's already lost the ability to type and has to dictate to his assistant, Rob Wilkins. He has difficulty reading and had to have Tony Robinson read the BBC Richard Dimbleby Lecture he had written. He has the view that when his condition reaches the point where he can no longer write books he no longer wants to live, hence his interest in Dignitas.

As Pratchett warned at the beginning, it wasn't easy viewing. The documentary showed the onscreen death of Peter Smedley, a motor neurone disease sufferer, which has resulted in hundreds of complaints to the BBC.

But this part wasn't the part that I found most disturbing.

The trouble with assisted suicide is that the person doing it has to be signed off first by a doctor as being sound of mind. He has to be fully aware of what he is doing, and able to perform the act by himself. This means that it isn't a person who is truly suffering who is committing suicide, but one who will be suffering in the future.

This leads to a great problem: how do you know when the time is right? How do you decide when the point is to take your life? Leave it too long, let your condition become too bad, and you won't be allowed to do it. Do it too soon and you're cutting off your life prematurely.

There have been complaints from pro-live groups that Choosing to Die was 'pro-suicide propaganda'. It didn't come across as that to me. Pratchett's assistant Rob appeared to share the same concerns I had - that  people who could still have reasonable quality lives for some time to come were ending them prematurely.

I'm not against suicide. I think a person has the right to end their life when they see fit. If I end up suffering from Alzheimer's then I don't want to live as a vegetable. But I'd want to live until the very last moment.

In the TV show Boston Legal (which if you never watched, shame on you!) William Shatner's character Denny Crane suffers from Alzheimer's. His solution to the problem of deciding When is that he has his best friend, Alan Shore, promise that when Alan thinks Denny has deteriorated beyond recognition, Alan will shoot Denny in the head.

This is how I'd want to go out.

Obviously this then passes the buck onto Alan who has to make the incredibly difficult decision of when to pull the trigger. Maybe if a list of criteria was written out while Denny was fully aware? Could someone independent be hired to perform the act when all the boxes on the list were ticked?

This is still not without glaring problems, I know. Maybe given time I (someone?) can come up with something better. But in order for this blog post to go up before the documentary is taken off iplayer then it'll have to do.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Second DVD Cartoon Golden Age

A while ago I declared - and was agreed with by someone in 'the business' - that if an obscure cartoon hadn't been released on DVD yet, then it never would.

Seems I was wrong.

Things have, however, changed somewhat from around a decade ago when He-Man was in readily available in mainstream shops. You could pick up Visionaries and Bucky O'Hare and all sorts of relatively obscure things.

The problem was that, despite being very popular with fans, there really weren't enough fans to make it worthwhile for companies to continue releasing them. In America, Bravestarr bombed. Galaxy Rangers bombed. Basically anything that wasn't ThunderCats bombed.

Friday, 10 June 2011


I've finally heard back from Angry Robot about the manuscript I sent during their open submission month in March.

And the answer is... Well, I kind of gave that away with the title, didn't I? I'm feeling a little down about it. Not, as you might expect, because of the rejection itself. I kind of expected that to happen. As brilliant as my book might be (or not) I had a strong suspicion that it wasn't exactly right for Angry Robot. It's definitely genre (zombies!) but I don't think it's genre enough for them.

So why am I feeling down?

You know when you send off a job applications and are then sat waiting for a response? You kind of feel that you're doing something productive while you're sat doing nothing. The fact that the application is out there, waiting for the employer to look through, means that you (or at least, I) fool myself into thinking that I'm still working towards getting that fantastic new job. And you feel you deserve at least a little rest after spending so many hours getting everything just right for sending off.

Then the rejection arrives. And suddenly you're really not doing anything. There's no hiding the fact any more and you have to make an effort to begin again. You've probably continued to look for other jobs while the application was out there, but the pressure was off. Now the pressure is back with a Vengeance.

And thus the same is true for my book rejection. Now I have to make an effort to get it into print, rather than just sitting and waiting. Angry Robot taking it on would have made life incredibly easy, but now I have to hunt for an agent, or give up on 'proper' publishing and go the self-publishing route.

I know Angry Robot said there 'probably' wouldn't be any kind of feedback, but my real hope from submitting my work was that there might, possibly, be something, some comment on the rejection. Some kind of feedback that would help me move forward. There wasn't. So now I'm wondering if the book needs another draft doing, or if it should remain as it is for the time being.

So much work lies ahead.

Where yesterday there was a small flame of hope sustaining itself with no input from me, today the fire has died down to nothing but glowing embers and I have to manually keep throwing wood at it to keep it alive.

Life's never easy, is it?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Comic Adverts

I've been asked why I buy monthly comics instead of waiting for the collected books. The trade paperback versions are cheaper, and more easily stored on a bookshelf.

Besides the obvious reasons of impatience and wanting to be able to surf the internet without being 'spoiled', there's something else I like about monthlies that you don't get in books.


Yeah, I know - it's a little odd to like something most people find really annoying. Not too long ago readers were complaining to comic publishers about the amount of adverts filling the pages of comics.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

No response

You know what really annoys me about job applications?

I mean other than all the hoops you have to jump through, all the forms with their crazy complicated questions, and spending all day travelling to an interview which ultimately turns out to be a complete waste of time.

What I really hate is when companies don't bother to let you know you've been unsuccessful.

I just don't understand it. Surely it only takes a second these days to shoot off an email informing you of your unsuitability? You can easily mass-send the thing to everyone. I only see this as being polite. If I've gone to all the effort of applying to you, the least you can do is send a note saying 'sorry, but we've employed someone else.'

This is a thousand times worse when you've been to an interview. I went to an interview over four years ago and have yet to be told I didn't get the job. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I know I didn't get the job because the interview went horribly. I was definitely not suitable for the position and this was apparent within a few minutes of the interview starting. To be honest, I was shocked when I managed to get as far through the process as an interview - I can only put it down to living locally and thus they figured they might as well see on the off-chance.

Informing people takes no money and very little time. The only thing that comes from not informing people is a bad impression of the company.

Rant over.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Villains - complete

I've been working on my trilogy of Captain Chair novels for coming up for 5 years now. And as of yesterday, I can say that I'm finished.

Kind of.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Death Note

Recently I bought the anime series Death Note on DVD. It was bought because it appeared on HotUKDeals and every comment was something similar to 'THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!!'

And you know what, they were right.

Smallville: Finale

So they didn't do it in the end.  They didn't go with the title for the series finale of Smallville that everyone wanted and expected:

Monday, 16 May 2011


If you've begun reading/watching Death Note after my previous entry (which for some reason is now after this one), you'll have noticed that Ryuk eats a lot of apples. In fact he goes crazy over them.

Why did the writer, Tsugumi Ohba, decide that Ryuk eats apples? Since he's a kind of demon of death, are the apples there because of religious or psychological reasons?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Worst film posters ever?

Note: this was written ages ago, but I hit 'save as draft' and only just noticed.

These posters have appeared today on the official Facebook X-Men movie page. For a while I hoped that it wasn't actually the 'official' Facebook X-Men movie page and therefore these posters could just have been done by a fan as a joke.

Hope lives yet...

Of those submissions Angry Robot has read, have they all received rejections/submission requests?

I haven't heard anything about my submission yet, which from the above means it hasn't been read yet. Can't be too long until I hear one way or the other, but for the moment hopes lives.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Angry Robot update

Lee Harris, one of the editors at Angry Robot (you remember, the publisher accepting book submissions for un-agented writers during March) has written a brief blog about it on the SFX website.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Rise and Fall of Chris Carter

I bet Chris Carter couldn't believe his luck in 1993 when the world went X-Files mad. For a good few years there he was running one of the most popular TV shows in the world. At first, after he'd overcome his shock and good fortune, he must have begun to wonder if he was a creative genius. He'd dreamed up this show that had people gripped week after week, and if he could do it once, he could do it again. I assume Fox thought the same.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Free Writing

There's been a number of writing jobs appear on the 'net recently. I haven't actively searched any of them out, just stumbled across them on my way through interspace. I'm not going to name them, but they've all seemed interesting and the type of thing I wouldn't mind writing.

Then I had a thought...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Pulling off the impossible

When the trailer for Iron Man hit the internet I was in awe. Surely no film could possible be as good as that trailer was. I was wrong. The film was every bit as good as that trailer.

Then came the Incredible Hulk. I can't really remember the trailer for that one. It must have been a little on the average side, which is pretty much what the film itself was.

Hmm, bit of a trend developing here.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Thank you for your submission

So I've sent it. Heroes: The Legacy of Captain Chair (title lengthened to avoid confusion with TV show) is now in the hands of Angry Robot Books. Will it see print? Probably not. It's almost impossible to get a book published, but you never know. This may be a turning point in the life of me.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Legions of Fire

In the days of VHS, I used to only own - I suspect like a lot of people - only the best episodes of a TV show on video (apart from DS9 which I had all of, but other than that...).  When I watched something, I'd watch the 2 episodes that were on the video and that would be it. Bite-size chunk done with.

In these days of DVD, of course, in the space of an old video box you can fit an entire season of a show. Actually, with the way they cram in discs, you can probably fit two or three seasons. It's almost impossible to buy just your favourite episodes.

What this has led to is instead of watching a couple of episodes at a time, I now watch a season at a time. Usually a series at a time.

Recently the series was Babylon 5. From The Gathering to Sleeping in Light (I did In the Beginning too, but the rest of the TV movies were skipped). My thoughts on the series is for another post, but I will say that I found it incredibly annoying that a whole bunch of plot lines were never resolved, despite the series achieving its full desired length.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Job ap

A few months ago (well, quite a few now I guess. It was sometime last summer) SFX were advertising for a new...person. I can't remember what the position was exactly, but it doesn't really matter as I didn't get it. This was no real surprise as I have zero proper experience in journalism, but I figured I knew a lot about comics, sci-fi and related geekdom so it was worth a shot.

Part of the application was to write a comic review. Since the review I wrote is dead-on 400 words, I suspect this was the word limit.

Anyway, for those interested here's the review I wrote.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Time is Now

It's 1st March which means that Angry Robot's open submissions month has begun. I've been awaiting this day since before Christmas, spent a big chunk of Jan & Feb polishing and...

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Ice-Skating Uphill

Wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but mistakenly posted it in the wrong blog. Silly me.

So I've been having a bit of a read about publishing this afternoon. The title of this post pretty much sums up the ordeals of trying to get a book in print.

Chuck: all good things?

For the past few years when May(ish) comes around I have been sat, worried, in front of the computer waiting for news to come through of Chuck's renewal/demise. My guess is that a lot of people in the UK haven't heard of Chuck. First it was on shown on Virgin 1...a good few months after each season had finished showing in the US (I honestly thought such delays were long gone, but no). For season 4 the time between US & UK showings has much improved...but now it's (bizarrely) on Living so Freeview people can no longer see it.

For those 'not in the know', Chuck follows a geeky guy who accidentally found himself a spy for the CIA. Much of the first 3 seasons was about this ordinary person being thrown into a bunch of dangerous situations.

All this was good fun.


Monday, 14 February 2011

Never Let Me Go

This is slightly away from the topic of writing, but it is about story so it kind of counts. And it's my blog so I can write about whatever I like.

I've read a lot of reviews from people hating this film today. Most thinking it unrealistic that the public would allow the situation in the film to take place [remaining vague for spoiler purposes, but the set up is explained very early on) and wondering why none of the characters tried to run away.

Friday, 11 February 2011


One of the requirements for the book submission in March is that you include a short piece on your inspirations/intentions. Makes sense - it gives the publisher some idea what on earth you were trying to write about.

Someone has asked the following question:

'Can you give examples [of inspiration/intent] (What was Abnett trying to say with Triumff? 'It's fun') Or I may have to put 'I like to write, with a subtext of please buy my next book'

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Where to go...

So I'm checking through my story (or 'book' as I was just getting used to calling it, until someone pointed out that I should probably use 'manuscript') and I reach a flashback chapter.  As it's entirely flashback in nature, it could - theoretically - go anywhere in the book.

And herein lies the problem.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Chapter 1, Paragraph 1...

So apparently all writers have to have a blog these days.

Correction, all writers have to have a regularly updated blog these days. Apparently readers like to know what their favourite authors are up to. I suppose if there's some kind of semi-personal connection, there's a slightly better chance of the author selling a few more copies of his latest book.

Sounds reasonable.

I'm thinking I'll keep the entries reasonably short.  That way readers won't get bored half way through an update, and it shouldn't take too much time away from 'proper' writing.

I'll also make a good stab at making it 'interesting'.

Wish me luck.