All material and new posts are henceforth happening over at: So get your ass to Mars!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

The Breathing Corpse

I've just done a really interesting interview with David from The Breathing Corpse. He should be posting it soon!! Check out his blogsite at

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Best Short Story Ever

I've just read what I think is my favourite short story of all time- The Bowdler Strain by James Lovegrove, from The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction. Absolutely superb!! and beating my previous faves by Iain Banks and Phil Dick. I'll be checking out more of Mr Lovegrove's work in the very near future :-) Well done that man.

Friday, 14 December 2007

No. 20 in USA. Woo!!

Apparently, War Machine is currently No.20 in the SF and Fantasy bestseller charts in North America. Wow. That's cool. Now, what bugger is at No. 1?? Thanks to everybody who's bought the book so far (in whichever country). And to those who haven't, you should!! 'Onest! It's grrrreat!! And the sequel will be better, trust me :-) I'm just editing it right now.

BIOHELL Artwork.

Mark from Solaris kindly sent me over some early drafts of the artwork for BIOHELL, and it's looking awesome!! Keenan and Franco are on the cover, and the scale and perspective are just superb.

The artist is Dave Seeley, working out of San Fran; you can check out his website at I owe him a few beers and some pizza next time I'm in the States!!
His enthusiasm and effort on the artwork for my books has been supreme! :-)

Monday, 10 December 2007

Get a Grip!!!!!!

Just watched Ben Elton's Get a Grip DVD, from his 2006 tour. Now, Ben hasn't gigged for 10 years, and to be honest, I kinda forgot he existed. I was a big fan a decade+ back, and loved his stand-up, his Blackadder stuff, Saturday Night Live when I was but a nipper, hell, even his glitter suits!

Well, now he's pushing 48 by my count, and I wondered if the old codge had gone all Victor Meldrew on me. I'm delighted to report that the glitter suit was back, and I loved it. Even funnier was his ascerbic wit, his on-the-edge politics, and true funny man routine which showed old Ben hadn't lost an inch of his superb comedy talent. Yes, he's had kids and it was cool to indentify over common problems; but the gag about the finger up his ass, and the stuff about Lady Di. And then the rant about beer and unit levels!!! Well. You need to see it. ;-)

Buy this DVD! It's tops!!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Gone in 72 Seconds

Gods, I could have lasted longer than 72 seconds against Amir Khan last night. And I've got a damn beer belly!!

Admittedly, Amir showed incredible speed (according to Mr Barry McGuigan) during the fight; a shame he didn't show such dexterity when he jumped that red light doing 47 in a 30, and mowed down David Hutton on a pedestrian crossing, breaking the man's leg. Amir certainly did a fine job of thanking his legal team after the court case. With all their finances, it must have taken only 72 seconds to destroy Hatton on the witness stand. But hey, as Amir said, he wasn't guilty of dangerous driving. Just careless. How can it be dangerous to jump a red light and mow down a guy on a pedestrian crossing? Hah. Silly old me.

Still, Amir is a mighty fine boxer. Just a shit driver. :-)

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Long Way McGregor

I have to admit, I’m a big fan of the “motorcycle adventure”. I’ve done a few small trips myself, but am in awe of several people, mainly Ted Simon (Jupiter’s Travels) and the incredible, the awesome, and the awesomely disappeared Dan Walsh!! Yes, Dan Walsh, from Manchester, who used to write for BIKE magazine and kept me sane and alive during the hell period when I ran my own business a few years back. No matter how bad it was for me, it was always worse for Dan. And his writing is (was?) just awesome!! He travelled Africa (around 2002/2003) and later down from New York to South America, where he destroyed his bike and kind of lost his way in the world. It’s actually one of my dreams to meet this guy and buy him a beer. Dan Walsh, I salute you!

Anyway, I loved Long Way Round a few years back, starring Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. Yes, I had a problem with the support vehicles taking away that “men against the world” vibe, but overall it was a valiant adventure and made for great viewing.

Last night, I finished watching Long Way Down, the new iteration of Ewan and Charlie’s adventures. Hmm. What can I say? I was deeply disappointed, and there’s only one word that sums up why. Eve. Why oh why oh why did Ewan feel the need to drag his wife on the trip? This was supposed to be a Boy’s Own adventure tale, two lads against the world, roughing it in the African scrub. Charlie kept his chin up, but you could see at the start he wasn’t a happy chappy- and, I feel, must have been kicking himself later in the trip for not nipping the “Eve” concept in the bud. After all, did Charlie feel the need to bring his Gran? Or his Uncle? His children? No. Because it was supposed to be two pals vs the world. And then, when Eve did finally turn up (OK, so I got some small pleasure watching her bin her bike time and again) I just couldn’t understand her motivations. Was it to stop Ewan playing away? Was it to get her own slice of TV time? Was she that desperate to live with Ewan’s sweaty fish boots? Whatever, she was leaving her kids alone without father and mother, to do a bike trip when she obviously cared nothing for bikes. It was also stunning when they rolled out Ewan’s mother for the “big surprise”. Awesome, yeah? But why no surprise for Charlie Boorman? Why does Ewan always get the golden apple?
Charlie made a few comments, but obviously didn’t want to destroy his friendship with the Jedi. I felt so sorry for Charlie, his trip practically destroyed by the biggest of gooseberries. And then, at the end, when Eve said something about wanting to do more, and going along on the next trip, I confess, I nearly coughed up my sausage. Hey, they can call the next one Long Way McGregor and just get it over with.

I confess, I’ve always liked Ewan M., but I lost a lot- and I mean a lot- of respect for the guy for what he did to his buddy. Conversely, I started off thinking Charlie Boorman was a long-haired monkey in Long Way Round, watched him progress through the Paris/Dakar rally, and now I have the utmost respect for the guy. :-)

Hey Charlie! Next time you do a trip, take me!! I don’t need support vehicles, I won’t moan about your wheelies, and I promise I won’t bring my wife. Or my brother. My dad, my uncle or my bloody gran!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Angry Feminist Writes!!

Actually, that's unfair. Hoho. I met Donna Scott, editor of Visionary Tongue at Novacon37, and discovering she was a radical feminist, and being the sort of guy who courts controversy, I asked her to review my male-orientated kickass action fest, QUAKE. I didn't think she would, but Donna has very kindly reviewed it, and given me permission to post her comments here.

I'd just like to point out that Donna's right in everything she says, and I take full responsibility for all quibbles with regards female characterisation. Hopefully, I've adressed this issue in my latest works. However, there were NO typos in the final delivered manuscript of QUAKE. The MS had been checked 8 times by me, then by Tim Holman (editor-in-chief), and then by Nick Austin, the copy-editor, who's also worked on lots of Tom Clancy novels. The MS was then passed to God only knows who- and when I received the proofs there were no less than 2 errors per page, so, over a thousand errors in the MS as a whole. It even had a section from the Yellow Pages in it, and a small section of a shopping list. Honestly, I ain't joking. I think some YTS braindead monkey at the printers was having a laugh. Anyway, despite myself and Bella Pagan (desk-editor at Orbit) working like idjits for the next two weeks, a few errors still slipped through. Frustrating!!

QUAKE- A Feminist Perspective, by Donna Scott.

First of all, I think I should tell you that once I got into the meat of the story, I found it a real page turner. The technology aspects were more than sufficiently convincing – especially the vehicular kind, which I think you must have had real fun with. The pace of the action got slicker and more exciting as the novel progressed, as is only right, and the characterisation… well, you have an excellent character in Carter, whose inner demon, Kade, provides a brilliant device for revealing his internal conflict and conveying the empathies of an outwardly deeds-over-words kind of guy. As you have been saying in your blog (yup – found it!), characterisation is key, and all a reader of any gender really wants at the end of the day are convincing characters that act in ways that seem real… at least as real as the context of the story allows ( I think we are removed from the very real in your world, which brings some very graphic-novel type images to my mind, what with the visual switches between colour and black and white, and the close-ups of people in close combat with saliva drools and droplets of blood in high definition - but you probably follow what I mean).

All good stuff.

Now, using my pink-tinted magnifying glass, I will look at the women in the text. You know I’m knee-deep in my English MA at the mo, researching feminist sf, and I’ve been reading more Russ than anyone who likes reading coherent stories can take, so my feminist critical faculties are particularly sharpened of late - though I’m probably more of a deconstructionist myself, so I tend to hear Bakhtinian voices… a bit like Carter, probably.

I wasn’t very convinced by Natasha, I’ll admit. For a pregnant lady, her legs are gorgeous instead of puffy and her bump has only just become noticeable. Nothing really inconsistent for 24 weeks and under, I suppose, but it’s almost as if Carter can’t see the baby either: there he is, passing her whisky, asking her to go snowboarding, expecting her to help when they have the intruder, wanting sex (with her pregnant body concealed either in a kimono or a peep-hole thingie)… can you hear the tutting? Can you though?

It’s great though that women’s physical strength is never in question and a Spiral operative is a Spiral operative. However, the one thing I did notice is that there isn’t a woman mentioned who isn’t gorgeous or very sexual, with perhaps the exception of the mother that gets killed by Jam - who isn’t really described, and Karla Red - who is sexual, but also some kind of grotesque by the sounds of it.

Beauty, in the case of TT, Mila and Roxi, distracts the squaddies with potential sex, or sexual nostalgia, exposing them to threatening situations, and Freddy’s finances are ruined by Charlotte, who manipulates him with her sexuality. Then you have another female Spiral operative who is pretty and gets shot in the face. Carter shoots lots of Nex in the face too, but they’re Nex… I’d guess that you are adding to the grossness of the situation and shock value by making some of the people who get destroyed beautiful, and are subverting the traditional innate ‘goodness’ of women in stories to emphasise the corruption of society in your world (particularly emphasised by the bully girls who encourage the attack on Carter and his brother with their ‘child-whore perfume’ – products they have bought into which remove their innocence, a bit like Charlotte and her LVA fuel obsession). However, I’m just saying that there might be some who read into that you think women’s sexuality is a threatening thing, that’s all…

…and then, having a character called ‘TT’, and women whose clothes fall off when they are rescued, well, that’s the cherry on the big, angry feminist cake, that is! [REM would like it to be known he called TT, um, TT after the Isle of Man motorbike races, and only later realised it could be seen as "titty". Sorree!]

Pretty much most of the examples I’ve made occur in the first third of the book. I think that some of the women who have made it past the gun-ho cover will stop reading before they get into the story because they are put off by these things, and that’s a shame because it’s a good, entertaining story and at least you have women characters. However, I’m also certain you have a fan base out there that appreciates the pretty girls in the squad for their aesthetic appeal and would want to read about that kind of thing before the story got too involving.

Also, with my editorial eye, I saw a few things that I took issue with in the first third of the book, but hey, they happen, and you’ve already had two books published since. I can let you know more details if you’re really curious - that is, if you’re not already aware – but it might not be useful now. What I will say is that the typo on p. 55 is quite funny.

By the way, I laughed out loud on the bus when you made an appearance at the end of the book (that’s where I was reading it, in case you hadn’t realised)! See, I was paying attention!

I enjoyed the book very much.

Thanks to Donna Scott! And, whilst I'll not go as far as Michael Moorcock and claim to be a feminist, I'd certainly like to point out I do believe in equality :-)

You can check out Visionary Tongue here:

And Immanion press here:

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Christmas Time, Mistletoe & Wine

Just spent a very relaxing weekend putting up the Christmas tree with the boys, pinning advent calendars to the wall, and watching their mounting excitement at the prospect of a big fat red dude dropping down the chimney with a sack full of presents. I’m now an expert on fielding tough questions, such as how does such a fat man squeeze down the chimney? and how can he possibly visit every single boy and girl in the whole world? So, I’m in a pretty mellow mood, the chainsaw is locked away in the garage, and I’d like to thank Ariel for his advice on my drunken typing the other day, hoho. I’m even mellow to Harry Webb, despite the constant annoyance of his yuletide yodelling.
Right, I’m off to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s also Dave Lister’s favourite film, y’know.
Don’t ever let anybody put you off having kids. Yes, they have dirty nappies and can be a proper pain in the behind. But… to see those little faces when you put the star on the tree. Brill.