All material and new posts are henceforth happening over at: http://andyremic.wordpress.com. So get your ass to Mars!
Saturday, 27 December 2008
Hopefully, will be taking in at least Ben Lomond and Ben Vorlich, with another thrown in for fun. And then it's Hogmanay!! Yay!! Kilt time!!
So if anybody around Loch Lomond wants a beer, drop me a line :-)
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
A Review of The Garbage Man by Joseph D’Lacey.
Andy Remic, December 2008.
I’ve been reading The Garbage Man by Joseph D’Lacey over the last few weeks, and it’s cool to see a resurgence of horror with writers like D’Lacey and Bill Hussey taking centre stage. These guys have also got a cool horror website up and running - Horror Reanimated - which has recently become a must-need read for me. Check out http://www.horrorreanimated.com.
Anyway, onto the book. The Garbage Man is a subtly skewed twist on reality in which D’Lacey plumbs a much underused minefield of original ideas and esoteric plot strands. The Garbage Man builds slowly empowering the reader with empathy for a plethora of interesting characters and their sometimes petty lives – all except Mason Brand, who for me was the star of the show, an intricate character brilliantly portrayed, with hidden depths and a host of unpredictable surprises woven into his weird hippy-extremes. Despite delicate sensibilities, however, Brand shows a very dark shadow of his twisted soul, and without wanting to give too much away, his nurturing and misplaced love goes horribly wrong, all controlled in a masterful way by D’Lacey.
The Garbage Man is a testament to trash, a carnival of crap, a festival of faecal matter! and when the (literal) shit hits the fan, the novel explodes more violently than dynamite in a sewage plant. D’Lacey’s creatures are original, inventive and unique, and filled with a turgid shit-filled menace that makes one want to shit his (or her) panties. Rarely have I read such an original twist on the monster genre, and this book begs to have a sequel!!
The writing is tight, polished, and flows well for the reader. Descriptions are intelligent, environments well-realised, and the plot builds to a satisfying climax. Negatives? A bit of a slow start for me, but then I’m a self-confessed alcohol junkie with the attention span of a goldfish (on junk). This element will no doubt appeal to Steven King fans, as there is so much good characterisation which leads the reader by the hand, then breaks his arm with a grin.
The ending is full of surprises, and caught me out. Lurking in the end scenes is a brilliant spark of originality which I am shamelessly going to plagiarise at every opportunity. Overall, then, The Garbage Man is intelligently written, with good characters, a strong plot, and that oh-so-rare element of originality lacking in much of today’s contemporary fiction.
The Garbage Man by Joseph D’Lacey. Hey... it’s garbage, man. Total garbage!! In a good way. Highly recommended :-)
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
My other recent interview is at the cool MilScxifi.com, again a superbly presented website. Read it at http://www.milscifi.com/files/inter-AR-BH.htm.
I must say, there are some brilliant SF websites around these days. Very professional!! You guys have got it good.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Sax has written a novel called The Hypernova Gambit and is currently represented by the John Jarrold Lit Agency. And... and he likes beards!! Just like me :-)
Just be warned, I'd had a few very strong cups of coffee when I drivelled some of the answers and they're, heh heh, interesting. I was bouncing like Butthead. And yes, my butthole will speak now.
Friday, 31 October 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Alternatively, I’m willing to come out of retirement and spend an hour in the ring with these two muppets. And I’m damn sure Ricky Hatton wouldn’t mind a round or three.
Sachs is such a lovely bloke, and I’ve just watched his response to the two hairy reprobates. And yes, he’s too nice to pursue matters further – that’s why they chose him. And yes, they sent him very nice letters – they were begging for their jobs.
What 78 year old grandfather deserves this sort of treatment?
And Russel! Mate! Get a haircut! And a shave. Haha.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
You could win a box full of Solaris books :-)
Monday, 27 October 2008
1] BIOHELL is out tomorrow, 28th October, in the US. Finally!! It feels like I wrote this book about three years ago... and yes, it's been a VERY long year.
2] WAR MACHINE podcasts go live on 31st October - fittingly, Halloween (the horror, the horror) and can be snaffled from http://www.podiobooks.com/.
3] XFACTOR was much better this week :-) I especially liked the charity song, with proceeds going to Help For Heroes and the British Legion Poppy Appeal - 2 brilliant worthwhile causes. Here's the link- http://xfactor.itv.com/videos/video-detail/item_200389.htm
Cheryl Cole was still a replicant on the show. Maybe that's why she walked out..... Deckard barged in, hunting her down with a Laser Tube.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
OK. Here’s my problem. Michael Jackson night. What? I mean, WHAT? What’s it going to be next week? Gary Glitter night? Macc Lads night? X Factor does Roy Chubby Brown songs? Well, the contestants all gave it a good shot. But let’s be brutally honest here, even the best were the worst, and the worst just not good enough. Girl Band. We should just call them Crap Band and get it over with. And even the notables, like Eoaoghane and Laura couldn’t save the show. Eoaogooane’s baby face was too sickly sweet, made me feel like I was gargling sugar, whereas Laura sounded like a mincing cat in a mincer. The rest of the bands should have been banned after their predictably awful warbling, and as for the rough bird with five kids – well, just who keeps telling her she looks good in those suits? And with that hair? And that bad attitude? Now she’s like a peacock on mescaline, and you have to groan and acknowledge she won’t be going away. We have the Pontin’s reject, let’s call him Slick, who actually thinks he’s slick but in reality is just a manipulated monkey who’s going to fall and Fall Big and Cry A Lot, and then that guy with the gelled black hair like spider legs. Who can’t sing. And then you the Other Boy Bands. The Really Bad Ones. So, a mixed bag in all. Yes. A bag of X Factor rejects.
And now to the judges. OK, Walsh is quietly amusing, but if we’re honest, has little idea about what makes a good tune, and to my mind at least, is completely tone deaf (he did manage Boyzone, come on). Daniiii Minogue – what the **** is she doing on the show? Daniiiii, who only ever got her squidgy little mug on TV on the coat-tails of her much more famous/ better looking/ more glamorous/ infinitely more talented sister and is now judging other musicians without possessing any talent whatsoever. Pass me a needle and thread, my sides are splitting. Cheryl Cole. Hmm. The Queen of No Emotion. She says the right words, but it does not transfer to her face or eyes. She is a robot. A replicant. Certainly, a repellent. Either that, or she’s wearing that much makeup over her plastic surgery one cannot see the facial expressions beneath the trowel-applied mask (unless, of course, a pretty black dude waltzes on stage. Husband? What’s that then?).
Finally, we get to Simon Cowell. And herein lies the irony. The man I used to hate, well, now I reserve man-love for him. I would like to bear his children. Because, in a maelstrom of insanity, he is the only sane voice. He’s funny, truthful, compassionate, empathic, and knows his game. What I used to think of as acerbic hatred is actually spot-on observation. So, big round of applause for Simon. He deserves it. And, um, I suppose that’s why he’s a multi-millionaire.
And please please please don’t allow Girls Aloud (Girls Allowed?) sing on the show again. To have a supposedly professional band put in a singular warbling performance worse than all the amateur contestants put together was painful and cringe-worthy to watch (endure). Just bad. Bad bad bad. If it gets any worse, I won’t be tuning in any more. And that would be a shame, because I can’t wait for Cheryl Cole to sing I’m the Leader of the Gang (I Am).
Monday, 20 October 2008
BIOHELL hits the United States of America in trade paperback, October 28th 2008, followed by a UK mass-market paperback on February 5th 2009.
Go out and buy it. You won't regret it!!
Some of the author's fave quotes:
"One step at a time, compadre. We’re not supermen! Well, at least, you’re not."
"Hey! I’m not just some uncouth, misogynistic, beer-drinking, heterosexual power-house, with no appreciation of the finer points of science, literature and art. Am I?"
"You’ve got it all wrong, Keenan, my friend. You have a twisted perspective. A deviated standpoint. This world. This life. This nightmare. I’m the only sane thing in it. It’s everybody else that’s mad. The pills just make your insanity bearable."
"Damn that vegetable spunk slime."
Friday, 17 October 2008
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
You can hear audio trailers on my website, at www.andyremic.com, and the serialised audio chapters themselves can be dowloaded from www.podiobooks.com.
War Machine audio podcasts to follow shortly.......
And all FREE! Yes, FREE!! What a jolly kind soul I am :-)
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Looking forward to seeing Ian Watson, he of Orgasmachine fame (in Japan, certainly). I've been reading Orgasmachine recently, and it is truly a superb work, visionary, and brim full of wonderful ideas (the skins in Jade's wardrobe is my current favourite). I will break with tradition (my tradition of not writing reviews, anyway) and post a full review when I've completed this (short) masterpiece. Wonderful!
Also wonderful, loathe though I am to admit it, is Mark Newton's The Reef. I was pleasantly surprised upon reading this tome (after all, I know the dude) and hereby, and with great regret, have to admit it's a fine book. Damn. I was looking forward to giving it a proper slagging. Actually, I might just lie and make up a really grotesque review in the future. :-) Newton deserves no less.
Friday, 3 October 2008
So, imagine my delight when these two dudes joined forces to blog about the horror scene! Wonderful! Point your mouse over to http://horrorreanimated.wordpress.com/ for some sweet-smelling fun and frolics from the horror scene......
Monday, 29 September 2008
1] Evo Terra, main guy at podiobooks.com - for his patience with an idiot author.
2] The podiobooks.com community - for consistently telling me my machine gun effects were too loud.
3] Mark Newton and the guys at Solaris - for permission to podcast War Machine.
4] Darren Nash (and legal people) at Orbit Books - for permission to podcast Spiral.
Thank you all!!
Popdcasts will be appearing soon on www.podiobooks.com, which will also be linked via my website.
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
It's surprising the work involved in podcasting. It surprised the hell out of me!! However, I've done a couple of samples and the good folks at podiobooks are giving me handy advice. Soon, I'll be ready to release....
Hopefully, I'm going to podcast SPIRAL and WAR MACHINE in weekly episodes, via my own website and podiobooks and any other damn website who'll have me. Not that I'm an audio whore or anything. Just awaiting permission :-)
Also, check out Th3 M1ss1ng's website.... they're a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Portishead. Mellow and harsh at the same time, and very, very cool. Check out http://www.myspace.com/th3m1ss1ng for some cool vibes.
And watch out for Andy Remic's attack on the world of the podcast.......
Monday, 8 September 2008
I've finally got round to doing a few updates to my website, after a reasonable sloth-like hiatus. So if you want to know when I'm out and about, or download a fine high resolution desktop image of the War Machine artwork (courtesy of Dave Seeley and Tor.com) then that's the place to look.
I'll also be appearing at Fantasycon in Nottingham, on the Saturday (20th September). I'll probably be at the bar. I'll probably have a pint. Come and say "Hello" and we can argue the finer points of Blade Runner and motorbikes.
Sunday, 31 August 2008
A woman has died after she fell 200 feet from a mountainside in the Lake District along with her husband and six-year-old daughter. All three were airlifted to a Carlisle hospital in two Sea King helicopters following the plunge, but medics were unable to save the life of the 38-year-old woman.
Her husband, 48, and daughter survived the fall and are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, a Cumbria Police spokeswoman said.
She added: "Officers can confirm that the three people involved were a family from Peterborough.
"Tragically the 38-year-old wife and mother has been pronounced dead.
"Police will not be releasing the identity of any of the family members at this stage."
The Ministry of Defence, which sent rescue helicopters from RAF Bulmer and RAF Valley, said the family had fallen while walking on Sharp Edge, Blencathra.
The dramatic ridge walk is popular with hikers, but can be a precarious route.
Keswick Mountain Rescue lists 53 reported incidents on Sharp Edge in the last 60 years, with nine that resulted in death.
Most accidents involved hikers losing their footing on slippery rock.
An MoD spokesman said: "We believe they tumbled or fell about 200 feet.
"The second helicopter recovered the lady who had fallen and took her to hospital.
"The first helicopter was scrambled at about 2.45pm.
"It was wet and slippy. They were just below the cloud line around 2,000 feet up the mountain. It is quite steep there.
"Two other adults were taken down the mountain by Keswick Mountain Rescue team."
Saturday, 30 August 2008
The panel (and I know I'm scraping the barrel here watching XFac, but hey, I was coerced) didn't even NEED to speak. "Ariel" (you're looking different here, Mr Turpin) made a complete fool of herself simply by opening her mouth.
Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Monday, 4 August 2008
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Friday, 1 August 2008
You can stream the station online. Check out www.wusb.org and http://www.captphilonline.com/Destinies.html.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
Up reasonably early, drove to Daytona Beach stopping via the Waffle House (or Wapple House, as my 2 year old Ollie calls it) for a, quite frankly, unseemly huge breakfast feast. Waddled out, back into the car on squeaking suspension, then continued the rest of the journey to the beach. Out in the sun, splashing in the waves, building sand castles etc etc. The boys loved it, and the sun was beaming and the world felt good. Cleaned off sticky sand, went to my favourite biker shop in Daytona (Hot Leathers, yeah, I know...) where I got some Bike Week t-shirts and checked out the open-face lids (I’ll be getting one before I return to the UK, probably with a flames symbol, maybe an eagle symbol, possibly a flaming eagle eating flames symbol) then over to the Daytona International Speedway race track, which was surprisingly ace. Did the official tour, checked out the NASCAR motors and the original 1929 Bluebird, saw the IMAX film of Daytona 500 and went on a “simulator” which was good fun. After this, went for a slap-up Italian meal in a non-franchise restaurant and ate absolutely so much food that I resembled a pot-bellied pig (don’t say anything, you lot giggling at the back). Waddled once again back to the car, and cruised back to the villa. Read some of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods (which I was thoroughly enjoying until he skipped a hundred miles of his Appalachian Trail adventure with a taxi/ hire-car combination, thus earning my disrespect, the lazy pie-eating individual). Settled down with a large Tequila (eat the worm), and watched some Long Way Round with Ewan McGregor and his long-haired monkey friend, Charlie, which I thoroughly enjoyed for its Britishness. After all, American TV truly does suck. A Perfect Day, no less.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Checked out a local book shop, and they had my books!!! Yayy!! Bought Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, which is totally brilliant, very succinctly and humorously written.
At 10pm went round and told the neighbours off for making way too much noise. It sounded like they were murdering each other in the pool, and quite frankly, I wish they were. There were 25 of them in their villa. 25!! Talk about economising, the penny-pinching backwood comedy rednecks!!
Sunday, 13 July 2008
What am I talking about? Why, American theme parks, of course. And specifically, the ones in Florida which I am currently forced to endure for the pleasure of my little boys who want to see Barney, and Shrek, Buzz Lightspears, Mickey Monkey, Spiderspunk and bloody Donald the bloody Dunk.
OK. I love the US. I love the people. But the gradual toxic poisoning of my system leading to total mental meltdown and a loathing so great you could bottle it and sell it to serial killers began with theme park car parking. So simple, you inquire? Well, yeah. After queuing to get into the damn park (in this case Universal, but hey, count Disney in this tirade as well) you then queue to pay for parking. This is on top of the extortionate park pass fees you’ve just stumped up for. Pay. To. Park. Then, you trudge for klicks to the bag searches, where you queue to have your bag searched by an incompetent. Really. I could have smuggled a thermo-nuclear device past these goons. Then, you trudge again, and queue to buy tickets (if you’ve foolishly arrived without, which many people have). Then you queue past the queue for tickets, queuing to get into the damn place. All of this in the broiling Florida heat meaning you stink like a fish market before setting foot on park. However, at least this gets you in the general mood for the gig, for your main activities of the day will be a] trudging, and b] queuing. You see, you’ll trudge halfway across the park (as always happens, daddy daddy, I want to go on Jaws) and you arrive, either to find the queue is an hour long, or the ride has shut down due to leaves on the track, inclement weather or mysterious ‘technical difficulties’ which doesn’t really instil faith, especially on the fast rides. So you trudge around some more. Then you queue, more often than not in the sun with a foot-pedalled fan drifting warm, oddly-smelling air over you as loud people talk loudly around you and at you. But what’s really amusing is that you queue for the entrance, but with most ‘rides’ they let you through the entrance and you think ‘thank Donald for that’, only now you’ve shuffled into a room and the doors are closed, like cattle being taken for slaughter. As you all stand, mooing, you’re shown some pointless video and you gradually realise the ‘ride’ hasn’t yet started, but that you’re now enduring filler. Yup. That’s right. It’s a mind-job. You’re being conned into thinking it’s started, when in reality you’re stood in a room, now in another queue. Sometimes, you go through two of these cattle-slaughter pens, thus queuing a total of three times to get to the dam ‘attraction’, which is then regularly so pathetic that you wished you just spent the previous hour with your head down the toilet. Even somebody else’s toilet.
You queue for the rides. You queue to queue for the rides. You queue for a coke, a beer, a pizza, a pee. You queue to queue. What a joke.
Today, as I (surprisingly) queued yet again, I realised what a wonderful, wonderful scam these theme parks are. Not only have you paid for entry, and paid to park, paid for warm coke etc etc, but the majority of what you’ve paid for is to queue. I don’t like queuing. I don’t queue. I was an English teacher. Straight to the front of the dinner queue, slapping the little kids on the back of the head with my dinner tray. The Chinese don’t queue. They have the right idea.
And this, dear reader, is why I hate Florida theme parks. But the greatest irony, and why Universal and Disney will always win (and take my dollars, the scheming con-artists), is that my kids love it. And so, as a dutiful father, I am forced to endure Barney in perpetuity. Or until the little brats are 18. I’ll get back to you later. Much later. My thoughts are now in a queue.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Anyway, my wife and I were here about 5 years ago, and went to an ace little Greek restaurant facing the beach. Well, it’s still there, only more "fast-foodicised" now, and looking a lot different, more modern and plastic. Went in for lunch anyway, but some of the same original Greek staff were there, and we picked Souvlaki platters which were just absolutely scrummy. I was asking the waitress about the old Greek place, and she knew what I was talking about so this wasn’t just some drunken figment of my sun-fried zombie imagination. Had the best, just the best meal I’ve had in the US for a long long time. Forget steak, forget pizza and burger smush. This was great traditional, um, Greek food. In Florida.
Back to the beach, read some more Bill Bryson (I just love his outlook on both the UK and US, and his statistics are, amusingly, amusing) and Sonia proceeded to turn lobster pink. I mean, real neon nuclear legs. Finally, after frying like eggs in a pan, we checked out some MuckyDonalds ice-creams and headed back to the villa, just creeping under the evening rush-hour by the whisker of a cat’s tail. Or something. Got back to the villa and had a much-deserved cold Budweiser, and a funny dancing session where we applied cold cream to our burnt bits (the kids, obviously, escaped this because we had them syrup-smeared in Factor Stupido).
Ported over my photos, which are just cracking. The white beaches of Clearwater are pretty hard to beat. And couple that with Greeko-Americano food? Can’t beat it bubba.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Lounged in the pool all morning, playing with the boys and getting soaked and losing at "kerbie". We ordered some Universal and Wonderworks tickets on the net, then drove to Ponciana to pick them up. Bargain. Cheap as chips etc. Was overcome by an incredible hunger (this was 10.30am, and no, I’m not usually a Pig in a Poke at this early morning brunch slot). Stopped at Subway, and bought a foot long meatball marinara with jalapeno peppers and onion and honey mustard. Mmm. Be a pig, be a pig, be a pig! It cost, get this, $5. That’s a smidge over £2.50. Bargain! No wonder so many Americans are fat. If I lived here, I’d certainly turn into Jabba the Hutt (yeah yeah, I know, I’m getting there already).
My wife needed some shades, so we drove to Prime outlets and the Sunglasses Hut. I said to her, I said, don’t drag me in, I can’t help myself around Oakleys. But no. She had to drag me in. And what turned into a cheap shopping trip for my wife, turned into another Oakley buying session for me. I am a bad man. I cannot help myself. After all, what kind of person needs five pairs of Oakleys? Five, I tell ye? It’s just not proper. Not human. Not normal. I bought some Oakley Riddles, the polarised ones. Very, very nice. Very.. mm.. Oakley. I know, spoilt brat, more money than sense, etc etc.
Picked up our Universal and Wonderworks tickets, parked up in Pizza Hut and went into the "Wonderful Wonderworks" which from the outside looks awesomely impressive, a house which is completely upside down complete with upside down lamp-posts and palm trees. Great. In we went, through a promising spinning corridor which makes you want to puke, and out into - well, a very hot room filled with tat. Yes, some of the tat was mildly interesting, and the bed of nails was superb (although I was the only one with the balls (and steel skin) to lie on it; everybody else bottled it) and it burned a bit like a tattoo and made you wonder if you were about to be impaled. Made me feel like I was in an Arabian Knights movie. The rest of the "attractions" were OK. Some face stretching screen endeavours, some green-screen action, a few mechanical devices displaying load and effort. In the lift, an enthusiastic man kept enthusing that you were in the "wonderful" Wonderworks, but I had to disagree. For our $50 we spent about an hour there, which is always a bad sign, and left bathed in sweat (no aircon in Florida?). I think it was a simple ruse to cook you from the premises.
Anyway, on the way back to the villa stopped at an "Authentic English Pub", run by Americans obviously. I really, really, really should have learnt my lesson in these places. After all, all the authentic "Irish Bars" are 99.9% of the time guaranteed to be nothing of the sort, as any Irish-born person will tell you. So then, the English pub had English beers, and we enjoyed a few and I taught my eldest boy (5, nearly 6) to play the mainstay of all British boozers, pool. Now, I am no stalwart of pool, and in fact the last time I played in a real-world UK boozer setting, I performed the most amazing shot, lifting a ball from the felt and depositing it in a mate’s beer. In my younger years, I had been known to knock people out cold with a misplaced cue ball. Anyway, I did my best, but my five year old beat me on his first game.
Got chatting to a couple of local women who worked at Perkins up the road, and had a really good chat where I pumped them for information on Blue Shield insurance cards, and the difference between a State Trooper and a County Sherriff, and what the alcohol tolerance levels were in Florida (about the same as the UK, apparently). I thought it was zero tolerance. The women thought the UK had zero tolerance. Seems there are quite few misconceptions flying about.
Back to the villa, and chilled out for the rest of the evening. Had a Chinese delivery, which was great on volume, not so great on quality. I live in a place which is horrendous, in my opinion, but has some awesome Chinese takeaways. Orlando is awesome, but the curry is urine. I think I’ll settle for pee-curry anyday.
Had an early night. Read my Bill Bryson book (ace!). Damn this jet-lag.
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Flying, for me, is like having a tattoo. I love the end product, but the process is painful. And, like having a tattoo (which is damn painful, and anybody who says it isn’t is just a plain liar in the same mould of those fake-tanned guys who wear t-shirts when it’s -2° outside), with flying you always forget the pain. Until the next time.
Early start, up at 4am, drove to Manchester airport and everything was going smoothly. Breakfast, kids behaving, tiny queue at check-in. Great. Then, approaching the gate for boarding, the whole gang were shuffled ¼ of a mile to a different gate where we sat for an hour, reaching and exceeding our flight time without any explanation, then moved to a barrage of many groans, all the damn way back to the original gate. Arse. We finally boarded amidst Monarch’s apologies (but as my good friend Jake would say, apologies are like arseholes - everybody’s got one) and took up battle formation in our four central seats. Me on one end, Sonia on the other, and our two bouncing boys in the middle Hmm. Should be a long flight.
Amusing flight anecdotes. Well, it was funny when Sonia took Olly to the toilet and he peed all over her foot. Funny for me, anyway. Also funny when Joe announced to half the Boeing 767 "I’m gonna be sick!" and we scrambled for the sick bags. Also funny when we bought the tiny monkey cans of coke, and proceeded to pour our own brandy into the glass feeling slightly like naughty schoolchildren at the back of the class, doing something we shouldn’t. OK. Here’s the deal with the brandy thing. It’s not a financial thing. Actually, it is, but more linked to principles. The airline states you cannot consume your own liquor aboard their aircraft for safety reasons. Oh yeah? Like... what? Despite the fact that they’ll sell you an unlimited amount of liquor in little comedy bottles, oblivious to yours or anybody else’s safety whilst doing so. What a joke. I bought a litre bottle of Three Barrels brandy in the airport for £8. On the plane, they were charging £3.20 for 5cl of same liquor. That’s £6.40 for 10cl, or, get this, an incredible £64.00 a litre. Profiteering? Monarch airlines? On top of my 2 grand plane tickets? Never. So, giggling like kids, me and Sonia chucked in our own brandy whilst giving the middle finger to profiteering bureaucracy in the process.
Happily jolly, the flight was going great. Only, I have a problem. The problem is a delicate constitution on flights. Apparently, on a flight all the gases in your body, i.e. your guts, swell up. This makes people fart. A lot. Normally, I’m fine on these long-haul flights. Unless I drink. Every single time I travel, I recite the mantra I will not drink, I will not drink, I will not drink. And then, like a comedy dumb arse, I drink. Thus, as night follows day, as man followed the dinosaur, as sexual deviancy follows appointed politicians, I proceeded to an upset stomach situation and spent too much time in the bog.
Spending my penance in the airplane bog, slightly drunk on prohibition brandy, I had time to reflect on Jeremy Clarkson’s claim of how to beat the airline anti-smoking policy. Now, I’m not smoker, but tell me I can’t smoke and I immediately want to. I know, dumb-arse obstinacy and sheer bloody-mindedness, but then I never said I had all my sanity, did I? Clarkson (fine toilet reading, by the way, not that I’m trying to insinuate I correlate Clarkson with crap) says you can smoke in an airplane toilet if you hold the flush and smoke with your head down the pan. Well, I tried this, and the toilet only sucks for a short period. Certainly not enough to disguise your smoking. My subsequent capture and interrogation by the plane’s captain was just a testament to how Clarkson needs a slap on the legs when I next see him. Or maybe I deserve the slap for listening to his rambling. (This is of course, a joke. I am not stupid enough to smoke in a Boeing 767 toilet, although I did crash a car once by driving into a wall at 50mph. My excuse was that I was 17 and stupid. The police turned up, used the F-word, and asked my mate who was in the passenger seat if he’d like to press charges against me. Charming! I have since had a deep distrust of the Five-O).
We landed, and US immigration really had their stuff sorted (unlike once, when we stood for a good hour and a half with lots of fat people from Birmingham). We sailed through passport control and customs (our smuggling, as usual, going unnoticed), got our luggage and car (a rather superb gay-blue Hyundai Sonata with soon-to-be broken boot hydraulics, a kind of retro-engineered ocean liner on wheels), and then headed off into the heat mirage of The Swamp.
The villa was cool, spacious and well equipped, the kids full of McDonalds, and after a quick visit to Publix (Pubix, ho ho) for some Budweiser and fine Chardonnay we unpacked and hit the pool. Then slept. Boy, we slept.
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
SF Signal in general is a very fine site and worth checking out at: http://www.sfsignal.com, where you'll find interviews, free fiction, posts and all sorts of news tidbits.
Right. Off to do my packing. All that hairgel won't pack itself.
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Indiana was looking for a golden monkey.
Friday, 27 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
Monday, 16 June 2008
It's a "unique project to raise money for and awareness of the Alzheimer's Research Trust", all a very good cause.
Please support the Monqee!!
Sign up now!!
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Search for Andy Remic in Manchester :-)
Had a blast up Helvellyn in the Lakes yesterday, and can heartily recommend this to anybody who wants to heave their bulks out of their armchairs. Go on, switch off Big Brother/ Lost/ Heroes and drive to Glenridding. There's a bit of work involved, but the views when you stand on Striding Edge are truly spectacular... just be careful not to fall off!!
Much credit must be given to the fat man in orange who followed me and Jake across Striding; he was an amateur, bumbling along, and filled his pants when he came to the chimney descent. But credit to him, he was fat, unfit, and scared to hell, but he gave it a go and was victorius. Well done that fat man in orange!!
After Helvellyn, we blasted on and climbed Catstye Cam (an easy second addition) with the idea we'd eat lunch up there (salted tuna sandwiches, yum), but the unusually humid conditions meant a plague of midgies wanted to share our food, no matter how unappetising, and chased us down the flanks so we had to eat on the move. Then it was me and Jake down to a local hostelry for some grand Old Speckled Hen beer, and jumbo sausage and chips, just to, y'know, keep the blood flowing after 4 hours of tabbing.
As for the pictures:
First, here's me on Striding Edge. And secondly, here's me on Striding Edge. The third photo is of, um, me, stood on, um, Striding Edge. So, two concurrent themes running, that of me, and that of Striding Edge. Vain? Moi? Ha!
And there's me, that's Rem, and Jake, my droog, coming down Swirrel. Some kindly bloke and his Scottish missus took the photo. Hats on!!
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Friday, 23 May 2008
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
I have been promised the fee of beer and pizza. Ha! If only they knew how much I can drink (and indeed, eat). I have not been continually referred to as "fat chump" for nothing.
Tuesday, 6 May 2008
Friday, 25 April 2008
Friday, 18 April 2008
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Trent Reznor explains, "I've been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn't have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective - dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I'm very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts.'
Thursday, 10 April 2008
Thank you very much, Mr Steve Dean!!
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
In contrast, I'm spending quite a bit of time with my mom, who's been released after a 6 month stint in the hospital. Unfortunately, this also meant I had to sit through an episode of Coronation Street yesterday. I haven't seen this crap for about 10 years and- guess what? It has got, if you can believe this, even worse. Never have I seen such appaling acting outside a Big Brother event. Never have I seen such badly concocted dialogue. And the acting! Did I mention the acting? Baboons in wigs would have done better.
So, when offered the gift of laying something memorable down on film, the genius Richard Kelly offers Donnie Darko and.... some muppets waste precious seconds of my life with Coronation Street. Never again, y'hear? Never!!
Sunday, 6 April 2008
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
I’ve been reading Jeffrey Thomas’ Blue War recently, and I’m very impressed. Tightly written, intricately plotted, and moodily evocative with brooding blue jungle and the expanding threat of the cloned city, I’m enjoying this fine piece of SF thoroughly. Jeremy Stake is as gritty and tough as usual, and a fine character with which to empathise/ sympathise (although, bizarrely, he reminds me of ol’ rubber face himself, Rowan Atkinson). I’ll give you my full verdict when I’ve finished the text, but I’m a slow reader (I like to absorb, baby, absorb!!).
I’d also like to point out that I’m not a critic, and certainly not arrogant enough to presume my point of view is worthwhile in the public domain. Hey, I leave that to the professional critics. And I only highlight works I’ve enjoyed; after all, and plagiarising the words of Stephen King, if there’s something I don’t like then my mamma gave me the good grace to keep my damn mouth shut.
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Unfortunately, I could only attend the con on Saturday, which was a great shame because the whole place was a bustle of interest and activity, and I would have loved to sample much more!! However, with two young boys, I couldn’t miss them on Easter Sunday stuffing their faces with chocolate, could I??
So, where to begin? For a start, this was apparently the best attended Eastercon for many a decade, and the bustle reminded me of Worldcon in Glasgow, 2005. There were plenty of friendly faces, and I hooked up initially with Ian Sales (budding SF writer http://justhastobeplausible.blogspot.com/) and shortly afterwards, the Heavy Boys from Solaris (http://www.solarisbooks.com/), namely Christian Dunn and Mark Newton. Also present was Tony Ballantyne (http://www.tonyballantyne.com/) fellow teacher (well, Dep. Head!!) and Solaris author, Eric Brown (website currently under construction, I think) author of the fabulous Helix and Kethani and all round curry-aficionado. We were shortly joined by the cool and collected Jim Swallow (http://hometown.aol.co.uk/redwingproject/main.htm), author of many Star Trek and Doctor Who novels and a guy I was fascinated to learn was working on the story of the upcoming Eidos game, Deus Ex 3. Being a bit of a game-head, I loved Jim’s tales of being flown out to Montreal and chatting to designers who worked on one of my fave games of all time, Half Life 2. Jammy b******. Also had a chat with the esteemed editor-turned agent John Jarrold (http://www.johnjarrold.co.uk/) who regaled me with a tale from the David Gemmell years :-).
During a visit to the dealer’s room, I was head-hunted by Danacea (http://danacea.blogspot.com/) of Forbidden Planet to sign her bust. No, really. A kind of plastic statue thing called MonQee destined to be auctioned and proceeds donated to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s; a very noble cause. I’m not sure quite why Charles Stross signed MonQee’s arse, but having taken the prime spot, I was forced to sign its head (and no, not the head Newtie proposed, the plump £100-jacket-wearing freak…)
After many beers, and a trip out for a late lunch, and more beers and fleeting meetings with Donna Scott of Visionary Tongue (www.visionarytongue.co.uk) who’s just edited/ published my short story VACHINE (and yeah, Mark, donut-boy, it is spelt right) and a whole host of other nice people, we were joined by dapper chappy James Lovegrove (http://www.jameslovegrove.com/), fresh off a panel and ready for food. A thoroughly nice chap, and along with Eric, Christian, Mark, Ian, and a whole big bunch of writer-types we suffered a long freezing trek through the wilds of Heathrow to an Indian restaurant that served fine food aplenty (and much wine :-) ).
Back to the con for more drinkies with the likes of intellectual angryman Ian Watson (http://www.ianwatson.info/) who I love to bits, but really, he is absolutely barking mad in a really-cool-and-clever-sort-of-way, and then on to the famed Scandinavian party where I was forced to drink some toxic shite by the name of wormwood or deathwood or something; anyway, it was paint-stripper. No wonder all the Scandys (hello Anders!) had Big Beards. Reeling from that alcoholic blow, we (a rag-tag band of drunken heroes) somehow staggered to the disco, a kind of 80s school throwback playing Michael Jackson’s Thriller and other travesties of music. ‘Twas here I had the pleasure of meeting Saxon Bullock (http://www.saxonbullock.com/) who’s just been signed by John Jarrold with his first novel Hyperion Gambit, which I hear is quite good. Saxon was the guy who wrote a scathing review of my recent novel War Machine, and so, tempting as it was to break his fingers, he did turn out to be a really nice guy, although it has to be said, he cannot dance. Ho ho. I have the video to prove it. Honest. I will auction to the highest bidder.
The evening rounded off in drunken merriment, and although I was going to mooch about on Sunday and sign up for Alt Fiction, I was struck by a terrible vomiting bug, obviously caught from one of the wormwood-quaffing Scandys, and absolutely nothing at all to do with the amount of grog I grogged. Anyway, spent the following morning reeling around in bed like a pathetic little girl. The new hardman of science fiction? Yeah. Right. I cried like a baby. Still, I’m sure I’ll be back on form for Alt Fiction in April!!
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
"... a free-for-all punch-up, relentless and breathless and hugely enjoyable, and for no extra cost it's all held together by a clever storyline. A good read? Most definitely!" -SFRevu on QUAKE
"A hard-talkin', hard swearin', hard-fightin' chunk of military sci-fi." -SFX on QUAKE
On an Earth where conventional armies are powerless to defend against the devastation wrought by single assassins, the secret organisation Spiral exists to fight a shadow war against fanatics and rogue states of every persuasion. Of every country and of none, Spiral operates throughout the world in an endless battle for humanity's survival.
But now Spiral's toughest operative, Carter, faces a terrifying new challenge. A machine has been developed that can hold the world to ransom: capable of wreaking seismic havoc, causing earthquakes and eruptions on a global scale.
It must be destroyed - and Carter must do it alone.
Friday, 7 March 2008
This is Striding Edge, the rocky ridge you have to traverse to get to the main stack of the mountain. The wind was pretty hairy, like poking your head up into No Man's Land. Still, made for some exciting trekking.Ice-axe saved my life. No, seriously, the corniches on top were soft and sloppy, and my trusty magical AI ice-axe paid for itself during a 5 minute final scramble. Nearly slid off that damn edge as well!! Ho ho.
This edge, in fact. One wrong step- and waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh! A thousand foot pancake splat. Never underestimate the mountain.Here's the main stack, viewed on the way down as the mist had lifted a little. And below, a picture of Red Tarn from the top [although it's not my picture/ but I have been up in these conditions and it's truly stunning!! Ice-axe a necessity!!].
Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Visionary Tongue's website is: www.visionarytongue.co.uk
Please support this superb publication by, um, buying one!!
Here's my puppy experiencing snow for the first time. See how her paws flap. See how her ears stream. She how her dumb-muzzle attempts yet again to eat sheep poo. Why did nobody tell me it was so hard? Why did nobody tell me a puppy tries to bite your groin? Why did nobody tell me they eat all your furniture? Why did nobody tell me training a puppy is like trying to ride a bike up a frozen waterfall?
I'm climbing Helvellyn on Thursday, and will post some pics of what promises to be a stunning snowy climb. If nothing appears, assume I have been windswept from Striding Edge :-) and thus kiss goodbye to all future Combat K novels, ho ho.
Monday, 25 February 2008
In the words of Arnold J. Rimmer (in the body of Lister), "Let the gorging commence!"
I remember using my first chainsaw, about 10 years ago. A friend I worked with, her husband worked for a tree-felling company, and he handed over the industrial machine, kevlar pants, goggles etc with a look of great fear in his eyes. Like I was going to chop my head off, or something (possible). His words will always stick with me: "Treat this machine with respect. If you slip, it'll easily cut off your leg like a hot knife through butter". Cliched, but correct.
The most nerve-wracking bit when using a chainsaw from up a ladder is stretching out and waving the roaring machine about... Health and Safety would have a collective coronary!!
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
I'm watching the Brits (well, enduring is a better word) and it strikes me as hugely amusing that Sharon Osbourne is perhaps the worst ever mother-in-law figure you could horrifically imagine! Scenario: going out with Kelly for a few weeks, she nips you back to the mansion to meet the parents and SLAM Shazza Osbourne in your damn face, screeching 'Ya pissheed, ya basturt' etc etc fade to ad nauseum. [SHUDDER]. I am quite sure I will be having nightmares tonight.
On the plus side, however, imagine Ozzy as a father-in-law!! Cool! He could teach you to mutilate bats, ride quad-bikes, take drugs, an' everything! What a role model!
Anyway, my loving cuddly wifey was clearing away the childrens' dinner dishes. I was out of the room. She knocked the can of beer over the laptop, napalming several keys and giving the machine a curious but warm odour of diseased and unhealthy beer-pus.
Her defence? Like all good Generals, her defence was attack.
It was my fault. Of course it was! Because because because I left the beer next to the laptop. It was an irrelevancy, in wifey logic, that it could be her fault. No, she was just the perpetrator of the act, whereas I allowed the act to occur due to my initial prior stupidity.
Am I wrong here? Come on guys, back me up in this marital!!
Monday, 18 February 2008
Friday, 8 February 2008
Also got the A-Format pdf for WAR MACHINE from Mark at Solaris, and the mass-market paperback out in November to coincide with the trade of BIOHELL will be a nicely chunky 656 pages, so a good fat chunk of Remic in your fist for £6.99 (or thereabouts). Bargain! Cheap as chips, I say.