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

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Camping in Wales.

I intend to take my two little boys camping this weekend. They have insisted we go near a beach--- so they can bury me in sand. So, if you hear no more blogs after Sunday, then please send a search party to: The Beach, Wales, and look for a shaved head, probably blistered with sunburn (I wish!), poking up through the dunes.

Friday, 22 May 2009


The Science Fiction and Fantasy Ethics group has been set up by a consortium of authors, co-ordinated by Andy Remic, who wish to celebrate the good side of the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres. By that, we don’t just mean media with a positive theme – no, we’re into violence, sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll like every other monkey – but that our outlook and content will be geared towards the positive.

The site will include reviews, articles and interviews, which is pretty standard across the industry, but also several exciting new angles – such as collaborative stories written by the professional authors therein, and “Viewpoint” articles where writers can collectively wax lyrical on a certain topic.

Andy Remic enthuses, “If we can get all the associated writers together at a convention and suitably drunk on a cocktail of cheap Scandinavian meths, Stella and absinthe, we can also expect a movie! Watch this space!”. The horror.

The official line runs thus:
“Our mission is to celebrate everything positive, funky and exciting in the Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror Universe! The SFFE is a core platform, a hub of authors who have banded together with the aim of celebrating all that is positive in genre fiction. We aim to leave cynicism and negativity at the door, and concentrate on what makes us smile, what entertains us, and what brings light and joy to our SF, fantasy and horror universe. That's not to say there is no place for criticism--- there's plenty bad in the world. However, this little digital corner is a place for positive progression, somewhere you will (hopefully) come if you want to smile.”

So far, a considerable number of industry figures have signed up to take part, and many more are currently in negotiation! The SFFE currently enjoys: Tony Ballantyne, Eric Brown, Mark Chadbourn, David Devereux, Ian Graham, Paul Kearney, Tim Lebbon, Tom Lloyd, James Lovegrove, Gail Z. Martin, James Maxey, Juliet E. Mckenna, Mark Morris, Sarah Pinborough, Andy Remic, Brian Ruckley, James Swallow, Jeffrey Thomas, Jetse de Vries, Danie Ware and Conrad Williams. A healthy dollop of literary roughage, we’re sure you’ll agree!

Check out:
Love, kisses and chainsaws—
Andy Remic.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Yes, I know, I have finally joined the digital age. With the recent change in terms of hosting my website and digital content, etc, I have now transferred all photos from my old site to FLICKR - and what a fine piece of javascript innovation it is, too. I've also added lots of new photo content, including the recent splurge of UK signings to accompany the launch of my Solaris SF novel, BIOHELL. I did a small signing tour across Bury, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and London, not exactly Paris and New York I am aware (and just had an email from Charles Stross to say the jammy bugger is in Ontario on his book tour- check out for some very interesting reading); however, I like to keep a low low low profile, which will probably be exploded with my recent signing to Angry Robot Books, the new division of Harper Collins run by that very nice furry robot, Marc Gascgoine; I am sure they will have me dress up in faux fur. Or something.
Anyway. In the right hand column of this here very site you will see a Flash button for Flickr (providing you have been fortuitous enough to install Macromedia's little baby) and a single click will bring you into, err, Remic heaven. That's sounding dodgy, right? OK. Cough. I'll go now. I have to do some more work on Kell's Legend 2....... and yes, I am a few books ahead of myself, and aware nobody has even read Kell's Legend 1 yet!! But it's coming, baby, it's coming.......

All Content now HERE.........

Yes, sick of maintaining two discrete websites which directly replicated practically all content, I have now moved everything of relevance to this Blogger site. All the photos from the old site will end up on Flickr within the next few days, thus showing I am not some alcoholic dinosaur wot is scared ov this new web thang. So, hope that is clear :-)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

New Rem Interview...

Just had a new interview posted over at

This is with regards a recently published anthology, SO IT BEGINS, to which I contributed a Combat K short story entitled JUNKED; it's currently doing well in the US and can be picked up from Amazon.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

And We Have A Winner!

Yes, Steve Bannister, othewise known in WoS circles as the "Mad Mekon", has supplied me with the full solution and final pasword to Biohell, the graphical text adventure game for the 48K Spectrum. 5 novels will be winging their way to him shortly!!

Well done "Mad". You did very, very well --considering some of the moaning I've had at the difficulty level of the game, haha.


Monday, 11 May 2009

Book Piracy...

Found a really interesting article over at Micro Mart ( discussing book piracy and the rise of E-Readers..... I didn't realise EBook piracy was such a problem (but then, every other type of piracy is, yeah?!!).

Pirates of the bookstore

While the music and film industries loudly proclaim their battle with the pirates, publishers and authors have been rather more quiet. But the problem affects them just as much, as David Crookes discovers.

Everybody knows that CDs and DVDs can be copied. Even when the manufacturers utilise stringent copy protection, it’s never too long before the pirates crack it and illicit music and films find their way on to the internet or into a car boot sale.

But books? Most people would think producing something on paper would make it difficult to copy. Photocopiers have been around for a few decades but no-one in their right mind would stand and scan a book in page by page, stick them together and sell them. For a start, the resulting ‘book’ would be instantly noticeable as a second-rate copy - and it would work out just as expensive as buying the book in the first place.

Then optical character recognition (OCR) was invented. This enabled people to scan in reams of text into a format that could then be easily edited. In short, it meant people who persevered long and hard enough could scan an entire book, edit the text to ensure it flowed correctly and end up with a Word document that could be shared.

With that power at their disposal, it was only a matter of time until people took these ebooks and sold them. The cost to the seller? Only time. The cost to the buyer? Less than it costs to get hold of a beautifully-bound book, as long as the buyer is content to read a book on a screen.
Such publishing pirates, however, are costing the book industry hundreds of millions of pounds and the booming trade in illegally copied books shows no signs of slowing down. he impact of ebooks could be seen in 2003 when a new cookbook by Jamie Oliver was circulated on the Iternet as a large electronic file. It had well-designed pages and colour photographs. The publisher denied it was an official Oliver release and they were not lying - someone had copied recipes from his previous cookbooks and presented them as a new release.

What surprised the publishing industry was the speed at which the file whizzed around the globe and suddenly authors, publishers and agents were alert to a threat which had worried their counterparts in the music and film industries for years.

One of the most popular outlets for such ebooks is eBay. It only takes a search of popular titles such as Harry Potter to find someone who has posted up a counterfeit copy. Micro Mart found a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef 2 cookbook on sale as an ebook for 99p with the selling writing: “The cookbook is on CD and opens in Word. You can print off any section that you want. It comes exactly as it is printed in the actual book (with pictures).” The hunger for his recipes refuses to go away, it seems.

Such cheap costs has meant the market in pirated books has exploded over the past eighteen months. It is estimated that publishers lose £260 million a year in sales of hardback and paperback books.

Much of this is due to greater organisation by the pirates. It may well have started as a handful of people scanning in books in their bedrooms, but it has escalated into piracy rings. Pirates trade counterfeit ebooks with each other over the Internet which saves them the hassle of originating dozens of books themselves.

Author Stephen Clarke, who wrote the popular novels A Year In The Merde and Merde Actually, says the problem hits authors hard. He said: “We already get very small royalties per book. I think, after agent's commission, I get about 40p a paperback. That's before tax and only if they're sold at full price. When the book is sold in a 3-for-2 or half price offer, you get proportionately smaller royalties. So it is certainly frustrating if someone is selling the books to people who would otherwise buy from a bookshop. The authors lose a lot of money.”
Some people argue that book piracy is not different to borrowing a library book or lending a novel to a friend. But it is - whenever you borrow a library book, a small royalty is paid to the author, and handing a novel to a friend is different to sending hundreds of ebooks to strangers.
The book pirates tend to target the current best sellers with Harry Potter author J K Rowling being a particular favourite. Other high profile victims include thriller writer Patricia Cornwell and Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series of books and a man who has allowed only one of his best selling novels, Thud!, to be produced as an ebook. But pirates are not afraid to raid the huge library of great novels written in the past - books by James Bond writer Ian Fleming and children’s author Roald Dahl are frequently copied, for example.

The problem is so bad, that publishers and agents - sometimes even authors themselves - scour eBay and do numerous Google searches in a bid to clamp down on the illegal trade. Often, they strike gold. It was reported in The Times that a pirate sold more than £22,000 of pirated audio books for £300 on eBay in 42 hours.

And eBay is keen to stamp it out. “A comprehensive scheme is run by to help protect brand owners from piracy and fakes on the website,” says an eBay spokeswoman when asked what the auction site was doing to tackle the problem. “It's called VeRO, the Verified Rights Owner Programme. We’d recommend all brand owners [publishers and authors] to sign up as soon as possible to help get the fakes off the site.”

The VeRo programme has seen 10,000 companies and individuals sign up, representing every type of intellectual property - from major software companies to videogame developers to rock bands to luxury good manufacturers. It enables victims of book piracy, for example, to quickly notify eBay staff of any illegality with the promise of the listing being rapidly withdrawn.It also gives participants the ability to obtain identifying information about eBay users to allow swift action to be taken.

It still doesn’t stop people trying, though, and the feeling among many authors is that they are facing a losing battle, constantly battling against the tide, hoping a tidal wave will not engulf them. Indeed, the Publishers Association, which represents around 200 publishers, says it has spotted tens of thousands of illegal Internet sales.

In an annual report, the association said it was continuing to refine its anti-piracy strategy, conceding “there are very few, if any, easy wins in the fight against piracy; we have to recognise that this campaign will be expensive and will run for years with, to misquote Lenin, the price of success being eternal vigilance.”

That was in 2004. In 2005, the problem increased, according to association spokesman Rob Hamandi, because it offers a path to cash without the hassle presented by other criminal activities such as selling drugs. It’s as simple as keeping an electronic file on a hard drive.But does that take away the romanticism of buying a book? Do people really want to read books on computers rather than have the thrill of a wad of paper in their hands? For many bibliophiles, the suggestion that people would abandon real books for electronic versions is absurd and they point to the success of Amazon as proof that new technology such as the internet has led to increased sales of old ‘tech’ such as books.

But then music buffs said CDs would never replace the thrill of vinyl. Instead we’ve seen not only CDs do just that but digital MP3 files take the concept even further. Now we don’t even have to use portable media.

Are Ebooks The Way?

The rest of this article can be read at...

Thursday, 7 May 2009


Over at BBC News - - Michael Fitzpatrick has fielded a story about the "Rise and rise of E-Readers". He writes:
"Amazon's launch of its first dedicated e-reader for newspapers and magazines points to a future when digital and analogue publishing begins to merge.
Nearly double the size of the book giant's existing e-reader, Amazon's wireless Kindle DX has adopted a tabloid-like format for ease of reading newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times and the Washington Post which have announced they will launch pilots editions on Kindle DX this summer.
Although others, most notably the Japanese and the Dutch, have trials underway that publish tabloid-size digital editions for other handheld e-reader devices, Amazon with its mighty marketing clout represents the first mainstream commercial stab at the market.
Increased graphics resolution and the larger size of the tablet-like, the $489 Kindle DX is also a departure from previous e-readers on the market, although Japan's Fujitsu has a similar sized colour reader on the market for twice the price. "
Well, as a reader, I'm just not convinced. Maybe this is a knee-jerk nostalgia reaction, I was brought up with little dinky paperback novels, which I can trash to my heart's content, and not feel too aggrieved when I drop a £5.99 book in the Cypriot swimming pool. And with regards newspapers - I get my fix from online sites linkes to my browser's homepage. When I log on, it logs on, and I click on any news story that catches my eye. And have News of the World decided to subscirbe to this technological advancement? I said have they? Eh?
As a writer - a different story. I still remember Napster and the unbelievable kick-off with digital music back in 1998/1999 (for me), and more importantly for recording artists, the piracy of their music. How would I feel as an author if my book was spread across the Scandinavian piracy sites a few days after release? Pretty pissed, I can tell you. Piracy eventually equates to a lack of original work; after all, who's going to create "for a living" when that living is financially sub-standard to collecting trolleys at Tesco? Actually, quite a lot of people, heh, but if I'd stayed in teaching I'd be on 50K pa now. Not awesome, I know, but a damn sight better than what I earn in the creative arts. Factor in piracy as a revenue sapper, and I'd be out of business, out of writing (yay! shout some) and back to educating nippers to feed my own, err, nippers.
It's a hard life.
And try fishing your E-Reader out of the swimming pool.