Micheal Cobley

Interstellar Tactics




So, Who To Cast In My Imaginary Movie Of ‘Ancestral Machines’?

Posted on January 18th 2016 | Leave a comment

Here’s a little bit o’ devil may care speculation on which actors I like in the movie of my book. And, yknow, who can tell what’s gonna happen?


Here we are, from left to right – Lt Samantha Brock (Zoe Saldana), Captain Brannan Pyke (Colin O’Donoghue) and Dervla (Mallory Jansen)

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Sherlock, BBC 1, Jan 5th

Posted on January 6th 2014 | Leave a comment

It is my sad and painful duty to inform you that last night, between 8.30 and 10pm, the TV show Sherlock jumped the shark.

Its like this – in the first two series, a certain whimsy and fluff were employed as a charming counterpoint to the intellectual sharpness and deductive intensity of Holmes himself, as well as the dark drama, its strangeness and the twists in the plot. Now we have reached the 2nd episode of Season Three and it has become abundantly clear that the whimsy and the fluff have been promoted to centre stage.

One can only wonder what imp of self-indulgence has entered the Moffat-Gatiss equation but the results are clear to see – flabby, lazy scripting coupled with a disregard for overall dramatic unity. In fact, I would reckon that the actual detective-mystery part of the plots seem to amount to about 40-odd minutes, so if that is what the Moff-Gat axis can come up with then why not turn each season into 6 programmes of about 50 minutes each? Because the two years they made me wait has not been at all satisfied by what they have come up with.

Contrast this with the CBS crime drama, Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller as a rivetting Sherlock Holmes in modern day New York. This is a proper TV series with 24 episodes per season and, to be frank, is far more satisfying that the measly 3 episodes a year of Sherlock that are being served up to us. Each episode is about 44 minutes long so the scripts have to be taut, well paced and flensed of waste, and Miller’s protrayal of Holmes is never less than compelling. In Sherlock, Cumberbatch and Freeman remain excellent actors but when I switch on to see a Sherlock Holmes story why am I being force-fed something which resembles a Channel 4 luvvydrama about 30-somethings doing rite-of-passage friendship rituals?

Don’t get me wrong – it’s still an entertaining, well-acted and shot show. It’s just no longer essential viewing.

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Humanity’s Fire Book Movie (late arrival)

Posted on May 18th 2013 | Leave a comment

Cannot believe that I somehow forgot to post the link here to the movie-trailer for The Ascendant Stars – it was on the list of posts and reachouts to fulfill but….ach, must have had a senior moment of some kind. Darn, another coupla million braincells gone west. But anyway, now, here it is!

The Battle For Darien

The animator is a Yorkshire guy called Ingram Blakelock, who has done various other pieces including the video for the band, A Forest Of Stars, for their track Gatherer Of The Pure. Here’s a link to it -


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So To Prestatyn – The SFX Weekender 2012

Posted on January 28th 2012 | Leave a comment

Some of you reading this may well have been to one of the previous SFX Weekender jamborees, but this will be my first. Catching the train on the morning of Friday February 3rd down to Prestatyn on the north Wales coast (not so very far southwest of Liverpool), and to the Pontins holiday resort there which the mighty SFX organisation has taken over for several days of unbridled SF-flavoured knees-up. There will be panels, talks, exclusive previews, films, retro-TV screenings, and celebs, celebs, celebs out the yingyang.

Er, amongs whom will be my good self. And I have things to do, to whit an autograph session at 10am on the Saturday morning, in conjunction with the immensely agreeable Jaine Fenn, after which I`ll be on a panel about space opera at 12 noon. Much relaxation and chinwagging shall ensue, have no doubt about this!

For more info on the Weekender schedule, see the following link:


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Rush, Glasgow SECC, May 14th – And Season 1 of The Wire

Posted on May 15th 2011 | Leave a comment

While I’m being so utterly garrulous (in a gibbertastic, fuelled only by orangaid way) I can tell you that I was off to see Rush at the SECC last night (in the company of Paisley’s Prince of Prog, Graeme Fleming). They came on stage at 7.30, played for about an hour and a quarter, went off for an interlude, then came back and played the whole of the Moving Pictures album straight through. It was magnificent – the last time I saw them was October 2007 and they were excellent then, but last night, hells teeth, they were on fire. They also played couple of tracks from the forthcoming album and they were stunningly good – clearly they sat down and decided that the Riff was King and came up with these amazing, intriguing songs which just grabbed the audience by the scruff of the mind and went for a rocket ride.

And then there’s The Wire – SuperSusan bought the boxed set for me for Crimbo and yes, we`d only just now got round to watching it. We watched the first episode back in early Feb, weren’t sure about it, then came back to it a couple of weeks ago. And episode by episode we got drawn in, and it got better and better till we realised that this was an urban cop story for grownups, or near as damn it. Gritty and demanding, it treats the viewer as an adult and reached a denouement which was at once uplifting, depressing and satisfactory while leaving you definitely wanting more. Which is what we`re watching tonight.

Of course, Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides is on the horizon, and knowing the source material (the Tim Powers book of the same name) as I do we could be in for some tasty piratin’ – yaarrrr!

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Changing Rooms: Hmm, a new study!

Posted on April 7th 2011 | 2 Comments so far

Yes, we’ve been doing a little bit of room swapping here at Cobley Towers, and I now have a real, propah study all to my ownsome. And yet, somehow, all the stuff that was crammed into a small space expands to fill the larger space. Its just too weird.

Anyhoo, the revisions to Ascendant Stars proceed apace, a rejig here, a translocation there, a much-needed clarification, here,here,here,there, and indeed over there…. I like this restructuring part of the revisions, wherein the writer gets to see the work and all its constituent parts from the point of view of technical functions. Just hope that it succeeds in the end.

Recent TV intriguingness – series called The Cape, in which a framed cop takes on a be-caped superhero guise to get back at the corporate sleazoid villains who did him down. Co-stars Summer Glau, and is fairly snappy and enjoyable. Rather better is Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant as a US marshall transferred from Florida to Kentucky, a series based on an Elmore Leonard story. Well written, well-acted, has a good amount of surprises and quirks, so am intrigued enough to stay with it.

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Cinema Futura: Essays On SF Movies (and 1 by me)

Posted on September 3rd 2010 | Leave a comment

Author Mark Morris took on the mighty challenge of getting a bunch of us skiffy writers and critics and editors to come up with interesting, perceptive essays about certain key SF films. Your truly bagged Twelve Monkeys, and I came up with quite a decent stab at it, I thought. All these assembled outpourings of idiosyncratic genius will be published as CINEMA FUTURA by PS Publishing, yes indeed, the very same ones who pubbed my story, Black Fragmentaria, a few months ago.

CINEMA FUTURA is due out later this month in hardback (with a great JK Potter jacket illo), and you can pre-order by clicking the link below:


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Needed A Brainwave & Two Came Along At Once – Brilliant

Posted on August 30th 2010 | Leave a comment

Yeah, writing one of the new book’s space battle chapters; went into it with my usual scrappy string of notes which led me into a mild, force 6 narrative corner from which I bounded free on the back of a coupla geniustications. Love it when a plan comes together.

And it turns out to be better than the original plan.

In other news, of the dozen or so scratchcards I’ve bought in the last couple of months just ONE actually paid out the princely sum of £1. Uh huh.

Recently we’ve been on a swords & sandals kick visavis our dvd watchings (over dinner and last thing at night) – began with Spartacus: Blood & Sand (saw the 1st season of this and, gore and raunch aside, it turned out to be actually really good, great acting too), then watched both seasons of Rome (treating ourselves again to the delights of Titus Pullo, Lucius Vorenus, and Mark Anthony and Attia, that whole crowd), then finished off with I Claudius, which we’d last watched on VHS. The transfer to DVD was v good, the packaging was quite good (came on 5 dvds, including a disc of extras), but oddly there was no insert to tell you about episode lengths, summaries, that kind of thing. Would be have been handy since the DVD version has amalgamated the 1st 2 episodes into a 97 minute one, and we were confused when it went on and on. But the whole production was excellent, just BBC drama at its very pinnacle.

To round it off I think we should also watch Life of Brian, just to get things in perspective.

Latest watch, season 4 of Dexter, makes compelling viewing all the way through. Excellently written and acted, and worth it all even just for the amazing reveal at the end of episode 9 – if you’ve seen it you know!

And now looks like we’ll be rewatching Cadfael, yes, with Derek Jacobi, for the sheer joy of watching him act.

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Orbit Announces Ma Grooveh New Site, + Eastercon Moviette!

Posted on August 18th 2010 | 1 Comment so far

Bit of a languishing in the silences, my friends, but as you can guess I have been working on/scribbling/struggling/engaged in single-unarmed combat with….bk 3, The Ascendant Stars. And its turning out to be demanding in ways I hadnt expected.

Been a bit of a downer this past month – my aunt passed away, as did the mother of a friend here in Irvine. My PC packed in, as you know, but was rejigged with a new motherboard. And the Coalition government goes from guff to duff – thinking of getting caps for ma teeth to offset the grinding effect.

So, yes, anyhow – Orbit have announced at their main site address the advent of my super duper new websiteblog, wot you iz reading nah, innit. And they also have posted a minimovie Q&A done at Eastercon earlier this year. So the link is below, take a look and have a laff or two;


Posted in Buddies, humour, Michael Cobley Posts, Movies, my publications, on writing, philosophy, Politics, science fiction | Tagged , ,
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Sherlock Holmes: Warner Home Video Pulls A Switcheroo

Posted on July 11th 2010 | 2 Comments so far

I think I blogged here a few months ago about how much I loved the new Sherlock Holmes movie (so much that I went to see it twice). So naturally I was waiting for the dvd to hit the shelves, especially the 2-disc special edition which had been mentioned in much of the post-cinema release promo, along with a list of the extras and featurettes etc.

Well, time has worn on, the single-DVD version was released and now that several weeks have passed by I thought I’d do a google-trawl to see when we could expect the special edition. Well, imagine my surprise when I found that yes, there is a 2 disc version available but its a DVD+blueray special edition with the extras on the blueray disc. There is an American special edition out, but its the same as the UK standard edition (the movie plus a 14 minute featurette) but also including some artwork and a comic.

Wot the fudge is going on? Much dedicated, rephrase-heavy googling later I discovered that there IS in fact a 2-DVD special edition avaiable – er, in the Asia market, Thailand, Korea, etc etc. Yet for some reason it is impossible to purchase this version via Amazon or Play.com. So, in short, we the public have been flipped the bird. “Haw haw, so now if ya wanna see the extras, yer gonna haveta buy a blueray machine. Kerching kerching!”


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