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 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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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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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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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.
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:
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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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;
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!”
An old buddy from my call centre slavery days happens to be a comix afficionado, and has been involved in comic writing and production himself. He also has some very trenchant opinions on the recent rash of superhero movies, which he has only just sounded off on at his blog. See the link below, and if you’re a Marvel movies fan ya better strap in for the ride!
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As luck would have it, I came down with a crippling bug which disabled my sinusses just in time for my visit to London for the SFX Summer of Reading bash at Waterstones. I still went, and acquitted myself with honour, came back and had to endure another 10 days of congestion hell. It felt as if my head was full of hot toffee for a week and a half.
Anyhow, with antibiotics and relentless application of decongestants (Asda brand, 16 for a pound, or Sudafed 16 for about £2.80; tough choice, huh?) I can breathe and, after a fashion, think again. I’m still afflicted with gummy phlegm and irritated coughs etc (dont wanna get into TMI territory but you can figure it out), so I am now firing on about 8 outa 10 barrels and the writing is going well.
I’m just praying that I dont get any other surprise infections by the time the 2nd week in June rolls round, as yours truly has been invited to the 1-day SF festival, Alt-Fiction, being held at the Derby Quad in Derby on Saturday, June 12th. For more info see the link -
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