Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Flash Fiction: The Sixty

A shout of thanks to artist Andy Bigwood, who asked me to contribute a piece of flash fiction for his forthcoming title The Sixty.  Launching at EasterCon, containing no less then forty authors who each add a thought to one of Andy's superb illustrations, The Sixty is a collection of science fiction and fantasy art illuminating brave new worlds, dark realities and fantastic realms.

Andy was recently shortlisted for the BSFA Award for best artwork for his cover for Conflicts. You can see some of his artwork on his deviantART page - and you can check out The Sixty, here.

And in case you have any doubts:

Gorgeous juxtapositions of the nearly familiar and the oddly alien - of textured other-world terrains and the strange beings that belong there, even if they're us. City architecture merged with airships or deep space, forming poignant gestalts that always work. Inspired stories in a book of images. Everything combines to produce art that is new, lustrous and haunting.
- John Meaney, Author of the ‘Ragnarok’ Trilogy

Andy's beautiful, unique artwork, blended with gems of fiction by exciting contemporary writers, creates a most original dream world. It's a treasure trove, a box of gorgeous delights that you'll want to dip into constantly. Just curl up by the fire and lose yourself!
- Freda Warrington, Author of ‘Elfland’ and ‘Midsummer Night’

Andy Bigwood has created a wide and varied range of images and has brought them together with an impressive collection of fiction. His passion for his work shines throughout and the whole book is a treasure-trove of creative minds.
- Anne Sudworth, Fine Artist

Privileged to be a part of the project - thanks, Andy!

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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Twitter - Don't Be A Cunt

Earlier this month, Mashable did a piece on Twitter and ‘the happiness divide’ – does the site divide the happy and the unhappy?

Positive energy attracts positive energy – we know this – it’s hardly Social Media genius to realise that Twitter encourages you to be upbeat and outgoing. If you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and you provide interesting communication, then that’s what you’ll attract. Eventually, we become the centre of our own audience.

But perpetual optimism can be fake. Can’t it? Shiny-shiny? Aren’t we supposed to be socially genuine? Well, fuck yes – we all have crap days. When your personal life is in disarray and you’re dealing with too much Big Shit, the chirpy-chirpy tweet-tweet can be both ludicrous and facile. No-one says you have to be positive all the fucking time – and good riddance to those who leave your list because you’re human.

Certainly, Twitter is a Bird With Two Beaks – I’m just not sure that they’re positive and negative. If you’re genuine, you should have both.

No, I think they’re something else completely.

As an illustration, the Little Blue Bird has today given me communication, support and outlet. On this day of protest marches, it brings sight of the outside world; lets me feel a part, even though I’m apart. And with tragic news, it gives a sense of community and closeness when we all feel like we’ve lost a friend. I’m under House Arrest and Twitter is insight, human and company.

And the opposite?

I’m steering away from the obvious. For example, I don’t mean the Time Sink – we’ve all fallen into that one. We’re used to the spammers and the porn and the soulless marketeers. The banality is inevitable, the narcissism quintessential. We’ve learned how to manage this stuff.

No, the Dark Side I mean is Twitter’s real negativity: lack of consideration. Information is sensitive stuff. It’s not about optimist or pessimist – it’s about responsibility.

Throwing up other people’s delicate personal information; preaching exaggeration and melodrama in order to gain attention. Deliberate misuse of your audience to make yourself feel important. If you want to shout the loudest, be the biggest, or play pointless pretty flame-wars, fuck off and visit a forum. National, political or personal, take a moment and think before you fucking tweet.

Be positive, be negative, be sarcastic, be banal – have an opinion and speak it honestly.

Just get a grip on your fucking ego.

And don’t be a cunt.

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Monday, 21 March 2011

Heresy and The Tenth Doctor

Okay, you got me… I never really liked Tennant as Who.

Before you stone me for heresy, though, I’m a child of the Seventies and Tom will always be the Doctor to me. I miss the jelly babies and the scarf; I miss the voice and the humour and his wonderful, powerful presence. Seeing him on stage at the SFX Weekender, last year, was a throwback to my SF roots.


Having said that, Titan Merch have just released images of their latest 9” limited edition maxi-bust featuring Tennant as the Tenth Doctor – and I might just change my mind. It’s gorgeous. It’s got the pose, it’s got the stare, it’s got the tight sense of dynamism and the posture and the sharp suit. It's even got the sonic screwdriver.

There’s a strong sense of motion to the flow of the garments – his energy is palpable. Hell, he almost looks like he’d move.

My son is a Tennant Fan – I guess we all fall for the Doc we grew up with. And looking at this particular release, I’m wondering if he might have a point after all.

He’s startlingly contemporary – and I guess you do have to move with the times. He is the Doctor, after all.

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Thursday, 10 March 2011

A Touch of Anarchy

...or possibly a touch of madness!

The ever project-driven Andy Remic is launching a radical, multi-media new imprint called Anarchy Books - and I'm delighted alarmed to have been asked to contribute. In a literary event horizon sure to damage reality as we know it, the anthology 'Vivisepulture' will be impact in .pdf, ebook and MOBI formats. And yes, it's absolutely heaving with deviance. From the press release: -

"Weird tales of twisted imagination by Neal Asher, Lauren Beukes, Eric Brown, Ian Graham, Vincent Holland-Keen, James Lovegrove, George Mann, Gary McMahon, Stan Nicholls, Andy Remic, Jordan Reyne, Ian Sales, Steven Savile, Wayne Simmons, Jeffrey Thomas, Danie Ware, Ian Watson, Ian Whates, Conrad Williams, and artwork by Vinny Chong."

Anarchy Books is out of the darkness, sticking its greasy tentacles where other imprints dare not go. Look out for Andy's own SERIAL KILLERS INCORPORATED, complete with music album provided by th3 m1ss1ng (featuring Jon Bodan from Atlanta's Halcyon Way) and short film shot and chopped by Grunge Films, plus, a little later in the year, his SF novel SIM. There's also SF/horror novel MONSTROCITY by Jeffrey Thomas, then horror novel RAIN DOGS by Gary McMahon.

My own anthological (is that a word?) contribution is called 'Disturbed' - it seemed appropriate.

Frankly, it's all enough to put you off your lunch - but hey, it's a little corner of ANARCHY.

Finally, there's ANARCHY in the UK!

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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Forbidden Planet does... The Royal Wedding?!

When the Royal Wedding Street Party memorabilia starts arriving in the Forbidden Planet office, you realise that you're facing the most surreal event yet. In eight years of doing this, I've never had to wear a cardboard waistcoat before...

But! It gets better!

On Saturday 2nd April from 1pm, Forbidden Planet will be celebrating the forthcoming marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton – with our very own in-store street party.

Join Bleeding Cool's Rich Johnston, artist Gary Eskine and Owen Jollands as they bring you the wedding of the year - with the Markosia Comics release of ‘Kate & William: A Very Public Love Story’.

This is a signing with a difference – not only the perfect opportunity to discover the story of Wills and Kate in graphic novel form, but to have your picture taken with the happy couple (well, kind of) and to enjoy the classic retro feel of an old school street-party, complete with tiaras and bunting.

We can’t promise we’ll be taking it too seriously – but we can promise that it will be done in true Forbidden Planet style!

Also available will be the two commemorative one-shots ‘William Windsor: A Very Public Prince’ and 'Kate Middleton: A Very Private Princess’. Make sure you pick up your commemorative copy.

The Forbidden Planet London Megastore is the largest of its kind in the World. It’s the true home of Sci-Fi and Cult entertainment, the heart of Geek Chic.

But we can do 'cheese' too...

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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Warm Up for KAPOW! at Forbidden Planet

In a special pre-KAPOW! event, ANDY DIGGLE, JOCK and JAMIE DELANO will be signing at FP London at 6:00pm on Friday 8th April... and may well be in the pub afterwards!

Grab yourself a copy of the Titan Books publications of Rat Catcher and Hellblazer: Pandemonuim - and get a head-start on the hottest, newest Con!

According to underworld legend, the Rat Catcher is a peerless assassin who specialises in silencing mob snitches. There's just one problem – he doesn't exist. Now there's a pile of dead bodies in a burning safe house outside El Paso. The Rat Catcher has finally slipped up, and a washed-up FBI agent has one last chance to hunt him down. Follow Andy Diggle’s tale of two master man-hunters in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, each of them hiding a secret from the other.

In Hellblazer: Pandemonuim, an alluring Muslim woman catches John Constantine's eye and brings troubles to his doorstep: a bombing in a London museum, mysterious ancient Sumerian artifacts and a terrifying creature running rampant with renegade intentions. To save his life and freedom, Constantine embarks on a desperate trail, blazing from the back streets of London to the detainment centres and battlegrounds of contemporary Iraq. Hellblazer: Pandemonium brings original Hellblazer writer Jamie Delano together with fan-favorite artist Jock to tell a tale about war and terror in a horror story tailor-made for the 21st century.

The best comics events - at Forbidden Planet!