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Showing posts from July, 2010

Review of Simon Clark - Ghost Monster

Pel Minton is a young American woman with a mission. She wants to see the world, working her way around the globe. Six months into her trip and she's got as far as England and is still there, working as a field archaeologist. She has decided, however, that her current dig, at a cemetery in the coastal village of Crowdale will be her last before moving on.What she hasn't counted on though, is the Murrain curse. Centuries earlier Crowdale was terrorised by Justice Murrain and his army of the insane. Murrain was eventually defeated and his ghost and those of his Battle Men are trapped in a mystical prison controlled by a mosaic in the family mausoleum. The town is safe as long as the mosaic remains intact. Unfortunately, though, the cemetery is falling into the sea, a victim of rapid coastal erosion and the spirits of Murrain and his followers are beginning to break out. So, unless the archaeologists can convince the authorities that their site is worthy of protection, the necess…

Review of Mike Resnick - Starship Mercenary

You know what you will get with a Mike Resnick novel - a galaxy-spanning backdrop, larger than life characters and above all else action. Resnick is not an author who will spend time convincing you of his scientific credentials - you are not going to need to wade through page after page of technical specifications. Nor are you going to receive exquisitely woven intricacy - rich background detail is not Resnick's speciality. After all when you think about it, both of these things would get in the way of the action. And the action is superb.Wilson Cole and the crew of the former Republic Navy Starship the Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy R) are continuing their attempts to make a life for themselves on the Inner Frontier, outside the reach of the Republic. This is not easy; Cole and his crew are military men and women. They have always lived ordered lives, ruled by discipline and law. The inner frontier, however, is a much different place.Having tried their hand at ethical piracy - and rea…

Review of Ray Garton - Bestial

In horror movie-land sequels are pretty much a par for the course. You make a good horror film, it seems it only makes sense to go back and milk the idea a second time. In the world of horror books (note - not dark fantasy or paranormal romance, I mean HORROR) this has been less common.I'm not saying they don't exist - Graham Masterton's Manitou and James Herbert's Rats both started series - and sure you get books set in a repeated environs - take Gary Braunbeck's Cedar Hill short stories and novels, and Stephen King's version of Maine. But straight sequels, picking up the action from the end of the prior book or soon after, haven't filled the shelves in bookstores.I guess part of the reason for this is the rather final end that most horror books have. Zombies are destroyed, vampires staked, demons exorcised, witches burned etc, etc. Okay, Dracula can be resurrected over and over but mostly you get to the end and that's it.Recently though this seems to …

Review of Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine in many ways is a coming of age story for its most frequently occurring character. The book starts with the start of the summer of 1928. Doug Spalding is twelve; his younger brother Tom is ten. Doug has made an important and quite revelatory discovery about himself - he is alive! And he intends to celebrate and relish every minute of it and of this summer.Unlike many of Bradbury's books this is not science fiction or horror, or at least not overtly. There are some hair-raising moments and more than one of the stories concern death - even going as far as Green Town having its own serial killer.One of the most wonderful imaginings in this book concerns and old civil war soldier, and his tale telling, the rapt attentions of the young listening to stories so far removed from their present they could almost be in another country. But this is far from the only highlight, we read of friendships, hopes and dreams, treasured items, and above all regular folk adapting to chan…

New Short Story Sale

Demon Minds have just sent an acceptance for my short story "Acting's a Hell of a Job". It will be appearing in their Halloween issue.

If you want to check out their site you can find it at - http://www.demonminds.com/

Review of Will Elliott - The Pilo Family Circus

There are a number of things that children love but adults can find creepy, disturbing or just downright scary. Think of puppet shows, balloon animals, ice-cream truck jingles and worst of all clowns.One night on his way home from work Jamie almost runs over a clown standing oblivious to his surroundings in the middle of a Brisbane street. He thinks little of it. The following night he encounters more of them, all seemingly out of it. When Jamie recovers a small bag one of them drops - believing it contained drugs as they had to have been on something - without realising it, he has put himself in great danger. For now the clowns are aware of him. And now he has a simple choice - pass an audition to join the circus or die. Unfortunately for him he passes the audition.This particular circus is a little stranger than most, more sinister and definitely more dangerous. Jamie, now re-christened JJ the Clown, finds himself a member of an antagonistic troupe. There's none of the famous ca…

Review of Chris Roberson - The End of the Century

Strand One - Galaad, a young man from Wales, has been having visions of a woman in white trapped in a glass tower on a remote island. He journeys to Caer Llundain (London) to tell of his visions to Artor (Arthur to you and me). Artor believes his visions to be true and organises a quest to rescue the woman in white.Strand Two - Sandford Blank is a Victorian Private Investigator with a mysterious shady past. (Yes he does sound a little like Sherlock Holmes.) Together with his associate Miss Roxanne Bonaventure he is called in to investigate a series of murders in London threatening to disrupt the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria.Strand Three - Alive Fell is a teenage American who suffers from temporal lobe epilepsy. She's run away to London, following clues given to her in hallucinations during epileptic attacks. Once there she encounters a former spy from a secret British Intelligence organisation MI8 - tasked with pursuing supernatural foes. She also discovers that …

Review of Brian Keene - Castaways

Okay - I'm going to post another couple (maybe three) this evening. Here's the first...Many matches can be considered as made in heaven - strawberries and cream, hot dogs and mustard to name but two. Brian Keene has introduced another - Reality-TV show contestants on a tropical island and a tribe of previously unknown pygmy cannibals.You just can't go wrong with a combination like that. Except that is if you are a contestant, cut off from your only means of escape by a tropical storm that has grounded the helicopters. Fortunately amongst the ranks of stereotypically vapid wannabe celebrities are one or two people you will actually like - and feel may have a chance of surviving the show.This book is well balanced. It has a great concept, an element of gore (although not overdone), a few good scares and a band of disparate powerless underdogs facing seemingly insurmountable odds and a good touch of humour. It has its flaws, a pointless subplot concerning terrorism, and unnec…

A horror film top tip

This weekend I watched a relatively new release horror film that I feel I need to mention to anyone who happens to read this blog.

The film has a really fun title - Backwoods Bloodbath and a cool silhouetted scythe on the cover. Ok, the plot is a little familiar - group of city folk head to a remote cabin in the woods in a region where there's your stereotypical local legend (can't really call it an urban legend in the middle of nowhere) and encounter a mad man (yeah, the one the locals went on about) armed with a scythe who proceeds to start killing.

But an overused plot is nothing a well made horror film can't overcome. Good directing, halfways decent acting (screaming doesn't have to be Oscar winning level to be effective), and some kick-ass effects and you can have a really good gory scarefest out of this much-used scenario - after all they wouldn't keep using it if it didn't work.

However this film isn't all the things you might hope - and certainly not w…

Review 3 of L.H. Maynard's and M.P.N. Sims's Black Cathedral

In case you haven't heard of buzzword bingo - here are the rules. The players enter a business meeting with a card with a number of buzzwords written on it. Then these words and phrases are crossed out as they as spoken in the meeting (but not by the person whose card features the word). The first person to complete their card wins.With this book you could almost play X-Files Buzzword Bingo - Secret Government Organisation - check!Psychic Powers - got that one too!Ley lines - and that!Big Brother Style Corporations - on a roll now!Mysterious deaths on a deserted island and a satanic cult - you better call the scorer over now. I think I have a winning card.But what prize might it have won me? Well you would be forgiven for thinking a book combining all of these different plot elements (and I haven't named them all by any means) would be confusing at best - downright unreadable at worst.Well, it actually isn't that bad. Despite the myriad overused plot hooks, the stereotypic…

Review 2 of L.H. Maynard's and M.P.N. Sims's Black Cathedral

What do you get if you throw a secret government ghost-hunting organisation, psychic powers, ley lines, a maverick investigator who hates his boss, sinister multinational corporations, satanic cults, a secret Vatican order and a remote, deserted Scottish island into a pot and stir.Well by rights it should be an ungodly mess, a disjointed novel crammed to overflowing with so many overused dark fiction stereotypes you wonder how they managed to close the book's covers. It almost reads like a season trailer for the X-Files.Somehow though Maynard and Sims have managed to make all these pieces fit together into a cohesive whole. Not perfect by any means but it is entertaining. The characters are engaging; the plot is well paced; the organisation (Department 18) has sufficient promise to sustain the promised series and the cult at the crux of the plot is original enough to keep your interest. Not a bad start - let's see where book two goes.Book DetailsISBN: 08439-6199-6Page Count: 2…

Review 1 of L.H. Maynard's and M.P.N. Sims's Black Cathedral

This next one is a bit odd. I read this book when it came out and wrote three reviews, each targetted at a different magazine. Guess how many of them sold - yep, none. So here's the first. I'll post the second and third straight afterwards...

---------------------------------------Most of the elements of the book will seem familiar - even too familiar. We have a secret government department operated by psychics, all of whom are feel as though they've been dragged out of 1960s-90s TV spy/cop shows and liberally dosed with special mind-powers, investigating paranormal events - not exactly a fresh idea. Add to this a powerful loose-cannon top operative with a knack of pissing off his boss - a boss who finally had cause to fire him only to see him brought back for one last mission. We also have mysterious secret religious organisations, including a satanic cult and a secret Vatican order, and a remote island location, which has been the centre of spooky goings-on that just happ…

Review of Zoran Živković - The Bridge

This is a difficult book to fully describe. If you'll indulge me I believe I know the best way of summarising The Bridge.Imagine a drunken conversation between Franz Kafka and Salvador Dali, one in which Dali challenges Kafka to write a book based on a few compulsory elements suggested by the painter. Firstly each of the three linked stories must start with an impossible encounter (a man meets himself, a woman meets a dead former neighbour and a teenage girl meets her future son). Each story must feature an antagonist with red hair, a mismatched item of clothing, a pursuit (mostly on foot) and all must end at the same place - on the bridge of the book's title. Oh, and nothing in any of the stories must make any real sense, although the main characters must, in the end, accept everything.That just about sums this book up. It gives a better overview than a direct explanation of the plot could.For all its weirdness it is beautifully written - Zoran Živković's prose is always …

Review of Paul Collins - Quentaris: The Spell of Undoing

So here's the problem. You have a successful young adult fantasy series that's run to more than two dozen titles. How do you keep it fresh? After all, even in a city as rich as Quentaris, there are only so many stories you can tell - surely? That's the dilemma that faced Paul Collins and Michael Pryor - the creators and editors of the Quentaris novel series.Well their idea is just about the most original I've ever come across. Quentaris has been ripped out of this world and thrown into the rift-maze to end up… - well no one knows where. Different! Oh, and just to make it more fun, the city is now equipped with sails so it can now navigate through the various other worlds, meeting other city-ships as they go.Brilliant surreal, it's like a Terry Gilliam young adult novel. Quentaris travels see them encounter dragons and pirate cities (the former helping, the latter attacking) and generally trying to find a way to adapt to their new environs.As a counterpoint to this …

Review of Graham Masterton - Death Mask

Graham Masterton has built a reputation over the past three decades for hard-hitting, easy-to-read horror novels. He might not be talked about in the same breath as Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but he's reliable. You know you are not going to get a bad book if it has Masterton's name on the cover.And here, that's exactly what you get - a book that's not bad. It's got the usual touches of Masterton horror violence - just enough to satisfy without descending into seemingly endless descriptions of limbs being ripped off. The characters are pleasant, fully rounded. And the plot is reasonably interesting, reasonably well paced - building nicely from an easy start to a well-structured conclusion.But it's nothing more. Masterton has done better than this - much better. The plot crux is a little too obvious. If you start with an artist, Molly Sawyer, drawing a rose that miraculously comes to life you just know that her drawing a sketch of a murderer responsible for the…

Review of Bryan Smith - Soultaker

At first glance this book might seem worrying for a true horror fan. We have a coven of witches based in an American high school. It sounds like it might be heading for the Twilight with broomsticks territory. You know the kind of thing - three hundred pages of teen angst and rampaging hormones with occasional glimpses of the supernatural thrown in.Thankfully though, this isn't. This is horror, real horror. It might be set in a school, but these aren't girly-girl witches trying to use their powers for good, and worrying whether the Quarterback looked at them in class. This teenage coven is pure evil, no doubt about it. They are intent on using their powers to control and kill.The story itself is not exactly original. Myra Lewis is the new girl in town, the demonic coven leader and alluring goth-girl (a bit stereotypical having a goth witch). Within weeks of arriving in school she's recruited many of the in-crowd girls, and they've began terrorising the rest of the scho…

Review of Jenny Mounfield - The Ice-Cream Man

Three school friends decide to get their own back on the Ice-Cream Man after he deliberately drives away from them despite having seen them. That, they thought, was that. However the Ice-Cream Man has other ideas and he begins to make their lives hell, repeatedly passing by their homes, playing his tune, sending emails and calling their mobiles - always identifying himself as the Grim Reaper.This book plays right into one of my pet hates. I have always felt ice cream vans to be creepy. These vehicles come into your neighbourhood playing a distorted, out-of-tune, monotone version of a typical children's song. No one bats an eyelid when they appear, and there is an instant trust to the person in the brightly painted van. Just the kind of thing to make a wonderful horror tale.This has some of the elements of great boys-own fiction. The three lead characters are such a disparate bunch, each with their own problems. Rick is still mourning the death of his father, and trying to cope wit…

Review of W. D. Gagliani - Wolf's Gambit

At first glance this book didn't fill me with much hope. Stories where the protagonist is a supernatural being fighting against their beastly nature and attempting to make amends as a detective or police officer are hardly groundbreaking. Okay, it's normally a vampire cop but it's not a great leap having a werewolf cop.Add into it the almost-cringeworthy name of Dominic Lupo (yes, lupo is the Italian word for wolf) and the fact I hadn't read the first book and this was feeling like it was going to be a pretty dismal read. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as I feared.Nick Lupo is a Milwaukee detective and a werewolf. Every full moon he leaves the city and heads for the wilds of the Eagle River reservation lands where he can unleash his Creature in safety. Or he could, for members of the tribe's council are being murdered, ripped apart in what seems to be an animal attack, and Lupo has to accept the fact that he might not be the only one of his kind.Sheriff Tom Arnow …

More Reviews - Rio Youers - Old Man Scratch

Johnny Gregson's dreams of a quiet retirement with his wife in their new country home are quickly ended when he encounters his new next door neighbour, Scratch Clayton. Scratch is a cantankerous grumpy old man who seems to take pleasure from turning the lives of the incomers into an absolute hell.Nothing he does is illegal as such. And little is violent, even though Scratch, despite his age, is still an imposing and intimidating figure. But his actions build insidiously making it seem as though Scratch's every pore oozes hatred.At the same time Johnny is beginning to notice that something is not quite right about the bend in the road hear their houses. Being a blind corner, road kill is commonplace. At least once every week Johnny finds himself dragging the remains of another creature to the roadside from in front of his driveway. But he notices that shortly after he does so, the bodies disappear. Not in the kind of way you would expect carrion eaters to gradually eat away at …

Murali and Tourmalet

Sri Lankan test cricketeer Muttiah Muralitharan has retired. He played in his final test match today and fitting took the very final Indian wicket to bring his personal tally to 800 wickets in 133 tests. 800 wickets!! Now that's something I judge as worthy of a second, totally superfluous exclamation mark. That mark will take some beating. I feel privileged to have seen him bowl on a number of occasions. I might not be Sri Lankan, and a number of the wickets he took in his career may have belonged ot English cricketeers but the man was something special.

I don't think I've ever mentioned cycling in my blog. Anyone who knows me would probably think there is a really good reason for it - let's face facts, I'm not known for my fanatical devotion to keeping fit. But I like watching the big Tours - Italy, Spain and of course the Tour de France.

For all that it is effective a bunch of guys riding bicycles along deserted roads, which on the face of it does sound a little du…

Three

Okay, the question has been answered. I had enough time to post three book reviews before the episode finished...

Hope you like them. I might post a film review or two in the next few days. Those kindly folk at Organic Marketing have been good enough to send me some more review copies and I think I might post the details here. Or at least short notes about them. I may still go out to find them an alternate home whilst my main market is temporarily unavailable. (Terry from Murky Depths is going on holiday for a bit so there's not going to be much in the way of activity in that direction.)

The episode of House BTW was the right back from the beginning - Occam's Razor from near the start of season 1. Cool show although my wife occasoinally tells me I'm about as subtle as House and have other of his idiosyncrasies. Mind you she does know me best.

Review of L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims - Black Cathedral

What do you get if you throw a secret government ghost-hunting organisation, psychic powers, ley lines, a maverick investigator who hates his boss, sinister multinational corporations, satanic cults, a secret Vatican order and a remote, deserted Scottish island into a pot and stir.Well by rights it should be an ungodly mess, a disjointed novel crammed to overflowing with so many overused dark fiction stereotypes you wonder how they managed to close the book's covers. It almost reads like a season trailer for the X-Files.Somehow though Maynard and Sims have managed to make all these pieces fit together into a cohesive whole. Not perfect by any means but it is entertaining. The characters are engaging; the plot is well paced; the organisation (Department 18) has sufficient promise to sustain the promised series and the cult at the crux of the plot is original enough to keep your interest. Not a bad start - let's see where book two goes.Book DetailsISBN: 08439-6199-6Page Count: 2…

Review of Joel A Sutherland - Frozen Blood

This is old-school horror, the kind of book that you might have seen back in the 1980s. It's straightforward, no-frills, no hidden meaning scary atmospheric stuff. Its set-up is old school too.Two estranged sisters are coming back into each other's lives due to the recent death of their father, and the reading of his will, taking place in his mansion near Ottawa during a severe and seemingly never-ending hailstorm.There is a great deal of mistrust between the two. Tara is a recovering alcoholic. Her relationship with sister Evelyn was destroyed following the death of Evelyn's daughter - killed by a drunk driver - an act her sister symbolically identifies with Tara herself. Before the evening described in the book the two had not communicated in three years.There's even the kind of twist you would get in many 1980s horrors. After about sixty or so pages everything points to a battle between the two sisters - each descending into their own brand of madness - and heaven h…

Review of Michael Coney - "Hello Summer, Goodbye" and "I Remember Pallahaxi"

As with every summer Drove is visiting Pallahaxi with his parents. This year however things are a little different. Drove is on the verge of manhood, and Browneyes, a girl he met the previous summer, is occupying the majority of his thoughts.However, just as Drove is becoming more involved in the world at large, the world is about to get involved in his life. His father is a Parl (a member of the government) and not at all happy that Drove is showing interest below his social standing, something about which Drove cares nothing at all.But as well as obstacles to his love life Drove and the entire world will have to contend with an infrequent astronomical even that plunges the whole world into darkness (and cold) for forty years - the Great Freeze.Like much British science fiction, this is bleak in ways American fiction rarely is. The further you get in the book the more you become certain that the ending is going to be anything but "happy-ever-after".This world is remarkably …

Some more reviews are coming...

I said yesterday I was going to post some reviews and so the next couple couple of posts will contains them. How many I'll post is pretty much up to Dr Gregory House. I'm watching the end of an episode of House before I get some sleep so...

Enough for now

Okay, over the next few days you might find this blog gets a number of new reviews added but I think I'm going to stop for tonight. Five reviews in one go is a big hit. Any more and no one's going to read them

Review of Darrell Schweitzer - Living with the Dead

Darrell Schweitzer is an American. I just thought I should mention that up front because this reads like European fiction, not American. Not saying anything is wrong with American fiction, it's just that an acceptance of whimsy as normality is not something you usually find in American fiction.The story is set in a small coastal village. At random intervals the villagers awake to find a pile of dead at the docks. But unlike our world here the dead do not decompose and they are not buried and forgotten. The villagers, under direction from an unseen oppressive government dedicated to maintaining "the order of things", are required to give the dead a new home - to take them into their homes and treat them as guests. This is not considered strange or repulsive, it's just the way it is. The villagers do not consider it onerous, it's just the way it is, the way it always has been and the way it always will be.Another element you would normally associate with European w…

Review of Kevin J. Anderson - Metal Swarm

Both the Human HANSA and Ildiran Empires are in a state of disarray. Despite being on the winning side in recent galactic-wide wars against the gas-giant dwelling Hydrogues, both have seen their forces severely depleted. Having internal troubles as well has not helped either race.The human race is on the verge of a civil war with the increasingly paranoid HANSA Chairman Basil Wenceslas refusing to admit that Earth's problems are largely the result of his own actions and his making enemies of humanity's independent offshoots at a time Earth needed allies. The Ildiran leader, Mage-Imperator Jora'h, has his own problems attempting to recover from the damage his mad half-brother did to the thism, the Ildiran's mental links.Both races need time to recover, but (as expected) that is the last thing they are going to get. The sun-dwelling Faeros are back and intent on ridding the Universe of Ildirans - and humanity seems trapped between the murderous black Klikiss robots and t…

Review of Justin D'Ath - Pool

Wolfgang Mulqueen is a sixteen-year-old schoolboy in New Lourdes, Australia working a summer job at the miracle pool that has put the town on the map (and caused its renaming from Loddon Springs). The water in the pool has a slope - finding its "level" a few degrees off horizontal - and, since an incident a dozen years previous, a reputation for healing properties.A butterfly lands on one of the pool's visitors, a blind girl slightly older than Wolfgang named Audrey, who visits the pool daily but not to experience its waters, preferring to sleep in the shade of an umbrella poolside. The butterfly collector in Wolfgang cannot resist taking a closer look and so he announces himself to Audrey so his approach does not scare her.This single event begins an unusual summer for Wolfgang. He begins a friendship with this unusual blind girl - one that is encouraged by her father who actually pays Wolfgang to spend time with his daughter, so worried is he by her solitary and noctur…

Second (Third) of the book reviews (Stephen Baxter)

Onto another of the never published reviews - Stephen Baxter
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Review of Stephen Baxter - The H-Bomb Girl

Laura Mann is in a difficult position - fourteen, parents are splitting up and she is moving from the only home she's ever known to her mother's hometown Liverpool. To make things just that little bit worse it's October 1962, the Cuban missile crisis unfolds; and for some reason everyone is taking a special interest in her - as though she is the lynchpin of a turning point in history.Mort, a US Airman boarding at her house seems to watch her every move. Miss Wells, a teacher at her new school is eager to be a confidant and offers help a little too assertively, and the forty-something Jive-O-Rama waitress Agatha fauns over Laura. And all Laura wants to do is get on, make new friends in a new town.They all seem to believe that Laura is a pivotal player in a pivotal moment in history, something a fourteen-year-old …

An Old Book Review - Amber Benson

Okay not that old. I thought after I'd posted the review of the Skipp/Spector book The Bridge I thought to myself about posting other reviews. Well I have over the last few years written reviews for a number of books and then been unable to find them homes. Okay I will admit some of them were rejected but even the rejections were usually not because the reviews were crap.

Honest, I'm not just trying to soothe my own ego - prevent damage to the poor fragile things. I'm going on what I've been told. A lot of these were rejected because I'd send in two or three reviews to editors who only wanted one so they could pick the best for them. And the others languished. Until now. I'm going to post them one by one. So here goes, first one up - second if you count last night's but that's different. I wrote it for this blog.
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I.E. Lester - Review of Amber Benson and Christopher Golden - The Seven…

A book review - John Skipp & Craig Spector - The Bridge

I've got one or two book reviews over. I normally try to send these all in to various mags etc to get published but I have a couple of books I've read and not managed to find a home to send in a review (not because they're rejected, merely because I try not to oversaturate the markets I submit to). But I still think these books need a bit of an airing so I'm going to post some of the reviews here.First up is John Skipp and Craig Spector's The Bridge - just reprinted by Leisure Books. If you fancy ordering it I'm adding the Amazon linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Bridge-John-Skipp/dp/0843963964/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0The people of Paradise Pennsylvania are people you'll find anywhere. They want to make a few bucks, live comfortable lives, and not be overly bothered with the messy stuff. So they entrust their waste to a waste management company and forget about it. Only problem is that company has been illegally dumping the toxic goo for years, and now all those chemica…

Start the week with a rejection

My short story Chicken has been rejected by DF Underground. Ah well, such is life. Time to try, try, try again (or whatever those old clichéd phrases would have us do).

In any case I like the story so I've resubmitted it someplace else. Hopefully it will find kinder eyes this time.

Ten new reviews posted

UK sf/horror site Murky Depths have posted another ten of my reviews

Book Reviews
Ray Garton's Scissors
Stephen King's Blockade Billy
Lavie Tidhar's The Bookman

Film Reviews
Alice in Wonderland
Bikini Girls on Ice
Daybreakers
Resurrecting the Street Walker
Vampire
The Wolfman

You can find all of these at - http://www.murkydepths.com/

No Heavy Lifting (writing news)

The title of the blog entry comes from a favourite author of mine (Mike Resnick). He always described a second (or third etc) sale of the same piece as a "No Heavy Sale" meaning that he'd not had to do any actual work for the sale.

Well I've just had one.

Last year a short story of mine (Waiting Room) appeared on UK horror site House of Horror. Well now it's going to appear in print in an American anthology called Dreams and Screams being published by Liquid Imagination.

I could get used to this - but I suppose I'll have to write more stories and get them sold the first time before these events are likely to be common.

This bizarre world

I've just read a news article on the BBC News website that reminded me that there still are people in the world who want to do spontaneous things just for fun. Apparantly there is a tradition that's grown up in recent years in California which sees thousands of people moon passing trains on a given day each year. The appropriately named Moon Amtrak day was yesterday, July 11th.

The even have a website dedicated to the event

http://www.moonamtrak.org/

Yeah, and you'd guess for something fun, the authorities are trying to "crack" (sorry couldn't resist the pun) down on it.

2 sales / 2 rejections - some kind of balance I guess

New Myths (http://www.newmyths.com) has bought another two of my book reviews - for Harry Turtledove's Hitler's War and Tim Waggoner's Dead Streets. I think this makes it to eight that I've sold to them - in addition to the three articles.

But on the short story side I've had two rejections - from Daily Science Fiction and Black Ink Horror. Ah well, I'll keep trying.

Charles Saatchi

I've just read the news story about Charles Saatchi donating his gallery containing a collection of more than 200 pieces of contemporary art to the nation. Wow!

The Saatchi Gallery is a 70,000 sq ft exhibition space in Chelsea. It's becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art for London (shortened to Moca London).

And it includes some very famous pieces including Tracey Emin's My Bed. Again wow!

Just goes to show people can surprise you, and in a good way.

Thank you Mr. Saatchi