Friday, 21 November 2014

Video killed ... something or other.

Once, in a previous life, I used to assemble short videos (we always called them that - even when they were on DVD) for teaching purposes. Seems that particular skill is needed again: creating promotional videos for The Alchemy Press. Naturally, the first one I slung together was for my own forthcoming collection (if I made a balls-up, I had no one else to blame) so I could polish up the rusty talents, and get used to software that - whilst adequate - wasn't quite up there with what I'd previously used.

I'm reasonably happy with the results (just like everything, it's a learning curve) and any mistakes made here won't be inflicted on the next, innocent author.

Whoever it may be.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Batman without the Batman: the Gotham TV series

Finally watched Gotham last night and it’s … okay. Little more than an average police procedural, with lots of gratuitous name-dropping (or should that be bludgeoning?).
That pointy-nosed fellow with the umbrella was called ‘Oswald’ enough times (and then ‘Penguin’ a couple more just in case we missed the subtleties) that even someone who didn’t have a clue about the Batman universe (and why should they even be watching in the first place?) would be feeling over-informed.
A young girl with an obvious thing for plants declared “I’m Ivy!” in a clear, strong voice – just in case those at the back didn’t get it. Young Bruce Wayne – even though traumatised at witnessing his parents’ deaths – managed to give Jim Gordon a description of the murderer that was forensic in its detail. A young girl dressed in black – with an uncanny climbing ability – was the only one who wasn’t verbally identified, but her feeding a stray cat with stolen milk might just be a clue.
Everyone’s future characters were underlined in such lumpen, clumsy fashion that it felt like I was constantly being nudged violently in the ribs and winked at whilst the programme makers shouted “You get it?” loudly into both ears.
And why is Sean Pertwee talking in a lousy Mockney accent? Does he think he’s going to grow up into Michael Cain, or something?
In fact the most intriguing facet of the whole unsubtle shouting match was the physical resemblance shared by Alfred and Jim Gordon – I can’t believe it was accidental. Someone trying to say something about the two surrogate fathers in Bruce Wayne’s/Batman’s life?
It’s early days yet but at the moment the programme is managing to be arch whilst at the same time too much on the nose. I’ll keep watching, of course, in the hope that like Agents of SHIELD and Arrow it’ll grow stronger as the series progresses. Then again, it could be the next Smallville; that’s a depressing thought…

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Graham Joyce 1954-2014

Yesterday, I learned Graham Joyce had died. Whilst the news didn't come as a shock - he had been seriously ill for some time - it was no less saddening.
I first met Graham many years ago at a SF convention in Birmingham: Twenty-One Con, if my memory serves me right. I was sitting in the bar with Peter Coleborn and David Sutton when Stephen Jones introduced us to this new star in the writing firmament. I don't think any of us attended a single event at the convention that day: just sat in the bar drinking, talking; Graham happy to keep a bunch of weirdoes he'd never met before amused with tales of Greece and teaching.
Later we all went to a Chinese restaurant just off Hurst Street in Birmingham's China Town, crowding around a circular table which sported a tiny vase in the centre, containing a single flower. The talk and laughter continued. On a nearby table a bunch of girls kept glancing over at us - maybe in admiration, but more likely in alarm at the subject matter.
At the end of the evening we all stood to leave - except David, who was trapped at the back of the table. Graham snatched up the single flower, handed it one of the girls, saying: "It's from him." He pointed to a bemused David - and legged it.
My earliest memory of Graham, and one that's always stuck with me: the grinning, irrepressible joker. The world's a dourer place at his passing.
Photograph copyright 2007 Peter Coleborn.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Nick Nightmare Investigates

I've known Adrian Cole for ... let's say some time. In fact, he may be the first person I spoke to at FantasyCon numero uno in the dim and distant 1970s (although we had been corresponding for a while: he in his capacity as editor of the BFS magazine, Dark Horizons). The first two volumes of The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes included Nick Nightmare stories - a private eye based in a Lovecraftian New York - so when it was decided that The Alchemy Press would be publishing a collection of Nick Nightmare tales it was something of a no-brainer when I was asked if I'd like to edit said volume. I was even more delighted when it was suggested that Nick should meet up with my own investigator of the occult, Damian Paladin, in a crossover story written especially for the collection.
Now, I've heard all the tales of horror regarding collaboration; the cries of "Never again!" But I'm happy to say there were no tears, no clashes of ego and no fights over who got top billing. The two occult PIs might have knocked the odd spark off each other, but the writing went smoothly. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
So here it is, launching at FantasyCon in September: Nick Nightmare Investigates. A two-fisted, limited edition hardback with cover art by Bob Eggleton and interiors from another old friend, Jim Pitts.
Well, I'm happy...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Monday, 9 June 2014


I'm happy to announce the ToC for the forthcoming PULP HEROES 3 from The Alchemy Press. In order of author:
  • Gary Budgen – Kid Kafka and Doctor Pulp
  • Evan Dicken – Mono No Aware
  • Jay Eales – The Revenant
  • Iain Grant – The Big Picture
  • Emma Hinge – The Death of James E Steckle
  • Amberle L Husbands – Agent Midnight
  • Bracken MacLeod – No One Stays Dead
  • Kim Newman – Angels of Music
  • Rod Rees – A Helping Hand
  • Tony Richards – Rayven Black in the City of Night
  • Ralph Sevush – Emmett, Joey and the Beelz
  • Paul Starkey – You’re Majesty
The anthology will be launched at this year's FantasyCon, September 5th – 7th 2014, The Royal York Hotel, York.
Look out for more details.


"Anyone who wants to spend time with the uncanny and horrific will find this volume contains gems" Pauline Morgan has review...