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Showing posts from 2016

WTF? Kingsglaive: A Final Fantasy movie

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Take the Lord of the Rings. Add futuristic technology. Retain magic. And modern stuff like cars and guns. Throw in visuals from Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars and Starship Troopers. Add the vibes from Aliens and Call of Duty. The result is Kingsglaive, a story from the Final Fantasy franchise, released as a CGI movie.
I have no real idea what Final Fantasy is. I've never played the games. Never joined in with the fanbase. I am totally clueless. I watched the animated movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which takes place on a future Earth and looks a lot like Halo with a vague spiritual concept thrown in. I enjoyed it a lot, but I have no idea how it connects to the rest of the franchise.
I haven't seen Kingsglaive yet. I just happened across a trailer that intrigued me then blew me away. I cannot say to you, dear reader, whether this is worth watching. But OMG, the smorgasbord of influences makes me want to watch it so bad. Even if I don't understand what's goin…

UNDEAD UK: The Othello Connection

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Shakespeare's Othello is about betrayal, manipulation, self doubt and paranoia. These are the main themes of my book Remember Me Dead, and I consciously thought of Othello when I was writing it, to the point where I named one of the characters Iago. This was purely for my benefit during the early drafts, and I changed the character's name for the final release, because I didn't want to make it too obvious to a reader that this was the character that would betray Breht, the book's protagonist.

Breht as a character existed in my mind for some years. I don't know why I wanted to make him gay (spoiler alert), but originally he was going to star in a gay version of Othello. I had a few notes, and I even sketched out a thriller set in Sierra Leone's civil war, with Breht as a South African mercenary. Nothing more came of this, and Breht returned to the waiting room in my mind where other characters are currently hanging around, waiting for their book to be written.

New Book Coming Soon

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The sequel to Remember me Dead is nearing completion. Called Hunting The Dead, it will be released sometime in January 2017. Watch this space for more details.

Breht finds himself in a post-apocalypse city, and he visits a settlement to trade his stuff. A woman in the settlement approaches him with a request: to escort her and her baby across the city. When the city is crawling with zombies, that's not a simple job, but there's more. A whole lot more. A raft of tragic consequences will have Breht running for his life, and it won't be the zombies he's running from.

UNDEAD UK Locations: The Town With No Name

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There is a scene in Remember Me Dead where Breht, floating downstream on an improvised raft, passes through the centre of a town, catching fleeting glimpses of Gothic church steeples, Edwardian school buildings and Victorian arched stone bridges. Drifting round a bend, he sees a park with the remains of a medieval town wall and a statue of a winged angel. The park slopes down to the river, and at the top of the slope a grand circular church with a bell tower dominates the skyline. A single guardian with a shotgun stands atop the bell tower, warily watching the undead who wander aimlessly across the park.

This is the point at which the reader is introduced to a town rich in Victorian, Edwardian and Tudor history, but at no point in the story is the town actually named. Did I make it up? Is this town a figment of my imagination?

No. The town in question is actually Shrewsbury, located in the West Midlands, near the border of Wales, and it really does contain a storehouse of living hist…

Apocalyptic Fears lll

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Got another opportunity for you. How about ten slick, Post-Apocalypse/Dystopian novels for just 99 cents (or pence)? Well, the acclaimed writer David VanDyke, author of the Plague Wars novels, has put together another collection featuring himself and nine other authors, including the New York Times bestselling author Jack Conner. The box set spans the full gamut of Dystopian fiction, including zombies, alien invasions, wasteland America, urban demons, derelict space craft and steam-punk stories. This is well worth a look, and I don't know how long it's going to stay at this price. Check it out.
Available on Amazon and Amazon UK.


100 free books this weekend!

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There's a great new promotion happening this weekend. Over a hundred science fiction and fantasy books being given away for free! From unknowns to bestsellers, this is a fantastic way to discover and try out new authors, and it will cost you nothing, nada, zip. With so much on offer, there's bound to be at least one book that catches your eye, so add it to your library while you can. Tons of action, mystery, romance and even some box sets, and it's available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and Apple readers. Did I mention it was free? Yes, free stuff. Grab. Read. Enjoy.
Check it out here: http://pattyjansen.com/promo/

UNDEAD UK Locations: Conwy Castle

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Imagine, if you will, that you are on the run from zombies. The world has gone to hell, you are with a group of survivors and you need to find a place to hole up. Somewhere defensible, somewhere safe from the clawing hands and the bared, blood covered teeth of the undead hordes. Then you come across a castle.


But not just any castle. Conwy Castle, with its intact walls and towers, and an accompanying town that has its own defensive walls - again, still intact - and one of the few places in Europe that hasn't lost them to the ravages of time.


Nestled in the Welsh hills, on the banks of the River Conwy, the castle and its walled town sits ready to welcome any and all survivors who can get there. Mentioned briefly in Max Brooks' blockbuster novel, World War Z, it's one of the key locations for my novel, Remember Me Dead. It should be an ideal location for a strong group, with military assistance, to begin the fightback against the undead. I mean, what could possibly go wrong…

Cultural Appropriation

In the light of the Lionel Shriver controversy, I was reading a post on a writer's forum with increasing disbelief, as a white writer basically begged for advice on how to write black people into her story, because she didn't want to be seen as culturally appropriating black culture. Other writers defended the concept of cultural appropriation, where the dominant white culture is criticised for its audacity to do 'black' things like rapping or wearing corn-rows, and Lionel Shriver has already been criticised for saying there's nothing wrong with a white author creating a story from a black character's perspective. Student Unions in the UK have already hit the headlines for banning sombreros or Native American headdresses at parties, because it's 'offensive', and a blatant example of cultural appropriation, so this kind of thing is all the rage at the moment.
I can't stand this kind of sectarian finger wagging, and the post on the writer's f…

Bargain Books for September

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This weekend you get the chance to choose from over a hundred books and authors, thanks to a massive promo by author Patty Jansen. In cooperation with many other authors, she's offering readers the chance to buy science fiction, fantasy and horror books on the cheap, for two days only. So if you fancy a new read, check it out. With so many books to offer, you're bound to find something you'll like.

Grab a bargain here, at Patty's Promos

Remember Me Dead

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The maggots were what he remembered the most. That was easily the most profound recollection Staff Sergeant Breht had of that day, so long ago. The maggots crawling over dead skin. Writhing, chewing, eating. Except the skin they were consuming didn’t belong to a body that was dead, but to a body that refused to die.

Thus begins the first book in my new zombie series, and it's out now! Set in the UK, it's a tale of survival, obsession and, what else? Zombies. Follow Staff Sergeant Breht on a journey no man should have to make.

A wilderness of zombies. A mission gone wrong.A bullet in the chest. These are the things Staff Sergeant Breht remembers, along with the bitter taste of betrayal. Left for dead by the man he trusted with his life, Breht embarks on an odyssey through what’s left of the UK: a land of frightened survivors, deserted castles and bleak streets that echo with the moans of the undead. But he’s not looking for shelter. He’s looking for revenge.
 For the next two we…

The Science Fiction May Day Bundle

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Do you want five science fiction books for just $5? Of course you do. Do you want 10 books for just $9? Well, it's a no-brainer. Bundle Rabbit are giving away bundles of books at cheap prices, and Callisto: Dead Colony is one of them. Check them all out at Bundle Rabbit for your chance to expand your book shelves on the cheap! Sale begins on the 1st May and ends 14th May.

Dystopia beckons

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Nobody's supposed to like dystopia. The very idea of wrack and ruin is meant to have negative connotations. Chaos and destruction are things we should be avoiding. It's not meant to be beautiful. Yet the imagery and the art of it draws many, myself included.

Dystopia is like a Great White Shark. No one wants to get in the water with one, but from a safe distance, they look awesome.

Maybe it's because we live in a safe society, with rules and limits. Maybe, from our safe zone, destruction and chaos holds a grim fascination. Maybe we are drawn to opposites, the way we are drawn to read horror, for instance. Or war.

People read, watch or play fantasies. So it's strange that dystopia should be one of them. Maybe nihilism runs deep through the human psyche.

In the 19th Century, it was very fashionable for wealthy English lords and ladies to travel to Venice. Britain was then at the height of its power, with an empire that spanned the world, while Venice was the home of a f…

Oh Benedict, where art thou?

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1.1 million migrants from North Africa and the Middle East, most of them young men, entered Germany last year. Those who said taking on so many was not a good idea were called heartless or racist. Twelve days ago, hundreds of women in Cologne were harassed, sexually assaulted and robbed by gangs of those same migrants.

Benedict Cumberbatch, renowned actor and amateur activist, had much to say about the former fact, but has so far been silent on the latter fact. As have many of his ideological travellers.

Where art thou, Benedict? Why the long face?

Is it ominous realisation that you see before you?

New Orbit

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I think this is the fifth attempt at the cover for this book, and I can safely say this is the one I prefer the most. So much so, that it may be my last attempt. For a good while, at least. I've always struggled to get the cover right for this book - and indeed, the blurb - as it's such a varied and involved story. At over three hundred pages, it's my longest story too, and there's a lot of stuff going on in it, plus a lot of characters. For this reason, I think, I found it difficult to summarise, in either word or picture form, for the reader. Should I include the gang warfare, the space piracy or the Yucatan solar system empire? Should I mention Crisi the idealistic ex-cop, Pulia the rebel dance teacher or Nil├ęs the amoral business junkie? Or Kagame, the hapless ship's doctor? Or, or.... all the other stuff. It was hard sometimes to just nail the book's description down on one definition, and, of course, as a rookie writer, I tried to include everything, thi…