Friday, September 29, 2006

Horror World reviews Philbin's novella #5:

yeah, you'd imagine they'd start by reviewing novella 1 then novella 2 then... you get the picture... but Horror World have decided to review my fifth novella of the five novella series - and a very good review it was.

Here's the review:
Here're the novellas:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Chimeraworld 1 @ (now with search inside)

LULU have finally got their act together and they'll probably be offering this feature for all the early Chimericana Books since they did a deal with that's better than their original (and bugged-to-hell) Amazon Marketplace

I just checked and it's true, you can now SEARCH INSIDE CHIMERAWORLD #1 on Amazon. Search Inside options offered are | Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover

Book Description
Chimeraworld #1 is a dark place your mind will never escape. A collection of the most ferocious, the most relentless, the most wonderfully rendered nightmare landscapes ever witnessed in literary history. This is not horror. This is not sci-fi. This is not mystery. This is not thriller. CHIMERAWORLD exceeds all boundaries of taste and narrative. Stories from C.C. Parker, W. Bill Czolgosz, Greg Beatty, John Peters, L. Marie Wood, Latricia L. Lane, T.M. Gray, Ken Goldman, Queenie Tirone, Jaime L. Burvato, Alex Severin, William S. Brock, polycarp kusch, Joseph Miles, Kevin Anderson, J. M. Heluk, Isaac Fellows, Kevin L. Donihe, Tony Richards, S.J. Hinton, Steve Short, John Edward Lawson and Rickey Windell George.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Michelle Paver better than Roald Dahl

my ten year old daughter Madeline (Sep 22nd 2006) used to be a very big fan of the childrens books of Roald Dahl - she's read them all. But now, in a strange turn of favour, she reckons that the childrens books of Michelle Paver are better! Thursday, we're gonna meet Michelle Paver at her latest book launch at Waterstones here in Oxford and pick up THE SOUL EATER, third book in THE CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARNESS series.

October 7th Update: the previous two were better. Maybe Roald Dahl still has a chance after all as best writer in the entire world. Ever.


It's been twenty-odd years since I set foot in Nottingham; that's where this year's FantasyCon (run by the British Fantasy Society) was being held. It was also only the third writers' convention I'd ever been to. The first, so Gary Couzens reminded me yesterday (when I mentioned the shitness of the bar and the ineptitude of the bar staff) was the 2000 FantasyCon in Birmingham, UK. The second, as you all know, was the creative snore-athon known as Horrorfind 2002 in Baltimore, USA.

This year's FantasyCon was held at the Britannia Hotel on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The hotel was near the centre of Nottingham town - just by the Castle there and close to the shops. I went down only for the Saturday. The first batch of people I met complained about the bar staff last night and I suspected this was gonna be a downer. Only later, riding home on the train in utter despondency, did I realise just how much of a downer it would be.

I was very rude to a lot of people.
Not intentionally, that's just the way conventions are. You're talking to someone you've not seen in years, or you've been stopped in a corridor by someone who recognises you, or you're trying to get the ear of some famous, skinny loud person like Joe Hill and it's just the format. People ride all over each other. You're in a conversation with someone and a "Hi, Mike, how you doing?" will intercept your chat. You look around and you gotta take the opportunity to say "I'll find you in the bar later." or something. The person you're chatting with gets offended. Walks off. This happened again and again, through no fault of anyone's. It was happening all over. It's just the way the format crumbles.

What did I expect from this year's FantasyCon?
Well, I didn't take any proposals or materials to woo potential business partners, I merely hoped to put some faces to some names. And I did that. Steve Saville (showing me how not to drink), Allyson Bird (such a brief passing, no vodka exchanged), Tim Lebbon (nice guy, new agent), Tony Richards (always a good buddy), Jonathan Oliver (surprised to see me there), Anne Sudworth (an artist who I'd mistaken for someone from my art school past - that's sorted out now), Allen Ashley (thanks for the Dodo Report), Christopher Teauge and the lads from Wales, David Matthew and his heckling friend from the Terror Scribes 'do' I organised here in Oxford, Robert Rowntree, Pete Crowther, Ramsey Campbell, Allison Davis (great memory story teller), Joel Lane, Mark West... man, the list goes on. The were all in a good mood and cheery and chatty.

But there was always that looking over your shoulder aspect to it. You could see everyone doing it. The roving eye. I guess that's the format, to look important and always be on the lookout for the eye catch. I'm not sure it's a healthy passtime.

Apart from the bar and general dealer-room chin-wagging, I went to a couple of panels - the screen writing one (nothing instructive, just very dull tales of screenwriting calamity - Cive Barker stole the show), the editing one (wasn't really about editing, it was just about what three independent presses will accept as submissions, oh, and Headline had a rep there, too) and the Clive Barker interview. And that, as I'm not a fan of Neil Gaiman, was the one-trick pony of this year, Clive Barker. It sorta made me sick to see the fawning, simpering 'appreciation' of this great writer. The thought that struck me, after hearing all about his woes and tribulations in Hollywood was, "Well, fuck it, if he's having troubles then we're all in the same boat." And this philosophy was reflected again and again from other writers, editors, publishers. Writing ain't easy. It's a real struggle. Then you die.

What was the most depressing thing?
Clive's voice. No, not the west-coast drawl he'd adopted (a certain amount of cultural osmosis is to be expected) but the utter wrecked nature of his Scouse twang. It was like watching someone on the brink of throat cancer (or a really wretched impression of Liberace). The brain-damaged slowness of his delivery was another shocker - he was being interviewed on stage by Pale Kane and. he. was. just. croaking. through. each. word. as. if. thinking. were. a. great. effort. He'd pause and stare for long periods of time to indicate he'd finished. The responses were all over the place and seemed to have no structure or intent on answering the question. It was a very difficult interview, I think, for Paul. Clive was droning on about being in Hell with his latest book, and I could see it. I could see Satan's scaly pecker thrusting back and forth across Clive's noduled vocal chords, it was like a sinister apparition there on stage. Satan had his carbunkled claws round Barker's throat and he was snuffing the very life from him as he talked. Sheer horror.

What do you do after that?
I could stand it no more. I left an hour before the train I'd planned to get. I couldn't return to the bar. I couldn't see any more genre faces. I didn't even want to wander round Nottingham until my scheduled train arrived. I wanted out of that town as fast as posible. I'd been taken to Hell and back thanks to Clive Barker and certainly had to flee. My own sanity dictated it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keith Richards - the drugs don't work any more

It's a paraphrase from a Verve song, I realise that irony. And it's a trueism that the late great Bill Hicks would find exceedingly funny, were he still smoking and blowing jokes, but Keith Richards has given up drugs. Was his reason something like wanting to clean up his image? Was his reason like wanting to see the real world without the vaseline smear of drugs all over it?

Nah, Keith Richards has quit drugs, claiming they're not strong enough anymore.

And with reference to Mr-Three-Shat-out-Mona-Lisa's Bob Dylan - didn't I just see Bob do an ADVERTISEMENT for iPod? *shudders* ewwwwww, Bill Hicks must surely be spinning in his grave this week.

Semi-related Verve Trivia:
The Verve's 1997 hit “Bitter Sweet Symphony” uses a small five-note sample from an orchestral version of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.” After “Bittersweet Symphony” became a hit single, The Verve was sued by Allen Klein, who owns the copyrights to The Rolling Stones' pre-1970 songs. Klein claimed The Verve broke their licence agreement when they used a larger portion than was covered in the license. The band handed over 100 percent of their songwriting royalties. They were then sued by Andrew Loog Oldham, who claimed to possess the copyright on the sampled sound recording. [4] “Bittersweet Symphony” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Song category, which honors songwriters. Because the unfavorable settlement transferred the Verve’s copyright and songwriting credit to Klein and the Rolling Stones, the Grammy nomination went to “Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.”

Friday, September 15, 2006

Banksy-mania issue 2 and 3:

I've started something of a Banksy-reporting tsunami - from around the world Banksy's avid street team Fans Of Bansky have been sending in follow-up articles to my Banksy Targets Paris Hilton thread of a few days back.

My two recent favourites are the Guantanamo child strapped to the gates at Disneyworld Florida and the BanksyLAphant - with matching decor (of course).

I wish I had that guy's PR agent distributng my Chimericana Books press releases for me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

new story excerpt:

Here's a little first-pass section from my latest story (still in progress) The Thermonuclear Man:


He sat there, blinking, disbelieving, as realisation slowly crept up on him, as if from the shadows, like something had tracked him down for months and finally had him cornered. It didn’t happen in a flash, it just became horrific over a long series of breaths which became gasps which tumbled into abject panic. He was looking at the background image, as he normally does before firing up Excel. Three faces left to right; wife, daughter, dad. Only that wasn’t his wife. That wasn’t his girl. He watched the alien features of these strangers dissolve from their regular loving countenances into featureless grease that down off the frame leaving Millgate glaring at the abyss of his own abandonment.

A mind-destroying terrorism shot missiles into his skull from across the universe. He stared harder and harder at the abducted background image on his screen, willing his wife and daughter to reappear, resolve themselves into pixelated representation, return. A blood vessel popped in Millgate’s left eye; that’s what it felt like to him. An intense, searing pain as of a hot needle being thrust into an eyeball. He gasped for breath, unable to comprehend what had just been stolen from him, why the rug had just been so ruthlessly pulled out from under his feet. What had he done?

“Kumiko!” Millgate let out a plaintive cry. He couldn’t move. He just sat there. And behind the lie of his dead-clay-for-flesh his mind exploded, an intracranial supernova.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

CLASSIC FM - movie themes.

I'm a classical music enthusiast and (apart from the adverts) I really enjoy Classic FM here in the U.K. but...

Define: CLASSIC.

Isn't it the same definition as antique, something from a bye-gone era? Take this analogy, just because a chair was made for the film Dangerous Liaisons doesn't make that chair an antique - it's a prop. The ORCHESTRAL MUSIC in film scores is nothing but a prop to evoke an emotional response from the viewer not a classic study in form and theme and resonance.

Suggestion: drop the movie themes altogether or start calling it simply ORCHESTRAL FM.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Banksy targets Paris Hilton:

He has smuggled fake artwork into Tate Britain, and sprayed a vision of paradise on the Palestinian side of Israel's "security wall".

Now, the "guerrilla graffiti" artist Banksy has taken aim at the cult of empty celebrity and its current poster child, Paris Hilton.

The secretive artist has smuggled 500 doctored copies of Paris Hilton's debut album into music stores throughout the UK, where they have sold without the shops' knowledge.

In place of Ms Hilton's bubble-gum pop songs, the CDs feature Banksy's own rudimentary compositions. On the cover of the doctored CD, Ms Hilton's dress has been digitally repositioned to reveal her bare breasts; on an inside photo, her head has been replaced with that of her dog.

On the back cover, the original song titles have been replaced with a list of questions: "Why am I famous?", "What have I done?" and "What am I for?"

Inside the accompanying booklet, a picture of the heiress emerging from a luxury car has been retouched to include a group of homeless people.

In another shot, Ms Hilton's head has been superimposed on a shop window mannequin beneath a banner reading: "Thou Shalt Not Worship False Icons."

Instead of Ms Hilton's own compositions, the replacement CD features 40 minutes of a basic rhythm track over which Banksy has dubbed Ms Hilton's catchphrase "That's hot!" and other extracts from her reality TV programme The Simple Life.

The record credits have been re-edited to include thanks to the artist for his "wonderful work".

The bogus CD is not the first time he has branched out beyond the stencil graffiti that made his name. In 2003, Banksy glued one of his paintings on to a wall in Tate Britain, where it went unnoticed by staff for hours. The following year he smuggled a display case with a stuffed rat wearing sunglasses and a backpack into the Natural History Museum. At New York's Museum of Modern Art, he placed an Andy Warhol-style print depicting a tin of Tesco Value soup. Last year, he sprayed paintings on the Israeli security wall around the West Bank.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Chimeraworld trailers = total online domination:

The fabulous trailers to Chimeraworld 2 and 3 (created by boy-genius Anthony Cain) are officially all over the net, thanks to online distributor CosFilms - kudos goes out to Sheila@CosProductions for her support.

Watch out for the Chimeraworld 2 and 3 promo videos on such esteemed download sites as iFilm, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, Buzznet, Tagworld, DailyMotion in fact just name any decent online book video distributor and you'll be able to enjoy the depths of human depravity, thanks to Chimeraworld.

Chimeraworld 4 is released this Xmas through Chimericana Books - just in time for the spike in the drink drive statistics.