Sunday, February 25, 2007

Philip K Dick's "The Owl In Daylight"

I've been reading Philip K Dick's "What if our world is their heaven?" - a series of intimate interviews taped just a few weeks before the multiple strokes that spelled his demise in 1982.

In this book there's a BIG discussion about his (unfinished) novel The Owl In Midnight. PKD talks about his plans for the book and how he has this race of deaf aliens coming to earth (which they think is their heaven because music is a mystical thing they'll never be able to understand, it's BEYOND their ken) and trying to symbiotically insinuate themselves into our 'musical' heritage. It's odd and he was paid up front and on a deadline and his agent said he'd never finish it - and he was right. Figuratively.

1982 - I know it's a tenuous link but the similarly musical race of aliens in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind had just flashed and bleeped their way across our cinema screens as recently as 1977. I mean, PKD did say a novel gestates in his mind for a few years before he writes the book in less than a month. Maybe this was the spectre he'd subconsciously been trying to exorcise all that time?

As an adendum, I've come up with an alternative to the alien race of The Owl In Daylight - something closer to home but no less alien and I'll let you'all know about it when the screenplay has been bought. My agent is on the case as I type this, go Gadget, arms!


Monday, February 19, 2007

Hertzan Chimera reviews Haruki Murakami @ The Open Critic's been a while since me old mucker Hertzan Chimera was out on day release but here's further proof of his immortality. This time we see him taking on the likes of Haruki Murakami's short story collection AFTER THE QUAKE over at the Open Critic forum.

More recently unleashed, Hertzan Chimera takes on Whitley Strieber's LILITH'S DREAM again at the Open Critic forum.

In slightly disconnected but no-less-revelatory news - a new series of infamous Hertzan Chimera Interviews are about to make a spectacular comeback via a pornolicious-grindhouse of a magazine out of New York some time in late 2007 - more details nearer the date, so hang on to your horror knickers, meine herren und damen.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The ALTERNATIVE Oxford Literary Festival in 2007

The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival in 2007
Tuesday, 20 March to Sunday, 25 March

...happens every year and yours truly never gets invited. Nothing new there then. I've been speaking to a gigs-organising guy by the name of Mars and it looks like (if I can get my favourite extreme/bizarre/surreal bad-boy writers from up and down the country to gather here in Oxford for the event) we're gonna end up running a parallel-world of ALTERNATIVE literary possibilities.

With just a month to pull it together, plans are sketchy but my man Mars says "no problem!" to all my whacko suggestions, he'll deal with the venues and the press and everything and there'll be folksy/experimental music at our list of venues to complement the ALTERNATIVE content. If you're a non-mainstream writer and can make it to Oxford on the dates mentioned, and would like to arrange a reading or deliver an essay about alternatives to the BIG PUBLISHING houses, or just chat about your working practise in a writer-friendly environment - leave a message on this blog or contact me at the email: mike{{{philbin{{{1996@yahoo.{{{.co.{{{.uk --- remove the {{{.

Update: well, it looks like, if this is the response, we'll have to leave it until next year as we're getting real close to the useful wire here and any publicity windows may be closing around us unused. No problems, there was a chance to read your stuff to the literary world (they'll all be here in Oxford for that week in late March) but if you're not keen (it probably was too short notice), we'll look at doing it some other year.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hideshi Hino @ The Open Critic

The Open Critic has once again delivered the editorial goods with a total revamp of my reviews of the six Hideshi Hino graphic novel from DH Publishing in Tokyo. Lots of yummy demon-bug-eating screenshots and excellent presentation as always. Six reviews of work from the mastermind behind the Guinea Pig (body horror snuff) films, and an introduction that links to all six. Get clickin'

Hideshi Hino: Horror, Pathos and the Master of Manga

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Best Self Conscious Movie Moment award goes to...

The 1985 Australian movie BLISS. Just the restaurant scene where the adulterous woman is self-consciously kicking away the living fish that are dropping down between her feet onto the floor. I really haven't seen anything to compare with it since then.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Philip K Dick Appreciation @ The Open Critic forum.

My lengthy (and gushing) appreciation of the career of writer Philip K Dick has materialised at The Open Critic forum. The article has been totally overhauled to reflect The Open Critic's house style and separated into six parts.

Philip K Dick, A Critical Appreciation, Part One
Philip K Dick, A Critical Appreciation, Part Two
A Scanner Darkly
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep
The Cosmic Puppets
Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.

You can leave comments and discuss issues brought up in all The Open Critic articles.

This Open Critic article has already been noted on the front page of the Philip K Dick Bookshelf. Thanks to Trevor Paetkau for his sterling editorial effort.

One thing I did notice was The Open Critic decided, in their wisdom?, not to air my rather denunciating (negative) review of PKD's "VALIS" - god, that book annoyed this reviewer. Party on people.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cyber Pulp still owe unpaid royalties.

Here's the actual statement of owed royalties from Bob Gunner (of ex-publisher Cyber Pulp Press).

Grand total owed to you to be dispersed for books sold in 2004-05:
$283.98 U.S's not a lot of money, granted, but it's the fucking principal. Two years since this money was owed to me as the editor of Chimeraworld 1 and on behalf of the co-writers of Chim+Him and Chim+Her (published at the time by Cyber Pulp Press), after numerous polite e-requests and a trans-Atlantic phone call, I still have not recieved a single dollar of the owed monies. The books sold. He owes money. It's real simple.

It's not even worth me taking him to small claims court because of the trans-Atlantic divide. If any of the Chimeraworld 1 or Him+Chim+Her writers in the States want to pursue this person legally, be my guest.

Nasty business.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Nations to set tuna quotas amid extinction fears

TOKYO (AFP) - Some 40 countries met here to set national quotas for tuna whose total catch has been reduced to prevent the immensely popular fish being hunted to extinction.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which includes 43 countries or areas including the European Union, is winding up three days of closed-door talks, Japanese fisheries officials said.

The conservation body is expected to set quotas on the number of fish each member country can catch after deciding to reduce the overall catch last year, the officials said.

In 2006, the European Union had the largest quota at more than 57 percent of the catch, followed by Morocco and then Japan, which sends fleets worldwide to feed its tuna-loving consumers.

The commission decided at a November meeting to reduce the total catch of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic from 32,000 tonnes in 2006 to 29,500 tonnes this year.

The meeting in Croatia also agreed to scale back the catch to 25,500 tonnes by 2010.

Japan last week hosted a conference bringing together the world's five regional tuna conservation bodies for the first time.

The meeting of 60 countries or areas agreed to step up cooperation to monitor tuna populations across regions, although environmentalists were disappointed that it set no new catch limits.

Japan is the world's biggest tuna consumer, eating one quarter of the global catch and fuelling a growing global industry, including in developing island nations.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Reverse Graffiti

ever on the lookout for interesting alternative culture angles for you, my loyal reader, today we examine the phenomenon of Reverse Graffiti:

Graffiti traditionally has a bad name, sullying the subways of the world and defacing the pristine communal towerblocks of the inner cities. Well, it's about time something changed. These Reverse Graffiti-ists go around cleaning up the slime and grime spattered surfaces they find in the modern world. Okay, they only clean off bits at a time but in so doing create art from the pollution and dirt of modern life.

The UK’s Paul Curtis, better known as “Moose,” is one of the technique’s pioneers. Operating around Leeds and London, he has been commissioned by a number of brands, such as Smirnoff, who want to convey a sense of “clean” in an innovative way.

The practice puts authorities in a definite moral quandary. According to Moose, “Once you do this, you make people confront whether or not they like people cleaning walls or if they really have a problem with personal expression.”

Moose was charged under the very scary sounding Anti-Social Behaviour Act and ordered to clean up his clean act. I’m not exactly sure how he managed to did this. By making it dirty again?