Monday, 31 August 2009

End of August News: Part 2.5

I've a few hours of August left, and one last snippet of news to close the month off:

I mentioned that the two From the Aslum anthologies I'm in were going to press. Well, now the cover art is up for all to see - and it's awesome. Not only that, we have a full list of contents, and the one for the Year 4 Anthology is downright astonishing. There are about a hundred stories and poems in there! This is going to be one weighty book. I mean, even if you don't want to read it I'd recommend buying a couple of copies for home defence - perch them on your doors when you go to sleep, burglars won't know what him them. Realistically, though, I'd hope that people will want to read it, because - assuming it costs less than $900 - it's set to be astonishing value and chock full of excitingness.

I've said a couple of times that I enjoyed From the Asylum, and that it's a hell of a shame it won't be around anymore. That title lists says why better than I ever could. Where else could you go for tales and poems with names like "
Why Monsters Don't do Group Therapy", "Down Metempsychosis Highway", or "How to Determine If There's a God on the Return Flight to Philadelphia"? Or for that matter, "King Gob's Warcry"?

Almost forgot: here's the link.

Here's hoping I have as much to ramble about next month...

Sunday, 30 August 2009

End of August News: Part 2

Being, as the name suggests, a contination of yesterday's rambling:

I had a novel experience at the back end of last week, in that I submitted a story for one magazine and had it accepted for a totally different one. I sent in my Feeler - a cheery tale of an empathic counsellor struggling under the weight of other people's pain, and her quest to hang on to a little sanity - to Tyree Campbell at Aoife's Kiss, which featured my The Burden of Kings not so long ago. Mr Campbell decided to accept it, but for Sam's Dot Publishing's new imprint Shelter of Daylight. Expect to see it in April of next year.

Finally, I just received the artwork for my comic strip The Unleashing of the Ineffectual, forthcoming from Futurequake Press, from artist Duncan Kay. Duncan's been teasing me with character sketches and suchlike for months, one of which was so damn neat that it's currently sitting framed on top of my bookcase, and the final product doesn't disappointment. No idea yet when it will actually see the light of day, but I'll post when I know more.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

End of August News: Part 1

So much news this week that it requires - okay, can justify - being split into two posts. Here goes for part one!

The Things Aren't What They Seem anthology from From the Asylum Books is going to press, which presumably means it will be out very soon. I'm buzzed about this one mainly because - if From the Asylum was anything to go by - editor Kate Sanger has a keen eye for strong, unusual stories, and it should be a genuinely interesting collection.

I found another review of Murky Depths #8, this one from SFRevu, and it has this to say about Peachy:

"The fiction in the issue begins with "Peachy" by David Tallerman. In this one pager, Peachy is the cat of our unnamed narrator and the cat seems in a strange mood. Why that's the case becomes clear at the end of this perfect little story."

I like that, "...perfect little story." Follow the link above for the rest of the review.

Finally: my tale Caretaker in the Garden of Dreams was picked up a while ago by Necrotic Tissue, which was neat in and of itself. But I found out a couple of day ago that it will be the editor's choice for the Jan 2010 issue - which means I get to wear a special, extra-shiny 'editor's choice' hat and, perhaps even more importantly, I get five times as many pennies. Writers being a primarily coin-operated form of entertainment, this is good news indeed.

More back-end-of-August news tomorrow!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Film Ramble: Hardware

Last night I watched Richard Stanley's Hardware for the first time in about fifteen years. I stuck on my Lovefilm list because I remembered it as being pretty good and thought it might be worth another watch.

It really was. I'll go further: it was downright excellent. More than that, I think it's the only film I can remember to really nail the spirit of cyberpunk. Sure Strange Days wasn't too wide of the mark, and the first Matrix film hit a lot of the bases, but Hardware's got it all: grungy screwed up heroes, sex, death, drugs, horrible violence, pervasive technology, rust, rot, all the post-apocalyptic chic you could hope for.

There are probably about a million killer-robot B-movies out there, but Hardware strives for much more, and succeeds enough to count as a success. It's a dark, bad trip of a movie, scary and nasty and weird. It even has Iggy Pop!

You have to wonder what Stanley would have come up with if tantrumming celebrity actors hadn't wrecked his career. He has projects forthcoming on IMDB, so maybe there's hope yet...

Friendly with Theaker's

Just a quick note to say that the marvellous Mr Theaker has accepted another one of my stories for his Quarterly Fiction, this one a blackly comic little sci-fi number called "Friendly". It's good to know there's still a market for stories about weird-ass slobbery aliens playing obscure futuristic sports out there...

It's provisionally set for the October 2009 issue, which is actually pretty soon, what with summer finishing before it started and all.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Wunderkind, Bards and Sages

My story Wunderkind has been picked up by newish print magazine Bards and Sages Quarterly.

Wunderkind is a flash tale that spins off a simple premise: that superheroes are downright scary. It's a simple, indisputable fact that's been washed over to a bewildering degree. I speak as a massive comics nerds here: If I met Superman I'd be the guy running like hell in the other direction. And all the time I'd know he could turn me to dust by blinking.

This is something I'd like to go into more one day, I think there's a novel at least waiting in the wings if I ever find the time - but in the meantime, come April of next year, there's the nasty little first step that is Wunderkind.

Film Ramble: The Last Man on Earth

You spend years waiting for a good film adaptation of Richard Matheson's seminal horror / sci-fi novel I am Legend, and all you get is Will Smith talking to mannequins and rattling on about Shrek.

Then you wait a bit longer and finally get round to watching The Last Man on Earth, despite the fact that of the three adaptations (the third being Charlton Heston-starrer The Omega Man), it's the one everyone seems to sneer at.

And lo and behold, it's fantastic.

Which begs the question: why is it not a recognised classic? It's remarkably faithful to Matheson's book (he even had a hand in the script, under a pseudonym), capturing not just the tone, the sense of desolation, the interminable horror of Neville's (here Morgan's) plight, but also the internal struggles, subtext, all the things that adaptations normally fall flat on. The ending is somewhat changed, but unlike the Will Smith vehicle it holds true to the themes of the novel, and retains its resonance.

Vincent Price - who at first seems miscast due to his innate creepiness - gives a startling performance that only improves as the film goes on and we realise he's not quite the hero he's believed himself. A much underrated actor, he was never better than here, or had more opportunity to show what he could do.

It's genuinely dark (quite staggeringly so in places) and preempts much of what Romero would achieve four years later in Night of the Living Dead - even down to the noirish documentary style. The flashback sequence is particularly bleak, and haunting in its images of a society crumbling in the face of the inevitable.

Point is, if like me you're a fan of I am Legend, (and if you have the faintest interest in horror or sci-fi you should be, Gollancz didn't make it number two in their Sci-fi Masterworks series for nothing!), then do yourself a favour - watch the first and best film adaptation and see how it should have been done.