Sunday, 26 July 2009

Here be Limelight

As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm now a famous celebrity type, and it only seems fair to share a few photos of my exciting new status. This way, when the inevatable tabloid furore begins, at least the world will know there was once a time when I wasn't being kicked out of nightclubs at 4AM for trying to snort cocaine off Mary Winehouse's bosoms. All photos are of course from the Parallel Dimensions event to promote Hadley Rille Books, and all are courtesy of event organiser Adele Cosgrove-Bray.

First up, here's me reading. Note the intense concentration and the way I'm completely ignoring the audience:

Next up, this is from the Q & A session. I'm the one in the middle trying to look thoughtful while actually just picking at a loose thread on my knee:

And finally, so as not to give the impression I was the only one there - that was David Clements on the left of me, and Hazel Dixon on my right. And here we have Adrienne Odasso, Rob Haines and David Clements once again. Astute readers might be able to guess from the relative positions of mine and Rob's hands what the last question asked was. Ladies, please bear in mind that I've always been excessively modest!

Finally, here's a link to lots more pictures, which aren't me-centric enough to warrant posting here.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Film Ramble: Moon

Moon is a very good, in places great, movie. Duncan Jones directs with that clinical, distanced style that benefited so many great seventies movies, Sam Rockwell gives a fine performance, indeed numerous fine performances, the special effects are impressive for a low budget movie and it's hard to fault anything with a score by the mighty Clint Mansell.

But as science-fiction, it's rubbish.

I mention this because a lot of people seem to be hailing it as a sci-fi masterpiece, and that kind of worries me. I mention it also because this is a subject that - as discussed a few posts ago - has been on my mind a lot lately. I get that Moon is a homage to classics like Silent Running, and I love them too, but the one thing you absolutely don't want to reference in a film that's supposed to be set in the future is the technology. We're told in the opening scene that mankind has limitless energy at its disposal. That would suggest at least a slight step up the technology curve. So why do the computer systems look like they're running on a Commodore 64? Why haven't robotics advanced one iota? Are we meant to believe that people are still watching old TV shows and listening to talk radio? Why does it still take three days to travel between Earth and the Moon?

I'm not suggesting that every science fiction film needs to stand up to rigorous scrutiny. I realise there was budgetary restraints, and - just to reiterate - I liked Moon a fair bit. Still, I do think it's lousy science-fiction. It progresses a couple of aspects of our current situation and assumes that everything else will stay the same or, bizarrely, retrograde. It doesn't think through its own logic. On a side note, the IMDB entry has an amusing anecdote about Jones showing the movie to some guys from NASA, who spotted a rather more techie hole in his thinking.

Oh well. I hope this won't put anyone off seeing Moon, because it's a neat film, and an absolute coup for the British film industry. Here's hoping its the beginning of brighter times.

Just don't call it sci-fi!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Zombies ... in ... Space!!!

Some good news ... The Library of the Dead have picked up my Fear of a Blue Goo Planet - podcast what seems like a lifetime ago by Chaos Theory: Tales Askew - for publication in their forthcoming Zombonauts anthology. For those of you how aren't too good at working at neologisms, that means zombies in space, astronauts getting their faces chewed off, perhaps a few aliens being battered with their own severed limbs. What sane person could resist such a premise? And how often do you get to deal with an editor called Doctor Pus? I'm really looking forward to this one!

On a side note, it looks as though the two From the Asylum anthologies I'm in - the Best of Year and Things Aren't What They Seem - appear to be going ahead just fine. I'd been worried since the magazine folded earlier this year that they'd never see the light of day, so it's great to find that editor Katherine Sanger is still pushing ahead. FTA was a sad loss to the online small press, and it deserves a blaze of glory before it goes.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Fear and Loathing in West Kirby

Just a quick note to say that I survived the brush with fame that was the Hadley Rille event in West Kirby - and although I'm now officially a celebrity I swear I haven't become even remotely big headed.

Truth be told, we had the relative bad luck to clash with the only nice weather of the week and - given that the beach was all of five minutes away - it's perhaps no surprise that the authors nearly outnumbered the audience. From my point of view that wasn't entirely a bad thing, since I'm crap at reading loudly and mainly went to say 'hi' to a few like minded folks anyway. On that note, a big thank you to fellow attendees Adrienne Odasso, Rob Haines and David Clements (listed, of course, in the order they arrived in the pub beforehand) for their company, further thanks to Adele Cosgrove-Bray for organising the whole thing, and a belated hello to late arrival Hazel Dixon, who I never actually got to speak to.

The two things I took away from the event were the general high quality of the readings, both in terms of material and presentation, and the fact that Hadley Rille are putting out some really nice books. I also learned a little about the Herschel and Planck space research missions, thanks to David Clements, who came armed with brochures regarding his day job - which is about nine million times more interesting-sounding than mine. All in all, a good day, and I look forward to next year's.