Monday, 25 July 2011

The Geekiest Photo of ALL TIME

Geeks all over the world are rejoicing at the sight of this awesome photo taken during the SDCC festivities, and with good reason. Click the link to BEHOLD THE WONDER!!!

NATHAN FILLION, FELICIA DAY AND WIL WHEATON IN THE SAME PICTURE. THIS IS THE GREATEST THING EVER.

Aaaaand relax.

Damn I want to go to SDCC one day.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TRAILER – NOT SO AMAZING


Gah! What fresh hell is this? I've just seen the trailer for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (see the embed below), the needless big screen reboot of Marvel's friendly neighbourhood wall-crawling smart-arse, and I want to scrape it out of my head as soon as possible. The Tobey Maguire Spider-man movies weren't perfect (well, apart from the awe-inspiring Spider-Man 2), but they felt much more like Spidey than this god-awful trailer is suggesting. It looks flat, tiresome and not worth your money.

The previous trilogy of Spidey flicks were pretty much spot on in terms of tone and characterization, but this one comes across as even more of an emo whiner than Peter did in Spidey 3. And seriously, WHY MUST WE HAVE YET ANOTHER ORIGIN STORY? Right now I think superhero films are suffering from origin story burnout, and very soon the genre is going to run out of steam altogether.

I really hope this bland looking reboot doesn't end up as part of the wider Marvel movie universe. Then again, it'll probably just end up being part of the inevitable Marvel movie universe reboot in five years, when we'll see Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and all the gang finding their powers yet again.

What I personally would like to see, as someone with a background in selling the wares of the companies making these endless origin stories, I'd like to see a superhero movie or superhero team movie that doesn't have a lengthy origin section in it, or indeed half a dozen films building up to it. Can't we just get on with the action and skip the bits that people already either know or could pick up along the way?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

WebBeat TV - Going From Strength To Strength

WebBeat TV is one online show that is really going from strength to strength. With early editions of the increasingly popular show that covers online lifestyle and advances in web technology, I felt that the format was too similar to its sister show, GeekBeat. Thankfully it has now carved out a very clear identity of its own. It's a fun show, and always an uplifting watch. Here's episode 139 for you to check out.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing - Behold a joy of podcasting

Folks, I implore you to check out the wonderful podcast Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, one of the finest genre podcasts in the business, and something I have been an avid listener of for a very long time indeed.

It has changed a little over the years, but it continues to offer content that is fascinating and addictive. With superb interviews with industry luminaries, publishing news, writing discussions, industry analysis and more, AISFP is an essential download, and I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend it to you.

You can visit the show's website at Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing Dot Com.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Time Has Come For Real Crowd-Sourced News

In light of the recent News of the World scandal and the subsequent controversy that has been enveloping News International and now News Corp itself, isn't it time that the world started to turn to its own public more for the news that it consumes and shares? The practices carried out by the now-defunct tabloid News of the World have brought one of the most commonly accepted stereotypes, that sections of the media will stoop to hideous levels of evil, unethical nastiness in order to shift more copies of their respective rags, to the forefront.

This is something that a lot of people have thought for a very long time, and while it is currently en vogue to bitch about the abhorrent behaviour of certain sections of the media, we need things to change. With the rise of Twitter, Digg, Reddit and suchlike, we are being offered the opportunity to supply crowd-sourced news rather than having to rely solely on the usual news outlets.

The exact nature of where this crowd-sourced news will take us is anyone's guess right now, but an ever greater amount of public-generated accounts of breaking news stories can genuinely work out for the best. The overthrowing of the Egyptian government and the recent happenings in Libya come to mind as examples of how online and new media were able to get the truth out much faster than the traditional outlets, and with no middleman to taint the facts.

Speaking not as a media tycoon with billions in my bank account, but as a relatively normal and sane member of society (I'm broke. I work in a coffee shop by day and a metal magazine by night while trying to get fiction published), I am seeing this furore surrounding News Corp and the investigations into the dealings of certain individuals that are currently kicking off as a sign that maybe it's time we took the news into our own hands.

Despite what many 'professionals' may think, there is a huge slice of the populace that care, that think that have opinions and a desire to voice them. The media landscape is changing, and with each passing day there seems to be less and less of a place for a lot of publications. A crowd-sourced news service, like Digg but on a much larger scale, would be a great thing to have in tandem with a core of quality newspapers and channels.

Giving the populace a real voice is what the internet has long since been a tool for, and perhaps now is the time to take it a step further. We live the news, how about we make it too? This isn't the death-knell for the media, just a turning point. I hope it is used wisely.

Monday, 11 July 2011

King Diamond - 'Sleepless Nights'

Yeah, his music is very much an acquired taste, but lately I've been spinning a lot of King Diamond stuff. Whether it's his early material with Mercyful Fate, his solo stuff such as the godlike 'Sleepless Nights' below, or more recent albums like "Give Me Your Soul... Please", there is something creepy and wonderful about this particular metal god. This song is one of my favourites. The guitars, the solos, the chorus, those gloriously OTT vocals, the lyrics, it just all works damn well for me. Go on, scream along with the King and enjoy the theatrics.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

DC Comics: A Reboot Too Far?

The DC Comics reboot of their whole universe has been causing a lot of controversy and speculation since its announcement. The comics giant is completely erasing the last seventy years of pop culture history from their line of superhero comics and is starting everything over again from issue 1. Thus, none of the greatest stories ever told in the comic book medium ever happened, and nothing is canon any more.

While I have to agree that this is a very brave move for DC to make, I can’t help but feel, as a comics fan and someone who spent 9 years selling their titles, that it is also the wrong move. I am reminded of the debacle that was 52, the company’s year-long event from a few years back. Huge sales for the first few weeks, and then a rapid slump in numbers to the point where a lot of fans don’t even know how it ended.

The big two are awful for crossovers and reboots at the moment, with much-loved characters being killed, resurrected, redesigned and re-imagined left, right and centre. It just ends up confusing new readers and frustrating long-time fans.

I can understand the motivation behind such a massive reboot for DC- doing away with decades of complicated continuity will make the titles a more enticing prospect for people dipping their toes into comics for the first time, but it does wipe out all of the greats from continuity, which in my opinion weakens the characters and what makes them who they are.

The huge stories have now been erased, the momentous occasions that rocked the industry, the big events and small events that shaped the characters into the icons that they now are, which could either be a good thing or a bad thing. Personally as a fan and former retailer, I would suggest that a simple streamlining of the DC line would have had the same effect without annoying so many people.

I cannot help but wonder how long it will be before DC roll back to the old numberings on titles and reinstate continuity as it previously was. I mean, no comics characters ever stay dead, so why should their universe? I smell a gargantuan crossover coming in a couple of years, but by then, will anyone be reading?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Live review: COMBICHRIST (with AESTHETIC PERFECTION, MORTIIS and METHOD CELL) @ Nottingham Rock City

Rock City gets some fantastic bills stomping its boards, and as modern Industrial goes, this one’s pretty damn strong. Four bands, including three huge names and one local treasure that are sure to have garnered a lot of new fans after this show. While Rock City was never in danger of being anywhere near full, there was a good turnout of varied people ready for a night of stomping. I’m a bit out of the loop with my Industrial, so please excuse the lack of band members’ names.

METHOD CELL

First up are Nottingham’s own Method Cell, the two-piece ‘Synthcore’ act that are gathering experience and fans by the bucketload in recent times. Their all-too-brief set (a mere four songs, unless I’m mistaken) was a delight to behold, with traditional synthpop foundations supercharged by EBM and harder Industrial overtones making each song seem more powerful than the last.

They have a great future ahead of them thanks to what Alex does behind his keyboards and what Apollos does behind the mic, and while a little work is needed in terms of stage presence, Method Cell are possibly one of the most interesting and exciting electronic acts the scene has to offer right now. (8.5/10)

AESTHETIC PERFECTION

Getting a huge roar of appreciation from the crowd the moment the three-piece act strode onstage, Aesthetic Perfection were onto a winner tonight. With a well-balanced set of old and new material, their mix of harsh vocals, live drums and trad EBM electronics was perfectly aided by an energetic performance from all three members. The momentum of the evening begun by Method Cell started to pay off during AP, with a large portion of the audience starting to dance and move.

Sadly, it was during AP’s set that the arsehole in the white t-shirt and black cap kicked off a circle pit with a bunch of people who had clearly heard none of the bands before, which led to a number of people dancing and trying to watch the band getting shoved and hit. It’s not big and it’s not clever, you idiotic little man. Back to Aesthetic Perfection though- they played a fantastic set, and many people there were entertained by the hyperactive antics of the keyboardist, who looked like he was constantly trying to either kill or impregnate his synth. Good stuff. (9/10)

MORTIIS

The third act of the evening was former Black Metal celeb-turned Goblin- turned crusty Joker cosplayer Mortiis. With the whole band done up like big goth mummies, Mortiis proceeded to play a set of songs that completely blew the night’s atmosphere apart. The material liberally pilfers from Ministry, Warrior Soul and NIN circa 1992, and at one point I couldn’t help but start singing Ministry’s ‘Just One Fix’ over whichever track Mortiis had nicked the chorus riff for.

Speaking of riffs, with two guitarists onstage, I could barely hear either of them through a muddy mix that didn’t help matters much (neither did the constant bitching at the crowd). It’s not the first time I’ve seen Mortiis live, but I really hope it’s the last. About a third of the audience seemed to agree with me and headed to the bar or outside while the set played out. A shame. (5/10)

COMBICHRIST

Headliners and modern scene darlings Combichrist had their work cut out for them getting the atmosphere back after the woeful set from Mortiis, but they put on a suitably stompy show. With two drummers, a giant synth player, a Mansonized guitarist and the inimitable Andy LaPlegua on vocals, the band are highly mobile onstage and know exactly how to get a crowd moving. One drummer appeared to have kit issues halfway through the set and again later, both instances ending up with pieces of kit being smashed and thrown across the stage. It may have been anger at a technical fault, but it made for good entertainment!

Andy kept up with the demands of his vocals really well, and through tracks like ‘Get Your Body Beat’, ‘Today I Woke to a Rain of Blood’, ‘Fuck That Shit’ and right up to closer ‘What The Fuck Is Wrong With You?’ they kept a sizeable portion of the crowd moving. Unfortunately, as is the case with some sections of Industrial music, after a point every song sounded much like the last, which ended up making Combichrist’s set seem to go on longer than it actually did.

It was great to hear some dancefloor favourites played with such violence onstage, and it was an enjoyable gig, but four bands seemed to have taken it out of us a bit too much tonight. A better scenario would have been no Mortiis, and a longer set for Method Cell, but hey, it was still fantastic to see an Industrial gig bring in such a crowd. (7/10)

Coming Attractions

There will be three new releases from me in the remainder of 2011 alongside the stuff from me monthly in Powerplay Rock and Metal Magazine and my work for HorrorNews.Net. Three further novellas are on their way to you, and here are the release dates for each one! There will be other new releases featuring my work this year, but these are the three longer pieces I'll be releasing myself.

FOR THE FALLEN - AUGUST 1ST - PAPERBACK/KINDLE
The sequel to my novella DEAD THING, this is another horrific dark fantasy featuring psychic eccentric Patrick Lambert and the Paranormal Division. A new threat is looming over the city, but this time, Patrick is the prey. Has the Dead Thing returned?

(While it is a follow-up to Dead Thing, For The Fallen can be enjoyed as a standalone story in its own right)

THE MEMORY THIEF - OCTOBER 3RD - PAPERBACK/KINDLE
An unsettling supernatural thriller, The Memory Thief is a standalone novella designed to give you sleepless nights. Reeling from the death of her mother, Sara must now come face to face with a being that has been stealing the past...

DEAD THING III (Title TBA) - DECEMBER 5TH - PAPERBACK/KINDLE

The final novella in the Dead Thing series, the title will be revealed on the last page of FOR THE FALLEN. All bets are off as the final confrontation between the Paranormal Division and the other side threatens all that exists.

(Again, this can be read as a standalone story)

More news soon :)