Saturday, 20 April 2013

TO BANISH THE DARK: A RETURN TO SCI-FI


My latest pop culture book, VHS ATE MY BRAIN, is yet to be completed as I am still trying to get the last interviews finalised with people, but it'll arrive eventually! In the meantime I am turning my attention back to science fiction with the novella TO BANISH THE DARK. I've wanted to use that title for years and finally the story that fits it is coming.

This will be one of a series of 'Doubles' from me this year, and will thus be backed up by a novelette entitled FALLING HEAVEN. These stories are my first real dive into large-scale science fiction and are proving to be a ton of fun. Expect spaceships, action, danger and perhaps a familiar face...

More on this soon!

Friday, 12 April 2013

What the hell happened to Yahoo?

Has it really come to this? Has Yahoo really stooped so low as to become little more than a place that posts news stories about breasts? I've been a Yahoo user since 1998 and have seen the site go from being pretty much THE place to use to the sorry mess it's in today. Headlines like 'Kelly Brook Dons a Gold Bikini' and endless 'stories' about how Kim Kardashian is trying to hide her pregnancy bump have reduced a once great service to the depths of gutter journalism.

By contrast, their actual news stories are presented with nowhere near as much gusto as the stories about people going out without much on. Plus, the level of editorial quality is depressing, with typos and poor punctuation (not to mention truly awful writing) making the whole experience seem amateurish.

If the Yahoo email service hadn't served me so well over the years, I would have quit long ago. However, now that Google seems to be getting things right more often than they get them wrong (mind you, I'm a person who really likes Google+ - despite so many people forgetting about it), I think it's probably time to leave Yahoo behind.

It irks me, as I have always seen the site as pretty useful. The search engine itself was left in the dust years ago, but the email service has always served me well with my freelancing and personal admin. Yeah, I could just not go to the main page, and I do have a direct shortcut to the web mail page, but I'm fed up of it being associated with a stream of lowest-common-denominator tripe the likes of which would even make the E! Channel cringe.

If I wanted crap like that, I'd buy Nuts or Zoo. What I want is a service which offers some news and weather info along with a mixture of local and international material. Yeah, I like movie news and suchlike, but I can't help but feel Yahoo are dumbing down too far.

It's not been an easy few years for Yahoo, with Google basically leaving them far behind in every sense (I'll not mention Bing, as it makes me feel dirty), but that's no reason to let everything slip in terms of the content offered to the people who do still use it. It looks like, after 15 years, it's time for me to give in to the idea that Yahoo's best years are long gone. It's a shame, as Yahoo mail has been home to me ever since I got online.