The A To Z Of SFF: S Is For A Sound Of Thunder

In which Rob fanbois so hard over Ray Bradbury that he nearly breaks something.
Seriously, though, A Sound Of Thunder is a formative SF text, and hence very worth of a one over from the Curiosity Crew. Just stay away from the movie, ok?



Once again, we believe you should read the story before you listen to the podcast. Not such a hard grind when it’s this good…

Start here, please.

 

The Writeasy: Let’s Talk About Writing

Just the two of us this month, as Clive and Rob talk about writing. We cast an eye over the fast-changing world of self-publishing, look at some short fiction mags and answer that all important question: just what does Nanowrimo stand for?

(as I mention at the top of the ‘cast, Script Frenzy has now become open-remit challenge Camp Nanowrimo. It’s well worth a look, especially if you like the idea of a more collaborative environment. Check out www.campnanowrimo.org for more info, and to sign up for some writing fun in April!)

State Of The Noir Nation

Dark fictions flourish in dark times. As we lurch from financial crisis to social meltdown,  our reading habits change and our idea of what constitutes light relief gains some weight. This is a simple truth that the editors of new anthology title Noir Nation understand all too clearly. It’s the perfect time to launch, and the premiere issue is stuffed as full of hardboiled treats as an old fashioned sweetie shop.

A well-curated genre collection will take pleasure in the display of a wide range of voices, opinions and stories. Noir Nation hits all the buttons hard. It’s broad, wide and deep in scope, which suits a journal with a truly international remit. Standout stories for me include Tristan Davies “Surgeons”, which introduces us to a doctor who makes Gregory House look like that nice English actor Hugh Laurie, and RF Warner’s “Dog Of A Different Breed”, the story of a drug run gone bad, an unfortunate incident with a dog, and a serial killer with a yen for poetry and gameplay.

Speaking of poetry, there’s also room for a piece by Bonnie Parker. Bonnie and Clyde Bonnie Parker. Seems like she could shoot better than she could sling a rhyme, but it’s a fascinating curio from a famous gun moll.

The first ish also gives us a fascinating discussion on what constitutes contemporary noir (Alan Ward Thomas, the Eastern Hemisphere editor, pulls together a fascinating take that includes transhumanist SF, Alvin Toffler-style future shock, Cubism and Jung) and a forum on whether the genre has a moral compass. The jury’s out on that one, but there are equally compelling arguments for and against.

The one misfire is Jon Danko and Danda’s graphic novel, Fired On Deadline. It’s muddled, and text-heavy, with none of the bite of the prose pieces. It also, at least in my preview copy, looked as if it had been inserted at too low a resolution, leading to blurry, rasterised artwork. That’s a real shame, considering my predilections. It also does Danda’s lovely expressionistic art (he did the cover, shown above, which is a much better showcase of his talents) no justice. It’s apparently the first part of a larger work, and I’d be interested to see where Danko and Danda take the idea of Flamenco Noir. But for now at least, the whole thing looks like something of an afterthought.

But that’s a minor quibble regarding a strong anthology bulging with good stuff. You can pick it up at the Kindle Store and still get change from a poorly cephalopod. Noir Nation shows a genre that is in very rude health indeed. Live and goddam kicking.

Noir Nation at the Kindle Store

The Noir Nation site

The Wedding Day

In the catacombs that spread like cancer beneath the big house at the bottom of The Mall, the lizards stir. They are by nature nocturnal, but have trained themselves to emulate the primates they have learned to impersonate so convincingly. Night hunts are saved for very special occasions. After sunset tonight, the lizards will be at their dreadful sport in the streets of London, celebrating their final, long-sought victory.

Continue reading The Wedding Day

Cerise Sauvage: A History

I’ve mentioned in the past how a long walk will often suggest characters or situations to me. It’s a process I’ve likened to having someone fall into step with me and start to tell their story as we go.

I had a hospital appointment this morning, and afterwards decided to take a stroll back through Southwark, across the river to St Pauls and up the Strand, revisiting a few old haunts. Damned if I didn’t get a companion, murmuring in my head as I strode up Carter Lane. She had a name which I’d heard before.

I wrote down the things she told me in a couple of caffeinated jolts in shops along the river. I haven’t told the half of it. The name Westinghouse is mentioned at one point. Astute members of The Readership might recall I’ve talked about her before.

Meet Cerise Sauvage. She has a soundtrack that you might find appropriate.

Continue reading Cerise Sauvage: A History

A Walthamstow Story (or two)

They say that you’re at least partly a product of your environment. Walthamstow, which marks the transition from East London into Essex, is the place I was born, spent a huge chunk of my most formative years, and made a home with TLC until we moved west in 2004. It’s a place that still fills me with mixed feelings, nostalgia mixed in with a sadness that the place has never really lived up to it’s potential. For a while, it was also the setting for some of my short stories. And Then I Woke Up is a Walthamstow tale, and so is the one below. They’re both pretty unpleasant. I’m not sure you can read anything into that.

The story I’m about to tell you features two of the ‘Stow’s most recognisable features – The High Street, one of the longest in Europe, and the old, grade 2 listed cinema. It’s now referred to as the EMD, but when I went it was called the ABC, and when my mum and dad used to go, it was the Granada. It’s been a fixture of the cultural life of my family for at least two generations then. The way it’s been treated over the past few years simply breaks my heart.

Read more about the cinema and the fight to save it at The Macguffins site.

Now, please to enjoy your Tale For Monday: a nasty little vignette that I call

SINGLES NIGHT AT THE ENGRAMART

(Advisory. I wrote this. There are swears and gore.)

Continue reading A Walthamstow Story (or two)