Monthly Archives: August 2008

A ‘Verse Full of Scum – Episode 30

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August 31, 2008

So we reach the end of Volume 6 of A ‘Verse Full of Scum. There’s only four more episodes and an epilogue to go, which will be posted over the next four weeks. I’ll post the final episode and the epilogue together.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed it so far and go on to enjoy it till the end. I’ve had quite a few emails about it and they’ve been overwhelmingly positive so far. Thanks very much to those that have taken the time to write to me. It’s always good to hear from you, so leave comments or send emails whenever you like.

In today’s episode Ghost discovers that others are closing in on him and Gans. Head on over to the Serial Novella page as usual to catch up.

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Speculative Realms – Anthology

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August 24, 2008

A friend of mine (and quality writer) has put together an anthology of short fiction called Speculative Realms. It’s a collection of short stories from authors all over the world, all following the theme: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

speculative realms Speculative Realms   Anthology

The stories were all chosen through a fairly rigourous selection procedure, so this book should contain some pretty good new fiction. And I’m not involved, so it’s not shameless self-promotion going on here either. (They didn’t accept my submission!)

There’s going to be an online book launch running a full 24 hours on September 1st and there’s a promotional video on YouTube that you can have a look at to learn more about the book. If it strikes you as interesting then give it a go and help to support independent publishing and emerging writers.

The official website of the book is here where you can learn a bit about it and get a taste of all the stories contained.

EDIT – I’ll try embedding the video here, as I’ve never done that before. Let’s see:

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A ‘Verse Full of Scum – Episode 29

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August 24, 2008

A little late in the day, but still just about on schedule. You’ll find Episode 29 of A ‘Verse Full of Scum on the Serial Novella page now. In this episode, Ghost learns a little more about his role as described in the Sanctuary’s holy book and discovers that he’s rather more involved than they originally let on.

Enjoy.

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Kids these days

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August 18, 2008

We really do live in the generation of people that can’t remember what they had for breakfast. Call me a crotchetty old bastard (go on, I don’t care), but it seems like people really have no memory for the greats and classics any more.

Take this as an example. It’s a fairly safe bet that Yahoo! users are largely Gen-Y and younger. It’s fair enough to assume that people of that age would be the most likely to fill in a Yahoo! poll. They would certainly make up the majority in any case, thereby skewing the results. So, when Yahoo (I refuse to type it with an exclamation mark any more) wanted a list of the top 30 science fiction movies of all time, we should have known not to expect much.

However, even at my most cynical I would never have expected this:

30. Serenity
29. X-Men -The Last Stand
28. I Am Legend
27. Donnie Darko
26. X2 – X-Men United
25. Deja-Vu
24. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
23. Ghostbusters
22. V for Vendetta
21. Terminator
20. X-Men
19. Predator
18. Superman
17. Star Wars III – Revenge of the Sith
16. Alien
15. SpiderMan
14. Jurassic Park
13. Terminator 2 – Judgement Day
12. The Incredibles
11. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
10. The Day the Earth Stood Still
9. ET
8. The Matrix
7. Back to the Future
6. Aliens
5. Star Wars VI – Return of the Jedi
4. Star Wars V – Empire Strikes Back
3. Transformers
2. Star Wars IV – New Hope
1. Ironman

(Funky Yahoo list with pictures here.)

I mean, seriously. Ironman the number one science fiction movie of all time? Did these people take too much Ritalin that day?

There’s some hope with a classic like The Day The Earth Stood Still on there, but that’s the oldest film on the list. There are also some genuinely awesome movies listed – Serenity, Star Wars, Alien and so on – but it’s largely a pop candy list. And where are the real classics? Where’s Blade Runner, the greatest movie of all time? Where’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the movie that redefined the genre?

However, if we take the time to look a little closer, there is some hope. My optimism always struggles to get through. The original Star Wars movies are, quite rightly, ranked very highly and only one of the truly awful prequels made the list. Otherwise, the original movies on the list largely rank lower than their sequels, which is a real shame. Aliens should never beat Alien, T2 should never beat Terminator. But, at least those originals are on there and not just the sequels. Still, there you go. That’s what happens when you let kids loose on the internet. Bah, humbug, grumble.

However, along with seeing Star Wars rank justifiably high in that terrible top 30, S F Signal is asking the question, Is This the End of George Lucas’s Reign of Terror? It would seem that the latest installment in the Star Wars merchandise advertising series, The Clone Wars, had a pretty shocking opening weekend. It took only US$14,611,273. Only fourteen million dollars is a truly bizarre thing to say, but in Hollywood terms that’s cheese money. It’s the lowest opening weekend for any Star Wars movie yet. So, perhaps there’s hope for all those Gen-Yers after all.

And the critics have been no kinder:

“George Lucas is turning into the enemy of fun.” – Entertainment Weekly

“…a mechanical attempt to milk the kids for every last dime.” – Chicago Reader

“Story is entirely insignificant in The Clone Wars.” – Austin Chronicle

“At what point might animators be arrested for doing work so ugly it causes aesthetic blindness in millions of younglings?” – Chicago Tribune

” Unfolds with all the entertainment value of watching somebody else play a video game.” – Washington Post

“The whole thing feels like a continuation of Lucas’ experiments to see how much shit his dwindling supporters will take before finally saying “enough” and moving on to adult pursuits.” – Film Threat

Ha! Take that, Lucas! That’ll teach you for trying to palm off that midichlorian bullshit on us.

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Watchmen – the movie

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August 18, 2008

This is something that has me seriously concerned. Alan Moore’s awesome graphic novel Watchmen is still one of the most influential graphic novels ever written. It set the stage for what can be achieved by the collaboration of great writers and artists. It proved that comic books didn’t have to be Wham! Holy catsuits, Batman! and Archie. It’s the only graphic novel to ever be included in a Time list of 100 best English-language novels (2005). The powers that be there have since changed the rules so that a graphic novel can’t be selected again. Elistist bastards.

Anyway, it’s a bloody good book basically. Now they’re making it into a movie. This is a project that has tried to get off the ground numerous times, but keeps falling over. Alan Moore has distanced himself from the project, as he does with all movies made of his work. However, it’s now up and running.

watchmencover Watchmen   the movie

Directed by Zack Snyder (of Dawn of the Dead and 300 fame) it’s finally crossed the line and is scheduled for a 2009 release. The scope of the story is massive and I really think it will struggle as a movie. I wonder how much will be chopped and how much the story will suffer from the transition to celluloid. However, as the eternal cycnical optimist that I am, I’ll expect it to be terrible while harbouring some deep seated hope that it’ll rock.

For those of you interested, here are a bunch of posters for the movie from the latest Comic-Con, showing the main players. The look of the whole thing is certainly pretty faithful to the book.

Here’s the homepage to the official Warner Bros site with loads of info.

And on the subject of comic books being made into movies, here’s some more on the recent Batman movie, The Dark Knight. In this article, John Scalzi discusses whether or not The Dark Knight really is an Oscar worthy film. It would certainly do wonders for the whole spec fic genre if the film did pull in one or two small golden humanoids. Fingers crossed.

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A ‘Verse Full of Scum – Episodes 27 & 28 – Back Online

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August 17, 2008

Things are slowly becoming normal again. We’ve moved into our new place and, while we’re still surrounded by boxes and still have a whole bunch of things to do, we’re kind of settling down. Most importantly I’ve managed to get our internet connection sorted out. Thank the gods of complicated communication processes for that one.

Actually, it wasn’t that complicated, so I should be grateful. It was just a bit time consuming. But being without the internet at home for two weeks was awful. I felt like I was adrift in a tiny dinghy on a vast sea, with no land in sight and only one wormy biscuit for sustenance. Well, perhaps that’s exaggerating mildly, but you get the idea. I’m an internetian; I consider the net as much my home as my house. And for two weeks I couldn’t find my keys. But it’s all good now.

Anyway, given all the hectic activity that caused me to miss posting an episode of ‘Verse last week, I’m going to try to make it up to you all now and post two episodes today.

So, head on over to the Serial Novella page and you’ll find episodes 27 and 28 waiting for you. Talking of things getting hectic, at least my situation is nothing like Ghost’s.

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Interrupted service

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August 11, 2008

I know, I’m a bad man. I’ve just moved house and was determined to keep up to date on ‘Verse even if nothing much else happened online while we got settled. However, that hasn’t happened. I’m still trying to sort out an internet connection at our new house and am currently in a net cafe. Dire, I know.

So, things may still be disrupted for a little while yet, but I’ll make it up to you. Once I get the chance, I’ll post at least two episodes of VFoS to make up for missing this week.

In the meantime, here’s a funny cat.

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‘Verse now on Web Fiction Guide

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August 3, 2008

Just a quick update to the previous post. You can now find A ‘Verse Full of Scum at the Web Fiction Guide website. Here’s a direct link.

Have a look and if you’d like to leave a review and/or a rating, that would be just dandy. Consider it your good deed of the day. Leaving a rating only takes a couple of seconds.

While you’re there check out some of the other stuff on the site. There’s some good fiction on there.

EDIT – As per a comment below from Chris Poirier, at Web Fiction Guide:

Hi Alan — As another hint for your readers, recommending stuff they like also helps our listings at webfictionguide.com get better. It’s just a one-click thing, but if they do that with all the stories they like, it will help readers with similar tastes find stuff they’ll like, too.

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Pages Unbound may be closing

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August 3, 2008

In very sad news for the blooking and online serial community, the Pages Unbound website may be closing down. For those that don’t know, PU is one of the best online portals to find free fiction and serials – my own serial, A ‘Verse Full of Scum, is on there and quite well rated. I get a decent amount of traffic from the site and I spend a fair amount of time there myself, checking out the competition. I mean, enjoying the work of my fellow writers.

You can read about the possible closure here. Drop a comment and have your say if you’d like to see it saved (as in, taken over rather than deleted).

In the article linked above there is talk of the Web Fiction Guide website. I’ve had a look there and it’s a great site. I’ve submitted VFoS for inclusion there, so I’ll let you know if they accept it.

It’ll be very sad if Pages Unbound does go under, so here’s hoping someone takes it on.

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A ‘Verse Full of Scum – Episode 26

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August 3, 2008

Volume 6 of VFoS is now up with episode 26. We’re getting ever closer to the end of this tale of galactic cat and mouse, with this being the penultimate volume.

In this episode, Ghost finally has a lucky break in trying to track down his quarry. But, as usual, not everything is as easy as it may seem.

Click over to the Serial Novella page to have a read.

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The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Zetetic.

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