A ‘Verse Full of Scum – Episode 30

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.


Speculative Realms – Anthology

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.

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:


Kids these days

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.


Watchmen – the movie

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.

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.