Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cheap at half the price

Just noticed that a seller on Amazon is offering a copy of Mask for £59.96. Come on, it's not worth anywhere near that much.

Then again...

Oi, Chris, charge £60 each for the new print run. And don't forget to send me my royalties :-)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Barry Eisler

Currently reading One Last Kill by Barry Eisler. It's the fourth in his series about John Rain, a Japanese-American assassin.

Rain cuts a lonely, isolated figure. He has been killing ever since he served in Vietnam as a teenager. By now he has developed a professional stoicism to his profession; distancing himself from the emotional ramifications of killing; filling his world with security measures in case anyone tries to come after him; cutting himself off from anything -- friends, family, lovers -- that might make him an easier target. He is calm, implacable, trusting no one.

But as the novels progress events conspire to awaken his emotions, to stir his conscience, to revive his trust in friends. These are traits that he can do without, that can get him killed. The rediscovery of his soul could just cost him his life.

Eisler himself served with the CIA for three years so he writes authoritavely about espionage matters. He also lived in Japan which lends atmosphere to the many scenes set in Tokyo. On top of that he's a black belt in judo and currently trains in Brazilian ju-jitsu.

Eisler says there will only be six John Rain novels which suggests he has a definite conclusion planned for the series. I'm not sure whether he will finally allow Rain to retire or if he'll leave him trapped in a world of death, violence and paranoia.

But it'll be fun to find out.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Magical Mystery Moore

In 2009 Alan Moore and Steven Moore are bringing out The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic. (If you follow the link you'll have to scroll down the page to find the relevant info.) It's a comic revealing messers Moore and Moore's thoughts on the history of magic and how spells work in real life.

Yes, I know, this sounds like some feeble New Age claptrap but I find Alan Moore's musings on magic fascinating. Not that I neccesarily believe everything he comes out with but it's nice to bounce around ideas in a different sphere of thought every now and again. Because that's the main thrust behind Moore's magic: ideas. Or, as he might put it, information. The entire universe can be viewed as an interplay between different forms of information -- Moore just happens to like processing that information through magic spells and rituals. It gives him a structure on which to hang his metaphysical musings. And as he himself admits just because the ideas and concepts he plays around with work better for him when he approaches them from within a magical framework that approach may not work for other people.

Also out from Moore, hopefully some time this year is the DVD The Mindscape of Alan Moore. This documentary was supposed to be out last year but until it finally befomes available I'll just have to make do with the trailer.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

All Hail the New Madness

Keep forgetting to mention that Simon Strantzas made some nice comments about Mask recently.

As well as praising Mask he's also a comics fan. Obviously a man of good taste.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The horror! The horror!

People's perceptions of different types of fiction is funny.

A couple of years ago I was flying home from WHC with a bunch of fellow writers. We were all winding down after the convention, just relaxing on the plane, all reading different books.

Despite the book in my hand the little old lady sitting next to me started chatting away. She discovered that my friends and I were writers and she wittered on about how her granddaughter wanted to become a writer and could we offer any advice? As my friends were stitting in the opposite aisle they managed to escape her interrogation (the only time they showed any interest was when she asked if she might have read any of our work at which point there was a flurry of business cards in her direction). But as I was sitting next to her I had no escape.

As she carried on asking my help on how to launch a glittering literary career (yeah, 'cos I'm the person to ask about that) she noticed a twentysomething man sitting a couple of seats ahead of us. He wore a black shirt emblazoned with an image of the Devil surrounded by the flames of Hell. The woman's eyes narrowed. "Ooo, he looks like one of those creepy people who likes horror. Those people are just weird."

I thought about telling her which convention I had just attended but I didn't want to encourage further conversation. I just wanted to get back to my novel.

As I tried to find my place in the novel I pondered how some people are so intolerant of something so simple as people reading books that they themselves don't enjoy.

Just then one of my friends noticed that I was the only one out of our little group who wasn't reading a horror novel. He gestured towards my book. "Is that sword & sorcery?"

I nodded.

Chuckling, he shook his head. "You sad bastard."

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Stephen Hunter's novel Point of Impact has been made into a film called Shooter.

The novel features reclusive 'Nam veteran and former marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger. He's reluctantly dragged out of his self-imposed exile in order to help the US government in a matter of national security. Of course it all goes tits-up and Bob finds himself caught up in a web of lies and assassins. Cue betrayal, gun battles, and meditations on the meaning of honour.

Mark Wahlberg doesn't look anything like Bob and I'm assuming they've changed his origin so that he served in a more recent conflict. Also, the character played by Danny Glover has a different name from the character in the novel. More worryingly, going by the synopsis I read off the internet the plot has been altered slightly. The trailer also suggests changes, although trailers often show scenes out of context so I'm hoping that this is the case here and the film makers have actually been reasonably faithful.

Point of Impact isn't my favourite Hunter novel (that would be Black Light, or possibly Dirty White Boys, depending on my mood) but it's still good fun and I want to see its film adap done properly. Especially as the success or failure of Shooter will probably dictate whether any more of Hunter's books make it to the big screen.