Meet Joe Dredd

March 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , )

I previously knew Judge Joe Dredd primarily as ‘the guy with the helmet and gaudy shoulder pads’, who was associated with British comics and general bad-assery. Never saw the Stallone movie, but I thought the Karl Urban one was great. I knew he was The Law, and had a tendency to get violent, and that a large chunk of his continuing appeal was that he operated in the endless dystopian sprawl of Mega-City One, a setting which practically writes its own stories. And, that was all I knew.

It was with that limited knowledge that I dove into the ‘Mega-City Masters 1’ collection, which pulls together a slew of Dredd stories from 1983 to 2010. The book focuses on showcasing the various artists who have worked on Dredd over the years, like Dave Gibbons (‘Watchmen’) and Kevin O’Neill (‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’), but it also provides a snapshot of how Dredd’s evolved over the years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Facing down writer’s block

November 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

Every now and then, I encounter that thing called ‘writer’s block’, except it’s less of a ‘block’ and more of an ‘insurmountable George R.R. Martin-esque Wall’.

The Wall

When this happens, I tend to look for Uncle Iroh-type people who can give me an idea of how to surmount the Wall of Writer’s Blockery (because left to myself, I would probably just knock my head against it until I bleed to death). Sometimes I’m lucky to actually have people to talk to – older and wiser writers who know their shit and are generous with advice. But mostly they’re not around, so I settle for looking for Uncle Iroh advice online.

For instance, if you pop over to Neil Gaiman’s tumblr, you’ll find people asking him any of a thousand variations of ‘what do I do when I’ve got this story I’ve been carrying since childhood and I really want to be an awesome writer like you please tell me what I should do.’ Gaiman’s answer is always along the lines of ‘just write.’ He tells people to put one word after the other til they’ve gone right up story mountain. And this is true. Read the rest of this entry »

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A few words about Halloween

October 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm (Nostalgia, Random Shit, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Let Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud and the boys from Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree explain:

moundshroud

“Do you see lads? Think! People vanished forever. They died, oh Lord, they died! But came back in dreams. Those dreams were called Ghosts, and frightened men in every age—“

“Night and day. Summer and winter, boys. Seedtime and harvest. Life and death. That’s what Halloween is, all rolled up in one. Noon and midnight. Being born, boys. Rolling over, playing dead like dogs, lads. And getting up again, barking, racing, through thousands of years of death each day and each night Halloween, boys, every night, every single night dark and fearful until at last you made it and hid in cities and towns and had some rest and could get your breath.”

moundshroud 2

“And you began to live longer and have more time, and space out of the deaths, and put away fear, and at last have only special days in each year when you thought of night and dawn and spring and autumn and being born and being dead.

“And it all adds up. Four thousand years ago, one hundred years ago, this year, one place or another, but the celebrations all the same—“

halloween tree kite

“The Feast of Samhain—“

“The Time of the Dead Ones—“

All Souls’. All Saints’.”

“The Day of the Dead.”

El Dia De Muerte.”

“All Hallows’.”

“Halloween.”

I miss Ray Bradbury.

Illustrations by Joseph Mugnaini. Kite image taken from The Haunted Closet. Vid is from the 1993 The Halloween Tree cartoon.

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Today in random shit: Music for the zombie apocalypse

October 3, 2012 at 2:33 am (Awesome, Random Shit) (, , , , )

I’m currently halfway through Mira Grant’s ‘Deadline‘, the book which comes after ‘Feed’ (which I’ve talked about here) and before ‘Blackout’ in the Newsflesh Trilogy (Newsflesh. Feed. Deadline. Blackout. Because it’s about journalism and zombies. Get it?).

deadline

Which gets me wondering what the music in my head will be when hell fills up and the dead walk the earth (or, if you like, when Kellis-Amberlee hits the atmosphere. Or when Umbrella Corp starts fucking people over in earnest). This is more a commentary on my taste in music than the end of the world, but this will be what I’ll be hearing when…

I witness zombies congregating in the streets, out for fresh meat:

When I make a mad dash to the local pub in the hopes of holding out there, because that’s where all the beer is:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Random book things: Unemployment reading (Part 2 of 2)

July 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , , , , )

I’ve been unemployed for about a month, and I’ve been using it for reading. The list started here (with Jose Saramago’s ‘Blindness’, Myke Cole’s ‘Shadow Ops: Control Point’ and Viktor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’) and continues here. Warning, mild spoilers for everything.

Feed (Mira Grant)

feedcover

This one’s a zombie novel that’s really more about the paranoia of human beings and the freedom of media (but there are also zombies). It takes place a few years after the zombie apocalypse foretold in pop culture, so the surviving population is remarkably genre-savvy (ie. Nobody leaves home without a gun, people don’t congregate in big crowds, and anyone found to be infected is killed without question). Read the rest of this entry »

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Random book things: Unemployment reading (Part 1 of 2)

June 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm (Articles / Interviews) (, , )

I recently rejoined the world of the unemployed. On one hand this means constant, visceral anxiety over having no job, and constant, visceral anxiety over the idea of getting a job in the near future (to illustrate the feeling, here’s a Subnormality comic). On the other hand, it means plenty of time for reading.

When you have a dayjob, you just generally assign yourself a little window of reading time before sleeping if you want to get any reading done at all. Unemployment reading is the kind of reading where you eat the book without fear of being too sapped to meet deadlines the next day. You watch the pages fly by, tell yourself to take a break so you can eat and sleep and bathe, realize you don’t have to have such a high standard of bodily maintenance because you have no pressing need to leave the house anyway, and go back to reading.

Here’s what’s been giving me joy over the last month (warning, mild spoilers for everything):

Blindness (Jose Saramago)

blindnesscover

Everyone in a (city? Country? The world?) goes blind, except for one woman who has both the advantage and burden of witnessing the ugly of the human race. Read the rest of this entry »

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Today in Awesome: The Love of Books – A Sarajevo Story

February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am (Awesome) (, , , )

Here I will note some of the events which have taken place in the city of Sarajevo. For as they say, what has been written endures and what has been remembered fades.”- from Sarajevo Diary (1746) by Mustafa Baseskija, one of thousands of ancient, irreplaceable books saved by a group of library workers during the Siege of Sarajevo from 1992-1996.

These were illuminated manuscripts dating back hundreds of years (and they were very pretty, as you can see here). The efforts of these library workers to safeguard their cultural history during a time when shells were raining down on the city, and snipers were picking people off the street, have been documented in BBC Storyville’s The Love of Books – A Sarajevo Story. Read the rest of this entry »

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13 Things Learned from NaNoWriMo 2011

December 1, 2011 at 5:54 am (Articles / Interviews) (, , , )

I’ve been joining National Novel Writing Month (that masochistic long-haul writing exercise where you try to produce 50,000 words in the span of 30 days) since 2008, without ever having gotten past the 20k mark. I’d actually given up on ever completing it.

This year though, a couple of things went down differently – one, I decided to write a story which has, in bits and pieces, percolated in my head since I was 12 years old. This, as opposed to having little or no idea what the story would be about and just sort of hoping something interesting happens along the way.

Second, my friends put together a NaNoWriMo support group on Facebook, just to give us all a place to peer pressure one another to keep writing. This turned out pretty good for me, as my ego will not let me abide anyone having a higher word count than me.

The end result was this:

Yaaaaay.

So. Things learned (which may not apply to everyone who NaNos, but everyone is their own snowflake): Read the rest of this entry »

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30 Days of Books

September 2, 2011 at 5:17 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Why? Because I went into 30 Day meme withdrawal after finishing the 30 Day Song Challenge on Facebook, and I happen to like books.

Books

This was taken from 30 day memes, (which unsurprisingly, is the first thing that comes out when you google ’30 day meme’). I realize there’s also a 30 Day Book Challenge Community on Facebook, but I liked this meme better.

So. I will now update this everyday. Huzzah.


Read the rest of this entry »

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