Saturday, October 6, 2007

Its. All. About. The. Money.

Last Thursday I was fortunate enough to be invited to the paperback book launch of ‘Contract’ by Simon Spurrier, held at a subterranean venue in central London. I already have the hardback edition of said book, but it was great to be part of the celebrations and to spend an evening chatting with various creative types.

As well as seeing Si, I caught up with accomplished artist Frazer Irving (who was showing off his new iPhone), and spent a very cordial time chatting with Matt Smith, Tharg’s current representative on Earth*, and his lovely wife. The evening became a little surreal with the arrival of the Kitekat Kabaret, which included an old man’s rendition of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ – performed in the style of a 1930s jazz pianist – but a good time was had by all, and congratulations to Si, who not only pointed out his literary agent to me, but also his film agent. Very cool.

Si Spurrier looking suitably pleased with himself.

I should take this opportunity to tell you a little more about the book being launched that night. Simon describes ‘Contract’ himself as, ‘a Post-Pulp splat of urban crime weirdness’. The blurb on the back of the book has this to say:

Life becomes complicated when the dead won't stay dead, in this stunning debut by Simon Spurrier. Michael Point doesn't seem anything special. He dresses conservatively, is thoughtful, methodical and well spoken. He also happens to kill people for a living. It's not about getting back at the world; for Michael it's much simpler than that: It's All About The Money. But things are starting to get strange: his hits are coming back to life and trying to kill him. Is he losing his mind? Or is could it be that the things he sees aren't delusions at all, but hints of a divine conflict: a heavenly war, sucking him in?

It’s an intense read, written in a highly original voice. The Times describes it as, ‘a tour de force’, and SFX magazine says, ‘Spurrier is very, very good... Contract will most certainly satisfy your faintly unnatural lusts...’ If you get the chance you should pick it up. That said, this being a site visited by interested readers of all ages, I would give it a definite 18 rating (in case you hadn’t worked that much out for yourselves).

But that’s not all. Simon Spurrier and the aforementioned Frazer Irving are also collaborating on a new comic book series at the moment. Entitled ‘Gutsville’, it’s all about the descendants of a Victorian passenger ship swallowed by some leviathan sea monster who are now surviving as a community inside its stomach tract. Here’s a little more from the official Gutsville blog:

1846. The British barque Daphne, bound for Australia, sails from Portsmouth; crammed with colonial passengers, aristo-adventurers and frothing missionaries. Four days from Sydney the waves are wreathed in sparks, the sky runs like quicksilver, and the very sea seems to open wide and swallow…

2006. The descendents of the Daphne’s passengers eke out a desperate life in Gutsville: a shanty-city held together with mucal slime and weed. They live in the belly of a great beast whose exterior none have seen and whose innards are all they’ve ever known. Here in the dark, lit by methane lamps, harvesting moulds from pus-polyps set into the viscera of an impossible being, a new culture has arisen: a mongrel-society of Victorian values, religious doggerel, and survivalist justice…

And always the question – whispered in secret gatherings beyond the eyes of the watchful Jonahkin priests:

What is the beast..?

On this occasion, Si and I must have been visited by the same muse, as my current project features the passengers of a Victorian-styled submersible liner evading the predations of a monstrous sea creature. But that’s where the similarity ends. I’ll post more about ‘Leviathan Rising’ at another time.

Bye for now.

* The editor of legendary comic 2000AD, for those of you not in the know.


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