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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nice work... if you can get it

Today I have been mostly watching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, playing Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and reading various DK Star Wars Visual Guides, all in the name of research for my latest project.


Not bad for a day at the office, is it?

Job Vacancy: Desk Editor

If you've ever fancied joining the cabal of demon-worshippers - sorry, I meant to say the team - at Abaddon Books, now's your chance. Apparently they needed someone to edit their desks.

No, but seriously, as well as looking for someone to help produce the growing number of genre titles coming out of the Abaddon stable, the guys over in Oxford are also after an Account Manager and an eBook Production Assistant.

If any of these sounds like your sort of thing, then click this link to find out more. And good luck!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

The British Fantasy Society's review of Human Nature

A new review of Pax Britannia: Human Nature found its way into my email inbox the other day, from the British Fantasy Society. And very happy I was to receive it too...

PAX BRITANNIA: HUMAN NATURE
By Jonathan Green
Published by Abaddon Books, £6.99
Reviewed by Adam J. Shardlow

Human Nature is rip roaring fun from cover to cover. The second in the Ulysses Quicksilver novels set in the world Magna Britannia, where Britain rules not only the waves but also the world and the stars through its empire and technical know how. Our intrepid hero embarks on a case involving the stealing of the Whitby Mermaid from Cruickshank's Cabinet of Curiosities. Quickly switching the locals from the drinking dens and poverty pits of London's East End to the windswept moors of Yorkshire, this Steampunk novel mixes together Frankenstein and Sherlock Holmes with a soup├žon of Jeeves and Wooster a dash of mad German scientist, a pinch of monster hound and the fruit from a beautiful woman to create a heady and yet decadent cocktail. The fop and bounder that is Ulysses is a resourceful and clever character, not too invincible that he becomes boring, riding above the adventure like a dynamic Scarlet Pimpernel whilst his side kick, the dour and yet resourceful man servant Nimrod, acts as the perfect foil. The pace of the novel is break neck, the writing witty and world building well crafted. Included in the novel is an additional Christmas short story, which adds rather than distracts from the main novel.

Chameleon Circuit

I realise that I've been rather slow on the uptake with this one, but today I had my first taste of Trock (that's Time Lord Rock, for the uninitiated). In fact I listened to my first Chameleon Circuit song, and then another, and then another...

I had heard of them before but had never followed it up until tonight. And to make up for my complete neglect of this very talented group of young (at least compared to me) Doctor Who fans I bought their album from DFTBA Records.

If you've not heard a Chameleon Circuit song before, click one of the Youtube video clips below. I think my favourite is Exterminate Regenerate, but then Blink is very good too, as is An Awful Lot of Running. And Journey's End is very clever too.









Now I just can't wait for the CD to arrive. To find out more about Chameleon Circuit*, the definitive Trock band, click here.

* And what a great name for a band. Stephen Moffat, bring back Kamelion, I say!

19,000 page views - reason to celebrate?

Today I received my weekly email from sitemeter telling me how many people have viewed this blog, and realised that at the time of the message being sent Unnatural History had clocked up 19,000 page views.

That's got to be worth celebrating, hasn't it? So thanks to all who stop by from time to time to see what I've been up to - it's appreciated. Until next time...

Michael Jackson R.I.P.

On the day that it was also reported that Farrah Fawcett, star of the cult 70s TV show Charlie's Angels, had died following a lengthy battle with cancer, aged 62, I felt strangely ambivalent when I heard the news that the King of Pop had popped his clogs.

I wasn't a fan and he courted so much controversy that I felt it was rather a case of there's no smoke without fire. The most moving thing I saw was Jermaine Jackson making his statement to the press. This was a man with a family who loved him, and that in itself is something to be mourned. (I felt a similar way at the death of Princess Diana. Her death didn't upset me, but seeing her two young sons left motherless did have an effect.)

But whatever you or I might think of the former fairground-owning monkey's uncle, I cannot denied that he has left the world an almighty legacy the highlight of which, for me, was the seminal Thriller video - which was made by Vincent Price's voice over. It was probably one of a dozen (or more) sources of stimuli that indirectly influenced my fantasy writing and helped develop my fascination with the horror genre, with its prevalence of zombies and werewolves, and the fact that it was directed by John Landis who also directed one of the greatest werewolf movies of all time - if not the best - An American Werewolf in London. And I obviously the only one it inspired...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Watt-Evan's Laws of Fantasy

Whilst trawling the Internet the other day (when I probably should have been writing) I came across Lawrence Watt-Evan's Laws of Fantasy. Any budding fantasy authors out there would do well to have a read.

Watt-Evan's Laws of Fantasy
  1. Watt-Evans' First Law of Fantasy: Stories are about people.

  2. Watt-Evans' Second Law of Fantasy: People are never wholly good or wholly evil, and therefore characters should never be wholly good or wholly evil.

  3. Watt-Evans' Third Law of Fantasy: The basic human motivations are universal.

  4. Watt-Evans' Fourth Law of Fantasy: Everything other than the basic human motivations will vary, depending on the cultural setting.

  5. Watt-Evans' Fifth Law of Fantasy: Magic, like everything else, has rules.

  6. Watt-Evans' Sixth Law of Fantasy: If a story can be written without a fantasy element, then don't bother with the fantasy element.
If you would like to read more about the above laws and see what other snippets of advice Lawrence has to offer, click here.

The Supersizers Eat... Medieval

In the BBC series The Supersizers Eat... restaurant critic Giles Coren and writer and comedian Sue Perkins experience the food culture of years gone by. Last night they went back to medieval England to live the life of a Lord and Lady in their country manor.


It was up to Anglo-Saxon lookalike Martin Blunos (who also just happens to be a Michelin-starred chef) to cook all their food for the week, which included everything from roast cockentrice - a creation made from the forepart of a chicken sewn to the rear of a piglet - to peacock, coqz heaumez (helmeted cock), suckling pig, boar's head and hippocras.


Now, it just so happens that recipes for a number of things they ate can be found in What is Myrrh Anyway? So, if you fancy finding out what frumenty tastes like for yourself or you're curious about the health benefits of hippocras (a.k.a. ypocras) then why not pick up a copy today?


There was also much discussion - mainly with monks - about fasting and what the Medieval mind considers to be fish. This is also covered in What is Myrrh Anyway? as Christmas Eve was a fast day, and fish could be eaten on fast days.

What is Myrrh Anyway? - it's not just for Christmas!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Richard Williams at Black Library Live!

More from Black Library TV today, this time an interview with Richard Williams who was at this year's Black Library Live! event.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pax Britannia review at Falcata Times

If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you're probably already a fan of the Pax Britannia series. But if you're a newbie and you still need convincing, then you could do worse than check out this very pleasing review by Gareth Wilson of Falcata Times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You should have seen the one that got away...


.... it was probably a Russian nuclear submarine!

In case you haven't heard about the Florida fisherman who caught a live guided missile, so owe it to yourself to read this.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Last lines meme

Borrowed from James Swallow's and David Bishop's blogs, here are the last lines of my ten novels to date.

It really goes without saying, but just in case (especially when you consider that one of these books isn't actually published yet)...

WARNING! SPOILERS!

WARNING! SPOILERS!

WARNING! SPOILERS!

Okay, you were warned.

1) The Dead and the Damned (2002)
And in the first light of dawn on a winter's day the chapel of Morr burned.

2) Crusade for Armageddon (2003)
And behind Ansgar the fiery shores of Armageddon burned on into the darkening night.

3) Magestorm (2004)
It was the way it would be forever more.

4) Iron Hands (2004)
Medusa would not fall.

5) Necromancer (2005)
Then he was gone from the cold cell, where the dying went to die, and the world was his for the slaughtering once again.

6) Conquest of Armageddon (2005)
I remain ever your obedient servant, Rivera [Message ends]

7) Unnatural History (2007)
Dusty silence returned to the room, other than for the rattle of a cup being returned to its saucer and history resumed its predetermined path.

8) Leviathan Rising (2008)
Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. (Job, ch.1 v.1)

9) Human Nature (2009)
“Yeah, a good catch. But you should’ve seen the one that got away.”

10) Evolution Expects (2009)
And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the water became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. (Revelation 8:10)

It was interesting doing this, I as haven't even looked at some of my novels for a very long time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Who Movie

Pretty much as soon as New Who became a Saturday success story there have been rumours of another big screen outing for everyone's favourite Time Lord. (The previous two outings were both in the mid 1960s and starred Peter Cushing alongside the Daleks.)

But now the Beeb has given official word that they are actively developing a script for a DW movie. To find out more, click here.