Mon, 22 May 2017 Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me midnight movie monograph

I’m happy to reveal that I’ve written a Midnight Movie Monograph for Electric Dreamhouse Press, an imprint of PS Publishing, a series curated by editor Neil Snowdon with a focus on critical reactions to cult films.

I’ll be looking at the iconic film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With me, written by David Lynch and Robert Engels, and directed by David Lynch. The book is now available to pre-order and will be published in June. The cover art is also by Neil Snowdon.

The release of the book is well timed since the first four episodes of the new season of the TV series Twin Peaks – written by David Lynch and Mark Frost, directed by David Lynch, and released on Showtime – hit the screens on Sunday night, and responses are ranging from rapt attention to outraged dismissal.

Anyone attempting to engage with the work should always remember that Lynch is an avant garde artist at heart, and he is not necessarily concerned with making sense. Rather he wishes to bring you on a journey that probes at our foolish notions that we inhabit a shared concrete reality agreed upon by everyone. Forces are always acting upon us, pulling us apart, or invading our world outright, and this is what it’s like to watch a show in which Lynch has his hand firmly on the visual tiller.

I’m enjoying it so far, and I’m impressed at how wide Lynch and Frost have pulled the canvas of the original series, a smart move by them to evolve the show but likely to irritate those who only want to catch up with the familiar town denizens.

Lynch and Frost have an incredible opportunity to use their increased resources and complete artistic control to deliver a project exactly the way they intend. I expect they will do as they wish, and be happy with the results, no matter what the critics or fans make of it.

Fri, 19 May 2017 We Are The Martians – The Legacy of Nigel Kneale

After a change of publishers I’m delighted to say that the We Are The Martians – The Legacy of Nigel Kneale, edited by Neil Snowdon, is now available for pre-order from PS Publishing. It is due to be published next month.

This is a collection of essays and observations about the film and TV work by the incredibly influential and ground-breaking British screenwriter, Nigel Kneale.

Here’s the Table of Contents for this terrific anthology, which will be a must for anyone who was a fan of Kneale’s work.

CONTENTS

  • Foreword – Mark Gatiss
  • Introduction – Neil Snowdon
  • King Of Hauntology – Mark Chadbourn
  • The Literary Kneale – Tim Lucas
  • The Quatermass Conception – Stephen Bissette
  • A Conversation With Judith Kerr – Neil Snowdon
  • On Nigel Kneale – Ramsey Campbell
  • The Quatermass Legacy: A Personal Reflection On Kneale And His Influence – David Pirie

Creeping Unknown Pt1:

  • Wuthering Heights, The Crunch, Nineteen Eighty Four – Kim Newman
  • Phenomena Badly Observed, And Wrongly Explained: Quatermass, The Pit, And Me – John Llewellyn Probert
  • Under The Influence – Maura McHugh
  • A Conversation With Joe Dante – Neil Snowdon
  • Brief Encounter – Stephen Laws
  • Adaptation And Anger, Or The Nigel Kneale-John Osbourne Synthesis – Richard Harland Smith
  • ‘The Promised End’ Nigel Kneale’s Lost Masterpiece from 1963: The Road – Jonathan Rigby
  • A Conversation With Mark Gatiss – Neil Snowdon
  • Cool The Audience, Cool The World: Media, Mind Control & The Modern Family – Kier-La Janisse
  • Pushing The Door He Unlocked: Ghostwatch And The Stone Tape – Stephen Volk
  • Beasts: An Overview – Mark Morris
  • It Would Have Been Suckled, You Know’: Beasts And ‘Baby’ An Appreciation – Jeremy Dyson
  • Quatermass: Rebirth & Ressurection – Jez Winship
  • The Quatermass Conclusion: An Interview With Nigel Kneale – David Sutton.

Creeping Unknown Pt2:

  • Kinvig – Kim Newman
  • In Pursuit Of Unhappy Endings: Chris Burt & Herbert Wise on The Woman In Black – Tony Earnshaw
  • Where’s Kneale When You Need Him- Thana Niveau
  • Creeping Unknown Pt3:
  • Sharpe’s Gold & Kavanagh QC – Kim Newman
  • On Wishing For A Nigel Kneale Childhood – Lynda E. Rucker

Chapbook [deluxe edition]

  • The Big, Big Giggle with introduction by Nigel Kneale.

The cover art is by David Chatton Barker.

Sat, 06 May 2017 Shirley Jackson nomination for Dr. Caligari

I was super pleased to hear that the anthology, The Madness of Dr. Caligari, has been nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award for Best Edited Anthology, which is a huge acknowledgement of the work by editor Joe Pulver and the publisher Fedogan and Bremer.

My short story ‘ A Rebellious House’ appeared in the book. It’s wonderful to be part of such a fascinating project.

Here’s the table of contents:

  • Ramsey Campbell – The Words Between
  • Damien Angelica Walters – Take a Walk in the Night, My Love
  • Rhys Hughes – Confessions of a Medicated Lurker
  • Robert Levy – Conversion
  • Maura McHugh – A Rebellious House
  • David Nickle – The Long Dream
  • Janice Lee – Eyes Looking
  • Richard Gavin – Breathing Black Angles
  • S.P. Miskowski – Somnambule
  • Nathan Carson – The Projection Booth
  • Jeffrey Thomas – The Mayor of Elementa
  • Nadia Bulkin – Et Spiritus Sancti
  • Orrin Grey – Blackstone: A Hollywood Gothic
  • Reginald Oliver – The Ballet of Dr. Caligari
  • Cody Goodfellow – Bellmer’s Bride, or The Game of the Doll
  • Mike Griffin – The Insomniac Who Slept Forever
  • Paul Tremblay – Further Questions for the Somnambulist
  • Michael Cisco – The Righteousness of Conical Men
  • Molly Tanzer – That Nature Which Peers Out in Sleep
  • Daniel Mills – A Sleeping Life
  • John Langan – To See, To Be Seen
  • Gemma Files – Caligarism

Fri, 05 May 2017 Outside anthology

I’m delighted to be part of the Outside comic book anthology, published by Ash Pure Press, which launched today in Topics Berlin in Berlin.

My short story is called ‘Colours’ and is drawn and coloured by British artist John Riordan. Here’s a shot of the first page.

And here’s an image of the Table of Contents page, you can see see all the contributors:

It’s a beautiful book with a fantastic array of interesting and different comic book styles, so it’s a huge pleasure to be among their number.

Thanks to editors Amir Naaman and Doron Hamburger for including me, and for producing such a fantastic anthology.

Tue, 02 May 2017 The Power of Superheroes

I’ll be part of a panel discussing ‘The Power of Superheroes‘ at the Galway International Arts Festival, at 4pm on 22 July in the O’Donoghue Theatre in NUIG.

My fellow panellists are Barry W Fitzgerald, Author of Secrets of Superhero Science and Comic Artists and Declan Shalvey, an acclaimed comic book artist for Marvel comics (and other publishers). Our moderator is Theatre Producer Jen Coppinger.

We’re part of the First Thoughts track of talks at the GIAF, which also includes the fantastic cartooning legend Tom Tomorrow. His talk, Cartoon Power, is on earlier on the same day, so it’s a terrific twofer for anyone interested in sequential art.

Wed, 15 February 2017 Respectable Horror

I’ve a story called ‘Spooky Girl’ in the next anthology by Fox Spirit, called Respectable Horror, which is edited by K.A. Laity.

The cover, by Stephanie Johnson, has just been revealed and it’s a corker.

The ToC is:

  • The Astartic Arcanum – Carol Borden
  • The Well Wisher – Matthew Pegg
  • The Little Beast – Octavia Cade
  • The Holy Hour – Chloë Yates
  • A Framework – Richard Barber
  • Malefactor – Austin Waller
  • The Estate of Edward Moorehouse – Ian Burdon
  • Spooky Girl – Maura McHugh
  • Full Tote Gods – Damien White
  • A Splash of Crimson – Catherine Lundoff
  • Where Demons Don’t Tread – Suzanne Willis
  • The Recovery – Edward Gauvin
  • Running a Few Errands – Su Haddrell
  • The Feet on the Roof – Anjana Basu
  • Miss Metcalf – Ivan Kershner
  • In These Rooms, These Houses – Jonathan Oliver
  • Those Who Can’t – Rosalind Mosis

The original brief for the anthology was:

“So we would like tales of civilised, gentle(wo)manly horror, cold, calculating and bloodless; spinechillers rather than slashers, enervating instead of eviscerating. Though a wee bit of the red stuff will not make us blanch, focus more on unshakeable dread. Make us afraid to investigate that noise downstairs. Cause us to shudder when we glimpse something move out of the corner of our eyes. Think Ann Radcliffe and the Gothics, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, M.R. James and even those modern folks like Shirley Jackson and Fritz Leiber.”

I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I suspect the protagonist of the tale will not stay quiescent for long. Further adventures beckon.

Tue, 14 February 2017 Let Love Rule

Happy Valentine's Day

I created this Valentine’s Day image today, from a photo I took recently.

Whatever you think about the commercial qualities of this ‘holiday’, take a moment to consider all the people who love you today. And let them know how much you value them.

And if you are feeling unloved, take this to be your Valentine’s Day card from the world.

Mon, 13 February 2017 Women In Horror Mixtape

Mark West asked me to contribute to his Women In Horror Mixtape, the third in his series of recommended works, which was scheduled to be part of the Women in Horror Month celebrations.

This time I picked ‘Red as Blood’ by Tanith Lee. Partly it’s a tribute to the history of fairy tales, which have always been part of the horror tradition, and Lee’s version of ‘Snow White’ is a beautiful, complex re-imagining of the story.

But it’s also to recognise the importance of writers like Lee who were trailblazing for women in horror long before that was an acceptable genre for women to populate. She, and other writers like Shirley Jackson, Lisa Tuttle, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Kit Reed, Sheri S. Tepper, and Daphne du Maurier (among many others), wrote what they wanted and made it easier for all of us who follow behind.

It’s important that their work is remembered as outstanding examples of the genre, and not allowed to fade into unfair obscurity.

Sat, 04 February 2017 Kindred – the graphic novel

I recently appeared on RTÉ Radio 1’s culture and arts show, Arena, in which I gave a brief overview of the graphic novel adaptation of Kindred, the award-winning novel by science fiction legend Octavia E. Butler. The graphic novel is adapted by Damian Duffy (writer) and John Jennings (artist), and published by Abrams ComicArts.

You can listen to the show as a podcast online, and my segment is at the end. It’s a pity I didn’t have more time as I could have talked for longer about this fine work.

Butler was a writer hero of mine when I was a teenager; her sf novels about the struggles with identity, race, hierarchy, and power gave me much to ponder, and remain an inspiration. I re-read the novel before I reviewed the adaptation, and Kindred remains a moving, gripping story about slavery and the complex legacy of race relations in the USA. It’s as resonant today as it was in 1979.

Duffy and Jennings do the novel justice, and give Butler’s characters a new visual life. It’s wonderful to see this seminal text as a graphic novel adaptation, and hopefully it will introduce this important writer to a new audience.

Mon, 30 January 2017 Waiting for Andre

Need some cheering up? If you have access to Sky Arts then I highly recommend the half-hour short, ‘Waiting for Andre’, which is part of their Urban Myths series of shorts.

In it the writer Samuel Beckett agrees to drive the young Andre Rousimoff (who became famous later in life as the wrestler Andre the Giant) to school every day as a favour to Andre’s father, who is building Beckett’s new house in the French countryside. This is based on a core, true story.

The cast are all terrific, with David Threlfall (Frank Gallagher in the original UK version Shameless) as the laconic, astute Beckett who is in between plays, and Liam Macdonald is fabulous as the young Andre.

But, dear lord, it’s the dialogue and character interaction that is the star – well done writer Neil Forsyth. It provided a constant supply of laughs, along with some touching moments. I really needed that last night.

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