Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year 2010

Well I've finally got over the swine flu, but I did have to go back to the doctors where I was diagnosed as also having pleurisy and finally, pneumonia! I was given another course of even stronger antibiotics to take for a week and I'm on my last two today, thank goodness. I haven't been able to have a beer or whisky for weeks as alcohol inhibits the work of the antibiotics. Never mind, I'm sure I can catch up over Christmas :)

So, to all my relatives, friends and readers (I won't say fans, I'm not that good a writer!) of my blog, I'd like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and hope that 2010 brings you all that you could hope for.

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oink oink

Just a quick update on why I haven't been blogging or on message boards for a week. I've got the pigging 'Swine Flu' and it has really knocked me for six. Temperature, short of breath, cough that won't shift, crackling lungs, headache, aching muscles and bones, even what hair I have on my head aches. My moustache, which I've worn for nearly forty years, succumbed to it and in a fit of anger I shaved it off as it aggravated me so.

I'm going back to my sty now but hope to be cured shortly once the 500x3 of Amoxicillin daily takes hold and saves my bacon. (A prize for those who spot all the puns)

Oink Oink


Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'm in an Advent Calendar!

I'm day five in the Interzone's Advent Calendar with my Pixelated Pixie story that was published by Geoff Willmetts' SFcrowsnest (an excellent on-line SF site) in 2006. There are no chocolates however, and, if Pete is reading this, no socks...

Interzone was founded in 1982 by David Pringle, John Clute, Alan Dorey, Malcolm Edwards, Colin Greenland, Graham Jones, Roz Kaveney and Simon Ounsley. It has been, is, and I hope will be for a long time to come, Britain's best SF magazine. It's a magazine that I've tried to get published in a few times but so far have been unsuccessful, but when you see some of the names they wield then I don't feel too bad, these are some mentioned on their site:

Terry Pratchett, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Moorcock, Greg Egan, Aliette de Bodard, Tim Akers, Will McIntosh, Jason Stoddard, Jason Sanford, Hannu Rajaniemi, Leah Bobet, Kim Lakin-Smith, Tim Lees, Karen Fishler, Nina Allan, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Gareth L. Powell, Mercurio D. Rivera, Jamie Barras, Suzanne Palmer, Carlos Hernandez, Daniel Kaysen, Grace Dugan, Rachel Swirsky, Benjamin Rosenbaum, M.K. Hobson, Gord Sellar, Al Robertson, Neil Williamson, Tim Pratt, Matthew Kressel, Sara King, Paul Drummond, Vincent Chong, David Gentry, Warwick Fraser-Coombe, Jim Burns, Christopher Nurse, Richard Marchand, Lisa Konrad, Dave Senecal, Geoffrey Grisso, Kenn Brown, Daniel Bristow-Bailey, John Picacio and many more, apologies to those I left off!

So, even though I'm not in the glossy magazine at least I've infiltrated the website! If you have time, go read and if by some chance you do find chocolate then don't tell anyone (if it's socks then forward them to Peter Tennant, I hear he is in desperate need)

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaNoWriMo WinNer!

Whoohoo! I did it! They Feed On Flesh finally ended on 50,893 words and took my zombies from the initial outbreak of the plague (discovered in an unknown tomb in The Valley Of The Kings in Egypt) to Britain, then the rest of the world, onwards to Mars and finally back in time to another version of Earth.
Phew... the most I've ever written in one go and now I need to go lie down in a dark room for a year or two...
Anyone out there interested in publishing a zombie romp?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just 5 days to go!

Well I've managed to get 41,307 words down in my NaNoWriMo story and have got five days left to get the other 8,693 so I might even do it! My zombies however have now left Earth and are on Mars (ran out of ideas on Earth) and soon they will be reaching for the stars!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Squid Attack!

RevolutionSF had a draw-a-squid competition to help promote Jeff VanderMeer's new book Finch. In a moment of madness I entered, but believe it or not I was one of the runner-ups with this magnificent beast:-

The winner and other denizens of the deep can be found here: RevolutionSF

Will I? Won't I?

Uploaded 32,333 words to NaNoWriMo tonight and have got ten days left to find another 17,667. Will I make it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mired in the mud of writer's block

Argghh!! I'm struggling... I've got 29,284 words written and uploaded to NaNoWriMo but I'm beginning to fizzle out, to get a stitch in the side of my inspiration. I'm hoping to get a second breath and plough on to the line but it will be close!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halfway there!

Word count on day 15 of 30 is:
At this rate I might just scrape through!

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Cern Zoo Story - Fanblade Fable

D.F.Lewis (Des) has been writing a number of interesting and surreal short stories as a tie-in to his well-received anthology, Cern Zoo (Nemonymous 9) and all day I've had an idea rattling around my head for a short of my own set in his world. So, as a break from NaNoWriMo today and my zombie-fest of shorts I wrote one for Des and he's kindly published it on his website here:

I hope you enjoy it and also Des' too

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Word count on day 12 of 30

NaNoWriMo Word Count
Well, we're twelve days in to NaNoWriMo and I've managed to get 17,957 words done, that, in itself, is a record for me as I am a very slow writer and prone to getting distracted. The main problem for me now is keeping the pace up as ideas are beginning to dry up.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Estronomicon Sketchbook Edition

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams has a special edition Estronomicon out entitled The Sketchbook Edition. There are a couple of formats available but I quite like the Issuu one which is a page flipping version and can be found here: Estronomicon for those who prefer pdf then go here: PDF Version

I'm pleased to say I have a short story of mine in this edition.

It's called 'Man Of Stone'

Monday Word Count

NaNoWriMo Word Count

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday Word Count

NaNoWriMo Word Count

I've slacked off a bit over the last day or so, firework party and this afternoon
Wales play rugby against The All Blacks!
I can't write when that's on!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wednesday Word Count

NaNoWriMo Word Count

Monday, November 02, 2009

Word Count

NaNoWriMo Count


Sunday, November 01, 2009

And I'm off!

Okay, uploaded my first couple of chapters to NaNoWriMo this morning along with the opening few lines of the first chapter. The site tells me that I've done 520 words, I'll need to do around 1,800 daily to reach the target... ouch!

If you want to check me out I'm here: They Feast On Flesh!

I'll try and update the word count at least weekly if not every few days, I've put a widget in top right corner of blog but it doesn't seem to be working. Either I've done it wrong or the NaNoWriMo site is overloaded!

Monday, October 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo HeRe I CoMe!

It usually takes me ages to write something a little longer than a short story, I am very undisciplined and envious of writers that can get up in the morning and write to order, each and every day. I have no self control, look! I'm blogging now when I could be writing! So, in an attempt to gain some discipline and kick the habit of procrastination I've enrolled in this year's NaNoWriMo event. That means starting November 1st 2009 I am going to attempt to write a novel of 50,000 words or more in thirty days... yes, you read it right, thirty days. Okay, you can stop laughing now, I know it will be probably more like thirty months than days! But I'm going to give it a go.

The story I have in mind is a zombie one, the working title is
'They Feast On Flesh'
and it's hopefully going to be a compilation of individual stories with an anchoring thread running through them all. Then in the final chapter I hope to have them all tie together... we shall see!
If you're interested in my progress or just want a laugh at my pitiful attempt at reaching the 50k target then you can check in on me here:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A cloud of madness - SF Novella now available

I've had a SF novella floating around for a while and a few people wanted a printed copy of it so I thought I'd have a go at doing it myself and the results are much better than I expected!
Amazon now offer a POD service via their sister company Createspace. You write your masterpiece, convert it into pdf format and upload it to their site. You have to be very careful to stay within the parameters that they require or they bug you with emails explaining that your file isn't 'quite' right... yeah I had a few *cough*
Then you have to design a cover (which I gave up on as my graphics looked like a five year old's) and so I trawled the web for something suitable. I found what I wanted on deviantART , an abstract design of a comet (the story is about what happens when Earth encounters a possible KT-Extinction Event - like the one around the time of the dinosaurs) the artist is Jan Mullins an Australian lady who kindly did not ask for payment (who, however, will want a share of proceeds if the book is turned into a film by Spielberg)

*please insert your flying pigs here*

Thanks Jan!

So, once you have your pdfs sorted out and Creatspace no longer bugs you with emails saying that you dpi is too low etc, then you are ready to apply for a proof. Mine came last week and I was thrilled with the quality (well, of the production at least, my readers will have to decide on the story... ahem...) and gave them the go ahead to commit to print. Within hours the ebook version was available here and a few days later the print one went live here.
At the moment the only drawback I see with the system is that it is only who do all the printing and stocking of titles, awkward for UK customers, but from what I can understand they will be extending into affiliate countries in the future.
So, if you like end of the world scenarios, comets, mad killer robots, Navajo Indians then this might be for you!
You can always read the first two chapters here and see what you think.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Free SF Short 'To sleep, perchance to dream...'

Here's a free SF short of mine called:
To sleep, perchance to dream...

it's about brane theory and the large hadron collider

Friday, September 04, 2009

Peter Tennant @ Black Static

Just had this remark made about my little robot story, 'The Cone Zero Ultimatum' which features in Cone Zero (currently still in the running for best anthology of 2008 over at The British Fantasy Society), by Peter Tennant the editor of Black Static:

Stories by Bob Lock and Stephen Bacon in Cone Zero were among the very best I read last year

Wow that is such a great accolade to receive from someone as accomplished as Pete. Many thanks Pete! And congrats to Stephen too!
The full review can be found here: Peter Tennant Case Notes

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Neal Asher's 'Orbus'

I've been fortunate enough to receive a few Neal Asher books, courtesy of Chris Teague of The British Fantasy Society on the understanding that I will write reviews on each one. As one of the books was a limited edition of only 240 uncorrected proof copies of 'Orbus' his new Spatterjay novel you can imagine how pleased I was!
I was even more pleased when I started reading it and more than satisfied. much more, when I finally finished it (in almost one sitting!) as it is a great romp of a book and a must-have for any Asher fan.

A more comprehensive review should be over on the BFS site shortly but if you like nasty giant crab-like aliens, that are particularly prone to eating humans for lunch, quirky battle-drones, space battles and a SF tale with twists and turns aplenty then watch out for September 4th for that's when Orbus should be in the shops.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review at Sfcrowsnest of Cone Zero

Geoff Willmetts over at Sfcrowsnest (one of the biggest and best SF sites on the web) has done a great review of Cone Zero and even better than that he's picked out a few stories from the anthology which he thinks works for him and one of them is my own The Cone Zero Ultimatum. Here's the link to the review: LINK

But basically here is what he said:
'Cone Zero Ultimatum' is a future where the AIs of future household appliances seek their own freedom in something resembling 'Watership Down'. It was only towards the end that I noticed the similarity. Most of the time, though, this story speeds along with some funny dialogue and funny AIs as they seek release from oppression from their flesh owners. The ending could have been sharper but its author shows great promise.

Cool! Thanks Geoff!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Black Static interview of D.F.Lewis and Cone Zero

That great teddy-bear wrestler and wrangler, Peter Tennant, has interviewed Des Lewis about his feelings on having Cone Zero in the shortlist for The British Fantasy Society's award for best anthology of 2008. Slightly unsual interview this (as befits something regarding Des!) as Des has elected to have contributors to CZ (I am one of them) to ask him questions which he answers on the Black Static site. Some very astute and informative questions were asked and one which warmed the cockles of my heart was this:

A.J. Kirby ('How To Kill An Hour'): Some of the stories in Cone Zero are obviously filmic - and I'm thinking a Dreamworks adaptation of 'The Cone Zero Ultimatum' here or a Kubrick-esque version of 'The Point of Oswald Masters'. With this in mind, would you ever consider a future Nemonymous anthology which contains short films as well as short stories? Perhaps a Nemonymous gallery, with real or imagined installations and films showing all over the place... A Nemonymous world, if you will?

DFL: Your story in Cone Zero would make a good film, too. I'm not an expert on the cinema and rarely watch films these days (except Death in Venice) but your ideas sound wonderful. I'd need help, though.

The cockle warming is due to me being the author of The Cone Zero Ultimatum :)

Oh, and Dreamworks, I am open to considering my story being made into a film, by the way...

Another interesting thing was Des's answer to a question about an author that even now remains anonymous... go take a look at Black Static and the TTA Forum thread for more on this mystery!

Here is the Black Static interview.

Here is the TTA Forum thread

Don't forget that voting on the BFS Awards closes on 1st August 2009 and YOUR vote is needed!

Also, a little reminder that Des is still open to receiving entries to guess the writer to the story of this years Cern Zoo anthology and the winner will be immortalised in the next Nemonymous book due out in 2010.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fibonacci Poetry @ Fib Review

Some time a go I mentioned a type of poetry that I'd turned my hand to and that was the Fib or Fibonacci poetry. Well two Fibs of mine are now on
The Fib Review's 4th Issue

and can be found here: Fib Review
For an in-depth explanation of how Fibs work here's a link to the Wikipedia page explaining them.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

There can be only one!


Do you want to live forever?
(well, within a book at least)
Do you want your name immortalized like that of Connor MaCleod of
the clan MaCleod who was

born in the year 1518

"in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel?"

The Highlander

Well Des Lewis is offering everyone a chance. Cern Zoo, Nemonymous Nine is now out and as usual the authors in this fine anthology are anonymous (I'm one!) and every year Des holds a competition where readers are challenged to put the authors' names to the correct stories in the book. The winner of this year's competition will have his/her/its name featured in every one of the short stories in the 2010 Nemonymous edition. It might even be included in the title (this has yet to be decided)
However, here is your chance to be famous and all you have to do is enter the competition and Des doesn't even require you to buy a copy of Cern Zoo (you could borrow one from your library!) to enter, it's all free!
Just follow this link to win THE PRIZE!
and remember, there can be only one (winner)
Don't lose your head...

First review of Cern Zoo here:


Cern Zoo is a banquet. A cornucopia of flavour and texture, of many courses and layers. Just beware of the cockroaches lurking in the salad.

Order it here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We kicked our way through autumn leaves

As a birthday treat my daughter took me to see Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds on Wed 24th June 2009 at the Cardiff CIA and it was a brilliant performance and night. Can it really be thirty years since we came back from Italy (where I worked for three years) and sat in the dark in the evenings listening to this iconic musical rendition of one of the best SF stories ever told? It only seems like a few weeks ago. Time and the human memory are strange things indeed. My children must have sat through dozens and dozens of performances of this double LP set until the records became so scratched I finally superseded them with CDs. The cast did an admirable job, including the stand-in Parson Nathaniel who took over the role at short notice as Shannon Noll had a family emergency I understand. Justin Hayward's voice was just as I remembered and as he sang 'Forever Autumn' the air was filled with multi-coloured paper tissue leaves as they dropped from the ceiling onto the crowd below, a nice touch! We managed to scrabble a few away for posterity. Then later on in the night when the Artilleryman had finished singing about 'A Brave New World' and he realised that his digging tunnels for the future of Mankind was futile, he threw a handleful of playing cards out into the audience and we both had one each. Jennifer Ellison impressed me with her singing and she played the part of Beth very well indeed. Chris Thompson (The voice of Humanity) gave a powerful performance too and on checking up on him I found that he used to be in Manfred Mann's Earthband. The musicians were spot on, especially the soloists and Jeff Wayne's conducting showed what energy the guy has. Finally, hearing Burton's voice and seeing the enhanced computer projection of his face just seemed to confirm what every Welshman knows, there'll never be a voice like his again. His opening lines never failed to send a shiver down my spine 30 years ago and I have to say that they did again the other night...
bwyso i mewn dangnefedd, Richard.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm a Guest Writer on Wilywriters.Com

Some time ago I was invited to join and write on an American writers' site called Wilywriters.Com which is a speculative fiction site that has both free and donation-enabled stories in text and audio. You cannot send in submissions to them, it's invite only.

My story is available for free in both versions and can be found here:-

'But Everyone Is Different!'

It is well worth listening to the audio version!

The site has been set up by Angel Leigh McCoy who is a writer and games developer (Guild Wars™ 2). Thanks again for the invite, Angel.

The narrator is Nathan Crowder who has done a superb job and to say I'm extremely pleased is an understatement! Many thanks Nathan.

The cat-girl graphic (Dasha) was done by none other than Steve Upham, thanks Steve.

I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I AM PHARTICUS! .... No! I am Pharticus, No I am Pharticus!

Tomorrow, 13th June will be my birthday and as a surprise present my brother-in-law Tony Harwood, has made a model of my character in World of Warcraft which stands about three inches high and guards my computer desk with his might axe. His name is Pharticus and he is a Death Knight. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm much too old to be playing games like this but even though on the outside I might resemble a shrivelled prune I can assure you all that inside I am like a fresh grape (all green and full of pips)...

Thanks Tony!

Monday, June 08, 2009

British Fantasy Awards Shortlist

The BFA has announced it shortlist for this year and I'm very pleased to say that Cone Zero is up there with five other books fighting for Best Anthology. As you all probably know, I have a story of mine in this fine anthology called - (The Cone Zero Ultimatum) which is about the revolt of sentient household appliances against their 'Flesh' masters - this is what Peter Tennant (famous writer, editor and teddy-bear fancier) of Black Static said (in haiku form!)

longest and the best

chock full of fun and a treat

from first word to last

Thanks Pete!

Steve Upham's Screamingdreams is also shortlisted, as is one of his writers, Allyson Bird who is in both Best Collection and Best Short Story - Good Lucky Ally!

Chris Teague's Pendragon Press is also well represented in the shortlist too in various categories, nice one Chris!

An exciting time for all involved, now get over to the BFA site and vote, vote, vote! :)

(no expenses were claimed in the writing of this blog...)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Estronomicon Spring/Summer 2009 Edition

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams has uploaded his newest edition of Estronomicon and it can either be found on his website here: LINK or you can read it in the full flip-book version over on the excellent Issuu site by clicking on the magazine below:

You'll find something of mine in this issue too. It's called 'The Devil Went Down To Swansea' and is a change from my normal fantasy or sf in that it is a factual piece. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I have been and always shall be your friend...

... especially if you read everything I write !
Create Your Own

Stumbled upon this ST thingy and just had to mess around with it :)

The Guardian Poetry Anthology

The Guardian has decided to publish an anthology of poems chosen from a number sent into them by readers over the last year or so. Billy Mills, who instigated Poster Poems on The Guardian site, and Sarah Crown who is the editor of Books are the motivating forces behind this venture. Sarah also reviews poetry regularly for the Guardian Review. Anyway, I've always enjoyed sending in some of my poetry to this particular venue, and low and behold, two of my poems have been chosen to go into the new book!
The first is called 'Home thoughts from another planet.' and, as you can probably guess is a SF-based poem! Woohoo! The other is called 'Celsius reaches double figures' and is about spring and the promise of summer (that's the couple of days a year we get when a big yellow thing appears in the sky!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Boldy Went To The Cinema!

Last night I bit the bullet and forked out to see 'Star Trek' in The Vue in Swansea. Between us (myself, wife and brother-in-law) we spent about £30 for a couple of hours sitting in the luxury seats drinking a couple of Cokes and eating sweets, but I have to say, I'm glad I went to the cinema to see it.
The large screen and great sound set-up is what this film needs, the scenery and effects would probably be lost on anything other than a big screen.
The storyline was very well done and I won't go into details as I wouldn't want to spoil any surprises for those who haven't seen the film but will just say this, it has opened a whole new future for the ST franchise and I could easily see this film spawning yet more films or even a new series.
I thought Chris Pine did a fine job portraying the young James T. Kirk but I would have liked to have seen him mimic Shatner's weird phrasing of sentences just once or twice. Someone who did seem to capture his previous character well was Karl Urban who played 'Bones', even managing to get in a 'I'm a doctor not a...'

I was disappointed with John Cho who played Sulu and Anton Yelchin who played Chekov and thought Simon Pegg could have done better with his attempt at being Montgomery Scott.

However, hats off to Zachary Quinto who played the young Spock, he was excellent and for me was the one who not only resembled his character the best but was what I imagined a young Spock to look like and also captured his characteristics the best. I did think I wouldn't be able to get Silar from Heroes out of my mind but within a minute or two Quinto had me convinced he really was the young Spock.

Zoe Saldana played Uhura and yet again I didn't think she captured the essence of the part but I did enjoy her performance all the same and considering the way the story goes thought that in the end she made the part her own.

Leonard Nimoy made a guest appearance and when I saw him amongst the young and vibrant new cast it just made me realise how long Star Trek has been around and how time waits for no man or Vulcan...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cern Zoo Cover

Des Lewis has released a graphic of the cover for the upcoming anthology CERN ZOO and here it is:

There's also a list on the reverse of all contributors, oh wait, who is that at number five?


Monday, April 06, 2009

We're all going to the Zoo...zoo we're all going to the zoo (Cern Zoo) Nemo Nine

Had a great bit of news last night from D.F.Lewis that he wanted to publish the story I sent him in his next Nemonymous Edition which is number Nine and will be called Cern Zoo and hopefully will be hot off the press in July 2009. Des had hundreds of submissions sent in and out of those he has chosen 24 authors to feature in the anthology. As with all Nemonymous books the authors will be named but you will not know who wrote which story until some future date. So, everyone sing a long please- *We're all going to the Zoo..zoo.. we're all going to the zoo!*
This has to be the anthology to get this year, any dis cern ing reader will know that...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

British Fantasy Society Long List

The long list for the 2009 British Fantasy Society Awards are out and I'm pleased to say that Cone Zero has made its way into it as a candidate for best Anthology and also has two stories in it on the list for best short. The authors are Kek-W and Neil James Hudson, good luck to them both.

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams has a couple of nominations as Best Small Press and Magazine.

More details of the long list can be found here: BFS Long List

Oh... and BTW, should you think my own, The Cone Zero Ultimatum deserves a vote you can always write it in *cough* <- damn flu...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

SF Short 'The Hundred Year Climax' on SciFi Uk Review

Richard Hawkins of SciFi Uk Review has published a SF short of mine entitled 'The Hundred Year Climax' If you'd like to read it for free then follow the link. Be aware however, that it contains a lot of swear words and the subject matter is risqué.

Here's the link:

The Hundred Year Climax

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Review of 'Flames' over on SciFi UK Review

I've had quite a good review over on the SF site SciFi UK Review of 'Flames of Herakleitos'. Here is a link should you want to see what Richard, the site's owner thinks: REVIEW

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adieu Battlestar Galatica


Last night was a bitter/sweet moment as the last episode of Battlestar Galactica aired. It was like one of the books that you are desperate to read to know the outcome but you also know you’ll be finishing something that you’d like to go on and on.
BSG, for me, has been the best thing on television since I don’t know when, and furthermore it was SF!

Even non-SF people I know enjoyed the series, for it just wasn’t the typical Space Opera with gigantic monsters that popped out from the dark shadows to scare the crap out of you. I was a hugely character-driven series which had you twisting and turning with your allegiances to the cast. Initially I couldn’t stand Katee Sackhoff (Kara Thrace) as Starbuck, I thought they’d shot themselves in the foot by casting a woman for this part. But I gradually warmed to her and was totally freaked out with her finding her own body on the ravaged Earth that they found.
James Callis had a peach of a part playing Gaius Baltar and I have to admit I despised the character from start to finish, but hey, that’s exactly what the writers and the actors wanted, surely? Well, with me they succeeded, however, I could just be jealous that he always seemed to have his lips around Tricia Helfer (Six) who, considering wasn’t really a well-known actress, gave an excellent performance.

However, if I had to name my favourite in the series then I’d be stuck deciding between Edward James Olmos (Adama) and Michael Hogan (Saul Tigh) both of whom were outstanding. I suppose I first saw Olmos in Bladerunner and liked him from the start, then he popped up in Miami Vice and his quiet strength of character had me hooked. His role of Adama was so believable that even a wimp like me would have stepped over that red line on Galatica’s deck to go on the last mission the ship would ever take. Brilliant casting, excellent acting.
Finally Hogan’s Saul Tigh, yet another character that had my feelings in turmoil. Once again I initially disliked the character quite a lot but as the character grew and became more ‘fleshed-out’ my feelings changed and I began to understand why he was the way he was. Then the hammer blow of finding out he was a Cylon! Unbelievable! Of all the characters in the show I would never had guessed that he’d be one, primarily because he just hated all the frakkin’ toasters so how the hell could he of all people be one? Brilliant twist in the tale.
So, which one would I choose as the best in the series? Has to be Edward James Olmos for me, he was the patriarch of the survivors and such a motivating force within the series. Michael Hogan comes a very close second.

All the other actors and actresses in this series were outstanding and I’d like to mention them all but this post has become long enough, so, although I haven’t mentioned them I still think they all did a fantastic job of convincing me of their parts in this great story.

I doff my hat to Ronald D. Moore and David Eick for an enthralling series that will be remembered in years to come. Just as Bladerunner was a classic and matured over time like a fine wine I feel so will BSG in the future. I look forward to uncorking the blu-ray discs of this and once more savouring its quality.

So say we all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Converting a short story to a script *(Meeting Amadeus)*

I have a short story, 'Meeting Amadeus' which is a little SF tale and I've toyed with the idea of converting it into a script for a play or other visual format. I've finally done it and don't know whether or not it is done correctly or even makes sense in the way that I've done it, so, take a look and see what you think! Let me know your opinions or if you think it could be done any other way.

I've uploaded it to Issuu because it is easier to convert to that format as copy and pasting the Word file into Blogger is a right pain in the bum, it won't keep the formatting correctly.
If I've done it right then you should be able to read it here or click on the link to go to the Issuu page.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Who was that masked man?

The day has finally arrived for me to whip off my mask and announce that I was the anonymous writer of The Cone Zero Ultimatum in D.F.Lewis' Cone Zero - Nemonymous Eight

"The Fathomless World" by Colleen Anderson
"The Point of Oswald Masters" by Neil James Hudson
"Cone Zero" (page 23) by Sean Parker
"Cone Zero" (page 33) by Kek-W
"Cone Zero, Sphere Zero" by David M. Fitzpatrick
"An Oddly Quiet Street" by Scott Tullis
"Always More Than You Know" by John Grant
"Cone Zero" (page 129) by Grant Wamack
"Going Back For What Got Left Behind" by Eric Schaller
"Cone Zero" (page 147) by Stephen Bacon
"The Cone Zero Ultimatum" by Bob Lock
"Angel Zero" by Dominy Clements
"How To Kill An Hour" by A.J. Kirby
"To Let" by Jeff Holland

I have to say I've been really pleased with the comments that both my story and the anthology have received.

Here's a few quotes from reviews:

KidShirt Blog
Like I said: hop on board! In 10-20 years time people will be talking about stuff like this as being the beginning of something new, and tatty old copies of Nemonymous will be selling for stupid amounts.

Charles Tan Blog:
Cone Zero combines not just good writing but stories that are simply fun.
The Cone Zero Ultimatum' is an inspired and hilarious tale about sentient household appliances making their way to the mythical haven of Eden to save themselves from the 'Flesh', who guard their monopoly on sentience jealously and would rather get rid of any evidence that might challenge it. The story breezes by, switching from first- to third-person narration so effortlessly that I didn't even notice at first; and raises many a laugh along the way—even the punning names of the appliances are genuinely funny. An excellent contribution.

The Fix (I'm so pleased about this one!)
The next story might have been called “The Appliance Rebellion” or “Revenge of the Droids,” or even “The Brave Little Toaster, Take 2,” but instead, the author named it “The Cone Zero Ultimatum.” The characters are so well-drawn, with distinct personalities, that I found it easy to forget that they were mechanical. It’s a fun read, and I think it would make a great animated film.

Most of the story is told from the point of view of newly sentient Arnold, a washing machine whose recent chip upgrade allows him to communicate with the other appliances, as well as accessing the Internet. Sentient AIs are a fairly recent phenomenon, and their masters, the “Flesh,” seem determined to track them down and lobotomize them before they gain too much power. The refrigerator-freezer has already escaped, and most of the other appliances in Arnold’s home are considering doing the same, with the notable exception of the curmudgeonly cooker. There’s a place of refuge available: a biodome named Eden that has become contaminated with a virus lethal to Flesh. The sentient WWW, to which all the aware AIs are connected, has provided the location of this place of safety, and the biodome’s AI stands ready to let refugees in.

The AIs learn that their master suspects Pete, the repair droid, of encouraging the rebellion of his appliances. He plans to lure Pete to his home and illegally tap into Pete’s memory, which could prove fatal to the droid and would probably result in the identification and destruction of the sentient appliances as well. The appliances have to warn Pete. Hickory, a digital clock, volunteers to undertake the dangerous journey. There are plenty of chuckles along the way, as Hickory uses a downloaded alarm to frighten off a (flesh) dog and is befriended by a walking pizza delivery box, who shelters him from a sudden rainstorm. They successfully reach Pete, who returns home with them while the master is still sleeping, and uses his technical skills and gadgetry to help them. There’s plenty of suspense as the appliances make their perilous journey.

A story with staying power, despite some erratic moments in editing that jolt the narrative flow, is "The Cone Zero Ultimatum" – with a fun premise and an ending that really makes the reader stop and think, it also uses humor effectively, and introduces a most unlikely but engaging pair of friends: "a damaged pizza box and a paranoid clock."

Paul L. Bates – distanceswimmer blog
“The Cone Zero Ultimatum,” decidedly the longest story of the batch, might have been inspired by watching “The Brave Little Toaster” while casually inhaling nitrous oxide. CONE Zero, an anagram for Consciousness of Non Entities—Zero, is a new law the Flesh have implemented after their appliances and other machines are given sentience by the World Wide Web in the not too distant future. Arnold Washiator, the self-aware washing machine and his motley band of mechanical friends must surreptitiously make their way to Eden, a bio-dome in the northern UK that has been contaminated by a virus released by human terrorists lethal only to humans. Escaping the dangers of the Flesh, their killer Doberdroids, bad puns for names, an elevator of questionable gender, sophomoric humor and other machines speaking English flavored with an assortment of thick accents and attitudes native to their country of manufacture, the machines deal with tragedy and success en route to salvation. This one never lets up.

The Future Fire (Terry Grimwood)
For lovers of Toy Story we have the marvellous 'Cone Zero Ultimatum' in which a herd/swarm/pack of abused household appliances escape and set off on a perilous quest for Eden. Great fun, and utterly compelling.

The Workshop of Filthy Creation
The Cone Zero Ultimatum: D F Lewis Publications meets Disney/Pixar in this one, and it’s tremendous fun!

Set in some undefined future, household appliances have become robotized and – to a point – autonomous; they’re thinking for themselves. With this new awareness, some dissatisfaction has set in. After all, they’re doing all the work, and the Flesh won’t even acknowledge their sentience. A new law has come into being, the law of Cone Zero, which is an acronym: Consciousness Of Non Entities – Zero,

With the dawning awareness of their slavery, which comes to them with their connection to big WWW, some of the machines have rebelled, even – like Cool Boy Chiller - escaped, and now surly Ramsey the cooker is chained to the wall in case he decides to make a break for it.

The narrator of the tale is the newly aware Arnold the Zanussi Washinator. There are some horrendous punning names here, like Frank the Zapper (who’s in a perpetual state of huff because she’s been named after a brilliant male guitarist who was around in the late 1900s).

The worst thing that can happen to the machines is that the Flesh recognize their sentience and rebelliousness and fry their memory chips.

But there is hope, a place to run where the Flesh can’t follow. Eden is a place intended to contain all environments possible on Earth. But some viral-based genetic weapon planted by terrorists now contaminates Eden. The Flesh can’t enter it or clean it out. But for the machines that can make it there, it’s a haven. This is the story of how Arnold and his companions make the perilous journey to Eden.

This one isn’t just a collection of puns and amusing speculations; it’s a genuinely entertaining and involving story. At 40 pages, it’s the longest story in the anthology. I think it’s also one of the best.


Well enough of the trumpet blowing, but as you’ll have guessed by now I am over the moon with the reception Cone Zero and my contribution to it has received. Now all I have to do is hope that someone in Pixar gets his hands on a copy and who knows!

Hi ho Arnold Washinator... away!

Who was that masked man riding on that washing machine?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Estronomicon Progress Edition 2009

Steve Upham of Screamingdreams has released his first edition of Estronomicon 2009 and it's called Progress Edition. Steve has a PDF version on his website and also has the ISSUU version which is the page-flipping style I've mentioned before.
One of my stories is in this edition and it's called 'The Finiteness Of Anagrams' take a look here:

Don't forget there is still time to vote for best author and best artist for 2008 on Steve's site!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Four Days To Zero Hour!

On March 4th 2009 Des Lewis (DF.Lewis) will be announcing who the anonymous contributors to Cone Zero are. His competition is still ongoing for whoever can guess who-wrote-what and the first prize is a nice crispy fifty quid! Can't be bad even if you just write the names and stories on pieces of paper and draw them out like a lottery. Won't cost you a thing, only an email to: COMPETITION


The authors in a random order:

Neil James Hudson

Colleen Anderson

Jeff Holland

John Grant

A.J. Kirby

Eric Schaller


S.D. Tullis

Stephen Bacon

Sean Parker

Dominy Clements

Bob Lock

Grant Wamack

David M Fitzpatrick

The story titles:

"The Fathomless World"

"The Point of Oswald Masters"

"Cone Zero" (page 23)

"Cone Zero" (page 33)

"Cone Zero, Sphere Zero"

"An Oddly Quiet Street"

"Always More Than You Know"

"Cone Zero" (page 129)

"Going Back For What Got Left Behind"

"Cone Zero" (page 147)

"The Cone Zero Ultimatum"

"Angel Zero"

"How To Kill An Hour"

"To Let"

Got to be worth a go, or don't you need fifty quid?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Flipping Estronomicon!

After uploading a novella of mine (A Cloud Of Madness) onto the new page-flipping website Issuu, I mentioned it to Steve Upham my publisher (Screamingdreams Publishing) and he took a look and was impressed, so much so that he has uploaded his 2008 issues of Estronomicon to the site and you should see them, they look very good indeed.

I have an example here, it is his 2008 Halloween issue (which also includes a story by me). I really like this format and it is so easy to use and much kinder on the eyes.

Steve will also be uploading a number of Ebooks in this format and all new Estronomicons as they are published. Look out for his next one which is due out soon and has a stoy of mine in it entitled 'The Finiteness Of Anagrams' If you like creepy, bloody stories - this this one for you!

Time is running out for voting on The Dead Of Night Award on Steve's site too, this is a vote for the best author and artist of the year, needless to say, a vote for me as author would be appreciated :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Car Fanatic

I've always enjoyed tinkering with cars and since being married have had quite an amount of various vehicles. The other night Anna and I were trying to work out exactly how many we've had. If we've remembered them all then this is the list in more or less order of ownership etc, makes and colours.

Ford Anglia Green
Ford Prefect Turquoise
Morris 1000 Green
BMC J4 Camper Green
Vauxhall Viva HA Van No1 (work) Brown and Orange
Vauxhall Viva HA Van No2 (work) Brown and Orange
Fiat 850 Blue
Autobianchi Bianchina White
Triumph Herald Green
Morris Marina Van (work) White
Mini 850 Beige
Mini 1000 Blue
Austin 1100 Blue
Ford Escort Mk2 Estate White (work)
Ford Escort Mk3 Estate White (work)
Vauxhall Astra Estate Blue (work)
Vauxhall Astra Estate White (work)
Triumph TR4 Red
Triumph TR4 Green
Porche 914 Red
Swallow Doretti Green
Fiat 126 Red
Triumph Toledo Brown
Alfa Romeo 33 Brown
Austin Mini Ritz Silver
VW Polo Silver
Ford Fiesta Blue
Vauxhall Nova Brown
VW Jetta Red
Rover 25 Green
Honda Civic 2 door Coupe Silver
Honda Civic 4 Door Saloon Silver
Austin Metro Blue
Mazda 626 Silver
Kia Sportage 4X4 Maroon
Freelander Sport 4X4 Gold
Mazda 6 Silver
Vauxhall Corsa Silver
Renault Modus Fiji Green
Volvo V50 Geko Green

Can anyone beat that? In total I make it forty vehicles so far and that's if we've remembered them all!
Some photos are our own cars some are stock photos:

Sunday, February 08, 2009


Here's a conundrum for you SF fans and any astrophysicists out there. I'm writing a SF novel in which my method of travel is by folding space. For example, you want to go from A to B; both points are at opposite ends of say, a piece of A4 paper. Instead of traversing the whole paper you fold it until the A and B points meet and then you step across.

Right, say this method is feasible, how about this:

Messier 87 which was discovered by Charles Messier in 1781 is a large elliptical galaxy about 55 million light years from Earth. If 'something' happened there which was observable from Earth and it happened now then we wouldn't be able to see it for 55 million years because of the time it would take for the light to reach us from that 'something'. However, imagine we could fold space as described and between us and the event we had the equivalent of a string of Hubble-like telescopes which folded the information received in series, one to another, across the galaxy until it reached Earth, almost instantaneously. So, would we be able to witness the event in more or less the same time as it was happening by using this folding network?

Answers in less than a thousand sentences please :)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Snowy Daze

Woke up this morning to all this white weird stuff!
Looks like global warming is on hold....

And for all you UFO hunters out there,
take a look at the picture 'My Drive'
is that a fleet of UFOs in the top left-hand corner?
I hope if the come to visit me tonight
they'll warm up their a**l probes first...

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I've been following Neal Asher's blog and taking a look at a few bookcases that his bloggers have uploaded to their sites. All of them have an Asher tome or two somewhere upon the shelves and many of them have other authors that I read too. So I thought I'd tidy my bookcase up a little and take a snap. This is how it looks at the moment, it changes regularly as I have to cull some of my collection from time to time, these modern houses just don't have the room!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Free Book

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone who visits my blog and I hope you have a healthy one too. I've been going over some of the stuff I have written and stored on my PC and decided to publish a SF novella that I wrote quite a few years ago. I dusted it off and slapped a coat of paint on it but it will probably seem a little dated now. I think I started this story around 2000, perhaps even earlier. It's a story of about 60,000 words and I thought it would be a chore to read it off the blog and therefore searched around for another method and came across an excellent site called Issuu which converts your PDFs into a page-flipping book which you can incorporate into your website (I hope!) and will let you manipulate the book by expanding and searching the pages etc.

The title of the story is

A Cloud Of Madness

I hope you enjoy, please feel free to comment.