As threatened in my last blog post with that podcast appended, it’s been a very quiet month in Content terms, as I have been moving house from Walthamstow to Lewisham, into a charming fourth floor flat where myself and my self-publishing empire will hopefully be very happy together.
As traditionally happens whenever anyone moves house in the modern world, this was accompanied by an annoying gap in internet access. We only got online yesterday, and I must admit, I’d forgotten how amazing the world wide web can be.
So, here are a few things I have seen, experienced and planned during my month away. Some have already been mentioned on Twitter, but most I couldn’t be bothered to tweet because my only Twitter access was my four-year old phone and loading the app is a chore.
H&C3 – Read aloud in only 1.5 days! Record!
Hobson & Choi III continues to crawl its way towards the outside world, like a mole with motivation issues. I’ve got a draft I’m happy with, it’s just going through final proofreading. Meanwhile, I’ve booked a slot with the always-excellent Design For Writers to work their cover-makin’ magic once more.
Projected release date: probably October. Plenty more to come on that in the next couple of months.
Pale Riders of the Post-Marvel Apocalypse
I haven’t read any Marvel superhero comics for a month, which is new. I basically rely on Marvel Unlimited for them, and that, unfortunately, relies on the internet. So for whatever reason, I’ve opted to fill my comics reading time mostly with pale-faced DC characters, specifically:
- The Sandman! Yes, the Neil Gaiman-written many-artist-drawn legend of the medium. I last read it as a teenager and a lot of it went over my head. Reading it again now and it’s very whimsical, magical stuff, the sort of thing Gaiman’s long done best. I’m about 40 issues in. Great comic. Be sorry when it’s over. Might go and read that Lucifer spin-off series by Mike Carey/Peter Gross that everyone talks about.
- The Spectre! The incarnate wrath of God, wearing a Grim Reaper cloak and green swimming trunks. Specifically, the 90s run by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. I don’t know exactly why this sprang to mind as a thing to read, but it’s a strange comic. Zips between horror (Tom Mandrake does a good extreme grotesque image, see nearby example), magic-bolts-zappy mystic superhero action and sudden diversions into genuine questions of theology. Interesting counterpoint to the metaphorical approach of Sandman, in that it’s like being smashed in the theological brain with a brick. In tiny green pants.
- Not a DC comic but they do have quite pale faces – Transformers! I bought a huge chunk of the two current ongoings – Robots In Disguise and More Than Meets The Eye – in a Humble Bundle at the recommendation of writer friend Chris Brosnahan, not to mention I’d seen rave reviews for More Than Meets The Eye online. Aaand… it’s a very odd read for me as I’m not a Transformers person at all. I vaguely knew Optimus Prime was the main goodie.
All of which leaves me enjoying the vibe – MTMTE in particular is a really well-paced, exciting, funny comic – but kinda struggling to get into the mythology. My specific problem: they all look so similar. I kept expecting to develop the ability to tell them apart, but with a few glaring exceptions, I am struggling. I don’t think the art is bad – in fact, it’s very clean and attractive – but I still keep needing reminders in the dialogue to tell me which one this is. Still, I’ll persist. Once I’ve caught up on the last month of Marvel Unlimited updates.
Ultimate Spider-Man lives, physical comics die
The news about the upcoming Marvel relaunch came out, and to no-one’s surprise, my eulogy for Ultimate Spider-Man did turn out to be pre-emptive – Miles Morales lives on in the regular Marvel universe, in a new book simply called Spider-Man. I’ll still miss the series taking place in the Ultimate universe though. Elsewhere in the Marvel relaunch, there’s disappointingly few interesting new books that aren’t just continuations of existing ones. Well, except Warren Ellis doing a Karnak series, that sounds amazingly weird.
And while I’m talking comics – you can now buy some late-90s/early 2000s Daredevil and Captain America comics from me on eBay if you want. Mostly these are pretty good stuff, but I really have lost interest in the single-issue physical comic as a thing to store or read. I’ve held on to the teenage collection for a while in case my interest regrew, but no sign yet. And yes, I’m choosing those starting prices pretty optimistically. I’ll relist them cheaper if they don’t sell.
Literary Fiction and Other Plantlife (featuring Scarlett Thomas)
Went to see Scarlett Thomas read from and speak about her new book The Seed Collectors at the always-excellent Big Green Bookshop. She spoke very entertainingly about her process, the struggles of both writing and teaching and why likable characters are over-rated. (She is very right, they are.)
Thomas has always been one of my favourite novelists who isn’t generally seen as genre, even though there is some pretty extreme weirdness in many of her books. The Seed Collectors plays down the odd concepts a bit, but the fragmented structure, witty narration and, yes, the fact almost everyone is a fun bastard very much appeals to me. Enjoying it a lot, only 70 pages to go.
Nine Worlds, one request for presents
Next weekend, I am at the Nine Worlds convention. If you think that’s likely to be the topic of an upcoming blog post on this website, you’d be correct. I had a great time last year, and hopefully this will be a worthy sequel. The books and creative writing events in particular look great. May even try and take more than one photo this time.
No sign of any friends holding weddings on any of the days yet, so I shall be ambling around the entire event. I should have a few copies of The Girl Who Tweeted Wolf on me, which I could be persuaded to offload at a reduced price, or in exchange for… I don’t know, booze or comics or your own book or something. Make me an offer. Or if there’s a take-one-leave-one bookswap table again, go and see if I’ve left one there.
NO VERONICA MARS PARAGRAPH FOR YOU
Yeah, that’s it. Was gonna do a chunk on the fact I’ve finally finished Veronica Mars season 1 thanks to having no streaming TV to distract me, but that would push this post to a ludicrous length. Will probably get its own post in the coming month.
For now, though, I’m off to watch backlogged Last Week Tonight episodes on my new Now TV subscription on my newly working internet. Farewell!