27 July 2007

Self Parody

Just a quickie to congratulate friend and occasional business contact Andrew Chapman on having an extract from his "Will Self writes Harry Potter" parody, "Harry Potter and the Viscera of Kittens", broadcast on this morning's Today programme.

(Today -- for those of you living over-, or possibly under-, seas -- is BBC Radio 4's flagship news programme, and still arguably the most influential news outlet in the U.K. Obviously today was a bit of a quiet day for actual news.)

The relevant couple of minutes of programme is available online for the next week or so here (scroll down to 08:52). Alternatively, you can listen to Andrew reading the whole thing here.

24 July 2007

Apocalypse Now, Utopia Later

Oh right, yes, sorry. I was miles away.

I've been very lax in updating this blog for a few weeks now. The week before last I was (I'm glad to say) enjoying my time off too much to spend much of it staring at a computer screen, and since then I've been absurdly busy again, mostly catching up after my week off. (Such is the nature of our western society -- it's the post-christian work ethic, you know. Some days I long to live in one of those eastern post-buddhist cultures where they really know how to let their hair down and and relax, like, say, Japan. Oh.)

I've also, to be scrupulously honest, been playing rather a lot of Scrabble with people on Facebook.

But now the proofreading of Nobody's Children is suddenly horribly urgent, and I'm unlikely to get the time to update this blog with the reviews of Collapse, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and the numerous trade-paperback comic collections I've been reading in order to bump my books-per-week score back up again after the couple of months spent reading Collapse and Iron Council -- let alone the baby gorilla photos I owe you -- for a few days' yet.

In the meantime, and with what I'm rather forlornly hoping might be an endearing predictability, I'm breaking silence in order to trail my latest column for Surefish. Andy the editor has titled it "Apocalypse Now?", but I'm still rather fond of my original title -- so much so in fact that I think I'll use it here.

The piece was written after our last round of floods, and (I believe) was left by Andy on a thingy to upload automatically after he went on holiday. So I have to admit that it reads as a little out of date now.

In particular, I should apologise to His Grace the Bishop of Carlisle. I must acknowledge that Her Majesty's Government failed to heed the warning he gave us after the earlier flooding and reintroduce the death penalty for sodomy, and that the Deity (or, for the most hardened unbelievers amongst us, a complex chaotic weather system) has since responded with yet further travails -- just as the arsebrained twat predicted.

So, my apologies to him for that.

In happier news (though still bittersweet), the eleventh and (for the moment) final volume of Telos's Time Hunter series, Child of Time by George Mann and David Howe, has now been released. I've yet to read my copy, but I gather it features some characters from my book in the series, Peculiar Lives, in a prominent rôle. So that's nice.

And, as I say, it shouldn't be long now before Nobody's Children is out. I'm hoping to have something rather special to put up on my website as an extra, but that's still under wraps for now.

Mmm, wraps. Time for supper, I think.

PS: Oh -- one other thing, speaking of Japan: The Onion has one of the funnier pieces of S.F. I've read recently. Enjoy.

09 July 2007

Because You Can Never Have Too Many Blog Posts About Cats

Since I last updated this blog, I've spent a day at my work's annual staff conference, disposed of the first mouse Mulder's brought down during the three years since we moved to this house, written another (as yet unpublished) column for Surefish, and taken both cats to the vet for their annual checkup and booster vaccines.

(The mouse was dead. I don't like handling dead mice, but I like it a lot less when they turn out not to be dead after all. So that was something of a relief. We're probably going to have to find a bell for Mulder's collar, though.)

Sunday I divided between car travel, attending a barbecue and being a bed for kittens. The kittens have recently been adopted by the little sister-in-law and her chap, and look like this:
Kittens 2 Kittens 1
I shouldn't be remotely surprised if more such photos arrived on Flickr soon.

The rest of the week I'm taking off work, and pretty much everything else. I intend to spend the majority of it sleeping, reading and watching TV. However, I may also update this blog further, once I've finished reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I may even finally get round to uploading those pictures of gorillas. And more of the kittens, I shouldn't wonder.

05 July 2007

The Sound of Voodoo Drums

If you've been wondering what I've thought of the latest season of Doctor Who, the term I'd use would be "mixed", or more accurately "very mixed indeed, so much so as to generate whiplash when watched back-to-back". Some of the early episodes were very, very bad; the run of episodes from Human Nature to Utopia was the best New Who has ever been; and then the whole thing fell apart semi-disastrously at the end.

Ah, well. At least they haven't done anything perverse and idiotic like shunting Freema Agyeman's appealing and charismatic Martha off to Torchwood while bringing back bloody Catherine Tate as the full-time companion for Season Four. Oh, wait.

If, as is quite likely, you're more interested in knowing specifically what I thought of Season Three's treatment of religious themes, then by a mind-boggling coincidence my latest column for Surefish dwells extensively on that very topic.

In other news, those of you mourning the premature and sad demise of the Faction Paradox novels may well be interested in seeing this. Daniel O'Mahony is, I think I'm safe in saying, the most talented writer to have worked in the Faction Paradox arena, and to have a full-length novel from him set in the Faction universe will be a rare treat. I only hope that this is the first of many from Random Static.