28 November 2010

A Few Flapping, Shredded Ends of Creativity

I dreamt last night I was watching a '70s horror film with a premise I found fairly disturbing: A faith-healer who practiced laying-on of hands (it was clear that he was sincere about his gift, though not whether it actually worked) was kidnapped by satanists and turned into a carrier for the apocalyptic plagues mentioned in Revelation, so that everyone he touched, instead of being cured, became infected.

I don't remember any more of the plot, but the idea freaked me out. If anyone wants to use it for anything, feel free -- I want rid of it.

This latest deleted scene from "A Hundred Words from a Civil War", on the other hand, is © me 2010 and you can't have it.
     In every instant a million wounds, a thousand deaths, are inflicted on Oluseyi Hive. Oluseyi feels the agony of them all, absorbs and transcends them. Its enemy, Nishizawa Hive, is assuredly suffering as well.
     Each moment Oluseyi’s distributed intelligence implements a hundred strategies, considers and rejects ten thousand more. Subverted components among the enemy’s stratified, highly specialised military fight fervently for Nishizawa, transmitting their knowledge back to Oluseyi all the while.
     Meanwhile, Oluseyi’s builders and troglodytic burrowers delve ever further into the base-substrate, carving out fortified nurseries for the fertile castes. In some form, Oluseyi will survive any possible defeat.
I may also have finished this year's story for sending out with our Christmas cards -- previous ones are archived here. (Well, only from 2006, when I started writing them, to 2008 -- but 2009's "Stella Maris", which I was particularly pleased with, will be appearing both there and here at some point during Advent.)

Given the extreme difficulty I've been experiencing in finding the necessary coincidence of time, energy and concentration-span to write in the well-over-a-year since the birth of young R., this is a bigger achievement than it sounds.

17 November 2010

Mokkameth and the Wight

Hmm. It would be fair to say that the three deleted drabbles I've posted so far to trail my forthcoming City of the Saved short story in Faction Paradox: A Romance in Twelve Parts have been a bit abstract and static. This hasn't really been giving an accurate picture of what the story's like. So here's an action sequence:
     The wight stares at its severed arm. ‘You’ll pay for that, sonny,’ it promises.
     It grabs Mokkameth’s wrist, twisting his sword away, pressing his palm against the livid stump of its shoulder.
     Mokkameth’s fingertips sink into the wight’s flesh. His arm begins to lose sensation as its skin blanches, the pallor of the wight’s hide seeping quickly across his own brown pigment.
     The paleness reaches Mokkameth’s shoulder, a hold loosens within – and the wight withdraws new-built fingers, leaving behind a clean and puckered wound.
     ‘You’re so lucky that wasn’t my head, sunshine,’ it growls, shaking its stolen biceps into place.
These will all be going on the website eventually, naturally. In the meantime, I've updated the microfiction page.

07 November 2010


In the last week I've entered my fortieth year of life, which is... disconcerting. Well, terrifying, really, if I allowed it to be. Fortunately, for the next 358 days I'm still in my late 30s, so I can remain in denial regarding that particular milestone for now.

I did, however, get given lots of lovely things by my friends and family, mostly (though not exclusively) in Digital Versatile Disc format. Things which I now own which I didn't a week ago today include:
  • True Blood seasons 1 and 2: Very fine work of post-Buffy vampire revisionism from the genius who brought us Six Feet Under, Alan Ball.
  • Robin Hood (2010): The latest media version of the Sherwood legend, directed by Ridley Scott. No, I haven't seen it yet, and yes, it got some pretty bad reviews, but I'm collecting different interpretations.
  • Forbidden Planet: Somehow I never owned this seminal SF film, a B-movie rewrite of The Tempest. Now I do.
  • The Nightmare Man: Weird but impressive BBC occult-SF-whodunnit from 1981, from one of the best scriptwriters and one of the best directors of old-stye Doctor Who.
  • The Flipside of Dominick Hide: Another slice of classic 80s BBC weirditude, which I've not yet managed to watch. It's supposed to be a time-travel romance.
  • The Science of Battlestar Galactica by Patrick Di Justo and Kevin Grazier: probably not somehting I'd have bought for myself, so it's all the more gratifying to be given it by my goddaughter and family.
  • Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Be Yourself Tonight, Revenge and Savage by Eurythmics: One of my favourite bands ever, whose work I've nonetheless never got round to collecting on CD. (No, really. I had tapes.)
I'm expecting the outstanding (in two senses) 2010 season of Doctor Who any day now, as well. I also have a Waterstones token, which I have every intention of spending on either this or this.

It's about time I blogged another of the deleted scenes from my forthcoming drabbleplex, "A Hundred Words from a Civil War". Here goes, then:
     Stormance and Limptrace Districts face one another across the River Runn, a medium-sized watercourse with a width similar to that of the Pacific Ocean. Long-term economic rivals, they have recently become deadly enemies.
     When one District (it hardly matters which) launches an atomic strike against the other, the devastation generates a ripple which gains power as it crosses the river, slamming into the opposite bank with much of the force of the original detonation.
     Those who survive the tsunami’s impact succumb afterwards to compromised cholera bacteria carried by a refugee from distant Keltoria District.
     In the City, everybody is connected.