11th of November 2019

Hey folks! Most likely a quick little post tonight. Writing has been slow, which means I’m super behind on NaNoWriMo. Life has been incredibly busy of late and if I’m honest I’m not expecting to hit the 50k by the end of the month, but I’ll persist and see what I have when the 30th is drawing to a stop.

As I said, a quick post. I’ll just end with a mention that I’ve started listening to a complete works of H.P. Lovecraft audiobook. I’m not far in yet but it’s not bad. I still think of myself as a newbie with horror so felt that I needed to check out some of the history of the genre. Where else to start but the godfather of Cosmic horror.

Good Morning, Sunday 6th of October 2019

Good morning folks.  A later start to the writing day for me this week. I’m going to be interspersing writing with general tidying up. I’ve got a lot going on in the next few weeks and squeezing writing into that is going to be a fun challenge, especially seeing as NaNoWriMo is right around the corner.

I did get my contributor copy of Elements Of Horror:Air this week. It came out on Tuesday and I loved writing this story. It was one of those stories that kind of wrote itself when I knew how the story was going to end. This is book two of four, each one focused on an element. The book is from Red Cape Publishing and the contributors are: Jaq D. Hawkins, Daren Callow, Dale Parnell, Theresa Jacobs, Peter Germany, P.J. Blakey-Novis, Nils Visser & Jovannah Bär, Ann Fox, R.C. Rumple.

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I did listen to Highway To Hell by Armand Rosamilia, which is the first book in his Dying Days series. I loved this book. I felt for the protagonist, he spoke to me a lot. I saw myself in him a lot. There’s some damn good gore in it, the characters are fantastic (I was particularly fond of a character who owned a car sales). Highway to Hell is a damn fun zombie story with depth along with the vile zombies and the humans who deserve to be zombies.

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That’s it for now. I’m going to get some writing down, and some tidying around it.

Good Morning, Sunday 8th of September 2019

Good morning folks. I’ve not done a lot of writing the last couple of days. I did write 668 on the fanfic I started last week but yesterday was just one of those days where I couldn’t find the time to get anything done.

Friday night I went with my girlfriend and my buddy Stefan (Stefan’s Daily Gaming) and his partner to see IT Chapter 2. It was really good. I think I liked the first of the two films a little better but as a whole its a good story and I like what they’ve tweaked from the book. I know with adaptations you’ll never be able to hit all the notes a book does but I think with this one they’ve got it spot on. For me these films aren’t scary, I like them but they don’t make me squirm in my seat, and there wasn’t any real jump scares that got me with this one. I’m not taking anything away from the two movies, horror is very subjective as we all fear different things and although I love these films, they don’t rattle me like The VVitch and The Ritual did. I think I’ve learnt with Horror movies in particular that if I re-watch them they don’t get to me, but if I don’t then they’ve had an impact on me.

Right, back to writing. I’m going to spend the bulk of the day editing on CS1 one with the odd dive into the fanfic piece. I’ve got a lot of work to do with the opening of CS1 which I think will follow through with the rest of the book, but we’ll see.

I just want to wrap up by talking about a couple of audiobooks I’ve been listening to. Firstly the first three books of Chuck Buda‘s Son of Earp series of supernatural westerns. I’ve really enjoyed these three books, and I never thought I’d say that about a western! but Buda has spun me around on them. They’re about the teenage son of the legendary Wyatt Earp and he’s life as he tried to become the man he wants to be. Well worth checking out.

The cover for book three of Chuck Buda’s Son of Earp series, Summoner of Souls.

The other one I want to talk about is Dirty Deeds by Armand Rosamilia. This one is a crime thriller about a man who is paid to kill children, but there’s a twist to what he does. I really liked this one. Rosamilia manages to craft a really deep story dealing with a really dark topic while keeping a good sense of humour in it. If you like your crime thrillers, please check it out.

The cover for Armand Rosamilia’s Dirty Deeds.

That’s it for now. I’m off to get some writing done.

4th of September 2019

Good evening folks. It feels like it’s been a busy week, and in some ways it has. The day job is always busy but with writing I don’t feel like I’ve really got my teeth stuck in at all. Part of that is I feel like I’ve ran dry on the couple of short stories I’ve been working on. One I feel could be something a little bigger, while the other just died out after a couple of hundred words. So I’ve gone into editing mode again and have started on the CS1 edit. I’m planning on rewriting a lot of the ending and adding a lot more detail in the early stages that’ll make things later on work better. As I was writing it sub-plots came about that have no base in the early stages of the story. There’s also a few elements which I let drop accidentally as the story moved forward. So I’m going to pick those up as I go. I’m glad I’ve left this story for a while as I feel like I’ve got a better handle on it now I’ve let it simmer.

I’ll end up by sharing the link for my next story release. I have a story in the upcoming Elements of Horror: Air: Book Two. (Click the link for the pre-order). It’s released on the 1st of October. This story was one of those that came very easily and I knew where I was going with from quite an early part of the writing process. This is book two of four of a series from Red Cape Publishing. There’s a few more details here.

That’s it for tonight. I’m wiped out and my bed is calling.

Book Review: Forever and Ever, Armageddon: A collection of 24 short stories

This is a fantastic collection from David Court. I’ve read some of his short fiction before and knew I liked his work and this collection has confirmed that.

There is a good variety of stories here. There’s a few that made me think, one of which made me stop what I was doing and say “oh sh*t”, and a couple that are just the written version of a gut punch. There was a couple of the stories that had me grinning like a kid!

Kristina Fitzgerald does a fantastic job of narration. Great range and delivery.

This one is definitely worth checking out.

TV Review: Love, Death + Robots 3/3

Love, Death + Robots is an anthology series from David Fincher and Tim Miller that is available on Netflix.

Lucky 13

Directed by Jerome Chen

Animation Studio: Sony Pictures Imageworks

Based on the Short Story by Marko Kloos

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Lucky 13 is about a military transport that is considered jinxed and given to a rookie pilot who quickly bonds with the vehicle.

This is another favourite of mine. Again, fantastic visuals here. The character’s are all but photo realistic. I quickly recognised the main character by voice as well as looks. It was like watching Samira Wiley on screen! That’s how good the animation is in this episode. I’d be interested to see if they used motion capture on her face as it is that good. But that’s not just why I like this episode. The story is told at a solid pace and has some fantastic action keep the episode really interesting. I got invested in the bond the protagonist, ‘Cutter’ Colby has with Lucky 13 pretty quickly. You feel the emotion of this episode pretty heavily as it comes to its conclusion.

Definitely one of the strongest episodes for me.

Zima Blue

Directed by Robert Valley

Animation Studio: Passion Animation Studios

Based on the Short Story by Alistair Reynolds

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Zima Blue is the story of an experimental artist. It is also the one in the entire anthology that doesn’t really do anything for me. It’s beautifully animated, although the character designs weren’t my cup of tea. The story was way but never grabbed my attention. I did like the overall message of the story, but as a whole it didn’t do a lot for me.

Blindspot

Written and Directed by Vitaliy Shushko

Animation Producer: Elena Volk

This one is a super fun heist movie with robots. What more do you need to know folks?!? It is a fast paced, action filled thrill ride with ups and downs, entertaining characters and like the rest of this series, beautiful animation. It’s a really nice change of pace and just good fun!

Ice Age

Directed by Tim Miller

Animation by: Digic Pictures, Blur Studio, and Atomic Fiction

Based on the short story by Michael Swanwick

Script Adapted by Phillip Gelatt

This is the only episode which isn’t fully animated. It stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Topher Grace as a young couple who move into a new apartment which has a very old fridge in it. They soon discover there’s a civilisation living in the ice box.

It’s a fun story that has a good pace and Grace and Winstead are good on screen. The animation is good and the story zips by at a decent pace.

It’s an interesting episode, but doesn’t stand out a lot. The change of visual styles, like having actual humans in it, does change it up a little from the rest of the anthology.

Alternate Histories

Directed by Victor Maldonado and Alfredo Torres

Animation Studio: Sun Creature Studio

Based on the Short Story by John Scalzi

This one is a series of examples of what would have happened to the world if Adolf Hitler had died earlier in life than he did.

This one was okay, albeit a little long. Like all of these episodes, the animation is great and the design suits the story well.

The Secret War

Directed by István Zorkóczy

Animation Studio: Digic Pictures,

Based on the Short Story by David W. Amendola

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

The Secret War is a World War 2 era story that is set in a Soviet wilderness. Soviet soldiers are fighting an enemy that is revealed as the story goes on. It’s a very sombre piece that has some fantastic action and an animation style and design that fits the era it’s et in as well as the tone of the film.

The big bad in this story I really liked. The design they had really got my imagination going. The final confrontation is epic. It gave me what I wanted from the and finishes the anthology off on a high note.

 

TV Review:Love, Death + Robots 2/3

Love, Death + Robots is an anthology series from David Fincher and Tim Miller that is available on Netflix.

Beyond The Aquila Rift

Directed by Léon Brélle, Dominique Boidin, Rémi Kozyra, and Maxime Luère

Animation Studio: Unit Image

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Beyond The Aquila Rift is the story of a space freighter that goes off course and ends up a long way from where it’s meant to at a remote space station.

Each one of these episodes has really good animation, but with this one they hit the nail on the head throughout the episode. There are a few moments where it is extremely stunning. There are a few moments in it where it’s almost like watching live action.

But it’s not just a short film that looks good. The story is first rate. You feel for the characters who’ve found themselves at the far end of the galaxy and as the story progresses you really get pulled into what they’re going through. Cinematically I think this is one of the standouts of the series.

Good Hunting

Directed by Oliver Thomas

Animation Studio: Red Dog Culture House

Based on the short Story by Ken Liu

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

This story takes place mainly in Hong Kong around the time when it was being colonised, but with a steampunk taste to it that grows as the story progresses. Stories from this region of the world rarely grab me, but this one did. The first few minutes felt a little slow at first, but that pace served the story well and it never feels rushed. As the story moves into Hong Kong I really got pulled in.

The animation style fits the story and adds to the humble feel of the story. By the end of the story I was invested in these characters and it didn’t escape me the message of the story.

The Dump

Directed by Javier Recio Gracia

Animation Studio: Abel & Baker

Based on the Short Story by Joe R. Lansdale

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

This is the star of an old man who doesn’t want to leave his home, despite a city inspector  telling him he has to.

This is one of my favourite stories in this season of Love, Death, and Robots. I love the vibe it has. The story is pretty straight forward but quite infectious. It drew me in really quickly. The animation is so perfectly fitted to the story that when you add the voice talent, especially Nolan North‘s Ugly Dave, it just works so beautifully.

This was my first real experience of Joe R. Lansdale’s work, and I really loved it. I’ve heard Brian Keene talking about Lansdale on his podcast (The Horror Show with Brian Keene), and after watching The Dump I am definitely checking out more of Lansdale’s work.

I will just mention that I was listening to a podcast where they were talking about the first season of Love, Death and Robots as a whole and they were not very complimentary about this episode. I won’t name the podcast, because they were just sharing their opinions, but it struck me that because this episode has this type of characters, and the tone of it they dismissed it. I just got this sense of it wasn’t worth their time, which is a shame because it is a super fun story. For me its up there with Suits as a favourite episode of this debut season.

Shape-Shifters

Directed by Gabriele Pennacchioli

Animation Studio: Blur Studios

Based on the Short Story by Marko Kloos

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

The short synopsis of this one is the U.S. marines are using werewolves in conflict zones.

Again, animation is stunning here, especially in the final fight. There was a great point of view short at one stage. The story itself it good, has a likeable protagonist and lots of underlying depth. It is a little predictable, but I’m a strong believer that the journey in more often than not more important than the ending.

There is a transformation moment that is stunning, I hope the person who did that got at least a pat on the back!

A good story that I likes, and added a different taste to the season.

Helping Hand

Directed by Jon Yeo

Animation Studio: Axis Studios

Based on the Shorty Story by Claudine Griggs

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

This one is about a woman who is working on a satellite and gets knocked into space by flying debris. Her air and propulsion are both damaged and she’s drifting away from both the satellite and the small spacecraft she’s used to get to the satellite. She goes to an extreme length to save herself.

Now, I do like this one. It’s a good atmospheric piece that really plays the tension card well. One part of it really made me flinch! I like the fact the story makes this woman job of fixing the satellite routine and a one person job despite the risks.

I do have a question or two about some of the physics and medical elements of the story, but they weren’t enough to stop me from enjoying the story. There is one safety precaution that would have solved all of the problems she has, but again, I can live with it.

Again, another episode with fantastic visuals.

Fish Night

Directed by Damian Nenow

Animation Studio: Platige Image Studio

Based on the Short Story by Joe R. Lansdale

Adapted Script by Philip Gelatt

Fish Night is about two travelling salesmen whose car breaks down on a road in the middle of an American desert. As night rolls in the ghosts of the fish and so on come alive as that area would have been an ocean once upon a time.

This story has a heart to it that gets shattered by the end of the story. You feel the elation and devastation in this story. The relationship between the older and younger men, how they handle being stranded differently and how they react to the ghosts coming out to play when the sun goes down builds a beautiful narrative. This is only strengthened by the strikingly beautiful animation.

This is another Joe R. Lansdale story and I’ve got to admit, it’s a totally different tone to The Dump, but still as good as it. Just on a very different level.

Check in tomorrow for part 3/3