Monthly Archive: August 2010


NOTE: This little essay discusses the 2009 film Exam, and contains spoilers pretty much from the first sentence. If you imagine you might someday watch this film and fear spoilers, read no further.

ExamExam is a small little movie I’d describe as Sci Fi, though it’s main thrust is mindfuck/thriller territory. It’s one of a few recent SF films (another that pops to mind being Cube) which combines low budgets made to look slick by the simple expedient of setting the entire movie in one room, more or less, and the plot engine of several disparate people who must work together despite mistrust and paranoia to surmount the plot obstacle. They’re also usually extremely high-concept, with tight little premises that appeal to me. I love a story that turns on one simple but potentially brilliant device.

When I was a kid in grammar school, we were once given a test (this might have been 3rd or 4th grade, I forget). We were told to read all of the instructions before beginning the test. There were about 50 instructions/questions on the page, starting with “Write your name on top of this sheet” or something similar. If you read all the way to the bottom, the last instruction said “Do not perform any of the instructions before this one”. In other words, the whole point of the test was to teach us that good drones in society always pay very close attention to instructions — the kids who started working immediately and didn’t read all the way through failed, where those of us who read everything and smugly put our pencils down passed.

To this day, I’m not sure if passing was a good thing. Am I smart, or just exceptionally well-trained by my societal masters?


A Smattering of Reviews

It’s fantastic to see reviews of your books pop up years after they’ve published. Here’s a smattering of reviews that have popped up on the Intarwebs recently, just in case someone is inexplicably reading my blog but dithering on whether or not to buy my novels (inexplicable because of the mind control subliminals I use, naturally. HOW ARE YOU RESISTING THEM? I’ll have to unleash the winged monkeys on you instead).

  • Floor to Ceiling Books liked The Electric Church, babies: “The Electric Church read like a cross between Richard Morgan and Ocean’s Eleven – pared-down, noir and with a body count that defies belief. The humour is black and biting and the action is non-stop.”
  • Bookcrastination reviewed The Terminal State: “??Filled with all the run-and-shoot action fans of the series have come to expect, this ride is non-stop … I’m already pining for next year’s release.”
  • Elitist Book Reviews reviewed The Digital Plague: “… these books are a riot. Following Avery Cates on his violent and gruesome adventures is the equivalent to a summer blockbuster movie. There are gunfights and explosions enough to satisfy, and the action keeps moving throughout the book at a breakneck pace.”

So what are you waiting for? Oh, right: Someone to give the books to you, or someone to sell you one for a penny on eBay. Bastards!

Friday is Guitar Day

Why not? I have nothing interesting to say today, so why not post some more of my lameTASTIC! guitar songs, and taunt the universe with my special brand of Cool[TM]?

While I’m no Eddie Van Halen or Les Paul, my guitar playing is a testament to the value of teaching: IF you could hear where I started a few years ago, you would be equally amazed at my progress.

















The usual disclaimer: 1. I admit these are not great music; 2. I claim copyright anyway, so there; 3. No, I cannot do anything about the general quality of the mix, as I am incompetent.

Excerpts and Sad, Sad Songs

First of all, if you’re still wavering in your decision to purchase and/or steal a copy of The Terminal State, there’s an excerpt up at the fantabulous blog Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. They’ve posted the entire prologue of the book, which I think will give long time Avery fans a glimpse of how the story’s going to go and newcomers a taste of what the series is like. Surf on over and check it out!

And also too, I’ve partaken in a really cool feature my fellow Orbit-author Philip Palmer cooked up: The SFF Song of the Week. Phil, with whom I’ve been working on something very cool that will hopefully see the light shortly, had the great idea of asking interesting people to nominate songs that have a SFF theme, providing a brief description of the song and the lyrics et al. A clever idea from a very talented writer (he’s got a book due out in October, BTW, which you ought to check out – I’ve read it, and it’s great). Somehow I got on Phil’s list of clever people, and I nominated Queen’s “’39”. Surf on over and see my pearls of ruddy wisdom on the subject.

And now, coffee.