Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Gillingham 2189

Some of you may recall that I once drew a regular, vaguely-monthly-during-the-football-season strip for Brian Moore's Head Looks Uncannily Like London Planetarium, the organ of Gillingham FC devotion; and I suppose there's a vague chance you may remember this, having purchased my previous collection of recycled fanzine material, Roy of the Aztecs. If you haven't already purchased my previous collection of recycled fanzine material, Roy of the Aztecs, don't worry. I'm sure there's still time.

Anyway, starting 1989 or thereabouts and continuing on for years numbering in what may have been double figures, I wrote and drew a regular comic strip for the aforementioned football fanzine, two pages an issue eventually expanded to four pages an issue. It was the story of Gillingham FC some two-hundred years in the future and was, I suppose, sort of what Billy the Fish might have been had it appeared in 2000AD rather than Viz - very roughly speaking; and it was the strip I drew prior to Roy of the Aztecs - in the event of this making sense to anyone whatsoever. Collected, the whole thing amounts to over one-hundred and fifty pages of an ongoing story in which a football team have all manner of ball-related adventures, including a match played against the unheavenly host of Cthulhu and his fellow Lovecraftian entities (I think Nyarlathotep is in goal but I can't be arsed to check right now), one against Godzilla and the rest of his Monster Island gang, alien invasions and so on and so forth. It's probably not quite up there with Maus, but I did what I could with the brain I had at the time. Plus I'm hugely chuffed to have an introduction from Simon Baker who used to edit the Head thus making it seem like a proper book, or at least something that counts for something in terms of the history of fanzine culture.

Some of the jokes are still funny, and the drawing definitely gets better as you go along, and it would make a perfect and inexpensive Christmas present. Also, if anyone wants a freebie for review purposes (providing you actually write a review of it for something or other*) please drop me a line here.

Gillingham 2189 may be purchased by following this link.

*: Should it require statement, I don't hold with this free stuff for praise bullshit, so the content of the review is up to you even if you think my book is fucking awful.

Monday, 11 July 2016

A Target for Tommy

I'm never quite sure what to make of charity anthologies because there seems to be a million of them, and the cause usually looks like a bit of an afterthought from where I'm stood, plus when it comes to Who fiction, I'm not convinced we really need any more, and I'm generally keen to encourage people to read things which aren't Doctor Who.

But what the fuck do I know?

Stuart Douglas of Obverse Books asked me to write something for this, proceeds of which go to someone whom I don't actually know but who seems like a good guy and could clearly use a break, and it just seemed like it would be a extraordinarily wanky of me to say no. So as instructed I had fun with my story which, for those who may care about such things, occurs immediately after the events of The Two Doctors, or my own prehistoric fan novel Smoking Mirror, or Against Nature, or all three, with a special appearance by Señor 105, so that's a whole stack of premium grade fanwank right there.

You're welcome.

Without any conspicuous display of shame or modesty, here's my favourite passage from my own story which is, by the way, called The Time Wrestlers:

'Your people may be the masters of all time and space,' said the luchador in a voice rich with martial confidence, 'but when it comes to fighting as would a man, you seem lacking in certain departments, if you don't mind my saying so.'

The muffled response of a pained not at all sounded from beneath the huge wrestler's bottom, which had now made a seat of the Doctor's face.

There are also contributions from Paul Magrs, Sarah Hadley, Andrew Hickey, Nick Campbell, Rachel Redhead, Blair Bidmead, Simon Bucher-Jones, Paul Cornell plus a whole load of other names who can likewise be relied upon to spin a good yarn in my experience; so if this sounds like your sort of thing, then you will definitely need to buy a copy or two, or maybe even three; except you can't because it's still being edited and printed and whatnot, but you can put in a pre-order right now by following this link. So that's what you should do.

You can find out a little more about what Tommy has been going through by following his blog here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Furthest Tales of the City

What with Royal Mail losing my first complimentary copy in the post and a host of other stuff causing me to look in the other direction, I've just realised that I've thus far failed to spam the shit out of the most recent printed thing to which I've made some contribution. It actually came out last year, but better late than never, I suppose.

For anyone who missed the memo, Philip Purser-Hallard's Of the City of the Saved... is a novel set in a vast post-historical conurbation the size of our galaxy which has become home to every human being who ever lived, every partial-human being who ever lived, and even a few artificially birthed and formerly fictional-humans - Sherlock Holmes and the like. It answers the question what if the afterlife were real? in a science-fiction setting, and remains one of my all-time favourite novels. Since the publication of the novel, the author has edited a number of anthologies - four of them so far - of short stories set in this universe; and I've written a short story called Driving Home for Atonatiuh for the most recent of them. Here's an excerpt:

'Is there anything else I need to know?'

They were in one of the hangars a couple of miles outside of Black Rock, itself a microcosm of Urbem Automata of the Teletopia District. The light was dim, but not so dim as to conceal the vehicle, sleek red and yellow with a bubble of reinforced glass; and mounted at the back, fins so sharp as to remind Nanette of the obsidian knife she had envisioned slashing down within Mike's dim imagination a moment earlier.

'Well, you already know how to pilot one of these babies, Nanette. There isn't much more I can tell you.' He regarded her for a moment. 'It's very much like driving a car, I guess you could say.' His eyes were still and unnerving, more so than was usual for citizens of Urbem Automata.

Some months ago Nanette had realised that Mike's skull could not be of sufficient volume to contain both of those eyes if they were truly spherical, as they would be were he an ordinary baseline human. Being as he was a remake, she assumed his eyes to be simple curved surfaces set into his face, shallow sensory organs grown so as to resemble an approximation of the human eye, with mobile iris and pupil for the sake of appearances.

'I know what you're thinking,' he continued at last, 'but this here is one of the prototypes. Tried and tested, it's completely reliable. You won't need to worry about accidents so long as you drive safely.'

'Okay.' She was surprised to realise that for once he had known what she was thinking. She had believed the vehicle to be unique, and was glad that this was not the case. There didn't seem to be any other way of her returning to Atonatiuh, and the need to get a move on was almost beginning to hurt.

'Hey, Mercury - you gonna be all day? I gotta close this place up.'

The voice came from some technician who stood wobbling near the double doors. The accent sounded like old Brooklyn, or an exaggerated version thereof. He held an oversized spanner in one hand.

'We'll be done soon.' Mike waved back, then turned to Nanette. 'You about ready to get going here?'

She momentarily stared at his eyebrows, thick dark strips of coconut matting sitting at angles across his face - ridiculous. She really needed a break from this.

'Yes, I'm ready, Mike.'

...and thus does she fly off in a fictional car which must remain unidentified for reasons of copyright.

Cough. Cough.

...thus does she fly off to undergo the usual Mexican-themed adventures packed with bewildering mythological references; and mine is just one of seven-ish similarly cranky short stories contained therein. You should totally buy one. You'll love it, I swear.

Furthest Tales of the City is available in electronic form or as a PROPER BOOK from yonder website.