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Wrapping noodles round ears

You might wonder, after reading the above title, if I’ve gone completely bonkers. And regardless of the fact that it might just be the case, I’ll try to make some sense. The phrase is a translation of a Polish saying, which basically means to talk lengthy. And why do I tell you that? Well, it’s something of a warning. Few things have happened since my last post that I would like to tell you about. It might take me few words so bear with me.

First of all, I’d like to tell you about an exciting project my friend is coercing me to take part in. It’s a brand new radio show, that will air on Frome FM and will feature speculative fiction authors. It will be a melange of interviews, music and readings meant to promote authors known and unknown. When? Not entirely sure yet. We haven’t picked the date up yet and we’ll likely record a session or two before going live to have a backup in case life happens. But I’ll keep you posted.

Secondly, I read. Publicly. It was, as always, a slightly scary experience. Especially that there were people in the audience. Living people. More than two dozens of them, might I add. True, the crowd was there mostly due to the fact I was reading alongside this year’s Clark’s nominee, the lovely Emma Newman. It always amazes me that after nearly two decades of dj’ing experience, role playing, LARPing and hosting radio shows, once I stand there with a piece of my own writing, I turn into a stuttering mumbler. That being said, the crowd was kind, didn’t escape and stayed for the Q&A session as well. If you’d like to have a listen to myself, Emma or even both, head over here. Post some comments if you wish and hopefully I’ll see you next time.

SPOILER ALERT – the following might give you unwanted insight into pieces of pop-culture.

Now, I know I mostly share “writerly” stuff, but I’d like to ramble a bit about the products of culture I have recently consumed. First of all, let me explain something. I rarely have time to sit down and watch something in peace or read a book in other locations than the toilet or just before I fall on my face at 2am. There are various reasons for that but only one outcome – a huge delay with my ‘to watch’ and ‘to read’ piles. Excuses, I know. Anyway, me and wife finally managed to scrape up some time to see few of the movies we were putting off for later. First of them was “The Arrival”, based on a short story by Ted Chiang. And let me tell you, it was so far the best sci-fi film I’ve seen this year. The visuals were great, the story was fantastic and the acting was good as well. Call me weird but two things really got me in this movie. It’s a story of alien contact/possible invasion (at least as seen from the human point of view) yet there are no epic battle scenes, even though there was potential to show some. It is also a love story, with tangible tension between the main characters but *SPOILER ALERT* there are no sex scenes present. Hell, we need to wait for the kiss almost the entire movie. It’s intelligent and moving, sometimes funny and rather hints things than hits you in the face with them. Summing up, I you haven’t yet, watch it. It’s well worth your time.

Now the other two were slightly more disappointing. The first was Independence Day: Resurgence (not to be confused with Independents Day or Independence Daysaster – yes, there are movies with those titles…). We sat down hoping to get a good run for the money, what with modern special effects and mature Jeff Goldblum. Unfortunately, it was a disappointing couple of hours. Sure, the visual side was ok (though nothing I would really want to watch again), the story, however… my God, was it boring! I’m not even going to touch on the amount of paper thin tropes that were used to prop up the plot. I managed to dose off for a minute during the culmination scene which is something that just does not happen. Ever. All in all it was a disappointing experience, which leads me to the last home-viewed movie I wanted to share thoughts about.

The “Jupiter Rising”. Yes, I know it’s “old” and there possibly isn’t anything new I can tell you about it. Especially that I had mixed feelings about it. I enjoyed the visual side of it. The ships anyway. They were a nice, decadent, artistic in vision that appealed to me and, for one reason or another, brought to mind Enki Bilal’s “Nikopol” trilogy. That being said, the aliens… I mean, c’mon! I could swallow the winged dinosaurs and happy-faced androids, hell, even the Mickey Mouse assistant to one of the royals, but for the love of Thor, what was Bambi doing there, flying the cop’s space ship?! The story was also a bit… call it simplistic. But halfway down the film we’ve stopped (because kids…) and talked about it with wife and quickly realised this movie was made for teenagers. This made the dialog and some of the plot pot holes easier to bear. Still, I’m not sure if I want to recommend it to anyone. I suppose if you want to see some funky ship designs and have time to waste, you could do worse.

Finally, there’s “Ghost in the Shell”. As a sideline, can I tell you we have an amazing cinema in Frome? Yes? Well, I just did. Anyway, I’ve seen some negative opinions on the movie (some of them very idiotic indeed). People moaned it didn’t have the full original soundtrack, the actress wasn’t Asian (which actually was as in the anime) and so on. But personally I think it was a good adaptation. The acting was superb, the visuals didn’t disappoint and Batou in my opinion looked just perfect! Speaking of soundtrack, during the movie it was nicely non-intrusive and I thought that using the main theme from the anime as a closing song was a brilliant idea. Especially to people who, like me, knew and loved the original work. It made me want to go home and watch it again. It worked.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I stumbled across a platform called Dust recently, which hosts sci-fi short films. This one I liked quite a lot even though the story could be made better. Check it out and check the other ones as there’s loads to discover there.

So, there you are. I better shut up now and leave you with something for the ear in anticipation for the next post, which will hopefully appear a bit sooner. First is something I used as one of the background songs when I wrote “Curiosity is the first step” story. The second is just a nice piece of 90’s trance.

And remember, you can always say hello in the comments. I usually don’t bite.


Publication and other deathly creatures

A lot has happened in the last months, therefore my apologies to those few who visit here for keeping quiet.

Life is a strange thing. As is creativity. You can mill over a question in your head, a half formed idea and then just like in a cheap comic book, k-pow, in a middle of an unrelated sentence, halfway down a coffee cup or in a middle of a shower, the complete answer pops into reality. Sometimes. Other times it’s like pulling a millstone on your own – hard and with little visible result until you gather the dust and make bread. The months that has passed from my previous post were a full mixture of both of above.

14369911_715467695272365_5394313979286190288_nThe coming months will also be full of events and work.  Some of it, might even interest you (win
k, wink). Firstly, there is this big event called Fantasycon-by-the-Sea in Scarborough this weekend, which I will be attending. And I would not usually share it with you if not the fact that I will be present at a launch of “This Twisted Earth” anthology published by Six Minutes To Midnight, which contains my rather long short story. It goes without saying that I am really pleased to be published next to the fine authors listed in the table of contents. Things like that give me a kick in the back side and make me think that perhaps all of this was not a mistake after all.

Anyhow. The event will take place at 1pm Sat 24th, so stop by, grab a glass, chat, perhaps even get a scribble if you’ve bought a copy. The volume will be available at the con or via Amazon here. And… oh what the hell! Paraphrasing LMFAO’s lyrics, I’m thrilled and I want you to know it. We’ve already received some nice reviews on Goodreads. Check them out here. So, Saturday, 1pm, got it, right? See you there.

Moving on. As I said, this is an autumn full of pleasant happenings. I have managed to grab some tickets to see Jean Michel Jarre’s concert in Cardiff for myself and Magda, which was an item on the bucket list to be ticked and a childhood’s dream fulfilled.

Following galavanting in Caerdydd, I will be reading an excerpt from a new short story during the Egyptian event in Bristol Museum’s Assyrian Gallery. Ancient deities and science fiction will be combined for your entertainment, so come along. The event is part of Bristol Festival of Literature, it’s free and details about it can be found here.

And last but not least, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of you during this year’s BristolCon, which will take place 29th October. I’m not on any panels this year (overslept with the participation form) so should have plenty of time to catch up with friends. And if there really are any gods of wine and tits and roleplay, make them hear my prayer and make them bless the gaming evening!

Traditionally, let me leave you with something for the ear. Or both. Jaromir Nohavica in a Czech blues and Kaminanda in atmospheric piece with flutes.


Night lights

I lost a friend today. He died few days ago but I’ve only found out today, blurring the then and now line. I’m left empty, sad, angry, but mainly I still cannot believe he’s gone. The surreality of the fact is too overwhelming.

He was one of the kindest people I’ve met since my migration to this country. I’ve only crossed paths with David couple of years ago, during one of the sci-fi pub meets and liked him from the start. We shared a few long conversations finding out our interests and tastes overlapped greatly, still leaving enough space for each one to be able to surprise the other.

I had not known David as long, or as well as I would have liked it, and here lies the main source of my anger. I egoistically feel robbed of his bright intellect, of the twisted corners of his sense of humour and the company of a person with whom I shared more things than not.

He was a person I looked up to, admired and respected for his cheerful relentlessness in pursuing his dreams, which were so close to my own. He was a great writer and a lovely human being and I will miss him. He inspired me and gave me confidence and faith in my abilities. I hope will rest in peace and that the rest of us will not forget him.

There is a beautiful piece of dialogue that I will quote, risking sounding like a pompous ass:
“I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we’ve exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that is going will very much miss the part of you that is staying.”

I know he did like the first piece of music below and I think he would have enjoyed the second one as well.

Farewell David J Rodger, the part of me that is staying will very much miss the part of you that has left.

Frome, Bristol and other ungodly places

A lot has happened since my last entry here, so I will try to recap the most interesting points.

Firstly, I’ve managed to sell a flash piece to the ‘365 tomorrows’ e-zine. It’s a wee little piece inspired by Popol Vuh, Zelazny and lack of sleep. If you wish to spend a brief moment of your life reading it, it’s available here.

Now, with that out of the way, let me tell you about a great literary evening I’ve attended in July during Frome Festival. It was organised by the Frome SF Group (yes, I am a member) and featured readings from a lot of local and slightly less local authors, including David J Rodger. He did a nice entry about it here. There are some pictures (in no particular order) available, so feast yer eyes.

Eric Nash

Eric Nash

Justin Newland

Justin Newland

John Walton

John Walton

Andy Bigwood

Andy Bigwood

B Anne Adriaens

B Anne Adriaens

David J Rodger

David J Rodger

Piotr Świetlik

Piotr Świetlik

After that, the holidays happened (they do have a tendency to creep up on one) and I was lucky enough to be off and away for three weeks. Return to the real world was somewhat painful but it was quickly sweetened by the fabulous BristolCon. It has been my fourth appearance and as always I enjoyed it immensely. The event is steadily growing each year, which is both good and bad. Good, because the quality and interest from the fandom are increasing; bad because the more people come, the harder it is to catch all of them within a space of a day as well as attend panels, view artists room and check what the dealers are offering. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed it and managed to catch up with some friends from as fas as London whilst managing to meet some new ones. The only disappointment was that the gaming evening to which I was looking to, didn’t happen. But well, will make it up next year!

Since I’ve covered most of the events between March and November (the interesting ones anyway), let me tell you about something that is about to happen. It is with great pleasure that I can say I will be reading my work as part of the North Bristol Writers group during the Sanctum. Don’t know what the Sanctum is? Despair not, my friend. Check the link instead. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to publicise our timed slots, but if you know me (in ‘real’ life, through Facebook or other), there’s a good chance you’ve already received a pestering message from me inviting you to the exact time and date to listen to me ramble to the microphone. If not, let’s get acquainted. As you can imagine, I am thrilled to be reading there and really looking forward to it.

And that is, as they say, it. For now anyway. There is more to come pretty soon, so hope you’ll stay with me and I promise to update things a little more frequently. To keep a tradition going, have a listen to the superb Kayla Scintilla’s ‘Light of the North’, as mentioned in David’s post.

Expect me, when you see me 😉


As time moves on I’m getting tempted to write about the recent distractions in my life especially that there’s been a few. The first and foremost, my daughter, but I already boasted about her earlier, so will refrain from it this time. Her subject does, however indirectly, lead on to one of the projects I’m working on, which is an educational board game for kids and adults taking place in the solar system. The first draft is nearly completed, so we’ll be doing some test plays with my son next week. If all goes well… well, then I’ll let you know.

On another note, I wanted to share some of the good things I’ve seen and read recently. First was the ‘door wedge’ style novel “Great north road” by Peter F Hamilton. A murder mystery/action fiction set in futuristic world where the only know alien life form is inadvertently hostile and alien to the point of working under different physics rules. I’ve seen some complaints on the net about this book, mainly because of the level of detail given to the police investigation. However, although I can see why that could be seen as a negative trait by some, the narration is so fluent, I didn’t feel I was losing time reading about it.

Speaking of great sci-fi visions I have to mention the few good movies I’ve managed to watch in the past few weeks. Admittedly not all of them new, but hey – c’est la vie. Firstly, I’ve finally got to see the ‘Elysium’, which was visually stunning, though had predictable story-line. What I really liked about it, was the vision of ultimate gated community and relentless use of robots and drones to control the population. Tim Maughan reviewed it very well here, so I will refrain from further comments, just stating that it was well worth watching.

Secondly, slightly fresher picture, was the ‘Edge of tomorrow’ with Tom Cruise. I know that a lot of people don’t like Cruise because of his Scientology connections but frankly, on the screen I prefer to judge him as an actor. And when it comes to acting, he does a good job, no questions asked. ‘Edge of tomorrow’ is a story of alien invasion on Earth that did not go well for the humans. It was actually a relief to watch it, while still having in memory the boring ‘Battle for Los Angeles’ or even ‘Pacific Rim’ (don’t get me wrong I loved the latter movie because of the BIG ROBOTS but it had a story as flat as a pancake). Although ‘Edge…’ geographically spans through several countries, most of the story is neatly compacted to a single day’s events. Somebody called it a combination of Groundhog Day, Starship Troopers and Source code and it’s not a far fetched comparison, as it borrows from those movies a lot. The CGIs are smooth and visually it’s a feast. The tone of the movie, despite the backdrop of invasion and soldiers dying by the dozens, is rather light and tends to veer of towards wit, fun and action. All in all, a good evening entertainment.

Finally, there was ‘Utopia’ upon which I stumbled accidentally few weeks ago and its first few minutes swept me off my feet. First of all I have to admit I’m wary of European  sci-fi series, which is I admit, a bit ridiculous, but there you go. There reason for that is I’ve seen few and they lacked some kind of finishing touch that would make their otherwise interesting stories, compelling. Having said that, ‘Utopia’ represented everything I was looking for in a mystery/conspiracy/sci-fi series. Let’s start with story arc. Being aware that a lot of people haven’t seen it, I’ll just say that the characters (who are – with few exceptions – a regular bunch of people) and their personal stories neatly intertwine with the evil (or not so?) corporation agenda that is indeed world spanning. The actors are decent and I have a high praise for Neil Maskell for his fantastic creation that will haunt my dreams for years to come. Now, I have to admit that for a couple of episodes I wasn’t sure if ‘Utopia’ will turn into a bizarre comedy like ‘LEXX’ or not. The credit for that goes to Cristobal Tapia De Veer, who’s weirdly joyful compositions thrown in contrast to the scenes of brutality and remorselessness are a big part of the series’ charm. And while mentioning scenes of brutality, although corpses are not short in supply, the creators managed not to show most of the actual action, which seems to be the ache of a lot of American productions. What finally needs mentioning and praise are the outdoor shots, which are done with high colour saturation and add to the general surreal atmosphere of ‘Utopia’. Definitely worth watching.


Since this post took me over a week to write in small instalments, there’s one more thing alas a major one to mention. BristolCon 2014. Posts and blog entries pop around with high praise and rightly so, still I decided to add to the pile. This was the third time I’ve attended BristolCon and as far as one day conventions go – it’s a perfect blend of panels, workshops and ‘off-the-record’ discussions. This year As always, I came back with a backpack full of books. Some of them purchased, some swapped on the book exchange table which debuted this year and seemed to be an immediate success. One of them was a comic album ‘Hector Umbra’ by Uli Oesterle. Great artwork, interesting, intricate story lines and the colours! The sentence that summarises Hector: Hellboy and John Constantine, meet Hector Umbra. He’s got a cooler record collection than either of you. Read it, you won’t regret it.

This years BristolCon was also my first time participation in a panel discussion on author’s inspiration. We’ve covered subjects spanning from Bible through Moliere, Agatha Christie and Joanne Hall to Dan Brown, archeology and movie inspirations. It was a scary type of fun, but I hope to repeat it some time again. I then went to a workshop with Pete Newman on ‘getting unstuck’, which was accidentally very helpful. I say accidentally because going in I was not sure if I was really stuck or whether I just lacked the kick in the back side to push on (bit of both it turned out). I also owe Pete thanks for his ‘just 50 words’ advice which made me white a couple thousands words in the last few days. The day closed with a gaming session of ‘Ricochet Robots’ and ‘Warewolf’ which made me regret not living nearer to Bristol.

Summarising a fantastic day of excitement, laughter and interesting conversations that requires a massive thank you to Jo Hall and all the organisers. I shall definitely be there next year. May BristolCon live long and prosper!

And to revive and old tradition of mine, I leave you with something for the ear. Or even two. Or more if you happen to have any lying about. Enjoy.