The Airship has landed…

…for the second time. That’s right folks. A follow up to my first ever English publication will hit the stores this Saturday 26th October. The official launch will take place at the legendary Bristol Con at exactly 2pm in Panel Room 1. Just sayin’ cause you might wanna turn up.

I’m obviously chuffed that I’ve been given a chance to revisit those characters and that weird setting. Hope you can come and join me and a fine bunch of other authors in celebrating the birth of our brainchild. All beer donations will be graciously accepted!

My appearance at BristolCon will not be, however, limited to the launch and standard boozing at the bar. I’ve also managed to secure a space at a panel discussing if Sci-Fi is harder to write than Fantasy. I will be exchanging thoughts and arguments in the fine company of Rosie Oliver, Jaine Fenn, Daniel Kelly and Greg Chivers. If you’re interested find us in Panel Room 2 at 1pm.

And finally, if you’d like to hear me stutter into the microphone, please pop in at 12.50 to the Panel Room 2 for a little sample of my writing. Who knows, you might even like it.

“Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks!” to quote Porky Pig. See you Saturday and for now I leave you in the company of Polish bands: Żywiołak and Percival Schuttenbach. Both of which had some serious influence on my writing. Curious how? Ask me.

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Easy muffins

don’t exist. We all know it, yet we all would sometimes like to not remember. This post was going to be about ‘Stoney Street’. There is one, that I’m fond of, in the town I now live. It’s a nice ‘character’ street. But the real stony street is inside.

I grew up in what some of you would call ‘coal country’. Dead in the centre of a city made of concrete and contradictions. Exploited for centuries by Germans, Polish and the local population alike. Where whole districts welcome you with slogans such as “Witamy w krainie, gdzie obcy ginie” (loose translation – I beg forgiveness) “Welcome to the land where the outsider dies”. And at the same time home to the largest park inside a city in Europe and more than 900 years of history.

Covered with red brick, concrete and asphalt, there’s a lot of ‘stoney’ places about. They glisten when the heavens open. And there’s a special kind of crouching alertness to it late at night. Like… Well, if you grew up in the city, you know what I mean.

Below song, was with me when I trotted the empty streets, risked life going through old military training grounds and gawked at the sky in futile attempt to see the stars. Whenever I hear it, a piece of my, call it soul for lack of better terminology, opens and I’m back home, dangling feet from the 4th storey window of my room, listening to the hum of civilisation and soaking in a panorama of dirty rooftops bathed in the light of sodium-vapor lamps.

Made by Amon Tobin, whilst titled ‘Easy muffin’, to me will always remain Stoney Street. Why? Well that’s another story.

Enjoy this muffin!

Alive

Still alive and kicking. There will be changes coming and more regular posts. Well… as regular as I can muster but still. It will get lively, though not all posts will be about writing.  So to start…

Open your seventh ear to the beauty of Nitrogen. By Juno Reactor. One of the early psychedelia I used to regularly include in my dj sets.
Here combined with Alejandro Jodorovsky’s disturbing visions from ‘Holy Mountain’.

Da thang!

October shenanigans & BristolCon

Time flies and is never available in sufficient quantities when most desired.

Things are happening in my life. Not all of it good and not all of it I’m willing to share here, but stay with me and find out about the fun stuff.

I will be reading a story at the “Tales from the Graveyard“, which is a literary event of spooky stories presented to you by the North Bristol Writers as part of the Bristol Festival of Literature. It will take place on 19th October at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol with a start date of 7pm. The event requires tickets, so go, friend, go! Get one!

So that’s 19th. Then, on the 28th, there’s the famous BristolCon, taking place at Double Tree Hotel in Bristol. The program for it has been released now and I’m happy to report that my name appears on it twice. First, I will take part in panel discussion about languages in science fiction and later on I will host a workshop helping you write that perfect dialogue. So don’t be shy, pop along.

I’m obviously super excited and moderately anxious about running the workshop, but I know there will be ample amount of time during the day to catch up with friends in the bar. The full program can be found here and as always, there are far to many things I’d like to see/attend at once.

In the meantime, I leave you with something for the ear. Or two. Because tradition and all…

First, a piece of Mongolian folk metal, because why not. And on top of that it has throat singing.

Second is something slightly different and a bit more… jumpy with a very lively video. Enjoy!

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.

 

An open Letter to the 498 MPs who voted for Article 50

Yeah. I don’t usually blog political stuff but that…. That pretty much sums it up!

The Great British Moronathon

Dear Morons,

So you’ve done it then. To show a small number of little-englander xenophobes that they should vote for you instead of UKIP, you’ve shot your own country and its population in the fucking face  (Note: they won’t vote for you anyway).  You’ve taken one look at the right wing press and a handful of crackpots threatening rioting in the streets, cacked your pants, and sold the people, your people, down the river.

Labour MPs (apart from the rather heroic 47 who put their conscience and country before their frankly nuts party), you’ve handed the most right-wing Conservative government ever a blank cheque to enact the most painful Brexit possible.  Of course, it won’t be you who suffer, but your constituents, so that’s okay, no? Is it perhaps that the bigger the shit-fest May makes of it, the more you think Labour can capitalise? Or is it because you…

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A nice mention from Nash. Take a look, and while you’re there, read his stuff. You won’t get disappointed.

Eric Nash

this-twisted-earthMore news from the Nameless Writing Group although rather belated. Piotr Świetlik’s short story, Curiosity Is A First Step, has been published in the anthology, This Twisted Earth, by Six Minutes To Midnight, a division of Great British Horror. The anthology was launched this year at FantasyCon.

Nice one, Piotr!

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News from the Nameless Writing Group

Stealing this one. Congratulations to B!

Eric Nash

Congratulations to B Anne Adriaens, poet, writer and member of the Nameless Writing Group who has made her first publication. The transatlantic webzine and online publisher of dystopian poetry, flash fiction and photography, The Bees Are Dead, has featured Miss B’s poem, CWM. Here’s what they said about it:

“This prosaic poem offers an unrelenting and vivid exposition of abandoned Welsh industry. 

Adriaens takes us by the hand and pulls us through a rusting forest of steel; her descriptions confessing a strange base excitement amidst the unheimlich, intertwining context of the natural and mechanical. 
From an objective point of view, the scenes within this poem could be that of a suburban love story, but via our narrator’s sensory stream of consciousness, we are treated to a speculative glimpse of the post-apocalyptic…”

And here’s the link to CWM.

Way to go, B!

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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.

 

Good News – Art of Forgetting : Rider Now FREE on Kindle!

Here’s an exciting offer to grab Jo’s book for free. Check it out and spread the word further.

Joanne Hall

Good news, everyone!

For a strictly limited period (approximately the next 48 hours) The Art of Forgetting : Rider will be available for FREE (nothing, zip, nada, squat!) on Amazon Kindle. You can download it now!

Art-of-Forgetting-Digital-even-lower-resWe’re really hoping to get a lot of downloads out of this so the book can reach as wide an audience as possible, and pick up some new readers. So please, download it if you can. If you’re already downloaded it or you don’t do Amazon (I know some of you don’t, and I respect that) then tell your friends about it, tweet and retweet about it using #lgbt or #fantasy or even #freebooks (or all three if you have the space), share on Facebook or your own platforms. Let’s see if we can crack that elusive Amazon top ten!

Edited to add – Sammy has just told me that AOF : Rider…

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