Monday, June 21, 2010

Hairway to Stell

You're allowed to promote yourself every now and then aren't you? Good...

Buy Stairway to Hell.

Oh, you want a reason? How about because it's better than that other book you were thinking of buying? And if self-praise isn't enough for you, check out this review snippet from David Maine at Popmatters:

This novel works wonderfully well on multiple levels. First, there’s Rik himself, a man who is able to straight-facedly say things like, “I was someone who liked to remain cool and calm in his dealings. Emotion was for my music, and I didn’t want to waste it elsewhere.” Later, reflecting on what sets apart people like himself and Michael Jackson from the common run of humanity, he muses that “a member of the herd doesn’t achieve massive success and global fame. It’s only a special person who can do that, one who has conversations with chimpanzees… That was me.”

On top of this is an overriding, breezy sense of what-the-hell-is-going-on, a result of the contorted plot and even more twisted explanations of same. This is one of those rare books when, really, anything might happen in the next few pages. Rather than feeling contrived, Williams manages to create a milieu in which even the wackiest developments are both seamlessly logical and thoroughly unexpected, not to mention funny. Pop music, time travel, soul displacement? You bet!*
You want another reason? No problem, man. Stairway to Hell makes your hair shine in that non-greasy way, contains the secret to eternal life and is suitable for vegetarians. Also it is currenly only 4 POUNDS at Amazon UK. And $10.76 at Amazon US (is that good?)

And is that enough?

* Much obliged to Mr Maine

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A computer with an old-skool typewriter keyboard? I love it. The idea is insane and yet brilliant. And this pic of the the innards shows why:

Can you appreciate that beautiful interface between analogue and digital? See, there is a future for organisms on this planet, and we won't necessarily be taken over by robots. We just have to work out the right ways to combine the strengths of the natural and synthetic. For example, meatcards.

(Cheers to DB for the link)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The FREE THE MANGEL ONE campaign has now hit 373 members, which is pretty fucking not bad at all. A few more and we'll be on quite good. But you know what level I'm aiming for, don't you, blokes and gentlemen? I'm aiming for top fucking banana.

Ain't there a plane called a 373? A Boing 373 or summat. I ain't been on a plane before but I have been on a helicopter. There was one up by the East Bloater Road once, a big red one parked near a recent road accident, by coincidence. Me and Finney were out there having a laugh in a borrowed Cosworth, pretending like we was American and driving on the right. Mind you, the feller had plenty of time to see us coming so I dunno why he swerved off the road like that, smashing into the bus-stop. Anyhow, me and Fin were alright, parking up behind some trees and coming back a bit later to see if there was anything worth seeing, sticking out bones and stuff. It was Finney who saw the chopper. Engine idling, no one in it. I mean, that is a fucking gift, right?

We got about twenty yards, and it was Finney's fault. I should have taken the wheel, I know. Or the rudder, or whatever the fuck it was. Why did I believe him when he said he'd drove one of them things in the army? Fin wasn't in the army, for fuck's fucking sake. He's a fucking gyppo, for starters, and I'm pretty sure they ain't allowed to join. Not that the bloke chasing us knew that. Fin could have been a general in the SAS for all he knew, the twat. So that's why it was his fault, really, when Fin veered sideways and took some of the bloke's head off with the blades. Just a bit, at the top.

But the main thing to know is we got away and no one saw us. And everyone was alright in the end. Except the bloke. And whoever had to put out the chopper, after we jumped out and it crashed into a conker tree, blowing up a bit. But I ain't ever been in a plane, no.

Not yet anyhow.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Blakey in the Graun

Sam Jordison has written this feature on Royston Blake's predicament in the Guardian books blog. It's a great piece and pretty topical about the state of publishing. Inevitably some of it is doomy and gloomy (especially in the comments section) but I feel that Royston Blake will rise again in book form. Perhaps as a zombie. I could call it Deadfolk! Oh...

Many thanks to Sam for championing the Royston Blake cause.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Rude book

In an idle moment I plugged "Mortacci", the title of my Italian Deadfolk translation, into google translate.

Here is the result. (And if you're in any doubt, click the audio button and hear it spoken aloud in a nice voice.)

And all the while I thought it meant "dead people". No wonder I never got invited to any lit festivals in Italy.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Guest blogger: ROYSTON BLAKE

I see the Writer has been spouting shite again. One mention of him in an article in one of the brainy papers and he's off down the pub, going on about how he's "at the vanguard of a new wave of young writers kicking against the cliches and producing ambitious, challenging, genre-bending works", or whatever. Well...

My dad used to have a mate who drove a Vanguard. And let me tell you, it was a fucking nail. All I remember about it was blue smoke out the back and dust up front as motor after motor frog-hopped you. So being a Vanguard is fuck all to be proud of, you twat.

Plus, right, who's really doing the graft here? The one who sits on his arse and types? Or the one who gets out there and makes things happen, pinging swedes and fighting for peace and justice and keeping them out who ain't welcome? He writes down stories... I fucking AM stories.

Who's the Vanguard now, eh? Actually can I be a Ford Zephyr? Zodiac MK4 at a push.

So if you should see the Writer down the pub, giving it that and bragging about how he's "kicking against the cliches", you just remind him who's wearing the size-twelves here and who's got the steel toe-caps. Then sit back and watch him get wankered on less than fifteen pints. The fucking lightweight.

Oh yeah, and join FREE THE MANGEL ONE, cos there's fuck all point doing "girder-bending works" if they ain't getting published.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Fun lovin' crime writers

Colin Bateman does an interesting piece in today's Guardian blog about funny crime novels - where they came from, what's going on with them now and why they are good things. And oh, look - I get a mention. Hey, people won't think that's why I'm linking the article here, will they?

I have always said you need laughs alongside your dark stuff to even up the balance. The deeper and darker you go, the bigger the laugh required. Then again, when you create an atmosphere of bad vibes it's easy to get a laugh with a fart or something, so maybe it only seems like a bigger laugh. But it's not something I'm aware of while I'm writing. Too much analysis and it all falls apart. I'm going to stop analysing now.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

"Because wanker, probably"

I love automated translation. I love translation in general, and have a lot of respect for the guys and gals who turned Royston Blake's tales into other lingos. I'm not so keen when I find entire texts of those translations posted online, but it at least allows us to consider some possible improvements on the original text. Please turn your critical faculties up to 11 for this extract from the Russian version of Deadfolk (translated back into English via Google translate):

At home I put on my favorite sports suit and collapsed in front of TV. It was a movie about a guy who went and killed the maid, I opened a beer and got ready to watch. I thought it was down to the basement and search base. But the good of it still will not. I was looking for, and it was not there, that's all. And the movie was dull. Each time a man took out a knife and wanted someone to cut, the camera started to show something else. I clicked and found a channel, where two maids sucking and fingering each other's boobs. It was better. I undid his pants and began to watch. After that I CHE-ta very relaxed. Because wanker, probably. I closed my eyes. Just closed on a couple of seconds. I did not sleep, nothing. I was awakened by a call phone. Or a knock at the door. I'm not sure. In any case, wake up, it was not very pleasant. I buttoned up the fly and went up, thinking it was going to her finally can. He opened the door.
Erm, just to reiterate - THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL TEXT. Nor even anything like it. Most of the choicest words here don't even appear in the original. (I think "CHE-ta" is in there somewhere, though.)