at play in infinity

  I spent Friday both talking and listening at the wildly enjoyable Playful 2011 Conference (that’s me on-stage above – pic @thisisplayful). This post is a very quick follow-on to that. I’ve had quite a few requests for both the talk itself and a list of the writers I mentioned. So, I’ve posted the talk […]

Aliens, invasions, and the act of reading

Nigel Kneale’s masterpieces ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, ‘The Quatermass Conclusion’ and ‘The Stone Tape’ cast a fascinating light on the nature of fiction, because each one shows the future invading from the past. In ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, the Martian invaders are five million year old fossils, in ‘The Quatermass Conclusion’, Neolithic stone circles become […]

Prog horror

Normal service is officially on hold today. So, instead of the usual platitudes, here’s some groovy prog-comedy from the ever magnificent Matt Berry – some prog joy that sounds oddly like the gig I went to last night. Horror followers will of course know MB as ‘Sanch’ from cult horror visionary Garth Marenghi’s deathless ‘Darkplace’ […]

X Factories

I used to quite enjoy the X-Factor (UK’s Pop Idol equivalent) audition round; the combination of the deluded, the talentless, the clearly taking-the-piss and the odd gem was just wonderful. I think the first time I saw it was about when I was running a cabaret night down in Brixton – as a rule, I’d […]

Made from clay

And also, courtesy of Jeff Vandermeer’s blog, some heavy dark weirdness, as the Demiurge enters children’s TV through the Claymation window. Apparently – and unsurprisingly – this was banned for being too disturbing… <EDIT> It’s from a film called ‘The Adventures of Mark Twain’, which according to IMDB is marvellous… another scene apparently features Twain […]

Big things exploding, forever

I was reading about the militarization of space, and ended up pondering the militarization of science fiction TV. Take the Star Trek franchise, for example – a set of shows whose heroes are almost without exception members of the military, working compliantly within military structures to achieve the goals it sets for them. Building on […]

The butcher’s apprentice

I’m at home, watching trailers for upcoming movies on Five. Guns, fisticuffs – combat as a fundamental dramatic component. It’s so all-pervasive, you don’t notice it any more. And I’m sick of it. Sick of the reduction of the subtle emotional conflicts inherent in drama to meatheaded literal battles; sick of the constant presentation of […]

Matrices old and new

I’ve been pondering The Matrix movies lately. Key pieces of plot and character information were offered in animes, computer games, and so on. Back in the day, I thought this was lazy and exploitative. Now, I think I was wrong. Narrative is getting old school. For thousands of years, the great public stories were built […]