Archive for October, 2009

Set a Thief to Catch a Thief

23 October, 2009

I received a ‘now playing’ e-mail from today about a new TV series which airs in the USA from tomorrow — here’s the blurb:

“White Collar” is about the unlikely partnership between a con artist and an FBI agent who have been playing cat and mouse for years. Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), a charming criminal mastermind, is finally caught by his nemesis, FBI Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay).

When Neal escapes from a maximum-security prison to find his lost love, Peter nabs him once again. Rather than returning to jail, Neal suggests an alternate plan: He’ll provide his criminal expertise to help the Feds catch other notorious and elusive criminals in exchange for his freedom. Initially wary, Peter quickly finds that Neal provides insight and intuition that can’t be found on the right side of the law.

“White Collar” New Original Series Premieres October 23, Fridays 10/9c on USA Network.

White Collar

White Collar

Might be worth a look… though we won’t see it in the UK for ages, I suppose…

If you watch it, leave a comment and let us know if it’s any good… 🙂




Octocon 2009 Report

14 October, 2009

There was good news and bad news about the convention at the weekend – the bad news was that due to an unfortunate combination of circumstances, Harry wasn’t able to make it to the convention; the good news was that, although everyone missed Harry, we had a great time anyway…

Highlights of the weekend for me — apart from the obvious good food, good whiskey and good company — were:

Having the opportunity to talk with Guest of Honour Mike Carey, writer of comics, novels and films. I read the first of his Felix Castor novels a few weeks ago — highly recommended.

Meeting up with Dave Lally, rightfully honoured as a guest of honour — though it was weird being at a con where he wasn’t running the video room. Stranger still that he turns sixty this year — surely not?

John Vaughan — writer, director, and possibly not quite human — was behind the Video Vault of Horror, which this year was a presentation of that 1978 classic Starcrash featuring Caroline Monroe, David Hasselhoff and Christopher Plummer. It’s one of those great Italian-produced SF movies with bad script, bad acting, bad sets, bad special effects, bad costumes, and bad hair. And a John Barry soundtrack. If you ever get chance to see it, then do — but don’t pay money for the privilege.

John Vaughan was first up on Sunday morning, placing Jean Luc Picard on trial — a treat for conspiracy theorists. You didn’t know the captain was the villain of the whole Next Generation / Deep Space 9 arcs did you? With impeccable logic (?) John proved that he was in fact… well, you had to be there.

Bill McGrath and Danielle Lavigne hosted a fascinating discussion on whether you could tell a science fiction story through music without accompanying lyrics or narrative. I think the conclusion was that it might be possible, but it is bloody difficult… 🙂

John Vaughan — yes him again — was also the mastermind behind the new Golden Blasters award, which celebrate and recognise the achievements being made in short films in our genre. SF-Fantasy-Horror films are often overlooked by other film awards, so this is a fantastic idea. John presented some of the best short films from around the world from the last couple of years. The judges award (the Silver Blaster) went to the Hungarian film Elobb Utobb (Sooner Or Later), written and directed by Istvan Madarasz, and the audience vote (the Golden Blaster) went to the Irish film The Silent City, directed by RuairĂ­ Robinson.

I saw all of the films and took part in the audience voting — all of the films were great, and it was really tough choosing between them.

Keep an eye open for further news about the Golden Blasters, because next year the competition will be open to new films from across the world, and there’ll be a short screenplay competition too.

In the meantime, you can check out John Vaughan’s most recent short film My Dad and excerpts from his film Valour. I couldn’t locate any video of his lovely creepy film The Boogieman.

I’ll post more on the convention shortly — though I have no intention of mentioning the karaoke… 🙂

— Paul

How to Write Science Fiction

11 October, 2009

Here is the ‘How to’ guide Harry and I put together for a workshop which was conducted at the ALTfiction event in Derby in April 2007.

Writing SF

Stainless Steel Art (38)

9 October, 2009

A few days ago I posted the cover from the French version of The Stainless Steel Rat, Ratinox. The publisher, J.-C. Lattes followed that with a translation of The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge, Ratinox se Venge. Again, the cover art appears to be credited to Keleck.

Art: Keleck

Art: Keleck

Presumably that’s Angelina, and she looks pretty cool with that huge cigar. Jim has an odd expression — he looks like a crazed Ade Edmondson (Vivian in the Young Ones ). If I remember correctly, the red teeth are featured in the first bank robbery of the book, but I don’t remember the Rat having red eyes too…

Octocon 2009 – 2 Days to Go…

8 October, 2009

Octocon, the Irish National Science Fiction convention, will begin on Saturday morning — there’s lots of cool stuff going on, but this is a HH blog, so we’ll concentrate on what Harry will be doing this weekend. 

The official programme of events hasn’t been released yet but… Harry will, I believe, be taking part in three panels during the course of the weekend: a discussion about collaboration with other authors; a question and answer session; and a session which I think we’re giving the modest title of  ‘How to Write a Science Fiction Bestseller’! This will be a discussion of the creation of a major SF work, with some in-depth insights into the writing of the West of Eden trilogy, including such topics as creating an alien race, language and culture, creating an alien world, and getting from orginal idea to final plot. All in the space of an hour.

I’m flying out to Dublin tomorrow at ridiculously-early o’clock, back in the UK late Monday, and will post a full report when I get back.

If you are at Octocon this weekend, come and say hi and have a chat with Harry — that’s what conventions are all about. That and sitting in the bar drinking. 🙂

Stainless Steel Art (37)

2 October, 2009

This one is from the first Spanish edition of The Stainless Steel Rat, published by Editorial Ferma in 1967. There’s no artist credit for this one, as far as I remember — if you know who the artist is, please leave a comment.

Presumably the groovy chick in the background is Angelina, and the guy doing the Incredible-Hulk-about-to-change pose is Jim at the point where he’s taken the mind altering substance in order to be able to think like a psycho … or maybe I’m just trying to read too much into these images? 🙂

Published by Ferma, 1967

Published by Ferma, 1967

Stainless Steel Art (36)

1 October, 2009

This is probably the scariest cover for The Stainless Steel Rat we’ve seen to date — is that a mummified corpse on the cover?

Cover Photo: Bob Wright

Cover Photo: Bob Wright

The photograph is credited to Bob Wright.

This is from the first UK edition, published in September 1966 by Four Square (New English Library)

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