Feeds and Feedback

 RSS Feed

 Feedback Form

 My MSN ID is my email address, so contact me if you want to chat.

My status


Then there's my Twitter Feed. Click to follow me (last 5 tweets below)

Follow Me on Twitter

Recently Read

Iain's bookshelf: read

Yellow Submarine Goodbye, Pert Breasts: The Diary of a Newborn Dad I Shall Wear Midnight: A Discworld Novel Action: Pulse Pounding Tales Volume 1 Tales of Unease (Wordsworth Mystery & the Supernatural) Bunker 10

More of Iain's books »
Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Last.fm

World Community Grid

Getting the mojo going

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve found over the last few months that I’m struggling to write, or at least to write well. Where I used to be able to rattle off a few hundred words without a problem, making full us of what used to be a pretty vast vocabulary I’m now finding myself dribbling out stilted, dull prose.

Whether this is down to a lack of reading, a focus on reviews (on the Moshville Times page), lack of sleep, or whatever else,  I don’t know. But given that I had a couple of short stories published only a couple of years ago, I’m finding it a little annoying.

So I’m setting myself a challenge. Not a New Year’s Resolution – I don’t do them – but something to try and help me dust off the writing skills.

Time allowing, I want to rattle something off every day and put it up here. Something harking back to ye olde days of this fine blog. I appreciate nobody reads blogs any more, which actually helps as no bugger will embarrass me about this. So maybe some rants, some short fiction, some mental splatterings or some utter nonsense. Anything to get the right neurons firing so I’m happy with my writing again.

The one thing I’m happy about is that I already have a few ideas. I just want to flesh them out – and in a time limited style a la Nanworimo on a smaller scale.

Feel free to comment or ignore.

Remote Control

After Effects CS6 logo

Just a short video I made when I was playing with Adobe After Effects. Staggered by how easy it was to get such a good result in very little time.

This is also a test post to check the iframe plug-in I’ve just added!

Review: Bible of Butchery – Cannibal Corpse The Official Biography

Bible of Butchery - Cannibal Corpse The Official Biography
Bible of Butchery – Cannibal Corpse The Official Biography by Joel McIver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a bad read and as decent a history of the band as you’re likely to find.

Based on interviews with the band done quite recently and released to tie in with the new “A Skeletal Domain” album, “Bible of Butchery” makes for a good companion tome. Its weak point is there’s really nothing new or massively revelatory within its pages.

There’s a potted band history and a first-person biography of each member, plus a selection of song lyrics some of which are briefly annotated. In addition, there’s a longer interview section towards the end with more up-to-date questions which covers the bands’ individual touring memories and the like.

Chris Barnes’ time in the band is, of course, mentioned and the terms of his departure aren’t exactly skimmed over. While it’s a part of the current members’ history I’m sure they’re glad is in the past, it would have been good to have had something more details from around that time – and the cherry on top would of course have been to hear Chris’s side of the story. I’m sure there are reasons for that being missing (not least of which is whether Chris wants to talk about it or not), but if there was the ideal place for it to be published then this was it.

The presentation is top notch – Brian J Ames should take a bow – and there are plenty of photos scattered around the blood-trimmed pages to really flesh it out.

I enjoyed reading it, but I think the fact that the band are so damn nice and there’s been relatively (and surprisingly!) little controversy in Cannibal Corpse’s 25 years, the overall story isn’t as full of ups, downs, twists and so forth that could make it more interesting.

For the completist and the mad fan, there’s probably not another book that comes close to covering the band’s history and for this reason I’d recommend it. That and the great artwork.

View all my reviews

Review: Armageddon Outta Here

Armageddon Outta Here
Armageddon Outta Here by Derek Landy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great collection, though some completists will likely already have about half of the material already. What’s left, though, is typically excellent.

A handful of short stories which introduce new characters – some of whom have already made appearances in the novels – and a couple which tie in with major plot threads.

Cream of the crop is one which sits nicely on its own, and doesn’t have any real attachment to any of the existing storylines – Get Thee Behind Me, Bubba Moon. Probably the creepiest story I’ve ever read by Landy.

Some may see it as a way of extending the now-finished Skulduggery series (the final book was published this month), but there’s enough original content in here to make it worth the purchase/library loan.

View all my reviews

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Console Wars is John Grisham for nerds. Predominantly coming over as a “good guy vs the big bad corporation” story, and filled with industry insider detail it’s a surprisingly easy read.

The Sega / Nintendo generation was one I was part of chronologically, but not actually involved in. We had an Atari VCS which led the charge in home consoles before (partly down to wonders such as the E.T. game) crashing spectacularly and taking the whole concept of the “home arcade” with it. By that time, we’d moved onto computers (a Sinclair ZX-81 followed by an Amstrad, then Amiga and onto PCs), which was more common in the UK as opposed to the console-friendly US where Nintendo went on to corner the market.

Until Sega came along.

Console Wars is that story. The battle for market dominance between Mario and Sonic, bracketed by the demise of Atari and the rise of Sony. There are tons of little facts and background stories in here without it coming across as a book of nerd trivia. It’s about the story and the characters first and foremost.

At 558 pages it’s no lightweight, but it’s also not a coffee table book. This is written to be read, not just glanced through occasionally.

If you’re looking for a gift for the geek in your life that’ll get them off the internet for a while yet still keep them quiet, this will almost certainly go down well.

View all my reviews