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Resurrection

Well hello there, how’re you doing?

Since before last Christmas I’ve been working on a collection of short stories. The stories had been knocking around in my head for quite some time, and so I thought they deserved to be brought into the world. I had a title for the book of this collection. I had a cover all worked out. I had a list of the stories I was sure I wanted to include, and a list of others I’d put in if there was room.

I set about this task in good spirits. I mean, how hard could it be, right? I had everything I needed. Piece of cake.

Wrong.

Every time I worked on one story, my mind would wander to another. Work on that other story instead, and I’d be thinking about yet another. Progress was slow. Progress was painful.

Something was wrong here. The words weren’t flowing and I needed to find out why. This past weekend I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, peering into the recesses of my mind, looking for the cause.

And I found it.

Sunset behind the clouds over Quintrell Downs in Cornwall.After I’d published my short story ‘Watcher’, I started work on another, longer tale. The story of Paul Bowscar came to life rapidly, the boy would never shut up, his tale needed to be told, and he was damn sure he was going to make sure I wrote it all down. He was constantly in my head. Talking incessantly, eager to be heard. Morning, noon and night.

Then one day – silence. Nothing at all. Paul had left, gone to wherever his own negative bind had taken him. The words dried up, the story stalled.

But no longer. Paul is back. Maybe he took exception to me writing things other than his story, who knows. But back he is, and it’s time to complete his tale.

So, The Negative Bind has been resurrected. How long will it take? Who can tell, and Paul certainly isn’t telling. He’ll get to the end when he’s good and ready.

Small excerpts might be posted from time to time. They might not. But this story will be told, one way or the other.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Books, Writing

 

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Well then, Merry…

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So here it is, merry Christmas, everybody’s having…

What? Wait…

Everybody isn’t having fun. A cold December rain is pelting against the window, a brisk gale is blowing soggy, dead leaves into the face of any poor pedestrian unfortunate enough to be outside. Low clouds race across the sky, the colour of lead, and just as heavy with the gallons of rain they carry. It’s midday, yet I had to put the lights on in order to see what I’m doing.

Talking of lights – the lights on my Christmas tree are flashing crazily, though they’re not supposed to. They’re static lights, just meant to sit there glowing prettily, not try their hardest to mimic a deranged 80’s disco strobe light. Still, last year they didn’t light up at all, just emitted a low, ominous buzzing sound if you were brave enough to plug them in, so I suppose it’s a step up.

My central heating works when it feels like it. Right now it feels like it, and it’s akin to a tropical jungle in here. I’m kind of worried about the way the carpet is steaming, and I’m sure I heard a giant anaconda hissing from beneath the sofa. Later on the heating will go on strike again, and I’ll be back to battling polar bears for the best spot on my little iceberg.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut, you know what? I’m content enough. I forced myself to get prepared for Christmas early this year, and yesterday I finished up everything I needed to do. Presents have been bought, cards written and posted. I have enough food, and more importantly, alcohol, to see me through to the 27th. No fighting through hordes of zombie-shoppers for me, no arguing over the last Christmas pud on the supermarket shelf. I’ve been smart, for once.

So the rain can pelt the windows as much as it wants. The wind can blow and howl until it’s blue in its figurative face. Storm Barbara can do her worst, I don’t give a fuck.

It’s Christmas, it’s a time for giving. And no, I don’t mean the overpriced crap that is bought for family and friends in a vain attempt to outdo said family and friends. The greatest gift that can be given is friendship and understanding.

Okay, so that might be two presents. But still…

With all the shit going on in the world right now – the terrorist atrocities, the civil wars, the Western fuelled conflicts, the racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, not to mention orange hued Trumps – take a step back, inhale a deep breath, relax, and be thankful you have those friends and family around you.

Smile more. Be pleasant. Treat every stranger as a friend not yet met, not as a potential threat. Be forgiving. Be understanding. Learn the art of patience. Winning really isn’t everything – it’s more important to have fun and make others smile.

Love. Laugh. Live life as though it’s the only one you’ll get.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

So over the next few days, eat too much, drink too much, laugh too much, love too much. Be grateful for what you have got, forget what you haven’t got.

Have yourselves a very merry Christmas, and I’ll see you soon for the new year.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on December 23, 2016 in Random

 

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Story! New. Buy it. Now.

So, just a quickie. Because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a quickie…

Christmas is almost upon us. Peace on Earth. Good will to all men. And all that other happy stuff.

Bah humbug.

Stuck for a present to buy the person you don’t really like? Well, I have a short story published on Amazon – the link is over on the right somewhere. It’s cheap too.

So that’s sorted then. Excellent.

twentysevenOn the other hand, if you want a really good story to read, then this bad boy by Jack Binding came out yesterday. I haven’t, as yet, had the time to read and review it myself (sorry Jack), but having read Jack’s other stories I have no doubt it’s well worth the buy and read.

So, do yourself a favour, click the image, or >>>HERE<<<, and buy yourself an early Christmas present.

I might write again before Christmas. Then again, I might not. Either way, have yourself a good one. Try not to kill anyone. Save it for the new year, it’s more apt.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Books

 

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The Key

Quite a long while ago I was challenged to write a story based on a certain image.

key This image, to be exact.

Well, as so often happens, life, and various other things got in the way and the story never got written, although I had a good idea of what I wanted to write. Time has gone on, far too much time, and I’ve been so caught up in doing other things – earning money in order to be able to pay the bills and feed oneself, what a drag that is – that I haven’t done any writing for myself.

Plenty for other people. None at all for me. Now, that kinda sucks, so I decided it’s time I did something about it.

And shock horror! Today I actually put pen to paper. Well, typed words on a screen. Same thing. I didn’t produce much, a thousand words or so, as the writing machine is kinda rusty due to lack of use. But it is oiling up nicely. The words aren’t exactly flowing, but they are seeping out slowly.

Who knows, if you’re good I might even post an extract.

Or not.

Anyway, as always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Writing

 

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Red Dead Two?

What does it mean?

rockstar

So yesterday, Rockstar Games tweeted the above image, and also placed it on the landing page of their website, subsequently setting the gaming portion of the internet on fire. But, why?

Intriguing. Because of the logo, it’s more than likely a Red Dead Redemption announcement is on the cards. Ever since the release of the highly popular Red Dead Redemption video game, people have been eagerly waiting and hoping for a sequel.

Rockstar has a proven history of similar teasers. They’re not a company who spends time advertising and discussing what they’re doing as they’re doing it. Rather, they just get on with things and then make an announcement or a reveal when they’re good and ready. But, in all honesty, any new game announcement from Rockstar is worth sitting up and taking notice of.

If it is a new Red Dead, then when will the new story be set, which period of history will we see? Well, no point being in the Wild West, as, obviously, they have already done that. Similarly, there’s no need bringing it to present day as you’d just end up with GTA VI. So, from the end of the Wild West era in 1895, what do we have, in the US, that would make a good backdrop for a story? Well, there was the World’s Fair in 1904, followed by the slow birth of modern technology. As exciting as all that would have been at the start of the 20th century, for a Red Dead setting it would be a bit bland. Then there’s the creation of the FBI in 1908, but would that suit a character like John Marston, or his relation/descendant? I think not. For all his good points, he is still an outlaw at heart. The US joining World War I in 1917 would have been a possibility, if not for the release of Dice’s Battlefield 1.

If it was me, I’d move forward to the early/mid 1930s, and more specifically the ‘Dust Bowl’ – the area of the Great Plains region devastated by drought during the Great Depression. For a character with the cliché traits of Marston – bad guy with a heart, willing to go to any lengths to protect those he loves, even though he’s supposed to be the ‘romantic loner’ – there is ample scope for a very immersive story line. Whole towns emptied as the crops failed, and money and food ran out. Residents packed up all they could carry and moved on, in the hopeless search for something better. Unscrupulous companies and businessmen took ruthless advantage of the needy. A whole class of society dispossessed, left with no choice but to go to any lengths in order to survive. Marston, or more likely Marston’s son/daughter, would definitely have any number of causes to throw their weight behind.

But those are just my thoughts.

Whatever the game turns out to be, it’s Rockstar, so I’m sure it’ll be awesome and worth waiting for.

If you have a specific time period you’d like to see a new Red Dead game to be set in, let me know in the comments, it would be interesting to see other’s ideas on the subject.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Uncharted 4 – My Thoughts.

If you know me, you’ll know it’s very rare for me to post a review about something on here. Not for any other reason than pure laziness, to be honest. But, here we go…

 

uncharted4

So, I finished Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End yesterday. Awesome game. End of review… Ha, not really.

Have to admit, I lowered the difficulty from hard to moderate half way through though. Not because I found it too hard – in fact I liked trying the fight sections over and over to find the best way to get through, it was a challenge and led to a good sense of achievement. But I was so entranced with the actual story I didn’t want it to be interrupted too much. Very well written, a thrill ride from start to finish. Being a bit of an adventurer myself I love adventure stories, and Uncharted 4 fits the bill perfectly, with the action moving smoothly from one situation to the next, one location to another.

The characters are wonderfully written, each with their own unique quirks and flaws. In any story it’s important that the reader/viewer/gamer actually cares about the protagonist. Indeed, if you don’t care about them, why should you worry when they experience difficulties or find themselves in danger? Even the bad dudes are likeable in their own ways. Sure, you’re not supposed to care so much about them as you do about the heroes, but nevertheless, they still have a certain something which I at least could emphasise with.

Best move on to the pros and cons, I suppose…

Pros: 

The visuals. The game looks good, as in stunning. The details are incredible, the vistas are awesome. Add in the included ‘photo mode’ and you can easily waste a great deal of time lining up the perfect snap. And even then, you can waste even more time with the filters, frames and numerous other picture enhancing tools.

The characters. Likeable, entertaining, with a good and easy rapport between themselves.

The story. Exciting adventure. If that’s your kind of thing then you’re on to a winner here. It flows well, drawing you merrily along from one scene to the next, with the (not overly long) cut scenes fleshing out the narrative. The treasure hunting bug is infectious, and I found myself not willing to leave until I had at least set eyes on Avery’s treasure, damn it!

Cons: 

Game mechanics. Sometimes they can be a little clunky. On more than a few occasions my A.I. controlled buddy got in my way. Mostly not a problem, but the few times they prevented me from rolling away from an explosion were a tad annoying. Your character takes its time recovering from action animations – you can’t, for example, roll and then immediately roll again, you have to wait for your dude to stop rolling, stand up and reset. That being said, this is not a first person shooter, where lightning fast reflex actions are required. It’s an interactive adventure story, and so should be treated as such.

Immersion. So there you are, in a long lost cave, trying to solve puzzles set hundreds of years ago by a long dead pirate. You’re tired, cold, aching from a recent fall, and all you want to do is get up onto the next ledge so you can move on. But it’s too high up to reach. If only you had something to stand on. You look around, there must be something… ah yes, over there, that modern crate which is on handy castors so you can easily move it to where it’s needed. And just like that, for a moment, your immersion is lost. Why is that crate there? Just where did it come from? Thankfully these moments are few and far between. But still, a few handy sized rocks would’ve done the trick, don’t you think?

And there you have it. The pros, in my mind, far outweigh the cons, and I really, really, enjoyed the game. There is a multiplayer game included, which I haven’t explored fully, but so far it’s a lot of fun.

Should you get this game? Well, that’s not for me to say, and all of the above is just my humble opinion. Everybody has different tastes, so you must do your own research and make up your own mind before parting with your money.

If you do get it, or indeed already have it, then let me know, I love to hear other people’s opinions.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Gaming

 

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Oh No, People Are Angry…

It’s been a while, huh? Well, tough. Real life and real work do tend to get in the way a lot of the time. But, anyway…

NMS

No Man’s Sky – yes, that game. Either liked or loathed. I, for one, like it. Yes, I’m well aware of the many flaws it contains. I also understand why they’re there, and appreciate what’s being done about them.

I read an article about how some gamers are angry and upset about what’s in the centre of the galaxy, and so thought I’d have a little rant. The article is available here, but contains spoilers. So, you know, don’t go there if you don’t want to know.

People are angry about what happens when they get to the centre… well, boo fucking hoo. If they’d been paying attention they would have realised that the game was never intended to have an ultimate goal – it was just intended to be an exploration game, one where the developers themselves wouldn’t even know what they would find. If you want to be pedantic – yes, Sean Murray said, when asked, that you could maybe find your way to the centre of the universe. But players are heading to the centre of a galaxy, not the universe, so there is that.

A lot of gamers seem incapable of playing a game for themselves, they need constant direction, they need the game to tell them what to do next. They need to be led, and so, obviously, having an entire galaxy as their playground is completely alien to them (pun maybe intended). These types of gamers are easy to spot – they either hate on the game constantly, or they say they like it but the endless resource farming is way too tedious. But wait! Resource farming? Endless? For why? When asked, they’ll say they need to farm resources in order to have stuff to sell to make money. They’ll expand on this by saying they need more money in order to buy a bigger ship so they have more inventory slots. They need more inventory slots so they can carry more resources at a time, therefore increasing the time spent farming said resources, all in order to be able to make even more money when they sell their bigger resource haul.

They fail to see the irony in all of that, and fail to grasp the simpe reality that they don’t need to do any of it. Ships can be found and repaired, they can go from the starting ship to a 48 slot monster with no monetary cost, they just need to invest a little time and effort. Once they have a ship they’re happy with, in looks and size – it doesn’t even need to be maximum size – the only resources they need to farm are what they need for the upgrades on it, plus the upgrades on their multitool and suit. Once they have all of that, why, exactly do they need to spend hours and hours farming extra resources to sell for extra money? And yes, before somebody shouts out that resources for Warp Cells need to be farmed – to make them from scratch you need very low amounts of Carbon, Plutonium, Zinc, Heridium and Thamium9. All of these are extremely easy to gather in large amounts, and don’t even need to be searched for.

Yes, there’s lots of stuff not in the game that was kind of promised. Yes, that’s annoying. But the developers fault? Sure about that, are you? Ever factored in the time restraints and game changes imposed on them by Sony? Another year, with increased manpower, would’ve seen the game getting released with all it was intended to have. But of course, by then, the completely gaming community generated hype would’ve died down, and that’s obviously something Sony wanted to avoid. It’s the marketing by a giant corporation which prevented a good game from being completely awesome, not a 15 person indie development team.

Just sayin’.

As always, that shallot.

Laters…

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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Gaming, Rant

 

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