2012: The Apocalypse and All That

The past year, despite the apocalyptic prophecies, has overall been a positive one.  The highlight of my year would have to be my comic-fantasy short-story The Sound of Latex being published in the Fox Spirit anthology “Tales of the Nun and Dragon”.  My story has been well received, with reviewers asking for more tales of the nun Willow von Trapp and the Holy Order of Sing Lung.

I started the year being asked to write for The Huffington Post after pitching an article to them about Mark Chadbourn’s Swords of Albion series.  One of my most popular articles for the Huffington Post, was Something for the Weekend: Live-Action Role-Playing and The Gathering, which generated interest from both within and without the LARPing scene.

I continued writing for the OneMetal website, including interviews with Danny John-Jules and Chris Barrie from Red Dwarf, as well as Fighting Fantasy co-creator and Games Workshop co-founder Ian Livingstone (who commented how he enjoyed my article about the many facets of gaming culture).

I have also started pitching ideas for articles to various newspapers and magazines.  My experience of pitching so far reminds me of a description from Richard Morgan describing his experience of breaking into publishing as “hammering on a door until someone opened it and then falling through”.

2012 has proven to be a fantastic year for genre fiction.  One of the best books I read was the rerelease of Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula: Dracula Cha Cha Cha, which proved there is still life in the vampire genre yet. Mark Chadbourn’s Swords of Albion came to a cracking conclusion with The Devil’s Looking Glass.  Meanwhile Dana Fredsti blended geek references into the zombie apocalypse with Plague Town.  I also revisited my youth with Ian Livingstone releasing the Blood of the Zombies game-book.

Whilst my TV and film watching opportunities was limited due to the children, I still found the time to enjoy the ever excellent The Big Bang Theory, as well as the return of Red Dwarf with their tenth season.  Black Mirror was similarly great, being both funny as well as thought-provoking.  Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome pushed the envelope of what was possible in a web-series with a thoughtful ten-part series.

Prometheus was a controversial film that polarised critics and film-goers alike.  The film was undoubtedly beautifully shot and incredibly acted, but the script was not as brilliant I expected from a Ridley Scott film. However, to be fair, I doubt any film could match the massed expectations of the fan community, given the promise of an Alien prequel from the director of the original film and Blade Runner.  On the other hand, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises was a great addition to the Batman canon, which pretty much hit all the right buttons for me.

At the start of the year, with my DVD player packing up, I finally invested in an Xbox 360.  This piece of kit has proven to be a great investment, employing it not just as a games console, but an entertainment hub.  I cannot deny that the Xbox 360 has some great games, though.  Alan Wake, created by Remedy, was the spiritual successor to Max Payne, blending the same elements of story-telling and action to create a genuinely immersive game with compelling characters. Batman: Arkham City was another great game, but suffered from the final part of the Catwoman DLC being impossibly difficult, so much so that I never bothered completing the game.  Instead, I cashed in Arkham City for Skyrim, and have never stopped playing it.

Skyrim is the fifth game in the ongoing Elder Scrolls series, with this version released by Bethseda, who also created Fallout 3.  Bethseda took what they learnt with the Fallout 3 games, maintaining the same exploratory aspect whilst tweaking game-play difficulty to ensure it maintained a compelling experience.

In the real world, Chaos has started school, whilst Mayhem is now eighteen months old and quickly growing up.  Caelia and I have settled into our house, which I am still determined to have renamed “Arkham”, but this year will see the house undergoing massive renovation.

There will also be the Science Fiction Weekender in February, 2.8 Hours Later in March, the Rocky Horror Show in April, Alt.Fiction in May, and Edge-Lit in June.  I also have Fox Hunt, my next short-story to submit for Fox Spirit’s next anthology “Fox and the Fae”.

Life is fun.

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