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Rowan Morrison

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    Burning screaming policemen.

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  1. Oh, man, mentioning Shaun Hutson made me go off and see if his website had been updated, which before long led me to rereading the summary of Slugs on Wikipedia, which is much quicker and just about as much fun as reading the book itself. And there I found this slice of gold: Brilliant! I wonder if he wrote the synopsis himself.
  2. Cheers. Looking back, the first half of The Outsider was a genuine couldn't-put-it-down experience, but it's like being drawn in by a well-told joke that doesn't have a punchline. It also has one of those faintly annoying real-life cameos when Harlen Coben pops up, and one of the characters imagines how he would resolve the case if it was a book. As it turns out, he might just as well be wondering how Shaun Hutson would resolve it (throw his typewriter at it, most likely).
  3. I read Stephen King's The Outsider over the weekend, having seen it on someone or other's recommended list. It's an odd one - I went into it with no info beyond the vague details in the recommendation, so I wasn't sure if it was a supernatural book or a straightforward mystery or what. And the first half is very compulsive reading - short chapters that briskly set up a really intriguing situation. But after a few of those I started thinking well, this is going to go one of two ways. Either it's a mystery book and King is going to have to come up with a really clever resolution, or it's a supernatural book and he'll be able to just sweep it all aside. And these two options are in fact discussed by the characters, and I don't think it's really a spoiler to say it's a supernatural book, and he just sweeps it all aside. So from about halfway, and certainly in the final third of the book, it's firmly spooks and ghouls territory. Which means that all the careful setup is arguably a waste of time - when you know the answer is going to be supernatural, you can safely be as baroque and byzantine in your construction as you like, safe in the knowledge that you won't have to write your way out. It was a disappointment, and felt a bit cheap on King's part, even though it was typically well-written - although he does flirt with self-parody with the small-town ramblin' dialect in the police transcripts that feature heavily early on. This is excused by a brief detour into luchadore b-movies. An easy, enjoyable read, as you might expect, but the second half can't cash the cheques written by the first. It does make me wonder if I'd enjoy the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, which this is partially spun off from. I'm not really up to date on recent King books.
  4. Digital doesn't work for me with comics, I don't think the tech is there at the moment. I'm fine with a Kindle for 'pure' text, but I don't want to be reading comics on an iPad or laptop screen - I want the whole page in front of me, for a start, and I want the texture. But then a lot of what I read is older stuff, where the medium was factored into the art - newspaper comics were created for newsprint, and four-colour comics were created for cheap paper and crude printing. Sometimes that can come across better in digital - with 50s EC comics, for example, a well-scanned original page looks far better than some of the recoloured, glossy physical archives published by Dark Horse. But those original scans tend to be illicit fan efforts, not the official release. I guess modern comics that are created digitally probably look great on a device, and I can see the appeal of being able to zoom in on the art, for example. The potential is huge - a digital Artist's Edition, where you could layer the pencils and inks, cross-reference influences and references, and have stuff like Amazon's X-Ray available would be amazing. But for standard buying and reading, I still want the real thing. I've no doubt digital will get there eventually, but for me there's a way to go yet. The best digital comic I've seen, actually, was the CD-ROM MAD archive I bought in the early 2000s. The interface was bad, as was the style at the time, but it had good quality page scans and a comprehensive index, so you could easily find all references to a person or topic over almost 50 years of content. That was a huge deal, and I could see a similar approach working well for something like Love & Rockets, for example - tracking characters and their interactions, being able to easily switch between original publication order and collected storylines, bookmarking panels, adding notes, searching OCRd text... these are the things I want from digital comics. Not having my life threatened by teetering, overloaded bookcases, slippery piles of comics on the stairs or an infuriated wife are really side-issues at best.
  5. It was far too hot to achieve much over the weekend, but I did listen to two of the Lover discs and they sounded fine to me, given that they were full of wild scratching and already vibrato-heavy analogues - not really the best material to detect fluctuations, but certainly nothing that made me think anything was wrong. I'm pretty sure I'd know if the beat was fluctuating at the end of Egypt, Egypt, so either I'm right and it's fine or I'm wrong and I'm blissfully ignorant. It'd probably be more meaningful to measure the radius from the hole in four quarters, come to think of it.
  6. I only picked it up yesterday so all I've managed so far is to read some of the booklet, but I'll be ploughing through it at the weekend at the latest. Be advised that I am in no sense a vinyl connoisseur, I'm mainly in it for the ritual power of inconvenience, and to appear ostentatious. Obviously this particular release ticks all my boxes.
  7. This is a PSA: I found HMV's online store selling the fantastic Egyptian Lover box set from Stones Throw for £33 - at least £12 cheaper than the nearest competitor. I expected it to be one of those eternal backorder situations, but it turned up a few days later at my local store (free delivery). This is something else.
  8. When I discovered 50v50 I played a lot of that, figuring it was a chance to practice and have some support. But I think it's better to play solo, because you'll get into scraps sooner and you'll either die quickly or win, either of which is fine. In the larger team games you'll get a good selection of stuff, but by the time you meet the enemy you'll probably be up against seasoned veterans and you'll die, and it'll hurt more because of all the preparation you've done. I went back to solo the other night and got five kills, after game upon game of no kills in team mode. Back into 50v and by the time I died it was so hectic nobody had time to heal me. It was salvaged by one of my killers spraying a chalk body outline on the ground; I crawled into it for the final headshot, so at least I contributed something.
  9. By the way, while I can't really comment on the soundtrack until I get a chance to listen to it, I can't recommend The Ballad of Shirley Collins as a film highly enough. No matter what kind of music you love, it'll qualify and strengthen that love.
  10. Having to travel 350 miles in a heatwave for a conference I have zero interest in has led to therapy vinyl purchases: Of course now I have to take them back on the train, but fuck it. That'll show 'em.
  11. I knew nothing about any of that, but seeing this quote from DC: "BATMAN #50 is one of the best single issue periodicals of the last decade" followed by the note that the issue will have "a striking amount of variant covers" gave me a good laugh, so I'm glad I read about it. Batman used to get married like every other week in the fifties and sixties. I'm pretty sure he's been married to the Joker a few times. Come on, DC, put your back into it.
  12. @Pistol - yeah, people do seem to skip ammo boxes a lot. Which is weird, because I quickly figured out that topping up ammo is vital. I only generally harvest wood, but that's basically an attempt to make my life easier by not having to switch materials. I had no idea it was stronger earlier on, so that's handy. I'm also swinging my axe constantly whenever I'm in a house. I was thrilled over the weekend when I managed to retreat into an attic in enemy territory and down two players with a spike trap. I strongly suspect they were healed shortly after their teammates came through the roof and slaughtered me, but they were too late because I was already pleased with myself.
  13. My dad's record collection was 50% Western soundtracks and 50% war themes, though generally courtesy of Geoff Love rather then the original artists. He had a copy of the Paint Your Wagon soundtrack by the Mike Sammes Singers, and one day after I got the old record player in my room, I played Wandrin' Star so many times in a row that he came and took it away from me. And you've also got They Call the Wind Maria, before you even start on the Eastwood tracks. So in conclusion, your analysis is faulty and 40p is the bargain of the century. However, the best thing to come out of all this, possibly tied with the Simpsons version, can be found here:
  14. Whoa there, Morbius may be D-list in terms of the MCU but his comics pedigree is top-tier; he's been handled by Roy Thomas, Gil Kane, Steve Gerber, Doug Moench and the brilliant Tom Sutton, among others. There were some beautifully drawn Morbius stories published in Vampire Tales in the 70s, all gibbets and fog and Gothic atmosphere. There's loads of potential in a Morbius film, although of course this one will be rubbish. Check it: http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2015/01/black-and-white-wednesday-where-is.html
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