Ronald D Moore and David Eick have impressive pedigrees as creators of television SF. I was lucky enough to speak to them just after Battlestar Galactica ended, and go their final thoughts on the series. We also spoke a little about the prequel, Caprica, which at the time we did the interview was being produced. Sadly, it was cancelled before the end of the first season. From Death Ray #18.

All this has happened before, all this will all happen again…

It’s out with the old and in with the new as Battlestar Galactica comes to a final end and production on Caprica ramps up. The Adama clan will be off our screens for the best part of a year, before we are introduced to their immediate ancestors. We were lucky enough to get creators of both shows, Ronald Moore and David Eick, to talk about writing the climax of one, and the beginning of the other.

You’d have to travel halfway to Kobol to find an SF series that has been as consistently good as Battlestar Galactica. Basing their show on TV maverick Glen A Larson’s space-take on the Exodus, veteran SF producers Ronald Moore and David Eick succeeded in crafting a tale fit for our times, an action-packed saga of the near-extinction of humanity, wrapped up with fat agnostic bows. Battlestar’s complexity, cast of diverse characters and willingness to ask some tough questions about religion, loyalty, belief and societies under stress (not to mention some kick-ass space battles) have earned it numerous Emmies, Saturns and Hugos, as well as the prestigious Peabody Award. They kept us guessing until the end, and now it’s over. Not to worry, show creators David Eick and Ronald D Moore have a spin-off, coming soon.

We spoke to Moore and Eick about the series, where some of its major themes came from, its legacy, the fans and that pesky writers strike that threw US TV for six back in 2007. It’s not just the timing: this really is the last word on Battlestar Galactica. Read the rest of this entry »


I wrote this because of Reaper, and my interview with Ray Wise. This piece appeared in Death Ray #21, the very last.

Old Nick, Scratch, Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, he has many names and, it would appear, many faces. The Devil has been with us for all time, either as the supernatural tempter of man and architect of all evil, or as a metaphor for our tortured psyches. Evil’s out there, whatever.

As a core figure in all three Abrahamic religions, the Devil’s been popping in and out of folklore for a few thousand years. And though a lot of us might not go to church any more, the horn’ed beast is top favourite – in tales of terror (and humour) to our very day. Read the rest of this entry »


Emma says I am turning into an old man. Granted, I am inexorably getting older, minute by minute, but it’s an attitudinal thing she was referring to.

I love the countryside around Hebden Bridge. It is beautiful. What I don’t like is the litter messing it up.

The larger element is food and booze related – sweetwrappers, pop bottles, crisp packets, beer cans, kebab containers. Part of this problem is due to the topography of the region. Most settlement here is crammed into narrow valleys, and the footpaths there are traversed by – among other people – thoughtless, litter dropping wankers. The moors have little dreck spoiling them, but the valley sides, floor, and easily accessible beauty spots are heavily trafficed and so peppered with rubbish. A lot of it ends up in the River Calder. The banks are brightly decorated with chunks of crud. The trees along each side are festooned with swags of tattered plastic. It looks like a perpetual armageddon mardi gras.

What particularly incenses me are dog poo bags. Poo. In a bag. In a forest. In an urban setting a bag of poo left behind is annoying. In a rural setting it beggars belief. It’s not pleasant to let dogs foul footpaths. It’s bad to let them foul fields. Poo germs go on grass. Grass goes in cows. Germs go with it. Fair enough. But letting your pooch take a crap on some inaccessible crag where it can rot away, that isn’t such a bad thing – the woods are full of all kinds of other animal shit. After all, badgers don’t bag. Taking it home? Why, perhaps the best option. But to bag it up and leave it lingering on a footpath? Idiocy! Non-biodegradeable bags keep diseases and parasites alive for months. When finally the plastic photodegrades to allow the poo to die, the bag ends up in the soil in tiny fragments, or blows into the river with the rest of the trash. There’s one person around here in particular who uses a brand of green bags who is going to get an earful if I catch them…

So, old man. Grumbling. Young people today, etc. I even shouted at some kid breaking windows a couple of weeks ago.

What with Putin threatening World War III and the collapse of the Middle East offering viable options for number four, the world’s a bit depressing at the moment. There’s not much I can do about that, but I can do something about the crap choking up the local environment. When I go out for a walk I take a plastic bag with me, and fill it up with rubbish. Including other people’s noisome dog crap plague packets.

It’s a big job. Today, within ten metres of my house I sourced a carrier bag out of a bush, within fifty I’d filled it up.

Perhaps this is what Cameron meant by the big society. But that always seemed like a Tory wheeze to justify cuts, so screw him and his banker buddies. I’m picking up other people’s rubbish because tutting at it isn’t going to make it go away.


IMG_2739A little while ago I mentioned that I was painting a Second Age Noldor army for The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. I’ve been quite busy since then, and have around 800 points ready for gaming. To mark this milestone I painted this model of Erestor last week. I’m very pleased with the results, one of my best jobs in a while. It’s a nice change to be painting bright, clean colours, and the LOTR models are a joy to paint. Next for this particular force is Glorfindel, then six Knights of Rivendell. But I made myself promise to paint everything on my painting table, and I’ve a Black Templars Sword Brother, a Viking and an orc drummer to finish first.

I’ve done a lot of painting recently, so I am having a rare period of video gaming (I’m playing X-Com again). After all that, I’m looking forward to finally getting to grips with my Space Marine Centurions.

 


On Thursday I announced the acquisition by Tor.com of “The Dreaming Cities”. Today I’ll tell you a little about it. Here’s an excerpt from my actual pitch:

A thousand years in the future, the Earth is a different place. Our civilisation crumbled in the face of a zombie plague and global war. After a prolonged Dark Age, the people of North America live in small, independent countries. Outbreaks of the living dead are not uncommon. Technology is held at an early modern level. Conflict between states is constant. Superstition is rife. Whole regions are blasted wilderness. Machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land.

Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Home of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church says. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out. Until now…

So, it’s a post-apocalyptic zombie setting, but with several new twists. I can’t say much more about it than that for the time being, but as ever, keep popping back for more news.

 

 

Haley: The Next Generation V

Posted: February 13, 2015 in Random wifflings
Tags: , ,

On Monday my sister-in-law gave birth to this lovely little lady here.

IMG_2738This is Louisa May Haley, my new niece. May is for my grandma, Louisa just because.

Louisa’s advent signifies two important things. Number one, although I have female cousins, she is the first female Haley in my immediate family. I have four brothers, a son, and three nephews. My mum knitted Garth (Louisa’s father, and the second brother in our family) a full set of clothes in girly pink just before he was born. He was a boy (obviously). She’s taken them out again for each subsequent birth in the family only to put them away again. After 41 years of waiting, our mum finally has someone to give the outfit to. Secondly, together my brothers and I now have five children, and so have reached replacement rate. Our plans to make sure every third person in the north is a member of our clan by 2200 AD proceeds apace.

It’s lovely to have a girl in the family. I can only hope she grows up into a world where women have a lot less nonsense to put up with.