Sample of new book The Faceless

A while back I mentioned that I wanted to write a short book called The Faceless between completing the first Seventh Circle novel and *hopefully* securing an agent/publisher for it.

Well, I started writing The Faceless tonight, and here’s a sample of my super-early, really rough and 99% most-likely-to-change introduction and first chapter. Unlike Seventh Circle, this story employs a first-person narrative structure, and opens with a blog entry from one of my main characters, known only as ‘MB.’

She’s a blogger in an alternative near-future setting who has a fascination with a group of activists called The Faceless – a group of people who can literally have all of their identifying features removed – face, hair, gentials, fingerprints, and even employ DNA and blood scrambling via nanomachines. The movement started out as a life choice, then a peaceful rights movement, and over time it devolved into a terrorist network. This book charts that story of decline, and the perceived invincibility and non-accountability that comes with being anonymous.

My other protagonist is Harper Coleman, a fresh-faced young journalist who is embarking on an internship with popular news feed Apex. When she is taksed with writing a series of features looking at Faceless culture, she discovers a side to their kind she never thought possible and starts to view them in a new light. We find early on that both ‘MB’ and Harper have met before, and their union was the cause of an event that had widespread ramifications.

I’m a gamer, and it’s clear from the book’s introduction that The Faceless will make commentary on the rise of 2014’s #GamerGate movement, the perceived power that comes with internet anonymity, and the true victims of such reckless and corrosive behaviour such as doxxing, harassment and other unfortunate by-products of the Internet.  Continue reading

Retrogasm: Gunstar Heroes Review

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What a game. What a bloody brilliant game.

But first, let’s talk about how I’m playing it. Back in the day I used to have standalone copy of Gunstar Heroes but it – like many of my old carts, was either traded in or lost to the ravages of time. Now I have it as part of this pretty nifty four-game compilation simply called ‘Classic Collection.’

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When I fired this up for the first time I was a confounded by the game select music. See if you can tell what it is:

It’s the Columns music. Weird isn’t it?

Anyway, Classic Collection is certainly a curious package, because it comes with three titles that I would regard as staples of Sega’s 16-bit stock and one oddity. Altered Beast is a fairly risible port of the company’s big arcade smash, Flicky was created by members of Sonic Team and Alex Kidd is widely regarded as one of Sega’s old school mascots, so it makes sense for these games to be included.
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Retrogasm: Bishi Bashi Special Review

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I remember being a wide eyed, genuinely obese wanker back in 2010, and in a review I likened a game – I believed it was Geometry Wars, to a drug trip I had never experienced.

What a grade-a bell shaft.

The problem is that I’ve nevet experienced a drug trip of any kind in my puff, and I’m sure most journalists who have likened a high score session of Space Giraffe to an evening spent suckling at Minter’s gack-laced nipples – they haven’t either.

In short, it’s a shit metaphor, you’re not Hunter S. Thompson, let’s cut the bullshit and talk like adults yeah?

So what would I liken the best PSone game ever made (exaggeration plausible) – Bishi Bashi Special to in sober terms?

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BEWARE: Our cat’s unfortunate run-in with Bob Martin flea products

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I usually write upbeat game or comic pieces on this blog but I’m penning this post to name and shame the pet product company Bob Martin, whose flea prevention product made our kitten Rigby very sick this week.

Before I dive in, just know there is a whole Facebook group dedicated to the exposure and calling-out of this firm, which sells flea collars and solutions that irritate, burn and in some cases kill pets, despite being marketed as a great way of keeping animals healthy.

This Facebook group and many more like it are filled with stories of cats having been physically burned or killed as a result of this supposedly miracle flea cure. There are images of flea collar wounds that have stripped the hair off some cat’s necks, leaving their bare skin irritated and raw.

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Retrogasm! Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja

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Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja is a curious beast, forged in the hellfires of early ’90s popular culture, where words like tubular and bodacious were being used in adverts as a way of peddling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures to the bright-eyed children of the Saturday morning cartoon generation.

I was one of those kids, sitting there watching Phillip Scofield and Gordon the Gopher compere some of the finest cartoons known to humanity like Transformers, The Raccoons and Dungeons and Dragons. Even Super Mario had his own super show, and it seemed that all over the globe marketing executives were sitting around their mahogany boardroom tables, brainstorming what killer toy line or product they could work into a cartoon series next while guzzling Tab Clear. It was a great time to be a kid, I’m sure, at least it felt that way looking back.

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Retrogasm! Gynoug: Mega Drive Review

gynoug tvAh Gynoug. This game is a mystery for several reasons – partly because it’s so damn weird in parts, and because there seems to be a lack of consensus on how to pronounce its title. Gee-nog? Guy-nog? Gin-og?

I always went for option three, but it’s known in America as Wings of Wor. Why developer Masaya thought to change the title on both sides of the pond was a puzzle when I was young, and it remains a subject for debate among its small fanbase today.

Released in 1991, this blaster is often overlooked in the pantheon of classic 16-bit side-scrollers, becoming smothered in the shining radiance of games like R-Type and Gradius. Hell, even Sexy Parodius seems to be more popular, but I never understood why so many people haven’t heard of this little gem.

I bought a copy of Gynoug from my local indie shop Game Masters at the weekend for the bargain price of £2.50, although it came without instructions or case. Still, I was happy to own a copy again, as my original from 1991 became lost to the ages. It didn’t take long for me to remember just how bat-shit crazy this thing is. Once you fight the seagulls that shit bullets on stage two you’re firmly stuck in par for the course territory. It’s just a mad game, but all the better for it.  Continue reading

Bust: Page 11 “All roads led to death”

I’ve just published page 11 of my ongoing post-apocalyptic webcomic Bust, with art by the incredible Chris O’Toole. There was a bit of a longer wait for this one than usual as I’ve bought a holiday, been cramming the final draft of my novel Seventh Circle and trying to find a new job (which I did, woo!) so money and time have been tight.

We plan on picking up the pace starting August.

In this new page, we see Jack and his family on the run from the zombie plague. They have a plan, but will it work?

You can read the full comic so far, right here.

-Dave

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