Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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.

Continue reading

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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Hockey Dad

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A few thoughts on what I’m *maybe* working on next

Once my novel Seventh Circle is done I may write up an idea for a short book I’ve been planning out called The Faceless. If it comes off as planned it could be quite a weird, possibly interactive way of writing that uses blogs, Tweets and maybe videos, but I’m still working all that out.

It’s a journal of sorts, documenting the last few hours of a person’s freedom in a peaceful post-World War III existence that has found new ways to keep the global populace passive and happy. But as always, paradise often comes with an initially hidden flaw, and my lead character ‘ML’ stumbles across this dark secret and goes on the run.

They choose to document their thoughts on a blog as both an expose and final will while, outside their hideout, the ruling authorities are slowly pinpointing their location and are moving in for the kill. It was inspired by all the whistleblower exposes that have occurred over the last few years, particularly Snowden. I wondered how that man could sleep at night even after being offered security abroad. A lot of people would surely like to see him killed.

The Faceless is a story about exposing corruption, and how, in a world where people are displaying their lives in plain sight through services like Facebook and Twitter, our calls for privacy can – in some cases – seem hypocritical. We crave privacy, yet have no issue openly discussing our day to day activities, location, spending habits and photos online.

Ultimately, the plot revolves around an activist group called The Faceless that, through advanced technology, has found a way to remove all their identifying marks to give surveillance networks nothing to brand them with. Face grafting, hair removal, speech distortion, removal of genitalia and fingerprints are just some of the pre-requisites to becoming a member of the group.

But in the way that avatars and forum usernames make people feel anonymous and therefore able to say or do whatever they feel like, the same is true of The Faceless. How do you finger someone for a terrible crime when they all look alike? As Peter Capaldi said in the penultimate episode of The Thick Of It, “You can’t cuff a country can you? You can’t arrest a landmass.” He’s right.

That is what make The Faceless dangerous. As a result of its true anonymity, the group grows more hostile to those who dare to walk around with their natural appearance. it becomes the majority. Their numbers begin to swell, and a new army of elite hackers and soldiers is formed to suppress the rising threat. They are called ‘Moderators,’ and my protagonist – from their hide out – will document everything they have learned about both sides to reveal everything to the world before they are hauled off and silenced forever.

This is still months and months away, but I thought I’d whack a brain dump on here just to keep it all fresh in my own mind.

Now, back to editing Seventh Circle.

Dave

Bust: Page 10

I’ve just received page ten of my post-apocalyptic ‘Zombies meets Gladiator’ webcomic Bust from the wonder Chris O’Toole. Check out his art and all of the pages so far here.

Here’s #10:

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