The Girl with All the Gifts

On 26 January THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS hits US cinema screens. Here in the UK we were lucky enough to get to see the film in September last year. My advice to those of you in the States? Go see this movie as soon as you’re able. Based on the acclaimed novel by M R Carey, it’s a superb zombie tale with an excellent cast, which echoes the works of George Romero and John Wyndham in equal measure. Below you’ll find a synopsis, the trailer, and a link to click to read my thoughts.

The near future; humanity has been all but destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that eradicates free will and turns its victims into flesh-eating “hungries”. Only a small group of children seem immune to its effects.

At an army base in rural England, this group of unique children are being studied, subjected to cruel experiments by biologist Dr. Caldwell. Despite having been infected with the zombie pathogen that has decimated the world, these children retain normal thoughts and emotions. And while still being subject to the craving for human flesh that marks the disease these second-generation “hungries” are able to think and feel making them a vital resource in the search for a cure.

The children attend school lessons daily, guarded by the ever watchful Sergeant Parks. But one little girl, Melanie, stands out from the rest. Melanie is special. She excels in the classroom, is inquisitive, imaginative and loves her favourite teacher Miss Justineau.

When the base falls, Melanie escapes along with Miss Justineau, Sergeant Parks and Dr. Caldwell. Against the backdrop of a blighted Britain, Melanie must discover what she is and ultimately decide both her own future and that of the human race.

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Event update

Remember the huge Infected Books event I told you about recently? I need to let you know about a slight change of plan. It’s still on Friday 30 October at 7pm, it’s still going to be a cracking evening, we still want you to come in Halloween fancy dress if you’re up for it… we just need you to go to a different Waterstones store.

For those of you who know my home town of Birmingham, we have (for a short while longer) two large branches of Waterstones. We were originally scheduled to be in the High Street branch, but we’re relocating to the very beautiful New Street store instead, just a five minute walk away. This makes me happy: it’s an amazing building, and it’s where – three years ago this month – I got to interview one of my writing heroes, the legendary James Herbert (photographic evidence below). The store’s closing soon, so this is a great way to send it off in style.

As well as launching Wayne Simmons new novel VOODOO CHILD and (hopefully) interviewing the book’s co-author Andre Duza via Skype, I’ll also be reading from the next HATER novel and talking a little about the upcoming movie.

We’ve space for over a hundred folks, but places are filling fast. If you’re intending on coming along, please send an email to the store (birminghamnewst@waterstones.com) or tweet @WstonesNewSt to let us know you’re coming along.

DM and JH

New event – Birmingham Readers’ Map Spoken Word Event

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be taking part in this event in Longbridge, Birmingham on 9th July at 7:00pm. The venue is Ashton Levi Coffee (5 & 6 Longbridge Lane, Birmingham, B31 2AJ) and there’s a Facebook event you can join here.

You might have seen me posting about the Birmingham Readers’ Map on Facebook a while ago. It’s a great initiative from Pigeon Park Press, and you can see it below.

A number of local authors have contributed to the map with links to where their stories took place in and around the city. It’s fascinating to explore. It came as a huge surprise to me, for example, to find that the place where Tom Winter grew up in TRUST, is just a couple of streets away from where Cal in Clive Barker’s WEAVEWORLD visited a psychic investigator!

On 9th July I’ll be joining some of the other Birmingham-based authors for an evening of readings, and it would be great to see some of you there.

A look back at AUTUMN: THE CITY

A brief disclaimer: as I’ve said previously, it feels pretentious to be writing a retrospective of my own books. I think I’m doing this for my own benefit more than anything else, so please bear with me. It’s some weird kind of personal therapy, I think…

For me, the writing process usually begins when I come up with an ending, then work my way back to the beginning of a story. Not so with the second AUTUMN novel. This time, just to be different, I began with the middle.

I’d been wondering what had happened to Michael and Emma after escaping the farm house at the end of the first book (it wasn’t until recently that I actually went back and filled in that part of their story – see BREAKING POINT over at www.lastoftheliving.net). I had visions of them quickly coming to the conclusion it would be too dangerous to stay in one place, and so electing to base themselves in a mobile home and move whenever the immediate danger became too great. But I knew that in order to move the overall AUTUMN story forward – and it was starting to feel like a much bigger story by that point – they’d need to interact with characters we hadn’t yet met. This meeting – whenever and with whomever – would have to happen almost a month after the initial infection, and yet I wanted these new characters to feel like people we already knew. The best option, I thought – though not necessarily the most obvious – was to rewind time and start from the beginning again.

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