Dog Blood

Dog Blood (Gollancz, 2010)I know I’m being really annoying at the moment, and I apologise. I want to talk, but I can’t. I also can’t help wanting to torment you a little more…

Hard to believe, but DOG BLOOD was five years old this week.

DOG BLOOD was the first novel I wrote under contract, and that meant it was the first book not to have been published through Infected Books first. As a result, writing it was a very different experience. Previously I’d worked in isolation; now I found myself crafting the book under the auspices of two different editors – one in London and one in New York, both with different approaches. It took longer to finish the novel than expected, but the end result was a story I was (and still am) hugely proud of.

The book picks up a couple of months after the end of HATER. Here’s the synopsis:

The world has suffered a catastrophe of unknown cause, dividing humankind into two: the Haters and the Unchanged. Each group believes the other to be the enemy; each group is fighting for survival. Only by working together can the enemy – whoever that enemy is – be defeated. There are no other choices.

Danny McCoyne has managed to break free, and after days of indiscriminate fighting and killing, he is determined to make his way home, to recalim the only thing of any value to him in this strange new world: his daughter Ellis. Unlike his wife and son, Ellis is like him, and he knows, in his heart of hearts, that she is not dead. His dearest wish is for Ellis to be fighting for the world at his side – but Danny soon discovers his daughter is worth far more than just another fighting body. Others like him have discovered that children are absolutely vital to the cause. They are strong, small, fast, and they have no inhibitions. They are pure Haters…

And today’s unnecessary tease… ever wondered what happened in the months between HATER and DOG BLOOD? Ever wondered how things got so bad so quickly in the Unchanged refugee camp? Ever wondered who was really in control there?

I have.

More soon.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

IotBSRegular readers will know that I’m usually one of the first to moan about the film industry’s habit of remaking old movies. I stand by most of my previous comments, in that remakes are often a lame excuse to capitalise on the goodwill an older version of a movie has garnered (case in point, pretty much every remake of 1970’s and 1980’s horror – Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw, and so on). Occasionally the original film-makers will be involved, and a remake will make sense (such as the 2013 Evil Dead… you could also argue that Evil Dead II was a remake of sorts of the 1981 original). There remains another category of remakes, and it just so happens that three of these updated versions of classic films rank in my top ten horror movies of all time. This is where new film-makers put a present day spin on horror tales which, quite often, were well made but were limited in some way – perhaps by the technology of the day, or maybe the social landscape has changed to give a story increased relevance. Two of three films I’m referring to here are David Cronenberg’s stunning The Fly, and John Carpenter’s ground-breaking The Thing.

Today’s movie recommendation, however, is a 1979 remake of a 1956 original which, although perhaps not quite scaling the heights of the Cronenberg and Carpenter movies I’ve just mentioned, is still an excellent example of a remake done right. I’m talking about Philip Kaufman’s 1978 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

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Up to my neck in Hate

Just checking in with a quick follow up to my recent update post and to explain the ongoing radio silence here right now. I’ve found myself buried neck deep in the HATER world once again, and man, I’m enjoying it. HATER was only ever Danny McCoyne’s story for me, but the more I’ve started to poke around that dark, brutal and relentlessly violent world again, the more the creative juices have started to flow. As soon as I can tell you what I’m dying to tell you, I will. Until then, here’s another piece of stunning artwork which Tomislav Tikulin produced to promote the release of the original novels. This one is a scene from the climax of DOG BLOOD which, incredibly, is five years old next month. Time flies. If you’re new to HATER, visit www.thehatertrilogy.com to find out more.

Dog Blood TT

Time for an update

Hello. I hate not posting here regularly, but there are times when it’s unavoidable. Now is most definitely one of those times. I’ve truly never been busier, though you’d be hard pushed to know given the gap between posts on this site. That’s not likely to change in the next few months, but I think some kind of update is long overdue.

Last weekend I finished writing KAI, a middle-grade novel. I say finished… what I mean by that is I got the book into good enough shape to be able to fire it over to my agent for his feedback, and I’m now waiting nervously for him to get back to me. I’m keeping the story close to my chest. For now I’ll describe it as a weird hybrid of ET and Godzilla, and I’ll leave it at that.

Next week I start a new novel – the first book in the SPACES BETWEEN series (at long last). It was called TOMMY, but it’s now been re-named ELYSIAN FIELDS. I’m in the habit of teasing future projects by referring to their influences, so how does Blade Runner by way of Breaking Bad by way of Nordic Noir with more than a touch of Quatermass sound?

I’ve managed to catch up with Wayne Simmons a couple of times recently, and we’ve been busily plotting and planning the future of Infected Books. We have a few IB releases scheduled between now and the end of this year, but much of our time has been spent working on something massive for 2016. That’s the whole of 2016.

It’s funny – there are some books which never seem to want to go away. That’s a good thing, I think. One of those books is HATER, and it’s been occupying a lot of my time again recently. I have a meeting scheduled for later this week. I can’t say too much just yet, but for those of you who’ve given up hope of ever seeing HATER on the big screen, don’t. More news as and when I’m allowed to share.

And a quick question to whet your appetites/ test the water… going back to HATER again has given me the spark of an idea for a (non-Danny McCoyne) standalone HATER novel. It’s almost four years since THEM OR US hit the shelves, so is that something you’d still be interested in reading?

Original HATER artwork by Tomislav Tikulin 2009

Original HATER artwork by Tomislav Tikulin 2009

So that about sums up what I’ve been doing in the first four months of 2015. It’s heads down again now, but please do keep checking back. I have plenty of film and book recommendations planned, the return of WHAT WORKS FOR ME, guest posts and much more. And if you want the scoop on any of the projects I’ve just mentioned, this is where you’ll get it!

The Hate continues to spread… now Turkey’s been infected!

44_salgin-103735_1I’ve just discovered that a new edition of HATER is released this month. SALGIN (which translates as Epidemic) is about to be published in Turkey by Artemis. This is my first Turkish release, and it’s very satisfying to see new versions of the book still hitting the shelves after all this time. Incredibly, the first, self-published Infected Books edition is almost nine years old, and it’s six years since Thomas Dunne Books in the US and Gollancz in the UK gave the book its first mass market releases. I actually think HATER is more relevant today than ever. There are a lot of uncomfortable parallels to be drawn with some current world events…

But whenever I mention HATER, I get a flood of questions asking ‘what about the movie?’. You’ve had years of me telling you to be patient, that I’ll have some news soon. Just a little while longer now, I promise. Things are beginning to happen.

Salgın, benim Türk arkadaşlar tadını çıkarın! (thanks, Google translate!). If you’re new around here and haven’t yet read the HATER series, visit www.thehatertrilogy.com now.

28 Days Later

twenty_eight_days_laterAs a responsible father, I think it’s important to ensure my kids have a solid all round education. As such, I see it as my duty to introduce them to cultural milestones. Last night I did just that (I am being sarcastic here, by the way), sitting down with the girls for a family viewing of Danny Boyle‘s seminal 28 DAYS LATER. It had been many years since I’d seen the film, and I was interested to see how it stood up today: what was considered ground-breaking in 2002 might have appeared cliched today. To my surprise, I think I enjoyed the movie more than I ever have done.

A quick glance at my Recommendations page revealed that I’ve never written about this hugely influential movie for this site, so I thought I’d remedy that right now. As usual, a brief synopsis and trailer follows. Click on the link for my thoughts.

An infirmary patient awakens from a coma to an empty room…in a vacant hospital…in a deserted city. A powerful virus, which locks victims into a permanent state of murderous rage, has transformed the world around him into a seemingly desolate wasteland. Now a handful of survivors must fight to stay alive, unaware that the worst is yet to come…

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The Wave

A lesser-known movie recommendation for a lazy Sunday afternoon…

thewaveMy family has a thing about Psychology. My wife has three degrees in the subject (yes, three!), one of my daughters is following in her footsteps having recently graduated with first class honours, and another of the girls has just embarked on her first Psychology qualification. Me? I’m interested too, but in a far less academic way. I’ve said it countless times, but I’ll say it again anyway – I’m a people watcher. I’m not much interested in who did what study or experiment or anything like that, I just like to sit back and watch what happens when people are forced to endure extreme circumstances (ie, in most of my books, the end of the world).

This week I want to recommend a film that should appeal to the psychology academics in your life (like my missus) as well as the dystopian thrill-seekers (like me). THE WAVE (DIE WELLE) is a 2008 German production directed by Dennis Gansel and based on a 1981 novel by Todd StrasserA high school teacher’s unusual experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit with a life of its own.

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