The Hitchhikers Guide to… Loki? – Loki episode 1 review

Me and Rachel just watched Marvel’s Loki, on Disney+. Really enjoyed it. It felt like a nod to so many other things, but in an good way. The beginning felt like a homage to Douglas Adams. Loki was Arthur Dent entering into the Vogon beurocratic dominion.

There was the, “But what if I am a robot?” – Bladerunner reference?

While queueing we get an explanation of the science of the TVA via a television presentation. An animated clock tells us about the One True Timeline in the old UPA style of cartoon. Was that a nod to the DNA cartoon in Jurassic Park? I reckon so.

During the cartoon we are introduced to the three god-like beings who keep the timeline in order. There is something very Bill and Ted about those gods.

The office scenes reminded me of Terry Gillliam’s Brazil and the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984.

I liked the self-aware commentary of comic book writers creating new timelines for the superheroes they created. I’m wondering if that is an intentional meta commentary or if I’m just reading too much into it.

Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston are great together. Overall, excellent first episode. Looking forward to the next one. Smart pacy writing and spot-on visuals.

Would you like a gun with that ice cream?

In researching gun shops in Morgantown, West Virginia, in 1870 I came across this ice cream shop. (It didn’t help in my research but it did make me smile).

Top Google review – “Ice cream and gun shop, what more could you ask for.”

Isn’t America a weird place?

I remember meeting my parents in America once and as we travelled from Boulder City to Las Vegas we drove past a burger restaurant with a sign outside that read, “Enjoy a burger and fire a machine gun.”

I think it was called Burgers and Bullets.

And people think the western is a dead genre. In a place where you can ask for extra pickles and ammo, a scoop of vanilla and a Glock G19, the Wild West is still alive and kicking in the unbridled hearts of a number of its inhabitants.

Cover reveal tease and newsletter news!

Cover reveal for Jack’s Game!

Next weekend I’ll be revealing the cover. This is my vain attempt to build buzz.

It finally has a release date! My debut horror novel, the one I’ve been working on for two years, will finally be published this Halloween!

If you want to see the cover before everyone else, and get a FREE horror story right NOW, all you have to do is sign up to my newsletter. The link is in my bio.

http://www.subscribepage.com/gnome

When you subscribe you will get my horror retelling of the Brother’s Grimm story, Gnome for free. It is a homage to the creature features of my childhood. This is my Gremlins, my Critters, my Ghoulies!

Melody and Faith just wanted to pick fruit, but a cursed nursery rhyme could kill them both…

When you’re playing by the tree

Eat the fruit and then you’ll see

Eyes like marbles, black and small

Teeth like razors, sharp and cruel

If they find you feed them bread

Or you’ll end up dead, dead, dead!

Eat my flesh and break my bones

All should fear the twisted gnomes

– Playground rhyme*

*WARNING: DO NOT SING THIS RHYME IN THE WOODS AT NIGHT

The Madness of the Criterion Collection

I’ve never owned a Blu-Ray player. I had amassed a towering DVD collection from the late 90s to about 5 years ago which got so large and cumbersome I moved it into storage. In the end streaming services took over and large swathes of it were sold off. I like streaming but I’ve always missed my physical movie library.

My film nerd friends out there will know the words, Criterion Collection. They are a company that, in their words, dedicate themselves to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions of the highest technical quality, with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film.

They don’t release the films that made the most money, or got the best reviews, they release the films that they think deserve to be presented in the best possible quality.

The Criterion Collection breeds madness. There are videos on YouTube of people standing in their Criterion Closets (walk-in wardrobes racked floor to ceiling with expensive Blu-Rays) swooning over their own obscure knowledge of movies you’ve never heard of. “The visual poetry of Jean Cocteau’s, Orpheus is… etc etc etc”. And in the next breath they’ll be equally excited about their Criterion release of Robocop. And rightly so.

It is a cult.

I am now a member of that cult.

For it is my birthday today and Rachel has given me my very first Blu-Ray player! And… My very first Criterion Blu-Ray!

Destry Rides Again is James Stewart’s first foray into the Western genre… etc etc etc

David’s Inferno

I’ve redesigned Dante’s Inferno just for David Chapman.

Some backstory first. I experience a severe type of misophonia when I hear the sound of a fork scratching on a plate. It’s normal for people to hate that sound. My reaction to it is a physical one. (I think it stems from watching Nightmare On Elm Street when I was six and the months of nightmares that followed).

It makes eating in restaurants a battle of survival. Not for me, but for the other diners. A battle they don’t know they are a part of. I hear a SCHREEE and it’s all I can do to not stab them in the forehead with my fork.

All of my family are aware of this. Any time we get together for a meal, and somebody accidentally makes that helll-spawned sound, the whole table stops what they’re doing and look at me. I’ll be gripping my cutlery tightly, my eye twitching. Sometimes threats of death will lurch from my mouth in a way that is beyond my control.

Somebody usually asks, tentatively, “Are you okay?”

A question I can’t reply to because I’m grinding my teeth so hard I can feel them break in my mouth.

This is more than a dislike of the sound. It is an adrenaline fueled panic that triggers the fight or flight response. It’s primal. If I ever go to prison for murder that will be my reason.

My brother knows this well.

Before I had even sipped my coffee this morning I noticed a message from him. It was a video. I clicked on it. A fork was pushed along a plate and my phone was on full volume. SCHREEEEEEEE!!

I dropped my phone and started shaking.

He is a total and utter c**t.

When Virgil guides him through hell, just as he did with Dante so many centuries ago, he will get to the bottom and find that it doesn’t go deep enough.

As such I have redesigned the Inferno to include a new layer just for him.

His Name Was Shane

I’ve been going back and reading the classics of the western genre. The cornerstones of gunslinging pulp.

(The following contains spoilers. So if you just want my reaction, I loved it. I recommend you read it).

Shane by Jack Schaefer was first published in three parts in Argosy magazine in 1946. Pulp to the core. It came out as a novel in 1949 and has never been out of print. Literature with a capital W.

It’s a small book that takes its time. A slow burn. Told from the viewpoint of a boy, Bob Starrett, who watches this mythic rider come into town. The man on the horse stops at his farm house and asks for water for him and his horse. His name is Shane. The boy becomes infatuated with him. His father, Joe Starrett, offers the stranger a bed for the night and he ends up staying for much longer.

They spend time on the land. Shane helps Joe remove a tree stump. It takes a long time and Schaefer keeps with it. Showing each swing of the axe.

Shane doesn’t talk about his past and much speculation is made of him.

Soon that past, or knowledge of who he is, catches up to him. A man flees town upon merely setting eyes on Shane.

Bob and his parents are being run out of town by a rancher who needs their land back. They are homesteaders who staked their land on Luke Fletcher’s ranch. Land Fletcher had never claimed himself.

Shane stands up and defends his new home.

At first I wasn’t sure about the book. You’re spending time with these characters without a lot happening. But the writing won me over. There is something about the farm and the people that pulls you in. I liked spending time with Shane, and Bob, and Joe.

It rewards you for your patience with a great final act.

I would read it again. If you love westerns and haven’t read this one yet it’s well worth it.

The Wild West Is Coming Back…

Who loves westerns? Everybody? Great. Come and join the Elwood Flynn group. I will be releasing four westerns next year and if you want an early insight into the world of Robin Castle, as he travels a path of vengeance and violence, this is the place to be. Get in early.

I will be releasing a short story soon. A taster of what is to come.

All my stories come with Elwood Flynn’s Solemn Promise – This book will contain scenes of extreme violence and themes of loss and vengeance.

Be warned. Be thrilled.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2868086283473638/?ref=share

BRZRKR

Keanu Reeves has written a comic. BRZRKR. It is fucking nuts. I enjoyed it immensly. The most batshit violence I’ve seen in a comic in a while.

At first I thought there wasn’t going to be much of a story but in the end there was and it was told with subtlety. By the time it was done I had a big grin on my face. I was intrigued and hooked.

And great news, Netflix has picked it up for a live action film, starring Keanu, and an anime series.

Get it while it’s hot and support your local comic book shop. I recommend Frog Bros in Boscombe. That’s where I get mine.