At the Closing of the Year

It’s the final curtain. 2010 has certainly been an odd and unusual year for me – it’s also been a startlingly good year in ways I’d never have dreamed possible. I’ve achieved a lot in the last twelve months work-wise, and even if I’m still experiencing what could be described as a slow build of work, I’ve made progress. Landmarks like passing my proofreading course and netting a new client have made me feel even more like I can actually make this work, and the number of fallow gaps when I haven’t had that much work on this year have been remarkably few, which means I must be getting something right.

World-wise, things haven’t exactly been encouraging – it’s increasingly difficult to avoid the feeling that I’m living in a post-modern rewrite of the dystopian world of V for Vendetta, and it would be nice if there was a single politician at work either in the government or the opposition who didn’t make my skin crawl, but I like to think that while things are difficult for a lot of people at the moment, that life goes in unpredictable and odd directions, and that turnarounds can happen when you least expect them. But whatever form they come in, just don’t expect them to be in any way thanks to politicians…

Anyway, for me 2010 was a good year, and one of the biggest reasons is that I’ve fallen in love again. It came out of nowhere – I met her at Eastercon this year, and was perfectly prepared for her to be another in my long line of nice unrequited crushes (especially since she was attached at the time). Well, a series of rather surprising plot-twists later, we started going out in July – and we’re still having a wonderful time. It’s pretty damn likely that we’ll be moving in together in a few months, and while there’s still plenty of emotional baggage lurking in my head from the past, I’m so glad I found someone cool, fun, creative and understanding, someone with whom I’ve genuinely clicked. The fact that she’s utterly gorgeous and regularly has dyed pink hair is simply a bonus.

My main mission for 2011? First up, I’ve got to finish the rewrites on my current novel Chill Out – once again, I’ve tried to pull off something massively ambitious, and it’s taking a lot of effort to actually get it up to the standard it needs to be, but it’s getting there. I’ve certainly learned a massive amount from writing it, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, it’s just also rather gigantic (currently weighing in at about 190,000 words) and is in urgent needof streamlining. I’ll also – daringly – be attempting a rewrite on my first novel, The Hypernova Gambit, and there are several projects circling the runway to see which gets picked next (including an exceptionally dark fantasy novel, and a series of novellas that have been bubbling away for quite some time). There’s also a couple of other projects on the way, and I really want to make sure that 2011 is a very serious work year.

I might as well be honest, as well – updates here are probably going to be very few and far between. I’ve blogged on Crawling from the Wreckage for five years, and generated a ton of entries on a variety of subjects, but my love of this style of blogging has rather cooled over the last eighteen months. To anyone out there who’s been following the blog long-term, thanks very much for reading – it has been important to me in a lot of ways, especially during some of the very tough times in the last five years. However, I don’t want to feel obligated to do this, and I’ve often only wanted to blog when I actually have something to say. So, for now Crawling from the Wreckage can safely be described as ‘on hiatus’ – there will be occasional updates, and I will use this for any personal news updates, but otherwise this place will be pretty quiet unless things dramatically change for me. I have a Tumblr blog which I’m using for occasional posts, and there’s another project which – as long as all goes well – will see me doing some blog-related stuff in a much more focussed manner, which hopefully I’ll be announcing here (and elsewhere) in a couple of weeks. But, whatever happens, I’ll still be around on Facebook and Twitter, and I’m not about to vanish into the ether quite yet.

So, I hope 2010 has been a good year for you – and I also hope that 2011 brings you plenty of fun, excitement and a whole series of pleasant surprises.

Thanks for reading, and have a Happy New Year.

Pieces Form The Whole


Where was I?

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. To be honest, this is more of an experiment than anything else. I have the feeling I may have lost a certain amount of the blogging urge. I’ve yet to work out whether or not this is a good thing. I’ve been feeling that I really should only blog if I’ve got something to say – so much blogging that I read nowadays (or at least the ones that don’t stick in my memory) are empty air, just filling space. So I’ve yet to decide whether this is a brief abberation, or whether I’m getting back on the horse.

Part of it is possibly the fact that I’ve never really generated the kind of blog that’s created much reaction. It’s always been nice when I get comments and replies on anything I’ve posted – I genuinely appreciate all of them. It just leads me to the weird conflict that’s always going on in my brain – part of me wants to be noticed. Part of me wants attention. The other part knows where that kind of thing can lead, especially on the internet. There’s been a few subjects, relating to publishing and writing, which I’ve wanted to comment on over the last couple of months. But I haven’t, and it’s mainly because I’m rather nervous about poking my head over the parapet and getting it shot off. So I’ve been keeping quiet. And maybe that’s been a mistake.

One thing is true: I have a Tumblr blog here: It’s an offshoot of this blog, and it’ll be somewhere I’ll be able to post images, video and music a lot more easily than I can here. Please feel free to follow or bookmark me over there, as there should be a relatively frequent number of updates.

I’m proceeding well with the book. I’m busy with work, and my new relationship is now nearly four months old, and going very nicely. Life is good. And there’s a couple of plans relating to this blog that may be happening soon. But until then, we’ll just see what happens…

Public Service Announcement

I’m still here.

Just poking my head briefly above the parapet – it’s been a busy couple of months, and there’s a whole selection of reasons why entries on this blog have been… well, non-existant for a while. There will be updates at some point… but not for the immediate future. Crawling From The Wreckage is going to be inactive for a certain amount of time (I might as well be honest about it) – I just wanted to say that (a) I’m actually doing pretty well, (b) I’m making progress on my book, and (c) I have a new girlfriend, and I’m extremely happy about that fact. If anyone wants to check in with me, I have a rather more regular presence on Twitter right now, so feel free to catch up with me there. I’ve enjoyed blogging in the past, and I will enjoy it again – but right now, I feel like I need to take a break, I don’t want to simply do life-related ‘and then this happened’ updates right now, and I want to wait until there’s something I actually want to say (and a point where I have enough time to say it). I really enjoyed my series of Who reviews, and I’d like to do more fun analysis like that, and I’d also like to return to doing more life-related updates – but now is not the time, and I’d rather say that upfront than simply leave this inactive without any explanation.

So in short, I won’t be blogging for a while, but I will be again at some point. Life is treating me pretty well. I’m okay. And I hope you are too.

Be seeing you…


Surprise doesn’t happen very often – especially in the world of movies. Even if Hollywood didn’t largely deal in utter predictability these days, it’d still be relatively easy to work out the rough pattern of a particular film from the trailers, the story synopsis and various articles (as in Avatar – where it wasn’t so much that the story itself was bad, it was just so painfully predictable in terms of serving up every single story beat I expected). As a result of this, the level of secrecy around Christopher Nolan’s Inception has been extremely nice – the initial trailers gave away very little, the first description – “A thriller set in the architecture of the mind” – was all the plot information we had for a long time, and even when more details started appearing over the last couple of months, it was pretty sketchy.

This is certainly the point where I’d normally say fear the spoilers – but you don’t have to, as I’m not spoiling. I might post something once I’ve seen the film a second time (which I’m definitely going to be), but one of the nicest things about Inception was going in and not knowing exactly what I was getting. Hell, even when I went into The Matrix, most of the surprise had already been blown, and it was more admiring the style of it than the actual twists. With Inception, I’d done my best to steer clear of any detailed reviews – and I’m extremely glad I did, as the trailers have held an awful lot back, and if you haven’t already been spoiled for any surprises, avoid them like the plague – this is something that’s worth the effort. Those who don’t like Christopher Nolan films or have problems with his filmmaking style certainly aren’t going to change their minds with this – Inception is absolutely the work of the same man who made The Dark Knight, and while the story isn’t quite as sprawling, it’s still got the same steely intensity, the same energy, the same kind of straight-faced grimness. But the joy of Inception (at least for me) was the discovery, and the sheer energy that Nolan throws into constructing worlds and situations, and escalating action sequence on top of action sequence.

What I can say is that Inception is absolutely a heist movie – it plays like a cross between Nolan’s backwards classic Memento, Philip K. Dick’s work, The Matrix, Oceans 11, and a Bond film. It’s also a film that isn’t afraid to throw a gigantic amount of exposition at you – there are lots of rules to the world Nolan sets up, and we need to understand all of them before the story truly kicks off. This does mean that there are chunks of the first hour which do occasionally feel a little stodgy (not helped by a slightly eccentric performance from Japanese actor Ken Watanbe) – and it’s also got to be said that away from the excellently drawn central relationship that the film is based around, characterisation isn’t exactly a priority. As with quite a few other heist movies, the support characters are somewhat stripped down in order to serve the plot (especially in the case of Ellen Page’s character, who really isn’t much more than an audience identification character). But in other ways, stripping down the characterisation serves other purposes – especially since Inception is such a gigantically crowded film already, there’s barely the room to go any further with the rest of the cast.

The best way of looking at Inception is in the same way as The Matrix – that when you peel back the layers, what you have is a really well told but very traditional action movie, and Inception is a spectacularly ambitious heist movie that goes in some unbelievably layered and complicated directions, but still maintains the clarity of its main story. I really need to see it again to work out exactly how much I like it – mainstream Hollywood cinema is in such a weak state right now, it’s easy to come out of a film like Inception thinking you’ve just seen the best film ever. Inception isn’t that – it isn’t perfect, it isn’t a masterpiece, but it is the kind of ballsy, ambitious film I was hoping that Nolan would attempt in the wake of The Dark Knight’s success. There are sequences in Inception that are simply gobsmacking, and it’s nice to know that cinema is still capable of truly transporting me. I had high hopes for Inception – and I’m very glad not to be let down. Above everything, it’s a cinematic experience to be savoured, and if you love ambitious and adventurous films that are prepared to make you think and demand your attention, then make sure you see Inception, and see it on the biggest screen you can possibly find. It’s well worth the trip…

Pleased to meet you. Hope you guessed my name…

Hey. Remember me?

Considering Doctor Who is over again aside from the upcoming Christmas Special (and I notched up somewhere in the region of 25,000 words on Season 5), I thought it was about time I did a brief catch-up post just to prove that I have been doing other things than sitting in front of a TV and taking copious notes.

The main news is that just over a week ago, I found out that I’d actually passed my proofreading course. I’d spent just about a year working on it, I’d slightly messed up the fourth assignment, and I was determined to get this final assignment right – and as it turned out, I passed. With Merit. My calm and measured reaction was to leap up and down, run around the house and cackle like a lunatic. God knows how I’ll react when I finally get published… (Notice I didn’t say if there. Postive thinking! Oh yes!) But it’s been a long road, and now that I’ve also succeeded in updating and sprucing up my website (tidying away certain dead links, and so forth…), I’m going to be able to hunt down some more proofreading work and cast my net wide. On top of that, I’m going to be spending the next three weeks being pretty damn busy, as I’ve got three chunks of proofreading all intersecting with each other. More work means more financial stability, which is all very nice.

It just also means I’ve got to try harder to balance things out with work on my novel. Chill Out is progressing well – I’m up to about 140 pages of functional working second draft (with 400 pages of crappy first draft still to process). There’s new stuff to write, and holes to plug, but I’m on course to have the whole thing slapped together and ready for beta-readers to look at in the not-too-distant future.

I’m going to try and update more regularly. The blogging habit has slightly left me (partly thanks to the influence of Twitter, I suspect, where I’m pretty much a fixture). But I still like it here, and will show my face around the door a few more times. But in short, life is treating me rather well at the moment. There’s room for improvement, but there’s also plenty to be thankful for.

Must go now. Plenty to do. Not enough time to do it…

TV EYE: Doctor Who S5 E10-11: ‘Vincent and the Doctor’, and ‘The Lodger’

Yes, I’m terribly late with these, but life has once again gotten in the way. I tried to get this done before ‘The Lodger’ screened, and then I had my proofreading course to finish, and then I had it settled – while I was in London, on the Saturday afternoon before ‘The Pandorica Opens’, I’d finish it and post it then. But then, of course, the wireless on my laptop wouldn’t work. So, rather belatedly, here’s my burbling words on ‘Vincent and the Doctor’ and ‘The Lodger’, with my post on last saturday’s storming episode coming up in the next few moments. As usual, fear the spoilers…

‘Has anyone ever told you that you’re a bit weird?’ ‘They never really stop…’