Thursday, 16 June 2016

Flash Fiction: "Don't...

"Don't go out there!" she cried.
  He looked back over his shoulder reassuringly: "Hey. This is me," he said, shouldering his shotgun and securing the door firmly behind him.
  She heard him moving softly away. Minutes passed in silence. There were sounds in the distance. A scuffle. A gunshot.
  More silence.
  Footsteps returning. She moved behind the bed, wary.
  The door pushed slowly open and - to her relief - his familiar face appeared, spattered with blood. He smiled, reassuringly.
  "Hey," he said. His eyes blank.
  "This is me."

Friday, 3 June 2016

Flash Fiction: In...

In my youth, I saw them often. They came, through the trees at the foot of the garden, and gazed upon the house. Once, I saw my mother go and speak with them; an exchange of bundled items, I fancied, and then a parting. When I spoke to my mother of it, she scolded me for making wicked lies. My baby sister cried less after that.

After a time they stopped coming and I came to believe it was a fiction, a dream. But lately I have seen them again, watching, always watching.

My daughter cries so.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Weird Things I Say #6

"____ do not work that way!"
Often quoted while watching bad movies, or just in general.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Weird Things I Say #5

"Yeah, boys!"
This is not so much weird as momentarily odd, and as a pop culture reference it falls short of being recognizable or even particularly unique by a long way. It is a weird thing I say, however, and it has its origins in a particular passage from Dave Stone's Sky Pirates!, a passage summarising the events of the previous book in the series, introducing the two new companions for readers who may be less than completists:
  And when the time-travelling alien, the Doctor, had offered to take them along with him in his ship - for want of a better word - Cwej's instant and automatic reaction had been: 'What, travel the whole vast panoply of space and time, righting what once went wrong and confronting hideous beings of slithering, inutterable and unmitigated evil on their home turf? Yeah, boys!' While Detective Adjudicator Roslyn Forrester stood somewhere in the background with a hand over her eyes.
It may itself be a pop culture reference, possibly to the intro to Public Enemy's Bring The Noise, but I have little to base that on bar my own internal associations and observations of Mr Stone's writing style. Nonetheless it has become, for me, an expression of immediate and unconditional approval.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Just Us League

This is a post I've been sitting on since before Christmas. Shortly before Christmas, in fact, as I browsed the various gift sections that pop up in our department stores in the run-up to the festive period.

I'm terrible at shopping for gifts. My eye is inevitably drawn towards things related to my own interests - sometimes things I would like to own myself, but more often simply merchandise attached to properties in which I am invested, because it is nice to see things you love doing well. So this year I noticed this:


A smart box for a T-shirt featuring the Justice League! Not bad, quite dynamic art, though it's odd to see Batman smiling, and of course they're the pre-New-52 character designs, but that's sort of expected for a mainstream product, they have to go with the iconic, public-consciousness images rather than whatever they happen to be wearing this year. After all, these are men who -

- men -

- white men who -

- wait.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Missed-The-Boat Video Game Reviews: Murdered: Soul Suspect

I have just played through Murdered: Soul Suspect (it was dirt cheap on Steam). I enjoyed it, though at the same time find little to disagree with in the Zero Punctuation review: The "combat" was shoehorned in, the "detective" work tended to be either overly simplistic or hopelessly obscure, and the reliance on scripting was sometimes obnoxious (clues you can't interact with until you've asked the right question, guards that ignore your presence because you've technically "passed" their guard challenge).

I suspect I allowed myself to immerse in the game a little more than Yahtzee did - an easy trap when you're consciously reviewing a game - as I did find the demon-wedgie sequenes more frightening than tedious. Even though I told myself there was no consequence for failure and it wasn't really that challenging I still found my pulse quicken and movements become frantic whenever they spotted me. I'd say Airtight hit the right mark emotionally, using every cinematic trick of soundscape and colour pallette to strike up an atmosphere of danger and creepiness. I loved the design sensibilities, the muted tones with spot colour, the interactions between the ghost and physical planes. Lots of fun.

Overall it's definitely on the "story" side of the challenge-narrative spectrum, there's several conversations where you only have one option to continue and most of the investigations amount to hidden-object puzzles. It's a good story, though, entertainingly told and with some genuinely surprising (or at least non-standard) twists.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Weird Things I Say #4

"I stand by my statement."
There's a moment early in the 1966 Batman movie where Batman's giving a press conference (yes). He deflects someone's question and somebody calls him on it, and he responds with this cleverer-than-thou rejoinder. After consulting the Internet I find the full exchange is thus:
REPORTER: “A trans-Atlantic yacht approaching the city simply disappeared.”
BATMAN: “Nonsense. How could a yacht simply disappear?”
REPORTER: “You mean it isn’t true?”
BATMAN: “I stand on my answer.”
As so often with these Things I Say I find I have misremembered, but the spirit of the phrase remains: If you look at what I said, rather than what you heard, you will see that I knew exactly what I was saying. In this case Batman is not denying the disappearance of the yacht, but rather asserting that it could not have been a simple matter.

My favourite thing about the scene, though, is a disguised Catwoman asking him to remove his mask for photos, as though there was any real chance of him exposing his secret identity to the press out of, I don't know, politeness. I guess the writers thought maybe they couldn't assume the film audience would be familiar with the points of canon of this obscure TV serial, that not everyone in the fictional world knows Batman is Bruce Wayne? It is admittedly important for a lot of the events later in the film but, really, it is kind of a big part of the mythos. I mean even in the sixties. Surely?

There I go, assuming everyone has the same world knowledge as me, just like in the Wendy house.