Monthly archives: August 2012

The King of Lies- work in preparation 1

Obviously, I don’t have enough projects on the go.

As Garth Owen I have the follow up to The Girl On The Bridge to get on with, and the action movie story as well.

I’m about to create a pseudonym for a bunch of SF tinged fantasy tales, and may be using him to resurrect and repurpose a tale I first serialised on here several years ago.

Under my own name I’m still casting about for a possible follow up to Tiger (I’ve started three attempts which have each faltered). And there are a bunch of other shorts, novelletes, novellas etc. in the planning or plotting stages.

So, obviously, I have to start thinking about creating a picture book.

As a step-dad* I have been pondering the way that stepparents are portrayed in fairy tales. It’s primarily evil stepmothers, but there are bad dads as well. But you don’t have to watch Jeremy Kyle to know that natural parents can be awful too, and will happily use their children to hurt their partners and others. Time for a tale that addresses that.

The King of Lies is political allegory as well, because the themes can work on individual and political levels- anywhere where people use lies, misrepresentations etc. to try to further their own interests. The bad king lies to his daughter and his subjects so he can keep control and power, and is eventually brought down by his own shortsighted negative behaviour. In the roughs I’m drawing at the moment the king is King Boris, but that will probbaly become more pointed- King Gideon, perhaps.

The founding lie is that the Queen is dead and the King is the best person to decide on the Princess’s future. As the story starts the Queen is alive and well and living with a strange man in the forest- the good step-dad- trying to find the best way to get her daughter back. As the King ramps up his lies, so the Queen- with her champion by her side- sets out to rescue her daughter and the kingdom. Of course, the Princess has found out the Queen survives and set out on her own quest, just to make everything that bit trickier.

I see the story as a picture book, told primarily in full page shots with short text sections but with occasional panel to panel storytelling for more complex scenes. The pages will be rich with background details, little jokes and references. Whilst the format is inspired by childrens’ books, the content will be aimed at older readers. Thinking of it in terms of film ratings, it will be about a 12A. Younger readers will be able to appreciate the story and images, possibly with a parent to discuss some of the isssues, older children can read it themselves and adults can appreciate the allegory and humour.

I’d really like to see King of Lies drawn, so I’m going to have to go looking for an artist and some funding.

*There are formalities and legalities to go through before I can start calling them my children, but I’ve started using the term to get people (myself included) used to the idea.

Daily Blog 08/27/2012

  • Hong Kong action cinema is the principal source of the Hong Kong film industry’s global fame. It combines elements from the action film, as codified by Hollywood, with Chinese storytelling and aesthetic traditions, to create a culturally distinctive form that nevertheless has a wide transcultural appeal. In recent years, the flow has reversed somewhat, with American and European action films being heavily influenced by Hong Kong genre conventions.

    The first Hong Kong action films favoured the wuxia style, emphasizing mysticism and swordplay, but this trend was politically suppressed in the 1930s and replaced by styles in which films depicted more down-to-earth unarmed kung fu, often featuring folk hero Wong Fei Hung. Post-war cultural upheavals led to a second wave of wuxia films with highly acrobatic violence, followed by the emergence of the grittier kung fu films for which the Shaw Brothers studio became best known. The 1970s saw the rise and sudden death of international superstar Bruce Lee. He was succeeded in the 1980s by Jackie Chan—who popularised the use of comedy, dangerous stunts, and modern urban settings in action films—and Jet Li, whose authentic wushu skills appealed to both eastern and western audiences. The innovative work of directors and producers like Tsui Hark and John Woo introduced further variety (for example, gunplay, triads and the supernatural). An exodus by many leading figures to Hollywood in the 1990s coincided with a downturn in the industry.

    tags: hongkong cinema action

  • The Shaw Brothers Studio (Chinese: 邵氏片場), owned by Shaw Brothers (HK) Ltd., was the foremost and the largest movie production company of Hong Kong movies.

    From their distribution base in Singapore where they founded parent company Shaw Organization in 1924, and as a strategic development of their movie distribution business in Southeast Asia, Sir Run Run Shaw (邵逸夫) and his third brother Runme Shaw (邵仁枚) founded South Sea Film (南洋影片) in 1930. It was later renamed Shaw Brothers Studio. The studio released Hong Kong’s first movie with sound 《白金龍》 (which translates as “platinum dragon”, or one of the slang terms for a pistol) in 1934.

    tags: HongKong Singapore MartialArts China Movies

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

My books for the Kindle are now available in India 1

Amazon have announced that they’re starting selling Kindle books in India. Their press release says that you can find all the Indian Kindle releases at, but I seem to get redirected to a page at with nothing to suggest it’s their Indian subdivision.

India’s a huge market. It would be interesting to see what sorts of books do well there.

RIP Tony Scott

The film director has died aged 68, committing suicide in LA.

Tony Scott didn’t produce the grand visions that Ridley does, but I bet his films were more successful than his brother’s. They may just have been throw away action movies, but he still created some of the most memorable ones out there. I’d even watch The Last Boy Scout again if it was on tonight (but not Man On Fire).

An architectural wander around the Plymouth Grove hotel

The Plymouth Grove hotel

I’ve been meaning to get photos of the Plymouth Grove for years. I was out that way earlier this week shooting other stuff so I decided to stop by.

It’s a Grade 2 listed building and, according to the guy who appeared to be working on it they’re starting a refurbishment project, so I got in at the right time for decay photos. There are more photos at the Plymouth Grove set on Flickr.

Daily Blog 08/17/2012

  • At the out break of World War II, with his language experience Amies was called to serve in the Special Operations Executive. Amies suspected that SOE’s commander Major General Colin Gubbins did not regard a dressmaker as suitable military material, but his training report stated:[1]
    “ This officer is far tougher both physically and mentally than his rather precious appearance would suggest. He possesses a keen brain and an abundance of shrewd sense. His only handicap is his precious appearance and manner, and these are tending to decrease. ”

    tags: WW2 spy soe

  • In 1936, the Zeppelin Company, with the financial aid of Nazi Germany, built the Hindenburg (the LZ 129), the largest airship ever made.
    Named after the late German president, Paul von Hindenburg, the Hindenburg stretched 804-feet-long and was 135-feet-tall at its widest point.
    That made the Hindenburg just 78-feet shorter than the Titanic and four times larger than the Good Year blimps.
    The Hindenburg was a rigid airship definitely in the Zeppelin design. It had a gas capacity of 7,062,100 cubic feet and was powered by four 1,100-horsepower diesel engines.

    tags: hindenburg airship

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 08/16/2012

  • I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.

    This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.

    tags: politics wikileaks

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 08/11/2012

  • For every movie that makes it to your local cineplex, there are dozens that never come into existence. In another universe, Mel Gibson directed Fahrenheit 451, Terry Gilliam directed Watchmen, and Batman fought Godzilla. The history of movies is crammed full of weird almost-weres and could-have-beens.

    tags: movies

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 08/10/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 08/09/2012

  • Warrior was designed and built in response to an aggressive French shipbuilding programme which saw the introduction of the first iron-clad warship La Gloire designed by the brilliant naval architect Stanislas Charles Henri Dupuy de Lome.

    Determined to see off this challenge to the supremacy of the Royal Navy the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir John Somerset Pakington, determined to build a ship so superior in terms of quality, speed, size, armament and armour that it would be inconceivable to France that she could take Britain on in a sea battle.

    When commissioned by Captain the Hon. Arthur Auckland Leopold Pedro Cochrane, on August 1st 1861, Warrior was the largest warship in the world, at 9,210 tons displacement she was fully 60% larger than La Gloire.

    tags: history ship warship

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 08/08/2012

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Daily Blog 08/06/2012

  • Clean lines and easy operation – the Solidoodle 3D Printer is the right machine to turn your imagination into reality. Upload a 3D file and watch as the Solidoodle 3D Printer magically creates your part, right before your eyes. This is the printer for people who just want to print, not assemble a machine. The printer comes fully assembled with everything you need to get started – all you need to supply is a computer and power.

    As anyone who has assembled a 3D printer from a kit can tell you – the process can be overwhelming… taking weeks and even months before you can even print your first object. At Solidoodle, we take the hassle out of 3D printing by shipping every machine fully assembled and ready to print — right out of the box.

    tags: 3DPrinting

  • The Mojave Desert, home to Edwards Air Force Base, has been a hotbed of bizarre aircraft activity for decades.  But nevermind those strange lights in the sky!  This remote region of the High Desert is a place where walkers  stumble across the abandoned hulks of great aircraft, apparently left to rot on the desert floor.

    tags: aircraft desert abandoned

  • Libyan desert glass (LDG), or great sand sea glass is a substance found in areas in the Libyan Desert. Fragments of desert glass can be found over large areas, up to tens of kilometers.

    tags: glass desert

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

That Was Then, This Is Now. (Or “Oh look, the Daily Mail is hypocritical.”)

London 2012 Games: Team GB have 61 ‘plastic Brits’ | Mail Online.

The controversy over ‘plastic Brits’ has been reignited by the revelation that Team GB will have 61 overseas-born athletes competing at this summer’s London Olympics.

Team GB Andy Hunt has come under fire over the selection of Cuban-born triple jumper Yamile Aldama and wrestler Olga Butkevych, who was born in Ukraine but received her UK passport only a couple of months ago.

Go back to the 80s and-

The Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper, persuaded Budd’s father to encourage her to apply for British citizenship, on the grounds that her grandfather was British, to circumvent the international sporting boycott of South Africa so that she could compete in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. With a strong push from the Daily Mail British citizenship was granted in short order and she moved to Guildford