THE McNEIL VARIATIONS
Surrealism . Art . Time . Space . Assassination Porn . Sherry


31.7.03  

Anagrams - aren't they sometimes SO appropriate?

Alastair Campbell - Still a macabre pal.
Well, the spin doctoring best mate of Tony always looks pretty sinister.

Dr David Kelly - Kill de Dr Davy.
A Jamaican connection? Or was it Dr. Macabre?

posted by Dan | 21:27
 

So, Tony Blair admitted that "trust is a problem" when questioned by journalists at his monthly press conference yesterday. As in - although he didn't say this specifically - an increasing percentage of the UK populace don't trust him an inch.

He then stonewalled some serious questions.

Questions relating to the death of Dr. David Kelly.
Questions relating to why the UK went to war in Iraq.
Questions relating to why it is that no weapons of mass distraction have yet been found.

An elected leader continues to treat the UK populace with grinning contempt.

posted by Dan | 18:44


30.7.03  

posted by Dan | 22:00
 

New link in Good Writers section for Neil Ayres.

posted by Dan | 20:47


29.7.03  

A review of SHIVA 3000, by Jan Lars Jensen (UK 2000, PanMacMillan, 326pp).

Who or what is Shiva 3000?

Shiva appears in the book, but the number 3000 does not. That this story is set in the far future is specifically mentioned on the back cover only. Inside, within the story, nothing so specific. Does this matter? No. The front cover describes Shiva 3000 as ‘A Timeless Fantasy’, and that’s precisely what it is, because Shiva 3000 could be set in the past, the future, or an alternate world of any tense. It really doesn’t matter.

The plot is deceptively simple. Boy hunts mythical warrior. Intends to kill him. Misplaced jealously over a lost love could be part of the reason, but destiny also has a hand. On his way, the boy meets various people, they travel and adventure together. Final scene, book ends, but in such a way that a sequel seems possible.

Sounds derivative, but it isn’t. Shiva 3000 is set in India, not some boring piece of Middle Earth. There are no hobbits, elves or goblins. There is, however, an underground snake that seems to be at least 30 miles long. Boy meets snake after escaping from a gigantic wooden god that trundles across the land, levelling entire cities. There are many gods in this story, gods which humans seem to have lost control of. Robots that have taken over their masters? An obvious allusion, perhaps, but this isn’t Terminator. Instead, Shiva 3000 demonstrates how ancient realities can become myths, and how these myths shape and control destinies.

However, what makes this book refreshingly different - apart from the setting - is the prose. It’s languid and meandering, like the Ganges on a steamy summer evening. It wafts you rhythmically along, camouflage for the various sucker punches that the plot delivers.

An impressive first novel from Jan Lars Jensen.

posted by Dan | 21:20


27.7.03  

Just saw that Rick at Dusk is after a Poetry Editor. Pass the word.

posted by Dan | 23:49
 

New links added to the "Writers Resources" and "Publishers & Agents" sections.

posted by Dan | 20:51


25.7.03  

Gabe Chouinard said:

"I believe (and will believe until I'm old, crusty and dying of lung cancer) that literature is one of the last remaining bastions of true culture left to us."

He's dead right. Check out his "Why Be Critical?" essay.

posted by Dan | 22:46
 

My story "Car(n)age: A Psychopathic Love Story" is now at Whispers of Wickedness. "Car(n)age" forms the basis of my first novel, and should be completed by Spring 2004, ready to hurl in a hopeful manner at agents and publishers.

posted by Dan | 22:21
 

Link added for Goblindegook in the Blogs section.

posted by Dan | 20:40
 

Coming this weekend...my review of Shiva 3000 by Jan Lars Jensen.

posted by Dan | 20:33


13.7.03  

In the UK, Blair was originally looking for "weapons of mass destruction". When these didn't turn up, he decided he was instead looking for "programmes for weapons of mass destruction". When these didn't turn up, he decided he was looking for "evidence of programmes for weapons of mass destruction". Now, he's looking for evidence of a 1962 Remington that typed a first draft entitled "An Idea Wot Oi Have for Making Big Baaarmbs" (In Iraqi).

OK, the last bit is a lie, but it'll soon be true.

posted by Dan | 22:21


5.7.03  

Update.

After a long hiatus, I'm still here. Delays and delays...life gets in the way of weblog triviality, but death was smacked out of the way. Site due to expand in the next few months. My in-progress novel is due for completion mid 2004, after which it'll be seeking a publisher. See my various short fiction on Whispers of Wickedness, Dusk and Fantastic Metropolis for a sense of what it'll feel like. Fiction - old and new - reviews will appear over the next few months. Including...

Light (M.John Harrison);
The Separation (Christopher Priest);
Under Compulsion (Thomas M. Disch);
The Time Machine (H.G. Wells);
The Time Ships (Stephen Baxter);
Shiva 3000 (Jan Lars Jensen);
Super Cannes (J.G. Ballard);
Use of Weapons (Ian M. Banks).

I'll also be posting a review of The Third Alternative, and reporting to you from ComBoCon (a.k.a. the combined TTA/Dusk Convention in Cambridge, UK, which takes place in August 2003). Hit my links to TTA, Dusk and Whispers of Wickedness - cutting edge fiction and furiously intelligent debate.

Stay tuned, take care.

posted by Dan | 23:55
 

Been listening to "Secrets of the Beehive" by David Sylvian. To say that it takes several listenings to fully appreciate this album is absolutely true - time required to appreciate a masterpiece is true of er, most masterpieces. "Secrets of the Beehive" hits the emotional spot with devastating yet understated power. His first post-Japan album "Brilliant Trees" was sublime. "Secrets of the Beehive" is impossibly better. And it was only released 15 years ago. "Timeless classic" is a much abused term, but it was probably invented to describe David Sylvian's solo output.

Catching up, I'll next be listening to "Blemish", which was released this century.

posted by Dan | 21:58
 

Upon Seeing a Tree on a New York Street Corner
(japanese)

An artist will try to capture its shape and copy it in his brain.
A naturalist will examine the birds, insects and fungi that symbiotically live with it.
A scholar of evolution will collect its DNA and find its place on the genealogical tree.
A mathematician will attempt to solve the algorithm of the division of branches versus leaves and write down the formula.
A clergyman will look to see God's design and grace in the tree.
A shaman will try to feel the tree's vibrations and will see their correspondence with the universe.
A pharmacologist will work to extract the antibacterial chemicals from the tree.
An ecologist will measure the tree's nitrogen and carbon dioxide fixation capacity.

Rather than thinking about all these things, I simply gaze at the tree in admiration.


© 2001 Ryuichi Sakamoto

posted by Dan | 04:27


4.7.03  

New link to Iotacism. Until I can properly define this site (well, he says it's art, news, text, music and forum, so where exactly does it go, hmm?), I've placed it in my Blogs link. Contains a nice image of that well known proponent of murderous capitalism George W. Bush.

My story "Decay Syndrome" is now at Whispers of Wickedness. Along with "A New Dream of Armageddon" and "A Cold Sun", it forms the basis of an in-progress novel.

posted by Dan | 22:17
 

Upon Seeing a Tree on a New York Street Corner.
(japanese).

An artist will try to capture its shape and copy it in his brain.
A naturalist will examine the birds, insects and fungi that symbiotically live with it.
A scholar of evolution will collect its DNA and find its place on the genealogical tree.
A mathematician will attempt to solve the algorithm of the division of branches versus leaves and write down the formula.
A clergyman will look to see God's design and grace in the tree.
A shaman will try to feel the tree's vibrations and will see their correspondence with the universe.
A pharmacologist will work to extract the antibacterial chemicals from the tree.
An ecologist will measure the tree's nitrogen and carbon dioxide fixation capacity.

Rather than thinking about all these things, I simply gaze at the tree in admiration.


© 2001 Ryuichi Sakamoto

posted by Dan | 20:31
Dan McNeil's
Fiction Sample
Reviews & Pastiche
Surrealists
Media
Writers
Music
For Writers
Mags & Journals
Psychopathology
Blogs
Search & Contact
archives