Free Comic: The Beastly Box of Bumcrack!

Ooh…

Professor Kraken, Master of the Science of the Supernatural, narrates his study of the village of Bumcrack, where an eldritch box bombards him with adverts from some ethereal plane.

Beastly Box is by Terry Wiley, Lee Kennedy, Motodraconis, Selina Lock, Jay Eales, Lee Kennedy, Jeremy Day, Alan Rowell and yours truly.

Edited by Jay Eales and published by Factor Fiction Press, you can download Beastly Box by clicking on the image below.

beastly-box

20mb download

There’s plans forming for another of these sometime in January. If you’d like to hook up when I’m in London, Oxford or Brighton, make me a message.

The Weariness of the Unsolicited Project Manager

My touches of depression generally come from recognisable causes (grief, stress, displacement), and completely unrecognisable causes (feeling completely shit despite major accomplishments). The latter was something we talked about in Nimlas Studio’s Mental Health in Fiction show, where the round-table was full of useful insight. Show’s two hours, bear in mind, but, wow.

The illness has seen me doing less press this month.  Ten years ago I lapped this stuff up and made sure to Mark McCann made time to interview me for Following the Nerd, which made for a thorough discussion of conspiracy theory, news and entertainment, and I was pleased with how that turned out.

ftnaxel

 

 

 

Also, a nice phone call from Caiman O’Shea, which found it’s way to Corncrake Arts Magazine.

corncrake

There’s also a second piece on the way from the Downbelow B5 Introcast, and an discussion of Mad Max 2 with Travis and Patrick of Reel Comics Heroes pod.

After a solid year working on Axel, I’ve felt I’ve lost the fresh-faced cogniscent speaker I was and am not always able to deliver as entertaining a presentation as I might have five years ago. Last week my health was failing and I’ve thought seriously about giving this career up.

On the other hand, I went out to the pub last night and a lot of people bought books, talked to me, embraced me and filmed a chat I was having with PJ Holden into an interview. Look at those lovely smiles.

So I probably won’t give up in hurry.

SF & F: Axel America and the News Election Race

Everyone’s keen to talk to me about Axel America and Donald Trump. Huddled together neighbours at a car crash, gleefully hiding terror. Never mind the politics, glance at the news media: photo-fit and run. The novel is about communication sciences: propaganda and cyber-stalking, everyday rather than futurist. It has many of the elements of science-fiction: Manchurian Candidates, super-intelligent defence systems and Tesla technology in the first five chapters and more throughout. Then there’s the psychology/SF cross-over: a presently advanced world subjected to Axel’s delusionary perception of global pandemics and martial law, holographic waves, time travel, light and sound weapons. It’s a book on the border of the news and conspiracy theory, fused by recent advances in social media. Threaded through it are themes of order versus chaos, war and peace, authoritarianism versus free will. One question I get a lot is ‘how do you satirise the satirical?’, and I say it’s a challenge, and we chuckle. Rupert Murdoch, Kay Burley, Piers Morgan, Donald Trump, Alex Jones: how do you look at the dark human cartoon and study their projections? One answer is to go right past the fiction of SF and into Fantasy. The novel pulls on the strings of bible prophecy, distant Pangaea, mercenary assassins, secret caves and valuable artefacts and more fitting elements to frame these dark cartoons. They’re comfortably enjoying their lives which disrupt. The incoherent, or unacceptable, nature of these news media antagonists and their rules requires hacking: not from the choices they give us, but from every choice.

I’ve been invited as a last minute guest to Titancon in Belfast this weekend at the Wellington Park Hotel. There you can pick up a copy of Axel America and the U.S. Election Race from myself at the AGPublishings stall.

You can support bookstores in Belfast by purchasing it from No Alibis, The Thinking Cup, Comic Book Guys and Forbidden Planet International. Or in Dublin, from Sub City Comics or The Winding Stair. The book is also available on Kindle and Smashwords.

belfast-89fm

Lisa Flavelle’s Morning Talk-In, Belfast 89FM.

We’ve had some good reviews in The Irish News, Authors Talk About It and Belfast 89FM, which you can find on the Axel America page, along with a round-table vid-cast I’m on, produced by Nimlas Studios, talking about mental health in fiction.

Cover artist Sean Duffield models Axel America.

Cover artist Sean Duffield models Axel America: oh, the pride!

The Axel America book launch freed people’s minds, and their bladders.

A Qabalah’s worth of photographs from the Axel America launch party, an eye-watering then blistering evening of love, unity and dissent and spectacular mucking about.

On Monday morning I’m on Belfast 89FM, an excellent grassroots station, and on NVTV’s Novel Ideas, the East Belfast/Shankill Extra, and Following the Nerd all within a few days.

So Axel is now out, on Kindle and Smashwords, and in print from Amazon. We’ve had positive support from book sellers, particularly ComicBookGuys who promoted us with a special offer, and Malachy at Forbidden Planet International, whipping up some readers. The Thinking Cup on the Lisburn Road will be doing an event with us before November 8th and David at No Alibis suggested we let him stock ten copies. That works for me. In Dublin, Rob Curley made good with a copy (we only had one!), as did the manager of The Winding Stair bookshop on Lower Ormond Quay. We hope we can travel to re-stock soon. A complete list of stockists are on the Axel America page of this blog. 

The week to launch had been another hard week poking press behemoths with a series of big sticks until deciding it wasn’t worth dying over. We were helped by reviews from Peter Duncan and John Robbins, and the spectacular promo made by Ashwani Thakur, which is probably better than my book. Thank you to everyone who came out for the loud and bright launch party and sat patiently while Richard and I babbled a load of ‘conspiracy theory’ tosh, which you applauded.

Off to the White House

Or rather The Green Room…

green-room_bigger2

Of The Black Box, Belfast.

posteraxa2blackbox

That’s this Monday, just around from the Duke of York where I’ll be tasting beer after.

The books have arrived, big chunky things. Michael at Northern Visions TV assures me he’ll be getting through it before we shoot on Friday for two shows: Focal Point (news), and Novel Ideas. 

the call

Tomorrow, I’ll be in Dublin to talk to sellers, meet some pals and attend the launch of The Call, a new novel by Peadar Ó Guilín. He’ll be in Easons with Oisín McGann and a group of fans and pals. (Link: FB event) It’s published by Scholastic/Fickling and is a children’s book about child abduction (!) by the Sidhe faeries. [More about that on Publisher’s Weekly]

The Axel America Election Tour has begun, kicking off with the folks at Downbelow, a podcast about Babylon 5. A double episode on Secrets of the Soul (dismissed), and Day of the Dead (applauded). I took a while to warm, fighting the prevailing opinion on the first episode, but I was roundly welcomed and it put me in a good mood to start. (Thanks Ian for the on-air sale!)

Next day, the first of the email interviews with Pro Media Mag, and talking to Seemi about comics and the making of The Invisible Artist show. I really enjoyed this one and you can find it linked with the others on the Axel America page

The weekend began with a night out at Sector 13, a local group of ‘mature’ comics readers and cosplayers. I was picked up by Peter Duncan of great British comics blog Splank!, and we hooked up with social Laurence McKenna, Paddy Brown (soon appearing in Hawaiian shirts), the jovial Ryan Brown, the omnipresent stoic Bruce Logan, teller of tales Glenn Fabry and Ishtar, an author visiting Glenn from Brighton. It was a night of fine craic and welcoming faces and I’d recommend it for folks in the area. More setting up and more interviews. Writers Community is a local site with an interview. Alan asked me questions where I’ve gone into the mechanics and politics of the book, and given some advice on writing.

Old friend Ciaran Flanagan phoned me up on Sunday for a segment on the ComicCityCast and it was a delightful lapse into casual (but excitable) chat about the origins of the book and where it is now. On Monday, US blog Literary Links got in touch to ask about Axel’s showbiz links and the creative lifestyle.

Today, it’s more attempts to bribe journalists and bloggers with a free lunch, and some house tidying so when publisher Andrew arrives on Monday, he isn’t sleeping in a hammock of cobwebs. Keep an eye to @TheAxelAmerica – there’s things I’ll announce there that have blown our socks off.

Oh, just time to mention http://www.outsidergames.com/jennifer-wilde/Jennifer Wilde - Stephen Downey

Me old pal Stephen Downey is working on a game based off the beloved comic, created with Rob Curley and Maura McHugh. For those unfamiliar, Jennifer Wilde follows a French artist and Oscar’s ghost as they solve mysteries in London, Paris and New York.

Running Facebook repeats

I wish people would blog. Why Facebook when you can blog? It’s only the ratings game. Stupid planet. I present two recent Facebook posts, for the joy.

18 August

You know those protestors with the pictures of dead babies, maybe the ones standing in a busy Belfast city street? I think we’ll call them the Abortionoids.
Well I had to walk back past them today. My laptop bag has a dangling piece of string, and as I bounced, the ears of a pair of scissors inside became entangled in it. The scissors half fell from my bag and snagged on another piece of string, linking a tree with one of the abortionoids’ signs about doctors who hiccup or something.
Anyway, I struggled to get free, and then the scissors got caught in another sign. Nobody seemed to have noticed, but I thought I’d better go. So I walked past the table with all the signatures of naive young fools who think choosing other people’s bodies are a bit like choosing your favourite crayon. I crossed at the lights, and I went to work. I was just taking my laptop bag off when I noticed two A3 signs about doctors who cough were just dangling from my bag!
Of course, I plan to go around that way as soon as I get off work and see if I can return these signs but everyone might have gone home by then. Ohnoes.
23 August

I am Writer, creator of life, farmer of worlds, blazing bastard comet on dinosaurs and bunnies alike. As I cast my supernatural machinations down upon petri dish people, the dishes build up, the dust grows from thick on carpet to thinner in the heavens of thon attuned ecosphere apartment. The spiders build webs over the sink, the shower walls cry for an old testament toothbrush cleaning, and that wall isn’t going to paint itself.

Yet here my power is diminished. I can make a man or woman of eternal song but I cannot clean thine own rack where the cutlery sits. I can destroy the most malevolent maniacs but I cannot get that stain on the toilet bowl removed.

I’m actually terribly good at cleaning when I’ve people coming round. Moto came to visit a few years back and I spent two days polishing a dump pile of a house into something passable that looked like someone could live in. I wondered if you have the same relationship with house cleaning. Or this one. I love cleaning round friends’ homes, I will visit you with brillo and spray, with vacuum and cloth. Certainly most folk I know have spotless homes, independently developed. There should be a scheme for people like us/me though. I dub this form: CleanShare. Social gatherings planned triggering spit and polish. Social gatherings developing tidy and tinsel. I would bestow gifts of beer and pizza and fags upon the humans and all the animals that pick up a jay-cloth casually, with their watching eyes pushing my hygiene ever forward. You’ve seen it in your own lives maybe. You’ve seen it on TV. Cleanshare. Not as much fun as reading the work of Wilde or Shakespeare between the group, or a night with guitars or movies. But CleanShare. Where is my Cleanshare? Gawddamn.

(Andy Luke is the author of Axel America, a novel set in the social media information age, were news is interactive, and type is movable. Most cursing has been edited out of it. It’s now up for pre-order on Kindle and Smashwords. Axel America Book Launch! is on September 5th at the Black Box Belfast  Free entry to free your minds, apparently)