Friday, 29 June 2012

Would the Daily Mail care how dead people write?

It's difficult for dead people to write in the first person. That's what I realised when I wondered about the writing style for my main web site. I checked some of my favourites but it was the fact that Douglas Adams can't write in an engaging voice that helped me decide. I don't write about comic science fiction but I hope to do for the irrationalities of paganism what Douglas Adams did for science fiction.

Daily Mail

Paganism is said to be the seventh largest faith group in the UK but we're still waiting the results of the census on that one. You'd think they'd tell you when the results are due but perhaps they're as afraid of the Daily Mail taking them to task as the rest of the world seems to be. Well I'll tell you this about me, I don't give a flying fridge magnet about the Daily Mail.


I write about the modern pagan movement that we used to call occultism. It's a very philosophical world and doesn't involve cutting the heads off of chickens, if you think it does you're confusing it with farming. Recently I've been concentrating on comedy stories about three blokes who go away for the weekend, drink way too much strong drink, smoke pot until it comes out of their ears and perform candle lit ceremonies that some people would mistakenly describe as Satanism. What can the Daily Mail do to me that I haven't already done to myself?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Satanic Viruses heads for fourth edition

Further news is that I've been working on an update of my first book Satanic Viruses: the fall of the Roman Empire and how to bring it about. This was published in 1989 and has been released in various formats since. It's an examination of the way the world is changing and has been said to predict the structural changes in society we are witnessing now. The final part of the book which sought to suggest a way for people to circulate their ideas through information viruses has now been rupersceded by viral communication on the Internet. It's this part that I'm currently working on. I have also found that there are other recent commentators, such as Alain de Botton, who have been expressing similar ideas to mine about the whole left in society by people's move away from religious perspectives. All this and more is to be found in the future release of the book.

One important change will be that I'm retitling the book. It's been suggested that the term Satanic Viruses suppresses sales in the US. This may be the case. The title was originally a play on the title of Salman Rushdie's infamous Satanic Verses although the two books have nothing to do with each other. The reference to Satanic is related to the book's reference to occultism which some people might mistakenly see as Satanism, though Satanism is a spinoff from Christianity so it's not really about that. The viruses references is about the information viruses to which I've referred earlier. Anyway, the plan now, is to title the book Age of Aquarius and use the old title in full as the subtitle. The book does make reference to the idea of the Age of Aquarius and, really, that's what it's all about so that's going to be the new title.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Ennui and the art of motorcycle maintenance

This appeared on Facebook a little while ago.

Interestingly BBC Radio 4 just broadcast a dramatisation of Zen the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (one of my favourite books) and it seems strangely apposite. I've read the book a couple of times but not for many years now and I'd forgotten a great deal of it.

I've always understood the dichotomy between reason and romanticism (as he describes it) but I'd forgotten that he uses the idea of quality as a resolution between the two. I know that some people have suggested that his ideas are flawed but I'm not a high level philosopher so the idea of quality has always appealed to me and in such cases I choose not to look too closely (to not apply too much logic) for fear of destroying the thing that appeals.

Only when hearing this dramatisation does it strike me that I've lived my life with the idea of quality as a guiding ideal. Being influenced by antiques dealers and collectors at an early age, getting drunk in philosophical conversations, being introduced to proper musicians despite my inability to play any serious instrument; all these things bear the same theme, quality.

Of course the ironic observation seems to be that he, Pirsig, was reacting to what he perceived to be a lack of quality in the modern world (he rails against what had gone wrong with the 20th century) yet I find myself feeling the same about the world of the 21st century. We live in a world of cheap fizzy beer, X Factor pop music, conglomerate industries feeding the public low quality high profit products; but he was experiencing the same in a time that we, today, might well look back on as having higher values and greater quality.

Or perhaps he was wrong and this is just an experience of getting older.

Here's the link for the broadcast. It'll probably be available for the next week or so. Not sure about non UK computers.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Hidden Masters on the move again

After a move away from self publishing early last year my books haven't been available in print for nearly a year and a half. The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil came out in eBook form at the end of 2011 but I've realised since that readers really do still prefer paper books.

So I'm now happy to say that my first novel The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil has just gone to the publisher this week. It bounced back once for some changes but hopefully that should be it for any more changes. For those of you who have read the first edition the new paperback edition is taken from the eBook that had tighter editing but this new version includes an extra joke. That's a brand new joke that wasn't in the first or second editions. Let me know if you can spot it but don't get too excited now.

In the mean time I've done some work on the second Hidden Masters novel (tentatively titled The Hidden Masters and the Techno Knights, set on the south Wales borders) and I'm really keen to get back to it. It's currently on chapter four or six depending on how I chop it up. It features a mad religious cult, a geek with a grudge and bad hair and hopefully some Morris Men with violent tendencies. As soon as I clear the other projects it's full steam ahead.

In the mean time here's the link to the eBook:

Here's the You Tube promo video