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Thoughts on 1968 movie HANG 'EM HIGH

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Watched the Clint Eastwood Western Hang ’Em High (1968) last night – only the second time I’ve seen it. The first time, some decades back, I was sorely disappointed; I think I was expecting something more like the Dollar films, or High Plains Drifter, while this offering is more traditional (although I’ve seen it described as revisionist, which I’d dispute). I thought I’d be fair and give it another go.

It’s not as bad as I remember it – but it’s a long way from good. With an almost 2 hour (sometimes too leisurely) running time it could benefit with at least half an hour snipped off. The mass hanging scene, especially, feels interminable. I appreciate the director wanting to convey some of the inappropriate carnival atmosphere such an event would have generated, but it could have been conveyed just as well – or maybe better – with the judicious application of scissors. The story line meanders too, and feels unfocused.

There’s a parade of familiar and famous faces – such as Dennis Hop…

MY FANTASYCON 2017 SCHEDULE

Somehow, I find myself on three panels in this year's convention. And all on Saturday. What did I - and you, dear attendee - do to deserve that?
OCCULT DETECTIVES Saturday 12 Noon (Panel Room 1) With Dave Brzeski (mod), Mike Chinn, John Linwood Grant, Chico Kidd, Autumn Barlow, A. K. Benedict, Ben Aaronovitch. Arthur Conan Doyle popularised the concept of the series character in detective fiction with Sherlock Holmes. It wasn’t long before authors of supernatural fiction swiped the idea and invented their own investigators, who didn’t share the Great Detective’s disdain for all things paranormal. There are now as many variant types of these ghost-breakers and monster hunters as there are ab-natural threats (as Hodgson’s Carnacki would have put it) for them to protect humanity from. Our panel discusses these variations and their experiences. Join us for an enlightening conversation.
PLAYING WITH THE REAL Saturday 1.30pm (Panel Room 3) With ​Peter Coleborn (mod), Andrew Hook, Tej Turne…

THE RETURN OF THE PALADIN - PART TWO

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Back in 2009 I wrote in this ’ere blog about it being over ten years since THE PALADIN MANDATES was published by The Alchemy Press, and how a review of same in THEAKER'S QUARTERLY DIGEST provoked me into writing a sparkly fresh Paladin story: “Sailors of the Skies” for DARK HORIZONS #55 (The British Fantasy Society, 2009). Paladin himself had been born many years earlier, in “Death Wish Mandate” published in KADATH #5, by Francesco Cova. He’d had a long gestation.
Ever since he drew SWORD OF SORCERY for DC Comics (1973), I’ve been a fan of Howard Chaykin. In 1975 he wrote and drew the first two issues of THE SCORPION for Atlas/Seaboard Comics. Set in the 1930s, it pitted an apparently immortal character – Moro Frost – against slightly more mundane villains. At the time I didn’t know much about the rich history of masked avengers who had graced the pages of pulp magazines back before the Second World War (with the exception of Doc Savage and the Shadow), so I was pretty ignorant o…

Collective Lunacy

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Up until three years ago it had never crossed my mind to have a collection of my short fiction published. Over the decades I’ve sold something like sixty-plus short stories, but even my closest friends – at their most charitable – would agree the earlier stuff isn’t worth collecting.
Yet, in a moment of uncharacteristic optimism, I selected eighteen pieces and approached The Alchemy Press. In 2015, GIVE ME THESE MOMENTS BACK was published (a title which, I am told, Alchemy Press supremo Peter Coleborn keeps wanting to correct to something less poetic and more grammatical). The contents were, typically, somewhat – shall we say, eclectic? I’ve always been something of a gadfly: hopping from one genre to another without any obvious plan or direction, and the collection reflected that. I’ve no idea if, from a marketing standpoint, it was a good thing or not.
Then, as 2016 tailed off, it occurred to me that I actually had sufficient material for a more horror (or dark fantasy, if you pref…

Peter Tennant Reviews GIVE ME THESE MOMENTS BACK

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Peter Tennant did a mammoth review of  titles from The Alchemy Press in Black Static #50. Below is the review for GIVE ME THESE MOMENTS BACK.
Mike Chinn[...]'s collection GIVE ME THESE MOMENTS BACK (Alchemy Press pb, 266pp, £9.99) opens with ‘Welcome to the Hotel Marianas’ in which a submersible with idle rich passengers voyages to a hotel built in the depths of the Mariana Trench, only to find that something monstrous is waiting. It’s a story that’s written with a feel of momentous events taking place and increasing unease as they unfold, the characters well drawn and the idea of the ultimate in adventure holidays coming across strongly, all of which can’t obscure the fact that ultimately it is just a gotcha story, one in which everything, all the careful preparation, leads up to the moment when the big bad jumps out.
There’s a genuinely creepy feel to ‘Facades’, with a couple on holiday in Venice getting on the city’s bad side, though you suspect that the fault lies as much in th…

VALLIS TIMORIS Reviewed

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Pauline Morgan has recently reviewed VALLIS TIMORIS for the Birmingham SF Group's newsletter, and she has very kindly allowed me to reproduce it here.
VALLIS TIMORIS by Mike Chinn and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Fringeworks, Kindle edition £3.86, £11.99 paperback, 289 pages. ISBN: 978-1-909573-24-6 Copyright is a tricky minefield to navigate. Different countries interpret it differently. Once an author dies, there is a period of time before their works become out of copyright. It means that the publications can be reprinted without any royalties paid or permission required from the estate. It also means that characters created by the out-of-copyright author become available for further adventures involving them to be penned. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is out of copyright and his most celebrated character, Sherlock Holmes, is in the public domain. As a result, the BBC have created a modern version of Holmes which worked brilliantly.
Adrian Middleton has taken advantage of the situation by creati…

Nick Nightmare Wins BFS Award

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Reblogged from The Alchemy PressPosted on 28/10/2015
We at The Alchemy Press are thrilled to announce that Adrian Cole’s collection Nick Nightmare Investigates was awarded the Best Collection Award presented by the British Fantasy Society. The news was announced over the FantasyCon 2015 weekend, and was presented to Adrian my Mistress of Ceremonies Juliet E McKenna. Nick Nightmare Investigates was published late 2014 as a signed limited edition, and involved several people behind the project. We offer deep gratitude and thanks to Adrian, editor Mike Chinn (who also co-wrote one of the book’s stories), artists Bob Eggleton and Jim Pitts, designers Michael Marshall Smith and Stephen Jones, as well as Airgedlámh Publications’ Stephen Jones and David Sutton. The book is available from The Alchemy Press. Photo of Juliet E McKenna and Adrian Cole © Peter Coleborn SHARE THIS: