The 400th Pseudopod

I’m amazed, and delighted, to report that Pseudopod hit episode 400 this week just gone. It’s been a long road between there and here and it’s one that’s got me thinking about horror, the past, the future and where we are as a show.


Trust me there are jokes too.


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Critic School

(Alex Cox, cult film director and the most passionate, honest film critic I’ve ever encountered)

‘So how do you become a film critic?’  No one asked me, ever. I mean why would they? It’s easy! All you have to do is go see a film, drink some coffee, write 700 words about the pre hype for the movie, 200 words on the movie itself, make sure there’s a gif every 100 words and then go home and roll around on your big bed made entirely of money! How hard can it be?


Being a shitty film critic is easy.Being a good film critic?




With a tip of the hat to Robert Rodriguez’s 10 Minute Film School, I present 6 Point Critic School.


1. No one cares about you.

Seriously, no one does. They care about the film and whether it’s any good, not what you had for breakfast, what theater you saw the movie in or your childhood interaction with the works of the director. You’re an interpreter not a Herald and you are no one’s favorite critic aside from, maybe, other film critics.


2. Don’t Believe The Hype

Chuck D is right about many, many things and this is but one. Do not report, after watching the movie, on how much fun the press conference was, or the infidelities of one of the stars. Don’t dignify the often constructed ‘He said what when?!’ bullshit by letting it murder even more electrons and brain cells than it already has. Do not, under any circumstances, believe or participate in, the hype.


3. Watch the Movie

Watch the movie.

Not the press, not the hype, not the pre-press.

The Movie.

Watch the movie.

Watch the movie.



4. Write About The Movie

Analyze your feelings about the movie. Write about those feelings. If it made you cry, why? If it made you angry, why? Be honest. You can tell if you’re doing this because it’ll feel difficult and unpleasant. Do it anyway.


5. Say it in 1000 words or don’t say it at all

Are you being paid to write a 3000 word treatise on the film you just saw?


Are they hiring?

If you’re not, then keep it brief. People wander off around the 1000 word mark online which means you have 1000 words and ideally should get it done in 800. Play with this sort of framework


Set up-200 words

(Premise of film)

Para 1-300 words

(What works)

Para 2-300 words

(What doesn’t work)

Conclusion-200 words


6. Redraft

Write your piece and ignore it for 24 hours. Then go back and redraft it. It will always be a better piece of work when you’re done.


Boom. You’re a critic.


See? Told you it was easy.












Review: Broadchurch: The Novel



I grew up on the Isle of Man. Small communities are tight but seaside communities, those are rock solid. There’s a sense of the entire place being locked in a permanent staredown with the elements, a bloodymindedness that unites people even when they can’t stand one another. You may hate your neighbour but your neighbour has to deal with the sea, the same as you do. It becomes part of you, a lens that drops across how you see the world. Some people have friends whose parents work in a bank. I had friends whose parents owned trawler fleets. The sea gives you everything you can handle and more, and it takes far more than it ever should. Each generation at my school lost someone, often through illness or accident but, every now and then, to the ocean. Even now, two of my school friends are coast guards and a good chunk of the staff of my old school are on-call lifeboatmen.

You get used to living next to death. The death itself? That you never get used to.

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LonCon Schedule, Moderation Notes and Mild Panic


Hello everyone!


So, tomorrow we’re off to LonCon. We’ll be there through to late Sunday. I’m looking forward to it, and, also, for the first time during the Month of Cons, I find myself sincerely nervous. Normally I have about six months to get past a con and ready for the next one and, here, I’ve not quite had six days. Days in which I’ve started a new job, real progress has been made on where we’re living next, two new projects have fired up and I’ve got into a serious of increasingly surreal fights with a company who claim to run buses but who I think are actually just performance irritation artists.

Oh and the latest Slingers volume, featuring some pretty chunky stuff for the fictional avatars of Marguerite and myself, is out.

Like I say, big week.

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Nine Worlds Dispatch-Podcasting panel

The first full day at Nine Worlds is underway, and my major duty (show up, moderate a podcast panel, open mouth and make word good) is dispatched. The panel was really fun; a discussion featuring Barry Nugent of the Geek Syndicate podcast (Standing in admirably for Martyn from Bad Wilf who called in sick, get well soon, sir)’ Debbie Timmins of the Distinctly Average gaming podcast, Sol Craighead Wheeler of the Knights at the Round table podcast, Gillian Coyle of The Babble On Project and me, representing Escape Artists.

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Nine Worlds Ahoy!

Hello there! The last week has been dreadfully exciting, including;


-Finishing the 10th Doctor sourcebook.

-Finishing my night job. Which means I may soon be able to eat meals at the same time every body else does.

-Prepping to go to Nine Worlds for the first time in…an hour actually. Wow.

Anyway! Here’s my schedule:


Realities of Podcasting

11.45am – 1.00pm, Royal A

The panel will reveal some of the realities, both good and bad, that are faced by today’s podcasters. We also look at why podcasts end, the mechanics of podcasting, how do you define a successful podcast and if you can make any money from doing it.

Speakers: Martyn Havell, Debbie Timmins, Sol Craighead Wheeler, Gillian Coyle, Alasdair Stuart



Blurred Lines: boycotting & buying in

6.45pm – 8.00pm

What’s a fan to do when the people responsible for a comic you love do things you hate? We try to plumb the ethical minefield of purchase-as-support.

Dan Hart, Melissa T, Alasdair Stuart, David Tallerman, Hazel Robinson



Ask a Professional: all your questions about the book trade, answered

3.15pm – 4.30pm

Experts from every walk of publishing life, ready and willing to be put to the test. Feeling shy? Tweet questions in advance to @booksnineworlds

Q&A with Alasdair Stuart, Juliet Mushens, Ian Whates, Liz Gorinsky, Jenni Hill


I’ll also be enthusiastically in the audience for lots of stuff and Marguerite and I will be helping out the Greeter team and learning how to sword fight. See you there.



San Diego: A Problem, A Promise, A Wishlist

The run up to the San Diego Comic Con is starting in earnest and, as always, it’s leading me to seriously consider muting a good chunk of the internet for the weekend. I have an unusual relationship with the Con and what it does to my profession for ten days. This year I feel confident enough to not only talk about that, but actually do something about it.

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Thunder Overhead:Thor and why Marvel Need To Announce A Superheroine Movie

This is the new take on Thor, announced earlier today on The View.



Thor is now a woman and Marvel have been very, very clear that this is not Thor Girl, Lady Thor, Thorella or the Vice Countess Thorkov. This is Thor. God of Thunder. Who’s a woman now. Most people’s reaction so far has been welcoming. Other people have reacted the same way they always do whenever anything changes in comics; as though nothing has ever changed in comics before.

My reaction is simpler;

Good start.

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