Well, I was procrastinating on Youtube a few weeks ago when I stumbled across this videogame review by General Lotz (one of my favourite game reviewers on Youtube).
Interestingly, this was a review that was supposed to be posted online in 2013 (?), but General Lotz didn’t think that it was good enough for some strange reason. Of course, it’s still an amazing review (and creative people often underestimate their own abilities and/or what their fans will like).
Anyway, after this, I wanted to do something similar here – so I thought that I’d give you a glimpse at some of my unfinished articles, short stories, reviews etc… from the past couple of years that never were.
Surprisingly, these actually took me quite a while to find – since most of the stuff I write usually ends up on here. But, this isn’t everything – so there may or may not be another one of these articles at some point in the future.
Still, I hope that you find this glimpse into my “rubbish pile” interesting. And, if you don’t, well, hopefully I’ll think of an idea for a proper article tomorrow.
For your convenience, here’s an index of everything here:
1) “The Vitalist” (Unfinished Short Story)
2) “Art As A ‘Superpower'” (Unfinished Article)
3) Random Unfinished Short Fiction Fragment (Written on 6th August 2013)
4) “Dextek City Blues : Introduction” (Introduction To Unfinished Gamebook)
5) “The Joy Of… Space Opera” (Unfinished Article)
6) “Review: ‘Ghostbusters’ (Film)” (Unfinished Review)
7) “Review: ‘Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Extended Version)’ (TV Movie)” (Another Unfinished Review)
8) “Moonlight Sonata” (Unpublished (?) Poem)
Anyway, enjoy 🙂
1) The Vitalist (unfinished short story)
It was never about magic. It was never about sorcery or necromancy or even just philosophy. It was about something much greater than all of that, it was about the very stuff of life itself. The energy that animates all living matter. It was all about finding the hand inside the glove in this puppet show that we call existence.
They called me mad and much worse, they hounded me out of every magazine and every university I went to. Even though I tried to dress it up in all sorts of interesting disguises – mitochondrial cell function, metabolic anomalies and even the latest New Age theory, it all came back to that one word. Vitalism. I’d read that word in every rejection letter and dismissive speech I’d received.
To the New Agers, I was being too scientific and to the scientists, I was another crank. Another Jane O’ Bedlam who thought that because they’d read something in an old book they deserved a full research grant, a doctorate, a publishing contract and a legion of lab assistants.
The thing about old books wasn’t really my fault. They were the only source material I had, even if they did occasionally go off on a tangeant about the four humours or the soul. Hell, I was working with everything I had.
2) Art As A “Superpower” (unfinished article)
Despite loving Alan Moore’s “Watchmen” in my early twenties and being a fanatical “Power Rangers” fan when I was a kid, I’m not really a fan of the superhero genre.
Yes, I get that it was a way for American comic artists to keep producing crime comics after the introduction of the comics code in the 1950s – but, well, it’s just slightly too contrived for my liking.
I don’t know, it’s probably just the silly lycra costumes they wear- but I just can’t take superheroes seriously. Still, the genre isn’t entirely without merit….
The themes of double lives and secret identities in superhero stories are really fascinating (and this was used as a brilliant LGBT metaphor in the old “X-Men” films and in this poem by Julia Serano ) but, most of all, I find the idea of superpowers to be a really interesting one.
After all, who doesn’t want to have a unique “superpower” of some kind or another?
And, well, this made me think about art. You see, it can sometimes be fun to think of having the ability to create art as being a “superpower” of some kind.
3) Random Unfinished Short Fiction Fragment (written on 6th August 2013)
It was like seven sparklers in a tin can. I stood there and watched as it sputtered and guttered in the corner. Harlow put his arm around my shoulder and said ‘Ha! Perfect. Just the reaction I was looking for.’
‘You really think it’ll work?’
Harlow brushed his fingers through his blue hair and nodded at me. We’d done it. Not that it was anything special, it wasn’t even a firework. Still, it’d be the perfect signalling tool. Small, discreet and easily-made. Laura would know exactly where to look.
‘You.’ I grinned at Harlow ‘ Are a genius.’
He kissed my neck and I kissed his. The trick with the beacon was that it was mostrly visible in infra-red. Laura could see it a mile away. Or, rather, eight miles away. That was the idea.
They’d been running us down for weeks and we knew Laura would be next. It was only a matter of time. Five of them had got to [random character name and time?]
4) “Dextek City Blues : Introduction” (This was the introductory chapter to my unfinished attempt at writing a “fighting fantasy” -style cyberpunk gamebook in late 2013, which would have been based on my “CRIT” comic series from earlier that year.).
By the time that the last CEO verified the peace treaty, the city had been carved up into three sectors.
There was SYL-Corp’s sector to the north and Makerton-Riyadi’s sector to the east. But, as the viewscreens in every street tell you, you’ve had the good fortune to end up living in the Dextek sector. Fortune seems to be the right word, you think bitterly – it was only by chance that you ended up on this side of the border when the war kicked off.
Even with all the neon signs and technology adverts covering every corner of every street, it’s easy enough to remember that, only a year ago, you were charging along them with a pulse rifle in one hand and deep ochre bloodstains on your midnight-black Military Police fatigues. After the treaty had been signed, your sergeant liked you so much that she offered you either a command position in the Sector Security Police or a leadership position in the sector’s new C.R.I.T unit.
The C.R.I.T units were part of the treaty. Company Response Investigative Teams. Each company had one, they were supposed to be like a second police force – a secret police force – who were also tasked with upholding the terms of the treaty at any cost. From the rumours you’d heard in the mess hall, they were apparently even more bloodthirsty than the DX-TK Commando squads who, according to Head Office, never even existed.
So, you turned her down, vowing that you’ll never wear a uniform again. Brushing a strand of red hair behind her ear, she smiled coldly and said that she understood. But, as you turned in your uniform and badge, she said: ‘You know, there are two types of people in this city. Company people and everyone else. Don’t forget what you are.’
A year later, things aren’t going too badly. After paying off the right people, you’ve finally got your private investigator’s licence. As much as you hate to admit it, finding out things seems to be practically in your genes. Of course, the licence comes with a whole string of restrictions and conditions although most of them boil down to the fact that you aren’t allowed to carry weapons of any kind and, most of all, you are absolutely, categorically forbidden from interfering with criminal cases.
Yes, you think, you’ll mostly be checking whether people’s partners are as faithful as they say they are and snooping on sick employees. But at least being gutter-scum is better than being a uniform again, right?
Still, after a productive and fulfilling evening spent taking compromising photos of the husband of a prominent stockbroker and the husband of a nobody filing clerk from the district office, you get a call. The line is filled with static and the voice appears to be electronically disguised. From what you can make out, it says: ‘Reifland Street, behind waste unit forty three.’
The line crackles for a few more seconds. You tap a button on your comms unit and re-play the call. After about the third playback, you start to realise that this can’t be anything but the beginning of a criminal case. The terms of your licence dictate that you report this to the Sector Security Police immediately, but something about the tone of the synthesised voice makes you think that this wouldn’t be a good idea.
So, letting out a sigh and pulling up the hood of your cheap blue Cag-Tek waterproof jacket, you step out into the rain and look for a bus to Reifland street…..
5) The Joy Of… Space Opera (Unfinished article)
Although this is an article about one of my favourite genres of writing and storytelling, I’ll probably mostly be looking at examples of it from TV – rather than in prose fiction or comics. This is mainly because there are many more great examples of this genre on TV than there are anywhere else. I am, of course, talking about space opera.
If you’ve never heard of space opera before, Wikipedia describes as: “a subgenre of science fiction that often emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, usually involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced abilities, weapons, and other technology“.
In short, space opera is kind of like a soap opera, but with much more inventive storylines, far more interesting settings and – of course- characters that can usually go for five minutes without arguing loudly with each other. Examples of this include a lot of wonderful TV shows like “Firefly”, “Stargate: Atlantis” and all of the various versions of “Star Trek”
6) Review: “Ghostbusters” (Film) [Yes, I was going to review “Ghostbusters” last autumn, but I ended up abandoning it mid-sentence for some wierd reason]
Yes, strange as it may sound, “Ghostbusters” is one of many cinematic classics that I’ve never watched before. Well, until a few weeks ago at least. Seriously, I’m not really that much of a movie buff (and, yes, I still haven’t seen “The Great Escape” either).
So now, thirty years after it was originally realeased, I thought that I’d review “Ghostbusters” today. Seriously, who says that I’m behind the times?
As almost all of you probably already know, “Ghostbusters” is a comedy film about a group of freelance ghost exterminators in New York called “The Ghostbusters” who get together after Dr. Venkman (played by Bill Murray) has his parapsychological research grant at Columbia University cancelled.
One of their first jobs is to help out a professional cellist called Dana Barrett (played by Sigourney Weaver) who claims that there is mysterious entity inside her fridge called “Zuul”. Although Venkman and the team look into it, they can’t seem to find any answers. So, they eventually end up moving onto a series of other cases and becoming wildly sucessful.
However, after New York is thrown into chaos by a number of bizarre events, it quickly becomes clear that Zuul is more than just a figment of Dana’s imagination…..
One of the first things that I will say about this film is that it is a lot funnier than I expected it to be. Although most of the humour is fairly subtle and sarcastic, there are some absolutely
7) Review: “Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Extended Version)” (TV Movie) [Yes, it’s another unfinished review]
Well, since it came as a freebie with the UK DVD boxset of the first half of season four of “Battlestar Galactica”, I thought that I’d take a look at the extended version of “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” today.
Before I go any further, I should also point out that this review will contain SPOILERS. You have been warned.
One of the other things I will say about “Razor” is that you probably shouldn’t watch it until at least after you’ve finished watching season two of “Battlestar Galctica”. If you haven’t seen the episodes featuring the Pegasus, then this feature-length episode probably won’t make that much sense to you. So, yes, this movie isn’t for people who are new to the series.
Although “Battlestar Galactica: Razor” is set after Admiral Cain’s death, it mostly focuses on life aboard the Pegasus before it’s encounter with Galactia in season two of the TV show. All of these scenes are shown via a new character called Kendra Shaw, who has flashbacks about her time serving under Admiral Cain throughout the film.
In addition to this, there is also a storyline about a raptor crew that has been captured by a renegade group of obsolete cylon centurions and a sub-plot about Bill Adama’s experiences during the first cylon war forty years before the events of the TV show.
If this description of “Razor” sounds abrupt, it’s because I’d probably end up writing several thousand words if I had to describe this film in more detail.Yes, it packs a lot of storytelling into just 99 minutes. Whilst this is quite an achievement and one of the film’s major strengths, it is also one of it’s major flaws too.
The main reason why I consider this tightly-packed storytelling to be a flaw is because it can make the film slightly confusing at times. The film occasionally cuts between different flashbacks and storylines at an incredible speed and, unless you’re taking notes, it can be easy to lose track of the storyline or remember exactly who is having a flashback during a couple of parts of the film.
As you might expect, “Razor” is primarily character-based and there is a lot of good characterisation and acting here. However, the film mainly focuses on just three characters – Kendra Shaw, Admiral Cain and Bill Adama and it does a reasonable job at giving these characters slightly more depth.
The most interesting of these characters is probably Admiral Cain. Although the film doesn’t provide a huge amount of backstory or extra detail about her, it shows us enough to make her at least a slightly less unsympathetic character than she is in the TV show.
Yes, Cain isn’t exactly presented as a heroic (or even likeable) character in the film but, for example, we get to learn some of the personal motivations behind her decision to allow the cruel treatment of the “number six” cylon prisoner on board Pegasus.
As for the new character, Kendra Shaw is shown to be one of Admiral Cain’s proteges and – in terms of her personality – she’s fairly similar to Cain. However, she feels a lot more morally conflicted about her time on Pegasus than Cain probably did. Still, we get to see a lot of her backstory and get to learn how her experiences moulded her into the character that she is for most of the film.
“8) Moonlight Sonata” (Unpublished (?) poem)”
a room at midnight,
music on repeat,
on a grey ash board.
a coming darkness,
a little apocalypse.
dream of the eighties.
a song of memories.
warmth in the cold.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll write a proper article for tomorrow.