Rob Wilkins

Biography

If you've been here before, then you're probably thinking "Hey! Hang on a minute, where did you put all the stories, you cock-eyed Northern git?"

Well, I'm in the process of making some adjustments, and as a result, I've had to pull these things down while I figure out what I'm supposed to do with them. I'm still not sure, but I know that just leaving everything as it is isn't what I want to do. So for the time being, it's simply all gone. Abracadabra, alakazam, alligator.

I'll put stuff back up in the future, no doubt, just as soon as I've figured out what. But for now, this shall remain a barren place of mighty nothings, where wildebeest tumble up and down the dusty roads and a strange guy in a cowboy hat says very little while chewing on what may or may not be a dried centipede. He's a weird guy. I wouldn't talk to him if I were you.

Where to find Rob Wilkins online


Books

This member has not published any books.

Rob Wilkins's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Rob Wilkins

  • Ride The Wild Worm on Jan. 05, 2013
    star star star star star
    I've been looking for this story on and off ever since the Nightscapes site disappeared, and it's great to have found it again. The pace is elegant but never slow, as the story builds up interest more than tension through the tale, and finishes with an ending that I truly envy; I don't think a single one of my stories has ended so well as this one, nor have many of the stories I've read by extremely well-known and respected authors. I'm largely unfamiliar with the tales of Lovecraft -- beyond playing games of Elder Sign, at least -- and as a result (despite the obvious differences in the subject matter), the story-teller who I am most reminded of is not Lovecraft, but H. Rider Haggard. However, you don't need to have read books by either of them to appreciate this story. Absolutely worth a read.
  • Smashwords Writing Duel on Jan. 06, 2013
    star star star star
    Laugh-out-loud funny in places, entertainingly self-aware and compelling, with unexpected twists thrown in to season the pot. Kick your inner editor in the teeth, sit back, read and enjoy.
  • vampire life or death whatever on Jan. 07, 2013
    star star star
    As awful as this is, it still made me laugh more than it should have, so I have to give it three stars purely for that. The author writes like a friend I used to know; he couldn't write, but he did make me laugh, and there's definitely some value in that. So...I have to say, not good, and there's a writer inside me that wants to jump out and stab me in the heart for giving this three stars. But read it anyway, maybe you'll laugh too. But don't read it in HTML, it's all mangled in HTML. Download the PDF, which works just fine, and appreciate the awfulness as it was intended. (Probably not by God, but you never know. He does, after all, work in mysterious ways.) I hope, sincerely, that this guy actually learns to write. If he could pair this unchained madness with the ability to put words in front of one another correctly, it'd forge into some kind of unholy, unstoppable force of insanity...
  • Snow Wonder on Jan. 09, 2013
    star star star star
    An entertaining blend of sci-fi and light horror, if you read it, make sure to read the afterword about its origins. I thought it was a wonderfully imaginative take on the criteria set down for its writing.
  • The Pods on Jan. 09, 2013
    star star star star
    I found this story interesting, and particularly enjoyed the interaction between the brothers. The plot was marginally unbelievable, but that gripe only struck me afterwards, and didn't detract at all from the reading. The only real gripe I have with it is that, when I reached the end of the tale, I was expecting more words. I can't help but feel there's more tale that could be told here, though at the same time, the story feels done...ah, I don't know. Maybe I just wanted more of it. Enjoyable, and a nice insight into the author's earlier style of writing.
  • A Divine Tale on Jan. 09, 2013
    star star star star
    This sci-fi tale was great fun to read through, playing with some creative ideas. The kind of tale that would have fitted nicely into a classic Star Trek episode, it reads like a fictional history that only concentrates on the interesting bits (don't you wish real history books were like that?). A mellow and entirely enjoyable read overall.
  • Fiction in a Flash on Jan. 11, 2013
    star star star star star
    I'm not quite sure how I should rate a collection; do I rate it according to what I'd think the average should be (about four stars), or according to how I'd rate my favourites in the set? There are a handful of tales here that I'd happily award five stars to (no surprise to me that my favourites mostly like within 'Quirky'), and others that feel more like prologues to a longer story, or segments that belong within another, larger tale rather than alone. In the end, I'm rating it five stars simply because I think that with the collection ranging as widely as it does in subject and style, there's a good chance of many readers finding something they enjoy here. I certainly did.
  • We Don’t Plummet Out of the Sky Anymore on Jan. 14, 2013
    star star star star
    I enjoy stories like this, told in a light-hearted tone without being particularly light-hearted by nature. The start was slower than I expected, and I nearly put it down because of that -- I'm glad I didn't. The story grew slowly but steadily, and several parts of it left me smiling or laughing. Although the ending wasn't punchy, as some commented on, I thought it fitted well with the mood and pace of the story, and the whole story felt like a quiet Sunday afternoon read (which sounds terrible, now that I write it, but certainly isn't intended to be). In the end, I quite liked it, and I am glad I took the time to read it.
  • THE ARK ANGEL RONALD'S QUEST FOR CHAOS on Jan. 14, 2013
    star star star star
    ** spoiler ** This story is like a drug-addict's take on It's A Wonderful Life, and run through with ideas that range from the berserk and twisted to the outright hilarious. At the point where Ron is planning to eat the guy's liver with baked beans because "the supermarket didn't sell the right type" I had to stop reading until I was done laughing. Great fun.
  • Crazy Nights on Jan. 15, 2013
    star star star star star
    I enjoyed this a lot, a short, punchy ghost story. And who hasn't had the experience of turning on the radio and having the same song come on each day? (Though I admit, I got much luckier than this poor sod when it happened to me; and by implication from the afterword, luckier than the author, too.) The quiet ending ties up the story nicely, but still leaves it open for the imagination to fill in the blanks, and to ask questions. I'm particularly fond of endings like that, as I find they tend to linger with me afterwards, so that I get the ghost (hardy-har-har) of the story following me around for the rest of the evening. I'd certainly recommend giving it a look.
  • Banshee on Jan. 15, 2013
    star star star star
    The writing style in this one is very different, with a stilting, staccato rhythm that would ordinarily feel quite unsettling and distracting. But for the character here, for the tale being told, it's entirely appropriate and fitting, a secondary reflection on the state of mind that goes beyond the actual words being used. The second read of this was more enjoyable than the first, and it improved with it. The author mentions the use of King's brackets, the way he has of inserting the thought within a thought. It can be annoying sometimes, but at the same time, it offers a very direct and punchy way to offer a brief glimpse into the character's subconscious. If it wasn't so distinctly King's, I'd probably use it all over the place myself. I think I'd give this three and a half stars. Why can't I have half stars? I demand half stars. Oh well...I'll rate it four, and thereby turn all my future ratings of Michael's work into complete nonsense by comparison. Hurrah.
  • Cons on Jan. 17, 2013
    star star star
    Although the author was concerned about the violence, it's not really shocking. There are a mixture of reasons for that; it's over-the-top, there's enough of it in succession that you can grow numb to it, and you're never really put in a position to empathise with the victim. By the time it was done, I actually found the succession of violence had grown a little dull rather than offensive or shocking. It's interesting on two points; firstly, as a reflection of the author getting to grips with writing gory material, and secondly as an exercise in writing dialogue. I don't think it works quite on either level, but the author appears to have thought the same thing, and has clearly developed hugely since this early work. Despite this, though, it's fairly well written, and the final twist made me smile -- it's worth a read for that alone. And he may well, indeed, be a nutbag.
  • Eye Check on Jan. 17, 2013
    star star star star star
    Simple and fun, with a squirmy style and an oddly compelling air. One other said the twist was predictable, but I didn't see it coming myself -- maybe I'm just not very bright...
  • The Ten Second Time Traveller on Jan. 22, 2013
    star star star star
    A neat little idea that is quite compact. It could use just a little polish and clarification here and there -- I had to read it a couple of times to fill in a blank that was making me a bit cross-eyed -- but the story itself is solid and the idea simple and entertaining. Worth a quick read.
  • Beta-Transportational Wierdness on Jan. 25, 2013
    star star star star
    A fun little sci-fi short that takes alien abduction and hurls it in quite an unexpected direction, the style of writing is both distinctive and surprisingly involving. The first-person style of the telling feels more natural and less formal than many, and the style adds to a sense of the character. The tale itself is simple, but quite fun. My biggest complaint really would be simply that I'd like to have seen more of it -- it feels like there's a lot more story to be discovered here. But as far as it goes, it's an enjoyable tale.
  • Incubus on Jan. 25, 2013
    star star star star star
    A nice tale, and very well written. Its biggest weakness is probably the title, as although it does describe the story perfectly, if you're familiar with the word and its meaning then it also gives away the substance of the tale somewhat prematurely. However, discounting that and looking at the writing alone, it's an excellent little tale with a mild horror bent. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other stories by this author.
  • Tempests on Feb. 09, 2013
    star star star
    Firstly, I have to say I'm entertained by the idea that there might be a "cheap equivalent" of Old Spice -- isn't Old Spice the cheap equivalent in the first place? -- but all in all, the story is worth a read. It's fairly light sci-fi, and the piece shows the writer testing out new styles and themes in his work. I think that has some impact on the tale itself, which feels somewhat slow and subdued compared to the writer's more recent work. But despite that, the story remains interesting nonetheless, and although it ends a little abruptly it does so in an interesting way, leaving me keen to read the next part. (As such, if he doesn't write it, I will fly to his house -- just as soon as I've worked out where it is, anyway -- and there visit upon him a beating with a stout stick.) (Also, and I'll remove this later, the comment at the end is dated 1/2/12, even though I'm pretty sure it should have been 1/2/13.)
  • The Chaac Ornamentation on Feb. 09, 2013
    star star star star
    An enjoyable tale concerning a mixed alternate history, this tale is quite different from the other things I've read from this author. Again, although I now have a complete copy of Lovecraft's work, I still haven't actually read it, so I can't draw comparisons between the two styles; but I found the tale enjoyable and pleasantly mellow.
  • Grylio on Feb. 09, 2013
    star star star star
    A neat little half-fantasy, half-mythic-history kind of tale, the style is slightly subdued and mellow, but maintains interest throughout. Very much worth a read.
  • Corocotta on Feb. 09, 2013
    star star star star
    Another interesting tale. I'm enjoying this Bestiary Tales series; something about them is reminiscent of old Greek myths, with each legendary creature wrapped up in its own mythic tale. It lends a lot more colour to the creatures than they'd have if you were to simply read a short paragraph about what Creature X was, which culture it originated in, and so forth. So far, I'd recommend the entire series.
  • Horse-Flesh on Feb. 24, 2013
    star star star star
    An interesting read that I enjoyed. I'd probably give it three and a half stars, but in the Smashwords fashion that'll mean four, as I think it deserves better than three. And he's right, it wasn't what I expected...but I won't elaborate on why, just in case you're reading this before the story. You might be expecting what I was expecting. And now you don't know if you're right or not. Hah! You'll just have to read it and find out, won't you?
  • Mngwa on March 09, 2013
    star star star
    This is the story I've liked least from this collection thus far. It did an excellent job of setting the scene and atmosphere, but the story itself just didn't grab me. I still love the style of the writing itself, and was drawn in at first as I have been with the other tales, but somewhere in the middle it lost me.
  • Phooka on March 09, 2013
    star star star star
    This story has a quiet pace to it. Unhurried from start to finish, and when it's done, there's a lingering quality about it. It stuck with me afterwards longer than other stories that I thought that I had enjoyed more, including some of the author's other pieces, and that's perhaps because of its slightly open-ended conclusion. I'm particularly fond of stories that follow me around after I'm done reading them, and I find they grow on me a little afterwards in a way that others don't. Even though I feel I like other stories by this author more, this is the one I most wanted to return to and read again.
  • Alicanto on March 14, 2013
    star star star star star
    Another of the author's Bestiary Tales, I found the author's employment of the myth here to be quite a creative approach, and the tale itself gripping from end to end. A few historical details lend some credibility to the story's setting, and the characters are entirely believable, whether you like them or not (mostly not). And if you haven't read the story yet, you should stop reading this review at this point. ** spoilers ** There were several things I enjoyed particularly about this tale, but the one that stood out most was the way that the mythic creature of the tale was used as an instrument, rather than as the star. I think it can be tempting to place the creature in the middle of the story in a very literal way, but in this case it's the creature's inadvertent impact, rather than the creature itself, that occupies center stage in the tale. That allows for what is definitely a much more interesting and compelling story than I think you'd get by approaching it the other way. The conclusion, also, was excellent. There was a final echo of the involved creature, but there was also an emotional mix for the reader and character that I enjoyed a lot, and that after six times of trying, I've given up trying to explain. But if you've read it, you probably understand already, so I feel entirely justified in giving up.
  • Dobharchu on March 19, 2013
    star star star star star
    A great, fast paced adventure tale with a satisfying end, I enjoyed this story a lot. I'll write no more, simply to avoid spoiling it -- entirely worth reading.
  • Leaves of Autumn: A Short Horror on March 24, 2013
    star star star star star
    A succinct and enjoyable horror romp that's very reminiscent of the kind of tales you sometimes hear in local ghost-stories, I quite liked it. There were a couple places where the writing didn't quite work for me, but overall I liked the story and the style. I would probably give it three and a half stars overall, which I'd usually round up to four. However, I'm giving it five because "too short to bother reading" is absolutely the dumbest reason I've ever seen to afford a short story a one star review. Not the first time I've been annoyed that you can't report reviews as well as books.
  • Jikininki on April 02, 2013
    star star star star star
    A light horror tale, the only problem I have with it is that it feels like there could be so much more story here! The character is interesting, and it feels like the kind of thing you might find in a Japanese or South Korean horror movie. But what's here is compelling and interesting, and has a squirmy feel to it that is delivered very well. Another great read from this collection.
  • The Place Of The Shoggoths on May 02, 2013
    star star star
    I'm only just getting into Lovecraft myself, and have yet to really encounter much of what he's best known for, as I'm making my way through his work chronologically and he hadn't started off down that path entirely yet. The ending feels somewhat like a Lovecraft piece, though, with its open ending and its sense of dread. Like the author, I'm not big into poetry, but also like him, I spent my teenage years producing some quite pretentious and entirely embarrassing crap that I look back on with a certain shiver of discomfort. I suspect none of mine would stand up as well as this one. I think I would have liked it better written as a short tale, even in flash form; but for what it is, I applaud the author's work. It's certainly better than anything I managed in the same span.
  • The Unforgettable Names Of the Forgotten Gods on May 03, 2013
    star star star
    I'm rewriting this, because after rereading my review, I think I completely failed to make the point I was aiming for. Strickland is the perfect example of why you shouldn't always get hung up too much on everyone being picky about the rules of grammar. Quite aside from the fact that he really doesn't make many mistakes to begin with, getting all knotted over the few minor errors just means you miss out on what is some of the funniest fiction anywhere on Smashwords. If you read Strickland, then you already know he's clearly a lunatic. It's always interesting to be given insight into the mind of a madman, as he comes up with the kind of ideas that you almost certainly wouldn't. (I'm damn sure I wouldn't.) Often it'll make you laugh, and sometimes it'll make you think. This story is one of the make-you-laugh breed. It's not my favourite story by him, but the first half of it had me in kinks. Anyone who can read through Darse's Arsenal without laughing is definitely a better man than I am. I likened him in my removed review to Robert Rankin, and I stand by that. Both writers exist largely to make your day better. If you're having a bad day, then you can't go far wrong with picking a Strickland story and giving it a read.
  • Bacon Double Cheesemurder on May 09, 2013
    star star star star
    I enjoyed this story a lot. It's well written, easy to read and compelling from the start. The similarities to a number of popular and classic horror movies do make the story and its eventual conclusion feel familiar, but that doesn't really detract from it greatly -- the story is still good, and the ending entirely fitting. The familiarity, if anything, simply gives it the feel of reading a short horror film -- and just like many typical horror movies, you see what's going on and where it's going long before the lead character does. That lends the tale a sense of jeopardy that works well, as while you already know several ways the story may end, you'll want to keep reading to find out which ending is the one that the author chose to win out. Overall, it's the writing that stood out for me. It's concise, clear, and doesn't labour over its points or stumble with repetition. So while the story was familiar, the writing was fresh and appealing. I'm looking forward to reading more by him.
  • Mervin Badman on May 09, 2013
    star star star
    This is a story that I think could benefit from being edited down, especially during the first half. It very nearly lost my attention there, but then story gained pace and momentum and became vastly more compelling (and ventures there into a style that's not too far removed from some of the Lovecraft stories I've been reading recently). The core of the tale, and its conclusion, were both satisfying and interesting. It simply took a little too long to get going for me. However, I'd rather a story ends well than starts well, and this one certainly does. The core idea is appealing, and works very well. As always with Strickland, there are occasional forays into mildly insane observations, despite the fact that at its heart it's a largely quite serious horror story. Somehow, though, it wouldn't quite be a Strickland story without them. If I'd started reading the tale from just before the half-way point, I'd probably have given it four stars, as I really enjoyed the second half. Taken as a whole, the first half pulls that rating down a star for me, but I'd still recommend it as a tale worth reading.
  • Pain Is So Close To Pleasure on May 09, 2013
    star star star star
    A nice little flash-fiction piece, it's silly and will make you laugh. While the premise could certainly have been drawn out to make a larger story, this short version (a letter from one headmaster to another) worked nicely for me as it is. Good, simple fun.
  • Number Withheld on May 09, 2013
    star star star star
    Although on one level this flash-fiction story itches for the rest of the story to be provided, you can easily speculate and guess the rest without needing to be told. And this story certainly captures what is almost certainly the most interesting and critical part of the whole story. All in all, it was quick to read and quite a good little piece of writing that I enjoyed.
  • Turning Point on May 09, 2013
    star star star star star
    I would probably rate this a 4.5, so I'm rounding it up to this nice, shiny 5 stars. I loved almost everything about the story except for the transition to the end; I liked the ending, too, as I found it both slightly unexpected and a good way to wrap up the story. The funny thing is, I think the words work just perfectly for it; but it feels like there's a pause missing there, a moment of catch-your-breath after the final decision and just before the final sentences. But that's a minor gripe, and not nearly enough to change my opinion of the story, which I enjoyed a lot.
  • Images on May 13, 2013
    star star star star
    A quite different sci-fi story, it's reminiscent of some of the more inventive and ambitious tales I've read in the past, without reflecting or copying any one of them. It seems strange at the beginning, but the story quickly settles in and the reason for the strangeness becomes apparent. I enjoyed that early transition, and it kept me intrigued to the end. Only the very end fell a little flat for me; it worked, but didn't quite sparkle in the way that some of the rest of the story had done. However, I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending it -- it's rare that you encounter work that is surreal in this nature, and still both well-crafted and solidly conceived rather than some masturbatory exploration of nonsense. For all its surrealism, nothing in this tale feels either ridiculous or accidental, and as a whole it feels very well crafted. This story was a surprisingly refreshing discovery, and I'm greatly looking forward to seeing what else the author publishes here.
  • The Ghost Of A Chance on May 14, 2013
    star star star star star
    This was a great story, one that I thoroughly loved. The premise was interesting, the approach to the story creative and the world that Jonathan created for it felt rich, believable and engrossing. The further I read, the better it became and the more I wanted to read. By the time I was finished I was genuinely disappointed that I was done, and I would have loved to have seen more of the tale. That wasn't down to the story feeling incomplete; it was finished, the tale told, and told well. But the world is one I would have loved to see more of. Certainly the best and most engrossing story I've read by Strickland to date. Applause from across the ocean, sir.
  • Uncontainable on May 14, 2013
    star star star star
    Before reading this, I read the author's short, grumbling complaint on his blog about Doctor Who having apparently jumped in and used a similar idea after he was finished with his story drafts. As much as that is an awful set of circumstances to be caught up in, I'm quite behind in watching episodes of the said Doctor's adventures, and have yet to catch up to whichever episode blatantly stole Mr. Carter's tale from him. (The swine.) Anyway -- aside from the unfortunate synchronicity that played out there, the tale was an interesting idea, and delivered in an interesting way. I enjoyed both of the stories that he and his friend Jonathan Strickland wrote for their Ghost Story challenge; it's always interesting to see how someone else will take an idea and run with it, and as always, both went in directions I wouldn't have considered. I could comment on many parts of this, but the one that I can mention without spoiling anything too much is the blending of light sci-fi with the ghost story itself. As much as I never think of myself as a sci-fi reader, I always love seeing those elements make it into fiction, especially when delivered with enough authority to make them believable. That was done here to great effect, or at least I thought so. A tale that's certainly worthy of your time.
  • In The Realm of the Wolf on May 15, 2013
    star star star star
    This is the first of Mr. Lazo's works that I've read, and I enjoyed it a lot. The tension built well and the presented philosophy felt strong and consistent. Philosophy often comes across as meandering and self-indulgent when presented in fiction this way, but I got no sense of that at all here. I didn't agree with it, but that's not the point; it's the character's philosophy, and their belief in it feels genuine, which is no small feat. However, I did think that the philosophy interrupted the pacing. That doesn't reflect at all on the writing of it; while I enjoyed the opening of the story with its set-up, I also enjoyed the philosophical middle. They just didn't quite seem to gel here. In a longer tale, I think it would have been fine, as it could have been dropped in at a point of lesser tension. But in a story of this length, it intrudes on the action somewhat, and I think presenting small snippets of the philosophy, hints and flashes rather than the entirety of it, may have preserved the pacing and tension better. There are some great things here -- the realm of Marduel was fantastic -- and there are a couple of issues, mostly to do with pacing, and an ending that fell a touch flat after all of the promising build-up. But th problems I have with the story are greatly outweighed by the things I liked, and as much as the changes in pace threw me a little during the reading, both the fast and slow sections were superbly written. What was good here was excellent, and I'm looking forward to reading more.
  • The Dance on May 15, 2013
    star star star star
    I really enjoyed this story and the character that was injected into it. The world felt well crafted, and the story was intriguing and believable, as a whole presenting a snapshot of a world that it'd be interesting to see more of. My only real issue with it is the ending, which felt a little anticlimactic. Not because of what it was, as the actual events themselves felt perfect; but rather because of the way the events were presented as what is GOING to happen, rather than the events actually happening. As foreshadowing, if the outcome wasn't certain I think this would have worked to provide tension; but presented as a definite conclusion to the tale, I think it lacks immediacy and punch. However, that's a style issue, not a storytelling one, and the story's conclusion is still satisfying and believable. The whole piece was well crafted and very easy to read, and I'm looking forward to trying more of the author's works.
  • Tales Of A Barman - 40 Years Behind The Stick on May 15, 2013
    star star star
    I downloaded this book up because it's presented as "humor and satire"; but in truth, it's actually more of a straight memoir. I enjoy reading books that are collections of anecdotes, the stories of people who've seen a lot in their lives often thanks to the career they chose; but those books generally stay focused on the funny events, and only fill in the details that are necessary for the story. This one follows the author's life and career more broadly, without such a deliberate focus towards the humorous stories. There is some humor here, but it's outweighed by the content of a straight memoir, and you often go through a lot of fairly dry background story to get to the few funny moments. It's not poorly written, but it isn't what it's presented as, and as a result it wasn't what I was looking for when I downloaded it. I do think it'd be interesting to someone who was looking to read something of that nature, but for me, it wasn't what I was looking for or what I expected based on the category it was placed in. I certainly think it'd benefit from being moved to one that's more appropriate.
  • Doctor Billman on May 16, 2013
    star star star star star
    I enjoyed this little tale quite a bit, and it left me feeling quite sorry for the childhood author. It certainly could explain just why some people I know are so terrified of the dentist! The writing itself was pretty good, never losing its focus and blending adult insights with the perspective of childhood quite effectively. I'll be keeping an eye out for what the author publishes next.
  • Ya Can't Catch A Kipper With A Spider on June 10, 2013
    star star star star
    I, too, thought the gentleman of the tale was of a Jersey disposition at first. However, I think that's more to do with familiar pop culture than the actual writing, as once I was given the information about his locale, the accent changed in my mind and I could imagine people I knew from the area speaking in the way described here. Maybe an earlier hint would dispel Hollywood's influence over the initial perception, but either way, the story doesn't suffer for it in the least. The character himself is unpleasant, much as the author asserts at the end; but he's very watchable despite that, and the tale all comes together quite nicely. It twists and plays with some of the genre's tropes in an entertaining way, and all comes together very well. Quite different to the author's work while retaining his usual sense of humour, it's certainly worth your time.
  • You Are The Monster on June 18, 2013
    star star star star
    A nice little tale, and a pleasant throw-back to the game-books of old. I played through many of these myself, though my favourites were not the Fighting Fantasy books of Jackson/Livingstone, but the Lone Wolf books by Joe Dever. (Those play out sequentially rather than the standalone adventures of Fighting Fantasy, though; so if you ever find them in a charity shop, bear that in mind.) Anyway! A nice little story, and also a nice homage to two of the greatest game designers of all time, not to mention the Athenian chap himself of course. A lovely intrusion into my morning schedule, and far more appealing than what I was actually supposed to be doing.
  • The Steps At Silloth on June 23, 2013
    star star star star star
    Michael's Mythos tales are what led me to discover Lovecraft in the first place, and it's something I'm very grateful for. Having now read and enjoyed a couple of dozen of Lovecraft's tales, I appreciate their influence on his work far more. However, perhaps more than that, I enjoy his takes on the Lovecraft mythos; and sacrilegious though it may be to say so, I genuinely enjoy his Lovecraft-inspired work more than the original stories they were inspired by. This particular tale has a quiet, moody nature to it that will be familiar to anyone who has read Lovecraft's work, and he certainly channels the originator very well indeed. There's no sense of modern pace, that rushed and impatient quality that so much of modern fiction possesses, but it isn't slow. It's simply unhurried, and entirely relentless, and ends with a quiet but entirely satisfying conclusion. I'll be reading this one again today, and that's always a sign of a story I've deeply enjoyed. I'd be proud to put it on my bookshelf, if it were only in print; instead, it'll have a permanent home on my Kindle. And that means, as with all stories of that nature, it earns five stars from me. Greatly enjoyed.
  • A Greasy Spoon Life on June 28, 2013
    star star star star star
    *** Spoiler Alert *** *** Seriously, Spoiler Alert, Don't Read Me Yet If You Haven't Read The Story *** *** *** Come On Now, Take Me Seriously, It's A Spoiler I Tell You *** *** *** Fine, Well, You Can't Say I Didn't Warn You *** *** Yes. Ahem. Anyway, all that's necessary, because I have to say this: "I took the spoon out into the woods and shot him." ...is without doubt the best line of fiction I've read all month. Magnificently ridiculous, I loved it.
  • Claude The Unhappy Caterpillar/Popo The Cheeky Monkey/Sselmorg The Fire Breathing Dragon on July 13, 2013
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    I've had this happen to me. More than once, my characters have deviated from what I wanted them to do, and on several occasions they've insulted the author too. Usually this happens when I'm being particularly blockheaded in my work. (I can honestly say they've never taken it this far, though...) As is so often the case, Strickland's story made me laugh, always a welcome addition to any day. It made for an interesting read, and certainly projects the author's personality nicely. That said, as an alternative to the usual dragons-and-knights stories mentioned in the latter stages of the novel, I'd refer the author to Simon Green's "Blue Moon Rising", one of my favourite fantasy novels of all time. (And replying to Mr. Carter; a princess's breasts bounce up and down because all fantasy princesses wear Kangoo Jumps. It's standard footwear for buxom ladies in heroic fantasy, I believe, while female characters wear skimpy armour that leaves their vital organs exposed, in order to trick the enemy into attacking. I thought everyone knew this.)
  • It's The End Of The Universe As We Know It [And I Feel Scared] on July 19, 2013
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    Well, it does seem that Mr. Carter has embraced jumping off the deep end in his fiction. First a sentient spoon, and now this. I do recall having any number of discussions about what lay at the end of the universe, but I'm pretty sure that none of them ended this way... Enjoyably daft.