“OK, so, our main character exits the crematorium. They check their phone. There’s an email from work. They’ve been selected for redundancy.”

“Aw, c’mon!”


Life’s too funny sometimes.

The dazzling bright white lights of a truck hurtled past, accompanied with cacophonous discordant horn dopplering, chased by a slushy swish from the cold rain. Briefly, the taillights morsed as the driver pumped the brakes at the curve ahead, the message from the red squares flashing, over and over: tough + luck + stop + tough + luck + stop + tough + luck.

Silence settled again on the long straight road gunbarrelling between the thick pines, grown in orderly rows for crow-flown miles and miles west and east of the needle strewn, snow-crowned highway sludge along which Dag Heuter was trudging as night fell.

Heuter watched the receding tail lights with his right hand clapped to his head, as if trying to prevent his hat blowing off. With ear flaps tied snug under his chin, the gesture was more frustration, an invocation. His left arm curled in what looked like it could be trying to be a fist coming up for a jab. Brief freeze. He made a pushing gesture of dismissal and walked backwards a few steps, as the four red squares fused into a single condensing gas dwarf and vanished into the cosmic night. Heuter squinted with some difficulty to see as he turned into the rain, still walking, hands jammed back into his jacket pockets, facing the oncoming traffic.

Facing the direction oncoming traffic would come from eventually, he qualified to himself, turning positive, turning again to look at the tiny tiny pulse of red flicking further back down the road. He put a gloved hand up to his throat and tightened the zip two teeth back to the top.

Since abandoning the cold shell of his own wheels, but uncertain which way salvation lay nearest, Dag Heuter had decided to walk back to the last town he remembered. It had seemed like a few miles or so. Heuter knew he was an unreliable guide. The lack of traffic meant he was sticking up a hand for anything, going anywhere, but so far, not so good. He licked dry, chapped lips and thought of one, probably two beers and a couple of whiskies in that little brown wood and smokey bar he’d been in.

It might have been only minutes later that there was a swoosh through the slush and wet. Heuter straightened, regarded the lights playing through the spray up ahead of him, his shadow on the trees. He turned and shaded his eyes with one hand, throwing out the other first in a kind of wave, then a more resolute hitcher’s thumb. The car – some kind of pony – slowed, then passed him, before coming to a halt a few yards ahead. Picking up his step, Heuter shambled towards what he could now make out was indeed a Camaro, the rear lights making a red fuzz in the rain.

Up against the passenger side door, Dag Heuter stood with one arm on the roof. As the window wound down about halfway, he paused for a second before lowering his head to peer inside. There was a moment’s silence.

The figure inside the car said,
‘Jesus, Dag. What happened to your face?’

Dag Heuter looked up into the spray illuminated by the headlights and smiled painfully. Of course. He lowered his head.

‘Hey, Petch. Uhh, gimme a ride, I’ll bring you up to speed?’

‘I doubt that,’ the driver said. There was another moment’s pause.

‘Well, get in.’ A sigh.

The window closed as Dag opened the door and slumped inside.

Coming up in part two: Dag and Petch retread some old ground.

Book lists everywhere, and when I was talking about comics with someone earlier we said we’d have to trade lists for that too. So, seeing as I was typing it, here’s the list of my most recent comicky fancy-ticklers:

Bitch Planet*
Southern Cross
The Fade Out*
Court/City of Owls
(Batman trades)

Quite a few Image titles, in fact. The ones I’ve asterisked are my top picks. I’ve had to cancel my regular order for all these, unforch, on tough economic climatic grounds…
Except Island, because it’s the business.

Four boxes of comics to sort out this evening. See what’s for keeping and what’s for redistribution.


Factor in distractive reading and this job may be finished by Sunday…

“…corporate-dominated dystopias are the new zombies.”

Science fiction visions of the near future reflecting contemporary preoccupations, as usual. And io9 all like whatever and shit.

Meanwhile, still languishing in development: Lazarus.

Might start another run through Fringe…

"Bring me Damon, Affleck, duct tape, the transmogrifier... and a pain au chocolat. "

“Bring me Damon, Affleck, duct tape, the transmogrifier… and a pain au chocolat. ”

Following on from the lavish Bloomsbury booklists I posted t’other night, here is my January reading material:


Including, just creeping into shot on the left:


The multiple-sense heaviness of the Sylvester/Wilson/Robinson/Hernandez combo (which reads a bit like the start of a review of a prog rock album, I know, bear with) needs the true gravitas of George and Martha to provide balance.

A lot of people were back to work and school today, but owing to schedule freakery I am still blessedly, blissfully off. We went into a quiet town centre for a little light splurging in the sales.

Found in Oxfam: a Gilbert Hernandez volume. 250 pages, woop!


Love and Rockets, and rockets… a nice bit of thematic coherence followed in The Works, with the find that was this charming little volume:


Fridge magnet reproduction sci-fi book covers, and a fairly comprehensive Pocket History with a lavish spread of delicious images, from diaphanously dressed dames under aquatic threat…


… – cheeky! – to Vincent di Fate’s Big Dumb Object (makes note for band names list)…


…and a mere £2. Bargain.

Teaser trailer:
Speaking of sci-fi, finally got along to the cinema to see a certain reawoken franchise movie… More on which to come in the next few days.

The title for this post comes from ‘top searches’ on my wordpress dashboard.

Tonight I stepped outside at twilight to shut in the chickens. It was quiet, so quiet I stopped by the side of the house and just stood in the silence for a moment or two. All the day birds had tucked in for the night. We’d had a thunderstorm earlier, and everything smelled crisp and fresh. One of them there moments of clarity ensued.


Then the fragments of alternate lyrics to a version of The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, only about a chicken, re-established themselves in my head (“Yeah, let me get some millet, I ain’t too hungry.”) and normal service was resumed. But still, still.

This summer’s pans on the hobs:

  • Enthusiastically Shedding Stuff
  • Moving house
  • Looking at my family in wonderment (simmer forever)
  • Putting together a hard copy publication
    (Actual physical print product. Comics, music, politics, etc. Would you like to write or draw or something for it? Do please let me know.)