Beastie Boys – Intergalactic

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some music and fuck-it if I can’t find anything I’ve enjoyed recently. (Is this what happens when you get older?) So, instead, it’s retro-time.

When I get my first book trailer, I want it to be like this. I’ll even wear the alarming white outfit if I can get Joe Abercrombie and Sam Sykes to be my wingmen.

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Prodigy – No Good

I just realised this song is sixteen years old. (I guess these sorts of realisations will happen more in life.) When I was about fifteen I used to hope I’d be some sort of electric musician that made stuff like this – I was fascinated by all the electronic trickery, samplers, keyboards (synths were so 1980s), and spent hours at the computer, just programming musical nonsense into it.

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The Hundred In The Hands – Pigeons

There should be more buskers like this. They sure beat the dodgy old geezer playing the spoons who would parade up and down queues outside our university night club leering at people. I think he was called Mr Spoons. Anyway, check out these two:


Or if you fancy the version with full-on electro-pop goodness, go here.



This is made of win:

“Nerdcore is like every other sort of hip hop, just considerably less cool,” said MC Frontalot, one of the founding fathers of the scene.

The subject matter stands in contrast to that traditionally explored in hip-hop, he explained.

“Topics include video games, science fiction, dungeons and dragons, but the deeper themes also look at feelings of alienation, paranoia and inadequacy that must always be battled in order to leave your apartment.”

I can sense a new workshop for fantasy fiction here. Secondary World Hip-Hop: Beats n’ Rhymes of Hobbiton, yo! Fuck Tha Nazgul! by NWA. I Wanna Get High, Cypress Hill (Pipeweed remix).

You’re welcome.


The Best Soundtracks For Writing

Listening to music helps the process of writing, but sometimes it’s better not to have anything featuring lyrics. Words being hollered in my ears interferes with my creative juices. I do not want to hear Lady Gaga warbling her kitsch electropop when I’m getting to a crucial scene. Likewise I do not need Tom Waits’s whisky-soaked grumbling when I’m striving to write something epic. Thus the humble soundtrack is often required. Since you’ve all probably exhausted your Lord of the Rings boxset, and the notes of Gladiator can be recalled from memory. I’m assuming you have the staples, such as Pirates of the Caribbean. Here are some other interesting soundtracks to provide that necessary background ambience without having to resort to pan-pipes (you know the shit I mean).

The Fountain: terribly dull film, but a tender, thoughtful and precise soundtrack. Useful for scenes of complex dinners-for-two, mental breakdowns, or moody walking-the-streets stuff.

Centurion: never seen the film, never likely to. This occasionally sails so close to Gladiator territory that I’m surprised there hasn’t been a lawsuit – but the soundtrack is definitely epic. Good for scenes of sword-clashing nonsense or general brooding military tough stuff.

Johnny Depp always seems to choose his films well, doesn’t he? I loved From Hell, and the soundtrack is suitably dark to fulfil all the fantasy writer’s macabre ambience. Recommended for scenes of torture or for when someone is bleeding to death.

Halo 3: ODST. What? Not a film? Yeah, I know, but game soundtracks are getting as good as film scores. I’ve never played the game either, and I actually think that helps me enjoy it merely for musical qualities. Here are some great minimalist electronic riffs, mixed with patches of epic science fictional orchestral soundscapes. Good for behind-the-scenes nitty-gritty, or marching along the corridors of a spaceship.

28 Weeks Later. A cracking film, and a fine soundtrack – it’s got moments of tension and introspection, with all the accoutrements needed for a post-apocalytpic type ambience. Suitable for scenes of brain-eating.

Rome, the HBO series. I’ve never seen this. It’s not for any reason other than I’ve been writing nearly every evening of the year. Here are all your historical flavours in one album – not so much the violence, but the kind of gentle two-chaps/ladies going from A to B filler malarkey that you often need to write.

The Dark Knight. In the future, all soundtracks, if not all sounds, will be made by Hans Zimmer. I could have picked any number of his works: Inception, The Last Samurai, Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Sherlock Holmes. But this is one of my favourites – for sheer intensity, for the way it really infects your mind. Recommended for anything with tension or city-traversing chase scenes.

So there you go. Now there is no excuse to complete your SF or Fantasy novel. Have I missed anything crucial?


Third Stone From The Sun

Jimi Hendrix was a fan of Science Fiction books:

Philip Jose Farmer’s Night of Light had a big influence on Hendrix. “Night of Light was a science fiction book that in 1966 inspired Jimi to eventually write ‘Purple Haze.’ Farmer’s story had to do with sunspots having a disorienting effect on a distant planet’s population. Jimi wrote pages and pages of lyrics for ‘Purple Haze,’ originally an epic tale of the history of warfare for the control of the planet Neptune,” he explained.

He added: “Producer Kim Fowley told us that when he met Jimi early in 1967 in the UK, Jimi had a trunk of books, all science fiction.”

Schreiber continued: “Jimi had been obsessed with science fiction as a boy in Seattle. He always went to see the actor Buster Crabbe in the serial Flash Gordon that played at the local theater. In fact, his nickname during youth was ‘Buster.’ Once, he literally jumped off the roof of his home, so taken was he with Flash’s ability to fly … One only need to pick up father Al Hendrix’s book, My Son Jimi, to see how much the boy Jimi drew and was obsessed by not only images of war and race cars but amazing planetscapes.”

In a way, it probably comes as no surprise, given some of the mad stuff Hendrix wrote and smoked, but it’s still cool to have high-profile stars being fans of genre. It’s the sort of thing that helps with perception. You know, if Celebrity X likes Science Fiction, it’s okay for man/woman/other-on-the-street to like Science Fiction. It’s cool.

Unless Celebrity X happens to be some bat-shit crazy douche-bag, or worse, someone like Gary Glitter. That just ain’t cool.

Are there any famous celebrities in the modern era who are fans of the genre?


Feist – Gatekeeper

Feist. With added xylophone solo. What’s not to like? Kick back with a G&T and you’re good to go.