Portrait of a Man in Armor with Two Pages

Paris Bordon

By Paris Bordon, c. 1530s. Taken from the absolutely fascinating Tumblr account, People of Colour in European Art History, which is an eye-opener. For me, it highlights that no matter how loosely based on ‘history’ many fantasy novels are, they do tend to be fairly whitewashed. (As in, if realism is the excuse, seems it’s a pretty poor defence. That blog shows why.)



Watched Looper last night and thought that… it was all right. Just all right. A B-movie disguised as something more. A bit too self-conscious at being hyper-real, though the acting for the most part was convincing – apart from Bruce Willis. Annoyed that the film was described as “thought provoking”, as I didn’t think there were all that many thoughts to be provoked. I think part of the problem with time-travel movies is that Bill & Ted pretty much had the last word. Anyway, just couldn’t help but be left with the irony that I wasn’t getting those two hours back…


World Fantasy Convention

For those of you going to World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in a few weeks, myself and Adam Nevill, courtesy of Tor UK, are throwing a joint book launch on Saturday November 2nd, between 4 and 5pm! If you’re at the convention, attendance is mandatory.


More Drakenfeld Blog Reviews

Remember when I did that call to new bloggers to get copies of Drakenfeld ARCs? It was partly to give airtime to new bloggers, who otherwise don’t get much exposure. But another handful of blog reviews of Drakenfeld have come in. Go visit these sites and tell them I sent you.

First up, The Tome said:

All in all Drakenfeld is a great novel to pick up if you are looking for something new. Its setting is fresh and exciting and extremely well done. If you want to be spirited away to a world that is different, this is the novel that might do it for you.

Zachary Bonelli said:

In short, I expected not to like Drakenfeld. I’m very happy to report that I, in fact, did enjoy and appreciate Drakenfeld immensely.

Fantasy Opinion was a big fan of the book:

I really like Mr. Newton’s writing style, and it makes his prose a joy to read. I’ve not read that many murder mystery novels, but I’m surely going to be following this series very closely. This is a very fun book that made me think back on it, well after I’ve read it. Now that is what I look for in a story.


Finally, Dom’s Fantasy Review Hotlist said:

Drakenfeld was a very enjoyable read, with a clever plot and intrigue that builds as the pages turn. New twists are added just as you start to feel comfortable with where the story is going, easily keeping your attention until the final page.


Literary Formulas

Nick Mamatas has some very interesting things to say about literary fiction:

As is well known, literary fiction is not taken very seriously by superior readers because the form is essentially formula. The protagonists are stock characters, a small handful of dramatic situations are raked over time and again, innovation is despised and mere competence celebrated (literary writing is even called “a craft”, along the lines of cabinetmaking or macramé), and all of the other elements of fiction are subsumed to tedious moral lessons suited primarily to the adolescents and arrested adolescents that read the stuff.

You should read the whole thing.


Whisky Reviews


One of the great things about running a whisky site is that people send me whisky to review. Let me repeat that: people send me whisky. Free whisky. They’re samples, admittedly, but they’re still free whisky.

So recently I’ve been able to look at a lovely Glen Garioch small batch release.

I was part of a Twitter tasting group to try a bunch of seriously impressive Douglas Laing ‘Old Particular’ releases.

And lastly, one I bought myself on Islay, is the Bunnahabhain Toiteach. Try saying that after a few drams…