realthog: (leavingfortusa)

. . . and there's now a different and somewhat longer interview with me by Chris Redding (author of The Corpse Whisperer, etc.) on display at her blog. Here you will discover more, and more intimate, details of my youthful fling with Marilyn Monroe than I have ever revealed before.

realthog: (real copies!)

While doing some rationalization of my e-mail files I came across a review of my novel The Dragons of Manhattan that was sent to me at the start of the year -- on New Year's Day itself, in fact -- but which I wasn't allowed to crow about publicly at the time because it had yet to appear in print. So I put it to one side with a smug smile, and . . .

Well, I blame my publisher for not reminding me when the embargo was lifted.

The reviewer was Adam J. Shardlow and the venue was the British Fantasy Society publication Prism, and here are the most perceptive bits
:

. . . a political satire, part surreal fantasy reminiscent of Swift with a sharp humorous streak akin to the early work of S.J. Perelman.

In an America not unlike the one beloved of left wing journalism, brain challenged President Alfie Sedoma is being controlled by a media shy and wealthy business autocrat called Buster Maltravis, a Wall St. tycoon who also happens to be an ancient dragon with a taste for virgins. Across town the unsuccessful editor turned private eye Norris Gonfalcon is hired by a mysterious father and daughter duo to investigate the old lizard. Thrown into this mix is a stoned hippy Avatar, a pie-eyed religious fundamentalist with his own personal arsenal, a couple of ditzy and frankly dubious virgins, a foul mouthed copy editor and a man named James.

Grant has great fun lampooning America's current administration
[i.e., the Bush Administration] with no love spared for the existing inhabitant of the White House [i.e., Il Buce], big business politics, American nationalism, the NRA, the CIA or the Second Amendment, he has created a rich fantasy tableaux where the jokes come thick and fast. A refreshing and unique approach to the genre that allows the author to get it all off his chest.



realthog: (Default)

Steve Upham, whose Screaming Dreams Press published my novel The Dragons of Manhattan last year, has just forwarded me a review of it by Adam J. Shardlow that was sent to him on an advance-sneak-peek basis from the British Fantasy Society, in one of whose publications the review's going to appear.

Because of its current status I obviously can't quote the piece publicly, but I think I can honourably disclose that it's extremely favourable; there's some singing and dancing going on here in Snarl Towers. Certainly this is an extremely jolly way to start the new year, oh yes!

It's not every day of the week that I get compared in the same sentence to Jonathan Swift and S.J. Perelman . . .
realthog: (real copies!)

The new edition of Steve Upham's FREEEEEEEEE e-zine Estronomicon is now out, and can be downloaded as a PDF in all its 67-page illustrated glory from here.

Stories and stuff are by Tony Richards, Geoff Nelder, Stephen Bacon, Charles Black, Neil Davies, Paul Kane, Marie O'Regan and the ever wonderful Allyson Bird -- whom Pam and I had the very considerable pleasure of meeting for the first time, albeit far too briefly, at this year's FantasyCon in Nottingham, UK.

Indeed, this issue of Estronomicon is a sort of FantasyCon special; of the issue's many attractions, perhaps most notable of all is the section focusing on the art of British Fantasy Award-winning artist Vincent Chong, whose recent covers include this one for my own The City in These Pages. (See? You knew I'd get in something egobooish somewhere sooner or later, didn't you? And I didn't wish to disappoint.)

Quite how Steve, whose Screaming Dreams Press published my novel The Dragons of Manhattan earlier this year (there! -- that's two bits of egoboo!), manages to pull such distinguished contributors to Estronomicon time after time after time is a mystery to me, especially since it's a free 'zine. Whatever, signing up for a subscription is much to be recommended.


great news!

Aug. 5th, 2008 12:21 pm
realthog: (real copies!)
 
I've just heard that Steve Upham of Screaming Dreams Press, who had a heart attack a few weeks ago, is now home from hospital and recuperating. This is a huge weight off my shoulders, and I'm sure off the shoulders of all of Steve's friends all over the world -- of whom there are, as you'd expect, many.
 
realthog: (Default)

Denver Police Brace for Convention

reads the headline in this morning's New York Times. Not unnaturally, I was alarmed. I could understand the cops becoming nervous at the prospect of invasion by the likes of [personal profile] ellen_datlow, Bob Eggleton, Marianne Plumridge, Jane Frank and some three thousand others attending the World SF Convention in Denver this coming weekend, but surely this was overkill. Were my various friends likely to be coming home bruised, battered and with, for the first time in their lives, a profound aversion to handcuffs?

As I read on, however, I was reassured . . .

Federal and local authorities fear that the Democratic
National Convention will become a magnet for militant
protest groups.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/us/politics/05security.html?th&emc=th

Phew!

McTosh

Jul. 25th, 2008 09:21 pm
realthog: (leaving fortusa)
 
Anyone who thinks they know anything about US politics based on the coverage given by the US mainstream media should urgently read this article. Jamison Foser is always excellent in his media analysis, and nowhere more so than here.

One campaign is talking bilgewater (e.g., and from a long long list, Iran is accused of aiding Sunnis), and much of the mainstream media is basically stenographing this crap. The other campaign is trying to make this a proper debate about the future the US -- and the world -- should have. The first campaign is whingeing about unfair media treatment, despite the facts on the ground. The second is saying little on the subject.

See? I'm not biased. I'm not saying which campaign is which.
 
realthog: (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_datlow has been bragging to all who'll listen about the fact that her mom has given her a good "review" for Inferno, so there is at least precedent for my own nauseating cock-a-hoopness over having received likewise from my daughter, who has read my novel The Dragons of Manhattan as part of the memed "50 Book Challenge":

Book 27 was The Dragons of Manhattan by that deeply neglected author, John Grant, who should be more highly recognised by everyone ;) He wrote it a few years ago and it was published as an e-book by Blue Ear, but has recently been published as an actual paper version (which is much easier to read.) I'm not as convinced as its reviewers that it's on a par with Swift, but it's certainly a viciously funny topical pastiche which will make anyone with even a passing awareness of current US politics weep with laughter*. The plot with the dragons in should ensnare the fantasy reader too.

*Assuming of course they're a pinko liberal who thinks George W Bush is not a fantastic, divinely inspired president we should all support wholeheartedly in whatever plan his puppeteers come up with next.

I do of course dispute hotly her implication that the book's not on a par with Swift, but obviously I'm delighted about the rest!

By the way, I'm still authorized to send FREEEE PDFs of the book to those who might review it on their blogs or elsewhere. For more major venues, I might be persuaded to part with a paper copy. Either way, e-mail me via LJ's system, citing your address and/or e-address. Also, for US readers, copies are for sale from my website.
 
realthog: (Default)

There's a longish and very good article today by the excellent Robert Parry on his equally excellent site Consortium News. Here are a couple of brief excerpts:

But possibly a larger vulnerability for McCain is the fact that he was a leader in the neoconservative strategy to downplay the political-military challenges in Afghanistan in favor of exaggerating the strategic threat from Iraq.

In recent months, it’s become increasingly obvious that the diversion of U.S. military and financial resources to Iraq over the past five-plus years bought al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies time to regroup and reorganize inside Pakistan.

The United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan now are facing a deteriorating security situation that was highlighted by a brazen Taliban assault on a U.S. military base on July 13 that killed nine American soldiers.

From base camps inside Pakistan, al-Qaeda forces also are believed to be plotting new terrorist attacks against the United States. In addition, political strains inside Pakistan have renewed concerns about the possibility that the country’s nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of Islamic extremists.

Much of this predicament can be traced back to the hubris that infused McCain’s speech in Munich in February 2002. [. . .]

McCain then reprised what turned out to be the bogus case for invading Iraq.

”Almost everyone familiar with Saddam's record of biological weapons development over the past two decades agrees that he surely possesses such weapons. He also possesses vast stocks of chemical weapons and is known to have aggressively pursued, with some success, the development of nuclear weapons,” McCain said.

“Terrorist training camps exist on Iraqi soil, and Iraqi officials are known to have had a number of contacts with al-Qaeda. These were probably not courtesy calls,” McCain added in the smug, sarcastic tone common to that period.

As it turned out, the “vast stocks” of chemical weapons and the prospect of nuclear weapons were non-existent. The active “terrorist training camps” on Iraqi soil were hostile to Hussein’s secular regime and were located outside Baghdad’s control in areas protected by the U.S.-British-enforced “no-fly zone.”

Evidence collected after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 revealed that Saddam Hussein rebuffed overtures from al-Qaeda, which he regarded as an enemy in the Arab world. Those contacts were not even “courtesy calls.” [For details, see our book, Neck Deep.]

However, in February 2002, at the crucial moment when al-Qaeda’s leaders were on the run and Afghanistan was in desperate need of rebuilding, McCain became a leading advocate for the neocon rush to war in Iraq.

McCain appears to have been “completely wrong” in that judgment, a strategy that has damaged U.S. standing in the world and has played into the deadly hands of Osama bin Laden.

(Complete article -- much recommended! -- is here.)

It's becoming increasingly evident that McCain's much-vaunted "expertise" on foreign policy is a complete chimera. A few weeks ago he was claiming, before his buddy Joe Lieberman managed to get him to briefly stop talking bilge, a bizarre alliance between Iran and al-Qaida. Within the past day or so he's talked about the dangers of the Iraq/Pakistan border, which border is unfortunately unknown to cartography. And, notoriously, he's been pushing a theoretically endless US occupation of Iraq only to find this is precisely what -- duh! -- the Iraqi people and government do not want.

Avoiding pratfalls like this last and the twaddle about Saddam's WMDs requires no special foreign-policy expertise: merely the ability to read non-US newspapers, which, unlike their US counterparts, have not gotten into the habit of happily regurgitating whatever crap Il Buce's Administration feeds them. As example, there was extensive coverage in the UK and Oz newspapers before the invasion of the reports Hans Blix and his team of UN investigators on the ground in Iraq were releasing to the effect that Saddam had indeed destroyed his stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons; these were the same investigators whom Il Buce later falsely stated, with only rare peeps of protest from the US "news" media, had been kept out of Iraq by the Saddam government.

Since McCain's supposed foreign-policy nous is the largest single plank in his platform -- indeed, almost the only plank (even though his campaign website apparently has no page on the topic) -- and since he's being repeatedly demonstrated to be a complete ignoramus on the subject, one wonders quite what his supporters think they're voting for.

realthog: (real copies!)


The good news for the day is that the vile Radovan Karadzic has finally been captured (and, to their enormous credit, by the Serbian authorities themselves rather than by any external/international organization).

While reading the Beeb's report on this and letting out the occasional cheer, I was struck afresh by how normal Karadzic seems -- at least in photographs. I could see him slotting happily into my circle of friends, if only at the nice-chap-I-met-down-the-pub level:

Photobucket 

In short, he looks like the kind of guy you might imagine bumping into and having an interesting conversation with -- perhaps even a professionally unsound but highly enjoyable game of pool. Hell, on the face of it, I'd buy him a pint any time. He most certainly doesn't look like the kind of person who'd order, or at the very least condone, some of the worst acts of mass murder Europe has seen in the decades since the end of WWII.

Hm. He appears like the kind of fellow you'd be happy to share a beer with.

American voters might want to think about this one.
 
realthog: (Default)

There's a lot going around at the moment about the incompetence, stupidity, vacuity, puerility and bias of the US mainstream "news" media -- and those are just the favourable comments -- but I would like to add an extra beef. Tonight, for the second evening in a row, CNN.com's political blog PoliticalTicker... (geddit?) is focusing on Rush Limbaugh's supposedly clever attempts to manipulate the Democrats' presidential primary (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/07/limbaugh-comes-out-for-obama/).

Let's be straight about this. Rush Limbaugh is (in my opinion) a hypocritical, racist, hatemongering, misogynistic, right-wing-extremist bigot and habitual liar whose on-air "cleverness" might seem a little less clever were it not for the fact that all calls critical of his views or contradictory of his "facts" are scrupulously filtered out by studio producers whose ethics are in some strange way reminiscent of those coloured porous discs you see lying at the bottom of the urinals in pub lavatories.

In the ordinary course, no one would pay the slightest attention to the views of such a moron -- except, perhaps, to move a little farther away from his drunken bawling in that selfsame pub where the studio producers haunt the urinals. The only reason that Limbaugh's views gain any significance whatsoever outside the closed circle of his equally bigoted coterie is because they're given oxygen by supposed news organizations . . . like CNN.

So why the hell is CNN giving Limbaugh that oxygen? It is betraying its own stated purpose if it debases itself to the point where it's a promotional tool for the most disgusting elements of our society. Who next? The Ku Klux Klan?

 

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