Some thoughts on Bladerunner 2049 – or, why it worked for me


Bladerunner 2049 has split people and polarised reviews, much as its predecessor did. Everyone has their own reasons for loving it, hating it, or falling asleep to it. These are mine.

I love that it’s long. Now, duration isn’t something we’re strangers to these days as the ninety-minute flick has become a thing of the past in favour of two-hour epics and multi-film franchise universes. However, where BR2049 differs is that it uses the extensive time limit in a different way. Its contemporaries use it to hammer us with frenetic action whilst BR2049 uses its time to immerse us in its world. Tracking shots go on whereas in another genre movie they’d cut away or be interrupted by a piece of snappy dialogue. The director has the confidence to leave us alone with the soundtrack and the visuals to tell the story of LA in 2049, the Wallace Corporation and the wastelands of Las Vegas.

I love the pacing, which is stately. Some might call it slow. But I think it allows the characters to grow so that even the minor ones feel like people we’ve met and got to know by the end. Sapper Morton’s demise would have taken place in half the time, with more puns in the dialogue and twice as bombastically elsewhere. Lt. Joshi would have been a barking stereotype if the scenes between her and K weren’t allowed to linger long enough to become tense, uncomfortable, to suggest another layer to their relationship beyond that of fellow officers. Luv and Joi would have been compressed into submissive love interest and bad-ass henchwoman without the extra time to give them nuance as beings who feel lesser because of their artificial nature and so desperately want to prove themselves – to be equal, to be more.

Finally, I love its ambition. It could have been more generic. It could have been a poor retread of past glories – see this year’s Ghost in the Shell remake and Alien Covenant. It could have taken a safer path and leaned more heavily on the star power of Harrison Ford and Jared Leto, as The Force Awakens and Suicide Squad did respectively. Instead it chose to try and match the original in every way. Maybe, they knew they’d gone over the top with their faithfulness to the legacy. They made those excellent and distinctive prequel short films to whet our appetites. We were given a poignant cameo of Rachael. Those water-ripples were there again. Every minute of BR2049 was sown with love and respect for what had gone before – and that’s why it worked for me.

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Neuroseed Cover Reveal!

Coming soon … 15 December …

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Once upon a time … there were a lot of fantastic fairytales going FREE!

Good evening all.

I’m participating in a second promotion this month. If, like me, you yearn to be a princess, live in a fairytale and have your very own tiara. You can find out more by clicking the link below and downloading as many fairytale fantasy stories as you like. Enjoy and do share with your friends – or I’ll find you and turn you into a newt 

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September Fantasy and Magic Instafreebie Promo!

This month I’m taking part in my first Instafreebie promotion.

If you want to sample some free Fantasy and Magic titles, click the banner below and start downloading – couldn’t be simpler, could it?




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Coming soon …

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Made for the Dark: OUT Friday 26th May!

From Lovecraftian grotesquerie to Aickmanesque peculiarity all the way along to pure pulp gross-out worthy of Guy N. Smith; this collection has something to offer every discerning horror fan.

Above a pub in King’s Cross, London, a masked performer entices a select audience to shed their inhibitions. Beneath the ruins of a castle in the Scottish Highlands, the monstrous experiments of a missing scientist still live on. Zombies hungrily roam the woods on a dark and stormy night, waiting for unsuspecting prey. A bewildered man awakens to find himself at the end of the world and in the company of the dead Japanese writer, Kafu Nagai.

On a perfect summer’s day, two young lovers are separated but when they meet again, something has been changed between them forever. A nightmarish bus takes passengers on a journey through an urban hell. And Christmas comes but once a year yet it is something a single mother on a run-down council estate will soon wish never ever comes again.

You’d better turn the lights down low before reading more as these tales are all of a kind. They are … Made for the Dark.

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Coming Soon – Made for the Dark: Collected Short Stories

Due out Friday 26 May!

Table of Contents

An Upstairs Room
The Face in the Picture
Tangerine Dream
The Curse of Amen-Ra
Fear and Wonder
Zombies by Moonlight
The Writhing
A Soul who wrote by Strange Starlight
Ode to a Night-Gaunt
The Hives
It Follows You Home
The Lift
A Perfect Day
His Loathsome Kiss
The Shed
The Bus Shelter
Waiting Room
Last Christmas

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Khale the Wanderer Relaunch!

Under A Colder Sun

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Lost is the Night

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Hordes of Chaos

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Hordes of Chaos – Sample

“We should get away from here,” Yothyr whispered to Hrekh. “We’ve found ’em. They’re dead. Let’s go.”
“Aye, we’ve found ’em,” Hrekh answered calmly. “But what killed ’em, eh? We need to find that out.”
Yothyr sighed through his teeth and scratched at the stubble on his chin. “We don’t need to find it out, Hrekh. We need to go back, say we found ‘em, and tell the rest not to come here. I don’t want to end up like ’em. Gods’ bones, I don’t.”
The two foragers stared at the remains of their five friends: torn apart, riven from nave to chaps, eyes put out. You could not tell man from woman among them. Death had undone them all some two days ago, or thereabouts.
Every eighth day, foragers were sent out into the Gorenwald: the endless forest of grey, dead trees that spread away from the roots of the mountain range where Tumenfell — the fortress-state of the southern borders — rested. Their task and purpose varied: scavenging for valuables, hunting out the Gorenwald’s denizens to bring them back for medical study, or undertaking errands for the King. There was much talk about the nature of such errands but then there was much talk about the nature of the King. He had names that were spoken when he was not present; old Sick-eye; the Butcher of Barneth; the Yellow King. Though the King had not given them the errand himself, the word had been passed to Yothyr and Hrekh that they were to journey to a certain part of the Gorenwald and report on what they found there. These instructions had led them to the corpses of their mates.
“What did they disturb out here that could do this? What were they sent out to seek for?” Hrekh asked, awed.
Yothyr grunted and spat into the undergrowth. “It doesn’t matter. It’s all death out here.” He waved a thick forearm at the forest, and then cocked his head. “’Ere, what was that?”
“Nothing. The wind that whistles between your ears, most likely,” Hrekh replied.
“Let the Gorenwald take you! I heard somethin’.”
“It’ll take you afore it takes me, son. I’ve been out here foraging some thirty winters. I know its ways better than most,” Hrekh said.
“Aye, well, doesn’t mean you’re not more deaf in the ear than me. I tell you I heard movement, and it weren’t the movement of a man.”
“Huh. You tire me sometimes, Yoth. I’ll do as you bid but mind I’ll tell ’em it was your wish to return, not mine. You’ll have some answerin’ to do once we’re back in Tumenfell.”
“I’ll answer for it. They can warm my feet on hot coals. They can lock me in one of the pits and leave me there. I’ll not be here searching for something that undoes a man’s flesh as easy as a knife guts a pig.”
The two foragers turned away from the slaughter and began to make for the tunnels that would take them safely back into the mountains. It wasn’t far to travel, which troubled Yothyr’s mind. Usually, it was a good seven day walk before a forager encountered something vile out in the Gorenwald. The great forest didn’t get dense and dark as truth until then — out where you had to start lighting your alcohol lantern by day and night in order to see clear ahead.
Hereabouts, the sky’s light still made it through the trees to show the way. The things that could do a man most harm out here lived in shadow and dreaded the light, or so he’d been told since he could first listen and learn.
What’s happening now then, he thought. What could be coming so close to our walls?
Yothyr didn’t get to think on it further as he was interrupted by Hrekh’s piercing scream. “Yoth, it’s got me! It’s bastard well got me!”
Yothyr had precious little learning, so he could barely discern what he was seeing; beyond thinking it something born of a nightmare. The thing clutching at Hrekh’s scalp was like a hand, only made of long, thin bones with wiry hairs growing from the knuckles. As it moved, Yothyr glimpsed the soft, translucent bulb of flesh that must have been its body, and he felt his stomach churn violently. He counted ten limbs, maybe more, all cutting swiftly at Hrekh’s flesh. Yothyr heard and felt the crack of bones breaking as blood darkened the breast of Hrekh’s tunic. His companion’s last word, mouthed silently, was, “Run!”

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Voyage of the Pale Ship LAUNCHED!

The land of Tirlane has fallen to the evil Lamia, but Willow Grey and Henu the Wealdsman escape her clutches aboard the legendary Pale Ship. To free Tirlane, they embark on a voyage that will take them to islands where cats rule over men, ruined cities are inhabited by living statues, and stranger places where spirits can make the wildest and darkest of dreams come true. But it is beyond these isles that the real challenges lie; can Willow Grey survive the perilous trials of the Skeleton Tower? Will Henu face his fears, or be consumed by the darkness growing within him? And what awaits them in the Giants’ Graveyard at the edge of the world – the chance for redemption, or the end of all things true?

Available from:

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