My friend (and THE FRONT co-conspirator) CRAIG DILOUIE released THE FINAL CUT, the long-anticipated third book in his INFECTION trilogy at the end of last year. Having just finished reading it, I’m pleased to report that it was well worth the wait.
It’s a testament to Craig’s skill as a writer that I felt able to jump back into the story, despite it having been almost a decade since the previous book in the series – THE KILLING FLOOR – was released. We’re right back into the action straightaway and it doesn’t let up throughout. Although the book is focused on a relatively small cast of characters, it’s evident that these people are the key players in humanity’s fight for survival against the unique alien scourge that’s decimated life on earth.
I’ve followed Craig’s work from the outset. From TOOTH AND NAIL onwards, he’s told a number of apocalyptic tales from the point of view of some of those folks on the military front line. Typically, stories with a detailed military content leave me cold, but time and again I find myself enjoying Craig’s writing and the realistic, personal perspective he brings to these chaotic, world-defining battles. The focus remains on the people and their physical and emotional fights, rather than the calibre of the bullets they’re firing.
It was great to finally get to read the last book in the trilogy. It’s sometimes hard to hit the landing when you’re writing sequels, particularly when the last book was written more than ten years previously, but THE FINAL CUT brings the story to a smart and satisfying conclusion. As many of you may know, I’m a sucker for hearing about the post-post-apocalypse, and the book’s coda, in which we get a glimpse of life with the Infection after another ten years, was very much appreciated.
You can grab a copy of THE FINAL CUT from Amazon now. Highly recommended.
It’s the number one film on NETFLIX at the moment, so I’m sure you’ve either already seen this movie or have heard plenty about it. That said, for posterity I’m adding it to the ongoing list of films I recommend here on this site, and I’ll explain why after the trailer.
Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.
Reaction to DON’T LOOK UP has been polarising, to say the least. Glancing at IMDB just now, the Metascore is 50. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently stands at 55%. I don’t think the stats are at all surprising – if anything they’re quite appropriate – because the polarisation of society is at the core of the film. As an apocalyptic story, it’s by-the-numbers. As a comedy, it’s intermittently very funny. I can understand why people expecting either a laugh-fest or a GREENLAND or ARMAGEDDON style action adventure would be disappointed. Much has been made of the fact that the destruction of the planet by a comet is an allegory for climate change, but you can substitute any number of current social issues. I think the film’s scope is far broader than any one scenario. It holds up a mirror (albeit a deliberately distorted and exaggerated one) to some of our worst traits as individuals and as a society.
Throughout the story, the characters are fixated on things that don’t matter at the expense of things that do: the President of the United States wants to sit on news of the impending apocalypse so as not to tarnish her approval ratings, a tech guru concocts a plan to mine the planet-killing comet to tap into the trillions of dollars worth of minerals it contains… even the scientists become distracted with the irrelevances of fame. There are many levels to this film, but what hit me hardest was the demonisation of critical thinking and the absolute intolerance of other perspectives. In some respects, it felt like a comedy version of HATER.
It saddens me that in the sixteen years since I wrote HATER, it feels like it’s become more and more relevant with each passing week. I never explain the reason for the Hate in the books, but I’d always had it in mind that it was some kind of biological quirk that separated them from us, a genetic or other physical difference. Turns out it was worse than that. Turns out we’re capable of killing each other on the basis of our ideologies, beliefs, opinions, and personal desires. That’s always been the case, of course, and I’m being deliberately simplistic here, but it truly does feel like we’ve reached the point in our evolution (devolution?) where many of us appear incapable of even listening to, let alone considering or accepting, another person’s point of view when it doesn’t fit with our own world view or if it will be detrimental to ourselves in any way, shape, or form. There is no maybe anymore, there’s just right and wrong, and if one person’s right is another person’s wrong (which it inevitably will be), then we hit an impasse.
It’s fucking terrifying when you think about it, and pretty depressing, but that’s why I’m recommending DON’T LOOK UP. The characters are caricatures and it doesn’t offer any solutions or profound explanations, but it does a great job of showing how heartbreakingly stupid and blinkered us human beings can be. I’d like to think we’ll smarten up before the planet is destroyed (either by a comet, climate change, a rogue AI, aliens, or – most likely – ourselves), but like the scientists in the story, I’m not holding out a lot of hope.
It’s less than three weeks now until AUTUMN: INFERNO is released. I thought you might like to read an excerpt. The book opens with an army of survivors setting out to reclaim the streets of London from the dead – the battle of Wapping. Click the link below to read it.
First, the eBook version of the book is now available to pre-order from all the usual outlets – Amazon, Apple (due imminently), Kobo, Google, and B&N. The general paperback pre-order links should start popping up in the next couple of weeks.
Second, if you’ve already pre-ordered AUTUMN: INFERNO direct from Infected Books, either the limited edition hardcover or signed paperback, you should have received an email from me yesterday with details of how to download your complementary eBook copy RIGHT NOW! Please get in touch if you didn’t receive the instructions, and I’ll get the details to you asap.
It’s my last afternoon in the office before I pause for Christmas and the New Year, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to wish everyone the very best for the upcoming holidays. We’ve all had a difficult couple of years, and whilst I don’t think for a second that we’ll be completely out of the woods in 2022, I’m cautiously optimistic that – if we can hold ourselves together and resist the urge to dive down media-fuelled, conspiracy theory laden rabbit holes – things will start to improve.
Before I disappear I’d like to share an offer, a reminder, and a recommendation.
The recommendation – have you seen ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE? It’s the best Scottish Christmas zombie musical I’ve ever seen. Cheesy as hell, but a lot of gory fun and it’s well worth a watch. The trailer is below and if you’re in the UK, you can stream the movie now on Amazon Prime.
There’s lots of good stuff coming up from me, so I hope to see you soon in 2022. In the meantime, Happy Holidays!
I’m thinking about writing a novel in which a family work their fingers to the bone to own their dream home, only for a demonic entity from the depths of hell to wreak chaos and confusion and destroy everything. Oh, wait, that’s not a story idea – that’s my life. Just two days after putting the finishing touches to the downstairs of our house, we were flooded. Oh, and it wasn’t a demonic entity, it was a fist-sized block of concrete in the drain that had been there since the place was built.
My office, next to the downstairs bathroom where the blockage made its presence known, bore the brunt of the flood waters. No books were harmed, but I’ve had to empty the entire room. I was not impressed. Neither was Jasper, one of our cats, who can be seen here surveying the carnage.
It goes without saying, all books will be signed. Postage is free in the UK.
Perfect Christmas/Thanksgiving/New Year presents for the grim dystopian fans in your life! Get in quick because there are some offers here that will be snapped up quickly. If there are any particular books you’re after that aren’t listed, get in touch and I’ll let you know if I have any.
Unfortunately, because of recent changes to EU VAT rules, I’m not currently able to sell to folks in the EU via the Infected Books store. If you’re in the EU and you’re interested in any of these books, let me know and we’ll make alternative arrangements.
So, one final read through then the next AUTUMN book – INFERNO – will be sent to my editor, and pre-orders for the limited edition hardcover will open. What better time to reveal the cover. The marvellous CRAIG PATON has knocked it out of the park again.
Very excited for you to read this one. More details will be revealed asap. If you bought the limited edition hardcover of AUTUMN: DAWN, check your inbox in the next couple of weeks for your link to pre-order book two.