10 years of TRUST

While I wait to be able to share with you the HUGE news I’m currently sitting on, I’ve been looking back at a few of my older books. Last weekend I managed to inadvertently wind up a climate change denier talking about STRAIGHT TO YOU, which was interesting. Never mind that a) the book is about the sun dying, not the earth’s climate changing, and b) the temperature here in the UK hit 40 degrees centigrade this week for the first time since records began, apparently I’m in the pocket of the WEF, I’m a corporate pig for having worked in a bank after leaving school, and I’m being paid by dark forces to push forward a narrative. You couldn’t make it up. Except, that’s exactly what I do for a living!

Anyway, at the risk of enraging another group of conspiracy theorists, today I’d like to talk about aliens.

I find it hard to believe, but it’s 10 years this week since I relaunched Infected Books and released TRUST, my ‘anti-science-fiction’ novel.

I shut down the original iteration of IB after the AUTUMN and HATER novels were acquired by Macmillan. IB was born in the early days of the Internet and independent publishing and it proved to be very successful. I couldn’t resist the idea of returning to indie publishing with the knowledge and experience I’d picked up from working with traditional publishers. It’s proved to be a hugely satisfying adventure, breathing life into more niche novels and projects that might otherwise not have seen the light of day.

Anyway, happy 10th birthday, TRUST. If you’ve not read the book, it’s available as an eBook, paperback, limited edition hardcover, and audiobook. You can get signed copies from Infected Books and Etsy, and I have a few free audiobook download codes if you’re quick and visit this page.

Trust (Infected Books, 2012)

TRUST is a slow-burner and all the richer for it. The layers of characters and details of the story play out perfectly when matched with an ending you’re not likely to forget. It’s an outstanding novel, delivers in more ways than one, and is worthy of a place on the discerning fan’s bookshelf. 10/10″ —Starburst Magazine

TRUST is the latest in a long line of thought provoking, intelligent novels… For new readers this is an ideal starting point to discover this major British talent who despite his innovations and successes of the last decade, you get the feeling is only just getting started.” —Shadowlocked

“Forget the idea that this is an anti-science fiction novel. It has aliens in it and it’s a treatise on how the ordinary person copes when the world which they are familiar with changes beyond all recognition. In my mind, that makes it very simply, a very good science fiction novel.” —Geek Syndicate

TRUST, STRAIGHT TO YOU, and STRANGERS are also available as part of the CHAOS THEORIES ebook and paperback bundle.

Still here

I need to start with an apology. I’ve had a few messages from folks wondering if everything was alright because I’d disappeared. It’s true. I’ve barely left a mark online recently. This iteration of my website has been running since 2008 – more than 1000 posts in total – and April 2022 was the first complete month I didn’t post anything in all that time.

There are a few reasons why. You might or might not be interested, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Some are more personal while others are writing related. I’ll apologise in advance for the length of this post, however I promise a picture of cats and big writing news if you make it all the way to the end.

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Don’t Look Up

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.

The Last Big Thing – new edition

I’m pleased to report that THE LAST BIG THING is now available in paperback. Originally released in early 2019, this is a collection of some of my favourite non-zombie short stories from the last 15 years or so, along with a number of other stories I wrote especially for the book. Of note, this is currently the only place you can get EVERYTHING AND NOTHING (my lone HATER short story) in print. Personally, I think it’s worth picking up for the title story alone. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written.

THE LAST BIG THING paperback is available from Amazon. It’s also available as an ebook (Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play, Nook) and there are a handful of signed hardcovers available at a discounted price over at www.infectedbooks.co.uk.

The Last Big Thing by David Moody

The beautiful cover art is by long time collaborator CRAIG PATON. Thanks to Craig for tweaking the files for this new edition.

V for Vendetta

Now that I’m sitting back behind this desk full-time again, I hope to catch up on the backlog of stuff I’ve built up to share. I have a whole heap of book and film recommendations that I want to add to the already substantial page of book and film recommendations that you can find here.

This week, a post that’s been sitting on my desktop unfinished for 6 months and 1 week. How can I be so precise about the date? Because I watched the 4k restoration of the movie on the day UK cinemas closed back in November last year – masked up for literally the final showing before the multiplexes shut their doors. Roll on next week when, hopefully, they’ll be opening up again.

If you’ve read any of my recent posts about AUTUMN: DAWN (and if you read the bonus material that’ll accompany the limited-edition hardcover), then you’ll know that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how our appreciation of things we’ve watched and read can change according to our current circumstances. I seem to be making a lot of STAR WARS comparisons at the moment, and this reminds me of my reaction to THE PHANTOM MENACE. Back on opening night in 1999, I was blown away. A new STAR WARS movie! It didn’t seem real, and I loved every second of it. But as time went by and I watched the film a few more times, I started to think that, actually, it wasn’t that good. Fast-forward to 2015 when I did a complete re-watch of the films in anticipation of THE FORCE AWAKENS, and I absolutely HATED the prequels. And now here we are, post-Disney, and yet again they’re being reappraised.

I guess my point is this: your engagement with a film or book is inevitably shaped by your life at that moment in time. Case in point, V FOR VENDETTA. I enjoyed the film a lot when I first saw it in 2005. Fifteen years later, it blew me away.

In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of “V”, plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.

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Stefan Cush (The Men They Couldn’t Hang)

Some sad news to share. STEFAN CUSH from THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG died suddenly last week from a heart attack. He was 60. As many of you may remember, TMTCH made a memorable appearance in the first HATER novel. While I was writing the book back in 2006, I was in touch with Phil ‘Swill’ Odgers from the band who’d enjoyed the AUTUMN books. We got chatting and he made an off-hand comment about adding him as a character in a future book. I’d just written the scene in HATER where Danny and Lizzie are at a rock concert and all hell breaks loose when one of the band members starts attacking the others, mid-set. Cut a long story short – the band in the book became TMTCH, and it was Swill who did the attacking, but the rest of the lads were very accommodating and they all made an appearance. I was lucky enough to see the band a few years later, and they were magnificent.

Stefan Cush performing live in 2017 CREDIT: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about how lucky I am to still be alive after my heart attack last April. Since my illness, I’ve been in contact with many people who’ve either had a heart attack themselves or who’ve lost loved ones. Very sadly, a member of my family passed away unexpectedly last weekend after suffering a massive heart attack. Without wishing to preach, I’d urge everyone to be aware of their own heart health. I know that health services around the world are under unprecedented strain right now, but please do seek advice if you have any concerns. If I’d not received such brilliant treatment from the NHS last April, I doubt I’d be here today.

My deepest condolences to go out to Cush’s family, friends, fellow band members and fans. A Crowdfunder drive is currently running to support his children with funeral costs. You can find the details here.

DOG SOLDIERS

Just prior to the second national lockdown starting here, and in the absence of many new releases, our local cinema showed a series of classic horror movies. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned how close we live to a cinema before. It’s literally a five-minute walk from my front door, and in the eight or so years we’ve lived in this spot, it’s been a source of gainful part-time employment for three of our daughters. I love the place and have been keen to support it whenever its doors have been open during the nightmare which has been 2020. I managed to catch a couple of films, the first of which was NEIL MARSHALL’S werewolf classic, DOG SOLDIERS.

Here’s a quick synopsis from IMDB: A British Squad is sent on a training mission in the Highlands of Scotland against Special Operations squad. Ignoring the childish “campfire” stories heard about the area, they continue with their mission and come across the bloody remains of the Special Ops Squad, and a fierce howling is pitching the night sky… With two mortally wounded men, they make an escape, running into a zoologist by the name of Megan – who knows exactly what hunts them. What began as what they thought was a training mission turns into a battle for their lives against the most unlikely enemies they would have expected – werewolves.

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Bloody Good Reads

I had a bloody good time talking to bloody Mark Goddard about some bloody good books on the BLOODY GOOD READS podcast. My choices won’t surprise anyone who’s read any interviews with me previously – I AM LEGEND, DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS and DOMAIN. I also got to chat about my past, current and future work – from AUTUMN to HATER to STRANGERS to THE BLEED (taking a brief detour along the way to discuss the merits of the AUTUMN movie).

You can listen to the podcast here. Please support Mark and BLOODY GOOD READS by subscribing to the podcast or following them on Twitter.

Remain Calm! (it’s probably going to be okay)

Hello everyone. Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. It’s actually only a few weeks, but it feels like a lifetime. In my 20+ years of writing apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, I never believed we’d ever collectively experience anything like Covid-19. Before you stop reading, don’t worry – this isn’t me using this nightmare situation to try and sell a few books.

Couldn’t resist sharing that video, though. My old pal Iain McKinnon and some of his colleagues made a series of short HATER promo videos back when DOG BLOOD was about to be released, only for us to be unable to use them because it looked like the movie was about to happen.

Anyway, back to the point.

It’s surreal and frightening to be sitting here in lockdown like this. If I’m honest, it does feel like something out of one of my books, and plenty of folks have been quick to point that out. I wrote THE COST OF LIVING when my family and I moved into our current house and set it on our development; now we’re genuinely isolated in our home from a viral pandemic. The AUTUMN series, of course, is all about a world ravaged by a virulent disease, and with the toilet roll panic buying hysteria in the supermarkets, I’ve seen things on the TV news which definitely remind me of HATER (chapter 20 in particular). But for all these similarities, I DON’T THINK THIS IS THE APOCALYPSE.

Terrifying though, isn’t it?

The books I write have always focused on the worst case scenario. You can bet the folks you meet in the first chapter will have been through absolute hell by the time they get to the last page (if they get that far). The infections they’re dealing with are just a MacGuffin designed to cause maximum chaos for my characters to sort out. We are not those characters, and though the disease we’re fighting today is an absolute fucker, I’m hopeful it will be beaten. Things feel so oppressive and grim right now that it’s easy to believe we’re all trapped without hope in a grim Moody dystopia, but we’re not. We can and we will get through this!

Stay safe, stay positive, stay sensible and stay healthy. My sincere best wishes to you and your families. I’m going to make a conscious effort to post here regularly in the coming weeks. I have some freebies and other things of interest I want to share with you (although my stories might be the absolute last thing you want to read right now!).