Visual Memory #8 – ‘The House of the Dead’

The House of the Dead title cardAfter an extended hiatus, Christopher Bell is back with our gaming retrospective column, proving that rumours of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. The same can’t be said for the residents of the Curien Mansion, however. It’s time to take a look around The House of the Dead

On the night of December 18th 1998, Agent Thomas Rogan receives a frenzied telephone call from his fiancée Sophie, a researcher working for the infamous geneticist Dr. Curien. She’s at  Curien’s mansion but the call ominously cuts off before she can fully explain her situation. Rogan hurries to the scene with his partner – a mysterious man by the name of ‘G’ – to find and rescue her. The agents have no choice but to explore the mansion and face with the horrors within…
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The Next Big Thing – ‘An Unwanted Miracle’

In a break from our usual content, our very own P.G. Bell takes part in ‘The Next Big Thing’, a short interview that’s bouncing from writer to writer on a weekly basis. Next week, he passes the torch to our Editor in Chief, Caleb Woodbridge, as well as writer and film maker Aurélien Lainé.

The zombie goes back much further than 'Night of the Living Dead'1. What’s the working title of your next book?
‘An Unwanted Miracle’

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?
I’ve always been a zombie fan but it’s easy to forget they weren’t invented by George A. Romero in the 60s as so many of the stories out there follow his model – society crumbles, leaving a small cast of characters under siege from the flesh-eating hordes. That can be great fun, but the zombie has very different origins. They weren’t usually dangerous in themselves, but were more often tools of some more calculating, malignant force, operating in secret. (“White Zombie” or Hammer’s “Plague of the Zombies” are great examples). That’s something I wanted to revisit, whilst grounding the story in a thoroughly modern setting.

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Why are Apocalypses so popular in Science-Fiction? BristolCon Panel

BristolCon Apocalypse PanelThe End of the WorldIt’s the end of the world… again. Whether it’s a zombie outbreak, nuclear war, alien invasion or just some unspecified Terrible Event, it seems that many of us love a good apocalypse. But why the obsession with the destruction of human civilization? What’s the appeal of seeing society collapse, and is it a healthy thing to dwell on? What do our fears of the future tell us about our societies now?

Recorded at BristolCon 2012, this panel discussion is moderated by fantasy author Juliet E McKenna, and features the wit and wisdom of Michael Dollin, Janet Edwards, Tim Maughan, and John Meaney. And see if you can identify a familiar voice in the questions at the end…!


Big thanks to the panel and BristolCon organisers for letting me loose with a microphone, and stay tuned for the full BristolCon convention report, coming soon! Booking is now open for 2013’s event, and I can definitely recommend it.

The Walking Dead Review – 2.07 ‘Pretty Much Dead Already’

This is the show’s last chance to impress before its mid-season break. Has it succeeded? Kieran Mathers finds out…

Finally. After hours of wandering through the woods, The Walking Dead rediscovers what it’s good at; theatre like intimacy and intensity; emotional engagement; a Mamet-esque development and understanding of male characters. This episode drives the plot forward and gives everyone in the wider ensemble something to actually do. It also features a climactic zombie massacre that would do the source material proud. At long last, it’s television that makes you want to carry on watching.

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The Walking Dead Review – 2.06 ‘Secrets’

AMC’s zombie thriller approaches its mid-season climax, but will we be tuning in when it return? Kieran Mathers finds out…

My word, there’s an awful lot of shouting in this episode! After several plodding instalments, this season’s incipient conflicts finally rear their ugly rotting heads. Gunfights, sex, violence… it’s all here. I won’t call it a return to form because it’s still pretty poor fare compared to much of last season, but it’s almost watchable again.

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The Walking Dead Review – 2.05 ‘Chupacabra’

Kieran Mathers watches dull things happen very slowly…

I really wasn’t looking forward to reviewing this episode. For the fifth week in a row, the party of survivors wanders through the woods in search of the missing Sophia. There is also friction with the patriarchal Hershel (Scott Wilson) over access to his farm and the liberties being taken by some of the group.

So thank goodness for red-neck hero Daryl (Norman Reedus) whose Touching the Void-style survival exploits reward us with a great series of scenes. His relationship with his missing brother Merle (Michael Rooker), last seen handcuffed to a rooftop in Season 1, is revisited as a means of fleshing out his insecurities about his role in the group, and his eventual acceptance at the end of the episode is lovely – a real highlight.

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