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Ripped Genes: The Biopunk Special Issue – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by stanleyriiks

I really wanted to hate this issue. For completely selfish and nasty reasons, I wanted to hate this magazine. I wanted to submit to it, I had some amazing ideas. Ideas that never made the transition from brain to page. For whatever reason (that thing some people call writers’ block and I call life) got in the way of my making the deadline, although I had determined months before that I’d write something. In the end I wrote nothing, and because of that I didn’t want to like this issue.

And you know what? Now I feel even worse. Because this is not just a good special issue, this is the kind of magazine that excites me (ok, not in that way you perve!). It inspires me, it makes me want to write, it wakes up my brain!

Filled with ideas, and bursting with sparkles of brilliance, the editor Samuel Diamond has delivered a treat. This is SF as it should be!

There are far too few SF magazines out there. Morpheus Tales delivers a good share of horror, but the SF is sadly lacking. The small press for SF seems to have mostly dried up (forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’ve looked and I can’t find much).

Which is why it is magazines like Ripped Genes: The Biopunk Special issue are so important. It doesn’t just deliver, it delivers by the bucket load.

There is not a bad story in this diverse bunch, but highlights for me were “Fishing the Life in Notochords” By Matt Leyshon, a writer who never fails to amaze me; “Baby Boom” By Alan Spencer, another writer I’m familiar with who shows time and time again that he’s more than just a blood and guts horror writer (although he does it so well); “Screaming Monkeys” By Dev Jarrett, a remarkable story; and “Legacy” By Richard Farren Barber who gets better with every story.

Picking four out of the thirteen stories on offer had me tearing my hair out, it’s so difficult to pick out just a handful of these exceptional stories. The creators of these stories are all on top form.

I hate that I’m not a part of this magazine. I’m gutted. I wish I had a time machine, then I’d go back six month and sit down and write. Of course, I’d probably steal some of the brilliant ideas contained in this magazine if I did. Ripped Genes is an SF magazine that demands you read it. Check out the free preview and then go buy yourself a copy. You will not regret it.

Cutting edge SF at it’s very best! Devilishly good stuff!

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Stephen Fry…. Genius? Bastard?

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2009 by stanleyriiks

I’ve just finished reading Fry’s The Hippopotamus. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be reviewing a booking that was first published fifteen years ago, and don’t worry, I’m not going to. It’s a little difficult to think of Stephen Fry, and much of his work, in a critical light.

I was never a fan of Fry and Laurie, or Jeeves and Wooster. Neither particularly floated my boat.

My fascination, my love, of Stephen Fry and his work started when I read his first novel, The Liar. A deeply personal and semi-autobiographical coming of age novel. A kind of English, middle-class Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a comparison I’m sure he’d hate. But it’s a personal equivalent, both of them touched me and helped me to identify who I am in a way I still find difficult to put into words. Without experiencing either The Liar or Ferris Bueller I would be a very different person, in the same way that if I had never read that first Conan novel when I was fourteen, I wouldn’t have discovered fantasy, horror and science fiction and very probably wouldn’t even be writing this now.

Stephen Fry is one of those people with an incredible memory, with such written skill and humour that it makes you hate his talent. He’s one of those people you would love to meet and have a conversation with, but when faced with him, you probably wouldn’t be able to mutter a single word.

I know Stephen Fry only from his work – including his Blackadder appearances – I’ve never met the man, so I can say all this in complete ignorance. I set my Virgin + box to diligently record QI, Stephen’s current dispensary of knowledge, a quiz show for those less intelligent than the great man. Which is all of us.

Fry’s novels make me weep, not only because he draws you into the lives of his characters in a way few people can, not even because his books are sometimes so funny that tears drip from the corners of your eyes, but because it sickens me that I don’t have half the talent he does. That’s why I have to hate him, envy.

If you’ve never read a Stephen Fry book then you’ve deprived yourself, and you should remedy this immediately.

The Hippopotamus is a funny, irreverent, and highly enjoyable read.  To review it would be to do it a disservice.  Fry’s poet and critic Edward Wallace is my hero, as is his creator.  Enough said.