Me Read Books Good

I was meant to write another part of Books What Are Good but real life is in the way at the moment.

Some very nice people left some reading suggestions. I’m reading one of these at the moment, ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ by M.R. Carey as recommended by Carl and enjoying it tremendously.

So I say that people recommending stuff on this site is a brilliant idea with a 100% success record.  And I need to start compiling my reading list for 2016.

What books do you think should be read by more people? State your case in the comments below and I’ll round them up at the end of the week!


Books What Are Good

A while ago, I wrote a post about 9 Low Budget Science Fiction Films More People Should See so I thought I’d write some posts about the sci-fi/fantasy horror books I’ve enjoyed this year. If you’ve not read any of these, I suggest you check them out.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

birdboxThere’s something outside. You don’t know what it is, but if you see it madness and death will follow.

Bird Box taps directly into the primal fear of the dark, made all the worse because that darkness is self-inflicted. To survive, one must be blindfolded.

I’m not really affected by scary stories because I’m a double hard bastard, but one sequence left me shaking and terrified while sat reading on a packed tube train. This’ll stick with you long after you’ve finished it.

Buy From Amazon

Resistance is Futile by Jenny T Colgan

resistanceI like Jenny Colgan. She gives good Twitter.

I came across this when researching what turned out to be a similar story idea.

I thought I’d read it for research purposes and found out it contains jokes, snogging and hard sums. Which are three of my favourite things. Result. Funny and touching, if there was more cake it’d be perfect.

Buy on Amazon

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

harryHarry August keeps dying. Harry August keeps being born. He always returns to his childhood with the memory of the lives he has yet to live.

I adore time loop stories (see my love of Primer and Timecrimes on the sci-fi film link). I love to see how the writer will keep the narrative fresh as we re-visit events that have already happened.

This has a grander scope, an entire life re-lived rather than hours or days, and a grander narrative ambition.

Look, as soon as I finished this, I immediately ordered Claire North’s next book, Touch, because I wanted to keep on reading her delicious prose. I don’t think I can give any higher praise than that, can I?

Buy on Amazon

That was short and sweet, wasn’t it? I’ll continue this next week with some more recommendations. I hope I given you at least one new thing to try. What books have you enjoyed this year? Please let me know in the comments.

A Guide To Primer

In yesterday’s blog post “9 Low Budget Science Fiction Films More People Should See” , I mentioned that a diagram existed to help explain the plot of Primer.

While part of the fun of the film is the experience of thinking “If he’s there, then who’s done that…? Hang on… Where did they come from…? Is that…? OH JESUS. A PIECE OF MY BRAIN HAS FALLEN OUT OF MY NOSE.”, it’s also nice to know what the hell is going on.

So here’s a link to the graph that shows all the timelines.

It goes without saying that the link contains MASSIVE SPOILERS.

If you need to brush up with the time travel theory contained within the film’s universe, you can have a look at this handy flow chart.

Hope that helps!


Before I go, just a quick word to say I’ve set up a mailing list thing in the top right hand corner if you want to sign up for more stuff like this.

9 Low Budget Science Fiction Films More People Should See

While I’m an unapologetic fan of the big multiplex explodey sci-fi blockbuster, I think the really good stuff exists at the other end of the budget spectrum.

When you don’t have the money to melt the audience’s faces with intergalactic civil war, the excitement has to come from ideas. That’s when the genre moves into more interesting territory. Using the extraordinary to say something about the ordinary.

This list is, in no way, definitive. The rules I applied were A) They were cheap. B) Made within roughly the last decade.

It’s just a bunch of movies that I enjoyed and, if you haven’t seen them, I’d recommend you check out.

MV5BMTgwNjY5MDkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTAxMTcyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_Primer (2004)

The Daddy of low budget science fiction. Four engineers experimenting in their garage accidentally invent time travel. Which Alan Sugar also did when his R&D team were working on the Amstrad Emailer, apparently.

Made for about a fiver, horrendously complicated and full of jargon, it refuses to make it easy for the viewer. I have to watch it with a handy diagram I found on the internet that explains all the timelines.

Gripping and rewards repeated viewings. Just typing a few words about it has got me wanting to watch it again.

Buy on Amazon

Watch on NetFlix

monstersMonsters (2010)

What do you do if you want to make an alien invasion movie, but don’t have the money to film an alien invasion?

Simple. You set it afterwards when the world has dealt with it and got on with things.

Made for about $500,000 with a tiny crew and off-the-shelf SFX software, the director Gareth Edwards went on to make Godzilla (which I enjoyed, but found rather humourless. Which is a bit odd when you’re dealing with something so gloriously insane as Godzilla) and the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One.

There’s a real chemistry between the two leads (unsurprisingly, as they’re played by real-life couple Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able) and the gas station scene is so gloriously beautiful, poetic and moving it left me shaking.

Buy on Amazon

safetySafety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Before Colin Trevorrow got himself involved in the latest movies in two of cinema’s biggest franchises, Jurassic World and Star Wars IX, he made this low budget slice of joy that’s full of wit and imagination.

Three journalists try to interview a man who placed a classified ad looking for a companion to go time travelling with him. Less a science-fiction and more an utterly charming comedy/drama about lost and lonely people.

As an aside, I’m loving the fact that Disney are getting hold of guys like Trevorrow and Gareth Edwards to expand the Star Wars universe.

Buy on Amazon

timecrimesTimecrimes (2007)

Time travel is popular with low budget movies. I assume it’s because you don’t need monsters, aliens, explosions or another world. Hell, if it’s a time loop film like Timecrimes, you can just use the same sets over and over again.

This one’s a Spanish movie about a man accidentally getting into a time machine and travelling back half an hour. I think of it as the Anti-Primer as the plot delicately unfolds like a beautiful flower and answers all the questions you have at various points in the running time.

Tom Cruise bought the rights for an American re-make, so watch this one now before he ruins it.

Buy on Amazon

moonMoon (2009)

Six years later, I’m still annoyed that Sam Rockwell didn’t get an Oscar nomination for his performance as the only inhabitant of a moonbase. Coming to the end of his three year stint, things go – well – slightly odd. And that’s pretty much all I can say without revealing too much.

It reminded me of those great ‘cerebral’ science fiction films of the 60s/70s like 2001 and ‘Silent Running’. Director Duncan Jones went onto make the bigger budget ‘Source Code’ with Jake Gyllenhaal (who I’m a big fan of even if he caused my beloved Taylor Swift to write a break up song about him)

Buy on Amazon

coherenceCoherence (2013)

One of the few films that I immediately re-watched when it had finished. Things go batshit mental at a dinner party when a comet passes close to the Earth.

Awkward, claustrophobic and smart. Essentially a relationship drama told through the prism of quantum physics, it asks how much do you really know your lovers, friends and – in the end – yourself? And it’s got Xander from Buffy. A sign of quality right there.

Buy on Amazon

Watch on NetFlix

attackAttack the Block (2011)

Joe Cornish’s movie is simply the most fun you can have through the medium of film. Aliens crash into into a South London estate and everyone, both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial, begins to fuck shit up.

But it’s more than that. As we get to see the boys beneath the hoodies, Cornish handles the social commentary with a light touch and great big bloody fanged wolf-aliens. And when did Ken Loach or Mike Leigh have great big bloody fanged wolf-aliens in their films? Amateurs.

Buy on Amazon

MV5BMjA2OTk5ODkxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc4MDk0OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR4,0,214,317_AL_Europa Report (2013)

Another found footage film.

No! Wait! Come back! This is proper Hard Science-Fiction! Actual boffins with letters after their names have praised the film for its accuracy and depiction of space travel.

A team of astronauts go to Jupiter’s fourth largest moon in search of life. Things, of course, don’t go completely as planned. Told in a non-linear style using the spacecraft’s onboard cameras, it uses the claustrophobic location to its advantage and squeezes an impressive amount of tension into its efficient 90 minutes running time.

Buy on Amazon

Watch on NetFlix

timelapsTime Lapse (2014)

The newest on the list, three friends discover a mysterious machine that takes pictures 24hrs into the future and conspire to use it for personal gain. And everything goes swimmingly.

Yeah. Right.

It’s played out with a sense of dread and full of “Shit. How are they going to get out of THAT?” moments. One of those films where you sit on the couch for a while afterwards running it back through your brain to make sure you’ve caught everything.

Buy on Amazon

There. A proper blog post. That went alright, didn’t it? Anything else you’d recommend film-wise? What did I miss off?

Hello World!

I’ve decided to start blogging regularly-ish again. Sorry about that.

I’ve cobbled together this shiny new website and will be fiddling with it over the coming weeks. There’ll be mailing lists and news and all sorts. It’s all about building the Turner brand and other such wanky concepts.

So, how’s the new book doing?

It’s selling and it’s been very well received. Thanks to everyone who’s bought it and left a nice review. In fact, have a look at this corking review from Rabid Readers. Not bad, huh? If that’s whetted your appetite, you can click on the link below and buy it from Amazon now.

Paper Cuts (How To Be Dead Book 2)

I mean, really, now. I’ve just checked and it’s currently sat at #19 in the Fantasy Horror chart. If you all go and buy it TODAY, maybe we can get to #1 and I can tell my wife all the grumpy stomping around the kitchen drinking coffee had some purpose.

If you’ve not read the first part, How To Be Dead, you can get that using the link below so you can understand what the hell is going on.

How To Be Dead

In other news, the very last Kickstarter rewards are going out this weekend. Then I can devote my time to grumpily stomping around the kitchen drinking coffee as I concentrate on the final part of the How To Be Dead series.


Paper Cuts Is In The Wild!

websitepapercutsHello! Well, my new novella Paper Cuts is now available to buy from Amazon here! If you haven’t bought a copy, I sincerely recommend that you do. But I would say that. I wrote the bloody thing.

The first part of the story ‘How To Be Dead’ is also available. You can get a copy of that over here.

If, after reading and enjoying them, you felt an urge to leave a review for them, I’d be very grateful.

A big thank you to everybody involved, whether you backed the Kickstarter project, downloaded the books or re-tweeted and shared links on the interweb. I couldn’t have done it without you.