Big Tusk Railhead – A String City Snapshot

Big Tusk Railhead - A String City Snapshot

Freight trains rarely run now in String City, due to the lack of goods moving to and from the docks. In many railyards, local artists have begun converting the abandoned tracks and rolling stock into works of art.

Big Tusk Railhead is home to some of the biggest art installations, including a particularly dramatic piece entitled Whistlestop. An anonymous artist used copper pipe to connect over two hundred discarded steam locomotives, and left a plaque stating that anyone who opens and closes the valves in the correct sequence will release enough steam to flash-boil the entire city. So far, nobody has succeeded.

Twitter Fever

Stills from "Fever" - 8mm film by Graham Edwards and Phil Tuppin, broadcast on BBC Screen Test in 1981

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Twitter. I’ve had some wonderful experiences with it, engaging with amazing people I’d never otherwise have come across. I’ve also despaired at the barrage of nonsense that spews inevitably from a full timeline. If you’re talking signal-to-noise ratio, Twitter descends all too readily into cacophony.

Earlier this year I decided to take a break, and boldly deleted my account. Ridding myself of the compulsion to scroll through my timeline at inappropriate hours of the day has been, frankly, liberating. However, having purged that urge – not to mention all the followers I’d accrued up to that point – I decided last week to set up a new Twitter account and cautiously re-enter the fray.

Imagine my astonishment when, shortly afterwards, I encountered a surge of online enthusiasm for Fever, a short 8mm horror film I made with my classmate Phil Tuppin when we were teenagers back in 1981. We entered it into the BBC Screen Test Young Film-Makers of the Year contest, and got a Highly Commended certificate for our efforts. I’ve mentioned it on this blog before, here.

There is, it seems, a whole community of traumatised people who not only remember the fateful day when Fever was broadcast by the BBC, but still lie awake at night haunted by its story of a schoolboy getting throttled by a demonic dressing gown. Here are a few choice comments from the Twitter followers of Stephen Brotherstone, co-author of the Scarred for Life series of books, and the man who whipped up this frenzy of nostalgia in the first place:

“If a modern horror movie could scare me today like “Fever” scared me back in 1981, it would be unbearable” – Martin O’Gorman

“It was buried in the half remembered creepy bit of the vault but now it’s loose! That dressing gown really creeped me out.” – Sentient Cake Bin

“This has reminded me why I was petrified of Screen Test!” Vicky the Labrat

If that’s not a reminder of what a great place Twitter can be, I don’t know what is.

String City – Official Trailer

Buckle up – here’s the official trailer for String City! Animation by me, music by the amazing Pete Riley – thanks, Pete! The novel’s out January 2019, and available to preorder now. I probably mentioned that on the blog already. In fact, I know I did. Many times. So sue me.

I recommend watching the one-minute video at 1080px HD, in a darkened room, with the screen expanded to full size. On a scale of one to ten, dial the volume up to eleven. Enjoy!

Aeolus Corporation – A String City Snapshot

Aeolus Corporation

The Aeolus Corporation is responsible for weather control throughout String City. Managed by the wind god, Aeolus, this industrial complex of windwranglers, cloudbusters and stormsplicers delivers a climate that satisfies everyone who has a preference for heavy rain.

Recent fluctuations in the weather have prompted the city authorities to investigate the efficiency of the weather plant. Unfortunately, a freak hurricane blew the weather inspectors deep into the ninth dimension before they could complete their survey. All attempts to retrieve them have failed.

Acheron Lock – A String City Snapshot

Acheron Lock

Acheron Lock marks the junction of the River Lethe with the Acheron – also known as the River of Tears. Laced with anti-matter, the sentient lock gates ensure that the water keeps flowing smoothly at all times, in all dimensions, and frequently in defiance of gravity.

String City by Graham Edwards. Illustration by Vince HaigDownstream, the Acheron is popular with anglers keen to make an unusual catch. Some scatter oatmeal to attract water horses. Others snare selkies using creels crammed with haggis. More ambitious anglers tempt leviathan sharks by baiting their hooks with oxen or other large ungulates.

Explore the World of String City

String City website

Only a couple of months to go until the release of my new novel String City. Yes, the final edits are done, the cover and blurb are finalised, and advance review copies are tumbling off the press.

With the clock ticking down towards publication day, now’s your chance start familiarising yourself with the strange metropolis in which my interdimensional detective plies his trade. To help you out, I’ve created a standalone String City website, packed with information about some of the otherworldly locations that feature in the novel – from Acheron Lock to the Tartarus Club, Big Tusk Railhead to the Street of Plenty.

Take care, however, as you wander the labyrinthine streets of String City. There’s no map in existence that can keep up with the dimensional tremors that regularly rock this unlikely realm. If you should get lost, I’m afraid you’re on your own.

You have been warned.

Coming Soon – String City

String City Coming Soon

Read the new novel by Graham Edwards, out January 2019 and available to preorder now.

It’s a tough job being a gumshoe in an interdimensional city full of gods, living concepts and weirder things. Good job I’m a stringwalker, able to jump between realities.

It started when I was hired to investigate an explosion at a casino. A simple heist, I thought, but it turned into a race to stop the apocalypse. So I rolled the dice, and now I’m up against the ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god and a mysterious creature known as the Fool. I’m going to need more than just luck to solve this one.

If I fail, all things — in all realities — could be destroyed.

Just another day in String City.

Wrapping Marwen and String City

String City by Graham Edwards - Coming Soon

I always have mixed feelings when I come to the end of a writing project. When things have gone well, there’s satisfaction at finishing the job, but there’s also sadness that it’s come to an end … plus a dusting of fear that I maybe I didn’t do as well as I could have done.

Welcome to Marwen posterThis week it’s a double whammy. Firstly, I’ve just submitted the final draft of my latest Cinefex article – a comprehensive behind-the-scenes story on Welcome to Marwen. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film is based on the true story of Mark Hogancamp, who facilitated his own recovery from a brutal beating by constructing an entire miniature town and populating it with dolls. His dramatic photographs of his one-sixth scale world went on to gain recognition in the art world, proving the power of art therapy and the indomitability of the human spirit.

It’s a powerful story, and Zemeckis’s take on it is extraordinary – just as you’d expect from the visionary director of Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and Cast Away. A huge swathe of the film is set inside the miniature world, following the adventures of living, breathing doll characters, each of whom has a counterpart in the real world.  The backbone of my article is the story of how the filmmakers brought that miniature world to life, from set design and cinematography, to the physical construction of miniature sets and dolls, to virtual production and motion capture, to the painstaking art of visual effects. Of all the articles I’ve written for Cinefex, this may be the one of which I’m most proud.

You’ll be able to read my Welcome to Marwen article in Cinefex 162, out mid-December 2018, and available to pre-order now. I’m extra-excited because, as part of my research, I interviewed Robert Zemeckis himself. Rather than include that interview material within the main story, we’ve decided to pull it out as a standalone Q&A. So, two ‘Marwen’ articles for the price of one!

String City by Graham Edwards - draft cover. Illustration by Vince HaigThe second wrap of the week has seen me doing the final edit on my new novel String City, out January 2019. Actually, I’m not quite there – I still have one last copy edit to do, hopefully before the weekend. But, to all intents and purposes, my work on this book is done.

The novel is a hardboiled detective tale set in an otherworldly metropolis where the usual laws of physics don’t always apply. It’s fantasy, it’s noir, and it whisks its wisecracking interdimensional gumshoe hero to some pretty weird locations, as he tries to solve a mystery that threatens not only the neon-lit city in which he lives, but the entire surrounding cosmos.

Endings lead inevitably to new beginnings, and the two acts of closure I’ve engaged in this week are no exception. I’m already lining up my next Cinefex assignment, for an article that will appear in our February 2019 issue. I’ve also made a start on my next novel, which I’ll be working on through next year.

As for what these two new projects are about … you’ll just have to watch this space.

Cinefex Diaries – Venom and Alpha

Cinefex 161

The new Cinefex is just out, with Joe Fordham’s epic story on First Man gracing the cover. This issue, two of the five articles are mine, and they couldn’t have been more different.

First up is Alpha, which I actually finished writing in December 2017, ready for our February 2018 issue. When the film’s release date got bumped to the autumn, we rescheduled the story for inclusion in Cinefex 161. To cover this Ice Age tale of a young hunter’s friendship with a lone wolf, I spoke not only with visual effects supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun and the many artists under his direction, but also archaeological consultant Dr. Jill Cook from the British Museum, and animal trainer Mark Forbes. It’s fascinating where the research takes you sometimes and, in my quest to tell the story of how a team of talented filmmakers brought a wolf called Alpha to the screen, I ended up going to some pretty interesting places.

I worked frantically on my Venom assignment all the way through the summer, arranging interviews with visual effects co-supervisors Paul Franklin and Sheena Duggal, the team of artists at DNEG, director Ruben Fleischer, and a ton of other people, all while they were working frantically on getting the film finished for its October release. It’s a tough gig trying to join the dots on a story like this, when you’re interviewing people who haven’t necessarily drawn all the dots yet! The upside of all that hair-tearing is that the Cinefex story on Venom hit newsstands barely a week after the film was released. It doesn’t get more timely than that!

As always, I had fun putting together the promo video for Cinefex 161, which goes from historic first steps to shark-infested depths with its stories on First Man, Venom, Alpha, The Meg and A.X.L. Here it is:

Cinefex 160 is on newsstands now, and available to order at our online store. If you’re a subscriber, your copy will soon be touching down in your mailbox. And don’t forget our iPad edition, which features tons more photographs and exclusive video content.

String City – Teaser Trailer

 

Regular visitors to this blog will know I have a new novel out in January 2019, titled String City. To keep your appetite whetted, I thought I’d treat you to a teaser trailer, which features original music by my good friend Pete Riley. Thanks, Pete! Watch out for the full book trailer coming later in the year. Here’s the blurb:

String City by Graham EdwardsIn an interdimensional city full of gods, living concepts and weirder things, a gumshoe – a “stringwalker” who can travel between realities – is hired to investigate an explosion at a casino.

He ends up on a frantic chase to track down and retrieve an unimaginable power source, while staying one step ahead of the ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god, and the mysterious creature known as the Fool. If he fails, all things – in all realities – could be destroyed.

Just another day in String City.

String City will be published by Solaris Books on January 24, 2019. Preorder your copy now.

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