DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...

Read my novel: COMPLETE DARKNESS

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Matt tries to #stoptheglitch (review)

#stoptheglitch

Chris Malone (@CMoiraM

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

“The train carriage is filled with people gripping their phones as if their lives depend upon them. Ironically no one is making an actual phone call; it is all internet and social media. Glancing over the legs of the passenger seated across the aisle ahead of me, I marvel at their deft fingers, swiping as if born with the skill.” 

Pause for a minute and imagine if our mobile phones, tablets, consoles and computers couldn’t be trusted. 

Ok stop screaming, it’s not real, (yet) or is it? 

This is the world foreseen/dreamt up by novelist Chris Malone in her kick-ass tech thriller #stoptheglitch. If you want to test your tolerance for how bad things might get – take this trip with the believably resourceful Robin who fights to survive in this nightmare scenario. Aided by some and crossed by others, this oh-so-near-future tale where tech in unreliable and cannot be trusted mixes MPs with codenames (Miranda) with a plucky bunch of conspirators: Glyn the intrepid educator, Thomas and Maria, the brave survivors, the cheerful little Poppy, Gid, the ferocious, Eva, the peace-maker, Nathan, with youth and ingenuity on his side… 

There is also a tangible sense of threat – you think cybercrime won’t affect you? Imagine if it wiped your entire data history, finances and all... Mix it all together and you get a fun and fascinating read which romps along at a good pace. 

I asked Chris for her thoughts about the book and publishing it in this covid-tastic world we find ourselves in. She said: 

'Following the publication of #stoptheglitch, readers have said they like the way in which the pandemic is referenced, but doesn't dominate. As we all rely increasingly on tech solutions to lockdown challenges, #stoptheglitch is particularly relevant. 

'the author wears the glitch'

I have been busy writing a sequel, now complete at the draft stage, which focuses on action following #stoptheglitch and further develops the dynamic between Robin, and Miranda. Imagine post-pandemic campaigners, isolated communities connected by an ethical competitor to Amazon, a hijacked general election, and a heroine who realises she has been living a lie. That's a taste!' 

As a parent of two boys in their early 20’s I know that they would be devastated if the digital realm that currently provides so much of our entertainment, communications and work suddenly glitched out. It’s bad enough if our Wi-Fi goes down for more than a minute at home!? 

But maybe, just maybe there is more to life? How long would it take to put our dependence on modern tech aside? It’s a question that forms a good basis for this mystery that traverses the UK from Oxford to the wilds of Wales. 

Malone writes with clear, business-like prose that is easy to digest but will often leave you pondering what you just read for some time afterwards. #stoptheglitch is a read that will appeal to anyone looking for a book that will entertain and make you want to find out what happens next.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö (5 - fear the glitch) 





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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Matt is Raised By Wolves (Season 1 reaction)

 




Raised by Wolves – Season 1 

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

‘Alright, now, listen carefully. A malfunctioning android, a Cleric, and a cat walk into a brothel. The malfunctioning android requests an android whore with mechanical skills. The Cleric requests a virgin with the knowledge of the Mithraic mysteries. But the cat... the cat can't decide what to ask for, so he turns to the malfunctioning android and the Cleric and asks for suggestions. The Cleric turns to the malfunctioning android and says, "How is it a cat can speak?" To which the malfunctioning android turns and says, "I am malfunctioning. None of this is actually happening. The cat doesn't exist, and neither do you." To which the Cleric then says, "Thank goodness. For a minute there, I thought I was losing my mind." You see, it's a paradox. I have many jokes tailored for geniuses like yourself. ”' 

I love sci-fi, it’s possibly my fav genre, so eagerly lapped up this HBO series from Ridley Scot the creator of Blade Runner and Alien. As high-concepts go, having a story centre around two androids, Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim), tasked with escaping earth and starting humankind anew on a far-flung world of Kepler-22b is a decent one. 

'come to mummy'

As per many future predictions, we have managed to ravage our home world by going to war over religious disagreement – and now the plan of the Atheists is to try and raise a new colony unbridled by any religion. What follows is a fascinating philosophy-em-up that incorporates many elements from existing theologies, borrows liberally from other sci-fi films and books and blends it all into a compelling mix. 

Some have pondered that Raised by Wolves is actually based on one of the ancient Hebrew apocalyptic texts ‘The Book of Enoch’ that was deemed too wacky to make it into the standard C of E approved Bible. It’s not actually impossible when you look closer… The Book of Enoch features angels that fell from heaven in ‘The Book of the Watchers’ – the ideas around heaven and hell as places of isolation with communion between the inhabitants limited to antipathy such as the passage: "And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women because they have proceeded from them. From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgement." etc etc… 

By the end of the series, it doesn’t seem to be a huge stretch to envisage Kepler-22b as some prototype Garden of Eden – especially when you take into account the form that the offspring takes at the end of the series!? 

'we can't help ourselves'

But even this pseudo-religious posturing doesn’t undo what is actually a kick-ass show, the characters are well developed, the danger and threat levels sustained and the possibilities to be explored in season 2 are fascinating to ponder. Mother is set to be an iconic sci-fi character, she certainly was my favourite thing about the series so far. Part battle angel, part nurturing guardian – all ass kick, screams-that-make-you-explode weapon!! It would be quite brilliant if Scott introduces elements from the Alien timeline into this series – both sharing lots of android action and xenomorphic wildlife… 

Raised by Wolves is a great series that I hope gets the chance to run and run – unlike my possibly fav sci-fi show FireFly which never made it past one season…

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö1/2

(4.5 - Quality sci-fi, much to chew on)

Awesomeness öööö – Spectacular set-pieces and general high narrative production

Laughs ööö – Father brings the funny

Horror öööö – Violence and scary stuff in places

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - God is the cause of all problems?


click below for some dark sci-fi reading...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Darkness-Darkmatters-Matt-Adcock/dp/0957338775

Monday, January 18, 2021

Matt finds himself Stuck That Way (review)

 


STUCK THAT WAY AND OTHER QUANDARIES

Julie Kusma (@JulieKusma

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

‘Huge chunks of fleshy meat covered the bottom of the tub. Sawed bone protrude, and muscle and veins dangled from the edges of the hacked carcass…’ 

I love a good spooky short story – so what better than a collection of them like: Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries which contains several. These short tales of terror were initially published in multiple pieces (bit like the fates of some characters) when the author Julie Kusam (who is known as The Queen of Horror) was a content writer for an online publisher. 

I asked her how it came about and what her inspirations were – she said: 

‘I compiled several, adding an unpublished piece, and created this paranormal, horror collection. The title story, “Stuck That Way” is based on a conversation I had with a friend. We were discussing energy, chakras, and one’s ability to control their personal vibrational quality. I wondered, what if in the afterlife you become manifest corporeally when your frequency slows? This story is full of spiritual irony, with a playful dose of the age-old adage about making an ugly face and getting stuck that way.

The second story, “Something Lurking” is based on the woods behind my house and the strange behaviour my dog often displays at night. I’ve heard noises emanating from the woods. It can be frightening on starless nights because one never knows what might be lurking.

“By Induction” is a personal favourite based on the magical practice of freezing individuals out of your life. Except the main character’s belief in her power to affect life while ignoring life leaves her most significant impact yet. Irony is one of my favourite literary tropes. 

'ho ho ho...'

“That’s Creepy, Santa!” is the fourth short story, and yes, it is horror. So, if you’ve never read a Christmas horror story, you’re in for a scary treat. A couple, excited to spend Christmas Eve home alone, finds an unexpected present left at their front door, and what waits inside has different plans for their evening.

“Relevant Evidence” is a story written around contest parameters, which included someone who gets lost and cannot find their way back, and a sock. This story popped in my head. I didn’t make the final round, but I ended up with an interesting story and an unusual POV. The final short story is 

“Devilish Games” and was inspired by an antique chair adorned with brass devils. This piece of furniture became the basis for this story as I wondered if an ancient god could become trapped inside an object. You’ll have to read it to see.’ 

I enjoyed my read through these tales – each brings its own unnerving vibe and all are worth a look. My favourite was ‘That’s Creepy, Santa!’ which brings some festive bloodshed to the mix. Julie writes with a direct style which can creep you out with a minimum of fuss or any need for bloated prose.
 
Whatever your personal fav way to get scared, there is likely to be something here to tingle your spine. Some of the stories are stronger than others but this short anthology is worth seeking out for all those who relish the darkness that can make the synaptic jump from a page to the imagination.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö (5 - feel the darkness!) 





Read more Sci-fi!! 

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Matt meets The Wolf Master of Iron Mountain (review)



The Wolf Master of Iron Mountain (The Witch of Appalachia Book 1) 

Francesca Quarto  (@FrancescasMagic)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

‘My father was a Celtic Mage, a wizard, by any other name, a practitioner of Magic. He was versed in the secret arts of the ancient mystics and the healing powers of the Green Mother.’ 

Meet Cathleen O'Brien – a 24year old who hails from an Irish immigrant family. Along with her dog Ollie, she as something else that sets her apart from others, her father inducted her a clan of Celtic Mages with Magical roots going back to the Dark Times. So not your average young woman… 

After she is left some money, Cathleen takes over WHIP Radio, a station serving the remote ex-mining town of ‘Iron Mountain.’ It quickly becomes apparent though that something isn’t right amongst the old Appalachian town’s populace. Before long, an uneasy and slightly sinister vibe hangs over this beautiful mountain setting and Cathleen seems to be drawn into the mix. A late-night confrontation with a roaming gang of wolves is just the start of this adventure… 

'beware the woods'

Could it be something to do with the stories of how town folk and visitors often disappear off the local trail? When Cathleen investigates, she discovers the hunky town sheriff, Jason who seems very keen to help. Together they work to uncover the secrets behind the shadow of violence that hangs over the town. The historic Indian Folklore about werewolves in the area seems like it might be pertinent. However, there are things that make Cathleen wonder if her trust and attraction for Jason are a mistake. Might he be the ‘Wolf Master’ and if so what is his plan? 

The fantasy elements are handled really nicely – with shaman and giants in the cast along with monsters… The romance is zippy enough to not get your hackles up if you are worried it might all be a bit Twilight? Cathleen’s Celtic Mage background and powers are fascinating – in a Spiderman-like way she lives a mostly normal life, keeping her talents hidden. But what if she’s not alone in hiding beyond human powers – who can she trust as the body count rises along with the danger… 

Wolf Master of Iron Mountain is a very readable book that should appeal to all readers from young adult upwards and would make for a great TV show!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö (5 - A fantasy trip worth taking!) 





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Friday, January 08, 2021

Matt faces Death - Grinns and Bears It (review)

 


Death, Just Grinn and Bear It

Christopher Hooley (@ChrisHooley2020)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

‘What do you mean I’m dead?’ said the half-naked corpse hanging from the ceiling. ‘Well… I don’t really know another way of putting this so try and keep up, you’re dead. Wait actually this is another way of staying it… your life has ended…. How about this? Your time is up?’

Dear reader – thank you for your application to become a Grinn and Bear It representative, we are a well-established business which is thriving despite, or maybe even because of the current unstable situation the world finds itself in.

Death is the universal, it was what Disney referred to as ‘a tale as old as time’ – oh wait – according to my legal team that might not actually be true. But death is certainly something of a growth business that’s for sure. I’d like to introduce you to Jack, he’s one of our employees and he’ll be your buddy / guide as you get to know the job.

Jack: ‘Hey reader, you’re going to love this well-paid job, being a ‘Grinn and Bear It’ rep is what’s more commonly known as a ‘Grimm reaper’. Think of it as the ultimate afterlife induction facility – simplified to just picking which door you want to step through into eternity…’

'Don't feat the reaper'

The mastermind behind this whole set-up is the literary deviant Christopher Hooley who has taken a winning idea and written up some kind of adventure that is not far from the wonderful tomes of Douglas Adams. Getting to meet characters at their deaths makes for a fun and somewhat poignant ride. If you’re a prude, then best note that there is an adult tale, and the adult characters do adult sexy things to each other, there is all sorts of sweaty sensual ‘action’, oh they also cuss in realistic ways so be aware of what you’re getting into!?

One might call Death, Just Grinn and Bear It a rom-tragi-com with spooky overtones (due to the sheer subject matter). It’ll make you laugh, it might make you cry and it will certainly keep you amused and engaged throughout.

Hooley is great writer, shaping his tale with more thought and nuance than the outlandish plot devices might initially warrant. If you enjoy the macabre end of contemporary fiction – sprinkled with some spice and wrapped around a heart - this really should be your next read!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö (5 - Choose the door marked 'READ THIS BOOK') 





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Friday, January 01, 2021

Matt feels the love of the XENOCHRIST (review)


XENOCHRIST (Of Man & Machine) 

N.H. Weber (@NHWWrites

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

‘…the screen was cracked in multiple spots and barely lit. There were no images visible, just an old tech cursor flashing in place and one word repeating in place across the text field, "Hell?”’

XENOCHRIST is a great hard-boiled sci-fi/cyberpunk thrill ride set in the year 2503. 
We get to hang out with Kravac Alntar and Wixspin Atlicke two corporate pals who are struggling to deal with the apparent suicide of one of their closest business partners (and friends) Volz Shimmel. The plot amps up as the two leads investigate the untimely death, was her suicide an accident? If not why did she want to die? And maybe more importantly - why is her data drive playback a vision of Hell?

Kravac and Wixspin are likeable double act but even more fun is their sometime companion - the heavily armed battle bot X-5 or ‘Fives’ as he’s known. Fives is a superb ass-kicking robo who deserves his own spin off! Weber writes with style and has a knack for building cyber-worlds. If you’re a fan of cyber action virtual reality adventures - think The Matrix meets a trippier Blade Runner - you’ve come to the right party. 

"this is Five's brother surely'

Encompassing weird and wonderful ‘Deep Web’ entities, a massive conspiracy involving rebel operatives, religious fanatics in a closed-off country (as a result of a FOUNDATION / Unification War) and a personal army of enhanced soldiers hunting for our two heroes means that there is never a dull moment. But none of these are the threat level of the being called Xenochrist. Kravac & Wixspin tale becomes one of survival at all costs as their paths cross with new allies as well as a host of enemies. 

What we have then is a unique treatise on what does it actually mean to be human, where does an AI entity cross into our physical realm and even - is there a god or deity, and if so what is the criteria for being one, and if one does exist is it truly a good, moral, and just deity or can they be some malicious entity? 

For those only looking for a quick easy read, XENOCHRIST isn’t that, this is a book which requires dedication and tolerance of heavy-duty sci-fi. My advice is to step up for this metaphysical adventure and then look forward to revisiting this world again when Nate Weber brings his next novel Lord of Poison out later this year. 

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö (5 - Let the XENOCHRIST into your life!) 





Read more Sci-fi!! 

Click this banner to find out more about my near future nightmare cyberpunk novel...

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