Eight months later…

About ten days after my last post, a little something arrived. A little something that has since evolved into a fully functioning prodigy, solving quadratic equations and reciting the works of Shakespeare in Urdu, from her own translation. This child genius is called Georgina Joan Halliday and now looks like this:

OK, genius may not be quite the right word.I may have exaggerated the extents of her talents.

Anyway, as anyone with children know, life gets busy when they arrive, and something has to give. With more pressing online commitments and other writing to do (see below) it ended up being the blog that ground to a halt.

However, as we approach the end of the wife‘s maternity leave we’re beginning to re-establish some kind of normality, and I’ve got some ongoing and upcoming things worth mentioning, so I’m back. Kind of.

Let’s see if I can manage, oooh, one post a week for the next couple of months. FINGERS CROSSED!

Anyway, what I’ve been up to:

Shiny Shelf, for which I write and edit, continues to grow nicely. A lot of articles in the last year have gone down really well and picked up interest all over the place, and with new things like Eddie’s webstrip Asterix & Obelix we’ll hopefully continue to grow. If you’ve not visited the site in a while, please pop over and take a look. You’ll find new items pop up in the column to the right —->

Over at Game People I’m still writing my weekly Story Gamer column (also on the right —>), which continues to be a really fun gig, albeit with some unintended side effects. Writing a weekly review column means there’s a constant churn of new titles to deal with (I know, I know, it’s a hard knock life) so perfectly good games find themselves neglected after the deadline has been hit. It can be difficult to find time to go back to games that I want to persevere with and finish, because there’s always something new to get on with, especially with titles which are good, fun, but not triple A epic.

For example, I got back to Assassin’s Creed 2 and completed it because it’s an absolutely stunning game, but smaller fry, perfectly good but not spectacular games  like War for Cybertron and Splatterhouse sit around neglected, the poor things.

I’m doing one or two longer Story Gamer reviews a month at the moment for titles that warrant the attention, the first being Dead Space 2 and the next one going live this Monday, and those allow me to go into a bit more depth. In between those longer pieces I will continue to have pithier reviews where I kick various bits of half-arsed shovelware in the face, so there’s no need to worry if you prefer me spitting bile.

So those are my ongoing web commitments. In print, following my story in Fear the Alien (as mentioned here) I’ve been doing more Warhammer 40,000 work for Black Library, with one book already written and a second proposal under discussion with the editors. It’s been a really enjoyable process so far: Black Library’s editors have been enthusiastic, friendly and very tolerant of my non-hobbyist 40K rookie mistakes. They also work well ahead of schedule: I started writing my first novel for them in spring 2010, and it’s still not got a publication date! In some ways this is odd compared to the, hmmm, more hectic deadlines I’ve dealt with in the past, but it’s given us plenty of time to polish the book.

If I don’t give a title for that first book, it’s not me being coy but rather the fact that it still doesn’t have one. At Microcon (see further below) I jokily ascribed this to an ongoing argument with BL’s marketing, but that’s entirely unfair: it’s been a long and polite process of me suggesting titles which were too weak, or became irrelevant as the book evolved. After being relatively successful with titles in the past, I’m finding coming up with suitably bold, 40K-appropriate titles, with even Sanctified (the FtA story) having a couple of previous titles before settling on that. Hopefully we’ll agree something soon.

I’ll update the Bibliography with the 40K book, and the new Bernice Summerfield story I wrote last year, in due course.

Finally, I’m starting to get out of the house a bit and attend events, some of which have been kind enough to let me speak. I’ve been attending Exeter university’s Microcon on and off for the last few years, and they kindly invited me to be a guest this year. I’ll put up the full text of my talk as the next post.



March 13, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Doctor Who: Monster Invasion

Very quick post, mostly photos, and aimed at a couple of people who were interested.

Doctor Who: Monster Invasion is a new partwork tying into the Matt Smith season, based around a collectible card game.

Now, partworks don’t usually launch nationwide off the bat – the publishers test demand with a regional pilot, running the first few issues in one bit of the UK. In the case of DWMI, they’re doing it in the South West of England.

So, for those of you elsewhere, here’s a few pics of the launch issue:

This is a BBC Magazines production, as you can tell from the logo in the top left corner.

(Previous Doctor Who trading card games came from Panini. Feel free to debate the politics of the BBC’s relationship with third party licensees to your hearts content, I ain’t saying nothin’.)

The editor is Annabel Gibson, a familiar name to readers of the BBC’s other tie-in magazine, Doctor Who Adventures.

The general writing and presentation style of DWMI is very similar to DWA: a thin magazine with lots of photos from the series, accompanied by dialogue quotes blown up into a huge font and/or simple descriptive text of the ‘Prisoner Zero chased Amy down the stairs’ variety.

There are a few spot illos though, like this one from Gary Northfield, at the top of a gatefold poster thing:

Sorry to anyone who feels I’ve spoiled the ‘slamdown’ for them.

As I was mainly buying this to see what it was like, then carbon freeze it in case the national run never happens and this becomes a collector’s item, I didn’t really look at the game stuff. Sorry.

Nicest thing in the issue from my skimming, 34 year old non-card-gamer perspective was Jamie Smart’s double page spread of hundreds of Ood, a Doctor Who-themed  spin on his forthcoming Where’s Chaffy? book:

I love Smart’s stuff, and this is no exception – a delightful, cute take on the characters and monsters.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve already got a house (and off-site storage lock-up) heaving with piles of Who related junk, I’d be tempted to buy DWMI regularly just for these and dump all the cards on friends’ kids.

Anyway, that’s Doctor Who: Monster Invasion, coming soon to a newsagent near you, maybe.

Sorry I’m not posting here much, not much to tell right now. If you want proper content, look ye to Shiny Shelf, which is bursting with stuff right now.


April 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Shiny Shelf returns

Shiny Shelf is back!

I’ve written a little reintroduction here.

It’s good to have the site back  up in a more presentable state, with comments and retweet buttons and all that jazz. Please take a look around, stress test the site and tell us what you think. All feedback, including bug reports, welcome.


March 25, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.


… to my lovely new home, here on WordPress and the fantastically narcissistic www.markclapham.com. I was messing about with domains, and the new, coming-soon-honest Shiny Shelf is WordPress based, so it made sense to landgrab the dotcom, and shift the blog at the same time rather than mess up the URLs twice.

People have been telling me I should shift to WordPress for a while, and though there was nothing wrong with blogger’s dashboard and tools, WordPress does have a lot more useful kit to play with. (I’m also easily confused, and would prefer to only be using one online publishing set-up at once.)

The content is pretty much the same as that at the old blog, although I have taken the opportunity to go back and change/delete some old posts based on my current whims. I’ve also blitzed the old blogspot and just left a redirect – it never got that much traffic anyway, certainly not enough to justify an elaborate post-to-post redirect.

I already think the new blog looks a lot nicer. What do you think?


March 21, 2010. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Comments off.


See, I told you I’d post again soon.

As I’m not getting to write this blog much (do you like what I did there, giving the impression that some mysterious outside force was stopping me blogging, rather than my own disorganisation?), and a lot of Game People and Shiny Shelf articles are flying past without a single mention here, I’ve dropped a couple of RSS feeds into the right hand column >>>

The Game People one is less than ideal, I know (at least, it isn’t if you’re getting the same coding errors I am), but it’s a quick fix to make sure the new content is flagged up here, and goddammit it’ll do for now.

Quick thanks while I’m here to Julio and Steve for all their work on Shiny Shelf, especially Julio who has a lot of good stuff coming up.



March 3, 2010. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Shiny Stuff

Accchhh, busy with a pile of reviews and stuff, as well as a pitch for something bigger, all of which I will talk about in due course. Exciting times, blah blah overly mysterious blah. Etc.


While I’ve been busy, Shiny Shelf has had some interesting stuff, so as I’ve not got much to say for myself, I’ll just point you in the direction of what our contributors have been up to:

Julio chatted to Geoffrey Thorne about Prodigal (pictured) and various other writerly and publishery matters.

I actually pulled my finger out and reviewed the first episode of the new series of Being Human.

Mags reviewed the fantastic Glee.

Jonn read the new edition of The Writer’s Tale by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook.

… and finally, Steve reviewed Inglorious Basterds on DVD.

Thanks to all the Shiny contributors for their hard work.

Right, back to work. Hopefully more to say for myself next time…


January 23, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.


It’s a bit cold here, to say the least. The pervasive cold, which has driven me to pretty much living and working in one, constantly heated room, has sort of frozen my brain. Hence no blogging and little Shelfing, as it’s tricky to get worked up in these conditions without the hot breath of a deadline to provide motivation.

(To be honest I was also frozen on the blog due to having written a post about Fallout 3 called Crippled Head. Still unsure where to go after that.)

Thankfully, Shiny Shelf has a new reviewer stepped up. He’s Julio Angel Ortiz, he interviewed me ages ago so he must have good taste, and he’s reviewed Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Welcome!

Just before Christmas, Eddie made a comeback with an interesting piece on Orson Welles, still well worth reading even now the BBC4 Welles season has been and gone. Eddie’s also been writing the last few comic strips for Doctor Who Adventures, so please check those out.

That’s enough for now. Hopefully the whether will break soon and I’ll get my shit together to produce something more substantial.



January 9, 2010. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.


While there’s been some nice chat on various fora about Secret Histories, here’s the first full-length review of the book I’ve seen so far. Please don’t read my comment at the bottom of the review until you’ve read the book… it’s got some implicit spoilers in there, of sorts.

And here’s another review, not about Secret Histories but by me (everything is about me, in the end) in which I talk a bit about a recent Wolverine one-shot and the first couple of issues of SWORD, and get ridiculously excited about Death’s Head.

I love Death’s Head. As you’ll quickly gather.


December 17, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Earth One

No time for punning titles, I’ve spent long enough on this already. As many of you will already know, DC have announced a new range of original graphic novels, and have shown off some nice artwork (above). Having used this as an excuse to be rude about previous crappy comics on Twitter, and chipped in on a lively thread about the topic on The Beat, I seemed to find myself with a lot still to say on the topic.

So I said it here, on Shiny Shelf.

So there.

Good night,


December 8, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Personal updates

Just a quick note to say that I’ve updated the bibliography on Shiny Shelf, to which you can find a link in the column to your right, under ‘MarkStuff’ —>.

Click through and you’ll find purchase/pre-order links to all my recent and upcoming projects.

Also, should anyone wish to hire me, or is desperate to read my life story as a series of CV bullet points, I now have a profile on LinkedIn.

Oh, and here’s my latest Shiny review, of Tozo: The Public Servant. Creator David O’Connell broke some kind of speed record for finding out about the review, mentioning it on his site within about twelve hours of me posting. Impressive!


November 30, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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