The website of writer & artist Dan McNeil

Non-Fiction

Book, magazine, art, and movie reviews by Dan McNeil

Apex Digest – Volume 1: Issue 7

5th April, 2021

Apex nearly died a while ago, which means that in a parallel world, this issue never appeared. Or in another parallel world, it did appear, but on Gliese 581c, as a William Morris wallpaper pattern, perhaps called Apex Red House, Pattern Number 7. Read more

VISITS FROM THE DROWNED GIRL

18th February, 2021

Cards on the table.

I don’t believe that writing can be taught. As with painting (pictures you fool, not doorframes), writing is an art. It cannot be measured or accounted or explained, except by philistine dullards. Read more

UNDER COMPULSION

18th February, 2021

When it comes to Science Fiction, some writers are stylists. Thomas M(ichael) Disch is one of the great stylists of the genre.  JG Ballard pips him, but that’s about it. Black humour? Disch is a master – besting even Philip K. Dick. Satire? Disch is a sublime satirist; greater, perhaps, than HG Wells. Read more

THE NEXT MOON

18th February, 2021

To successfully conquer a country, you must either kill every last native, or get them to love you. If you achieve neither objective, you’ll lose your war. Read more

THE FACE OF AMERICA

18th February, 2021

A gigantic aeroplane with a floor of glass flies endlessly back and forth across America. When not playing games of chance within its lounge, the elderly passengers routinely observe a myriad of immense eyes that float upwards from the obscure landscape beneath them. Read more

THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES

18th February, 2021

The author of some 18 novels over 90 short stories and innumerable essays and articles, J(ames) G(raham Ballard is perhaps the greatest living British writer.  Read more

SMART-D

18th February, 2021

Smart-d: a cut-up bastardisation – the cybernetic car repair manual as written by William S Burroughs.

This is Kenji Siratori. Read more

SHIVA 3000

18th February, 2021

Who or what is Shiva 3000?

Shiva appears in the book, but the number 3000 does not. That this story is set in the far future is specifically mentioned on the back cover only. Inside, within the story, nothing so specific. Does this matter? No. Read more

REMEMBERED AMERICA

18th February, 2021

I approached this book with some trepidation.

Not because of Dick McBride’s reputation: the author of three novels and several collections of poetry, his involvement with the Beat generation, his memoir of Allen Ginsberg, the fact that he (McBride, not Ginsberg – Ginsberg is dead) lives about twenty minutes from me and so, if he hates this review, will probably start lobbing bricks at my windows. Read more

PREY

18th February, 2021

I devoured my Prey in one sitting, as the blurb promised I would.

Unfortunately, this was simply because I wanted to get the turgid experience over as quickly as possible.  Read more

OPERATION CERTAIN DEATH

18th February, 2021

Sierra Leone, 2000. A civil war is in progress. Eleven Royal Irish Rangers – there to train the shambolic Sierra Leone army – and one Sierra Leonean soldier are captured by the main rebel group, the vicious West Side Boys. Read more

KISS ME SOFTLY, AMY TURTLE

18th February, 2021

Imagine – and you’re a reader, it shouldn’t be too difficult – imagine a cross between Will Self and James Ellroy. No, don’t imagine a plot crossover, because then you’d be struggling personfully (look here, I’m Mr PC Personified, no passé man-isms from me) with something called Dorian Confidential, or Tough, Tough Toys For Tough And Violently Corrupt LAPD Cops Circa 1951. Read more