Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"The Shoe Factory" makes "Best Stories of 2010" list...


I just saw that "The Shoe Factory" made at least one person's "Best of 2010" list, that of Gareth Jones in the UK. More details, as well asd the list of other stories that made Mr. Jones' list (including Jason Sanford's "The Plague Birds" and Aliette De Bodard's "The Shipmaker", which also appeared next to my story in Interzone #231) can be found here:


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Another "Shoe Factory" review: Nostalgia for Infinity

Ah, Google alerts... how I love thee (thanks, Amy, for cluing me into them)...

Just saw another positive review for "The Shoe Factory" over on the blog Nostalgia for Infinity. , a blog about:

"...punk rock & games & stories & genre literature & other unpop-cultural detritus."

Pretty cool. The review, which also has write-ups for the entire Interzone #231 issue, can be found at:

Me, I'm just totally stoked that so many people are reading the story, and that, so far, the reviews have all been positive. If anyone out there runs across something I missed, please let me know!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New "Shoe Factory" review: John's Reading

A nice little summary/mini-review of The Shoe Factory is up on the blog John's Reading.

Money quote:

While this could quite easily be a simple story of someone reliving his life as he waited for his death, and still been a good story Cook manages a final, rather intriguing, twist as a finale.

Check it out!


The Blood Magic series: STILL AVAILABLE as e-books!

Just a reminder...

I've received some requests lately, asking me where to obtain copies of my books Blood Magic and Nights of Sin. I've checked around, and found that Amazon has used copies of Book 1 available, and still has new copies of Book 2, -OR- you can order multiformat e-book editions at If you haven't bought an e-book before, don't worry - these are licensed editions, which means that purchasing copies helps the authors, just like purchasing paper books. And you don't even need a Kindle or other e-reader - versions are available that display right on your PC. Multiformat e-books will display on any e-reader, or can be viewed on a PC or Mac as a PDF file.

Here are links - you can download the full manuscript here, or view sample chapters of both books:

Blood Magic on Fictionwise:

Nights of Sin on Fictionwise:

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Suck, suckier, suckiest (AKA: The Walking Dead finale)...

So... AMC's The Walking Dead. Awesome comic series, that should have been a totally awesome TV series, right? I mean... you have the director of The Shawshank Redemption... the producer of Aliens... and, basically, a 100% storyboarded work of top-notch zombie fiction, featuring awesome characters facing mind-bending circumstance and life-altering events. All the film-makers really had to do was shoot what they had scripted for them, and follow Robert Kirkman's incredible manuscript. Hell, they even had the shots laid out for them in advance, thanks to illustrators Tony Moore's and Charlie Adlard's amazing pencils and moody, minimalist inks.

Instead... what we got was a murky, cliche-riddled piece of junk.

I mean... seriously. I watched every one of Season 1's six episodes on the night they aired, filled with a growing sense of dread. Not because of the impending zombie apocalypse (convincingly and chillingly captured in episode 1 - easily the series best episode), but rather because of the "additional stuff" that the series authors decided to add to Kirkland's solid story. Instead of a tightly-focused, character-driven story of a tightly-knit band of survivors, director Frank Darabont decided to give us drunken neo-nazi hillbillies shootin' at stuff (maybe to attract the "Sarah Palin's Alaska" demographic?), stereotyped LA-style "homie" gangbangers (hey... isn't this supposed to be Atlanta, 'ese?), weak-ass plot devices that seem inserted at random and are abandoned just as easily ("I told you this Winebago wouldn't make it very far... no, wait, now it's working!"), and a host of other confusing, unnecessary crap.

Episode 6 was the the series nadir in every way. Totally absent was the zombie horde, replaced with long, boring scenes shot in... someone's basement. Oh yeah, and lots of eating, drinking and showering. And some arguments, mainly about whether or not someone will open a door. They even did the unthinkable in the zombie genre: tried to explain the source of the impossibility of the walking dead. No, no NO, guys... that never works. really. Seriously. It's always a bad idea. You really can't do any better than "but the dead... they WALK!" Mystery only adds to the power.

'Nuff said.

To add insult to a pretty grievous injury, episode 6's "explosive climax" is exactly that: an explosion, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that when Hollywood is stuck for a story idea, the answer is always "well... we could try blowin' some shit up!"

And blow shit up they did, specifically a really fake CGI model of the Center For Disease Control, using a weak-ass computer-generated flame effect that looks like it came from a 1992 MTV music video.

Nauseating. No... worse than that. Lazy.

I've seen reviews online all day talking about how amazing the series was, and I suppose that, if you've never read the comic, or had to work even a little bit at imagining just how terrible such an event would be, then sure, The Walking Dead was at least better than the usual dreck... But do yourself a favor: if you liked the series, go pick up a few of the comic's collected editions. Read them, and see just how much better they are. How much tighter and better-written they are. How much more dramatic and tense and gut-wrenching and overall BAD-ASS they are. then ask yourself... "If they'd just made THIS, and left out all the other confusing, 'been there, seen that a million times already' crap, how much better would the series have been?"

Guess we'll never know.

Sorry, but for me, The Walking Dead, Season 1 is a huge missed opportunity and a disappointment. I wanted to love it, I really did, but in the end, all it did was leave a bad taste in my mouth. In the wake of the recent announcement that Darabont has fired the entire Season 1 writing staff in favor of freelancer-written scripts, all I can say is... better luck next time, guys. I hope you can get me interested enough to tune in next year. Because as of now, I'm thinking I won't tune in.


Another positive review...

Gareth Jones just posted a positive mini-review of The Shoe Factory over on SF Crow's Nest - read all about it here:

I've received several positive comments on the story's mingling of past/present tense, which is somehting I'm really thrilled to see. As a writer, I find it interesting to play with concepts of time, specifically how my characters interact with and move through time, and I always worry that I'm going to lose people with such odd shifts back and forth. Readers of my first novel, Blood Magic, will remember that I used an alternating current time/flashback structure, which some advance readers warned me "w0uld turn off readers" (or which would "piss off editors").

So very, very happy that this has not turned out to be the case...


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First reax to The Shoe Factory...

From Twitter user Vanamonde_Dpan:

It's been a while since a story had an emotional impact on me but 'The Shoe Factory' by Matthew
From Blogger Anthony Williams:

"The Shoe Factory by Matthew Cook, illustrated by Ben Baldwin. A man keeps being distracted from his solitary mission on a doomed spacecaft by spells of reliving a past life with a former girlfriend. Can he escape by recreating his former existence? A strange story with a complex structure; I wasn't sure what was going on until the end (and I wasn't entirely certain even then)."

Guess I can't complain about the later review - it *was* kinda what I was going for, after all...

Have you run across any other reviews of the story, or of anything else in Issue #231 of Interzone? If so, please let me know!