Sentinel's Hunger

My book review of Sentinel's Hunger by Gracie C. McKeever (coming soon). Duty-bound and loyal Xevera Nanay must come to terms with her heritage of betrayal and treachery when a rare sentinel condition initiates a dangerous and primordial hunger in her that must be fed by a human. His conception the result of a rape, Michael Constantine (great name) knows what it's like to be unloved and unwanted. When his mother is finally committed after suffering a mental breakdown, he is left an eight-year-old at the mercy of the state's foster system. Michael, however, is a survivor and the only one in the world who ever believed his mother's story about being attacked by an "other-worldly being". Now an FDNY paramedic, he has dedicated the last twenty-five-years of his life to finding answers and exacting revenge. But when he is faced with Xevera, a distant cousin of the very being who is responsible for fathering him, will he be able to survive a sentinel's hunger?

Lovecraft Creature Lab Judging

Bernadette Faith Carsten's Dagon. Sometimes an illo comes along that's just plain old good creature design. Capturing the mechanics of movement with static form is incredibly difficult, and this artist does it with what feels like casual ease.  The extra research that Bernadette put into her depiction really shines through, and her pose maximizes her fun kinetic choices. Craig Spearing's Shaggoth who is from, the free project for kids coloring pages. Evocative, atmospheric, and downright scary, Craig's Shaggoth fits the text classically and to the to the letter, with good scale provided and lovely lighting (drawn from the text). Victor Corbella's Byakee. Working on Arkham Horror and the Call of Cthulhu card game, I've been looking at Lovecraftian images-big batches of them for a long time, and it's not very often that I run into a monster design that breaks the mold of what has been done before so elegantly, while staying within the text. 

Hybrid creatures are especially tough... they can very easily end up a stitched together thing, instead of a whole and believable creature in their own right. Victor's Byakee is alien, believable, and well, read the quoted text. It'll tell you. Bram Sels' Shantek. When dealing with creatures that no mortal can look upon and retain his or her mind, it's easy for an illustrator to overlook little questions like how that creature's form interacts with the elements of its environment. Not only is the lighting in Bram's image fantastic, but it shows you that this creature actually has flesh. The delicate transparency in the wings, the veins running through them, let you know that this thing is a Real Thing. The light slanting through the holes in those wings adds not only a visual sense of majesty, but a mental hey wait a minute...

Robbie Williams Advertising

It's an ineffably old-fashioned way of selling a very new platform, the mobile medium. T-Mobile's the first network to lead in their advertising on delivering the internet - all of it, not just snippets, they say insistently to your mobile. And all the other stuff that goes with full medium status, like alerts to Robbie's new output, discounts for his concerts and messages from Pizza Hut. There's a long tradition of "star cameos" US TV of the 1970s and 1980s especially where the star pitches up as his wonderful self and puts all the fictional people around into a deeply embarrassing, skin-crawlingly kind of tizz. The T-Mobile commercial conforms in every particular. There's a Robbie fan, a wonderfully ordinary woman with an Anglia TV local reporter 1992 kind of look, getting an alert on her mobile, "Robbie seen in hotel", and plunging into Hotel Babylon to find him. Inside, everyone's a bit Robbie, the man on reception, a child on a sofa, a floor-cleaner with a machine, a groom in an awful suit have all been computer-tricked to look Robbie-ish. The poor girl's looking distinctly flakey when she steps back and bumps into the real, completely evolved jacket and T-shirt, wry charm and laddish swagger Robbie thing. I can't tell you how often I've seen this bit of choreography, but I know it's completely formula-compliant. The quizzical acknowledgment, the momentary eye-contact, the moving on. There's probably an American word for it, and it's own dissertation ("fiction and reality in the post-war celebrity cameo"). The product's called Web and Walk, T-Mobile's German and Robbie's back in the Rolls to W11 by now.