Author Topic: Micheal Marshall Smith  (Read 1066 times)

easytarget

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Micheal Marshall Smith
« on: December 28, 2017, 01:24:53 AM »
Any other fans on this forum? I won a copy of Only Forward from, IIRC, some online competition from Fortean Times, and I've been a completest ever since. I even liked the toned-down, less creative work he did as "Michael Marshall", sort of King/Crichton, popcorn thrillers which are ideal for a plane ride.

My favourite thing he's written so far is this collection of short stories :
https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-You-Make-Selected-Stories/dp/0006510078/ref=pd_sim_14_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=YJYCZY2EV74JGA701SZE brilliant, especially Hell Hath Enlarged Herself which is terrifying.

I'm enjoying his new one at the moment "Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence" which skews a little more magical realism than sci-fi but has some nice Douglas Addams-ish phrases without that eggy try-hardness that most authors fall into when they fail to pull off that style.

Shaky

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 05:33:26 AM »
Never heard of him before but his stuff sounds fascinating so thanks for the heads up!

Fun fact: Doing a bit of googling I see he also co-wrote truly terrible late-night ITV sketch show "Dare To Believe".

samadriel

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 09:38:14 AM »
I recommend Spares and Only Forward, that's about as far as I've gotten; he seems like a very imaginative writer.
 Edit: thanks for the heads up of his more recent stuff, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Phil_A

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2017, 10:41:15 AM »
Never heard of him before but his stuff sounds fascinating so thanks for the heads up!

Fun fact: Doing a bit of googling I see he also co-wrote truly terrible late-night ITV sketch show "Dare To Believe".

As I recall he wrote the bits with his character "Drake Pennington", which can't have been a lot of work as it was exactly the same joke every episode.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2017, 12:30:43 PM »
Dare To Believe might be the worst show to have ever been broadcast on television.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAyDYeAri3A

The guy who wrote "Spares" and "Only Forward" also writing for that is quite the surprise. Those books are really good, though.

Shaky

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2017, 04:51:59 AM »
Dare To Believe might be the worst show to have ever been broadcast on television.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAyDYeAri3A

The guy who wrote "Spares" and "Only Forward" also writing for that is quite the surprise. Those books are really good, though.

Predictably, some of the commentators on Youtube are claiming it was a work of underrated genius. Admittedly it had a certain, "Fuck me, is this really happening?" vibe when watched, pissed, at 2am but it always clearly awful. It also seemed weirdly dated even 15 years ago, all 90's beats, cheap visual effects and such.

Anyway... been flying through Smiths's short stories and there's some amazing stuff in there. "More Tomorrow" is absolutely chilling and that final line has been stuck in my head for days now. Been getting a vibe of Stephen King at his very best from some of these - interestingly, "Hell Hath Enlarged Herself" is a very similar tale to King's "The End of the Whole Mess".

easytarget

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2017, 05:52:54 AM »
I think Stephen King writes better short stories than novels - that's not faint praise I just love his short stories a lot, he seems to have difficulty editing his novels down to the point, weirdly in the wonderful, indispensable On Writing this is a criticism he levels at up and coming writers. Murder your darlings. Christ, how long must his original version of It be?

I'm happy this thread has maybe made some people aware of MMS - feels like a good fit for some VWs, sad that it's made me aware of his brief career as a writer of bad TV. Still, everybody's gotta make a crust.

Shaky

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2017, 09:01:48 AM »
I think Stephen King writes better short stories than novels

Oh, definitely. Many of his short stories are incredible and show how strong a writer he really is.

mothman

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2017, 09:24:12 PM »
I loved Only Forward, thought Spares was OK, and that One Of Us was much better. After that... he really went downhill a lot. The Straw Men books were utterly pointless and ended his spell on my "authors whose new books I must read" list.

His short fiction though is superb. What You Make It remains consistently, horrifyingly readable. I'm sure there's been another collection sin ce but I can't find it on Amazon. Ah, found it in my Calibre library - Everything You Need. Though I can't remember any specific stories from it like I can from WYMI.

Fun fact: at one point, about 20 years ago, he was writing the screenplay for Clive Barker's Weaveworld, which never saw the light of day...

easytarget

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2017, 06:24:55 AM »
After that... he really went downhill a lot. The Straw Men books were utterly pointless and ended his spell on my "authors whose new books I must read" list.

I still enjoyed them, but it's a bit of a departure from his other stuff (airport fiction rather than something that really stays with you) presumably that's why it's under a slightly different name. He's back now though!

mothman

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2017, 02:21:23 PM »
It strtuck me late last night that some of his short fiction would make good Black Mirror episodes...

Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2017, 07:06:46 AM »
Only Forward gave us both Only Forward themed nightmares. Would read again.

Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 06:51:27 PM »
Only Forward is great and very unsettling. It's been over 10 years and I've forgotten lots of it but the scene with the laughing king has stuck with me.

mothman

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Re: Micheal Marshall Smith
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2018, 10:22:56 PM »
Now reading Hannah Green... and enjoying it a great deal.

It's also just occurred to me I know a Hannah Green, but she's married now so isn't a Green anymore.