Michael Marshall Smith

I just discovered British screenwriter and sci-fi/horror author, Michael Marshall Smith, even though I’m an avid reader of sci-fi and horror, and he has been publishing for almost 2 decades now.  What took me so long?

I have no idea why this guy didn’t show up on my radar sooner, but if his short story “This Is Now” (which I previously blogged about) and his ever expanding following of devoted fans is any indication of his talent, then I predict I will soon have a shelf dedicated solely to Michael Marshall Smith books.

James Moore at bloodlettingbooks.com thought the same thing…

“Have you ever wondered how in the name of God you ever missed an amazing writer for as long as you did? Well, I have now…There was a time when I would have said that no one could ever match Ray Bradbury for the power of his coming of age stories. THE HALLOWEEN TREE and SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES are incredible works and even King and Straub’s amazing novel THE TALISMAN never quite hit the same levels for me. Well, guess what? I do believe we have a contender.”

Information Database had this to say about the author:

“Michael Marshall Smith writes in a dark-humor style. All his books are futuristic adventures in action. Street-style cyberpunk. His dark view over the future is spiced with personal insights and does not copy the mainstream of known cyberpunk styles. His books grab you from the begining and when finished, leave you with a long-lasting feeling of insight.”

Now is a good time to get a feel for Smith’s personality and writing style as he is currently guest-blogging at powells.com.  In post #4, he relates the following true story of an experience he had when researching Seattle as a setting for his book, The Intruders, which, incidentally, the BBC is said to be planning to turn into a dramatic television series.

“It was raining, and the sidewalks were slick. As I walked down Madison — which is ludicrously steep — I slipped and fell quite painfully between 2nd and 1st (an event that made it into The Intruders, complete with the pair of halfwit tourists who saw this happen, stood over my prone form and said ‘Slippery, huh?’). When I got to the Bookstore Bar I asked for an Alaskan Amber. It was off, but the waitress — a different one to last time — said they had another. I asked if it was a similar kind of thing, and she said ‘Well… it’s an amber…’ with the utter lack of humor or friendliness which can suddenly make you feel like a stranger in someone else’s town. A guy at the counter was meanwhile droning on and on, evidently one of those work trip duty drinks where you know the female side of the ‘conversation’ has been listening to her boss all day and is now dying to get back to her hotel room so she can take off her too-tight shoes and skirt. I moved away and sat at the table I’d had the previous night. Almost immediately, a guy sitting a few yards away vomited copiously onto the floor.”

The Intruders is not the only work of Smith’s that has caught the eye of the film and television industry.  His short story, “Hell Hath Enlarged Herself,” is also reported to be in film production.  You can read more about it at the UKSF Book News site.

The author’s latest book, The Servants, was recently reviewed by Mario Guslandi at Infinity Plus.  Guslandi gives a brief overview of the plot:

“Eleven-year old Mark has to leave London to settle down in Brighton, with his mother and her new husband. The mother is very sick and Mark’s stepfather appears to be a heartless, distant man unable to create a bond with the kid. Trying to escape the dullness and the difficulties of his new household Mark makes friends with an elderly lady living in the house basement. Which, in turn is the door to another section of rooms inhabited by a group of servants whose task is to provide any kind of service for the proper functioning and maintenance of the house.

Are the servants real or only ghosts from a distant past? Is Mark’s father a victim or a culprit?”

The author also publishes non-horror/sci-fi under the shortened name of “Michael Marshall,” such as with his novel, Straw Men.

Find out more about Michael Marshall Smith by visiting his homepage, which offers, among other things, a list of his upcoming appearances (look for him at the Nottingham Fantasy Con in late September 2007).  If you want to learn even more about this talented writer, consider purchasing the limited edition, signed biography available at biblio.com.

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