Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stephen Aryan

Stephen Aryan was born in 1977 and was raised by the sea in northeast England. After graduating from Loughborough University, he started working in marketing, and for some reason he hasn't stopped. A keen podcaster, lapsed gamer and budding archer, when not extolling the virtues of Babylon 5, he can be found drinking real ale and reading comics.

Aryan's books include Battlemage, the first book in his Age of Darkness trilogy.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Aryan's reply:
I’m currently reading 666 Charing Cross Road by Paul Magrs. I was in the mood for something light hearted and funny, but also gothic and a bit dark, so this book is perfect. I’d previously read most of his Brenda and Effie books, about the Bride of Frankenstein and her friend who is a witch, as two old biddies fighting the forces of darkness in Whitby. His books are always funny, clever and very witty.

In 666 Charing Cross Road, imagine if Buffy had retired and was now someone’s grandmother. She’s enjoying her quiet time when once again the forces of darkness rise up in New York and she very reluctantly has to dust off her stakes and go out and fight evil again. The story is fast paced, the humour leaps off the page and Magrs always make me laugh with his mix of horror and comedy.

Before that I’d just finished reading the penultimate volume of Chew, the Image comic from John Layman and Rob Guillory. This comic book completely divides people. They either love the concept or they think it’s gross and never want to read it. It’s about a cop who gets a psychic impression from everything he eats where he sees the origin of whatever it was. So if it’s a burger he sees the cow’s sudden demise, then right before that, then it living in the field, then being born and so on, which makes it very difficult for him to eat much of anything. However, he uses his special ability to solve food related crimes in a world gone mad where chicken is banned, there’s alien writing in the sky and another person like him, a Cibopath, is killing other people for their food related powers and absorbing them. It’s incredibly graphic, very funny, quite dark and suddenly it sounds like everything I read is twisted and weird. I really like how over the top it is and how it mixes comedy and the writer’s genius at coming up with new powers. It is without a doubt the most unique comic I’ve ever read and in an increasingly crowded entertainment market I like its originality.

Before that I read The Fireman by Joe Hill. It’s about a post-apocalyptic world where a dangerous spore has infected the entire population which makes people spontaneously combust. Joe Hill is really good at creating characters that, on the surface, seem like awful people. However no-one is completely a white hat or a black hat. We are all flawed to one degree or another and in all of his stories he takes these broken, damaged people and puts them through the wringer and during that process we find out who they really are. Sometimes they are unpleasant people who can be heroic and sometimes they’re good people who are just trying to survive. I like the fact that no-one rips open their shirt and transforms into a superhero. They’re just ordinary people doing their best.

On a slightly more light-hearted note, I recently read The Good, The Bad and The Furry, a non-fiction book about a British man, Tom Cox, and the escapes of his five cats. One of them is nearly twenty years old and has had a very interesting and long life. This third book chronicles another chapter in Tom’s life and it’s a gentle read about his cats but also relationships, getting on a bit in life, moving house and trying to find your place in a new area, meeting the neighbours and all of it is done in a humorous and touching way. As a cat owner, but also someone with a bit of grey in my hair, I can relate on many levels. I moved house about a year ago so I see many parallels about trying to start over, build up a new life and network of friends. It’s not as easy as it was when I was a child. Back then you’d just see someone playing in the street and join in. You can’t really do that these days, especially as an adult!

My next read is going to be the second Dexter book by Jeff Lindsay, Dearly Devoted Dexter, as I am a huge fan of the TV series and I started reading the books ages ago. I then got lost in the TV series but now that it’s finished and has faded a bit in my mind, I can read the books without getting the two muddled up as I know there are some distinct differences. I love the sarcastic voice overs in the TV show and the inner voice of his Dark Passenger, which you get much more of, in the books.
Visit Stephen Aryan's website.

My Book, The Movie: Battlemage.

The Page 69 Test: Battlemage.

--Marshal Zeringue