Monday, 17 July 2017

Book Review: The Strange Death of Europe

The Strange Death of Europe

Author: Douglas Murray
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published: June 20th 2017 by Bloomsbury Continuum

Douglas Murray maintains remarkable poise as he treads through some of the most politically taboo territory of modern times. Europe has lost its sense of self, he posits. The hows and the whys of this are extremely well argued here. Guilt, conflict fatigue, political apathy, the rise of liberal fanaticism, and many other factors have weakened European identity to the point where we've become unable to stop or even slow the Biblical-scale influx of foreign cultures into our continent. The problems arising from this, many of them so stark and obvious (and worryingly unspeakable), are at the heart of today's Western political divide. They continue to go unaddressed, or worse, wilfully compounded by huge numbers of people in our society, for whom immigration and the championing of anyone NOT of white European origin has become a kind of masochistic mania.

Combustible stuff.

Murray is not an angry writer. Rather he coolly dismantles the oft-peddled official arguments for why large-scale immigration is good for us. Then he sets about the Merkel migration debacle, one of the key global events since World War II, with scholarly and journalistic gusto. He recalls his personal encounters with refugees and migrants at various stages of their journeys to "the Promised Land" of Western Europe. The picture he paints is a complicated one, but overriding themes do crystallise into, strangely enough, many of the concerns everyday people across Europe have but are told (by misguided elites) that they are wrong to have: fear of being overrun by foreign cultures and their often incongruous values and beliefs, fear that the authorities are covering up migrant crime figures and even the crimes themselves (most disturbingly, the widespread rapes) in order to hoodwink us into accepting their utopian delusion of large-scale integration.

I suspect many readers will be simultaneously impressed and depressed by Murray's conclusions. Impressed because here is someone who's finally written a lucid, probing account into a heretofore mostly taboo subject that has always been difficult to broach without sounding strident, and even more difficult to unpack from its layers of decade-long distortion, denial, and political correctness. Depressed because the fading of traditional Western European identity does seem bleak, perhaps even irreversible. Whatever we do now may be too late. That's a bitter pill to swallow, though, and while Murray is not, on the surface, an angry writer, that emotion may be the one that endures most lastingly in many of his readers. It has in this reader, and that alone qualifies The Strange Death of Europe as a must-read book. Indeed, an important book.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Star Binder Available for Pre-order

It's here at last, and I'm excited to announce that on July 11th, you're invited to discover the secrets of the Star Binder...

Here are a few quotes from early reviews:

"Appleton pushes the boundaries of the imagination with emotional stakes and a heroic quest in this must-read novel!"

"Set on Mars, Star Binder by Robert Appleton is an exciting story that combines elements of sci-fi with adventure, and sends readers on a rollicking ride across the galaxy... Appleton establishes himself as a great storyteller, and readers will love his memorable characters."
"Star Binder by Robert Appleton is exactly the kind of science fiction novel I am into these days, and it is great... Lately I have searched for books concerned with how life in the near future will look as we branch out and settle our solar system... Star Binder is one of the best examples I have read of this particular type of science fiction."
"Star Binder by Robert Appleton is a book I'll most certainly be recommending."

And here's a bit more about the story:

Born on the streets. Made in the stars.

Under constant threat of invasion, the future of mankind's colonies is uncertain. Enter Jim Trillion and his best friend, Sergei, two young grifters scraping a living in the oases resorts of Mars. Their dreams might be big but their prospects are shrinking one petty crime at a time. Their luck is running out.
But after saving the life of a famous explorer, they receive the invitation of a lifetime--the chance to join a mysterious top secret academy and one day see the galaxy. If only it were that simple. The massing alien threat, Jim's unknown past, and the key to reaching the stars all propel them on a journey of self-discovery into the thrilling and terrifying unknown. There the ultimate prize awaits, a prize that could change everything: the Star Binder.

Available for pre-order now on AmazonKindle and in Paperback

And for UK readers: Amazon Kindle; Paperback

Click here to read the first chapter.

Hope you enjoy!


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Star Binder is Live Now at Kindle Scout

Hi guys!

Today is Day 1 of my Kindle Scout campaign for STAR BINDER, my new YA sci-fi novel. It's up for a publishing contract with Kindle Press, but it needs your support. With your nominations, it could get picked up by the Amazon publishing team.

How it works is this: my book page is up now on the Kindle Scout site. It shows my new cover art and an excerpt from the book. Amazon readers check it out, and if they like what they see, they can nominate the book for publication. The more nominations a book receives, the more likely the Kindle Press team will consider it for a contract with them. It's something I haven't tried before, but it sounds like a great opportunity.

Its all about reader support. So if you've got a spare minute, head on over to my STAR BINDER book page, and if you like what you see there, please nominate it. With your help, this one could go all the way.

I'll share the book cover on here at the end of the campaign, whether it's successful or not. Thanks for your support!


Monday, 27 February 2017

New Author Website!

I've been busy these past couple of weeks putting the finishing touches to my brand new author website. It's so much cleaner and easier to navigate than the old site, and as promised, I've included a lot more sample chapters.

The focus, as always, is on science fiction and steampunk. But the biggest surprise has been the long-term popularity of Sunset on Ramree, my sole venture into historical fiction. Its sales have been steady for years and show no signs of petering out. Readers from as far afield as India and Australia have been fascinated (and horrified) by the true story of this mass crocodile attack during World War Two, and I've even heard from someone whose relative actually fought in the Battle of Ramree.

The biggest seller of 2016 was Alien Safari. It's also consistently received the best reviews and reader feedback of any title in the Cosmic Frontiers collection (it garnered an EPIC Award nomination and an Ariana Award win!). That's all the more gratifying because it's my first fully self-published novel. A sequel is underway and should be ready later in the year.

In the meantime, head on over to to check out my latest titles and enjoy a few sample chapters of books you might have missed.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

September Storm (1960): Help Save This Golden Age 3D Movie!

It isn't every day film fans get to save a piece of Hollywood history, but it's happening right now. I pledged to support this project on Day One, but if we're to save this forgotten 3D movie, time's running out!

Dir. Byron Haskin (War of the Worlds, Robinson Crusoe on Mars)
Starring: Joanne Dru, Mark Stevens, Robert Strauss, Asher Dann

A Kickstarter campaign has been started to fund the restoration of the 1960 3-D film September Storm. This project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 11 p.m. Central Daylight Time. People interested in donating can do so by visiting the funding page at

September Storm is considered one of the "lost" 3-D features of the golden age of 3-D cinema. Shot in 1959, it was the last of the 3-D movies to be filmed in the 1950s, and is most notable for being filmed in Stereo-Vision using the Natural Vision 3-D camera rig and in CinemaScope. September Storm hasn't been seen in it's intended 3-D and widescreen format since it's initial theatrical release in 1960, and the surviving film elements are deteriorating. If a digital restoration of the stereoscopic anamorphic version isn't done soon, it is at risk of being lost forever. Your donation to this campaign will help save this important motion picture so that it can be seen by future generations of movie fans.

The 3-D Film Archive has been actively working to preserve our 3-D film heritage by digitally restoring classic 3-D movies, and making them available to a new generation of theatergoers and home viewers. Recent restoration projects include the 3-D movies Dragonfly Squadron, The Bubble, The Mask, Gog and the 3-D Rarities collection.

To accomplish the funding, the 3-D Film Archive has teamed up with 501(c)3 nonprofit organization 3-D SPACE: The Center For Stereoscopic Photography, Art, Cinema, and Education to embark on the conservation and restoration of September Storm. Your donation to this project through 3-D SPACE may qualify for an income tax deduction in accordance with Federal or State income tax laws. Please consult with your tax advisor to determine whether your donation is tax deductible in whole or in part.

Bob Furmanek and Greg Kintz of the 3-D Film Archive have a proven track record when it comes to restoring vintage 3-D films that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks, neglected and forgotten. "The 3-D Film Archive has already obtained, for a limited time, the rights to restore and distribute September Storm, but the hard work is still ahead of us. Both the left eye and right eye film elements will need to be digitally scanned, frame by frame. We will need to assess the level of damage to these existing elements, and determine how to best fix the images. This will require a stereoscopic re-alignment pass, left and right color restoration and matching, and clean-up of scratches and other damages to the film surface. This is very challenging post-production work, and can potentially be very expensive. Fortunately, the 3-D Film Archive's success with previous restoration projects, and by teaming up with 3-D SPACE and maintaining this work "in house" costs will be kept at a manageable level. We are confident that we will be able to produce both a 3-D Blu-ray master and a digital cinema package (DCP) that will look fantastic."

As with any Kickstarter campaign, the organizers have included rewards based on the donation pledge levels. The most basic pledge of $10 or more will get your name included in the Blu-ray credits. Other rewards include reproductions of the September Storm lobby cards, a special Kickstarter limited edition Blu-ray of September Storm, VIP admission for two to the New York or Los Angeles world premiere of the restored version, and more.
Pledges reached the 25 percent mark within the first four days of launching the Kickstarter campaign, which started on July 16. 

People are being asked to share the campaign through the hashtag #SaveSeptemberStorm

Let's save this long-lost 3D gem!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Movies I've Watched in 2016: Part 1

Film-wise, 2016 has been pretty entertaining so far. I usually visit the cinema once or twice a week, depending on the selection (and making full use of my Cineworld Unlimited Card). I'll try most genres, but I do tend toward mainstream Hollywood fare, unless something really catches my eye (I've been burned too many times by foreign-language films).

My only five-star film so far is Adam McKay's sensational, go-for-broke Wall Street black comedy, THE BIG SHORT. You really have to pay attention between the laughs, because it describes the complex moves that led to the near-total collapse of the US (and global) economic house of cards. Smart, frightening stuff.
Other nice surprises were David O'Russell's JOY, starring Jennifer Lawrence, which had received wishy-washy reviews (I loved it), the gripping suspense thriller 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, and Kevin Reynolds' biblical procedural, RISEN, starring an excellent Joseph Fiennes.

Here's the complete list thus far. I'll post another one after the summer season is over.

10 Cloverfield Lane ****
Allegiant ***
Bad Neighbours 2 **
Batman vs Superman 3D ***
Captain America: Civil War 3D ****
Deadpool ***
Eddie the Eagle ****
Hail, Caesar! ***
High-Rise **
Joy ****
London Has Fallen ***
Midnight Special ***
Risen ****
Spotlight ****
The Big Short *****
The Finest Hours ****
The Huntsman 3D **
The Jungle Book 3D ****
The Revenant ****
Zootropolis 3D ****
And a couple of retro double-bill screenings I attended (the Cap films were actually screened as a triple, culminating with the equally brilliant Civil War):
Alien *****
Aliens *****
Captain America: First Avenger 3D ****
Captain America: Winter Soldier 3D ****
Next up, I'm really looking forward to Shane Black's THE NICE GUYS, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. The trailers are hilarious, and Black's previous films (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3) both hit the spot for me.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Movie Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom is an instant classic scuzzball character. He echoes the memorable sociopaths played by Robert DeNiro in his prime (Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy and Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver), but he’s less sympathetic than either of those. A parasite on the prowl, Bloom soon fixates on a career ideally suited to his amoral loner/ go-getter character—as a crime journalist during L.A.’s night hours. He listens for crimes in progress on his police scanner, speeds to the scene, and then angles for the most shocking, risque footage he can possibly get away with.

New colleagues Nina (Rene Russo), the struggling news producer he goes to first, and Rick (Riz Ahmed), a desperate “intern” railroaded into the nightmare, are exploitable because they want what Bloom can give them—money, work, success. The risks he takes and the lines he crosses are mainly ethical ones at first, but he quickly realises the quickest way to make a name for himself is to get truly sensational footage. The kind that requires taking bigger risks, eventually endangering lives.

Bloom is the most detestable character I’ve seen in ages. He’s a soulless cockroach rummaging through the misfortunes of others, ravenously feeding off violent crimes, sometimes while they’re still happening. But the news station keeps on buying what he’s selling. Viewer ratings spike with each successive horror scene that hits the air.

Writer/director Dan Gilroy makes us squirm from start to finish here because Bloom is so queasily familiar. We all know people who share his traits, even if they don’t take them to such extremes. He’s society’s Frankenstein’s monster, made from all the worst parts of capitalism. He’ll achieve success by any means, and he’s proud of that.

With End of Watch and Prisoners, and now Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal is finding the sort of edgy, dangerous roles relished by great actors of the 1970s, and he’s attacking them with gusto. This might be his best performance yet. The film itself is a darkly comic treat. It’s tense and unsettling as a thriller, but the most fascinating part is seeing how far this scumbag will take his obsession, and how much we’ll allow him to get away with.