Backing Tracking


Final line penned (er – keyboarded) this morning – The Cold Commands is a wrap!  As they say in Spanish, Cha-Chan!!!

Of course, this is all slightly deceptive.  There’s actually a fair bit of work still to be done.  The rough cut goes out to Simon Spanton at Gollancz tomorrow, and I now have to back up and read the whole manuscript through from scratch, trying to form some kind of overall impression of where we’ve been and what we’ve ended up with.  There’ll be tweaking, there’ll be proofing, there’ll be polish to layer on – less at the front end than the back, since the earliest sections have been buffed smooth with a couple of years of constant revisiting and revising as the story inched its way forward.  The back end, though, is probably still altogether too cask-strength rough and ready in places.  Will need tempering.

Still – feels like coming through the door and setting down a very heavy pack at journey’s end. Sure, I’ll still need to unpack it all, do a hot wash or two, a tumble dry and put shit away, but we’re home, man!  Even the gap between yesterday – when I only had about a page and a half left to write, and knew it – and today when it’s done…..well, the sides of that gap feel weirdly worlds apart.

So, meantime, by way of celebration, here’s a quick round-up of the soundtrack.  These albums were all wiring repeatedly through my head at one time or another during the making of  The Cold Commands:

The Black AngelsDirections to See a Ghost, Passover

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, Baby 81, Live

The Black RyderBuy the Ticket, Take the Ride

The Black- (stop that! ed.) Bomb the Bass – Clear

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Let Love In

Curve – Doppelganger, Cuckoo, Gift, Come Clean

The Dandy WarholsCome Down, 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia, Odditorium

The Dead Weather Horehound

David Gray – A Century Ends, Flesh, Lost Songs, A New Day at Midnight

Heroes de Silencio – El Espiritu del Vino, El Mar No Cesa/Senda ’91

Jehst – The Return of the Drifter

The Kills – Keep On Your Mean Side, No Wow, Midnight Boom

The Killers – Sam’s Town

Kings of Leon – Only by the Night

Mazzy Star – Among My Swan

Tom McRae – King of Cards, All Maps Welcome, Tom McRae

The Rolling StonesLet it Bleed, Beggar’s Banquet, Voodoo Lounge

Sisters of MercyFloodland, Vision Thing

SlobberboneEverything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today

Richard ThompsonMirror Blue, Rumour and Sigh

Two GallantsWhat the Bell Tolls, Two Gallants

Tom WaitsBone Machine, Mule Variations

The WarlocksPhoenix

You have been warned!

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56 responses to “Backing Tracking”

  1. Freeman

    A Gamers Synopsis of Crysis 2 Story & Script:

    [Warning there may be Spoilers in this Post]

    Dialogue is great, it is some of the best I have come across in modern gaming it really develops and facilitates the immersion of the game. I can only think of 5 or 6 games off the top of my head that have dialogue as good or better (Bioshock being the best, I think you can agree Richard), and I think it fair to mention those games had teams of writers, not just a single author. There have been many negative comments about it, but when pressed to clarify their statements all I have recieved as a reply so far is “It’s just more of the same” which I really don’t agree with.

    The subtext of the Suit being the hero was fantastic, you really build up the tension of wether or not the sucess of Alcatraz is even remotely possible without the Nanosuit.

    The persecution of Gould was quite dramatic in the first few levels, it felt to me to be a riff on and nod to the Half-Life series, and I appreciated that.

    The dynamic between CELL and the Marines brings a whole other realm to the politics of the game, that this level of coporate and government rivalry can be maintained during an Alien invasion is quality black humour – Loved it.

    All the little asides through-out the game also develop the immersion and narrative of the whole story, the conspiracy radio station made me giggle constantly, and the scenes of dialogue between CELL and the Marines later on were top notch, especially when you are being walked through the rooms of body bags while the being told of the backround of the “VIP” evac and its flacid ineffectiveness by Hargreaves, who is also a very dynamic villian for the story progression.

    The in game cinematic scenes are brilliant. The end of the level where you are running towards the rescue chopper and the wave of water comes crashing down the concrete canyons of NY has been permantly etched into my memory as a an absolute classic moment in my gaming expierence.

    Now what I did find really annoying, is that Alcatraz is a mute. I’d like to read your thoughts on the development process and what constraints where placed on your writing, as I would have loved some more chracterisation of Alcatraz, it would have fleshed out the game fully IMO. It just becomes Prophets story, as only the Marines give Alcatraz any credit, and that is basically just for being a former Marine.

    I do have to agree that you should wait before posting a blog until the ‘Nerd Rage’ has subsided – Most gamers are pretty Angry about this game right now, but that has more to do with the many bugs in the Singleplayer game and the complete unplayability of the Multiplayer. But you will certainly become the lightning rod that draws the energy and raw frustration of the gamer community and I think that would be a shame if it happened, you deserve more credit than that.

    Finally, the Music in the game is Face-Meltingly good, combine that with the drama the story and script provides and I was entirely immersed. I’ve finished it twice so far, and I am about to go through once again on Super Soldier.

    Hope I didn’t come off as too much of a fanboy, but this is definatly something I will be keeping in my ‘Richard Morgan Collection’…. having just tracked down the second series of your Black Widow comics I now have the full gamut. Can’t wait for the next game you write on – as when your name came up in the opening credits of Crysis 2 I couldn’t help but cheer.

    Wicasa Wakan – Freeman

  2. David Lynch

    Returning this thread to its fantasy origins for a moment: The HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones has just premiered in the states and if the reviews are anything to go by then its going to be bloody brilliant. Check out these quotes from Time magazines review (I only read it for the pictures normally I swear)

    “Embittered by success, King Robert passes an afternoon reminiscing with one of his guards about his first kill in battle: a highborn boy who begged for his life as Robert raised his war hammer. “They never tell you how they all s— themselves,” Robert says with a grim laugh. “They don’t put that part in the songs. HBO’s ambitious, visually stunning Game of Thrones puts that part in the songs”

    “Thrones’ visual language is Old High Geek — dragon skulls, heraldry, leather and chain mail — but its psychology is bluntly realistic, a reaction against fantasy clichés like the struggle between absolute good and evil. Seeming villains show scruples, seeming heroes are compromised, and moral rigidity is a fatal flaw. (In one duel, a knight is slain by a street-brawling mercenary. “You don’t fight with honor!” complains an onlooker. “No,” the mercenary agrees dryly, indicating the corpse. “He did.”)”

    Fantasy noir indeed. Sounds like this show will be the perfect way to pass the time while we’re all waiting for TCC to wend its way to publication.

  3. Mike Cobley

    yes, the whole issue of the mute protagonist in FPS games. Altho I can recall the likes of the Duke in the Duke Nukem shooters, and his gravelly utterances. And the protag in the original Far Cry said a few things now and then. But yeah, perhaps we’re looking forward to a game into which the player can speak however many lines of pre-written dialogue and comments which will then come out at appropriate moments. I think I`d prefer that to a game through which the player spoke in real time, prompting NPC responses?…

  4. Dragonsnake

    A little late, but.. CONGRATS for the book and the game. Specially for the book. After my experience with GRRM writing shedule I was a little afraid… Life happens even to the writers – they get bored, have children, sick cats…etc.

    I know it’s early to ask, but do U have any idea about the SubterraneanPress publishing date ? TY

  5. Smilodon7

    That’s quite the playlist. Same shit I listen to with some stuff I haven’t heard that I’ll go check out immediately. Also want to comment on that space between a couple pages left and actually being done. Just reached that point in my novel a few days ago, and it’s oh so nice. Sure, there’s lot’s of stuff left to do. But to be able to say you reached the finish line is good, good. The rest is wiping off the sweat and getting ready to stand on the podium… as it were.

    Can’t wait to read the second…

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