The Grandest Bookshop in the World

Writing a book is like climbing a mountain.

Actually getting a book published is like climbing a mountain after losing all your limbs and having to inch your way up the rock face on your tiny stumps while all the mountain goats tell you that you’ll never make it.

My point is, it’s bloody hard. And seeing a hugely talented writer finally making it to the top of that damned summit is one of life’s great pleasures.

Amelia Goddamned Paper Alchemist Mellor, sometime spider and longtime friend of the blog is getting her book published and it is about frucking time.

Here’s the trailer and blurb for The Grandest Bookshop in the World, a middle grade novel by Amelia Mellor:

“Pearl and Vally Cole live in a bookshop. And not just any bookshop. In 1893, Cole’s Book Arcade in Melbourne is the grandest bookshop in the world, brimming with every curiosity imaginable. Each day brings fresh delights for the siblings: voice-changing sweets, talking parrots, a new story written just for them by their eccentric father.

When Pearl and Vally learn that Pa has risked the Arcade – and himself – in a shocking deal with the mysterious Obscurosmith, the siblings hatch a plan. Soon they are swept into a dangerous game with impossibly high stakes: defeat seven challenges by the stroke of midnight and both the Arcade and their father will be restored. But if they fail Pearl and Vally won’t just lose Pa – they’ll forget that he and the Arcade ever existed.”

I’ve read two of Amelia’s previous manuscripts and I always knew it was only a matter of time before she broke through. The book is now available to pre-order from the Affirm Website, for twenty Australian dollary doos, which is 14 yankee greenbacks or €12 in proper money. I know you’ll all join me in giving Amelia your heartiest congratulations. And be sure to drop by her awesome blog too.

“Brava, Mim.”

Those wacky Sharpson boys.

Happy Father’s Day everybody!

As some of you may know, my brothers John and Donal are both regulars on the Facts series on YouTube. For Father’s day they brought my Dad onto the show (thanks for showing me up guys, I just got him a frickin’ book) and not to brag or anything but my old man just killed it. Here’s the video.

Batman will save us.


If you’re reading this message, that can only mean one thing. I wasn’t able to get the review finished before my surgery on Monday. As you read this my gallstones have been removed and have been taken to a temple in Egypt in a last ditch effort to stop the Ultimate Evil destroying the Earth.

If they weren't actually this big, they sure as hell felt like it.

If they weren’t actually this big, they sure as hell felt like it.

I myself am now recuperating in hospital, hopefully out of my gourd on painkillers. But what about you guys? How can I leave my faithful readers without the animated reviews they crave like snarky manna from internet heaven? Allow me to recommend Manhattan Below Fourteenth Street by regular commenter Rubber Lotus. He’s in the middle of a project to review every episode of the unloved 2004-2008 cartoon series The Batman, which confusingly starred “a Batman” rather than “The Batman.”

A Batman.

“A” Batman.

THE Batman.

THE Batman.

It’s funny, snarky, insightful, often surprisingly affectionate and, long story short, you dig my stuff you will dig his.  Keep checking in for the Interstella 5555 review, I hopefully won’t be too late with it.

Thanks for all the well wishing.


UPDATE: It is now up. Hope you enjoy.

Check this girl out!

Normally when I do one of these recommendations I have to explain who the person in question is, but chances are you already know Amelia Mellor, or Paper Alchemist as she’s known around these parts. What you may not know is that she’s started her own blog where she reviews Young Adult fiction in a snarky style while interacting with stock photos and using visual gags and ohhhhhh how original. I’m on to you Mellor.

Seriously though, this is now one of my favourite blogs and I recommend it mightily. It’s called Under the Doona by Torchlight. I don’t know what a Doona is but Amelia’s Australian so I’m guessing something large, venomous and with more legs than anything could possibly need.

A Doona, probably.

A Doona, probably.

Anyway, head on over there and say hi.

I am in all places. I am everywhere.

I love TV Tropes. I love it so much. And now I am TV Tropes! Unshaved Mouse has it’s own page (thanks to Rubber Lotus) so head over there and check it out, and be sure to add any tropes you can think of.

I don’t know what Tumblr is. I do not understand it. It frightens and confuses me. But thanks to the missus I am now apparently on it so if any of you are also on it, follow me and we shall be on it together. Together on the Tumblr. Doing…whatever people do on Tumblr. It’s a good chance to catch up on old reviews (complete with my notes on how my opinions on certain movies might have changed, and noting the first appearences of once beloved but now largely forgotten characters like Caveman Pangea and Anarchist Libertarian Haddock.) So…Tumblr, Tv Tropes. Am I forgetting anything?


“Yes, Satan?”

“Yes, Satan?”

“Oh. Um. Never mind. #heartbroken.

“Oh. Um. Never mind.” #heartbroken

All the reviews and some of the larger posts will be going up over the next weeks where they shall be Tumbld to meet the demands of the new media landscape.
I am old.

The fair city…

I’ll (hopefully) be putting up some recommendations for blogs to tide you over while Unshaved Mouse goes on a brief gallstone-enforced hiatus. Of course, if you want a recommendation for your blog from me so badly, why don’t you marry me?  That’s what my wife did, and so I’m now recommending the blog of the person who has been previously referred to in the comments as Spouse of Mouse, a nickname that I do not endorse in any way.
“Thin. Ice.”

“Thin. Ice.”

Anyway, if you like things that are jaw-droppingly beautiful you should check out my lady’s photo blog of Dublin. She’s captured some really gorgeous images of our hometown in all its shambling magnificence and it’s really worth a look. Also, it’s our ten year anniversary this month so you’d be doing a bro a solid.
Mouse out.

The fault in our shades

I have this idea for a non-fiction book that I may write sometime, tentatively called Everything I know about God I learned from Comic Books. It would be a look at how the history of superhero comics so often parallels that of the major world religions, like how issues of canonicity are decided (The First Council of Nicaea/Crisis on Infinite Earths), how older belief systems get incorporated into newer ones (Celtic deities becoming saints in Gaelic Christianity/ Captain Marvel becoming part of DC continuity), the violent schisms that can erupt between adherents of different sects (the Crusades/Cassandra Cain versus Stephanie Browne) and how they deal with the Problem of Evil/Frank Millar. I bring this up because, oddly, one of the best and simplest pieces of moral advice I ever received was from a comic book. It was an issue of X-Men where Bishop, a mutant cop from the future, almost kills the man who murdered his sister before realising that he can’t cross that line and simply arrests him. Bishop is tormented by guilt over what he almost did and Charles Xavier gives him this line (as near as I can remember it, it’s been years): “It is not our thoughts that mark us, but our deeds.”
This, I think, is a very important moral. We cannot control our thoughts, our desires, our prejudices or our emotions. And, take it from the guy with the Catholic upbringing, trying to is a real good way to go nuts. In fact, if you ever find yourself in the trenches and want to be invalided back to Blighty, don’t bother sticking underpants over your head, just try to not think about something for ten minutes and that should do the trick.  Having bad thoughts does not make you a bad person. Acting on them does.
Speaking of bad people, I hardly ever read other people’s blogs, which I feel incredibly guilty about because I always want people to read mine and that makes me a rather massive hypocrite. Honestly, it’s just a question of time. Between work, family, blogging, watching movies to review and trying to keep on top of other writing projects (not to mention a rather serious gaming habit) I normally just don’t have the hours. Recently however, I made an exception and plowed through all of author Jenny Armintrout’s extensive re-cap of Fifty Shades of Grey over on Trout Nation. It’s hilarious, excellently written and I heartily endorse it.
"I am Unshaved Mouse, and I approve this blog. All my readers should check it out!"

“I am Unshaved Mouse, and I approve this blog. All my readers should check it out!”

"Huh. My stats just went up by a barely perceptible ammount. As if theyd been kicked by a tiny, tiny ant."

“Huh. My stats just went up by a barely perceptible amount. As if theyd been kicked by a tiny, tiny ant.”

Now, even though I know damn well that every last one of you knows what Fifty Shades of Grey is, blogging law stipulates that I give some background on what I’m talking about on the off chance that one of you has awoken from a coma so here we go. Fifty Shades of Grey is E.L. James’ re-purposed  Twilight fanfiction where mousey milquetoast Anastasia Steele (Yes. Yes, really.) becomes involved with chiselled blonde billionaire Christian Grey and they have lots of badly punctuated sex. It was famously described by Salman Rushdie as the worst-written novel to ever be released by a major publishing house and so naturally became a huge commercial success.
"Welp, I guess they proved ME wrong."

“Welp, I guess they proved ME wrong.”

It is also porn.
And that’s not a criticism. It’s simply a statement of fact. It’s a piece of fiction written to get the reader off. Simple as. Now, during the course of the book Christian Grey does a lot of incredibly awful things. He emotionally manipulates Ana, plies her with alcohol, coerces her into sexual acts that she really does not want, beats her, threatens her, demeans her, isolates her from her friends and family and literally checks every item on the list for being an abusive partner (not hyperbole, Jenny actually did that very thing).


The Unshaved Mouse’s Greatest Comics of All Time

Soon, I hope, issue Number 2 of my arc on League of Volunteers will be hitting the stands and will shortly thereafter, I have no doubt*, be acclaimed as the greatest comic ever. Before that happens, let’s take a look at some of the other greatest comics ever, before they are consigned to the ash pile of history.
Apologies gentlemen. C'est la guerre.

Apologies gentlemen.
C’est la guerre.

So here is The Unshaved Mouse’s Top 17 Greatest Comics of all Time. Why 17? Because I wrote the list and then realized I’d left off Bone and Maus (which would have been both hugely unfair and, in the case of Maus, also weirdly ironic).


Check this girl out!

My friend Sahar Mohamed-Ali hai wears many hats; actor, teacher, blogger, devout Muslim and comedy writer to name a few (she also wears many actual hats. She’s a hat person). Recently she left us all the poorer by accepting a teaching gig in Saudi Arabia, an experience which she is currently documenting in her blog, Saharcasm which I am telling you to go read right now because it is made of awesome. Sahar recounts the culture shock of a sassy Irish girl dealing with life in The Kingdom in a way that is often hilarious, sometimes depressing and always, always utterly fascinating. She’s also been nominated for Best Art and Culture Blog at the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 so you know we’re talking crème de la crème.

Oh dear, did I leave this old thing lying around again? Head like a sieve, me.

Anyway, do yourselves a favor and check it out.

Check this guy out!

Being the plugged-in, ears to the ground Disney fans you all are I’m sure that at least some of you have seen this:

It’s a Disnified rendering of all 12 Doctors (I’ll be deep in the cold, cold ground before I recognise the War Doctor) done by my friend and erstwhile League of Volunteers collaborator Stephen Byrne. It’s already gotten notice on the AV Club, the BBC website and a bunch of other websites with far greater profiles than this one. Stephen’s a fantastic artist (obviously), and has a wicked sense of humour too. Quote:
“I would like to thank the people who took the time to point out some errors in my recent ‘Disney Doctor Who’ post. It has been rightfully brought to my attention that ‘some of the designs aren’t exactly….Up to par….2 and 4 are too short’ and ‘6 looks like a looks like clown, 2 looks like a dwarf, 4 looks like he is sick with some sort of bad cold, 1 looks creepy, and 11 has eyebrows!’. A theme emerged – ‘2 and 4 are too short’.

Well, I’ve had a look back over the art in question, and the situation is far worse than I imagined. Indeed, some of the heights of the characters are factually inaccurate, but it doesn’t stop there. Upon closer inspection, I realised that I had accidentally exaggerated facial features and poses and mistakenly made choices about character and costume designs. I somehow used a bright saturated color palette that does not exist in reality, and (in some instances) just plain used creative license with zero regards for the consequences. Worse still, to my dismay – ‘THERE IS A ROSE ON DAVIDSON INSTEAD OF A CELERY STICK?!???!’, as one viewer put it. It turns out even the font was made up.

Thankfully there is still time to remedy this mistake. Please see below the updated correct version. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow.



Michaelangelo painted, but was at heart a sculptor. Stephen draws, but his true medium is sarcasm.

Now Stephen has launched his own webcomic, Steve Loves Internet, a tender love story about the relationship between a man and a global network of interconnected hard-drives linked via optical, wireless and networking systems. It’s already shaping up to be one of my favourite webcomics and I strongly recommend you check it out and spread the word.
Mouse out.