Neil Sharpson

UK Cover Reveal!

Oh I have been itching to show you guys this one!

This is the cover for the UK edition of When the Sparrow Falls and it is a feast for the eye.

See what I did there? Matt Needle, the artist, gave us three concepts for the cover and honestly picking one was one of the hardest parts of this whole process because they were all so beautiful. But I think we picked the right one. It manages to pack in so many of the themes of the book in one deceptively simple image. I love it. And if you want to get a first peek at the inside of the book, Rebellion have released and excerpt which you can read here.

When the Sparrow Falls Now Available for Pre-Order!

My new novel, When the Sparrow Falls, is now available to pre-order!:

“Welcome to the Caspian Republic. The last bastion of true humanity in a world given over to artificial intelligence.

Stray from the path towards anything “machine” and the state will correct you.

When propagandist Paulo Xirau dies, and is discovered to himself be a “machine”, State Security Agent Nikolai South is given a new assignment he could hardly want less: chaperone the widow, Lily, the only “machine” visitor ever invited from the outside world, and help her determine what happened to her husband.

Nikolai knows it will be nearly impossible to complete the job without running afoul of the Party—but when he sees that Lily bears an eerie resemblance to his late wife, Nikolai stumbles on a larger plot, one that exposes all the lies he’s told himself and which may bring down the Republic for good.

WHEN THE SPARROW FALLS illuminates authoritarianism, complicity, and identity in the digital age, in a page turning, darkly-funny, frightening and touching story that recalls Philip K. Dick, John Le Carré and Kurt Vonnegut in equal measure.”

When the Sparrow Falls will be published by TOR on June 29 2021, but you can order it now from the following retailers!

Disney(ish) reviews with the Unscrupulous Mouse: Artemis Fowl

“So I said to him: “Sir, if your attempts at neo-realism were any more bourgeois, they would have political rights in the Ancien Regime!””

 

NPG x133037; Martin Amis - Portrait - National Portrait Gallery

“Very droll.”

 

Zadie Smith - Interview Magazine

“Yes. Quite.”

 

“Sick burn, Salman.”

 

“So Mouse, before we invite you to join our exclusive club for novelists, what were you doing before you took up the quill?”

 

“Oh, you know. One blogs a little. Film reviews. Cultural critiques. All very serious and highbrow. No talking maps.”

 

“Talking…well, very good. Very good. I’m delighted to welcome you..”

Breaking Down The Wall on Make a GIF

“MWA HA HA HA! Nobody move!”

 

“Dude, not cool! I’m with people who matter!”

 

“Mouse! Who is this rakish, uncouth rodent?!”

 

“Sigh. This is my evil twin brother the Unscrupulous Mouse. He’s a supervillain”

 

“I think you should leave.”


“Yeah, no shit, Salman. Okay, asshole what are you doing here?”


“What the hell is wrong with you?! Disney release a movie set in Ireland and it’s the worst thing ever and you don’t review it?! That’s three of your wheelhouses right there!”


“I reviewed Darby O’Gill, it was fine!”


“Not that one, fool! Artemis Fowl! The new Cromwell!”


“Look, I don’t have time to drop everything every time Disney goes plop plop. I’m a busy writer now, and quite frankly too good for that sort of thing.”


“FINE! I’LL DO IT MYSELF!”

I loved the Artemis Fowl books. Growing up as an evil mouse in Ireland I didn’t have many role models. Sure, there were a few villains I aspired to. The cartoon villains that were beaten by the heroes every Saturday morning or the Irish politicians using their power for personal gain. But there wasn’t a kid villain that I could root for! I wanted someone that outsmarted the good guys! Someone who’s plans weren’t foiled every week. Then Artemis Fowl entered my life. Not only was he a smart villain, he was Irish too! Then after a few books into the series, I heard the news! They were making an Artemis Fowl movie! Holy crap! young me squeaked! I’ll finally see my hero villain on the big screen!

Originally intended to be launched as a franchise by Miramax way back in 2001, the film languished in development hell until Disney acquired the rights in 2013. And I hate them for what they have done.

“Excellent. I feed on your hate.”

Okay, let’s get this over with.

(more…)

Let’s all go to the theatre!

Hey, what are you doing Saturday? Well, cancel it. Put on your best duds and let’s all go get some culture. My buddies in AboutFace Theatre are premiering 8 new three-minute plays (including one by yours truly about a cult leader who has to deal with a different apocalypse from the one he was expecting) and the good news is it’s on Zoom so you don’t even have to leave the house!

We premiere on Saturday June 6th at 4pm EST (9 pm Irish Time) and you can get your tickets HERE.

Hope to see you there!

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

As a general rule, I don’t watch the “Making Of” features of the movies I review, because:

a) The movie should be able to stand alone as a discrete work without additional media required to appreciate it.

b) I’m hella lazy, y’all.

But after…experiencing the subject of this review, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension, I felt that I might need to read the manual. During the “Making of” there’s a moment where director WD Richter is asked what the movie is about and responds with a deep sigh and a muttered “Oh God…”

It’s that kind of movie.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension is what happens when a lot of very smart, very talented people decide to take twenty million dollars of someone else’s money and have as much fun as it is possible to have legally. This is a cult film. No, scratch that. This is a CULT film, engineered to be so from the atoms making up the film stock upward. You are either in on the joke, or you aren’t. And I have to confess, my first watch through I was very conscious of what I like to call “The Rocky Horror” effect, the sensation that you would really be enjoying the movie you are watching if you weren’t alone and stone cold sober. It’s not a “watch at home alone on a cloudy afternoon” movie. It’s a “crack open a few beers with some rowdy friends” movie. Or possibly a “watch under the influence of hallucinogens and then found a religion” movie.

What’s it about? Oh God.

(more…)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Back in the thirties, they laughed when Walt Disney said that he was going to make a feature length animated film. “Oh, how quaint” the fat studio execs chortled through solid walls of cigar smoke as they sat stewing in their leather-bound rooms “The little cartoon man thinks he can make movies”.

The little cartoon man then proceeded to make Snow Whiteone of the most successful movies of all time. Then, a decade later, Disney announced that he was branching out into live action movies.

“Oh how quaint” the fat studio execs chortled through solid walls of cigar smoke as they sat stewing in their leather-bound rooms “The little animated feature man thinks he can make movies with real people”.

At which point Disney fixed them with a steely glare and said “Okay, just for that? I’m going to own you. All of you. It may take decades but I now dedicate my every waking moment to ensuring that one day, everything you own will belong to me. Every movie you’ve ever made, every studio, every piece of merchandise, every character. You sneeze, I will own the dirty hankie. Every red cent you ever earn will one day BELONG TO WALTER ELIAS DISNEY SO I SWEAR ON THE OLD GODS AND THE NEW.”

And they chortled at that because some motherfuckers never learn, do they?

An important step on Disney’s path to total global conquest were their live action films of the 1950s. These were usually classic tales of derring do from literature dressed up real nice with a few catchy songs. Probably the best remembered film of this era was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, based on Jules Verne’s staggeringly prophetic novel about how big an impact submarines were going to have on all our lives.

Leagues marked something of a watershed moment for Disney’s live-action fare as it was the first Disney film to get a really top-tier cast with household names like Kirk Douglas, Peter Lorre and James Mason. In fact, even though Disney had already made several fairly successful live action movies at this point, Kirk Douglas needed quite a bit of coaxing, with his part being substantially altered at his request.

“Okay, so Ned Land should be introduced with two hotties on either arm.”

“Fine.”

“And he has to win every fight he’s in!”

“Fine.”

“And everytime he’s not onscreen, everyone should be wandering around going “Where’s Ned? Where’s Ned?”

“Fine.”

“And I want my son to play Ant-Man!”

“That is a WEIRD ask, but okay.”

As director, Walt hired director Richard Fleischer, much to Fleishcer’s surprise as he was the son of Max Fleischer, Disney’s long-time rival.

“Don’t you hate him?”

“Richard my boy, I keep my friends close, my enemies closer and the people my enemies care about in the same building where I work. Under armed guard.”

“Ah. So. Am I a director or a hostage?”

“The job calls for you to fill several roles.”

(more…)

Deep breath…

Almost seven year ago, I decided to start a blog as a way to practice my writing, develop a profile as a writer and maybe even foster a following.

And I decided to that in the character of a mouse who had been cursed by Walt Disney to review every one of his feature length animated films for reasons that have been lost to history but were absolutely rock solid at the time.

“We had a one-month old baby and you hadn’t slept in weeks.”

“Ahhhhhh…yes. That was it.”

Seven years is a long time. This is an old blog. I realised just recently that I’ve been blogging as Mouse for almost a fifth of my life. It’s brought me an incredible amount of joy and satisfaction and it has been my pleasure and privilege to know you all. Which is why I want you all to know…

“Oh God, are you dying?!”

“What? No!”

Guys? I have good news.

Like. I have really, really, good news.

Guys. I got an agent.

As of three days ago I am represented by Jennie Goloboy of the Donald Maass Literary Agency for my novel, The Caspian Sea.

Yeah. That happened.

Happy New Year!

I don’t hold with New Year’s, personally, it’s just a fake holiday cooked up by Big Calendar. But I suppose it’s as good a time as any to take stock of everything that’s happened last year and check for structural damage.

So, 2018 was…mixed.

A better year than 2017, definitely. 2017 (for me) was just an series of unending failure, rejection and humiliation culminating in me hitting my lowest point since…ever, pretty much. 2018 on the other hand, was a series of sharp highs and lows and I’ll definitely take that over the alternative. If current trends continue, 2019 might actually be (whisper it softly now) good?

The bad was losses in the family, the occasional depressive episode and just the general mental and emotional wear and tear of living in a world run by an insane wall-obsessed golden tamarin.

“NO COLLUSION!”

So let’s talk about the good.

(more…)

I’m sorry, I suck, also please support my play!

Mouse where the hell is the review this is an outrage!

Sorry! Sorry, I’m really sorry. I was on holiday over the weekend and this review just slipped the hell away from me. I’m really sorry, especially since Qwirkyproductions has been waiting for this review since the frickin’ Obama administration. I’ll be ready for Halloween, promise.

Okay, well…you watch yer ass. See you next week.

Actually there’s one more thing…

You have GOT to be kidding

So my play, The Caspian Sea, came back from Alaska leaner, meaner and with a white wolf companion that it goes on adventures with. And now it’s getting a staged reading as part of the Newvember Theatre Festival on November 9th in the New Theatre Temple Bar. If you live in Dublin (we few, we happy few), tickets are on sale now and I’d love to see your face.

The rest of you, I’ll see your faces on Hallowe’en.