Showing posts from 2013

One Thousand and One Nights; or, The Arabian Nights

The One Thousand and One Nights , popularly known as The Arabian Nights , is a composite work compiled from Middle Eastern and Indian folklore during the first millennium AD. In its earliest form, its origin was in tales from India and Persia, and then Arab tales were added to it- most of them dating from the period of the  Umayyad and  Abbasid Caliphates. Many of these stories are based around the adventures of the Caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid and his vizier (advisor) Ja'far the Barmecide . ( Harun al-Rashid was an actual historic figure, although his real-life vizier was Ja'far's father, Yahya . The  real Ja'far was mysteriously executed, although it was possibly for an affair with the caliph's sister.) Then later, more folk tales from Syria and Egypt have been added to create as many stories in the Arabian Nights to fill up over a thousand nights. I've read the Penguin Classics English Translation by Malcolm C.Lyons and Ursula Lyons, with a

Reflections on "We3" by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

    I recently enjoyed reading "We3", a graphic novel by Grant Morrison (writer) and Frank Quitely* (artist). The story premise is that a shadowy branch or agency of the US military and government are using pets as part of covert experiments in clandestine warfare operations, turning them into cyborg killing machines. "We3" are a dog, cat and rabbit (formerly known as Bandit, Tinker and Pirate, kidnapped pets from off the street) who have been 'enhanced' with metallic   exo-skeletal plate armour, powerful weaponry and brain surgery to boost their intelligence. They can now talk, and communicate in a peculiar form of text-speak. The dog is the most self-aware and articulate. They have been transformed into cyborg assassins, trained and programmed to eliminate potential targets.     The reader is also introduced to rats who were clearly the first phase of the experiment- one rat has a drill for a head- and the reader is also shown the ne

"Whispers on the Airwaves" published at Darker Times

Publication News: My SF/Horror short story "Whispers on the Airwaves" has been published by Darker Times. It was a runner-up in their September competition, and you can read my story online here: You can see the full list of winners and runners up for the website's September competition here: The Darker Times website is run by the author Jessica Grace Coleman, please do check out her website and links to her published works here:    

Reading Matters

"Reading Matters"- yes, I know this pun sounds a little bit Partridgean - but I like it, so there. I finished a couple of novels recently which I was impressed by, and I wanted to write some brief lines about them. The first one was In Arcadia , by the Nigerian writer Ben Okri. I had not been particularly impressed by the blurb and the premise for the book (more fool me), but upon reading the first few pages I quickly became absorbed.   The basic plot of Okri's novel is that a group of TV and film-makers receive instructions from a mysterious and elusive individual named Malasso to travel from London to Paris and along the way create a film to mark aspects of their journey. The book and its themes were inspired by two paintings by Nicolas Poussin : "Et in Arcadia Ego" (Roughly translated, Even in Arcadia, There Am I ) and most notably, the second painting under this title, known also as the "Arcadian Shepherds", which hangs in the Louvre.  

The Three Mulla-Mulgars (Illustrations)

In relation to my previous post on Lord of Darkness , I found some fantastic illustrations for different editions of  The Three Mulla-Mulgars (The Three Royal Monkeys) by Walter de la Mare, which I thought I would share with you:

Lord of Darkness, by Robert Silverberg

Introduction      The first 'adult' novel that I ever read (or more accurately, perhaps, attempted to read) was Lord of Darkness by Robert Silverberg. I recall that it was a borrowed library book that was lying around the house. Perhaps the cover, which I can remember very clearly, was what attracted me: The cover of the original edition, which I remember well from the library copy at our house when I was a kid. The cover shows Andrew Battell and Dona Teresa, the Portuguese femme fatale who nurses him back to health in the colony   The edition that I currently own, published in 2013 by Nonstop Press        I'm not sure how old I was when I tried to read it. Eight or nine years old, perhaps? When re-reading it years later, I was very surprised by some of the explicit content. I didn't remember it at all from the first time I had read the book. Maybe I had not understood it, or had not found those particular sections of the book interesting. What had r

SNM Horror Magazine August Asylum Issue (#57)

Publication News:  My short story "The Visitor" has been published and featured in SNM Horror Magazine's August Asylum issue (#57).   This paranoid horror story is about a creepy mental patient who speaks of being watched by mysterious beings who have compelled him to commit crimes. Although his claims are bizarre and he is considered insane, eventually his psychiatrist uncovers the truth... You can read it here: SNM Horror Magazine- August Asylum  

Litro Magazine #127: Victoriana

Publication news: My short story "The Legacy of Steeple Hill" is featured in Litro Magazine's Victoriana issue (July #127). It's a curious story. It definitely has a feel of Edgar Allan Poe/Wilkie Collins about it, and a sinister atmosphere throughout. A Crimean war veteran, Thomas Barrington, visits the ancestral home of the Walsinghams, the mansion on Steeple Hill. It's a suitably gloomy and labyrinthine building overlooking a rugged, ominous coastline. Barrington is calling on his old friend, and the present incumbent and aristocrat owner of the mansion, Lord John Walsingham. Barrington unwittingly stumbles upon a sequence of planned occult rituals orchestrated by Walsingham, which have already resulted in mysterious supernatural events taking place at the forbidding gothic mansion... Please read and enjoy, and I hope you will take the time to read the entire issue as well (Victoriana being a theme close to my heart!) The link is here: Litro Magazine #127

Blysster Press Crypticon Anthology of Horror Shorts

Publication news- my short story 'Winter's Promise' has been published in Blysster Press' Crypticon anthology of horror shorts. It's a supernatural tale about a couple trapped in a mountainside cabin during a heavy snowstorm, and their strange experiences. You can check this story out and more amazing tales by fantastic authors in the anthology, which is available as a paperback from Amazon here : Blysster Press Crypticon Anthology

Writing Update April 2013

It's been a long time since I posted a fresh article on this blog, too long in fact. I apologise for this period of silence. The truth is that I have not been silent on here for lack of anything to write, but simply because I've been too busy with other stuff- I've completed the final draft of a new unpublished novel, Staccato House; I've written about 60% of another new novel and I've completed the final draft of a new novella. I've also completed a new collection of short stories, entitled Echoes and Exiles . A few of the stories intended for this have already been published online and in magazines; others are in the progression-stage of making it to publication- that purgatory waiting-room of literary judgement. Once all works have been submitted and found a suitable home, I'll make the rest of the material publicly available as I think its deserving to be read- so I'm guessing that Echoes and Exiles  will (hopefully) be ready to buy/read on various

Retrieved from the Vaults

I don't have all of the books that I own with me at my home in London. I managed to retrieve most of my ancient book and comics collection from the vaults in Lincolnshire. For now my books are shelved without rhyme or reason, but I re-discovered my favourite tomes and reading material from my younger days. Here is the 'library':   There are some rather odd juxtapositions of particular volumes there if you look closely (Stephen King not far from Shakespeare and Dickens), but for now a sensible bibliography will have to wait. Still, I think I can just about get away with placing Tolkien and Lovecraft close together, with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein lurking nearby- I'm just not sure about Virginia Woolf and Charles Darwin!: In the late 1980s and early 1990s I was a voracious reader of comics and graphic novels- particularly 2000AD. It was interesting to rediscover some old favourites, with Judge Dredd featuring prominently: