Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Devil Commands (1941)

William F. Sloane's second and last novel, The Edge of Running Water, is a neglected classic that could arguably be classed as a Wellsian scientific romance. It has none of the feel of pulp magazine sci-fi/horror, instead offering a fairly sedate narrative with well-rounded characters and a striking central premise. Like Sloane's first book, To Walk the Night, it's a slow-burner with a lot of style, and key scenes stick in the memory.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

'The Detective' by Cardinal Cox

I'm trying to get my reviewing mojo back, and it's not easy. However, one item I'm always pleased to see is a slim, intriguing poetry pamphlet from Cardinal Cox, formerly Poet Laureate of Peterborough.

His latest pamphlet is the twelfth in his retro-futurist series, which intersects with the Gothic, along with sci-fi and general weirdness. As usual, the poems are short, pithy, interesting, and the footnotes are a veritable cornucopia of interesting ideas. So, what's it about?

We begin with William Godwin, whose Caleb Williams was arguably the first detective novel. 'Sir, I Write to You: Prelude' concerns a possible sighting of Godwin's stepdaughter, Fanny Imlay. According to the footnote, 'Mr Godwin believed the account offered to him by the poet Percy Shelley that Fanny had committed suicide in Swansea, though he is never recorded as meeting Shelley's continental friend, Victor Frankenstein.'

And there were are, up to our necks in Romanticism, giblets, and hubris. Next up, in 'The Rookeries', we find the Peeler cleaning out dens of iniquity. The Old Bailey, Newgate, the need to find someone to hang when a toff gets murdered - the whole Dickensian panoply is here. This is an early memory of our mysterious detective. As is the Frost Fair, nicely evoked in the following poem.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Reader Poll for Issue 40

Best story in ST #40?
'Chambers of the Heart' by Steve Duffy
'Mortimer: The Husband's Story' by Jane Jakeman
'Sargasso' by Laura Lucas
'Inside Out' by Tracy Fahey
'Legends of Claudia' by S.P. Miskowski
'Atmospheric Disturbances' by Helen Grant
'Red Lion Rising' by Mark Valentine
Created with Survey Maker

Monday, 29 April 2019

Where Are the Bones? A Reminder!

Where Are the Bones? & Other Stories by Jacqueline Simpson is still available, and still eminently readable!

Where Are The Bones?

Stories of the strange and supernatural by one of Britain's leading folklore experts.
Contents: "Introduction" by Jacqueline Simpson; "Three Padlocks"; "On Danish Dunes"; "Where are the Bones...?"; "Vampire Viking Queen"; "Dragon Path"; "The Trophy"; "Rowland's Hall"; "Purty Liddle Dears"; "The Game of Bear"; "The Guardian"; "The Pepper-Pot"; "Afterword" by Gail-Nina Anderson; "A Note on Will Stone" by Rosemary Pardoe