Showing posts from May, 2009

The BBC snaps a ghost

I am very sceptical about ghostly images, as I feel that a. they often look rather like those images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary that appear in cakes and things and b. it's too easy to fake stuff these days. However, if the BBC publishes a ghostly image I feel compelled to mention it as I pay for their antics, like other license fee victims. Make of this what you will.

Mr Thurber's Ghosts

James Thurber was arguably the best American prose stylist of the 20th century. His short stories and essays remain superb examples of English prose at its best. Thurber's pieces generally read like superbly polished anecdotes rather than works of fiction or journalism. And some of them do deal, however peripherally, with what might be termed the supernatural. 'The Luck of Jad Peters' is one of those maybe-true stories of Thurber's childhood in his home town of Columbus, Ohio. Aunt Emma Peters kept a strange collection of memorabilia, including a hefty lump of rock. For some reason this rock was regarded as a tasteless inclusion, but Aunt Emma would insist on it being there. The reason? Her late husband, Jad Peters, was a garrulous old bore who repeatedly insisted that he was somehow protected by Providence from untimely death. He collected a series of items linked to supposedly remarkable brushes with the Grim Reaper that proved someone up there was looking out for hi

A Thrilling Saga Begins! Probably

Thraxton Whelk and the Rather Tricky Moment It was on the third day of J--- in the month of ---ber in the year 189- that I found myself in ----olotl Avenue in the L-nd-n borough of ---ders Gr--n. I had decided to visit my old friend Thraxton Whelk, England's greatest occult detective. Or, more properly, to renew my acquaintance with the psychic sleuth; for we had not seen one another or communicated in any way - even by whistling in code in different bits of a maze - since we parted after Whelk so nearly met a grisly end during the Extraordinary Affair of the Vampire Penguins. I confess to feeling a little trepidation as I hauled the bell-pull out of the door frame, tried to replace it, then hid it among what may have been begonias. I call Whelk my friend, but he is notorious for his changeable moods. One minute he can be Hail-Fellow-Well-Met, the next he is chasing you trouserless through a Chinese laundry, wielding a sword-edged bayonet and drooling disconcertingly. It

Peter Cushing, much appreciated

The late PC was one of the best (and best-loved) British film actors. Actually he began as a TV star, and was the first person to be given one of those now-familiar 'retainer' contracts, by the BBC. He was paid to be available, for a specific time, rather than to do any specific thesping job. Big star, he. Also a good Doctor Who. Anyway, over at the excellent Eccentric Cinema site, there's a special feature giving many reviews of the horror movies of Peter Cushing. 


Just before I succumbed to retinal mayhem I wrote a guest piece on science fiction for the conservative-ish blog Heresy Corner . It's to mark the launch of the new Trek movie, but it's mostly about other things. Thought you might like to know.

Not Dead Yet

This is just to let the entire world and its teeming billions know that I had surgery to reattach my right retina and have now recuperated quite a bit. Back to work soon. Bleh! But the good news is I'm back in the saddle and in touch with the printer about the next volume of ST, hurrah. So watch this space and so forth. Thanks to everyone who sent me goodwill messages.