Showing posts from June, 2009

Arise, Sir Dracula

Well, sort of. It shows how narrowly focused (and fed up) one can be at work. My job actually involves knowing the news, among other things, but I totally missed the knighthood given to the tall terror, Christopher Lee. A generation know him as Saruman and, erm, Lord Dooku in the rubbish Star Wars prequels. An earlier generation known him as Count Dracula, and of course he prompted a generation of small boys to put bits of orange peel in their mouths and pretend to have fangs... Or was that just me? Anyway, hat-tip to the excellent Frankensteinia blog for the fact. Rightly, the author points out that Lee was also Hammer's first monster. Not Frankenstein. Frankenstein was the man, not the monster. Don't mix 'em up. It annoys people. 

Spooky Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for inventing Shirley Combs, the dynamic young female detective of 221B Baker St. However, he also wrote ghost stories. One of them, 'The Captain of the Polestar', is part of a short series of eerie Scottish tales dramatised by the BBC and available to listen to via the iPlayer on BBC 7. You can listen to it here . You can also read the original text here . Some may find the dramatisation disappointing not because of what's in it, but because of what it leaves out. For me, however, the approach is quite 'modern' and satisfying. I also have a weakness for seafaring stuff in general, and this tale of whalers and their haunted captain is very atmospheric. BBC 7 recently ran Jack London's The Sea Wolf , which had a similar 'feel' to it - haunting female voice and all. 

Magazine fun

At last - ST15 has arrived and is sitting in a big box under the kitchen table. Obviously you can't see it from where you are, so I will have to post individual issues to readers. Gosh. Fortunately I have a stockpile of envelopes and am about to buy a ton of stamps. First up go the authors' complementary copies, then the copies to reviewers and influential editors - big hello to Ellen Datlow in New York - and finally the issues go out, alphabetically ordered, to regular subscribers. So, please have patience. After a very long wait and a lot of hassle, I'm posting them out in the next week or so. Gosh it's hot. Here's a picture of a cat to keep us all happy.

This magazine...

Supernatural Tales 15 is supposedly printed and has been despatched to me. Trouble is, it hasn't arrived. I did get the invoice, which was very reasonable. Well, it would have been if I'd received the goods I'd paid for. It was ever thus - the demand for money has winged sandals, the actual product you're paying for is being carried by asthmatic ant up the A19. Oh well. Suffice to say that I will continue to chase up the magazine and - who knows? - what is officially the summer issue may well be posted out before the autumn. In more positive news - Pay Me, I'm Your Pal! I am opening a PayPal account so that people can buy ST online. This blog doesn't count as a proper website, but that's no problem - payments can be made through the exciting PayPal website itself. All I have to do is sort out a few bank details and I'll be up and running in a week or so. Huzzah! As literary ghost stories are in short supply, here's a bit of a supposedly true one. Ama

A Strange Map and a Ghostly Tale

One of my favourite sites is Strange Maps, because I like maps. And I'm strange. Anyway, the latest entry is a weird one about a shifting sandbar that's a ship's graveyard. Along the way you get a spectral vision on the bridge of a doomed trawler, and some other stuff. Maps. They're spiffing.

Thraxton Whelk in... Are Their Brain Cells Still for Tea?

'Are you familiar with the Wittering-Churnleys?' asked my gifted friend. I was somewhat taken aback, as the question came at the end of a prolonged silence. Either that or I had gone temporarily deaf. Perhaps it was a bit of both. I made a mental note to consult and earwax specialist and learn to lipread. But Whelk was speaking again...  'Oy, bumface. Wittering-Churnleys. Any clue?'  'The only family of that name I'm aware of are the hereditary bailiffs of Trample-Badger. The first baronet was ennobled by Charles II for devising a billiard table with pockets, considerably shortening the game. Since then the Wittering-Churnleys have distinguished themselves in statecraft, the military, the navy, the church, and 'I'm a Victorian, Get Me Out of Here!' Rather unusually, their coat of arms is in fact a coat, with lots of arms on it. Oh, and their entire stock of goldfish was eaten by Swinburne when the current baronet defaulted on payment for a partic