Showing posts from March, 2011


Okay then, several people have suggested that I branch out into electronic publishing. The idea would be to make new issues of ST available via the Kindle store and other outlets. The price of each issue would be low, to be competitive with other little magazines - say £1.50 per issue. This would mean most of the income going to the publisher - Amazon takes 70 per cent of sales under $2.99, apparently - so any revenue raised would be small. My idea is to use this little income stream to offset rising printing and postage costs, and so keep the printed version of the magazine afloat. What do you think?

Honest Abe v. The Undead

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter . Ring any bells? Well, it's a new book and I've just received an unsolicited review copy. So - being an honest sort of chap - I will read it and report back on what I find. However, from the blurb and review extracts it seems that this is an erudite and somewhat tongue-in-cheek remixing of US history. With vampires.   (If nobody has yet written Moby Dick and Cthulhu , can I humbly suggest it?) To digress slightly, when did books start having trailers? I mean, it's weird. Not wrong, just odd. What are we to make of all this, though, as a social trend? Well, I'll have more to say on this matter later. Possibly. At the moment it seems to be part of a wider trend towards traditional storytelling, whereby historical characters were always 'mashed up' - thus to mediaeval writer King David of Israel and Alexander the Great would be parfit gentle Christian knights. We may have Wikipedia for research, but the principle is not dissim

The Cardinal Strikes Again

CABINET OF CURIOSITIES I can’t remember when I first received a pamphlet of poems from Pete ‘Cardinal’ Cox. It must have been some time after I met him (for the first and so far only occasion) when Gail-Nina Anderson and I were between trains at Peterborough . Gail-Nina, a mutual friend, introduced me to the poet and he took us on a fascinating guided tour of the Cathedral, which is the last resting place of such interesting characters as Catherine of Aragon and E.G. Swain (author of the Stoneground ghost stories).             Since then I’ve received a steady stream of poetical effusions from down Peterborough way. Some are a bit spooky, some are more of the sci-fi persuasion (with a generous helping of steampunk) and some are a bit hard to classify.             The latest, Cabinet of Curiosities , is a tad kinky for a staid old buffer like myself, but all the more refreshing for that. Nothing like a touch of burlesque to clear the tubes out following a long and stressful winter. Th

Cover ST19


Update on ST19

Well, the next issue looks like weighing in at a hefty 98 pages, courtesy of some chunky stories and a long-ish review section, featuring no less than two guest reviewers of the highest calibre. I'm currently battling a chesty cough, or coughy chest, that's kept me sleep-deprived for the best part of a week. But, barring some hideous catastrophe, I'll be checking out a proof copy of ST19 within a few days. Assuming all is well, getting it printed and delivered will take maybe a fortnight. So we're looking at a post out in early April. Not bad for a summer issue.

Look Around You

Competition Time for M.R. James enthusiasts

Ro Pardoe sent me an email, and I am bound by law (by law, mark you) to reproduce the salient points below. Take note, writer chappies! You can contact Ro at: Following the very satisfying level of interest in the "Merfield Hall" and "The Game of Bear" story competitions, I'd been considering the possibility of a third competition when Dan McGachey came up with the suggestion that writers might like to produce sequels to MRJ's completed tales. All the people I've sounded out about this agree with me that it's a fine idea, but I want to extend it to include prequels too. Of course, there have already been examples of sequels - David Sutton's "Return to the Runes" in the second issue of G&S, for instance - but there are still plenty of possibilities. What happened to the 'satyr' (or 'satyrs') after the end of "An Episode of Cathedral History"? Are the lanes of Islington still f

Getting There

Gradually making progress on ST19, hampered by a lousy cold. However, with the exception of one review everything I actually need is here, so fingers crossed. It looks like being one of the most diverse issues, with quite a few new authors. In other news, I need a haircut. Am I alone in hating this process and wishing my hair would just stay a reasonable length forever, or at least until I snuff it?

East Anglian Witch Hunt

In 'The Ash-Tree', M.R. James describes the far-from-cuddly consequences of a witch trial and mass execution in the fictional Suffolk hamlet of Castringham. A real witch hunt occurred in East Anglia somewhat earlier, in 1645, and a contemporary account written by a Puritan has just been put online. The BBC report is here . The book notes that in 1645 "Witchfinder General" Matthew Hopkins, notorious for his brutality against women, had been appointed to check villager Elizabeth Clarke for "devil's marks" - like warts or moles. Under torture, she named other women, including her daughter Rebecca. When Rebecca was herself tortured, she implicated her own mother as a witch. A total of 19 women were eventually hanged, though Rebecca was saved thanks to her confession. Yes, torture definitely gets at the truth. The truth the torturer wants to hear. The fact that people confessed to manifestly impossible 'crimes' should give pause for thought to the cr