How I Spent May 2019

DorisMay19The main news for me this month is that I’m officially writing a TV tie-in novel! I’m currently not at liberty to reveal which TV series the novel ties in with, but suffice to say that it’s not Doctor Who this time. I’m aiming to have the first fifth of the draft done and dusted by the end of this week.

In other news… well, with the Hugo Awards approaching, I’m planning to continue my annual tradition of reviewing the prose finalists; on top of that, I’m still getting stuck into the Splatterpunk Award contenders. So, when I wasn’t writing, I spent a pretty big chunk of the month reading.

On top of this, I’ve still been working on getting everything in order for the Midnight Widows crowdfunding campaign; I’ve polished off the promotional film, and once a final bit of additional graphic design is out the way we’ll be ready to roll. It seems fairly safe to say that the campaign will launch in June or, at the latest, July.

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for June and beyond:


Out for the Count

Dracula1stThe latest instalment of my year-long overview of vampire fiction is live! This time around, I’m looking at Dracula. Yes, I’ve written five articles’ worth of the history of vampire literature, and I’ve only just got up to Bram Stoker.

The post was a little intimidating at first: how much is there left to say about such an oft-dissected book? Well, as it turns out, I was able to look at it with fresh eyes. Most people discussing Dracula compare it with what came afterwards, particularly the various film adaptations; but in my case, having written about vampire fiction from 1818 onwards, I was able to discuss Dracula in terms of what came before. Doing so helped me to see the old favourite in a new light, and I hope my readers find something to appreciate.

The Unexplained Revisited: Extra-Sensory Perception

Unexplained 1Welcome back for another return trip to the legendary 1980s partwork magazine The Unexplained. Having witnessed UFOs, let’s take a look at the second article of the first issue…

“[E]xtra-sensory perception is a fact – but one still shrouded in mystery” is the confident declaration that precedes Roy Stemman article on ESP. The piece opens by introducing us to psychic researcher Stanley Krippner, who claims that when he was fourteen years old he had a sudden conviction that his uncle was dead; moments afterwards, his mother received a telephone call announcing that the uncle in question had passed away. Stemman uses this account to explore three hypothetical varieties of ESP: was it a case of telepathy, Krippner having somehow read the mind of the individual making the telephone call? Was it clairvoyance, the boy having sensed the death without directly communicating with anyone’s mind? Or was it precognition, Krippner having seen into the future and picked up his subsequent conversation with his mother? Stemman also floats a fourth possibility – that the dead uncle’s spirit communicated with Krippner – that belongs more to the study of mediumship and life-after-death than to ESP.

Continue readingThe Unexplained Revisited: Extra-Sensory Perception”

The House of Eddas: Valkyries, Fricka and More in Journey Into Mystery #91-92

Journeymyst91Welcome back to the series where I lark about comparing Marvel’s Thor comics to Norse mythology. I’ve got a little more to get my teeth into this time around, as the next to issues introduce a few more denizens of Asgard to the comic mythos…

Joe Sinott becomes the latest artist to take on Thor’s adventures in the Journey into Mystery #91 story “Sandu, Master of the Supernatural!” This one is an oddly convoluted narrative for a Silver Age comic, with a two-panel prologue that exists solely to set up a Chekhov’s gun (well, a Chekhov’s belt, but we’ll come to that later) followed by a second prologue which turns out to be occurring in medias res.


But the plot underneath all this is straightforward stuff: Loki, still trapped in Asgard, looks down on Earth and notices a promising accomplice in the carnival psychic Sandu. After Loki boosts his preternatural powers, Sandu graduates from reading minds to levitating buildings.

Continue reading “The House of Eddas: Valkyries, Fricka and More in Journey Into Mystery #91-92″

The Invisible War by Berit Kjos, Part 3

Well, having started and continued my coverage of the 1993 fundamentalist Christian children’s book The Invisible War, let’s bring things to a close.

Molly’s father is teaching her all about the invisible armour she must carry through life: the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation and…

“Is there more?”

“Yes, the Sword of the Spirit.”

“The Sword of the Spirit? What’s that?”

“The Book of Truth.”

I should mention that the book’s extended use of the Armour of God from Ephesians 6:10-17 is one of the few halfway solid ideas it has. And even then, it manages to botch things with the blatant mixed metaphor above.

Continue readingThe Invisible War by Berit Kjos, Part 3″