How I Spent September 2019

DorisSep19And so ends the final British summer of the decade…

The big event for me this month was the release of The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 5, which contained my debut episode as a Big Finish scriptwriter (along with the debuts of Alyson Leeds, April McCaffrey and Lani Woodward, each of whom did lovely work). If you haven’t already, you can order it on CD or MP3 at the Big Finish shop.

That’s all done and dusted now, and I’ve moved on to other projects. My TV tie-in novel has passed the 50,000-word milestone; I just need to pass it through a round (or two) of revisions and add an epilogue before sending it off to my delightful editor. And then there are all the articles I’ll be writing for the Halloween season… well, stay tuned, is all.

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for October and beyond:

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Samuel R. Delany and NAMBLA

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I’ve read very little of Samuel R. Delany’s fiction. He’s one of the novelists I never got round to exploring, despite having heard a good deal of praise directed his way. And yet, somehow, I’ve found myself writing about him a surprising amount. Specifically, I’ve found myself writing about his controversial relationship with the pro-paedophile organisation NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association).

I’m still working on my book Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers: Speculative Fiction in the Culture Wars, and I recently sketched out a section where I touch upon Delany and NAMBLA. The section is too short for me to really go into detail, though, so I decided that it was time for a fuller exploration of the topic.

For those unfamiliar with the controversy, the best place to start is this July 2014 interview between Delany and author Will Shetterly. Here, Delany delivers a long, rambling series of thoughts on paedophilia. He admits to having supported NAMBLA in the 1990s because he was impressed by its newsletter, which he describes as having been “a smart, well-written, and well thought-out gay rights newsletter” put out by “an intelligent and highly thoughtful institution”. He distances himself from the group’s current incarnation:  “Where or what NAMBLA is today, I haven’t the foggiest notion” (as an aside, he also reveals that Camilla Decarnin, a minor SF author of the 1980s, was a NAMBLA member).

Continue reading “Samuel R. Delany and NAMBLA”

Vampires and Richard Matheson

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I’m still ploughing ahead with my biggest blogging project of the year: a 12-month, decade-by-decade overview of vampire fiction, marking the two hundredth anniversary of John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” — the story that can lay claim to having kicked off the genre in the first place. This month I’ve reached the 1950s, with a look at Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and an earlier, shorter, lesser-known vampire story by the same author. How did vampires adapt to the postwar era? Very well, as it happens…

Here are the past instalments in the series if you’d like to catch up:

Part 1: Two Centuries of Blood — John Polidori’s “The Vampyre” (1818); Cyprien Bérard’s Lord Ruthwen ou les Vampires (1820)

Part 2: The Feminine Touch — Théophile Gautier’s “La morte amoureuse” (1836); Elizabeth F. Ellet’s “The Vampyre” (1849)

Part 3: Deconstructing the Vampire — Charles Wilkins Webber’s Spiritual Vampirism (1853);  Paul Féval’s Le Chevalier Ténèbre (1860)

Part 4: Carmilla and Company — J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1871-2); Anne Crawford’s “A Mystery of the Campagna” (1886)

Part 5: Enter Count Dracula — Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897)

Part 6: An Occult Dawn — M. R. James’ “Count Magnus” (1904); Sax Rohmer’s Brood of the Witch-Queen (1918)

Part 7: Dion Fortune’s Demon Lover — Dion Fortune’s The Demon Lover (1927)

Part 8: In the Shadow of Hollywood — Henry Kuttner’s “I, the Vampire” (1937); Irina Karlova’s Dreadful Hollow (1942)

On Amazing Stories Issue 28

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Yes, I’m still doing my issue-by-issue retrospective of Amazing Stories. I’m now up to issue 28 — which was, as coincidence might have it, actually published in ’28. Goodness. Anyway, head over hear to read about a gender-bending supervillain, a funky baseball, a transparent H. G. Wells knockoff, and an early attempt to bring pulp science fiction to the stage…

Bernice Summerfield: Buried Memories is Out Now!

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The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 5: Buried Memories, an audio Doctor Who spinoff starring Lisa Bowerman and David Warner and scripted by a team that includes yours truly, is out now! If you order it in CD or MP3 format at the official website, here are the treats that’ll be in store for you:

 1. Pride of the Lampian by Alyson Leeds
Bernice Summerfield finds the last relic of a lost civilisation. One that the Doctor is worried may never have existed.

2. Clear History by Doris V Sutherland
The people of Civitas-G have retreated into an idyllic recreation of their homeworld. And they’re refusing to believe that it is now breaking down.

3. Dead and Breakfast by April McCaffrey
Bernice and the Doctor are trapped on a planet where people who are unusual have a habit of dying. They’re in trouble.

4. Burrowed Time by Lani Woodward
Centuries ago the Byrinthians were wiped out. Apart from one underground train which is still travelling the tunnels of this long-dead world. With a passenger on board.