Progress Report: A Long Year’s Dreaming

Well, I’ve already admitted that my pencilled-in plan to get my essay collection A Long Year’s Dreaming: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror in 2020 finished in December was a little unrealistic. Recent events — amongst them a technical problem involving my Kindle, and the fact that this time of year is peak period for items getting lost in the post — have conspired to rub that in my face.

I’ve still been going forward full tilt, however. Any delay offers an opportunity to squeeze in a little more writing: in particular, I’ve found myself expanding the book’s anime content.

The cover design’s coming along pretty well, too. I hope to have something to show for it before long.

Make a Donation, Become a Cryptid!

In the past, I ran an offer where anyone who donated to me via Patreon or Ko-Fi would be entitled to a bespoke illustration of themselves as a cryptid. Well, I’m happy to announce that this offer is returning and will last for the forseeable future!

Yes, all you need to do is chip in to my Patreon or Ko-Fi and you will be entitled to your very own cryptid portrait, just like the three lucky customers above. Will you become a black-eyed kid,  or get reincarnated as the Ogopogo? Doante and find out!

(Patreon donors also get access to exclusive articles)

Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 19

Chapter 50 of Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf takes us back to Florence, where the Count of Arestino frets over the whereabouts of his adulterous wife Giulia. The whole scurrilous saga appears to have turned him into a Dalek:

All my life have I been a just—a humane—a merciful man; I will be so no more. The world’s doings are adverse to generosity and fair-dealing. In my old age have I learnt this! Oh! the perfidy of women toward a doting—a confiding—a fond heart, works strange alterations in the heart of the deceived one! I, who but a year—nay, six months ago—would not harm the meanest reptile that crawls, now thirst for vengeance—vengeance,” repeated the old man, in a shrieking, hysterical tone, “upon those who have wronged me! I will exterminate them at one fell swoop—exterminate them all—all!” And his voice rang screechingly and wildly through the lofty room of that splendid mansion.

Continue reading “Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 19″

Guy Fawkes Nights Gone By


The fifth of November is upon us, and I spent a chuck of the day delving into Google Books for accounts of how Guy Fawkes Night was celebrated in years past. First, here’sa clipping from William Hone’s Every Day Book of 1825, in which the author describes the night’s events during his childhood:

Scuffles seldom happen now, but “in my youthful days,” “when Guy met Guy —then came the tug of war!” The partisans fought, and a decided victory ended in the capture of the “Guy” belonging to the vanquished. Sometimes desperate bands, who omitted, or were destitute of the means to make “Guys,” went forth like Froissart’s knights “upon adventures.” An enterprise of this sort was called “going to smug a Guy,” that is, to steal one by “force of arms,” fists, and sticks, from its rightful owners. These partisans were always successful, for they always attacked the weak.

Continue reading “Guy Fawkes Nights Gone By”

Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 18

Chapter 47 is given over to describing the Siege of Rhodes, with such tragic scenes as this:

Oh! it was a glorious, but a sad and mournful sight—that death-struggle of the valiant Christians against the barbarism of the East. And many touching proofs of woman’s courage and daring characterized that memorable siege. Especially does this fact merit our attention:—The wife of a Christian captain, seeing her husband slain, and the enemy gaining ground rapidly, embraced her two children tenderly, made the sign of the cross upon their brows, and then, having stabbed them to the heart, threw them into the midst of a burning building near, exclaiming, “The infidels will not now be able, my poor darlings, to wreak their vengeance on you, alive or dead!” In another moment she seized her dead husband’s sword, and plunging into the thickest of the fight, met a death worthy of a heroine.

More scuffles follow, including one in which protagonist du jour Ibrahim personally saves the life of the Sultan. The attacker, an Italian chieftain, ends up as Ibrahim’s captive — and Ibrahim recognises him as none other than Francisco, Count of Riverola, a character established earlier in the novel (he’s the lover of Ibrahim’s sister Flora, and the brother of Wagner’s lover Nisida). The two get on well despite the unfortuante circumstances, and when the conflcit is over and Francisco freed, he agrees to keep Ingrahim updated on his search for both Flora and Nisida.

Continue reading “Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 18″