How I Spent December 2017

DorisDecemberWell, it was a quiet month as far as blogging was concerned. I ended up taking a bit of a break as the festive season thrust its tinsel into my face and sang Cliff Richard numbers.

As I type, I have a whole load of emotions in my head, all jammed against each other as they try and jostle their way to the top. I’m picturing them as those Plasticine worms from Trapdoor. I’m also having a had time disentangling them. There are some definite anxieties about the future in there, but they’re competing with personal optimism.

Next year I’ll be knuckling down on my personal projects. The big one will be my comic, Midnight Widows. The first issue’s worth of content has already been serialised in Belladonna magazine, and I plan to start a crowdfunding drive in 2018 that’ll cover both a proper print run for issue #1 and also the creation and publication of issues #2 and #3. Wish me luck!

On top of that, I’m also working on Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers: Speculative Fiction in the Culture War, my non-fiction book about the stories caught up in the Hugos/Sad Puppies kerfuffle between 2013 and 2016.

Lately I’ve been letting these projects cut into my blogging time. I’d like to get a better balance, and spend a bit more time getting my writing out there on the Internet while my long-haul projects are going on in the background. Well, that’s my New Year’s resolution…

Articles posted elsewhere this month:

Article topics for January and beyond:


December 2017 Belladonna Issue Now Available!

APdlvVCeDeck the halls with Horror Honeys…

Yes, the December edition of Belladonna is here, and its stocking is stuffed with seasonal goodness. Supernatural Honey Kim discusses the festive traditions weird enough to warrent their own horror films, Guest Honey Laurel offers a unique take on A Christmas Carol, Monster Honey Sarah expresses her love for The Nightmare Before Christmas, Slasher Honey Chassity revisits Jack Frost, Revenge Honey Addison exposess the scary side of Santa, Classics Honey Sam discusses the sinsiter festive traditions of Scotland, and I make my own contribution to the seasonal celebrations by looking back at the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas.

We also have a few articles for those who need a break from the festivities, including Sarah’s review of Borley Rectory, Kim’s take on The Last Witch, and my reviews of the recently-reprinted British horror classics Scream! and Misty. Plus! Interviews with actor Tristan Risk and comic crestor Shannon Devine!

On top of that, the comic serial I’ve been working on with artist Marcela Hauptvogelova, Midnight Widows, concludes its first run this issue. The Widows will be back for all-new adventures next year, so watch this space.

Midnight Widows Belladonna Page 24

If this sounds like your idea of festive fun, then you can bag your copy at the official website or MagCloud.

How I Spent November 2017

I don’t do Thanksgiving, what with being English and all. But even so, I’ve found myself feeling very thankful this month. I’ve recently been touching base with old friends, and getting closer to my current pals as well. I feel blessed to have such a lovely band of people around me.

After taking a bit of a break last month, I’ve got cracking on my book Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers once more. My research involves deep-diving into the fantasy and science fiction published between 2013 to 2016, and I’d like to take the opportunity to offer my sincerest gratitude to all of the SF/F magazines that have made their stories available as podcasts, thereby allowing me to research and draw at the same time. Kate Baker’s Clarkesworld readings have been the soundtrack to my evenings.

Speaking of drawing, the first issue of my comic Midnight Widows will be finishing its serialisation in Belladonna next month, and work is well underway on issue 2. Marcela’s been pencilling, and I’ve been inking (while listening to Kate Baker). If all goes to plan then there should be a crowdfunding campaign early next year, so that I can afford a colourist, cover art, print runs and more. Watch this space.

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for December and beyond:


November 2017 Belladonna Issue Now Available!

DPF8aKwUEAA3qYi.jpg-largeWe of the Horror Honeys have unleashed Belladonna upon the world again this month! This issue is another joblot of delights: Slasher Honey Chass looks at the recent releases Happy Death Day and Jigsaw, Classics Honey Samantha talks about the gender politics of Stephen and Owen King’s novel Sleeping Beauties and revisits the Universal horror-comedy The Old Dark House, Monster Honey Sarah dives into The Shape of Water, Head Honey LinnieSarah celebrates the underappreciated women of the erotic thriller genre, Supernatural Honey Kim has list of horror films guaranteed to convert even the most sceptical non-fan, Sci-Fi Honey Katie interrogates Blade Runner 2049, Gamer Honey Jess has a go on the retro-toon adventures of Cuphead and Bendy,

Once again, this is a themed issue, with a special focus on celebrating women in comics. Our cover star is Bitch Planet creator Kelly Sue DeConnick, who talks about her career past and present in an exclusive interview; also grilled is fellow comic author Leah Williams. Kim talks about Edward Scissorhands: Parts Unknown, while Guest Honey Laurel reviews Shade: The Changing Girl. My own contributions are a retrospective of Nancy A. Collins’ vampire comics and a review of Kore Yamazaki’s Frau Faust.

This was also a big month for my comic, Midnight Widows, which is currently being serialised in Belladonna. As well as a bumper-sized instalment, this issue has an in-depth introduction to my all-woman team of collaborators: Rosie Wigg, Marcela Hauptvogelova and our newest recruit, Delia Mihai.


To celebrate, here are some of Rosie’s very, very early drawings of Edith and Gabriela. Haven’t they grown?

The issue can be downloaded from the official website and MagCloud. Up and at ’em!

Space Opera Archeology: Philip Francis Nowlan and Buck Rogers

“Then there flashes into my memory the picture of Wilma as, screaming in an utter abandon of merciless fury, she threw herself recklessly, exultantly into the thick of that wild, relentless slaughter; and my mind can find nothing savage nor repellent about her.”

—Anthony Rogers,  “The Airlords of Han”

amazing_stories_192903In the previous posts in this series I covered Edmond Hamilton’s Interstellar Patrol stories and E. E. Doc Smith’s The Skylark of Space, two seminal works of space opera that, coincidentally, were both published in magazines cover-dated August 1928. Now it’s time to look at another work that commenced publication that month, Philip Francis Nowlan’s two-part saga that started with “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” and concluded the following year with “The Airlords of Han”, both in Amazing Stories.

Now, it’s a bit of a stretch to call either story a space opera. While they have a lot of deadly rays and flying machines, they take place entirely on the planet Earth, and space travel turns up only at the very end of “The Airlords of Han” in a rather oddball plot revelation. That said, Nowlan’s yarn did play a part in the development of space opera as a genre. “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” was the basis of a syndicated newspaper strip that started in January 1929. Here, the main character Anthony Rogers was given the nickname Buck, and his adventures ran under the title of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The comic version of the character went on all manner of interplanetary adventures (story titles include “Tiger Men of Mars” and “Depth Men of Jupiter”) and established space opera as a viable genre for comics.

Continue reading “Space Opera Archeology: Philip Francis Nowlan and Buck Rogers”

How I Spent October 2017

DorisOctoberI have a ritual for every October. Each day of the month I watch one horror film and read one horror story. This year was no exception, and I spent the month revisiting some of my old favourites and catching up on a few new releases (hello, Mother, It, The Ritual and Happy Death Day! I dug all of you, each in a somewhat different way.)

My other tradition is to knock out a number of blog posts about the horror genre. Silent films! Creepypasta! Contemporary folk horror! I made my stab at all of those, I did.

Shout out to my fellow Horror Honeys. Halloweentime is our collective favourite time of year, and we always get a little bit excitable.

Now, I prepare to conclude this year’s ritual by watching The Wicker Man for the umpteenhundredth time, before November beckons and I get back to blogging abut old space operas again…

Articles of mine published elsewhere this month:

Article topics for November and beyond: