Monday 31 October 2016

The Age of Miracles: Funding Now!

The Kickstarter for The Age of Miracles was launched this evening. It's a collection of the essays from this blog, originally part of the In Search of the Miraculous and Written in Water series, all edited, footnoted and polished into a book form. Reward tiers include cheap bundles of Chariot and MSG™ if you put in enough.

Support me here.

We Don't Go Back #6: Wisconsin Death Trip (1998)

A documentary creates a special kind of illusion: it wishes to convince you that what it presents is not only true, but factual. This is how it was, and it casts a mirror on how it is. Or that's what the documentary maker would like you to think.

Sunday 30 October 2016

Atlantis (Popular) Rising #4: Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)

I don't think I've ever had it in me to want to write about a Disney film. Let alone put one in the inspirational sources section of a role-playing game I wrote. There's always a first time, I say, as I shrug and begin the qualifications.

Friday 28 October 2016

We Don't Go Back #4: Stigma (1977)

(Warning: one of the images in this post could be disturbing. There's a lot of blood in it.)

For most of the 1970s, BBC1 broadcast a ghost story on Christmas Eve. The first six were adaptations: five MR James stories, the sixth Charles Dickens' The Signalman (in my – and a lot of critics' – opinions, the best of them all). And a lot has been written on these. The last two were original productions, and on the other hand receive comparatively little attention.

Wednesday 26 October 2016

We Don't Go Back #2: Two Plays by Nigel Kneale (1975, 1976)

Murrain (1975), Baby (1976)

Enthusiasts for Folk Horror often look at 1970s TV as a golden age for the subgenre.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

We Don't Go Back #1: The Witch (2015)

And the leaves redden, like blood.
 It's Autumn. The evenings are drawing in. It's a good few years since I've done anything like it, but I've got a yen to watch something scary as the afternoons get darker, as the leaves grow red, and gather around my feet.

I remember doing a fair few horror reviews on one of my old blogs. I thought I'd do it again for the next week or so, with a selection of film and TV that broadly fall under the umbrella of "folk horror".

Friday 21 October 2016


Four of Swords.
Another excerpt from the upcoming Cosmic Memory, by Malcolm Sheppard. Backers and Patrons have had the chance to see the whole thing.

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Atlantis (Popular) Rising #3: Warlords of Atlantis (1978)

Oh hell yes.
Now, the first time I did one of these posts, I looked at something recent. The second post was something from the era of my childhood that I had missed the first time around. But now, now we're talking something formative, something that I saw more than once as a kid, or at least I feel like I did.

I'm talking about Warlords of Atlantis, with Peter Gilmore, Shane Rimmer and the legendary Doug McClure.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Errata: Alternative Boons for the Lover

I should first offer an apology for not having posted for a couple of days. Life got in the way, mainly and while I knew the pace of the blog wasn't going to be one I could keep up forever, I still hope to post if not daily, at least five times a week. I still have several essays about pop Atlantises and fractured histories to write, and a bunch of game stuff.

But today, I want to fix something in Chariot. 

Saturday 15 October 2016

Atlantis (Popular) Rising #2: Arion, Lord of Atlantis (1983-5)

So, as a kid I liked comics.

I read a lot of them, but because it was the 80s, mainly they'd be either British comics or British reprints of American comics, and that meant Marvel Comics, which meant that I didn't just know about Spider-Man and the Hulk and the Avengers and Daredevil; I was also familiar with Machine Man, Rocket Raccoon, Shang-Chi the Master of Kung-fu, Alpha Flight and a bunch of other minor Marvel characters too, and these relatively obscure characters would be the ones I remembered best.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

A lexicographical submission

Thatcher /θatʃə/ verb transitive.

Irrevocably damage or ruin,
Usually with the intention to fix or improve.

I tried to weed the garden
But I thatchered it
And pulled up all the roses.

I thought about fixing the laptop
But I am concerned that I will
Invalidate the warranty
And I am afraid that I might thatcher it.

All I meant to do was put up a picture
But the drill went through a wire
Leading to the light switch
And the resulting short circuit
Set the wall on fire
And I have thatchered the house.

Decades of dedicated thatchery
Have killed this region's hopes
So completely that they voted
To impoverish themselves
Further rather than give you
The satisfaction of winning.

I humbly submit my neologism
For your consideration.
The richness of the English lexicon
Deserves it.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Atlantis (Popular) Rising #1: BBC's Atlantis (2013-15)

There's 26 episodes in the box, because on broadcast the last two were edited together as a feature length finale.
This is the first of a short series where I'm going to look at media artifacts that are in in some way about Atlantis. In some ways it spins off from my In Search of the Miraculous series, in that it's mainly going to be about how presentations of  Atlantis work in media.

Saturday 8 October 2016

What the Patrons are Getting

OK, it's October, and it's been a while since I've plugged my Patreon site, but it's still there and earning a modest crust, and I'm returning to putting out new stuff there. And I thought I'd post a bit of something that only the patrons get to see.

Friday 7 October 2016

This Could Be Beautiful (audio)

I recorded this with Simeon Smith a couple of years ago, and he reposted it yesterday in honour of National Poetry Day.

Simeon's Soundcloud is here; you can read his blog here; and you can listen to his recent work as himself and as donotrunwithpixels on Bandcamp.

Thursday 6 October 2016

Wednesday 5 October 2016

In defence of loving difficult music

Some years ago, in his book 31 Songs, Nick Hornby wrote, "I don't want to be terrified by art any more."

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Inner Worlds #6: Conflict and Agency

One of the biggest things that I'll probably change should I ever get to doing a second edition of Chariot is having dramatic scenes be called Conflicts. Which is a problem because it explicitly defines peacemaking as an act of conflict. And I mean, yeah, it's based around the idea of dramatic or narrative conflict, but the thing is, there has to be a better word for it.

Sunday 2 October 2016

All we have left to do is scream

All we have left to do is scream,
For the boundaries dropped on our hope
Have us trapped with the corpse of your dreams.
All we have left to do is scream,
And it is fully as bad as it seems
Here, together, at the end of the rope.
All we have left to do is scream
For the boundaries dropped on our hope.