‘I Have To Get To A Library – Fast!’

Bookshop shelves are currently stuffed with Mr Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’ and the hunt is on for the silliest dialogue line – something that will top the one above from The Da Vinci Code. It’s second only to ‘That man there! He’s got the map to the Holy Grail!’ (shouted by Sir Ian as he’s […]

Black Static

For a number of years now the publishers of Interzone have been running great magazines like this one, Black Static (formerly The Third Alternative), which you should try if you have any interest in the fantastic. You can find out more about them here.

Nottingham’s Art Gallery

I remained sober last night (although it seemed the rest of Nottingham did not) and was up early to go and visit the castle, above which is an astonishing art gallery. I was the only person there, and was amazed by the sheer strangeness of the curatorship, which had gathered together a peculiar mixture of […]

Thank You Nottingham!

I’m back from Fantasycon, the annual beano hosted by the British Fantasy Society, which was one of the best events for several years, and had a great turn-out. I had some wonderful moments and the great pleasure of hearing Brian Clemens, writer of The Avengers, talk about his work. Expertly hosted by Steve Jones, this […]

How long does it take to get from Chronic Grass to Written Mess?

An addendum to the piece below: In the spirit of Little-England officialdom that used to exist in the postwar years, the infamously litigious Transport for London has always proven hilariously adept at creating its own PR disasters by banning any other versions of its maps. One version was a charming anagram map of the London […]

The Vanishing Thames

Transport For London decided to wreck Harry Beck’s iconic and innovative London Underground map by removing the Thames from it – essentially destabilising the grid by taking out its psychological compass. But there was clearly a craftier reason behind the move, which took place without public consultation of any kind; they hid the zone charges […]

Horror Wants Women To Scream But Not Talk

Among other things, Maura McHugh writes horror and dark fantastic fiction. This is from her blog today: ‘This weekend the British Fantasy Society is hosting its annual convention, Fantasy Con. I noticed the cover of a new book the BFS is launching at the convention: a collection of interviews with writers (the first in a […]

London Trivia

If you’re joining the throngs who will be climbing through buildings in Open House Weekend, there are a few other sights you might want to catch in passing…speaking of which, do you know why there’s no apostrophe in Selfridges anymore? (answer below) Answer: A sad tale; the larger-than-life Gordon Selfridge was kicked out by his […]

Will Authors’ Notes Become A Thing Of The Past?

A volume called ‘Agatha Christie’s secret notebooks’ has just been published, containing clues to how Christie wrote her detective fiction. She kept bits of paper on which she had scrawled embryonic plots; ideas sketched out on the back of household bills. Most interesting of all were notebooks containing the partial ideas for many of her […]

Exquisite Bodies on Euston Road

The anatomists of the past hired wax model makers to create disconcerting displays of the human form giving birth or eaten away with disease. The lurid lifesized models were at once both anatomy lessons, freak shows and ways of instructing the uneducated about the dangers of poor hygiene, specifically the horrors of so-called venereal diseases […]