Thursday, April 28, 2016

First review of my Black Archive book.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The World Of The End

The End Of The World by Archibald MacLeish
Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb
Quite unexpectedly the top blew off:

And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing — nothing at all.

The World Of The End by Simon Bucher-Jones

White out expectantly, the too full page,
The headless editor was tightening
The pencil parallels to form a cage
And Bugs the Bunny was engaged in frightening
The apoplectic, hesitant and stuttering pig
Porcinely and protractedly, agog
Until the words, unutterably big
Write out expectantly their ambient fog:

And there, there underneath, there, there foot-wreathed
Under the mirror glass pavements, thousand curling toes
There in the awful underness, the gulf, endeeped,
Nothing, but nothing, in the abyss shows,
There in the black ink blackness of black strokes,
The kraken of the underworld concealed
Only the epitaph – ‘tha’ that’s all folks!’
Appears where every ending is revealed.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Part of a story I'm working on...


In the head of the great statue of Mu-ra-oir in the jungle plateau, beyond the hills are set twelve great yellow diamonds, each the size of a sphere that would fit precisely in the circle made by the index finger and thumb of a large man’s hand.

Any single diamond would ransom a European princess from a space-pirate, or buy a small island in the American archipelago where a man might rest under the waving palms: all twelve would fund an empire, or fund the toppling of one.

But they will never be stolen, for the jungle guards them, and worse. According to my noble guide, a fanatic sect makes the great pilgrimage of Mu-ra-oir, to bow at the shrouded feet (which it is death to see) of the statue, twice every Venusian year. If they were to discover the diamonds were missing (and they would, for the beautiful face of Mu-ra-oir is a blessing as great, as his awful feet are a curse, and thus the sinecure of all their eyes, as Mrs. Malaprop would have had it) they would – after blindfolding themselves - remove the shrouds from the feet of the statue, and the god Mu-ra-oir would stride forth to recover his eyes.

Striding forth, legend recounts, the statue would change and shrink, and take on the form of a Venusian, of prime years, filled with an evil wisdom and an awful science, dedicated to the recovery of the eyes, sworn to bring vengeance to the thieves and to all who had laid hands upon the gems, and to their families to the seventh generation.

This at least is the belief of the tall plateau tribes of Venus, and if the sophisticates of the lower towns, and the sub-swamps scoff at their high-dwelling kin’s creeds, still Venusians whisper in awe of the time-lost destruction of the ancient dynasty of Hulc, whose founder queen M’mab wore for a time the fifth eye of Mu-ra-oir in her crown.

Out of the jungle, and down from the hills came the avenger called Valdavor Va, whose feet were never seen naked (being covered in the skins of serpents killed in the jungle), and the prehistoric dynasty was laid waste to the seventh generation before the evil hand of Valdavor Va was lifted from the lands of Hulc.

Thus say the Venusians, and it would be – I verily believe – better for an earthman to cut off his own hands, than to touch the gems (if they exist), for any Venusian would happily conspire to his death thereafter, lest the evil genius Valdavor Va (who is the dreadful, vengeful emanation of Mu-ra-oir) should come forth again.

In so doing it is not that the average Venusian is bloodthirsty – no more so than an earthly bandito, or politician at any rate - nor that they themselves believe a gem, in itself, whether stolen or not, is a thing that outweighs the life of a person, but they believe that until such a thief is slain : Mu-ra-oir will not sit in his seat in the temple of pilgrimage, and that his feet are abroad in the land, and this is intolerable to them, for if the feet be abroad albeit covered, they may be seen if Valdavor Va so wills it, and any who see the feet of Mu-ra-oir (even shrunk into the pedal extremities of Valdavor Va) will become mindless and dreadful creatures, and a curse will fall upon the lands of Venus. Further unless he sits in his seat in the temple of pilgrimage, Mu-ra-oir cannot bring the soft rains, and all the Venusians of the high lands believe still, that if the soft rains do not come, Venus will wither and die and become a world of boiling heat and stifling air, and a lit jewel of the solar system will flicker and die.

                     Charles Dickens’ Pictures from Venus (1846)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Now available for pre-order, volume #5 in the Black Archive - a series of in depth looks at individual Doctor Who episodes.  My volume on THE IMAGE OF THE FENDAHL.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

In memorium - Ray Bradbury - THE RAINBOW

It was Mah who saw it first, over the neck of the dimorphodon on which he was feeding.  Startled, he let his lips’ pressure on the vein lessen, and a gust of blood spurted into his right eye.

How we laughed.

We were in lively spirits – despite having been dreadfully ill for forty days and nights with ‘running water sickness’.

The giant Coffin Barge, its wooden decks spread with a layer of our native soil (from the land of Nod) had sustained us, and now we were safely aground again: one valley along from those self-righteous Noahs.

The vision was a marvelous sight, a band of curdled anti-light across the night sky, seven bands of virulent non-colour.  Dead, Outrage, Gallow, Spleen, Grue,  Indignant, and Violent.

Mah’s brother Mehs came up with a way to remember them – ‘Dracula’s Orphans’ Goodness Slurped Greedily In Veins’.  (Dracula is a descendant of ours - promised unto us by Prophesy).  Ma gave him a disciplinary thwack with the old silver, for saying “G**dn*ss”.  We chortled to see him jump with a singed behind.

Pa suggested: “Devils Often Generate Significant Gains In Ventures” – which was worthy, but awfully dull.  Obviously I’m glad we didn’t dissolve in the flood-waters, and it’s marvelous that Pa is in like Cain with the Dark Angels – but I can’t help wish he was a bit more romantic. 

H’tepaj  - said *he* couldn’t see the difference between Indignant and Violent.  Mah said that “There wasn’t a difference -  with him” – which was funny because it was  true.  That started a fight.

My name?  I’m Babeleteqedes, and I generally run with Mehs when the blood-mood takes us.  I’m named after the Great Unholy Project that the Tyrant blasted just before the Flood – which is lovely (I don’t think).   I might as well be called Incomprehensibil or Glossolalaura.   Actually I wouldn’t mind ‘Gloss’, my hair is my best feature, and my teeth are nice and sharp unlike Mama Arazme who has false ones.  (She thinks we don’t know.)

Mah’s blood-mate Kuamataleen, and H’tep’s  Sesenatada  like to shorten their names to Kuama, and Sesen, but I call them K, and S for shorter still. 

Aside from the Unholy Beasts (we took the ones the snooty Noahs rejected) that’s all of us.  Eight vampires to carry on the tradition of the Night.   

It’s far too many.  Now that we’re ashore and not pink and horribly flushed with ‘running water sickness’, we’ll soon prune the ranks a bit.   Much as I find Pa dull, we probably can’t stake him yet – at least until we’ve got the recipes for Blood-wine, but Arazme the toothless, silver-cane wielder,  and K and S, are prey.  There can be only one Vampire Queen.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

The King in Yellow - sketches towards a graphic novel

Will be archived here:

Act 1 Scene 1.1

Whole of Act 1, Scene 1 - now up.

Building into a complete (rather basically drawn because its' by me), web comic of Act 1.

A kickstarter or other fundraiser for the actual graphic novel will be raised when I have either (a)
a prospective real artist or (b) a rush of blood to the head that convinces me I *can* do everything.

Simon BJ

Note re: blind atlas cities

By the end of this month (March-16) the entries with this tag will be removed from this site to go in an e-book.

So if you'd like to read them for free, this is your last chance - well until someone pirates it.

Simon BJ

Afterwards and Before, by Thomas Hardy and Simon Bucher-Jones

Afterwards by Thomas Hardy

When the Present has latched its postern behind my tremulous stay,
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings,
Delicate-filmed as new-spun silk, will the neighbours say,
"He was a man who used to notice such things"?

If it be in the dusk when, like an eyelid's soundless blink,
The dewfall-hawk comes crossing the shades to alight
Upon the wind-warped upland thorn, a gazer may think,
"To him this must have been a familiar sight."

If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, mothy and warm,
When the hedgehog travels furtively over the lawn,
One may say, "He strove that such innocent creatures should
come to no harm,
But he could do little for them; and now he is gone."

If, when hearing that I have been stilled at last, they stand at
the door,
Watching the full-starred heavens that winter sees,
Will this thought rise on those who will meet my face no more,
"He was one who had an eye for such mysteries"?

And will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom,
And a crossing breeze cuts a pause in its outrollings,
Till they rise again, as they were a new bell's boom,
"He hears it not now, but used to notice such things?"

Before by Simon Bucher-Jones

When you opened up your satchel to the faint morning ray,
And the homework flapped its few brown crumpled leaves,
Doodled and tangential, did your teachers say,
“Nobody that daydreams, any fame achieves” ?

If it was mid morning at Brockhampton’s small school,
Did the eight year old you see on the window, the green-gleam fly alight,
Did you note its shining carapace while seeming but a fool,
As the teacher said, “Now, Hardy – is that right?” ?

If you paused on the blackboard’s blackness, white-stone chalk a-raised,
In the hand to enscribe, when the cry of a Dorchester raven cawed,
Did Mr Last wax sarcastic and say, “Young Hardy strove to write, but was dazed,
Like a moth by a flame, like a poet by nature awed!” ?

If, when you had left school at last, to train under James Hicks
As an architect labouring with set squares, drawings, and measuring-strings,
Did they bring you no straw, to make your mental bricks,
Did they notice you notice, the least of the trembling things ?

When they heard of your fame after, who’d seen your face when young,
And who moved not where you moved, nor saw the things you grasped,
Did they think of nothing, but shrugging – off the thought as a wasp that stung,
That they had genius before them, though beyond what their hands had clasped ?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Vapour Clowns

When the circus is in town
They seep beneath the door
Their noses a red stain upon the air.
Their bodies made of laughing gas,
Perform the feat of fitting
Ninety-nine, in a car.
They take you high,
They hit you like a custard pie,
I don't know why I think of them.
Except that everything is thin,
Except shoes, which are enormous,
Pants which are baggy,
And filled with seltzer.

Those vapour clowns,
They blow me away.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Book News - Charles Dickens' Martian Notes, and continued 2016 Sale!

Slightly madly at least one person (1) ..has stated they think my al-hist, mash-up adventure, lit-crit, sf novel “Charles Dickens’ Martian Notes” is worth considering for a Hugo nomination. It’s self-published here:
22392449.html £2.50, and its also ‘under consideration’ by Gollancz and Angry Robot respectively.

Meanwhile the paperback and hardback versions of my take on THE KING IN YELLOW are now for sale at 25% and 30% and the e-book remains £2.50

Additionally LULU itself is having a SALE,

Buy 3 books, get the 4th free!

Just add 4 print books to your cart and one will be free (of equal or lesser value).
Cannot be combined with other offers. Only one free item per order.
Use Code: TRGE15

The more you buy, the more you save!

Save 10% when you buy 15 or more print books.
Combine this offer with our bulk tiers and save even more!
Use Code: TKD15

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Prehistory Of The Brakespeare Voyage

This synopsis dates from 2002, and predates the documents I've posted earlier. The novel here was substantially different - no Brakespeare for a start.


20 chapters
Technical and Other Appendices and side-bars, in style of Book of the War.

Main text

A young Scarratt, using the locking point of a murder of a prostitute in post-war Liverpool (historical fact) observes

  1. Compassion,
  2. the death of a nechronmancer,
  3. the death of a future-Scarratt.

    Side bars a) the post-book debriefing of a gibbering living-head (eventually revealed as a preserved Web-possessed Scarratt, here iconically parallel to the Templar’s alledged head of John the Baptist) and b) the rationale behind the use of murder as a time-line mapping point.   [3,300 words
    draft attached
Chapter One

Main Text

Compassion discovers the Great Attractor, and around it a web spun from 10 million years of Earth’s history ending with its fall into the Great Attractor, everything previous to this back to X AD Palestine has been dismantled into the web.  That age is occupied and being demolished.  She comes closer to investigate and is attacked by men of Titu’s 10th Legion, who have a suspiciously well informed – if crude - technique for attacking timeships.  Recovering she meets Judah of Xaoleth, a local servant of the Great Houses who smuggles her out of Titus’ bombardment to the city of


A slightly older Scarratt is demoted for refusing to kill Brennos during the sack of Delphi, he leaves a window of opportunity in case it proves necessary to return to the task.

Chapter Two

Main Text

A nechronomancer entering a decaying timeship, its structure ageing to dust in the far far future, discovers something horrible. Pulled back to the nosphere of House Xianthellipse, he dies, his body attempting to repair itself, but becoming (seemingly in a variant of a “dying man scrawling a few letter of his killer’s name cliché”) a dead, ten days older, Richard Scarratt.  Analysis shows he has advanced time-cancer.  [Aside, isn’t it odd that space prefixes are now silly, but time-prefixes are still sinister.]

Sidebar (told as continued debrief of “head”)

Xianthellipse troops reaching (actually the wrong conclusion) burst into Scarratt’s command post on Hesperidies where he’s in the process of rigging some local elections, to increase the probability of a coup twenty years future-wards.  It’s bread and butter work, and his Group are getting increasingly trigger-happy, a condition he likes to discourage when ever possible.  Scarratt is unsurprised by the arrival of the Xianthellipse Militia and  convinces them he isn’t going to be the killer of their nechronomancer by a) pointing out he isn’t able to survive that deep into time, and b) showing their leader his gallery: a pocket dimension full of dead Scarratt’s none more than a month older than him, and the most recent (found dead in an alley behind a notorious time brothel).  This is the dead body of which Scarratt gained future knowledge in the prologue].

Chapter Three

Main Text

Compassion has been brought to the settlements along the edge of the Sea of Galilee (as was) now a vast mud flat. There the pipes go deep into the Earth, breaking down raw elements and passing it up into the construction. Great ducts descend from orbit sucking the planet away a piece at a time, and breaking down space itself. 

 Judah has an acquaintance there (either an old enemy or an old friend) – “it’s all the same since the Great House came.  The first thing they stole was the meaning out of the past.  What matters a crooked dealing, or a betrayal now” - who now runs a ramshackle hostel for the workers who go into the ducts to clear away blockages.  The reader will be given plenty of opportunity to see how the corrosive environment within the ducts can break down any non-biological system (hence the use of humanoids) – this is because Compassion will have to venture into the ducts in chapter 18.

They plan to hid Compassion there until they can make use of her in an attack on the House.

Compassion has however by this time has recovered almost completely and frankly can’t see any point in hiding out in a lot of mouldy pipes full of time-distorted pipemen and servicers.  Instead she enfolds Judah and his friend [implicitly either Jesus or John the Baptist] and takes them to Jerusalem to confront the citadel of the Houses on Earth.


Scarratt and the Housemaster of Xanthellipse in charge of the dismantling discuss why the project is centered on Jerusalem rather than Rome, and its importance as a “pivot” in the “web we are seeking to weave around the future”.  Scarratt appears to be endeavouring to discover the purpose of the web.  He suggests that the House is fearful of something within the Time Hole, something in the early years of space and time.  Housemaster Escadrimis is dismissive of this.  ‘Oh much earlier than that’.   House Xanthellipse has inherited a peculiar crusade, a crusade to preserve the peace of God. 

Chapter Four

Main Text

Compassion arrives in Jerusalem, and finds a functioning if shell-shocked society – one which has lost its purpose at the fall of the temple – and the arrival (some say return) at that point of the Heavenly Hosts of the Great House forces, armoured creatures in the form of Ezekial’s angels prowl the skies, the voice of the House of Heaven speaks from Herod’s golden tower.  Soldiers from Rome, lost and beaten down are stoned in the streets [the historical death by pressing, not casting of the first stone].

News from Rome and the world is of upheaval and dismay. 

 Everything is tending to flux.  History is being melted in a refiner’s fire, all is to be spun into a golden thread, a net to catch a great hole in the sky.  “Sewing up the eye of God”.


The planet she is on is Dominius,a Fortress World on the edge of the Attractor maintained by one of the Great Houses, ostensively as a support station for Timeships swept towards the attractor, but she suspects that it is in reality watching it.  Dominius is one node in a “web in space” being built to surrounding the attractor, a lattice of hair like strands each around 75 million miles in thickness enclosing and embedding stars and planets, Dominius is due to be “progressively integrated into the web”, that is dismantled, a process that (we will discover) is actively resisted by some of its native inhabitants.  The dismantling as we will see goes beyond matter and involves strip-mining space itself, and “rethreading” the “cored” interior of the lattice with living material that will form a gargantuan nervous system welded to space-time..

To avoid time complications/ enemy interest the web is not timeship based technology but apparently a machine construct being added to continually by progressive von Neuman devices, weaving it around the “rim” or “lip” of the Great Attractor, a distance in total of a billion light years.   Once completed it will be the largest known normal matter structure ever made.  It seems to Compassion a vastly excessive project merely to save a few lost time-pilots from a plunge out of existance, and her interest (self, and otherwise) is tweaked.  Blinking herself forward in time to the projected completion date, she finds not only a ring of web around the GA, but arms curving upward and inward, and downward and inward. The web is going to eventually englobe the GA.  HOWEVER IT IS UNFINISHED AND IN RUINS. OBVIOUSLY DESTROYED BY NON-HOUSE XIANTHELLIPSE FORCES.

Note: the Great Attractor is creating a new type of space as it folds the universe in on itself, whether a natural phenomenon or the work of the enemy is uncertain. The web-nerve material is in fact a living creature, brought by Xianthellipse war-beastiery technology from another dimension, growing to engulf the stars. These are, perhaps, two horrors in opposition, and against this background of incorporation into a trans-galactic bionome or being flung into a world where space is time and time space, the inhabitants of Dominus have decided that parties, death-pacts, and the survival of the least fit are the order of the day.

Chapter Two

Under the threat of “progressive integration” life on Dominius still continues as normal for many people, who see the move to modules in the inner wall of the local web strand as something that won’t happen in their life-times.  The natives have a level of technology about that of 1930s earth, bolstered by dribs and drabs of House technology.  They have for instance faster planes and atomic clocks and it is a routine movement of such a clock by a fast plane that first detects an anomalous result in time.

Compassion feels this as a twinge in the small of her back, as if her posture’s bad. (she is feeling a constriction of local space although this is not immediately clear). [Fun interlude with male masseur?

Inappropriate pass met with “horrible monster form”, or with implied full on lust, note ask LM / Lars about levels of permitted violence/erotica/use of language].

Gradually Compassion discovers, that time on Dominius has begun to be strangely affected. Whereas normally a fast shuttle suffers a little time dilation (so an atomic clock on board would appear to lose some seconds) on Dominius, rapid movement has begun to abrade space – the planet is literally – and seemingly permanently - shrinking (albeit by microns) with every fast journey made by it inhabitants.

However the effect is adding up, and is [apparently] threatening the local node of the web.  The House masters running the construction, are considering bringing forward breaking up the planet before its raw mass is lost to this peculiar compaction.  Their overseer though, tells them that the effect is precisely what was expected. He describes the web as a “tornique”.

Things are however brought to a head when Compassion herself, before discovering exactly what’s happening moves (as she believes in the vortex) between continents while seeking scientists to discuss the compulsion that is impelling her towards the attractor, and in advertantly fuses two continents together, as she collapses the space in between.

[Scene,  one House Lord,  “Of course we can rely on the effect being inperceptable to native scientists for many years.”  Colleague (looking out of window) “No, I’m not sure we can”.  1st character turns, ocean scene established across balcony is gone and urban city in its place, buildings on edges cut and sheared strangely, all wet, dying fish, etc impalled on city spires. ]  

Detected  (wrongly) as the source – instead of an large example of – the problem, Compassion is attacked by the House Militia of Dominius and forced to hold them off without moving in space, as

She can not risk collapsing space further, or becoming more vulnerable to the compulsion which she has begun to associate with the problem of Dominius’s space-time.  She executes some basic “time only maneovres” but the troops have time-jewelry and pursue her.

[Possible, - set bits of this pursuit in other chapters of book, as Compassion jumps forward into her own future.  And indeed inside herself.(a rare case of jumping into one’s own skin)  Note use of time-jewelry suggests troops may in fact work for Scarratt ].

She is eventually cornered, by the troops – when a door in the air opens and, an arm (Scarratt’s pulls her in).  Scarratt is travelling with a nechronomancer “Temnos Ra”   “Don’t blame me dear, it’s a guild rule we have to be vain” and a beautiful albino woman.  [“So who’s the white witch?” compassion asks].  Scarratt tells Compassion he needs her to promise to kill him on sight the next time she sees him.

He claims to have gone into the Attractor and “bounced”. Now fragmented rogue anti-Scarratt’s backwards in temprement and Time-flow are causing havoc, and absolutely “wrecking his good name with the ladies”.  He has tracked the last three to Dominus.   [This account is a lie as we will learn in a confrontation between a Web-Scarratt and Compassion later, in fact he has bargained with the Web itself, giving it sufficient biodata to grow itself into twenty hims (ten of which are dead so far). If a Web-him can escape into non-House space it will spread the web over space and time, outside Xianthellipse’s control, in return he has learned, he hopes, how to enter the Attractor safely.  He is playing a cat and mouse game with himself, unsure actually if the Web is indeed a danger, space is big after all.] 

Chapter Three-Eighteen

Bulk of book, with character development, hardest to plot out. Bear with me here.  It gradually draws together the vast planetary scope of Scarratt and Compassion’s search for his other selves, down into the bucolic gothic horror of the L and M narrative.

Chapter Eighteen

L tries to defend his father, but Scarratt brutally tells him his father is dead.  Not redeemed by suffering, not altered by his woes, but just dead, and buried in the long barrow behind the pipeworks.

The thing posing as his father, is the last web-copy of Scarratt, which forced its copied biodata to

Recreate itself in the immolation that supposedly changed M’s character.  Now with Scarratt too ravaged by time-cancer to act, and the fake-father in the ducts is safe from Compassion. From there he will be drawn up and incorporated into the biomass that will form part of the web itself, this was the web’s real plan, not to escape but to learn the time-manipulating secrets from Scarratt’s biology and return them to itself.  Or so it seems, but now, she ventures into the duct with L providing her with eyes and ears.

Chapter Nineteen

In the duct her hyper-senses are simply too acute, it is a link to a superconductor of information channelling the other worlds in the great web, it drowns her. [Chance for traditional futureward flashes of later books in series? / other author’s settings] L has to guide her.  [Note possibly intimately/sexually? Symbolically/symbiotically anyway. We’re talking a bareback riding motief, establish earlier a “cowboy” persona for L?]  He also has to choose whether or not to kill the think he’s learned to love as his father, or not.  It was a lie, and yet it did genuine good.  In the end he doesn’t kill it, even though he has the time-gun he took from Scarratt, the biologically engineered time-gun from chapter four (odd how useful that is in a duct environment, eh Scarratt?).

Chapter Twenty

Compassion interrogates the snatched Web-Scarratt [learning the truth of Scarratt’s involvement] and decides to let it go, but only on a world who’s sun is due to nova in 20 years. She tells it she intends to inspect in 19, and decide then what’s to be done.  In twenty years even a thing that can make a civilisation from itself shouldn’t have gone from flints to rocketry.  However when she’s gone the Web-thing reaches out and remodulates the sun.

[Note this is the sun, Scarratt had on his list to save in Chapter Three].  Cut to Scarratt, in pain and under treatment, who knows the Web-duplicate has time-cancer (which he incubated in himself prior to providing the biodata) [hence the death of the nechronomancer, copying the web-scarratt who he had encountered to the biodata level] and thus only about a brief time to live.  


Scarratt is about to take the last dose of antidote (the glowing blue-vials seen in Chapter four), and find it has been removed [by Compassion in chapter five].  Without it, he is permanantly marked by the time-cancer, though he survives.  “At last a scar,” he muses, “touche, Compassion, we must meet again”.

Compassion  begins to brew/decant/create more antidote, and makes a note to herself to revisit the world of the Web-Scarratt in when its ready. Then she’ll really control it.  But a still voice in her head wonders, is it control she wants or the sort of gratitude the scarratt-thing displayed to its “son”, even if it was only a lie.

Simon BJ


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Poster Sale

In support of my daughter Rhianna's fund raising for a World Challenge trip to Kenya, I'm offering the framed DC Superhero prints on the page aside, for £9.80 each (framed and inclusive of postage).

All money raised to the charitable cause / trip costs.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Monthly writing / activity update


I've finished a short story, involving Sherlock Holmes - but not narrated by him or Watson, and sent that off to the editor of an anthology.  More on this when or if I can make an announcment.

I've got editor's comments on my Black Archive #5Image of the Fendahl, and am working on a revised draft. Editor generally complimentary, which was nice, but somethings to do.  Deadline for this is between 22nd Jan and 12th Feb.

I'm going to submit my novel 'Charles Dicken's Martian Notes' to the Gollancz open-call next week, so wish me luck.  If I hear nothing from them I'll be producing a 'racier' more pulp paperback version during the year - using the conceit - of a 'third party' pirating the 'original' 'real' account.

I'm appearing in Panto for charity at the end of the month: this year I play the part of Prince Not-So Charming, the adopted brother of Sleeping Beauty (aka Barry).

- That seems almost like, in my writing at least, I am managing to deal with depression and actually do something. Hooray.

Friday, December 11, 2015

If you'd like me to work on this....consider buying the e-book of volume one in my alternative history of the Solar System 'Charles Dicken's Martian Notes' only £2.50 from Lulu or £2.85 from Amazon.

Die Traumbude or THE SECOND WORLDS’ WAR:

A Novel of the Earth-Mars Conflict of 1914-18.

(1) His Majesty in Council has power during the continuance of the present war to issue regulations as to the powers and duties of the Admiralty, The Rocket Group, and the Army Council and of the members of His Majesty's forces, and other persons acting in His behalf, for securing the public safety and the defence of the Earth; and may, by such regulations, authorise the trial by courts martial and punishment of persons contravening any of the provisions of such regulations designed—
(a) To prevent persons communicating with the Martians or obtaining information for that purpose or any purpose calculated to jeopardise the success of the operations of any of His Majesty's forces or to assist the Martians; or

(b) To secure the safety of any means of communication, or of railways, docks, aeroports  or harbours; in like manner as if such persons were subject to military law and had on active service committed an offence under section 5 of the Army Act.

(2) His Majesty in Council may by order, assign and delegate such powers, as provided by the above, to warranted officers, to permit the application of regulation to the pursuit of the war, in such places as may – in times of peace – be outside the direct governance of the Brittanic Empire under the Concord of Free Countries.  Such authority will be subject to:

(a) The oversight of a Council of Free Country Ministers to be determined by their legislative assemblies, to report after the successful conclusion of hostilities with Mars.

(b) The requirements of the Free Hanseatic Convention (1893)

(3) This Act may be cited as the Defence of the Earth Act, 1914.
                                                                                    Defence of the Earth Act, 1914.

Chapter One

The shells began falling on the green meadows of Europe, that cold September day.  It was the eleventh of September in the year of our Lord 1914.

The shells were great metal vessels fired from the dying Mars across the vastness of space. Greater by far than the primitive cylinders than had fallen on to the Earth in fewer numbers at the end of the preceding century: they spoke of advancement upon the dry deserts of the red planet, and of minds turned once again enviously to Earth.

Their presence suggested also that the humanity that had colonised Mars, before the destruction of the ether and the end of the Interplanetary Era, had fallen under the Martian yoke or was – at best – in no position to prevent the Old Martians striking again at the Earth.

Those of us who had family lines stretching into the heavens – kin in First Human Hive or Barsoom City, or in the Lost Brittanic Dominian of Kanata, could only pray, and hope.

The first shell landed near the city of Bremen on the River Weser, in the Hanseatic States.  The crater thrown up by the shell's impact, obliterated the north of the old town bringing down many buildings, including the West tower of St Peter’s Cathedral, whose restoration had been completed only fifteen years before.

The smoke from the heat of the crater rose like a black thundercloud, and ash fell over the southern town. By noon, a hastily assembled militia - armed with mirror shields against the heat-ray, had set up observation posts at a distance on the Breman Hills - and were awaiting an order to bombard the shell with rockets the moment it should open.  The old town had been evacuated, and fire tenders stood by to douse the buildings with water if they should be combusted.

The Germanies had been little injured by the Martians raids upon Earth in the 1890s, but all the Hanseatic states had colonists upon Mars, and the impact of the shell itself had done much to inflame public anger. The general assumption was that Old Martians would soon come forth and that they could then be dispatched.  Some of the officers hoped that the shell might be captured once the Old Martians were killed, and perhaps the present status of humanity upon Mars be determined by an examination of its interior.  No one spoke about the feeding practices of the Old Martians and the long standing belief that they preyed upon humans.  If there were prisoners held as cattle aboard the shell - their lives would be ended as effectively by bombardment as the Martians themselves - it was in order to avoid the contemplation of this necessity that the supplies the Martians might have brought with them were not discussed.

It was in the seventh hour after the fall of the shell, that the first word reached Bremen of similar impacts, on the Gaulish coast and in High Holland.  Either the turning of the Earth, or a different strategy seemed to have spoken against the Martians beginning their assault on the British Isles on this occasion.   The rocket crews, were still awaiting orders (though quite prepared to fire on their own initiative, if the shell opened) when at three points in the grey armour of the Martians' space vessel - ports opened.  Too small to permit the passage of a living creature of the girth of a man or Martian those exit points, filled with.................

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

After Milton, On Shakespeare - On Lovecraft.

What needs my Lovecraft to secure his place,
One Gahan Wilson’s image of his face,
He showed the prejudices of his kin,   
For he was not born with such thoughts within,
But raised Dear son of Madness, heir of hate,
He still o’er aeons worked and changed his state
Saw Deep Ones’ joys as hallowed in the sea,
And Artic Old Ones worthy of  his plea,
That though their forms were strange they should engage
Our sympathy, as men, of their own age.
Like us in reason, and in hope to live,
And stranger still the Yith, his words would give,
Life better yet, than ours, before and hence,
If he had lived what further recompense?

He died before the Holocaust, before the days
Of Segregation past, before the ways
To pay both man and women, saw decree
Oh from your pedestals be proud you were not he.

    For what it matters - the world fantasy awards are fully justified in making their award look like
    what ever they like - it's their award, but I'm not sure any writer of fantasy born in 1890 to a white - at the
    time relatively parochial,  Providence family - who was mostly a self educated autodidact because of ill-ness drawing on the resources of a library mostly written in the 18th Century stood much chance of *not* being racist.  Nor do they note the increasing sympathy in his writing for the very creatures that originally he wrote of as serving as analogues for his fear of the other.  Had he not died at 47 in poverty and in pain, without knowing that his writing would still be esteemed today,  perhaps he would have written something better pleasing to his critics than the racist verse he wrote at 22, and the fears shown in his earlier works.   This is not to say he wasn't throroughly wrong and fat headed on these matters - but it is to say, hell what chance did he have?

     I also find it reported that one year after Lovecraft's death, graduates polled in the US about whether or not they should take in Jewish refugues from Europe voted 69% against, and only 4% voted in favour of taking refugues if it would involve raising immigration quotas.  To emphasise - that's graduates the supposedly better educated end of the population, of the - next generation - to him, most of whom we would regard as being racist.   And, what are we doing today about refugees for that matter?

Thursday, November 05, 2015

A Halloween Story

The Interview – A Halloween Story.

It wasn’t what I thought it was, I know that now.  I should have
turned the other way at the crossroads – but one blasted tree looks
very like another in fog, and my eyes aren’t (and weren’t even then)
what they had once been.

It had the signs showing though, or at least I thought it did at the
time.  The pumpkin cut just so. The red and black candles. True, there
was no inverted crucifix – but then not everyone keeps the Faith, in
these New Atheistic times. I certainly wasn’t about to criticise my
hosts on what was after all a very minor matter, very much up to the
conscience of the individual. De gustibus non est disputandum, as I’ve
said for centuries. These things are only matters of taste, whatever
the Hierophants say.

It is important though to check the signs. I know that (and I knew it
then). No one wants to intrude uninvited not even on All Hallow’s Eve.
Not even these days when so far as I can make out everyone feels they
can get away with murder, or dressing like a murderer or a murder
victim. Going where one isn’t wanted, isn’t quite as impossible as
some accounts make it seem, but it does put a damper on things – like
wading too far through blood as Macbeth, might have put it. It feels
sticky, and it puts you off even the most toothsome morsels. I have
always been a trifle – is OCD, the modern term? – about the neatness
of my evening dress.

So, anyway, I knocked – one of the classic secret knocks – and the
door was opened unto me. There were four of them waiting a father
figure, in threadbare evening dress with a plastic Transylvanian star
at his throat where his opera cape was fastened.  A mother, not quite
thin enough to pull off the lace. Two children white faced, ruby
lipped – both frenzied with sugar rush. Their fangs were of course as
plastic as his throat fastening, and absolutely none of them was dead.

Well, I ask you – what can one do – under those circumstances?  It’s
true they ushered me in straight away, so I had an invitation of
sorts, but it rapidly became clear this was a matter of mistaken
identity, if not quite false pretences.  They had hired, what I
believe is called a Vamp-o-gram to come and make some sport for the
older child’s birthday, falling as it did on this very special night.
They had not really invited *me* in at all.

I worried to begin with that a spotty student with contact lens red
eyes, would knock on the door behind me in a minute or two, but he
never did.  Perhaps he took the other turning, the one I missed, in
which case he would have been made very welcome, as long as he had the
good sense to keep his mouth almost closed.  No one could fail to be
insulted by plastic fangs.  Then again, he might have found the
entertainment not to his taste – in which case his squeamishness may
have been his undoing.  No one likes their little games to be jeered
at, or their attempts to court their betters to be mocked.  I rarely
get to see a paper, certainly never a morning edition, so I can not be
sure whether he was entirely sanguine about his experiences that
evening, but then, that’s no problem of mine.

Luckily my eyes, though weak in fog, can still hypnotise and dazzle –
and a pack of cards is often a pleasant companion in those long hours
of the night (for one can not always be eating).  Whether it was what
they expected or not, card tricks, and ghost stories seemed to suffice
to amuse the children (once I had stared long into their eyes)

I was absolutely circumspect in my visitation – far much more careful
than I would have had to have been if I had found the right House –
and I honestly found I enjoyed myself far more as a result.  I touched
not so much as a hair of the head of those delightfully bloodthirsty
children, who hung on my every account of slaughter and despoilment.

I left the father living, his eyes glazed, and his tastes turned
irrevocably to the devouring of insects and spiders – but not in any
way, harmed.

And the mother in her pretty lace, well I am – as they say – only
immortal, and I assure you she completely consented to a night-cap,
and all that that involved. She too was left entirely satisfied by the
night’s work.

Far, far better, such innocence than the sycophantic dribbling and
mutterings of yet another Dark Mass, and the tedious round of making
myself available to socially climbing Vampire Brides with those
ghastly fingernails (where they got the idea that nine inch scimitars
on the fingers are attractive, I can not imagine).

So I realised I had learned something about myself that night, and I
decided that I would be  twice damned to spend yet another All
Hallow’s in my official capacity, suffocating in the musty odour of
unhallowed tombs.

To make enquires as to how to achieve my new ambitions took a little
time, but here I am.  So, given all that I have told yout – what do
you think.  I, Vlad, Caligula, Dracul – grandson of the Impaler
implore you.  I have stated my bona fides.  May I be assured you will
employ me next year?

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Simon BJ

Friday, October 09, 2015


A new novel / mashup by me and Charles Dickens for £2.50 (plus tax where applicable)

Read about the authors visit to Mars in 1842.…/charles-d…/ebook/product-22392449.html
There will be a physical book with a more pulp style cover as soon as I've sourced one...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Little Song CSi5M

And now its time to sing a song
A little song that isn’t long
And when we’ve sung
We’ve sung the sung
We’ve sung the song that isn’t long
And passed the time that wasn’t sad
The memory of it’s not even bad
Because the time that’s sad
Was not so long
Was hardly long
Was pretty short
It’s come to naught
And so’s this song.