Review: “Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories” (ed. Audrey Niffenegger)

Ghost stories are back! Of course they've never been away, but the interest in Folk Horror since the turn of the decade has helped their profile to slowly rise. In addition, each Christmas the BBC now either produces a new adaptation of a classic ghost story; an original (viz. Mark Gatiss's highly enjoyable The Dead … Continue reading Review: “Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories” (ed. Audrey Niffenegger)

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The afterlives of Kit Marlowe

"Marlowe's turn on the world's stage had ended, but Shakespeare's was just beginning. Memories were short and history unkind. It was the way of the world." Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night. Christopher Marlowe was stabbed to death in 1593, aged 29. A successful playwright, his Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta and Edward II … Continue reading The afterlives of Kit Marlowe

Fragile Remnants Buried Deep: “This Dreaming Isle” anthology

Or, Weird Fiction Against Brexit. That's too reductive a description but the timing of this publication - and editor Dan Coxon's impassioned introduction - mean it's not entirely flippant and not entirely inappropriate. Coxon was angered by Paul Kingsnorth's right-wing reading of Paul Wright's stunning 'Arcadia', a reading which "moves away from the weird, unsettling … Continue reading Fragile Remnants Buried Deep: “This Dreaming Isle” anthology

Mike Tomkies: Wilderness(e) man

"No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe" wrote Donne. Well, Mike Tomkies tried his damnedest. Tomkies's books sold in their thousands in the 1980s, but in today's Nature Writing Revival he is nowhere to be found. Both my Dad and cousin Colin (with whom I went birdwatching in my teens, chugging around Fife … Continue reading Mike Tomkies: Wilderness(e) man

A completely unnecessary piece on Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”

I had thought about compiling a ranking of Neil Gaiman's Sandman books in the manner of my previous (and gratifyingly popular) China Mieville and Clive Barker top 10s. But if you don't know Sandman, although they can be read as stand-alone volumes, you'll get more out of them if you read them in order. So … Continue reading A completely unnecessary piece on Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”

King Coal’s Graveyard: a walk in Midlothian mining country

"Collieries where a thousand men had laboured for a hundred years became silent fields around a concrete shaft-cap." Neal Ascherson, Stone Voices I've lived in Midlothian for 13 years. The visual signifiers of the county's industrial heritage are largely gone: demolished or overgrown. It wasn't just coal: shorelines on either bank of the Forth once … Continue reading King Coal’s Graveyard: a walk in Midlothian mining country