passive-digressive

There are two kinds of people* – those who like forewords, introductions, prefaces, author’s notes, footnotes, appendices, bibliographies, notes on the text, maps etc, and those who don’t. But we’ll get back to that shortly. * there are more than two kinds of people. Possibly…

2024 – welcome to the/a future(s)

  Another year – and the actual name of the year itself gets ever stranger and more unlikely and exotically futuristic, if you grew up in the era when the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was still set in the future. And here’s the annual…

jack told him about the thing – updating children’s books

  There’s a strange moment near the beginning of the 1982 Puffin Books edition of Robert Westall’s Fathom Five (1979): Dad never talked about Life and its Meanings; only fried bread and thrushes.‘What’s got you up so early?’Jack told him about the thing in the…

a portrait of the author as a young arse

      Between the ages of 19 and 21, I wrote a series of notes (the longest is about a page, so somewhere between a sketch and a mini-essay I guess) that made up a kind of summary of my worldview at the time….

gateways to horror: the watch house by robert westall

  What was the first thing that scared you? The answer to that question is no doubt buried deep in your subconscious and could be almost anything. What was the first thing you sought out because you wanted to be scared? That should be easier…

the law won – police academy and 80s pop culture

  The police in 2020 may feel beleaguered by the pressure to account for their actions and act within the boundaries of the laws they are supposed to be upholding, but despite the usual complaining from conservative nostalgists about declining standards of respect, the question…

time for a change; the death of a decade

  Between the ages of 14 and 16 or thereabouts, the things I probably loved the most – or at least the most consistently – were horror (books and movies) and heavy metal. These loves changed (and ended, for a long time) at around the…

chosen ones and dark lords and everything in between

    To start with, this was mostly about books, and I think it will end that way too. But it begins with a not terribly controversial statement; hero worship is not good. And the greatest figures in the fight for human rights or human…