The value of rage: RIP Sir Terry Pratchett.


Publicity shot from ‘The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents”.

Morbid? Yes, it is. Bandwagon-jumping? Absolutely. The sort of thing PTerry himself would probably despise? I doubt it not. However there are people looking at this blog apparently in the expectation that I’ll have said something about such a momentous event in fantasy as the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, and far be it from me to disappoint my future readers.

I’ve got a when-I-met-Pterry anecdote I’ll come to later, but the best article I’ve ever read about the man is this one, written by Neil Gaiman: “Do not underestimate this anger. This anger was the engine that powered Good Omens.”  It talks about Terry having a deep sense of justice, and anyone who’s read Pratchett can appreciate the near-perfect balance he struck between acute social awareness, blackest irony, and an infallible sense of petty, stupid humanity and all its attendant farce. Continue reading




There’s a saying that goes “This too shall pass”.

There’s another saying, a Buddhist one, that likens a person to a flame; always in motion, always consuming the wood on which it burns, composed at every moment of totally different atoms – and yet the same flame.

The picture to the left is from a comunity art project called Mitcham’s Models, which installed reworked mannequins around an unlovely junction in town to coincide with the city’s annual Open Studios event. Open Studios is a month in which Cambridge’s surprisingly many artists throw open their studio doors to the middle-class average Joe; the eerie figure in this picture was found on my way home from a gig at one of Cambridge’s few remaining live music pubs.

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I must apologise


Photo by gnuckx

No really, I must. I’m British, it’s in the rules. Heck, even Burn Gorman is now making a living playing it uptight and repressed in crazed big-budget Japanophile monster movies. (Let us not forget that this is an actor whose introduction to me was that most sublime line of Owen Harper’s from the first episode of Torchwood: “Because I’m a twat”.) So, having lived up to a gay stereotype in my last post, I’ll live up to a British one here and apologise for the lack of signal recently.

I do have a reason, I assure you. Continue reading

Book review: The Twyning by Terence Blacker

I picked up a copy of The Twyning on a whim. There was a 99p ebook deal going, and I recently got some pet rats – who have taken surprisingly deep root in my life. They’ve got their own blog, in fact – “me and my rat” is close enough, right? So I thought, cheap ebook, cute rats. How far wrong can you go?

In short, I was amazed. To begin with I mistook this for a young adult book – Blacker’s style has the unobtrusive clarity of someone writing entirely without literary pretensions. Having finished it, it’s a bitter and ferociously intelligent piece of social satire. It’s blended with Victorian squalor both physical and emotional; in this book the base animality of the human race is matched only by their low cunning and greed for power. The whimsical fantasy kingdom of subterranean rats is possibly the lightest side of the story, and even so it’s a kingdom with power struggles, revolutions and an institute of torturers.

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