Something Remains

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At the 2013 World Fantasy Convention, held in Brighton, Joel Lane’s Where Furnaces Burn won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection. Due to personal problems Joel wasn’t able to collect the award in person. I had intended to visit Joel soon after, meet up for one of our irregular balti meals with mutual friends Dave Sutton, James Brogden, John Howard, Mike Chinn and Stan Nicholls, and to toast Joel for the win. Sadly, that visit to Birmingham didn’t materialise in time – for not long after the convention Joel passed away in his sleep. His death left a huge cavity in my life.

Last year, after months of sorting out the detritus of his life (in other words, clearing his house in preparation for its sale) Pauline Morgan mentioned the wealth of notes Joel had left behind. The notes were penned in his immaculate handwriting on all manner of pieces of paper; some were bullet points, some long detailed pages – all preliminary to unwritten stories and poems. It occurred to us that these notes should not be lost, that they should form the basis of a book of stories completed by Joel’s friends and colleagues. Pauline and I read through dozens and dozens and dozens of notes, finally honing them down to a score or two.

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Be Afraid…

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Be afraid? No, definitely not. But do get Fear — the magazine from 20-odd years ago is making a comeback, one again under the editorship of that all-round nice guy John Gilbert.  Do try to support this publication especially as it will focus on horror (and fantasy and science fiction) in literature as well as just movies.

The relaunch issue — due to appear in September — features that master of fear Ramsey Campbell. The cover photo is one I took a few years ago an Alt Lit event in Derby (the annual event is now called Edge Lit).

 

Warping reality

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It’s about time I posted something here. Since I enjoy reading weird tales — stories that take reality and gives it a twist off-kilter, so to speak — as well as peculiar pictures (ah, the joys of alliteration!), this photo seems quite apt. And because a picture paints a thousand words (so we’re told), just imagine this blog going on and on (and on…).

This photo was taken last weekend on the approaches to New Street Station in Birmingham. On seeing this I just knew I had to take the shot. If you look carefully you’ll see me in the frame. So it’s a sort of selfie…

 

Adventures with golden eagles

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Here are some things I learned about golden eagles yesterday. They range from west USA to far flung Asia. Scotland has around 450 pairs, the second largest breeding population in Europe – the largest is Sweden or Finland, one of the Scandinavian countries. (If you think of it, under 1000 birds living in Scotland: not that many, is it! And some game keepers still poison them! Gr…)

Their toes have uneven talon lengths, all the better to skewer their prey and kill it pretty much instantly; a particularly large prey such as deer, foxes or wolves may take a nit more killing. Yes, they can kill wolves! Golden eagles attack feet first, grabbing the prey with just one talon in case they miss or the prey attempts to fight back – the second is used for the coup de grace, if you like. And those taloned feet can grip with a pressure of … I’ve forgotten the value quoted, but it’s a lot, a lot more than the jaws of a powerful dog.

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