Friday, May 18, 2012


Oh dear, it seems to have been a rather unforgivably long time since I last wrote anything here. I apologize to anyone who may have been anxious awaiting my next missive.

There isn't really much to report. Real life has me in a stranglehold, but I am planning the next Aeryn Daring serial in my devious little brain. It will probably be called Aeryn Daring and the Missing Link, though Aeryn Daring and the Flying Monkey Minions has an awfully nice ring to it, don't you think? Though perhaps that's something more along the lines of a Sophia Shallowgrave adventure.

If you're following along with Aeryn Daring and the Scientific Detective, chapter 3 can be found in the Winter 2011 issue (online) of Doctor Fantastique's Show of Wonders (and chapters 1 and 2 are in the previous two issues). Chapter 4 is in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue (print), and the rest will follow but I'm not sure when the next issue is due out. They're quite busy over there, what with the impending release of The Omnibus of Doctor Bill Shakes and the Magnificent Ionic Pentatetrameter. All of the chapters are available on Kindle from Amazon, chapters one and two under the DocF's imprint, and the rest from White Raven Press (they'll all be switching over to DocF's after each one appears in the magazine). The complete book will be coming out from Doctor Fantastique's Books once it's had its run in the magazine.

I hope to escape this real life stranglehold soon to post some more reviews. I've got some great books on ray guns I've been wanting to blather about for ages, for starters.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss

The Devil in Amber is the second book in the "Lucifer Box" series, but author Gatiss is deft enough with description that there's no need at all to have read the first book (it will certainly deepen the experience, though). The setting is the 1920s in New York City and the English countryside, and the plot is pure adventure spy novel with tongue very, very firmly in cheek. The main character, Lucifer Box (all the characters have similarly fantastic names) is a secret agent and a portrait painter, and he's starting to have to admit that's he's hit middle age and is slowing down. That doesn't affect his high opinion of himself, though, nor does it seem to interfere with his love life (readers who are offended by homoeroticism be warned--though the sex is mostly offstage or only described in very general terms, it's definitely present in both hetero and homo forms).

The adventure this time involves more than one improbable group of secret agents (one is hidden as the Royal Art Academy and another is based at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while the bad guys are called F.A.U.S.T.), and a plot to release the very devil from captivity using an invocation written on a scrap of very old silk and the sacrifice of the perfect "lamb"--a woman who happens to be Lucifer Box's love interest. It could all degenerate into a silly-but-fun slapstick comedic adventure, but Gatiss's sheer skill with language somehow makes the whole ridiculous mess into a lush, exciting, readable tale that transcends its genre. Track down this series and read them all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aeryn Daring Meets an Impossible Creature

I've just finished writing chapter 4 of Aeryn Daring and the Scientific Detective, and hope to have it up on Kindle soon.

Also, the Doctor Fantastique's Books e-edition of chapter 1 will soon be available (September 1 is the target date, I believe).

More exciting things to come later: serial fiction (not mine), more rayguns, etc.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rayguns 'Round Your Neck

Here are a few nice raygun pendants found on Etsy. Click the seller's name above each image to go their Etsy shop (and yes, these are all on my wishlist).

Bronze Ray Gun pendant by billyblue22 (this one is my very favourite, and I'll probably get around to buying myself one sooner or later):

Bronze Ray Gun Pendant by dragonstreasure (not as detailed as billyblue22's, but also not as expensive):

Admiral Forsythe's Hand Cannon wooden raygun pendant by buildersstudio (this crafter also makes nice ornaments and full-size rayguns, all of wood):

Hand-drawn, hand-coloured raygun necklace by sacredflesh (much more cheery and fun than the others):

Maybe I should try a raygun in my so-far-experimental project to make jewellery out of my not-to-be-reprinted intaglio plates . . .

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Raygun #6: Atomic Disintegrator (1/6 Scale)

Name: Atomic Disintegrator (1/6 scale)

Date: 2000s

Country: somewhere in Asia

Where Purchased: eBay

Cost: $9.99 plus shipping.

Notes:  This is an adorable 1/6 scale version of the expensive and hard to find Hubley Atomic Disintegrator, in a gold-and-black colour scheme (the Hubley was silver with red hand grips). The little gun comes complete with an advertisement card and box (both with appealing retro graphics), and two tiny suction-cup darts that really do fit into the barrel of the gun (the orginal Hubley had no darts, being a capgun). The seller had a few other miniature rayguns, but I chose this one because of the box (and the fact that it's a Hubley). These haven't turned up in my recent raygun eBay searches, so I fear the seller may have vanished. Too bad, because I'd buy a few more.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Zap! Raygun Classics Review

Zap! Ray Gun ClassicsZap! Raygun Classics by Leslie Singer ( San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1991) was the first, and is still one of the few, books devoted soley to rayguns. It's primarily a book of photographs which just happens to also contain some useful information of collectors and scholars.

After a brief introduction about the nostalgia of rayguns, Singer delivers a lot of really nice pictures. The book is divided into sections by decade, starting with the 1930s and ending with the 1980s (which seems too recent to be properly vintage to me, but it was longer ago than I'd like to think). Most of the rayguns pictured get a half-page or a whole-page photograph with a small block of text identifying the name of the gun, the manufacturer and location, and the date (often only identified to the decade). Interspersed here and there with the rayguns are related items like robots, badges and vintage graphics.

The photographs are top-notch and the subjects--the rayguns themselves--are not all pristine examples, but often have dings, scratches and other evidence that they were once cherished playthings. The book closes with a brief bibliography (there just aren't that many resources for toy rayguns) and a price list, which is surprisingly accurate for something that's twenty years out of date.

This is a great volume for a coffee-table book. It doesn't really have enough information to make it useful as a reference source (though I've used sparser sources), but it invites flipping through over and over again. It's long out of print, but shouldn't be too difficult to find used.

Click here to buy Zap! Raygun Classics from

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Raygun #5: Atomic Space Gun

Name: Atomic Space Gun

Date: 1950s

Country: Japan

Where Purchased: eBay

Cost: Around $10 plus shipping.

Notes: Tin with litho illustrations. Intended to spark, but needs a new flint. Definitely got played with, but isn't in bad shape. This is the same gun pictured on page 33 of Zap! Raygun Classics by Leslie Singer (San Fransisco: Chronicle Books: 1991) with one small difference: mine has only yellow and white graphics, lacking the red shading on the text and the nucleus in the atomic symbol.