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Monday, July 25, 2016

American Gods 1st trailor

San Diego Comic Con has always been the place to launch new projects and that has been especially true this year with a slew of trailers and teasers for upcoming TV shows and films. Amongst them was the trailer below for American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel. It's due from Starz in 2017 and stars Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane and Emily Browning. The ten-episode first season will also feature apprarances by Peter Stormare, Crispin Glover and Gillian Anderson.

Vanity Fair has carried a piece about the stars' appearances in San Diego and discusses the show – I know some people are hugely offended by what they consider spoilers, so the linked article does contain details about the plot and characters. But if you don't mind, here's another short article about the show at i09.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Charles Stross cover gallery

Singularity Sky (New York, Ace Books, Aug 2003)
Orbit 1841-49334-1, (Feb) 2005, 389pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons

Iron Sunrise (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2004)
Orbit 1841-49336-8, Aug 2005, 480pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons

The Atrocity Archives (Urbana, Illinois, Golden Gryphon Press, May 2004)
Orbit 978-1841-49569-9, (Jun) 2007, 319pp, £6.99. Cover design by LBBG-Sean Garrehy

The Family Trade (New York, Tor, Dec 2004)
Tor 978-0330-45193-2, (Nov) 2007, 308pp, £6.99. Cover design by

The Hidden Family (New York, Tor, Jun 2005)
Tor 978-0330-46093-4, (Aug) 2008, 327pp, £7.99. Cover design by

Accelerando (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2005)
Orbit 978-1841-49389-9, Jun 2006, 433pp, £6.99. Cover design by TWBG-Peter Cotton

The Clan Corporate (New York, Tor, May 2006)
Tor 978-0330-46094-1, (Dec) 2008, 310pp, £6.99. Cover design by

Glasshouse (New York, Ace Books, Jun 2006)
Orbit 978-1841-49393-0, 2006, 388pp, £6.99. Cover design by Sean Garrehy

The Jennifer Morgue (Urbana, Illinois, Golden Gryphon Press, Nov 2006)
Orbit 978-1841-49570-5, (Sep) 2007, 418pp, £6.99. Cover design by LBBG-Sean Garrehy

The Merchants' War (New York, Tor, 2007)
Tor 978-0330-

Halting State (New York, Ace Books, Sep 2007)
Orbit 978-1841-49694-8, (Jan) 2008, 338pp, £10.99. [tpb]
Orbit 978-1841-49665-8, (Sep) 2008, 376+[29]pp, £7.99. Cover by Army of Trolls @ NB Illustration

Saturn's Children (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2008)
Orbit 978-1841-49568-2, (Jul) 2009, 371pp, £6.99. Cover by Lee Gibbons

The Revolution Business (New York, Tor, 2009)

The Trade of Queens (New York, Tor, 2010)

The Fuller Memorandum (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2010)
Orbit 978-1841-49770-9, (Jul) 2010, 354pp, £7.99.

Rule 34 (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2011)
Orbit 978-1841-49773-0, (Jul) 2011, 358pp, £12.99. [tpb]
Orbit 978-1841-49774-7, (Jun) 2012), 400pp, £7.99.

The Apocalypse Codex (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2012)
Orbit 978-0356-50098-0, (Jul) 2012, 386pp, £7.99.

The Rapture of the Nerds, with Cory Doctorow (New York, Tor, 2012)

Neptune's Brood (New York, Ace Books, Jul 2013)
Orbit 978-0356-50100-0, (Jun) 2014, 368pp, £8.99.

The Rhesus Chart (New York, Ace Books, 2014)
Orbit 978-0356-50252-6, (Apr) 2015, 359pp, £8.99. Cover design by Crush Creative

The Annihilation Score (London, Orbit, Jul 2015)


Timelike Diplomacy (contains Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise; New York, SF Book Club, 2004)
(no UK paperback)

On Her Majesty's Occult Service (contains The Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue; New York, SF Book Club, 2007)
(no UK paperback)

The Bloodline Feud (contains The Family Trade, The Hidden Family; London, Tor, 2013)

The Traders' War (contains The Clan Corporate, The Merchants' War; London, Tor, 2013)

The Revolution Trade (contains The Revolution Business, The Trade of Queens; London, Tor, 2013)
Tor 978-1447-23764-8, 2013, 557pp, £9.99. Cover design by


Toast and other rusted futures (Holicong, Pennsylvania, Wildside Pres/Cosmos Books, 2002; revised, 2003; expanded, Burton, Michigan, Subterranean Press, 2007)

Wireless: The Essential Charles Stross (London, Orbit, 2009)

Scratch Monkey: A Novel and Two Essays (Framingham, Massachusetts, NESFA Press, 2010)
(no UK paperback)


The Web Architect's Handbook (Cambridge, Massachusetts, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1996)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Comic Cuts - 22 July 2016

I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine. I've been stuck inside for most of it although we managed to get out on Monday when there was an event billed as An Evening With James Henry at Waterstones. For those of you who don't know the name, "James Henry" was the pen-name dreamed up by James Gurbutt when he was offered the change to write a series of sequel novels based around the character of Jack Frost, the creation of R. D. Wingfield.

Gurbutt worked for Wingfield's publisher, Constable, and teamed up with local author Henry Sutton to write First Frost. The resulting novel received the blessing of Wingfield's son, Phil, and presumably sold well enough for two more sequels which took Jack Frost's story up to where R. D. Wingfield's five novels began.

I was a big fan of the latter books. I picked up Frost at Christmas to pass on to my mum, who liked the TV series and, since she retired, has had more time for reading. She loved the book... passed it on to my sister, who loved it too, and it eventually came back to me, by which time I'd picked up other books in the series for mum. After visiting the rest of the Holland family, all five have ended up on my shelves.

The James Henry novels had a similar circular trip back to my shelves but I've read them with much the same pleasure as the Wingfields. I was rather amazed to discover that Gurbutt (who wrote the second  and third Frost novels solo) was not only a local, his partner Sarah works one office away at the same firm Mel does, the same publisher I wrangle Hotel Business for.

Which brings us to our rather shambolic Monday evening. I headed into town to meet up with Mel. The plan was to get to Waterstones for the 6:30 start and then head out to the cinema for an 8:00 showing of Ghostbusters. While we grabbed a pre-event drink we heard from a friend that the 8 o'clock show was in 3D and the nearest 2D showing was at 7:15pm. So we said yes.

The 6:30 start turned out to be 6:30 for 7:00, and we had to slip away at ten to to grab some food before heading to the Odeon. So it wasn't so much An Evening With James Henry, but A Snatched Few Minutes With James Henry. I did, however, manage to get my books signed, including a proof copy of his new novel, Blackwater, and the signature of co-author Henry Sutton, who teaches Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, who was down from Norfolk for the evening to act as the Q&A's host.

So the evening was shambolic but not an utter failure—I did meet James and Henry, albeit briefly, and we did get to see Ghostbusters which I found not nearly as bad as some people have found it. Whether it was worth the £11.75 it cost to get in, I'm not sure. We're now paying almost £1.96 in VAT per visit to the cinema, which I like to think is going towards childcare or the NHS, but is probably being spent on stocking the Parliamentary wine cellar or Trident.

On Tuesday we wrapped up the latest Hotel Business issue and sent it winging its way to the printers. Long gone are the days of boards, overlays, colour mark-ups and Red Star delivery... now it's high resolution PDF files.

Wednesday and Thursday... mostly melting and trying to figure out how to get my scanner to work properly with Windows 10. Still not sure if I've managed it... it's currently installing but I don't want to reboot the computer. Guess I'll find out tomorrow whether the new patch works.

I'm working on pulling together all the episodes for another Ace O'Hara storyline, but I also have a couple of time-intensive bits of research underway that are taking up most of my spare moments—the sort of coal-face research where you have to put in the hours. But Ace will return. Meantime, I'm pleased to have returned Bear Alley to the old mix of biographical sketches and cover galleries for a bit. Also rather amazed to think that we're only a few weeks away from Bear Alley's 10th anniversary.

Random scans... well, in honour of meeting James Henry, scroll down for a little James Henry cover gallery.

James Henry cover gallery

First Frost (2011)
Corgi Books 978-0552-16176-3, 2011, 460pp, £6.99. Cover photos by Ilona Wellman / Yolande de Kort; design by Claire Ward

Fatal Frost (2012)
Corgi Books 978-0552-16177-0, 2012, 456pp, £6.99. Cover photos by Ayal Ardon / Mark Owen; design by Rhys Willson

Morning Frost (2013)
Corgi Books 978-0552-16853-3, 2014, 474pp.

Blackwater (2016)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Rodrigo was active in the mid-1960s with at least a couple of UK credits. Almost certainly a Spanish artist... or perhaps two artists, one providing internal artwork in 1966 and another producing a cover in 1968. If anyone can reveal more about Rodrigo, please drop me a line.

Update: Thanks to José Ruiz DelAmor we have a suggestion (see comments below) as to who the artist might be: Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester. An illustrator, cartoonist and painter born in Tangier in 1950, Rodrigo (as he signs himself) is best known for the biographical homoerotic comic serial 'Manuel', first published in the Madrid-based monthly arts magazine Luna in 1983-84 and reprinted, with other works, in book form as Manuel No Está Solo (Ediciones Sinsentido, 2005).

Lambiek describes the work as "A highly experimental and anti-conventional work ... reminiscent of such varied artistic trends as an almost photographic realism, expressionism, surrealism and even abstract art."

(There, that's saved you the effort of translating José's comment!)

If correct, it would mean Rodrigo was drawing for Commando when he was 15 or 16, which may seem a little early for the confident artwork seen below. Still, it wasn't unknown for artists to begin working in studios very young.


Monday, July 18, 2016

A. W. Dalby-Phillips

A. W. Dalby-Phillips is a name that pops up occasionally in boys' magazines (Boys' Fun) and various annuals, including Schoolboys Album, Our Own Schoolboys Annual, Daily Sketch Modern Boys Annual, Super Thriller Annual and others. Dalby-Phillips was also one of the anonymous contributors to Boys' World, scripting the 'Hand of Fate' episode "The Martians Invade" in issue 31 (24 Aug 1963).

Arthur William Dalby-Phillips, was born Arthur William Dalby on 9 June 1918 and changed his name by deed in April 1939, adding the second and principal surname Phillips. He was a teacher and was on the staff at Derby Central School for Boys in the late 1940s, as evidence by this photograph [[NOTE: link no longer active]]. He left in September 1950.

Reminiscences from 'Old Centaurs' includes one wherein Dalby-Phillips is described as an ex-fighter pilot, although a marriage notice in the pages of the Derby Evening Telegraph noted that Signalman Arthur W. Dalby-Phillips was marrying Frances Gibson at Becket Street Methodist Church, Derby, on 24 August 1940. Mabel Frances Gibson (b. 18 February 1918) was a lockstitch machinist in the textile industry.

The Dalby-Phillips had three children: Michael J. Dalby-Phillips (b. 1947), Nicholas Dalby-Phillips (b.1951, but who died shortly thereafter) and Patricia S. Dalby-Phillips (b. 1955, later Spencer).

In 1950, Dalby-Phillips was teaching at Allenton Secondary Technical School in Derby and was living at 6 Amber Road, Allestree in the 1950s [fl.1953/57]. It was during this period that he seems to have started writing, contributing two stories to the Derby Evening Telegraph in 1950 and to boys' magazines and annuals.

In the late 1950s, Dalby-Phillips taught mathematics at Kitwood Boys' Secondary School, Boston. Barry Leadbeater joined the school in 1959 as a student teacher at which time Dalby-Philips was head of maths. "I had just finished sixth form education and taken my A levels in London in July 1959," recalls Barry.  "I had a gap year between school and University (also in London) and decided to look for a year's work in Boston.  One Saturday morning I walked into the Education Office in Boston to see if they had any jobs in education — I thought they might have an admin job. However, the Director of Education, Sam Newsom, immediately offered me a teaching post, subject to Headmaster approval, at Kitwood Boys' School. I started teaching on the following Monday and stayed there for three terms.  I was 19 years old and the oldest boy in the school was 16 years old.  It was a baptism of fire.

"It was a marvellous experience and as a result I met a great assortment of fine teachers including Arthur Dalby-Phillips.  He was a quiet, rather erudite man with a great sense of humour. He smoked a small pipe in the Common Room and we would often have interesting discussions.  I had no idea about his outside writing interests.  I can imagine from his sense of humour that he might well write for personal satisfaction.  He was a neat and precise man, as befitted a teacher of maths."

Both Arthur and his wife, Frances, were keen amateur actors and performed regularly with the local Boston Players in the early 1960s; both featured in at least one production together: I Remember Mama in 1963 — pictured above with Dalby-Phillips sitting on the extreme left — and son Michael was also amongst the players.

The Dalby-Phillips lived at Hawthorns, Sleaford Road, Frampton Fen, Boston [fl.1966], before moving to 155 Bagnall Road, Cinderhill, Nottingham in around 1967, where they continued to live for many years. Frances Dalby-Phillips died in Nottingham in 1996, aged 78, and her husband continued to live at the same address until around 2002.

In 2002, Arthur Dalby-Phillips briefly lived at 77 Chartwell Avenue, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S42 6SR, before moving into the Manor Residential Home, Barnfield Close, Chesterfield S42 5RH, where he was living at the time of his death in April 2003, aged 84.


The White House, illus. V. M. Vincent. Leeds, E. J. Arnold & Son (Adventure Stories 40), 1955.

Short Stories (selected)
Euthenasia (Derby Evening Telegraph, 18 Sep 1950)
The Soul of Mr. Flint (Derby Evening Telegraph, 27 Nov 1950)

(* Originally posted on 16 April 2009; reposted on 26 May 2012 to take into account some correspondencewith Barry Leadbeater and some minor additional research. My thanks to Barry for allowing me to quote his letters. The photograph above is from the Boston Playgoers Society website; reposted to take in some additional research.)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Spaceship Away #39 (Summer 2016)

Summer's here... and so is the latest issue of Spaceship Away, as colourful and enthusiastic as ever and adding some very welcome delight to what has been a bit of a damp squib of a month.

Artwise, the magazine relies heavily on Tim Booth, who continues to relate two Dan Dare yarns. 'Parsecular Tales' has now been running for six years and has reached episode 25. That's 50 full-colour pages—a record for fan activity that's likely to stand for a long, long time. Of course, Tim is also responsible for 'Mercury Revenant', itself clocking in at 16 episodes so far.

Spaceship Away carries two other strips, old-timer Jet Morgan and relative newcomer Nick Hazard. Having exhausted the pages from Express Weekly, the latest episode, part one of 'Jet Morgan and the Space Pirates' comes from the first Express Annual (1956), which means a welcome return for artist Ferdinando Tacconi. Meanwhile, Nick Hazard continues his adventures on 'The Planet of Doom', drawn by Ron Turner with colour by Martin Baines.

Articles this time include Andrew Darlington's look at how Eagle followed the space race, an interview with Ian Kennedy and a biographical essay by Greta Tomlinson about her career.

All this and more is wrapped up in a cover by Frank Bellamy and an all-new back cover painting by Don Harley, plus there's a terrific centre-spread painting of the various Dan Dares that have appeared (Eagle, 2000AD, New Eagle) by Ian Kennedy.

You can find out more about the magazine, buy back issues and subscribe to the latest issues at the Spaceship Away website.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Edmund Cooper cover gallery

Ferry Rocket (as George Kinley)
Curtis Warren, Jan 1954 (Mar 1954), 159pp, 1/6. Cover by Gordon Davies

They Shall Not Die (as Broderick Quain)
Curtis Warren, Mar 1954 (May 1954), 160pp, 1/6.

The Black Phoenix (as Martin Lester)
Curtis Warren (Jul 1954), 160pp, 1/6.

The Uncertain Midnight (London, Hutchinson, 1958; abridged as Deadly Image, New York, Ballantine, 1958; revised, London, Panther Books, 1959)
Panther Books 988, (Dec) 1959, 192pp, 2/6. Cover by Richard Powers
Hodder Paperbacks 0340-15132-3, 1971, 192pp, 25p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1982, 192pp, £1.25. Cover by Bob Layzell

Seed of Light (London, Hutchinson, 1959; New York, Ballantine, 1959)
Panther Boosk 1094, Aug 1960, 189pp, 2/6. Cover by Josh Kirby
Coronet 0340-21990-4, 1977, 158pp, 75p. Cover by Jim Burns.
----, 1979, 75p.

Wish Goes to Slumber Land (for children, London, Hutchinson, 1960)
(no UK paperback)

Transit (London, Faber, 1964; New York, Lancer, 1964)
Four Square 1391, Dec 1965, 190pp, 3/6.
Coronet 0340-16464-6, 1973. 220pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1974, 30p.
----, Mar 1981, £1.10.

All Fools' Day (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1966; New York, Walker, 1966)
Hodder Paperbacks 0340-02860-2, 1967, 192pp, 3/6.
Coronet 0340-02860-2, 1973, 192pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, Oct 1977, 75p.
----, 1981, £1.00.

A Far Sunset (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1967; New York, Walker, 1967)
Hodder Paperbacks 0340-04364-4, 1968, 189pp, 3/6.
Coronet 0340-04364-4, 1973, 189pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, Feb 1977, 60p.
----, 1979, 75p.

Five to Twelve (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1968; New York, Putnam, 1969)
Hodder Paperbacks 0340-10904-1, 1969, 187pp, 5/-.
Coronet 0340-10904-1, 1974, 187pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1982, £1.25.

Sea-Horse in the Sky (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1969; New York, Putnam, 1970)
Hodder Paperbacks 0340-12975-1, 1970, 191pp, 5/-.
Coronet 0340-12975-1, 1974, 190pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1978, 75p.
----, 1980.

The Last Continent (New York, Dell, 1969; London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1970)
Hodder Paperbacks 0340-15091-2, 1971, 192pp, 25p. Cover by Chris Foss
Coronet 0340-15091-2, 1974, 192pp, 25p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1982, £1.25.

Son of Kronk (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1970; as Kronk, New York, Putnam, 1971)
Coronet 0340-1617-1, 1972, 189pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1975, 35p.
----, 1978, 75p.

The Overman Culture (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1971; New York, Putnam, 1972)
Coronet 0340-17860-4, 1974, 189pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1977, 60p.
----, 1979, 75p.

Who Needs Men? (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1972; as Gender Genocide, New York, Ace, 1972)
Coronet 0340-18614-3, 1974, 192pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Foss
----, 1977, 75p.
----, 1982, £1.25.

The Cloud Walker (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1973; New York, Ballantine, 1973)
Coronet 0340-19478-2, Oct 1975, 223pp, 35p. Cover by Colin Hay
----, 1979, 75p.
----, 1980, 95p.

The Tenth Planet (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1973; New York, Putnam, 1973)
Coronet 0340-20512-1, 1976, 192pp, 60p. Cover by Tony Roberts
----, 1978, 75p.
----, 1979, 85p.

The Slaves of Heaven (New York, Putnam, 1974; London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1975)
Coronet 0340-22337-5, Mar 1978, 191pp, 75p. Cover by Jim Burns
----, 1980, 90p.

Prisoner of Fire (London, Hodder & Stoughton, May 1974; New York, Walker, 1976)
Coronet 0340-21242-x, Feb 1977, 191pp, 60p. Cover by Jim Burns

The Deathworms of Kratos (as Richard Avery; London, Coronet, 1975; New York, Fawcett, 1975; as by Edmund Cooper, London, Severn House, Jul 1977)
Coronet 0340-19472-3, Feb 1975, 142pp, 35p. Cover by Colin Hay
---- (as by Edmund Cooper), Oct 1979, 142pp, 85p. Cover by Jim Burns

The Rings of Tantalus (as Richard Avery; London, Coronet, 1975; New York, Fawcett, 1975; as by Edmund Cooper, London, Severn House, Oct 1977)
Coronet 0340-19889-3, Jul 1975, 157pp, 40p.
---- (as by Edmund Cooper), 1979, 157pp, 85p.

The War Games of Zelos (as Richard Avery; London, Coronet, 1975; New York, Fawcett, 1975; as by Edmund Cooper, Coronet, 1980)
Coronet 0340-19875-3, Nov 1975, 192pp, 50p.
---- (as by Edmund Cooper), 1980, 192pp, 85p.

The Venom of Argus (as Richard Avery; London, Coronet, 1976; New York, Fawcett, 1976)
Coronet 0340-19918-0, Mar 1976, 160pp, 60p. Cover by Bob Fowke
---- (as by Edmund Cooper), 1980, 160pp, 85p.

Merry Christmas, Ms. Minerva (London, Hale, Oct 1978)
(no UK paperback)


Tomorrow's Gift (New York, Ballantine, 1959; London, Digit Books, 1959)
Digit Books D280, (Aug) 1959, 159pp, 2/-. Cover by Ed Valigursky (ex-Ace D-266, The Mechanical Monarch by E. C. Tubb)

Voices in the Dark (London, Digit Books, 1960)
Digit Books D349, (Apr) 1960, 157pp, 2/-.
Digit Books R663, Jan 1963, 157pp, 2/6.

Tomorrow Came (London, Panther, 1963)
Panther Books 1511, May 1963, 123pp, 2/6.
---- [2nd? imp.], 4/-.

News from Elsewhere (London, Mayflower, 1968; New York, Berkley, 1969)
Mayflower Books 6304-8, 1968, 128pp, 3/6.

The Square Root of Tomorrow (London, Hale, 1970)
(no UK paperback)

Unborn Tomorrow (London, Hale, 1971)
(no UK paperback)

Jupiter Laughs and other stories (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1979)
Coronet 0340-26462-4, 1981, 220pp, £1.10. Cover by Fred Gambino

A World of Difference (London, Hale, 1980)
(no UK paperback)