John collaborating with ANTA/Antoni Maiovvi

So, I’m working on a prog rock synth sci-fi album with these incredible artists…

Continue reading “John collaborating with ANTA/Antoni Maiovvi”

New article on Daily Grail: The Old Gods vs. Daesh


The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham is a Salafi jihadist militant group that adheres to an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam. You know who they are. They used to be called ISIS, (sometimes ISIL, sometimes just Islamic State), but now (for reasons Greg Taylor so brilliantly summed up here) we call them Daesh. Isis, the Egyptian Mother of Life, the Crone of Death, the Goddess of Magic, worshipped more than three thousand years before the Prophet Mohammed was born, venerated by the Romans and Ancient Greeks alike (and still worshipped by some today), has had her name taken in vain for long enough.

It was 2014 when Daesh began a systematic campaign of destruction of cultural heritage sites and artefacts. Something the Taliban did before them, making headlines with the dynamiting of the 6th century Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001. Daesh claims that the targets, bulldozed, bombed, and smashed out of existence, are being destroyed because they represent “an erroneous form of creativity, contradicting the basics of sharia”. [1] The videos they make of the destruction are also great propaganda tools, guaranteed to get airplay and media attention across the world. The BBC won’t show a beheading but it will show a temple exploding, a sledgehammer taken to an ancient idol. Even as we all grow numb and weary from the daily onslaught of horror we see on out televisions, computer, and phone screens, those images retain the power to shock.


Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: V – The Raven King


My fifth and final Strange & Norrell piece for the Daily Grail is now online. It’s called The Raven King.

I’ve really enjoyed writing the S&N pieces (almost as much as I’ve enjoyed the genuinely wonderful TV series) and probably could have gone on and on but thought it best to quit before people got too bored. Thanks for all the lovely things people have been saying about the articles. I hope I can do something similar again in the future.

Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: IV – Magic and Madness

jonathan-strangeToday (the 24th of June) is Fairy Day, so what better way to celebrate than with a new Strange & Norrell piece?

My penultimate article of the series, Magic and Madness, is now free to read at

Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: III – Away with the Fairies

jonathan-strangeSusanna Clarke’s 2004 historical fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been adapted into a seven part television series by Peter Harness, currently airing on BBC One and BBC America.
My third article for the Daily Grail on the history and folklore Strange & Norrell draws upon is entitled Away with the Fairies and is free to read now.

Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: II – On Fairies and Witchcraft

jonathan-strangeSusanna Clarke’s 2004 historical fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been adapted into a seven part television series currently airing on the BBC (beginning on BBC America June 14th). I’m plucking out some of the more easily disentangled fragments of folklore, magic, and the like from the book (and the show) and taking a closer look at them for The Daily Grail.

My second Strange & Norrell piece On Fairies and Witchcraft is free to read online now, and contains no (or only extremely minimal) spoilers.


Daily Grail Strange & Norrell articles: I – The Language of Birds

jonathan-strangeIn March 2006 Leah and I flew over to Dublin, Ireland for the first time in either of our lives as guests at the third annual Phoenix Convention (or P-Con, as most people know/knew it). The guest of honour that year was Susanna Clarke – author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell which had, at that point, already been out for eighteen months and won a Hugo Award. I, a chronically slow reader at the best of times, had not yet started reading the 800ish page novel, and I think that Leah was only part of the way through it. Nevertheless, we found that we got on well with Susanna and her partner, sci-fi writer Colin Greenland – who were both lovely, charming and funny – and the brief time we spent together over the course of the con was very enjoyable. It was perhaps two years later that I finally finished reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I have on only a couple of occasions in my life finished a book and at once turned to the front to begin reading it again. I thought about doing that with Strange & Norrell but I am, as I have said, a very slow reader. Instead I immediately downloaded the thirty two hour long audio-book version which to date I have listened to perhaps three or four times.

In a piece entitled “Why I Love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” published on the Guardian website recently, Neil Gaiman recalled writing to the book’s editor to say that it was, in his opinion, “the finest work of English fantasy written in the past seventy years. I am not so widely read as Mr. Gaiman and I don’t pretend to be an expert in such matters, but what I can say with certainty is that I, like Neil, love Strange & Norrell. The blend of alt. history and fantasy, the handling of Englishness and of English Magic, of otherness and madness, the subtly, the comedy, the eeriness, the epicness – in every sense; all these factors combine to make Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell a work which does not so much stand apart as it does occupy a space that seems no other work could ever fill. It is as though a Strange & Norrell sized gap waited hungrily on some shelf in the realm of forms up until a decade or so ago.

Today, in 2015, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has been adapted into a seven part television series for the BBC and as I type we are three episodes in here in the UK. With Clarke’s wonderful world of magicians theoretical, practical, and street being beamed into living-rooms across this scepter’d isle, now seems like an ideal opportunity to pluck out some of the more easily disentangled fragments of folklore, magic, and the like and take a closer look at them.

Read on at

SteamPunk Salmagundi FREE until Saturday

SteamPunk Salmagundi for KindleMy collected writings for SteamPunk Magazine 2007 – 2013 – SteamPunk Salmagundi is now FREE for Kindle (and Kindle app) until Saturday September the 13th. link link

You can read reviews of the book on the SFX Blog and the Twisted Tomes Blog.

You can also still buy a genuine paper, page turning, printed version of the book direct from us at

Coming soon…

Legend of Red Sonja #3 Legends of Red Sonja #3

This bold experiment in anthology storytelling continues as the GREY RIDERS continue their quest to hunt and kill Red Sonja, but is she truly guilty of the horrendous crimes she is accused of? Spectacular short stories by Rhianna (Tomb Raider) Pratchett, Leah (Damsels, Sherlock Holmes) Moore, Nicola (Earth Two, Secret Six) Scott, and series regular Gail (Batgirl) Simone.

Available January 22nd from Dynamite Entertainment


Thrills of the Future: Black Shuck Nine part historic horror action fantasy Black Shuck, written by Moore & Reppion with art by Steve “Zenith” Yeowell coming to the pages of 2000 AD soon.


Cthulhu Lives - Ghostwoods BooksCthulhu Lives! anthology coming soon from Ghostwoods Books featuring On the Banks of the River Jordan.
Cover by gaborcsigas.

Paul Cornell’s 12 Blogs of Christmas: Day 3 – Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silver Chain

Every year that talented and lovely chap Paul Cornell runs twelve blogs on his site on the lead up to Christmas. Some are written by the man himself while others are written by invitation. We were honoured to be asked to contribute when we bumped into Paul all too briefly at Thought Bubble last month.

Sherlock Holmes by Matt Triano

Paul told us that the loose theme of the blogs this year would be “What are your characters doing at Christmas?” so, after a bit of head-scratching, we came up (and got rather carried away) with a short, festive Sherlock Holmes mystery entitled The Case of the Silver Chain.

We hope you enjoy it.

SteamPunk Magazine #6

SPM #6

After a lengthy struggle and much holding of heads, we are delighted to finally be able to announce the release of Issue #6 of Steampunk Magazine – The Pre-Industrial Revolution. With the final part of John Reppion’s ‘Doppler and the Madness Engine’; a look at the Romantics and what they did for us; alchemy; Luddites; corsets; sculpture; windmills; poetry; and Victorian martial arts, it’s our biggest issue to date.

As ever, Issue #6 can be downloaded from our website, or alternatively you can get your hands on your very own hard-copy through the order page on Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness.

Stay tuned for news about ordering your very own copy of Steampunk Magazine from our new UK printing operation, the website, Lincoln Steampunk Convivial, and the exciting things that will be happening over the next few months!


SteamPunk Magazine #5

SteamPunk Magazine #5Contents


Doppler and the Madness Engine (part two) …….36 by John Reppion
Funny Thing About Horizons ……….58 by Jimmy T. Hand


The Chronabelle ………………….16 by Libby Bulloff
Voltaire ………………………..45 by Margaret Killjoy


Knights of the Road ……………….8 By Charles Eberhardt
Steampunk Ad-Libs ……………….45 By Margaret Killjoy & Usul of the Blackfoot
On Progress, On Airships …………..26 By Carolyn Dougherty
The User’s Guide To Steampunk ……..30 By Bruce Sterling
On The “Validity” of Steampunk ……..34 By Heather Pund
Selected Timeline of Steampunk Events, Past & Future .34 By Margaret Killjoy
An Introduction to Casting …………48 By David Dowling
Emergency Welding Machine ……….62 By Zac Zunin
Reviews ………………………..64
Steampunk Funnies ……………….68 By Geof & Alex

Order a paper copy online

Download PDF for free

Readers might also be interested in the interview I conducted with Bryan Talbot for SPM a while back, wonderfully illustrated by my lady wife.