Phil and Graham return to Derry and Toms to gas about James Herbert’s second novel, 1975’s The Fog. One year on from The Rats he’s back terrorising London and the south-east, this time with a rampaging combination of mutated disease and spooky weather condition. He also baffles and amuses us with protracted sexy-times, which was de rigueur for Herbert at this early stage in his career. Also, I can only apologise to any German listeners for reasons that will become apparent.
BEHOLD the crapness of the cover on my Pan edition in the middle. NEL were streets ahead in the cover stakes, particularly that pop art design.
This episode is played out by Brayna’s Creed, the second track from the upcoming Journal Vol II, available via N Λ Ṇ D
Andy Darby joins me in virtual Derry and Toms to talk his tales of the Monkey God, Moorcock, and lots of other stuff including reminiscences about Johnny Seven, Lion annuals, Commando comics, Mme. Blavatsky, My First Two Thousand Years and tripping in Amsterdam.
You can pick up Vol I and The Paddington Incident now and Vol II releases on 5th November. There are QR codes with the illustrations in Vol 2 and The Paddington Incident that link to audio sections narrated by Andy, and you can connect with him on Goodreads.
This episode is played out by the title track from The Dreaming City III by Immryr. At the time of recording (and at the time we released The Black Corridor) this was the latest release from Imrryr but, characteristically, there is another available for pre-order already. Check out One Flesh, One End.
Andy’s reading recommendations:
C J Cherryh: Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, Exile’s Gate
Madeline Miller: Circe, The Song of Achilles,
Pat Barker: The Silence of the Girls, Natalie Haynes: A Thousand Ships,
Conn Iggulden: Conqueror series (these are just fucking epic!)
Tim Willocks: The Religion (awesome!), The Twelve Children of Paris (awesome 2!)
Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London series
Jonathan L Howard: Johannes Cabal series
Catherynne M. Valente: Deathless
Kim Newman: Anno Dracula
Karl Edward Wagner: Kane series
Chris Carlsen: Berserker series
Stewart Gordon Suaine and the Crow God
Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory, The Bridge Walking on Glass,
Derek AKA Imrryr joins me in Derry and Toms to discuss this choice piece of 60s SF courtesy of Moorcock and Hilary Bailey, as well as his new(ish) The Black Corridor inspired album and his latest variation on his ongoing Elric-related project The Dreaming City III. Then Graham calls in from his weird shack* in the woods to add his tuppence ha’penny worth and his thoughts on collaborating with ＮΛＮD to interpret this novel as a musical suite.
It’s been a fun time and it continues to prove a satisfying and rewarding pursuit. It has led to great conversations and hook-ups across the globe and shows just how wide the reach of rambling, often drunken but always enthusiastic conversations about Moorcock, genre fiction, music and anything else that crosses our minds can be.
My better half and regular co-host Phil joining me on the ride has only made it better.
Mad shouts from the mountain tops too to my Buds of Ages for their support:
Loz, getting stuck in from day one with drunken takes and hideous challenging beers only encouraged me to continue
Neil for all that early support showing me what a microphone is, how to plug it in and what is achievable with sound and editing software. He even stepped in and corrected the audio on a particularly drunken session with Tash very early on. Loz and Neil’s old band Giantkind is the source of the intro and outro music on the show too
And Wayne for all of his collaboration, creative and musical input on the Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly.
Very specific thanks also to Simon Perrins. Simon has provided almost all of the art and banners for this podcast across a variety of platforms and, as a result, he’s a core part of its identity.
And finally of course thanks to all our you, our patrons, and to all of our friends & contributors!
It’s Friday and another week is down, so best wishes and hearty cheers to all of you, even those that may yet have some work to undertake this weekend – I raise a glass in salutations as you await your moment.
It’s been a busy few weeks here at Derry and Toms, what with The Mad God’s Amulet Book Two making its way out into the spheres and the next show in the can and awaiting a good editing. That particular show is a timely one as we take a look at The Black Corridor and, along with Derek AKA Imrryr and a cameo from our old Duckpond Sailor friend Graham, we muse upon just how relevant it feels in this age of populist nutjobs, demigoguery and rampant knobheadery. That show will be out in a week or two.
I had been due to record with an all new guest this past weekend but the covid booster I had on Saturday morning wiped out all of my weekend plans. This new variant I had was called Spikevax.
It spiked the shit out of me so, whomever gave it that tag must have known their stuff. Anyway, apologies to Andy Darby and we’ll get something in the diary as soon as possible.
It’s also getting to that time of year and although our patreon poll is still open, it’s highly unlikely The Fog will get overhauled. So Phil and I have been picking out our editions and we will be joined in this endeavour by Graham so expect some tasty/nasty hoots in three weeks or so.
In other reading news, I somehow continue to punish myself by reading Alien tie-in novels but I’ve stalled halfway through a particular stinker. Set in 2186 (give or take) it’s the first one I’ve read that features the ‘British’ colony New Albion (groan) and it hits all the checkboxes for colossally irritating, theme park horseshit depictions of British culture that I usually find in 80s RPG supplements (for a particularly egregious example see the Twilight 2000 Survivor’s Guide to the United Kingdom). Not satisfied with all of the colony occupants saying ‘best of British’ to each other, it even has Brexit analogies and a faux B*ris J*hns*n character. Just what I want in a grim, gritty corporate future scifi tale. I will make it through it. I will. I will brook no defeat in even the shittiest of books.
Even Dannus (#FUCKINGDANNUS).
Right. It’s time I logged off and opened a stupid beer of some description, so for those able to join me (whatever your poison, be it booze, a cuppa or plain old aqua) here’s to your good health and thanks for your ongoing support.
Ted AKA @tedankhamen joins me in Derry and Toms for the second leaf of our Summer diptych musing on Moorcock, gaming and whatever else enters our eyeline.
Some choice cuts in here including miniature bashing, Tolkien (again), a shock Strongbow appreciation story, chaosium-isms… but mostly some good, chewy thinking on modelling Moorcockian worlds and cosmology. I also bang my BoL drum again.
You can check out the Tentacled Whisperer of Secrets Discord by making an offering to… THE TENTACLED WHISPERER… or just check out his profile. He’s pretty lax on gatekeeping for an ancient deity of unspeakable power.
Well, that’s summer just about over. A record-breaking heatwave, some muggy, humid weeks and now into September – rain. And more rain. Feels much more traditional now.
Accompanying the change, a good dose of lurgy has landed in this house and every couple of hours I’ve been alternating between teeth-chatteringly cold and slowly cooking in my own seepage. Not covid though so the D-Squads haven’t got to me yet. Hussein suggested that I must be possessed and there’s a battle going on between good and evil jinn for control of my weak human flesh.
I just wish one of them would hurry up and win or at least come to some form of compromise, the shirty fuckers.
Anyway, I used these past few days to do a lot of reading. Most of it bad. I was curious about the novelisation of Alien Isolation (although a video game, it is for my money the best tie-in/spin-off from the Alien franchise). As I’m a mug for a bargain I picked it up in a pack of 7 Alien tie-in novels and, long story short, they’re mostly incredibly mediocre. The exception is Alien: Cold Forge by Alex White, largely by dint of the fact that the central conceit is – what if a financial auditor visits a remote research station to cut costs and streamline operations. On top of that, what if the auditor is essentially Patrick Bateman in space.
It just so happens that, as I was ploughing my way through them, Ted AKA @tedankhamen sent me a link to his blog sharing his thoughts re gaming within established IPs (in this case Star Wars). His take really resonated, particularly given our previous shows on gaming, but I think those points apply across all expanded fiction based upon established IPs. Those Alien tie-in novels are a great example and they reinforce the beliefs Clarky, Dave and I expounded in the last show – make new shit. Take the themes and tropes and flavour, but freshen it up. Those Alien novels all revolve around the same tired, rote elements. Weyland-Yutani… colonial marines… ‘bug hunts’…
MAKE NEW SHIT!
I am of course guilty of this myself. The first section of The Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly is set in Tragic Millennium Europe. In my own defence though, that was a write-up of a couple of Hawkmoon RPG gaming sessions so it is faithful to that at least. But I’ve tried beyond that point to diverge a bit. Wait… am I comparing my nonsense to licensed, published fiction? No. I’m just trying to not be hypocritical I suppose. And I’m not a writer. I’m a hobbyist. So I’m giving myself a pass.
That said, I entirely understand that being commissioned to operate within a juggernaut IP means that one must tick boxes. I do wonder if that’s why the Alien Isolation novelisation, based upon a game that does a nice job of expanding some universe details and features no mention whatsoever of colonial marines or any trappings thereof, introduces colonial marines elements by the fourth chapter.
All of this also leads me to a long sigh of sadness and some regret.
Ridley Scott’s Alien deservedly led to an initially modest but eventually pretty enormous expansion of the canon and a multi-billion dollar IP. Sequels, comics, video games, novels, cross-overs (Judge Dredd vs Aliens!) and an upcoming TV show.
Meanwhile, Britain’s (the world’s?) greatest living fantasist can’t catch a break in any medium outside of comics and tabletop games, and in the case of the latter only currently in France. The Runestaff TV show is apparently still in development but the Elric project appears to be dead in the water. Unsurprising given that The Witcher and GOT/House of the Dragon have effectively taken screen ownership of so many of Moorcock’s trappings (sadly, whilst entirely jettisoning the themes). If a Warhammer 40,000 show or movie ever emerges then the gig is truly up.
That’s something to explore on a future show for sure.
Anyway, I’ve obviously had too much time on my hands (and brain).
Fucking germs. As a result I had to postpone a couple of visits to Derry and Toms this past week, so apologies to Derek and Steve. We can hook up in the future ASAP.
On a positive note, two shows are already in the can. The first is the second part of our summer gaming diptych, recorded with the aforementioned Ted, where we look at his extensive take on Moorcockian gaming. That will be out in the next day or two.
The second is Book Two of The Mad God’s Amulet with Dave. That will follow in a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, our patron poll for the looming Halloween episode has been live for a couple of weeks and James Herbert’s The Fog maintains its healthy lead. Still plenty of time for patrons to vote though and Shaun Hutson’s Slugs finally got a couple of sympathy votes.