The Sword of the Dawn – Book One

Dave AKA SÖNUS returns to Derry & Toms and we pick up the exploits of Dorian Hawkmoon and his amusing companion Huillam D’Averc in The Sword of the Dawn, third volume of Moorcock’s epic The History of the Runestaff.

Meliadus gets miffed, Hawkmoon’s stoicism is tested, D’Averc gets naked and Count Brass is bored shitless.

Join us as we discuss this and much more!

Entropic State Report 23rd February 2023

It’s 23.02.23.

The year is already tumbling by and, compared to last year, here at D&Ts we’re keeping up a good pace. Having chats with all of our compadres on a variety of topics MM, MM-adjacent and things that are just plain old ‘of interest’ is its own reward but I’ve come to find that the time I spend putting episodes together in the editing suite is a pretty mellow experience and quite therapeutic.

In terms of knowledge and capability, this has been a journey. I still make blobs from time to time, and Zoom is far from an ideal solution to online recording with co-hosts on the far side of the world, but overall I think the quality of the audio has shown a steady improvement. With your support and encouragement I’ve improved my gear, got more practice, identified some routines that help and… perhaps most importantly for my process, I’ve discovered plug-ins. What used to take me hours of bumbling around in the settings on Adobe Audition, I can now accomplish incredibly quickly by applying some simple settings, pressing ‘apply’ and hopping off to make a cuppa.

Having thought back to one of the (in my mind) most notoriously difficult-to-edit shows in our 55-episode run, I decided to see if one of those plug-ins could, at the turn of a dial, significantly improve the audio. So I loaded up The Jewel in the Skull Part Two, activated the plug-in, turned the dial and pressed apply. One cuppa later, it’s transformed into something infinitely easier on the ears.

But… I have a dilemma.

I loved recording those early episodes in Tash’s kitchen and I do wonder if going back and ‘correcting’ them subtracts something. In terms of figuring out how to do it, we were making it up as we went along and getting rat-arsed along the way. And I’m not sure I want to lose that.

Yes, new listeners that land upon that episode that expect a degree of professionalism in their podcasts may be turned off by it. But I’m not sure they’d be any less turned off by our drunken repartee.

I also fear that if I do one I’ll just end up obsessing over revisions to earlier episodes instead of concentrating on new ones.

I’ll continue to mull it over.

Meanwhile, I have two full shows in the can for editing and I’m recording two more in the coming 7 days so I need to pull my finger out and get editing NEW stuff, let alone drunken ramblings from three years ago.

Coming in the next few weeks we have musings on The War of the Worlds with Allister Thompson, New English Library Bikerspolitation with Andrew Nette, The Sword of the Dawn with Dave and a chat about Moorcock, Black Swords and Hacks with Goran Gligović. Also, Phil might finally finish her Phoenix in the Sword homework but having blown her knee out and found she potentially needs a knee replacement she has other things on her plate right now.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts on revisionism (it is very MM after all) let me know.

The Dark – The Nature of the Uncosy Catastrophe Part One

Graham and Miles join me in Derry & Toms to delve into more James Herbert disaster action and muse over the glut of uncosy catastrophes coming out of the 70s paperback boom to answer Aldiss’s dismissal of the British sci-fi apocalypse novels of the 60s.

We talk about The Dark and touch upon some other examples we’ve been picking up.

As trailed in the show you can find The Casual Trek Podcast on all good podcatchers and you can still find the episode of the Closer to Midnight Podcast covering John Christopher’s The Death of Grass and the Cornel Wilde film adaptation No Blade of Grass on 

Check out Graham’s music on his bandcamp pages for Decadnids, Decanids vs NΛND (The Black Corridor) and The Duck Pond Sailors.

Entropic State Report 6th February 2023

Dear friends,

Phil and I have embarked upon our winter retreat, on this occasion to the incredibly picturesque harbour town of Barmouth.

Yes, Barmouth. The scene of Guy N Smith’s terror double-bill of Night of the Crabs and its subsequent sidequel, Crabs Moon. Now I’m not saying we decided to commit a whole week of our annual leave allocations to visiting the site of a brace of 70s horror novels, but we may well have committed a whole week of our annual leave allocations to visiting the site of a brace of 70s horror novels.

It was a good choice though.

I’m not going to knock Smith’s literary credentials for a second, but he didn’t really sell Barmouth’s qualities. It’s a really beautiful bit of coast and the key landmarks do not disappoint, with Arthog Bridge being a particularly impressive piece of Victorian engineering. That was obviously wasted on that down-in-the-mouth train driver but not on us.

Amusingly, our digs are in Llanaber – the very site of Professor Cliff Davenport’s boarding house (and scene of his alarmingly immediate bond with Pat). We’re going all in for the authentic experience. Shell Beach awaits.

Amongst our holiday reading we have the final instalment in the Cliff Davenport triptych, CRABS ON THE RAMPAGE. Sadly it isn’t set in Barmouth, but, weirdly, it does feature some of our older holiday stomping grounds up in the highlands of Scotland that we are very familiar with.

Anyway, enough of my holiday snaps.

It’s suddenly February and 2023 is already feeling productive. We’re keeping up a decent pace with the show, I have two more in the can undergoing editing, and Phil and I will hopefully record our thoughts on The Phoenix in Obsidian AKA The Silver Warriors very soon. This month I’m scheduled to revisit the NEL story with Andrew Nette and Dave will be back to pick up the Hawkmoon saga with The Sword of the Dawn.

To add to that, if you missed it, I popped up on the Appendix N Book Club and that was a fine time all round.

In a addition to that, we passed a couple of Podbean milestones in January too…

…and I have to say Podbean, you could put a bit more effort in with your badges.

Still, it’s always good to note progress. Long may it continue. And thanks to all of you for supporting us and making it happen.

That’s all for now though, I have to go down Barmouth beach in search of crevices (I remain unconvinced).

So go steady out there and we’ll catch up again soon… On t’moonbeam roads.

New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine

Oliver Brackenbury drops by Derry & Toms to give us the low down on New Edge Sword & Sorcery, his new anthology magazine heading to Kickstarter around about the time this show goes out.

We talk about the magazine as well as numerous things including the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy at Toronto Public Library, Oliver’s related podcast Unknown Worlds of the Merril Collection, his path to writing and editing and his main podcast So I’m Writing a Novel.

You can find more info about Oliver and all of his projects and activities at

This show is played out with Demesne of the Rocks, the opening track from the new N Λ Ṇ D release Journal Vol II