Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tricky Dicky at the Festival of Politics

I'll be introducing a screening of Alan J. Pakula's All the President's Men at the Festival of Politics in Edinburgh this Saturday (15th August), which takes place in the Scottish Parliament (Members' Room) at 1830. The film will be followed by a Q&A. More info and tickets can be found here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beyond Neptune...

Photo: NASA

Their main immediate abode is a still undiscovered and almost lightless planet at the very edge of our solar system—beyond Neptune, and the ninth in distance from the sun. It is, as we have inferred, the object mystically hinted at as “Yuggoth” in certain ancient and forbidden writings; and it will soon be the scene of a strange focussing of thought upon our world in an effort to facilitate mental rapport. I would not be surprised if astronomers became sufficiently sensitive to these thought-currents to discover Yuggoth when the Outer Ones wish them to do so….

When I left Brattleboro I resolved never to go back to Vermont, and I feel quite certain I shall keep my resolution. Those wild hills are surely the outpost of a frightful cosmic race—as I doubt all the less since reading that a new ninth planet has been glimpsed beyond Neptune, just as those influences had said it would be glimpsed. Astronomers, with a hideous appropriateness they little suspect, have named this thing “Pluto”. I feel, beyond question, that it is nothing less than nighted Yuggoth—and I shiver when I try to figure out the real reason why its monstrous denizens wish it to be known in this way at this especial time. I vainly try to assure myself that these daemoniac creatures are not gradually leading up to some new policy hurtful to the earth and its normal inhabitants.

H. P. Lovecraft, 'The Whisperer in Darkness', V & VIII

Monday, June 22, 2015

Just published: A Short History of Disease

My Book of Lurgies, A Short History of Disease, is out this week. A social history of afflictions from the Year Dot, it includes all the big ones - malaria, TB, plague, HIV, Ebola - and some lesser known maladies. Madness, war and capitalism make cameo appearances. Available from all good bookshops, plus the usual online tax-dodging barrow boys. You can buy a copy here.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Backlist reprints

The Gnostics, The CatharsThe Black Death and Alchemy & Alchemists have just been reprinted in paperback. For the latter two, this is the first time the revised editions have appeared in paperback. The Black Death is a slight update of the 2007 edition; likewise Alchemy is a very slight update (mainly new things in the Bibliography) of the 2006 edition.

Here is a shot of my author comps. They make a colourful set.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Now appearing at a Goodreads page near you...

I'm now a Goodreads Author:

There is also a link to this on my Facebook Author Page (which can be found at

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Solaris in Manchester 30.04.15.

I'm introducing Tarkovsky's Solaris at the Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester on Thursday. The film starts at 1800, and there will be a Q&A afterwards, led by yours truly.

The film is free. (Although the bar isn't.)

More info here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

On the joys of physical books

Although I read a lot of fiction on my e-reader (and use it a lot when travelling), the arrival earlier this week of a copy of David Vann's new novel reminded me what's so special about actual books. I ordered a US edition of Aquarium, published by Atlantic Monthly Press. Everything about it is nicer than the UK edition - better paper, coloured ink, nicer font, and also.... colour photos of fish. I don't know if David Vann is going down the WG Sebald route here (Max's books contain photos), but they're certainly a nice touch.