All Screams Must Turn To Silence

Originally released in 2013, All Screams Must Turn To Silence is another example of the long-form dronework I created under the Sigillum Dei name. By stretching and modifying a source sample of only a few second in length, I morphed it into more than half and hour of eerie ghost drone that ebbs and flows like the particle fields that litter the voids between galaxies.

The track is available through Bandcamp.


A Visit to the Sime Gallery, Worplesdon

I’ve been a fan of Sidney Sime’s art for a long time, since having first seen his fantastical illustrations for Lord Dunsany’s ‘The Gods of Pegāna‘, but it wasn’t until I started research for my essay on three of Sime’s paintings, an article which was eventually published in Dead Reckonings 22, that I realised how hard it was to find any information on him beyond the scant biographical details on his Wikipedia page and the single easily-acquirable book about his life (Simon Heneage and Henry Ford’s ‘Sidney Sime, Master of the Mysterious‘.

What I did find, however, is that a small band of devotees keep Sime’s memory alive at the Sidney Sime Gallery in Worplesdon, Surrey. Worplesdon has a great connection to Sime – he lived there after buying the still-extant Crown Cottage in 1904 and, after his death in 1941, his remains were interred in the graveyard of Worplesdon’s St Mary’s church – so it is a more than fitting place for his memory to linger.

Still, Surrey is a long way from my own home in Edinburgh…

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Those Of Frost, Not Firelight

They came down from the woods that night
those of frost, not firelight.
They snuffed out flame, snuffed out as well
the lives of those who quietly dwell
in towns and hamlets, farms and inns.
The places where mankind begins.
We’ve heard their whisperings in streams,
their faces only found in dreams.
Where masters older than our own
sit upon their oaken thrones.

Everyone they found, they slew
except a pair of children who
hiding underneath their bed
heard the woodfolk laugh. They said;
“Tremble not, we’ll leave you be.
Return this dawn to moss and tree.
Another night you’ll hear our song.
Years for you, for us not long.
As long as mankind bustles, thrives,
we’ll come to take your children’s lives.”

This poem is featured in Corpse Roads, from Wyrd Harvest Press.

Tech Noir Nights: Robocop (1987)

Tech Noir Nights is a series of articles about the bars and nightclubs of 80s/90s action movies. The reasons for this series existing are outlined in this introductory post. Whether these reasons are good reasons is debatable…

Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is, even today, an essential film that uses a taut action movie to talk about political corruption and greed so subtly that many people don’t even realise that’s what it’s doing. This blend of violent action, political satire and post-modern self-reference through the use of in-world advertisements and news articles would remain unsurpassed until perhaps 1997’s Starship Troopers, again by Verhoeven.


Robocop (Peter Weller), Omni Consumer Products’ cyborg police officer and the company’s attempt to fully privatise law enforcement in the city, has started to recover memories from his previous life as Alex Murphy, a street cop killed in the line of duty by a gang of brutal criminals. Ironically, it is implied that cops like Murphy – both honest and highly skilled – have been transferred into crime-ridden areas purely to increase the chances of them being mortally wounded and therefore becoming ‘donors’ for the Robocop initiative.

In an attempt to find the location of Clarence Boddicker, Murphy’s killer, Robocop heads to a local night club where he seeks out Leon Nash, a member of Boddicker’s gang.


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‘Undead, Forever’ – Ravenloft and the Gothic in D&D

This paper was initially presented at the Gaming the Gothic conference, held at the University of Sheffield on April 13th 2018. The intial CFP is available here.

This is a transcript of the presented paper, edited with some last-minute changes made during the presentation itself and, where appropriate, links to external material.


So begins our journey into the Dungeons & Dragons adventure of ‘Ravenloft’where Strahd von Zarovich, a centuries old vampire-prince, rules his terror-haunted realm without pity or remorse. ‘Ravenloft’ is riddled with deeply gothic imagery from the flying buttresses of the eponymous Castle Ravenloft to the tortured, endless nature of Strahd’s vampirism. Yet, like all gothic fiction, there is more to ‘Ravenloft’ than simple theatrics. There is a deep sense of horror that comes not just from the story but from how the story is told and, crucially, how it is not told.

Continue reading “‘Undead, Forever’ – Ravenloft and the Gothic in D&D”

The Selkie-Lass

The selkie-lass she came abeach, as the sun shone fine and bright. She spent the hours, such joy in each, until she spent the night.

And come the morn her voice did crack; “I must, my love, away.” Her beau held up a burlap sack; “I think, rather, you’ll stay.”

“I stole, you see, your selkie skin as you came from the sea. Forget your kelpy halls, your kin. Think only now of me.”

The selkie’s eyes did brim with tears, salt water now that burned. She looked away, the man drew near, with hands outstretched she turned…

She clutched the sack and, with a rip, she tore it from his hands. And, spinning lightly on her hip, she fled from the dry land.

Selkie-smooth and selkie-quick she leapt into the waves. Ah, the lass had sore been tricked! A wretched howl she gave!

The brute reached round behind his back and from the shade he pulled; a thing obscene, its fur death-slack and gleaming eyes all dulled.

“I kept a memory of your grace, for me to gaze upon. How will you fare without your face? No lovers more, oh no not one…”

The selkie-lass she comes abeach, as the moon shines fine and bright. And if you glimpse her face – bone, bleached – with you she’ll spend the night.

Image and inspiration by Danny McMonagle