Many Dead Things – The Art of Eldritch Horror

Thomas Theodore Merrilyn is an enigmatic figure, a 19th Century aristocrat and naturalist who spent his life scouring the earth for wonders forgotten by science.

In an exquisitely sinister book, he presents the specimens of his century-long search – the anatomical research cases of the werewolf, the remains of the vampire, the macabre equipment used by Doctor Moreau.

Found in 2006 in the sealed basement of a London Orphanage, the Merrilyn Cryptid Collection is a treasure trove of ephemera that defies our knowledge of nature. Each piece is linked by a story arc – a tale that encapsulates the mystery surrounding this odd figure and his compelling collection of things that never were.

The book described above is the work of artist Alex CF, something so ghoulishly creative that I was absolutely bowled over. It’s a beautiful fiction, ghastly and fascinating, thorough and believable – a mixture of eldritch horror, Darwinian biology and the willing, even eager, suspension of disbelief.

Featuring a foreword by Reece Shearsmith, himself a collector of Alex’s work, the book is meticulous, all-encompassing – detailed diaries, anatomical drawings, life-like specimens, microscope slides and mummified Pharaoh remains – all of it darkly, gloriously grotesque. Yet the pages turn and turn as if Merrilyn himself is reaching out to help them.

It’s rare I’m sent something that renders me as speechless as the work of Lord Merrilyn – four years in the creation, it’s beyond mind-blowing. This is a book that needs to do for exquisitely ghoulish biology what WETA’s Doctor Grordbort did for rayguns.

Alex is looking for a publisher – and something this beautiful needs to be shared.

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And Another Thing

In a record-breaking event in 1980, the late, great Douglas Adams did a legendary signing at Forbidden Planet on Denmark Street, London – a signing that took up half-a-dozen pages in his biography.

It’s a very special moment for us to be welcoming Eoin Colfer, signing the sixth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy And Another Thing at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Wednesday 14th October 6 – 7pm.

Adams himself said that the Hitchhiker’s series deserved a sixth book to end the story on an upbeat note; Eoin Colfer, best known for his wonderful Artemis Fowl series, is true follower of Adams’ legacy with his views of the absurdities of life, the universe and everything. There is no better person to be taking Arthur, Zaphod and Marvin out into pastures new.

A lifelong Hitchhiker fan, he said, ‘Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world.’ Prepare to be amazed!

To commemorate Forbidden’s Planet’s affection for Hitchhiker, Penguin Books are kindly offering a FREE signed poster to the first 150 guests.

Towels and Beeblebears are, of course, welcome.

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Tagged! Eight Random Things

Yes, I’ve been tagged by the Loud Mouth Man to do the Boast Post – the fascinating fragments of my past that intrigue and perplex my readers. Well, here they are: –

This is not my first time.
I’ve shot my bolt with this already; tagged by Blue Knitter last summer, my previous ‘eight things’ are weird, wacky, wonderful – and true in every word. Promise me it won’t colour how you think of me, and you can read them here.

My first ever schoolgirl crush was on Peter Davison.
I was about 12 years old when he took on the role of Doctor Who. He was cool, he was smooth and he had a stick of celery in his coat. What more could a girl need? Wonderfully, when he signed at the London Megastore last month, he was still gorgeous!

I’ve performed in the Royal Albert Hall.
It was singing Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ and I was only in the chorus, but I still feel the intensity of belonging to something that uplifting and powerful. Alas, my voice now suffers from years of rugby songs round bonfires – but I still sing to the CD when there’s no-one home.

I was the first girl in my school Cadet Force to reach the rank of Sergeant.
Even when I reached the VIth form, Ardingly was still 75 – 80% male – and my high-pitched drill and field commands were the subject of much hilarity among my deeper-voiced counterparts!

I can’t drive.
No, I’ve never learned to drive. It’s not even, ‘I can drive but I’ve never passed my test’; I genuinely can’t drive. I’m not entirely sure why. I guess I’ve just never got around to it.

I’ve shared a house with a drug dealer.
He was only dealing pot, but the colourful characters turning up at all hours of the night still make me smile. At one point, there was a hookah in the living room with a bowl the size of my cupped hands and a pipe that reached out of the door and halfway up the stairs…

I was once offered a job as a professional cage dancer. Apparently.
About ten years ago, a guy gave me his card in a fetish club and told me to call him, there were employment opportunities awaiting a girl of my… ah… skills. While the card did say ‘talent agency’, I have a feeling the promise wasn’t quite what it appeared to be!

I owe my current job to complete coincidence.
One vaguely normal one to finish: in September 2003, I happened to be staying in Bristol with a couple of mates. Nick happened to pick up the Saturday Guardian, lying by us in the pub. John, joking, passed me the employment section and said ‘you could get this job’.
So I did.
The rest, of course, is fantasy.

Ian Cook at
John Hood at
John Rivers at
Rowan Stanfield at
Dave Wares at

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