The Never-Ending Fantasy

I finished Final Fantasy XV last week, and I have some thoughts. Obviously this post will contain spoilers for FFXV. OBVIOUSLY. So don’t stick around if you haven’t finished it/don’t want to know major plot points.

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In the Flesh and the Rise of Fascism

Note: This is another one I wrote for another publication that ultimately went unused. It was written in June 2014 when Farage fever was at its height in the British media. Sadly, little has changed since then, so it’s still depressingly relevant with the Tories joining UKIP in a war on the fringes of society. Enjoy!

Also, the series has now been cancelled, so we’ll never find out what the Undead Prophet’s deal was. Sad not to be seeing these characters again, but it really was excellent and I highly recommend you seek it out.

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Memories of Elvaston: Mazes and Minotaurs


This IS Elvaston, but it isn’t the maze. Only picture I could find that properly conveys the fear.

I’ve always thought that my irrational fear of mazes stemmed from childhood visits to Elvaston Castle. I had distinct memories of chilly early Aprils many years ago when there were few visitors and the wind whistled through the twigs of the leafless maze. My parents were sitting on a bench outside the maze, leaving me to play, and my heart thudded as I wandered the twisting pathways, convinced I’d never find my way out. Finding a clearing with a statue and a bench was a relief, but also oddly terrifying, as I’d expected there to be other people there, and yet I was still alone. And worse, I felt that I wasn’t, that there was someone just around the corner, lurking unseen. I was left with an odd competing terror of being alone in the maze and not being.

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Can I get a Reset? (In Memory of Graham Joyce)


The Royal York Hotel, home of FantasyCon 2014

I had intended to write this post about the British Fantasy Convention in York which I attended a few days ago. There was going to be mention of the different approaches to the writing process described by Joanne Harris and Toby Whithouse and how I felt they applied to my own writing. There was going to be high praise indeed for the fabulous Tea and Jeopardy and their ability to turn a standard interview into an anarchic steampunk riot that would have made Rod Hull and Emu proud. (Because of the sense that anything could happen, not because of a bird. Although there were chickens.) There would probably be something on Larry Rostant, an incredibly modest illustrator and graphic artist who has designed some notable covers over the years, my favourite being Stephen King’s On Writing (not the design he wanted, but King baulked at the idea of a picture of his own house being used) There was going to be a brief muse on how what is always thought of as a relatively small community is actually global and many of these writers we unthinkingly brush shoulders with at such events are icons of the genre. And then I’d probably have finished up with a lame joke about how the whole reason I bought a ticket was because my former tutor and dare I say it, friend, Graham Joyce was due to be Master of Ceremonies, but he’d been too busy swanning around having chemotherapy to attend. One, because Graham was fond of gallows humour and I figured he’d get a kick out of it when he read it, and two because it never, not for one second, occurred to me that he might actually die.

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