A Sabbatical

I’m going off to visit family for five or six days. Promise to miss me?


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Enamoured by Metaphor


I am about to embark on a new horror story, based around the concept of anatomical models from the 17th and 18th centuries. The original ‘Anatomical Venus’ by Clemente Susini  can still be seen at La Specola museum in Florence. She is known as ‘the Medici Venus’,  and is a life-size wax figure with real human hair, and can be dissected into seven anatomically correct layers. She spawned numerous copies, referred to as Slashed Beauties or Dissected Graces. My favourite is the one pictured above, with her gold crown and serene expression, while her innards lay exploded over her chest and stomach.

These models were both scientific educational tools and works of high art. The artists who produced them were often students of anatomy and witnessed dissections to get the details right; some even had a tiny fetus incorporated into the display. Like Snow White, they were kept in glass coffins.


After they were discarded by their medical institutes and museums, the anatomical models were often incorporated into the displays of fairground attractions. The languid nudity of the wax figures attracted the voyeurs, while the faux dissections attracted those individuals with morbid curiosity or scientific interests.


What a range of horrific possibilities for a writer! Who were the original models for each of these wax figures? Were these wax sculptures based on real women, or idealised ones? It isn’t a big jump to seeing an artist murdering a perfect, healthy girl to get  his details right…

The real tantalising detail is knowing the best of these Slashed Beauties could be broken down into seven anatomically correct layers. Not only is the name, Slashed Beauties, just wonderfully creepy, but think of the metaphor created by a woman with so many layers. As Shrek points out,  she has layers “Like an onion!” What is revealed as you peal those layers away?


Filed under Analogy, Horror genre, Metaphors, Uncategorized, Writing Style

The Lovecraft eZine is now open to story submissions – and has new editors! — Lovecraft eZine

Send us your weird fiction and cosmic horror tales! Click the link for submission guidelines, payment information, and more.

via The Lovecraft eZine is now open to story submissions – and has new editors! — Lovecraft eZine

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We’re looking for your finest short science fiction story — ShortStops

Shoreline of Infinity, the newest British science fiction magazine, is currently open for submissions until 3oth November 2016. We’re looking for stories up to 5,000 words. We’re a quarterly magazine, and is available in print and digital formats – and we pay for stories. We’re looking for a good science fiction story, something that gives reality a tweak on […]

via We’re looking for your finest short science fiction story — ShortStops

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sad Tidings


Back in the 1990s, I joined an online writing group call ‘Gratuitous Violence’. Strangely enough, all the members were kind and giving, articulate, literary, clever, creative, and all of them had a great sense of humour. With their support, I became a better writer, and more importantly, gave me the confidence to take my writing seriously.

In the past hour, I have learnt that one of the brightest of us has passed away. Oh, Chris, what a loss to the world! You were so young.

Terry Pratchett said that while you remember a person, they are never truly gone. Please keep Chris Bloom in your hearts.

Leave a comment

Filed under Personal experience, Uncategorized

Horror and the Steampunk Genre

Cogpunk Steamscribe

Pumpkin from Flickr

The Steampunk literary genre and the Horror genre are a match made in heaven. All the great monsters had their origins in the Victorian era. Frankenstein’s monster was created by Mary Shelley in 1818. In 1827, English author Jane C. Webb Loudon published The Mummy! Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century – a science fiction novel I would recommend for its originality of vision. I might suggest Mrs Loudon and Mary Shelly were the first Steampunk novelists, as Jules Verne wasn’t even born until the next year. Another woman writer, Clemence Houseman, wrote about a female lycanthrope in her 1896 novel, The Were-Wolf. A year later, Bram Stoker had success with Dracula, though there had been popular vampire fiction published all through the 19th century, like John Poldori’s short story in 1819, The Vampyre. There were even robots and other mad inventions. About the only classic monster not introduced into…

View original post 180 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Ghosts of Victorian Past: Gothic Steampunk

Cogpunk Steamscribe

The Castle of Otranto, A Gothic Story was the very first Gothic novel, so it predates the Victorian era by several decades. It was published in 1764, and written by Horace Walpole. Walpole’s style was heavily influenced by the tragedies of Shakespeare. The Castle of Otranto was a popular book and its style was to be much imitated in the later 18th century and early 19th century, created the Gothic literary genre. The Gothic literary genre is considered to combine melodramatic fiction with the Victorian-era genres of Horror and Romanticism. Some of the most famous books of the Victorian era were Gothic tomes, like and it is easy to trace the influence the Gothic genre had on some of the more lurid genres of modern Science Fiction and modern Horror.

The Gothic novel held a particular fascination for the Victorians, with their morbid obsession with mourning rituals, mourning clothing and…

View original post 343 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized