Friday 30 November 2012

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #42 - out now! (Plus two free books!)

Not a dream, not an alternate reality, this is your real life and this is really happening: Theaker's 42 is here, at last!

Fiction: “The Powers That Be”, Sophia-Karin Psarras; “Drydock”, Mitchell Edgeworth; “Old Men Who Reach into Guitars”, R.M. Fradkin. Plus the Quarterly Review, by Jacob Edwards, Stephen Theaker and Howard Watts.

Books reviewed: Clementine, The Ebb Tide, The God Engines, The Long Earth, Mere Anarchy, The White City, The Yellow Cabochon, Dan Dare. Films reviewed: Dredd 3D, Looper and Snow White and the Huntsman.

There are two big changes this issue. Although Lulu and Feedbooks have been brilliant for us over the last few years, from this issue we’re moving the print version to Amazon POD, for the sake of improved distribution and cheaper postage for readers, and the ebook into the Kindle store, to give us a little more flexibility with the ebook formatting.

Delivery from Amazon is free with Super Saver delivery, or if you're a Prime member, effectively cutting three or four pounds off the cost of buying an issue.

Moving the ebook to the Kindle store does mean there's a minimum price for it, but our plan is to make each new issue free on Kindle for the first five days of its release, and then again whenever a new issue is released. If we end up accidentally selling a few copies in the spaces inbetween, we’ll tuck the money into Christmas cards for contributors.

If you are a fan of the epub and pdf formats of the magazine, our plan is to make them available as a bonus to anyone who gets the Kindle or print editions. Just send an email quoting the relevant code (see the editorial) to and we’ll send a download link.

I hope that our next issue will be out in December, back on schedule, so see you again very soon.


Kindle edition (UK)
Print edition (UK)

Kindle edition (US)
Print edition (US)


Howard Watts is a writer, artist and composer living in Seaford who provides the cover to this issue and a review of the film Dredd 3D.

Jacob Edwards is currently indentured to Australia’s speculative fiction flagship Andromeda Spaceways, editing #45 and (most merrily and in time for Christmas 2012) #55 of their Inflight Magazine. The website of this writer, poet and recovering lexiphanicist:

Mitchell Edgeworth is a young writer living in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. His fiction has been published in The Battered Suitcase and SQ Mag. He tweets as @mitchedgeworth and keeps a blog at

R.M. Fradkin currently lives and works in Italy. The one thing she expects to be constant in her life is writing: not doing so “would be like living with laryngitis for the rest of my life”.

Sophia-Karin Psarras is a sinologist who, through no fault of her own, has recently become inextricably caught in a web of doctors (and all secondarily-related species).

Stephen Theaker is the eponymous co-editor of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction, and writes many of its reviews. He has also reviewed for Interzone, Black Static, Prism and the BFS Journal.


To celebrate each new issue of TQF we offer a book or two free on Kindle. This time it's Michael Wyndham Thomas's extraordinary The Mercury Annual and my entirely ordinary Quiet, the Tin Can Brains Are Hunting!

The Mercury AnnualKindle UK, Kindle US
Quiet, the Tin Can Brains Are Hunting!Kindle UK, Kindle US

The War of the Worlds (XBLA) – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

I’ve been meaning to review The War of the Worlds (XBLA) for quite a while, but to do that I felt I had to finish the game, and that hasn’t happened; in fact, I don’t think I’ve got anywhere near the end. Written by Christopher Fowler, and narrated by Patrick Stewart, this side-scrolling platformer sets the story in 1950s London, which puts a very interesting twist on the narrative. For example, the player hears BBC radio broadcasts announcing the invasion. Though it was a game I bought less to play than because I thought it would be interesting to review, I was surprised by how good it was, at least at first; a bit slow, maybe, but diverting, beautiful, and often quite frightening.

Monday 26 November 2012

Le Voyage dans la Lune, Air – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

Le Voyage dans la Lune (EMI, CD, 32 mins plus DVD, 17 mins) isn’t the first soundtrack work by Air (that would I think be The Virgin Suicides (2000), an album so heartbreaking I could only listen to it once)—but it is nevertheless very special. The music began as pieces to accompany the restored colour version of Georges Méliès’ 1902 film, which is included here, and so, before discussing the music, a few words for the film. Though most right-thinking people have a natural abhorrence of the colourisation of black and white films, this is something rather different; it was made at the same time as the original film under the supervision of Méliès himself, with every frame of the story hand-painted: the debate at the academy and the preparation of the rocket; the journey to the moon; the hallucinatory sleep sequence; the battles with the insectoid lunar inhabitants; the triumphant return home. Every bit of it is visually astonishing, and the colour is amazing, the brush strokes clearly visible. The film has lost none of its interest or entertainment value: the only disappointment for my children was its short length. If someone made the same film today you’d be impressed by their cleverness; that Méliès did it in 1902 is beyond belief. Or rather, it would be, if we didn’t have the evidence on DVD. And what about that Jules Verne, eh? Inspiring hit films for over a century now! (Shame they’re not all as good as this one.)

Friday 23 November 2012

Drokk: Music Inspired by Mega-City One – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

As part of Portishead, Geoff Barrow has created four of my favourite albums of all time. Drokk: Music Inspired by Mega-City One (Invada UK, 56 mins), in collaboration with film and television composer Ben Salisbury, may be a side project, but it is very nearly as superb as his other work. This isn’t actually the soundtrack to the forthcoming Dredd, whose composer is Paul Leonard-Morgan. But it did apparently begin there, as exploratory sketches, and it says a lot for the music that although they didn’t end up working on the film, the musicians involved felt those ideas were too good to leave unexplored, and came back to finish them off.

Monday 19 November 2012

Super F*ckers by James Kochalka – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

Super F*ckers by James Kochalka (Top Shelf, digital collection, 146pp) is one of the most puerile things I’ve ever read, and therein lies its charm. Its characters throw swears around like they’ve just learnt them, dumb teenagers who have realised they can make their peers laugh with mindless abuse despite a lack of wit. The book is a spoof on teams like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Justice Society of America and the Teen Titans, with their club houses, rule books and membership try-outs.

Friday 16 November 2012

The Cosmic Horror Colouring and Activity Book! by Jess Bradley – reviewed by Lorelei Theaker

The Cosmic Horror Colouring and Activity Book! by Jess Bradley (self-published, 28pp) is great for kids any age. They will love this book because it has fun activities and brilliant colourings of Cthulhu and his enemies/friends. At the end of the book there are some snap cards to cut out and play with. Also provided, two photos of Cthulhu, one of him graduating and a normal photo of him. One of the fun activities is doing a maze to move Cthulhu somewhere, but you could get trapped in a picture of Cthulhu or a dead end.

All kids will absolutely adore this activity/colouring book. It will be fun because they can do some of the activities over and over if they don’t write on them and the fun will never stop. And the pictures are great and the illustrator has done great detail. And again, every kid will adore it!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

The A to Z of your online life

Type each letter of the alphabet into your browser’s address bar and note the results to draw a self-portrait with your favourite websites…

Here’s my list...

I think the search engine ones are where I haven't been to a site beginning with that letter so it just threw up something random. That hipster quiz is just a random quiz link from Facebook that I never actually did…

Monday 12 November 2012

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar (Angry Robot, ebook, 4253ll plus extras), is the first in a series that has so far run to three volumes (the sequels being Camera Obscura and The Great Game). It’s set in a world much changed since Amerigo Vespucci landed on the island of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. Caliban’s people, Les Lézards, have installed themselves as the rulers of our island nation, whales sing in the Thames, the police are supported by automatons, airships fly overhead, and Moriarty is Prime Minister. Orphan is a young poet given to literary mischief, rebel rather than revolutionary, but when tragedy strikes a mission to Mars his need to set things right throws him into an adventure that will take him from London to the Mysterious Island of Jules Verne, and leave the future of the planet in his hands.

Friday 9 November 2012

The Darkness Compendium, Vol. 1 – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

Even James Kochalka’s Super F*ckers seems grown-up compared to The Darkness Compendium, Vol. 1 (Top Cow, digital collection), which is 1169 pages of anatomically incorrect pin-ups, misogyny and lumpy dialogue. Possibly the worst comic I’ve read, and certainly the worst comic of which I’ve read almost twelve hundred pages, it did become moreish after a while, in the sense that it never asked anything of my brain, except when it came to grasping the dangling strands of a bunch of daft crossovers. It’s telling that the book’s most significant events (aside from Jackie gaining his powers at the age of 21) occur outside its pages, in a Batman crossover that isn’t included here.

Monday 5 November 2012

Jago & Litefoot: The Bloodless Soldier by Justin Richards – reviewed by Stephen Theaker

Henry Gordon Jago is a theatrical impresario who has lost his theatre, Professor Gordon Litefoot a respectable doctor who helps the police when they have a body to examine. They met for the first time on television, in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, one of the fourth Doctor’s best-regarded stories. Jago & Litefoot: The Bloodless Soldier by Justin Richards (Big Finish, 1×CD, 50 mins) is the first in a series of audio adventures, sold in box sets of four stories. Their “investigations of infernal incidents” have been successful enough to reach a fourth series, but I’m starting at the beginning. Or almost the beginning; they were previously to be heard in The Mahogany Murders, one of the Companion Chronicles, but I missed that one. Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter return as Jago and Litefoot, respectively, their full-blooded, plummy tones giving the story an instant gravitas. They play their roles with complete conviction, approaching the material with the same seriousness they might give to a Radio 4 adaptation of a classic literary novel. The relish with which they discuss the food and drink served up by Ellie at their favourite pub made this listener wish he was right there at the table with them. The word I’m looking for is gusto!

Friday 2 November 2012

Prometheus – reviewed by Howard Watts (*spoilers*)

It was around 1980/81 when my mother sneaked me into a flea pit with her in Brighton to see Ridley Scott’s A L I E N, and I’d like to make it perfectly clear from the outset: I’ve been waiting for someone to address the origins of the “Derelict” and its occupant, the “Space Jockey”, for umpteen years since walking out of the cinema way back then. In advance of seeing the film I was familiar with the imagery from various books such as the Alien Photostory and The Making of Alien. Even then, Hans Rudi Giger’s “Space Jockey” seemed to me to be such a grand figure fused to his chair, peering into what seemed to be either a telescope, or perhaps a weapon. He appeared lonely, as if his proud appointment somehow involved a great sacrifice on his part. Despite the mystery surrounding his true purpose, I wanted to know more about him…