Monday 25 June 2018

The Shape of Water | review by Rafe McGregor

Black Lagoon to Baltimore via the New Weird.

The Shape of Water, which was released in December 2017, received thirteen nominations for the 2018 Academy Awards – more than any other film – and won four, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film was conceived by Guillermo del Toro, who co-authored both the screenplay (with Vanessa Taylor) and the novel (with Daniel Kraus). The latter was released in March this year and publisher Macmillan are clear that it is not a novelisation, but a project that “has been developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release – one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of film and literature.” I am not entirely convinced by this denial, having found the work lacking in the characteristics I associate with literature. The book should also not be confused with Andrea Camilleri’s 1994 Italian novel of the same name, La forma dell'acqua, which inaugurated the popular Inspector Montalbano detective series, was translated into English in 2002, and appeared on UK television screens in 2012. To return to the film, Del Toro’s premise picks up where an alternative Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, directed by Jack Arnold) might have left off, with the merman or piscine humanoid captured rather than killed.  

Saturday 23 June 2018

Theaker's Quarterly Awards 2018: the winners!

As announced in Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #62, these are the winners of the Theaker's Quarterly Awards 2018. Voting was open to the public from February 11 to 25, and people could vote for as many items as they wanted in each category. Items were eligible if they had appeared in or were reviewed in the previous four issues of the magazine. Here are the results!

  • 1st John Wyndham: BBC Radio Drama Collection, by John Wyndham et al. (BBC Worldwide)
  • 2nd Children of Eden, by Joey Graceffa and Laura L. Sullivan (Simon and Schuster Audio)
  • 3rd The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi (Audible)

  • 1st Pirate Utopia, by Bruce Sterling (Tachyon Publications)
  • 2nd I Am Providence, by Nick Mamatas (Night Shade Books)
  • 3rd Metronome, by Oliver Langmead (Unsung Stories)

  • 1st Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift, by Meredith Gran and Carey Pietsch (Boom! Studios)
  • 2nd X-Men: Legacy by Simon Spurrier, Tan Eng Huat and chums (Marvel)
  • 3rd The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga, by Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen, Larry Mahlstedt and chums (DC)

  • 1st Eastercon 2017: Innominate
  • 2nd Into the Unknown: a Journey Through Science Fiction, curated by Patrick Gyger (Barbican)

  • 1st Star Wars: The Last Jedi, by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm et al.)
  • 2nd Blade Runner 2049, by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green (16:14 Entertainment et al.)
  • 3rd Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy (Disney)

  • 1st Humanz (Deluxe), by Gorillaz (Parlophone)

  • 1st Sherlock, Series 4, by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (BBC One)
  • 2nd Westworld, Season 1, by Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy and chums (HBO/Sky Atlantic)
  • 3rd Legion, Season 1, by Noah Hawley and chums (FX)

Issue of TQF
  • 1st Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #59, edited by Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood
  • 2nd Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #58: Unsplatterpunk, edited by Douglas J. Ogurek
  • 3rd Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #60, edited by Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood

TQF cover art
  • 1st Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #60, art by Howard Watts
  • 2nd Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #59, art by Howard Watts
  • 3rd Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #61, art by Howard Watts

Fiction from TQF
  • 1st Bound for Glory, by Allen Ashley (TQF61)
  • 2nd Man + Van, by David Penn (TQF59)
  • 3rd The Lost Testament, by Rafe McGregor (TQF60)

Congratulations to all the winners! To claim their prestigious Theaker’s Quarterly Awards trophy, winners should email a postal address to us at

Monday 18 June 2018

Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #62: out now!

free epub | free mobi | Free pdf | print UK | print USA | Kindle UK | Kindle US

We really needed to start work on our Unsplatterpunk special, so at first we released Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #62 just in pdf form. More formats are now available!

Issue sixty-two contains three stories: “The Nine Dread Ladies of the Tyranium” by Antonella Coriander, “Dundoronum” by Stephen Theaker and “Listen to the Loudest Whisper” by Walt Brunston, plus twenty-one reviews, all by Stephen Theaker.

It also features some “fascinating” statistics about Stephen's lifetime of reading, and the announcement of the winners of the Theaker's Quarterly Awards 2018!

Here are the superb and mostly pseudonymous contributors to this issue:

Antonella Coriander knows when you’ve been naughty, and she’s going to use that information against you. To this issue she supplies the latest adventure of Beatrice and Veronique: “The Nine Dread Ladies of the Tyranium”.

Howard Watts provides the exceptional wraparound cover for this issue. He is a writer, artist and composer living in Seaford. His artwork can be seen in its native resolution on his DeviantArt page: His novel The Master of Clouds is available on Kindle.

Stephen Theaker is the co-editor of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction. His reviews, interviews and articles have appeared in Interzone, Black Static, Prism and the BFS Journal. To this issue he supplies “Dundoronum”, an adventure of Rolnikov and Pelney.

Walt Brunston’s adaptation of the classic television story, Space University Trent: Hyperparasite, is now available on Kindle. To this issue he supplies “Listen to the Loudest Whisper”, a new instalment in the adventures of the Two Husbands.

As ever, all back issues of Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction are available for free download.

Monday 4 June 2018

Deadpool 2 | review by Douglas J. Ogurek

Masked chatterbox returns with frenetic blend of violence, vulgarity, and pop culture references perfect for distracted contemporary audience

I’m getting a little tired of superhero movies. Aren’t you? They’re starting to blend together, and they’re taking themselves too seriously. Thankfully, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) has returned to commiserate with us in Deadpool 2, directed by David Leitch. This time, the even more reckless antihero strives to prevent abused fourteen-year-old mutant Russell/Firefists from harming humans. The quick-witted, potty-mouthed and in some ways self-absorbed Deadpool delivers a barrage of pop culture quips and ultra-violent dispatches of scumbags.

Saturday 2 June 2018

Black and Brown Planets, ed. by Isiah Lavender III | review by Stephen Theaker

Subtitled The Politics of Race in Science Fiction, this book (University Press of Mississippi, hb) aims to show “what SF criticism means when joined with critical race theories and histories of oppression”. Part one, Black Planets, features essays about African-Americans and sf. Lisa Yaszek introduces the idea of “The Bannekerade: Genius, Madness, and Magic in Black Science Fiction”, explaining how Benjamin Banneker’s life has inspired stories of “black technoscientific genius”. The essay identifies several interesting works, but it’s not clear that there are many distinct examples of the Bannekerade.