Thursday, 30 June 2016

"Over the Top" WWI Themed Chess Set Now Available


In this exquisitely crafted chess set, British and German armies face off from their trenches across a crater filled, muddy battlefield.

The figures are 28mm white metal, and hand painted to a high quality with incredible detail.

The board measures approximately 19 inches on each side and features many fine details such as barbed wire, water filled craters and trench lines.

Modelling and painting by Mike Evans.

Photography by Adam Woods.

https://oldonesproductions.com/products/over-the-top-wwi-themed-chess-set

Check out the other chess sets available from the Old Ones Productions store here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Original Artwork Available from Old Ones Productions


We have the honour of hosting some amazing original  artwork on the Old Ones Productions store. As well as the pictured Chalice Spirit painting, there is also the original paintings for the Cthulhu t-shirt and print, and the Space In-between pictures. They're all reasonably prices and provide a golden opportunity to purchase Lucian Nedelea's art.

The Chalice Spirit painting can be viewed and purchased here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/original-art/products/chalice-spirit-painting

To see the full range of original artwork available, click here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/original-art



Sunday, 26 June 2016

Mini Cthulhu Chess Set Now Available


 A 3D printed, hand painted mini sized Cthulhu inspired chess set with a  board with one inch tiles.

“I have looked upon all the universe has to hold of horror, and even the skies of spring and flowers of summer must ever afterward be poison to me.” 
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

All pieces have weighted bases and felt pads to protect the boards.

This is a unique chess set that would make an ideal gift for any Lovecraft fan.

Note that these sets are made to order and may take up to 6 weeks to dispatch.

Pieces are hand painted so may vary slightly from the photos.

The board is sized 8 x 8 inches, and is printed to match the selected piece colours. The print is apply directly to the wood, so some natural variation should be expected.

Original concept art by Luciana Nedelea and 3D modelling by Sergio Mengual.

The King piece is 1.7 inches / 4.5 cm tall.

The Pawn piece is 0.8 inches / 2.3 cm tall.

Available in Silver/Gold, Bone/Brown and Green/Purple here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/products/hand-painted-mini-cthulhu-chess-set


Tau Ceti Mission - 03.04.2352 - A Question of Power


Seb learns more about the Cetians in his latest communication from the Venti probe:

http://www.taucetimission.com/2016/06/03042352-question-of-power.html


See the Mighty Gygax at Lavecon - July 16th and 17th


No, not that Gygax! This Gygax, but the beast of an axe pictured, and I'll be bringing it with me to Lavecon this year, along with a range of products from my Old Ones Productions store:

http://www.oldonesproductions.com

This behemoth of an axe stands as tall as I am, and was built by Michael Craughwell. I learned of his passion for building extreme weaponry by watching a Discovery Channel show called 'Big Giant Swords'. After watching the first episode I contacted him to commission a giant axe of my own, and I'm extremely pleased with the results.

You can check out his other work on his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Michaelcthulhu/?fref=ts

The name for the axe comes from three sources - the first is a simple contraction of 'Giant Axe'. The second is the inspiration for its form, namely that of a H R Giger style bio-mechanical beast. And of course it is a reference to the ultimate Dungeon Master - Gygax :-)

Lavecom started as a fan led convention for Elite: Dangerous - the game that I am proud to be the Executive Producer for. I've had the pleasure of attending each Lavecon since its inception. While the focus remains with the game, it has also expanded to include wider fantasy and science fiction elements. It's happening on July 16th and 17th, at Sedgebrook Hall, in Northampton, so if you're in the area come and pay a visit.

You can find out more about Lavecon here:

http://laveradio.com/lavecon-2016/


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Book Review - Paradise by Jason K Lewis

I was a bit disappointed with this book, in part because it's actually a short story and not a longer piece that I'd expected from the blurb. Which will teach me not to check the number of pages first. Not that I don't enjoy short stories, and indeed, I was quickly drawn into the world portrayed.

It's very well written, and the seemingly sedate entry with the family waiting in line to be sent to Paradise really drew me in. It worked well to get to know the family and also establish the circumstances of this near future world. There's definitely something sinister at play, this becomes apparent through the characters beyond the family, but also with a lovely throw away line from the mother.

All too quickly the story ended, which was a big shame as I'd enjoyed the build-up so far, and then encountered my biggest problem with the story - it just ends. No matter how short the story there should be a conclusion. There isn't one here, it reads like the opening chapters of a longer book, which apparently is in the works, but not available yet.

As the opening of a longer story it works well, so much so that I'm looking forward to it, but as a stand alone short story it is sadly lacking.


How much would you give for a ticket to Paradise? How much would you give for the chance to start anew, without the stresses and strains of modern life?
John Carlton and his family just won the trip of a lifetime and they can't wait to get started in the brave new world that awaits them.
Simon Swanson wishes he had a ticket. He dreams of walking on fine coral beaches with the sun burning overhead, but for now he watches, happy that some, at least, have the hope of a good life.
Michael Judd is going to save the world and he won't let anything stop him.
Five lives intertwine in a tale of hope, redemption and salvation on the journey to Paradise.

Praise for Jason K. Lewis...

"...leaves you on the edge of a thread, dangling, really wanting more..."

"...Lewis has a knack for quickly developing characters through their behaviours...complexities are expressed with power and subtlety..."

Click here to buy Paradise from Amazon


Currently Reading - Wasteland Gods by Jonathan Woodrow



After the brutal murder of his son is broadcast over the internet, Billy Kingston becomes consumed with alcoholism and thoughts of revenge.

But his outlook changes when a divine being named Dr. Verity offers Billy the chance to not only find the man responsible for his pain but to remove him from this world before he can commit the murder.

When the deal with Verity takes a wrong turn, Billy moves to the small, remote town of Benton Lake and the chance of a new life. Only Dr. Verity isn’t through with him yet. Not by a long shot...

Click here to buy Wasteland Gods from Amazon

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Book Review - Circus of Horrors by Carole Gill

I found this book a bit of a mixed bag. It starts well with a trio of cannibal clowns, but loses it's way a bit. The scene is set well with a failing troupe of circus performers who have the fortune to meet a charismatic man who turns their fortunes around. Quite naturally things are not what they seem and this man interferes in their lives in a dramatic fashion. It's here that the book needed more work. This character should have felt more sinister than it did, and indeed to an extent this issues covers the whole story.

The elements are certainly there, and there are some intense horror moments, but they are an exception. These tended to be more limited to the more physical shock horror, but the story cried out for something more insidious. I feel that it needed more of an undercurrent to make the shocking moments a bit more fitting.

There's an interesting array of characters, but apart from a few exceptions they lacked depth, and some more development with them would have helped strengthen the plot. In some ways the number on offer fights against some of the more personal conflicts at play.

The biggest issues for me were the reveals. First you learn the secrets of two of the main characters, and they come out of the blue and make a big claims. To be honest they felt a little forced, and would have enjoyed greater impact as acts in themselves, rather than trying to force them to certain historical events.

Beyond this was the end reveal, and a change in circumstances. Again it felt too much, and wasn't really needed. With some more development the circus itself had all the horror the story needed, and the ramp up at the end could have been something more meaningful. That being said I did enjoy the choice at the end, although it didn't really fit with the characters behaviour throughout the book.

It's true that I had issues with the story, but the writing was solid, and it's a fast paced read. It has some bizarre moments, and I did enjoy it overall. Worth a look if you're searching for something a bit different. I should warn you that it's not for the squamish!



WARNING: THIS IS A DISTURBING TALE! IT IS FOR FANS OF BIZARRE, ADULT HORROR. THERE IS GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, STRONG, LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL SCENES *************
What exactly is wrong with this circus? There are demonic, flesh-eating clowns, murderous midgets, there is a fat lady with some peculiar tastes (to put it mildly) and there is an old man with one hell of a secret. Old Pa keeps a trunk with some very special souvenirs. When a stranger joins up who has second sight (among other talents) the old man's son gets nervous.
There are a lot of very strange beings not to mention a succubus or two and some beings from hell.

Click here to buy Circus of Horrors from Amazon


Currently Reading - Paradise by Jason K Lewis


How much would you give for a ticket to Paradise? How much would you give for the chance to start anew, without the stresses and strains of modern life?
John Carlton and his family just won the trip of a lifetime and they can't wait to get started in the brave new world that awaits them.
Simon Swanson wishes he had a ticket. He dreams of walking on fine coral beaches with the sun burning overhead, but for now he watches, happy that some, at least, have the hope of a good life.
Michael Judd is going to save the world and he won't let anything stop him.
Five lives intertwine in a tale of hope, redemption and salvation on the journey to Paradise.

Praise for Jason K. Lewis...

"...leaves you on the edge of a thread, dangling, really wanting more..."

"...Lewis has a knack for quickly developing characters through their behaviours...complexities are expressed with power and subtlety..."

Click here to buy Paradise from Amazon

Monday, 20 June 2016

Book Review - War Factory by Neal Asher

There aren't many authors whose latest releases push their way to the front of my TBR list, but Neal Asher is one of them. He's one of my favourite contemporary science fiction authors, and I'm always eager to read his latest offering. The main reason for this isn't just the craft of his writing (good as it is), but the strength of his world building. The Polity universe is an interesting, and diverse place. There is a wealth of technological wonders there, but also a balance.

Although the balance isn't so obvious with some of the characters, especially with the rogue AI Penny Royal who manipulates circumstances, AI, human and Prador alike to its on ends. It is there though, resting upon the fine edge which events waver.

I didn't like one aspect to the technology - I'm not a big fan of time travel in stories. The handling in this book is different to the approaches I've seen before, and used in a novel fashion.

The story continues straight from the first book, with Penny Royal seemingly plotting to address problems for the Prador and the Polity that he created. These all centre around the War Factory, and it's this character that I found most fascinating. Even more so because its never dealt with directly in the story, you learn aboiut it through the memories and actions of the central characters. The AIs in the universe often seem like god-like beings with staggering intelligence. They have their flaws though, and that makes the story compelling.

The cast of characters continue from the first, and so continue to evolve due to their own actions and from Penny Royal's machinations. We get to meet the Prador King, and that is another of the author's strengths. He provides a convincing realism to the aliens in his story, in particular with their biology. Their motivations aren't quite so distinct, although maybe that says something about the universality of life's desires.

Another new character, that appears is a forensic AI, and here we have a glimpse of what Penny Royal will face in the next book. I can't wait!




Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity.

Click here to buy War Factory from Amazon



Currently Reading - Circus of Horrors by Carole Gill



WARNING: THIS IS A DISTURBING TALE! IT IS FOR FANS OF BIZARRE, ADULT HORROR. THERE IS GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, STRONG, LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL SCENES *************

What exactly is wrong with this circus? There are demonic, flesh-eating clowns, murderous midgets, there is a fat lady with some peculiar tastes (to put it mildly) and there is an old man with one hell of a secret. Old Pa keeps a trunk with some very special souvenirs. When a stranger joins up who has second sight (among other talents) the old man's son gets nervous.


There are a lot of very strange beings not to mention a succubus or two and some beings from hell.
 

Click here to buy Circus of Horrors from Amazon

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Tau Ceti Mission - 02.04.2352 - A Dragon’s Footprint

Credit: Stellarium software


After a too long hiatus, communications have been restored with Seb aboard the Venti probe on  its mission in Tau Ceti:

http://www.taucetimission.com/2016/06/02042352-dragons-footprint.html

Old Ones Productions Most Popular T-Shirt




We have the pleasure of selling some fantastic t-shirts on the Old Ones Productions store. Although my personal favourite is The Space In-between (such amazing artwork!), by far the most popular is the Cthulhu t-shirt. It's easy to see why, it's a quality black shirt with an incredible image of the most famous Great One!

If you haven't bought yours yet then grab yours here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/frontpage/products/cthulhu-t-shirt

There are prints of the same image available in Grey, Green or Red here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/prints/products/original-grey-cthulhu-print

You can also buy the original artwork here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/original-art/products/cthulhu-painting

Friday, 17 June 2016

Lavecon Old Ones Productions Ad


I've had the pleasure of attending Lavecon every year so, but this time will be a little different! Not only will I be attending in my capacity as Executive Producer on Elite: Dangerous, this year I will have a table selling some of the Old Ones Productions products. You can see the items I sell here:

www.oldonesproductions.com

I will be happy to sign any books if you bring any to Lavecon!

The wonderful people at Lave Radio put together a radio advert for their show, so I've put some images to it in this video. So a big shout out for them at www.laveradio.com.

A big thanks to Luciana Nedelea - her artwork features heavily in store, and some examples are shown in this video. As well as on the store, you can find more of her artwork here:

https://www.facebook.com/LucianaNedeleaArt/?fref=ts

Thanks also to Simon Brewer and Adam Woods as their work also features in the video.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Commission a Custom Chess Set

Cthulhu Themed Chess Set
I love chess, I'm not the greatest player but it is a pure game of one mind against another. There's no chance element except the players themselves. Beyond that the beauty of the game exists in the sets themselves. They make a wonderful gift both for players and as decorative items. There are many fine chess sets in the world, but for something truly special why not commission a unique set.
As well as creating sets for sale on the Old Ones Productions store I can create a chess set to your specifications and in this article I will outline the elements needed to build the set and determine its budget.
Theme
The overall theme for the chess set determines the style of the pieces and board. The theme can be anything and should be your starting point. Common themes can be historical periods or events, works of fiction, or even more abstract concepts. For the examples shown in this article I picked a Cthulhu theme (Lovecraft is one of my favourite writers) and a Fantasy Football game (Blood Bowl more specifically).
A chess set is composed of the game pieces and the board and the theme will guide the presentation of both.
Fantasy Football Chess Set

Game Pieces
Chess is a game of two sides (although other variants exist if you are feeling adventurous!) with both sets being equal. Each piece has it's own identity and in conjunction with your chosen theme will set the style for your set.
Here your available budget will also be a deciding factor as there are many options to consider. If the set is to be used for playing rather than for display purposes only then extra care must be taken to ensure that the pieces are identifiable for their positions in the game.
Typically the pieces on each side reflect each other exactly, but as can be seen in the Fantasy Football set each side can have its own style which in this case reflects the two opposing teams.
For these sets I source figures of different scales and materials depending on the theme. Some themes such as those popular in wargaming, model making or table top gaming are easier to source than others. This can vary in price from £100 to over £500 for the 32 pieces to be needed.
Detail Painted King Piece
Size is important here, the most suitable is 25/28mm scales as these fit the most commonly available boards. However other sizes are available.
Bases for the pieces also need to be considered, these can be plain, or textured, usually depending on what works best with the board.
The finish of the pieces also factors heavily into the budget. Chess sets are usually duo-tone (white versus black) and similar colour scheme is effective. Further detail can be applied, although care must be taken to keep the two distinctive.
If you want something truly special then you can have the pieces designed, 3D sculpted and printed. This can cost upwards of £200 per piece depending on the design and materials used.
Board
The chess board is the battlefield upon which the game is played. As with the pieces this ties into the theme. Typically for chess sets it's the colour of the pieces that is reflected in the board. This doesn't have to be the case, but as with the pieces the two colours should be distinct.
Nightmare Chess Set
The material of the chess board is dependent on budget, wooden chess boards tend to start at around £50. The hand made stone chess board for the Cthulhu themed set cost over £200 and is very heavy - but really makes the set stand out!
The pieces will determine the tile size for the board. Whether the set will be used for playing also factors in, a display set can have slightly smaller tiles, but for playing you really need adequate space around the pieces for comfortable play.
As well as materials more exotic options are available. You can really let the theme dictate the form of the board, an example here would be a Battle of Waterloo chess set with British soldiers in red facing off against French soldiers in blue and the fields of Waterloo as the board. The Nightmare chess set has a hand crafted leather board which really suits it!
So if you'd like to commission a chess set of your own then email me at info@oldoneproductions.com and we can take it from there.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Book Review - Shadeward: Emanation by Drew Wagar

Before I get into the review proper, I have a pet peeve I need to vent. I'm really not a fan of made up phrases to set a scene, and the technique is used a lot in this book. Now it's generally a style choice, but in my opinion it adds a barrier when reading a sentence. For flora and fauna, or anything else local it's not too much of a problem, however when it's used for familiar concepts then it breaks the flow of reading.

With this book the big issue for me was the labels for time. Now there is a very good reason the author chose this option (in fact, it's described in detail at the end), but for me it disrupted my pacing as I read the story.

And don't even get me started on made up swear words...

As I say, it's a pet peeve of mine, and is the only major issue I had with the book. The world building is well constructed, with some detailed research evident. The basic premise might be a familiar one, namely that of a civilisation long after a cataclysm, but the setting brings something different to the tale.

For the most part it reads like a fantasy novel, but there's some deep sci-fi in here as well - this is most evident at the beginning and at the end. It follows three main threads, two sisters who are long separated, and unaware of each other's situation. Their lives follow very different paths, and there was a point about halfway through the book where it clicked as to how their threads interconnected. I think I might have been a little slow realising that point, but when I did it added another level to the story.

I've already mentioned that I appreciated the world building, and part of that is the history of the world. There's a lot of mystery here, and pieces are unravelled as the three threads progress. My favourite thread was that of a boy rescued at sea. It's with this thread that we start learning more about the ancient history of the world, as well as rediscovering some of what came before.

Despite my pet peeve, there's a real craft to the writing, and it describes an excellent story with some depth and enough mystery to keep me interested. Definitely worth a read.


A world of eternal day and everlasting night, burning deserts and frozen wastes. A people exiled, seeking the truth about their past, long lost in vague, yet disturbing, myth and legend. Technology lost, then found again.

A realm of priestesses with remarkable powers and implacable purpose, who worship a powerful god; a star that blazes unchanging in the skies above. A star which is poised to unleash devastation upon them all.

Two Children are smuggled out of Scallia to save them from the feared witches of Drayden, but the ‘rescue’ doesn’t go well. Cast adrift with no memories of each other or their real family, both girls grow to adolescence friendless and destitute. All that stands between the sisters and brutal early deaths are the talents they barely know they possess... and can’t control.


Click here to buy Shadeward: Emanation from Amazon


Currently Reading - War Factory by Neal Asher


Thorvald Spear, resurrected from his death over a hundred years earlier, continues to hunt Penny Royal, the rogue AI and dangerous war criminal on the run from Polity forces. Beyond the Graveyard, a lawless and deadly area in deep space, Spear follows the trail of several enemy Prador, the crab-like alien species with a violent history of conflict with humanity.

Sverl, a Prador genetically modified by Penny Royal and slowly becoming human, pursues Cvorn, a Prador harboring deep hatred for the Polity looking to use him and other hybrids to reignite the dormant war with mankind.

Blite, captain of a bounty hunting ship, hands over two prisoners and valuable memplants from Penny Royal to the Brockle, a dangerous forensics entity under strict confinement on a Polity spaceship that quickly takes a keen interest in the corrupted AI and its unclear motives.

Penny Royal meanwhile continues to pull all the strings in the background, keeping the Polity at bay and seizing control of an attack ship. It seeks Factory Station Room 101, a wartime manufacturing space station believed to be destroyed. What does it want with the factory? And will Spear find the rogue AI before it gets there?

War Factory, the second book in the Transformation trilogy, is signature space opera from Neal Asher: breakneck pacing, high-tech science, bizarre alien creatures, and gritty, dangerous far-future worlds.


Click here to buy War Factory from Amazon


Friday, 10 June 2016

Cthulhu Chess Set Price Drop

I'm very pleased to announce a price drop for the 3D printed, hand painted  Cthulhu chess set. It is now available for £350 - you can order yours here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set/products/hand-painted-cthulhu-chess-set

You can also order the pieces without a board for the reduced price of £290 here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set/products/hand-painted-cthulhu-chess-pieces

And if you'd like to paint your own pieces then they can be purchased here for £250:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set/products/paint-your-own-cthulhu-chess-pieces

Or paint your own mini Cthulhu chess pieces for only £100 here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set/products/paint-your-own-mini-cthulhu-chess-pieces



A 3D printed, hand painted Cthulhu inspired chess set with a  board with two inch tiles.

“The Thing cannot be described - there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order. A mountain walked or stumbled.

If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful.”

All pieces have weighted bases and felt pads to protect the boards.

This is a unique chess set that would make an ideal gift for any Lovecraft fan.

Note that these sets are made to order and may take up to 6 weeks to despatch.

Pieces are hand painted so may vary slightly from the photos.

The board is sourced to order to match the selected piece colours so may vary from the one shown.

Original concept art by Luciana Nedelea and 3D modelling by Sergio Mengual.

The King piece is 2.6 inches / 6.7 cm tall.

The Pawn piece is 1.7 inches / 4.5 cm tall.

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set/products/hand-painted-cthulhu-chess-set

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Eldritch Horror Chess Set

This is the chess set that started it all!


A unique hand painted Eldritch inspired chess set with a handmade stone board with two inch tiles. A chess set across which the fate of a man's soul can be determined.

Cultists form the front ranks of pawns, great standing stones carved with mystical symbols are the rooks. The tentacles of some nameless horror are the knights and eldritch magi are the bishops. The sensuous coils of the Serpent Queen and the great Cthulhu are the royal pieces.

All pieces have textured stone floor bases cast from resin with added felt pads to protect the boards.

This is a unique chess set that would make an ideal gift for any Lovecraft fan.

As I'm running out of storage space this one of a kind chess set is now only £400!

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/chess-set/products/cthulhu-chess-set



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Book Review - Portrait of a Girl by Will Macmillan Jones

I read the first book in this series (The Showing) some time ago, and it was an excellent take on the traditional haunted house theme. Unfortunately for the lead character in that book it appears that the paranormal isn't quite done with him. For me, this wasn't quite as strong as the first book, but does deliver on a fine horror story.

Here we have a mysterious painting  that exerts some level of control, or deep seated fascination with some of those that gaze upon it. This element of the story builds well, with some well structured development. It's carried by a small cast of characters, most of which are the police officers trying to find the two men who have vanished, apparently connected to the painting.

The police investigation didn't feel as solid as the supernatural side, although their task was a difficult one with no real evidence to work from. There is one big anomaly here, and that was my biggest problem with the book. There's a big element to the painting that isn't investigated, although it does get mentioned right at the end, so now I'm curious if that feeds into the next book, and if it's all connected by more than just the lead character.

It's a big enough flaw to knock it down from a great read, but don't let it put you off, as this is a tightly written tale. It's a quick read and apart from my gripe, it works. Well worth checking out for those who like a little darkness with their supernatural.


Does lightning ever strike twice? It would seem so for the unfortunate Mister Jones. After a harrowing encounter with the paranormal in The Showing, once again he again finds himself in mortal danger on the borders of that shadowed world.

An antique painting holds a strange fascination for him - and others. What does the girl in the portrait want from Mister Jones and from the others who become entranced by her beauty? And can she be stopped before she unleashes her ancient evil into our modern world in a lake of blood?

‘Portrait of a Girl’ is the second in the collection of Mister Jones paranormal mysteries.



An ARC reviewer says;


This is a great read. I literally devoured it in less than 24 hours. If you liked The Showing... it's better. Spooky. It reads a bit like Sheridan LeFanu or Guy de Maupassant. Awesome. Classic horror short story, except this isn't short. It's a full novel. Just wanted to clarify, it READS like a classic horror short story. Tight, spare and invoking tons of imagination.

Are you a fan of classic horror? Sheridan le Fanu, Guy de Maupassant, or Bram Stoker? If so, you'll certainly enjoy Portrait of a Girl. In this tale of supernatural evil run amok, the most innocent seeming of objects - a portrait of an attractive young woman, harbors a compelling presence. But is she a trapped lover, or an unspeakable threat? The only way to know is to look deep into her eyes... if you dare.
Told in a spare, bare-bones styles that doesn't bog the reader down in extraneous detail, but rather keeps a fast but balanced pace, Portrait of a Girl is a mad rush into danger that classic horror lovers should adore.


Click here to buy Portrait of a Girl from Amazon


Currently Reading - Shadeward: Emanation by Drew Wagar



A world of eternal day and everlasting night, burning deserts and frozen wastes. A people exiled, seeking the truth about their past, long lost in vague, yet disturbing, myth and legend. Technology lost, then found again.

A realm of priestesses with remarkable powers and implacable purpose, who worship a powerful god; a star that blazes unchanging in the skies above. A star which is poised to unleash devastation upon them all.

Two Children are smuggled out of Scallia to save them from the feared witches of Drayden, but the ‘rescue’ doesn’t go well. Cast adrift with no memories of each other or their real family, both girls grow to adolescence friendless and destitute. All that stands between the sisters and brutal early deaths are the talents they barely know they possess... and can’t control.


Click here to buy Shadeward: Emanation from Amazon

Monday, 6 June 2016

Book Review - The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

This is the fourth book in The Long Earth series, and while the individual books aren't the greatest, I do love the series. The strength of all the books is the deceptively easy way they cover complex concepts by rolling them into a compelling narrative, with a diverse range of characters. Even with the fourth book in the series the authors manage to keep the core premise fresh.

After The Long Mars I was curious as to where they would take the story next, and this book takes it into a familiar direction with aliens. Naturally it's not quite so simple as that, and there's a considerable build-up to the main event. And here we encounter one of the downsides to the story. As with the earlier books the finale feels rushed compared to what preceded it. In all cases the ending is fitting, but just too abrupt.

The story covers how mankind adapts to the events on Earth and the expansion of humanity into the Long Earth. It also delves into some of the history of the talent, although this aspect feels more of a distraction to the more significant events at play.

Another weakness is reflected in its greatest strength. There's some great ideas here, but they're not really developed as deeply as they could be. For me, this and the forced pacing are the biggest problems with the book, but despite these issues it is an enjoyable read, and I'm looking forward the the release of the next one in the series.



It is the middle of the twenty-first century.

After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption, humanity is spreading farther into the Long Earth. Society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve.

And new challenges emerge.

Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang is living with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He's determined to lead a normal life in New Springfield—they even adopt a child. But there are rumors, strange sightings in the sky. On this world, something isn't right. . . .

Millions of steps away—learning about a hidden family history and the father he never knew—Joshua receives an urgent summons from New Springfield.

Lobsang has come to understand that what has blighted his Earth is also a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth. Countering this threat will require the combined efforts of humankind, machine, and the super-intelligent Next. And some must make the ultimate sacrifice. . . .


Click here to buy The Long Utopia from Amazon


Currently Reading - Portrait of a Girl by Will Macmillan Jones


Does lightning ever strike twice? It would seem so for the unfortunate Mister Jones. After a harrowing encounter with the paranormal in The Showing, once again he again finds himself in mortal danger on the borders of that shadowed world.

An antique painting holds a strange fascination for him - and others. What does the girl in the portrait want from Mister Jones and from the others who become entranced by her beauty? And can she be stopped before she unleashes her ancient evil into our modern world in a lake of blood?

‘Portrait of a Girl’ is the second in the collection of Mister Jones paranormal mysteries.



An ARC reviewer says;


This is a great read. I literally devoured it in less than 24 hours. If you liked The Showing... it's better. Spooky. It reads a bit like Sheridan LeFanu or Guy de Maupassant. Awesome. Classic horror short story, except this isn't short. It's a full novel. Just wanted to clarify, it READS like a classic horror short story. Tight, spare and invoking tons of imagination.

Are you a fan of classic horror? Sheridan le Fanu, Guy de Maupassant, or Bram Stoker? If so, you'll certainly enjoy Portrait of a Girl. In this tale of supernatural evil run amok, the most innocent seeming of objects - a portrait of an attractive young woman, harbors a compelling presence. But is she a trapped lover, or an unspeakable threat? The only way to know is to look deep into her eyes... if you dare.
Told in a spare, bare-bones styles that doesn't bog the reader down in extraneous detail, but rather keeps a fast but balanced pace, Portrait of a Girl is a mad rush into danger that classic horror lovers should adore.


Click here to buy Portrait of a Girl from Amazon

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Old Ones Productions - Cthulhu King Piece

In response to popular demand I have made the King piece of the Cthulhu chess set available on its own as an ornament.


A 3D printed Cthulhu king piece as used in the Cthulhu chess set.

“In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulu waits dreaming” 
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

Available in regular (2.6 in / 6.7 cm tall) and large (3.5 in / 8.9 cm) sizes, and in a variety of finishes - including some precious metals.

For a hand painted model please indicate desired colour in the notes of you order. The colours available are: Bone, Brown, Gold, Green, Purple, and Silver.

Order yours now here:

https://oldonesproductions.com/collections/frontpage/products/cthulhu-king-piece-ornament

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Book Review - The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton

My experience of this author so far has been the Nights Dawn Trilogy (and a couple of random reads) which I loved, although the ending felt a little flat for me. After attending a book signing I've meant to read more of his work, although I should probably have researched a little more as this trilogy seems to be later in the history. It didn't turn out to be too much of an issue, although I'm sure that I'd have gleaned more from some of the references.

This is a story in grand space opera style. The scope is huge, and the core concept of the void at the centre of the galaxy is a fascinating one with plenty of mystery to get my teeth into. The story is told in two main threads, the first are the dreams of Inigo (the object of the hunt of the second thread) who somehow sees a human existence within the void. This element feels more like fantasy, although with strong parallels to various technologies in the 'real' universe.

It formed an interesting aside, but for me is the weaker element of the book. It's also the one that is perhaps easier to follow, with a more traditional narrative structure than the rest. Don't get me wrong, it's far from bad, but just didn't grab me as much as the more sci-fi elements.

The second thread is the space opera, and it covers a lot of ground. Unlike Inigo's dreams the story is more fragmented and spread through quite a diverse range of characters. And here is the story's weakest point - there's a lot going on, but it's spread across so many threads that the overall pace feels much slower than it is. I find this quite a lot with space opera (and high fantasy) books, but conversely there is always something of interest to keep me reading.

It took me a little while to get to grips with the world. I'm not usually a fan of technobabble to establish esoteric technology, but as I read further I slipped into the world more and it ended up working and carrying some of the more far out concepts. And it's with these ideas where the book really excels. I love reading a book and having to pause and contemplate the potential of a passage I've just read is one of the joys of reading.

An example of this is demonstrated in a sexual adventure with one of the characters and another who is a multiple - that is a single conciousness present in multiple bodies. Although this also revealed another frustration, but that's more a personal bias. I love to know the detail - for example how does the biochemistry of the individual bodies affect the overiding conciousness? If it doesn't, then how has a complete separation from brain and mind been achieved? I always want to know more than is usually revealed :-)

The writing is excellent, despite my initial reservations about the terminology. And there's a huge story here to be uncovered, with hints of many mysteries to be resolved with the next two books - I'm looking forward to reading them!




The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself.

At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds.

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward. . . .

Click here to buy The Dreaming Void from Amazon


Currently Reading - The Long Utopia by Terry Prachett and Stephen Baxter


It is the middle of the twenty-first century.

After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption, humanity is spreading farther into the Long Earth. Society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve.

And new challenges emerge.

Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang is living with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He's determined to lead a normal life in New Springfield—they even adopt a child. But there are rumors, strange sightings in the sky. On this world, something isn't right. . . .

Millions of steps away—learning about a hidden family history and the father he never knew—Joshua receives an urgent summons from New Springfield.

Lobsang has come to understand that what has blighted his Earth is also a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth. Countering this threat will require the combined efforts of humankind, machine, and the super-intelligent Next. And some must make the ultimate sacrifice. . . .


Click here to buy The Long Utopia from Amazom


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