Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The Wyrd Britain Book Shop

Those of you who follow the Wyrd Britain Facebook page will have spotted all the new additions to the Books for Sale image folder.  These are for sale in our Etsy Shop where you can find a host of vintage books that cover many of the facets of Wyrd Britain and more.

There are around 700 books listed covering genres such as horror, science fiction, the paranormal, poetry, biographies, classic kids books, literary fiction, annuals, novelisations and more.  New stock is being added all the time - as I type this there are three boxes of books in front of me that'll be added over the weekend.  Clicking the widget below will take you to the shop.


As well as the Etsy page I also have slightly more modern books (and occasionally music, toys and memorabilia) for sale on the wyrdbritain eBay page.

When you buy from either shop your book will be sent gift wrapped and I always try and get it in the post within 24 hours of receiving the order.

I hope you find something fun and tempting.

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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Calculated Nightmare

Anthology series Tales of Unease was broadcast during 1970 and was adapted from the series of books edited by John Burke who also wrote this particular story.  Much of the show seems to have gone the way of all things with only this (the 2nd episode) and the 1st (Ride, Ride) apparently having survived.

Unlike the other episode there's nothing supernatural here and instead we have a science fiction ish piece tapping into fears about the advances of technology, the callous nature of capitalism and that good old staple of the TV play, class.

Michael Culver (a Wyrd Britain TV regular but most famous as the unlucky Captain Needa in The Empire Strikes Back) and John Stratton (Quatermass and the Pit, Doctor Who) play 'Johnson' and 'Harker' two executives trapped in their office by a disgruntled employee (Peter Madden - who also featured in a host of Wyrd Britain TV faves but is probably most recognisable as the undertaker from the opening credits of The Prisoner) who has discovered himself on a list of soon to be ex-employees and so manipulates proceedings to his own ends.

At less than 30 minutes it's a quick, easy and enjoyably mindless watch that uses both the limitations of it's idea and it's run time well with a fast and snappy script that paints it's characters with the broadest of strokes and doesn't waste a second in escalating the threat level up to it's inevitable conclusion.



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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Binding

Bridget Collins
The Borough Press
Buy it here

In the world of 'The Binding' Bridget Collins has created a world of secrets; secrets shared and secrets forgotten.  In this world, even more than our own, books have power and their contents are the truths that it's inhabitants wish to hide from themselves.

Emmett Farmer is a young (nominative determinism in action) farmer who upon recovering from a mysterious illness is summoned to become an apprentice bookbinder, one of a rare breed of people responsible for the creation of books and an occupation held in superstitious awe and more than a little dread.  Upon embarking on this new and unexpected path Emmett soon finds out that there may be more  to his life than he can recall.

Told over three acts 'The Binding' is indeed very much a book of three parts.  The opening section where Collins is building her world is a joy.  The central conceit is a novel one and she takes her time in embedding Emmett into the world of the binder before bringing this world crashing down around his ears.

The second act is the least successful and drags terribly in parts as secrets are revealed and the book becomes bogged down in some very tedious teen romance.  Thankfully Collins gets the book back on track in the concluding act with a shift of focus and a mostly satisfying denouement.

As befits a book about books this is, physically, a thing of almost fetishistic beauty that came to my attention almost entirely due to it's eye catching design but happily the contents, mostly, lived up to it with a story that wore it's unusual premise well.

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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Missy Chronicles

Various authors
BBC Books
Buy it here

Know your frenemy.
‘I’ve had adventures too. My whole life doesn’t revolve around you, you know.’
When she's not busy amassing armies of Cybermen, or manipulating the Doctor and his companions, Missy has plenty of time to kill (literally). In this all new collection of stories about the renegade Time Lord we all love to hate, you'll discover just some of the mad and malevolent activities Missy gets up to while she isn't distracted by the Doctor.
So please try to keep up.

After many, many years and having filled several bookcases I think I've finally...mostly...almost - there still a few Targets and a couple of annuals I'd like to find - broken my Doctor Who book addiction but I couldn't resist one last bit of fun with this anthology of stories featuring the fabulous Missy and it was worth it.

The book contains six stories by various Who alumni including James Goss, Paul Magrs and Jacqueline Rayner and is pretty much all excellent fun particularly when it's flying it's own flag in a story not beholden to the parent series.

James Goss writes about a post regeneration Missy taking gleeful revenge on a club full of misogynist scoundrels, Cavan Scott takes her off on a mission for the Time Lords, Magrs has her playing the long game with the aid of a TARDIS and a magic teddy bear, Peter Anghelides doesn't quite nail it with a time hopping romp around Venice, Rayner gives us a fun series of email exchanges between Nardole, The Doctor and, eventually, the captive Missy and finally Richard Dinnick does an OK job with the two incarnations of the Master on the giant Cyberman riddled spaceship but it feels out of place here amongst the snappier less canonical pieces.

Like I said earlier I'm very glad I broke my embargo for one last Who book as this proved to be a fine and fun way to spend an afternoon.

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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Invisible Man (1984)

When scientist Griffin (Pip Donaghy) develops a process to turn himself invisible he soon degenerates from his already fragile mental state into complete delusional mania terrorising people and declaring it the beginning of the reign of the Invisible Man.

Made by the BBC in 1984 as one of it's Classic Serials this adaptation of H.G. Wells' 'The Invisible Man' was deemed too violent by the Beeb's hierarchy and, well, too boring by viewers and so has to a great extent slipped into obscurity.  By modern standards of course it isn't particularly violent but it is, a little, slow and could certainly have benefited from some pruning down to maybe four episodes instead of six.

Typically BBC budgetary constraints are in evidence throughout with all the more well known cast members appearing only in the earlier episodes and there is some woeful overacting on display particularly when Griffin is meant to be up to shenanigans and the cast are, of course, having to react to and fight against nothing but in the more sedate sections the invisibility effects are reasonably well done and personally I always get a kick out seeing the headless dressing gown walking around.

Produced by former Doctor Who director and producer Barry Letts (the man who brought us the Roger Delgado Master) it is a fairly faithful adaptation (by James Andrew Hall) and that's perhaps part of the problem as what works for text doesn't necessarily translate to the screen. It is though nice to see a respectful adaptation that doesn't send the story off down some rabbit hole of the script writer's choosing - yes I'm looking at you Day of the Triffids.

Buy it here - The Invisible Man [DVD] [1984] - or watch it below.



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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories

Various
English Heritage

Rooted in place, slipping between worlds - a rich collection of unnerving ghosts and sinister histories.Eight authors were given after hours freedom at their chosen English heritage site. Immersed in the history, atmosphere and rumours of hauntings, they channelled their darker imaginings into a series of extraordinary new ghost stories.
Within the walls of these historic buildings each author has found inspiration to deliver a new interpretation of the classic ghost story.


This odd little book contains eight stories by contemporary writers each set at an English Heritage site.  For the most part the various authors plump for something ghostly and strange in a typically spooky environment with the exception of Mark Haddon's science fiction tale set in the York Cold War Bunker.

Most of the participants bring the goods with Sarah Perry's inexplicable revulsion in 'They Flee From Me That Sometime Did Me Seek' and Jeanette Winterson's love story 'As Strong As Death being particular stand outs.

The book proved to be a ridiculously quick read and I was closing the covers on it after less than 2 hours having devoured the 8 tales and skimmed the article on the genesis of the English ghost story by Andrew Martin and entirely skipped - due to a lack of interest - the 'Gazateer of English Hauntings'

So, a - very - quick read but in the main an enjoyable one although perhaps lacking somewhat in content.

Buy it here - Eight Ghosts: The English Heritage Book of New Ghost Stories

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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Theatre of Blood

Released in 1973 Theatre of Blood stars Vincent Price as Edward Lionheart a hammy actor exacting Shakespeare inspired revenge on the theatre critics he blames for ruining his career.

With a line-up that includes the cream of British character actors of the likes of Michael Hordern, Robert Morley, Arthur Lowe, Dennis Price, Diana Dors, Joan Hickson, Eric Sykes & Jack Hawkins and with Vincent Price and Diana Rigg in the lead Theatre of Blood is a gloriously over-casted extravaganza of ghoulish camp.

Theatre of Blood was the third movie in three years that saw Price taking revenge for perceived wrongs and indeed it bears a very strong resemblance to the first of these, 1971's 'The Abominable Dr Phibes', but for all Theatre of Blood's many charms for me it lacks something of it's predecessors gleefully macabre charms.

Vincent Price is of course Vincent Price, here revelling in the chance to deliver key Shakespearean soliloquies as only he (and possibly William Shatner) can and surely thoroughly enjoying the chance to dish out gruesome retribution to an array of critics.  Diana Rigg is, as always, effortlessly wonderful and the menagerie of faces I mentioned earlier are all blatantly having a ball in a movie that is ridiculously good fun.

Buy it here - Theatre Of Blood [DVD] - or watch it below.



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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Splendid in Ash

Splendid in Ash, Charles Wilkinson, Egaeus Press
Charles Wikinson
Egaeus Press

Charles Wilkinson's SPLENDID IN ASH contains seventeen previously uncollected stories from a writer whose seemingly effortless ability to turn the ordinary, the everyday, the outwardly mundane volte-face into regions of feverish weirdness is unrivalled.

I first came across one of Wilkinson's stories - 'Absolute Possession' - in a copy of 'Supernatural Tales', it was a wonderfully odd tale with a perplexing ending.  It was one of those stories that stick with you long after both because you enjoyed it and because of how much it frustrated.  The same could be said of Wilkinson's previous collection (also published by Egaeus Press) 'A Twist in the Eye' which was a wonderful collection of frustrating invention and elusive delights that seemed to revel in leaving the reader wrong footed and adrift which, you'll be usurprised to learn, continues to be the case here.

'Absolute Possession' is here and is still baffling but also still enthralling and accompanying it are stories of ghosts of retribution and guilt , bodily transformation, hellish bureaucracy and the end of the world.  All show Wilkinson's vivacious and unfettered imagination in full flight as ideas rise and crash through from unexpected directions before flying off at unlikely angles.  It most readily recalls the work of Robert Aickman with it's restless willfulness and Aickman's own preferred term of 'strange' is perfectly applicable to the stories contained in this beguiling collection.

Buy it here - http://www.egaeuspress.com/Splendid_in_Ash.html

You can read a nice little Q&A with the author here - Dark Lane Books

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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The Breakthrough

In an intriguing melding of science fiction with the supernatural this mid 70s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's short story tells of a top secret research team and their attempt to create a machine that can harvest and contain the life force or soul of a person at the moment of death.

Boasting a strong cast featuring Simon Ward and Clive Swift (an actor with an impeccable Wyrd Britain pedigree) 'The Breakthrough' is concerned with the eternal question of mortality and of the more tangible questions of scientific ethics and human compassion at which it makes a bold if slightly facile stab at answering.  That said, in it's production it has a flavour of Nigel Kneale's 'The Stone Tape' about it and is a very watchable piece.



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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Sunday, 17 March 2019

The Living Grave

Leap in the Dark: The Living Grave by David Rudkin
'The Living Grave' was made for 'Leap in the Dark' a TV series with supernatural themes throughout the 1970s and into 1980 that featured stories that were a mix of fact and fiction.  This episode from 9th Sep 1980 was written by David Rudkin (of Penda's Fen fame) and is based on the legend of 'Jay's Grave' (also 'Kitty Jay's Grave') on Dartmoor that legend says is the last resting place of someone who had died by suicide where fresh yellow flowers are mysteriously laid by unknown hand every morning.

Rudkin's approach, as would be expected from anyone familiar with his work, is anything but typical.  He makes no real attempt to examine, explore or explain the legend an instead bases his narrative around the 'memories' of a nurse regressed through hypnosis which he intersperses with a tour of the locale by both an investigator and through the eyes of Kitty herself as she approaches her end.

Leap in the Dark: The Living Grave by David Rudkin
It's a bit of an oddity and stylistically feels very much of it's time but that's no bad thing as shows (and writers) as narratively uncompromising as this are few and far between and whilst this isn't, perhaps, Rudkin in full flight it's certainly a very watchable example of his work and an intriguing take on the retelling of a folktale.

BTW - You can find another episode from 'Leap in the Dark' in the form of Alan Garner's 'To Kill a King' here.



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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much appreciate a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain