The Martian War by Kevin J. Anderson

So, here’s what really happened: When H.G. Wells was turning his hand to science fiction, he was actually writing roman à clefs. You see, Wells himself had lived through events which inspired THE WAR OF THE WORLDS; THE ISLAND OF DR MOREAU; THE INVISIBLE MAN; THE FIRST MAN ON THE MOON and parts of THE…

The Invention of Murder by Judith Flanders

MRS FLANDERS’ new book cat’logues the notorious rogues and vill’ans of the great VICTORIAN AGE. Recoil at such fiendish devil’ry as that committed by MESSRS BURKE & HARE, WAINEWRIGHT and the remorseless poisoner PALMER. Witness again the lamentable and notorious crimes of the sin-ful women, MADELINE SMITH and ELIZA FENNING. Embark on a colour-ful and…

The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

A Hammer vampire film that not only had I never seen before, but also only read about in a vague and half-recalled way. Which is a shame as it’s absolutely brilliant! Maybe it’s the fact that it doesn’t have any stars – there’s no Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee here; and also isn’t one of…

Sharp Shooter by Marianne Delacourt

Tara Sharp is a super hero. Her super power? Well, that she’s highly attuned to people’s auras and can actually see their moods. Okay, that sounds a bit hippy dippy and you can see why Marvel hasn't turned her adventures into a big budget movie yet. But Delacourt here takes Tara’s talent and uses it…

Our Hidden Lives by Simon Garfield

The Mass Observation Project was a somewhat lovely scheme instituted by the British government in the late 1930s. Basically they wanted to find out how normal people lived, to know their views and opinions. The purpose was to capture the life of the average man and woman: people who weren’t newsworthy and just made their…

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Despite the promise of its name, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is an oddly subtle film. Considering the implement and the title, the violence is actually quite muted compared to gorefests today. Its violence is most shocking for how brief and sudden it is. What’s really unsettling about the film is the constant air of dread;…

We Have Lost the President by Paul Mathews

WE HAVE LOST THE PRESIDENT contains maybe the most pleasant, home-spun dystopia I’ve ever come across. In other hands, a future Britain which has lost technology like mobile-phones and the internet, and where the royal family has been exiled to Canada, would be the basis of a hand-wringing tract about the dreadfulness of the modern…