Of Osirian oddities and murderous mannequins

After nearly five years of marriage my long-suffering wife has stopped rolling her eyes when the postman delivers yet another package to our door. There’s every chance that the contents are completely useless, infinitely geeky and will soon be cluttering the already groaning shelves of my study.

Toy trouble - One of Sutekh's Mummies arrives to clutter our courageous writer's shelves

Today’s arrival was a case in point. I was far more excited than a 36-year old man should be in pulling a new Doctor Who action figure out of a box. But what a delightful little chap if you’re a fan of the 1975 Pyramids of Mars. For those who aren’t in the know, the TARDIS lands in 1911 to find a priory somewhere in England menaced by robotic mummies, servants of the Osirian extra-terrestrial and part-time Egyptian god Sutekh the Destroyer who is banged up on the Red Planet.

The first clip I ever saw of this Doctor Who story was a hapless poacher getting his head crushed between two of these shambling monstrosities, an image that replayed in my nightmares for years to come. Of course when I saw it again years later, there was much less blood than I remember – well, none to be precise – but the mummies themselves were just as impressive, lumbering through an anonymous British forest to do away with Mr Bronson from Grange Hill or setting out forcefields generators hidden in canoptic jars.

In the picture above you can also see the dasterley Weng-Chiang and his Peking Homunculus in the background. As mentioned before, Doctor Who adventures such as Pyramids and The Talons of Weng-Chiang led, in part, to my love of Victorian fantasy and science fiction. I’m giddy with excitement therefore that Big Finish, that redoubtable audio-drama company that has employed me from time to time over the years, is launching a series focused around two of my favourite characters from Talons: Henry Gordon Jago, master of ceremonies at the Alhambra Theatre and eminent pathologist, Professor George Litefoot. The duo were reunited last year for the first time since 1977 in The Mahogany Murderers by Andy Lane. This two-hander has proved so successful that four more audio adventures are due to hit stores in June.

I cannot recommend The Mahogany Murderers enough. It’s an extremely steampunky tale of homicidal wooden automata and develish-doings by the darkest denizens of Victorian London. Both Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter easily slip back into their roles of Jago and Litefoot respectively and the stage is set for more infernal investigations. Roll on June I say.


The Mahogany Murderers
by Andy Lane
Big Finish (2009)

Click here for Amazon.co.uk –
– Click here for Amazon.com –

Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Sherlock Holmes versus all kinds of madness

A lot of people I know have moaned about Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movie, claiming that it wasn’t true to Conan Doyle’s creation. This, of course, is complete poppycock and only goes to show that they have never read any of the stories. One chap was incensed that Holmes would use any form of violence, let alone in a boxing match. True, none of the short stories have shown such a graphic scene but we know from  The Sign of Four that Holmes is a bit tasty when it comes to bare-knuckle boxing.

If people thought that Richie’s offering was not in keeping with Holmes and co then what the blazes are they going to make of this?

So Watson kept the story of a mechanical fire-breathing dragon, rogue T-Rex, sea monsters and an steampunky Iron Man out of the journals in deference to Holmes’ wishes did he?

This looks truly terrible and utterly bonkers.

I therefore have to see it. Apparently that will be possible after January 26th. Hang on. That’s today. Hurrah!

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Curious contraptions: 1989 Gameboy

The DMG-01

The DMG-01

One of most endearing aspects of the steampunk genre is the creativity it brings out in people. There’s something about it that really fires the imagination, especially when it comes to the intricate Jules Verne stylings that artists give every day modern objects.

Take this old 1989 GameBoy for example. A real blast from my personal past in the first place, but console customiser Thretris has taken retro to the extreme with this ornate, distressed facelift. All of the buttons still work, all those burnished cogs and delicate engraving added for sheer effect. You’ve got to love the attention to detail when the artist goes so far as to add an orange LED because it seems more in keeping. The entire mod took Thretris a week to complete.

For more images of the steampunked DMG-01 head over here.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,