The Book of the Colossus

All posts in History

It Figures Models

This week’s post is an interview with the owner of It Figures Models, Siobhan Marshall-Jones. It’s fascinated me how, in this era of computer games, Virtual Reality and 3D, actual […]

Astral Jewellery and the Mind-Exploding Climax

At the end of his ground-breaking book One Hundred Years of Science Fiction Ilustration, 1840 – 1940 (1974), Anthony Frewin included an appendix on the adverts that appeared in the […]

Abel Gance’s Napoleon – 1927

Looking at the practicalities of even showing Abel Gance’s Napoleon makes you wonder how on earth it ever got made. Not only is the full version five and a half […]

High Rise and Brexit

I’ve been scrabbling around for an appropriate metaphor for the colossally surreal act of self-harm the UK inflicted on itself 48 hours ago, and early this morning, on the borders […]

Science Wonder Stories – June 1929

The first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, is forever linked to Hugo Gernsback. In reality he was only in charge for three years. By April 1929 the Experimenter Publishing Company […]

Cosmonauts at the British Science Museum

The only mildly interesting scene in that otherwise steaming heap of found-footage nonsense Apollo 18 is when the US astronauts stumble across the Soviet LK Lunar lander sitting in a […]

Why Terry Pratchett is not Great Literature

Jonathan Jones wrote an article in The Guardian in which he stated that he had never read Terry Pratchett and had no intention of doing so because the discworld novels […]

Dante Deluxe

Funnily enough it was Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle who turned me on to Dante. Their decidedly odd libertarian take on the original, Inferno, came out in 1976 and had […]

Giordano Bruno and Alessandro Gallenzi’s The Tower

Giordano Bruno (1548 – 1600) didn’t do himself any favours. Not only did he adhere to a set of particularly extraordinary heresies but he also didn’t know when to shut […]

Soviet Space Art

Last week I was working in Russia. I attended a conference in Tver, halfway between Moscow and St Petersburg where I was set on fire. I was also asked to […]

More Grotesque – the world of Bosch and Bruegel

  This is the second post in a short series about the Grotesque, that sub-genre of Horror and Fantasy that’s characterised by physical distortion, dream imagery and the ordinary made […]

The Grotesque

This is the first in a series of posts looking at the Grotesque in literature and art. It’s a subject that’s fascinated me for years (in fact I wrote my […]

Classrooms of the Future

I work in education, advising ministries throughout the world on how to best use technology in the classroom. For most the process is one of constant catch up. Technology changes […]

Schalcken the Painter (1979)

The history of British TV is littered with brilliant one-off series and TV programmes that appeared once or twice and then vanished, seemingly forever. John Hurt as Raskolnikov in Crime […]

Jude Law’s Henry V

Yesterday I went to see Jude Law in Henry V at the Noël Coward Theatre in London. We were right up in the gods, sitting on what was to all […]

Corporate Samurai

I downloaded The Wolverine from iTunes a couple of weeks ago. All good fun, even if it did go through the motions a bit, and Hugh Jackman is always watchable […]

Pards and Manticores – A Medieval Bestiary

Herodotus the father of history divided knowledge into three types. Things he saw with his own eyes, information people told him which he could verify as true, and things he […]

Things to Come (1936)

In 1936 Alexander Korda, flush from his success with The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), collaborated with H. G. Wells to turn the writer’s future history The Shape of […]

The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett

Like a moth to the flame I find myself once again drawn into the strange world of the Shakespeare authorship question, though this time it’s through the entirely charming and […]

Celts and Puritans

I’ve been time travelling recently. It’s an interesting fact that there is a huge exodus from history classrooms in the UK, with fewer kids taking the subject, yet at the […]