‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.

There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Publication News: 2024

I have a new novel coming out in July (amazon page here): a utopian novel mashed-up with some space-opera Lovecraftian/Dennis Wheatley horror. My teenage son, when I explained the premise, suggested I call it Space Satan!!!, with that many exclamation marks, and this may have been a better title than the King Lear reference with which I have actually gone. But here we are. And isn't the cover-art, above, splendid? I think it is.

I have a new short novel coming out soon fom NeoText: High. This is a thriller. Pitch it into the elevator as ‘Extraction, but on Mars’. Indeed, simply chuck it into the elevator and walk away.

And a critical book: I am putting the finishing touches to a short History of Fantasy, which will be published by Bloomsbury, I think later in the year.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Malprelate: Out Now


Now published! On Amazon: £3.99 on Kindle, Audiobook £2.99 and in a most handsomely-produced paperback edition, a mere £9.19 (also available direct from the publisher). Get em while they're hot, as hot as the hellfire to which the wicked soul of Sir Martin Malprelate has, surely, been consigned, following his death, smashed to atoms by a huge spectral ghost-locomotive passing through the streets of Camden!  

Friday 13 October 2023

Saturday 18 March 2023

“The This” on 2023 BSFA Best Novel Shortlist

 I'm delighted to say that The This has been shortlisted for the 2023 BSFA Award for best novel. It's a great honour, especially considering the high calibre of the other shortlisted titles. The winner will be announced at this year’s Eastercon, Conversation, (at the Birmingham Metropole, 7th–10th April 2023) and BSFA members can vote here. I'll be at the ceremony: maybe see you there.
[Update 8th April] Didn't win! Ah well.

Friday 18 November 2022

“Stealing For The Sky”: Now Published


This has been in the offing for a while, but now, it seems, it's out of the offing, and into the, er, inning. So: it's a very-near near-future-set thriller, written in Donald E Westlake/Richard Stark mode, about a man who steals spaceships for a living. Publisher: NeoText. Presently it's e-book only (not sure what may come, format-wise, in the future). On the upside, at the moment it's only 99c in the States, or 87p if you live in the United Kingdom. What have you got to lose?