Thursday, September 30, 2004


That's it. Time's up. If you're thinking of sending in a gloomy submission for CHIMERAWORLD #2 (to be published by Cyber Pulp Books in early 2005), you're too late. As of three minutes ago, I've just closed the anthology to submissions. But do try again next year, and all those who received rejection notes this year. Please try again for CW3 - submission window will again be September, I'll upload GLs to Ralan as soon as CW2 goes on sale.

I'd like to thank all (nearly) 100 of you who sent in stories for CW2, it seems the anthology has really grabbed the writers' attention. It can only go from strength to strength as the years pass.

I have my final 23 stories but there's a lot of work to be done between now and release date so I'll crack on and speak more on this subject closer to the release date.


Well, it has been salvaged. Just when I thought I would have to fold that dark place and put it in the fires of Hell, there's a good solid plan to get it back online in the most user friendly, angry young zine fashion. This means a total redesign of the site (of course) as it wasn't very conducive to ranking so there'll be work to do for the next few weeks.

HORROR QUARTERLY, ISSUE 3 (blood horror) will be online roundabout October 20th.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Yes, I'm a whitey and I'm 38 years old. But I really loved Dizzee Rascal's first Cd "Boy in the Corner". It had a lovely Laaaaandan feel about it, warts and all. My favourites from that CD are 'Jezebel' (about a street-wise slut) and 'Too Far' (for its out-there use of soundbites and the helium-voiced antagonists).

Dizzee, god bless that cute-faced little demon, he's gone and brought out a second CD and it was with some trepidation that I went down to HMV here in Oxford to purchase it. Everyone can bring out a good first album, but a second? a third?

No worries SHOWTIME is the name of the new outing. A lot more powerful and confident sound (as reflects his rising fame). I've only had it on about ten times so far today, so can't really say which is my favourite yet (favourites grow over a couple weeks of listening) but the Captain Sensible steal 'Dream' was poetry. When I first heard that I was laughing on the floor. 'Graftin's baseline is salty labia honey for a mancow (!). 'Learn's kinkiness is a meal for any aural subversive. Oh, yes, he's still got it. I think that track 13 'Imagine' will be a grower. Now fuck off while I put that thing on for another spin...

Friday, September 24, 2004


It's the 23rd of September as I write this. I have a total of 45 CHIMERAWORLD #2 rejections so far, ad I have informed those who have been rejected already. This means I have moved 25 stories so far into the 'accepted' folder, with a few submissions still to read. This is great news because a) I only need 23 stories for a full issue this year and b) those 25 I already have are good enough to go into this darker, more despondent partner to CHIMERAWORLD #1's full-on horror+gore+amorality+kitchen_sink. I hope that you'll enjoy the final, chosen 23 stories and the new atmosphere. NO idea yet what the "ambience" of CHIMERAWORLD #3's gonna be but you will not be disappointed.


I got this really nice letter from Sue Snively this morning, Assistant Editor of subscriber-only Writer's Newsletter Eros & Rust, who will be doing a two-month feature on the CHIMERAWORLD anthology phenomena. The September issue has an editorial piece about Chimerworld and they feature the Chimeraworld #1 story WEB by Kevin Anderson. In their October issue they have an exclusive (one of the first) Mike Philbin interviews + a unique look at his new 11,500 word short story PLANET OF THE OWLS and they will feature two Chimeraworld #1 stories NEED by Steve Short and STRANGE BREED by Queenie Tirone.

Here's Sue's mail from the 19th that really brightened my day:

. . . . . . . . .

Hi Mike,

I'm impressed with Planet of the Owls - I can still tell it's your writing. You have a definite style that I really like. It's more sensitive to the reader, but it's still edgy. I don't think the world will miss Hertzan Chimera if Mike Philbin takes his place.

BTW, when will this story be available? I really would like to finish reading it.

Sue Snively
Assistant Editor, Eros & Rust

. . . . . . . . .

Thursday, September 23, 2004


Rainy, stormy horribleness. I am having a bad day today, emotionally and physically. I have aches in my jaw and bones, my head is pounding and I am shivering inside. I am in the middle of a mammoth binge read THE K-PAX TRILOGY and my eyes are aching all the time, I just want to sleep. K-PAX is a very enjoyable set of books and a good film, too starring Kevin Spacey and (ironically)that guy out of Starman (another film I loved). I don't know what this virus is, if virus it is. I had a snivel just yesterday. Now...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


Well, here's me thinking it was going so well... We had got the third issue template okayed. It was eventually looking like a perfect replica upon which to load this issue's substantial content. And yes, I had been adamant that I didn't wanna change the style of the zine, AT ALL. And I wanted what was done to be done to spec. I did agree to it going to 800 * 600 pixels. It worked well, once I'd insisted it was CENTER'd.

It seems that I've pissed off my second webguy.

This after losing my first webguy who found himself terminally too busy (whatever the fuck that's a code for...) just after doing the changes from Terror Tales to Horror Quarterly.

I sincerely doubt whether HORROR QUARTERLY's third issue (the oft-delayed BLOOD HORROR issue) will ever come out.

In limbo 'cos I can't afford to pay for a webguy. Alone against it all. Sick of the tension. Can't resolve this shit. Let it go.....


How about this. An anonymous confessional where you can pour out your pain, exorcise you emotions or otheriwse spill your filthy guts. NO limits, no moderators, just a place to unload. Here's the cheesy blurb:

GUILTY SECRETS is a journal designed for you ABOUT you.


Remember, all entries are made totally anonymously. There is no IP tracking enabled - that's a promise. (But logged-in LJ users, remember to log out before you post if you want to remain anonymous!)

Let your spirit free. Cleanse your soul of all the pain. Confess your sins. Air your anger.

Monday, September 20, 2004


I've been looking for a literary agent for my work and going into Google and searching with relevant keywords, as you do. This popped up Everyone Who's Anyone in Adult Trade Publishing, so I started to take a look. At first glance, it's just a list of Literary Agents and their email addresses (which is amazing enough as it is) but deeper reading of the site reveals some absolutely medieval-style jousting gems. Gerard Jones is actively pitching books en masse to 2,000 agents at a time. He gets back these usually formulaic reponses that "we are not taking on new clients at this time" or "we do not deal with this sort of project", which is all well and good and most writers would take this as a big hint to do some research into their agency before submitting and try somebody more relevant but not this guy. Nope, he REPLIES to their form responses. He's wonderfully acerbic, too. I haven't done enough research on Gerard yet but I get the idea he's no spring chicken. In the UK we have this show called Grumpy Old Men and I absolutely love it! In that sort of vein, there are a number of exchanges between Gerard and these agents. At one point one of them goes... well, I'll find it and publish it, it's better that way. It's in the United States Literary Agents section, Part One here goes:

From Kristine Dahl

Hi, What a pleasant surprise to get your note. I'll take a look at this and get right back to you. thanks, Kris

Dear Kris: Two weeks ago you sent me an e-mail saying you'd get right back to me. You probably think I'm someone else. I'm not. Let's start over. Here's a synopsis and the first chapter of a novel a million people will want to buy and which will win a bunch of prizes for literary excellence. It will be a tricky book to get published, however, partly because everybody's scared of offending Oprah Winfrey but mainly because it's good and agents and editors traffic primarily in schlock these days. Let me know if you want to take a look. Thanks. G.

You're right, I did mistake you for someone else named Gerald. In any case, I apologize for the tardy response especially since I am going to pass. I'm not taking on many new fiction clients right now and this novel just isn't a good fit for my list. Best wishes for finding the right home and thanks for the shot. k

Now that literally had me rolling about in tears, especially as I'd just read this one (I'm not gonna publish it all because it's a LONG corresondence but if you do Ctrl F "Find (on this page)" [Claudia Cross] you'll find it, begins:

Dear Mr. Jones: I would like to begin by complimenting you on a well-written effort. I think that with this manuscript you are off to a good start: you've established your voice and you've shown that you have a sense of humor, both of which are no mean feats...

But even after that, it just continues, page after page of jousting with literary agents. I imagine by now he's getting quite a reputation with these controllers of what is ever published and I'm not sure he should be sticking his neck THAT FAR over the fence. What a star this Gerard Jones is, his site is informative and funny and also sad in truly poignant way. Keep it real, Gerard.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


Just when all you brainless twats were denouncing the power of Tom Cruise as an actor of quality, Tony Lee asked me to do a DOWSE article to counter his own negative appraisal of Cruise's charms BONE IDLE IDOL. Then, a few years later, Cruise 'greyed up' and got nasty in his blockbuster hitman success story, COLLATERAL. "I am the greatest!" oh yes, and here's the article as it was published, just to prove it.


Tom Cruise - show us the money!

Not meaning this to be a slavering slice of polemic but... what does everyone have against Tom Cruise.

"Well, he makes $20 million dollars a film, yeah. And Scientology, well, that's wacko to the max, innit. You just gotta hate him for that, right?" Well no, I refer the jealous, the doubter and naysayer to Tom's greatest cinematic journey - Rain Man. In films like The Firm, A Few Good Men, The Color Of Money, Born On The Fourth Of July, even Interview With The Vampire, Tom Cruise comes across as sincere and determined - he can handle the truth. Tom is loveable in the purely narrative sense, the believer with broad shoulders, who can carry you on a personal journey, guiding your emotions, allowing you to feel the raw adrenaline stink of well-manicured masculinity.

Rain Man, however, felt like a much more authentic role for Tom. Tom the user, the over occupied. Tom the bullish businessman with no time for idiot savants. We have seen Tom interviewed at Cannes and at the Oscars and he comes across as a real affable sort of guy. Personable in a toothily smug way. This is hogwash of the highest order. No-one can bring himself up in this roughneck Hollywood fighting pit, if he doesn't have a streak of the ruthless about him. His role in Rain Man showed more of his real personality than I am sure even he would admit. Tom knows what he likes and he will do (almost) anything within his quite substantial power to get it. Look at how he terrorised Kubrick's veranda with his helicopter to get the role in Eyes Wide Shut.

This guy deserves all he gets - he is ambition in the purely geometrical sense. He is balanced, physically alluring, dominating maybe, cocksure definitely. Personally, I think it is time for Tom Cruise to start making the sort of films that even more women (the Pretty Polly dollar) would flock to see, the Clark Gable or the Bad Lieutenant video nasties. He could pull it off, too. Some real, authentic, hardnut character like the one Roman Polanski adopted in Chinatown.

Tom Cruise you are above all a human being, show us the money!


I’m not American but like anybody on the planet I remember exactly what I was doing the day that atrocity took place in central New York. We had just been to the funeral of one of our work colleagues who had been suffering with acute attacks of epilepsy all of his life and the seizures were getting closer and more intense up until he was found on his bed, face down with his head in his hands. Apparently, his veins were all swollen up and he’d bit his tongue off. He had ruptured most of the veins in his face in the death throes as the seizure consumed him. We’d been across to the Bath where his family lived to attend the funeral. He lived like a scruffy student off some council estate but his family home was set within a couple of acres of land and had about four bedroom, three bathroom and ‘en suite’ all through. It’s strange when you see the real person behind the public face – as I suppose your feeling the same reading this series of entries from the first 38 years of my life.

We were all back in the mini-bus after the reception (which had gone very well, we dedicated our game Ghost Master to his memory) and it started with the broadcast to end all broadcasts. The announcement that something terrible had happened in New York. Now, to us on the mini-bus, we were in high spirits after the post-funeral release of tension and consumption of alcohol and vol au vents, so when they started to announce over and over that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Centre we all had a good laugh. Then they started to play the witness’s screaming testimony over and over again. It was a long trip back. At one point we were even joking that we should phone up Hollywood right now and sell them the rights to the screenplay – surely this couldn’t be real. We nearly got on the phone and pitched a script right there, riding back to work. It would have been a great script, too. But then it continued to be repeated over and over. We eventually got the driver to turn off the radio and we all wondered what the fuck was going on in the world. When we got back to work, someone was on the internet as quick as a flash and within ten minutes we all saw the CNN footage of devastation as the planes hit, one per tower. Then, unbelievably, the towers fell. This couldn’t be happening. It was just TOO MUCH. But of course, it was happening – and on such a portentous day already filled with personal tragedy.


Well, it's not that I've injured myself playing American football... at 38 years of age, I'm not that stupid. But I was on the park with a gang of drunken ex-work colleagues one lovely day in Cambridge (4 weeks ago). The sun was out. The t-shirts were off (not a pretty sight). The American football was sailing through the air beautifully, 50, 60 yards, I've always had a good javelin arm. An hour or so of blissful buffoonery passed until I must have caught the ball funny as it plummeted in from altitude. The middle finger of my left hand felt funny, swelled up like a balloon and that was the end of it. I thought, wait for the swelling to go down, relax. It don't really hurt that bad. Well one month later (this morning) I took the still swollen and droopy fingertip to the doctors and after a very short spell in A&E, they showed me this:

fake x-ray image

Now, I have a comedy plastic splint on my finger to try and help the ligament rejoin the fingertip while I wait for my Friday appointment at the hospital where I may need hand surgery. Bastard.

This entry was originally uploaded on Wednesday September 8th and now here's the Friday 10th update: just back from the hand clinic. 2PM appointment arranged, finally got to see a specialist at 3:20PM. It turns out the ligament didn't rip from the bone when I caught the ball wrong; the bottom ligament is attached to the main fingertip; the top ligament is attached to the broken off chunk. After a couple of days in a corrective splint there are already signs of bone growth. I've gotta go back next Friday to see if the bone is just gonna stubbornly heal itself.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


this is gonna be a gut-wrenchingly mind-screwingly soul-searingly morbid anthology

I promise.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


It's only been a couple of weeks since I decided to drop the Hertzan Chimera writing name. I have received many 'condolences' on news of chim's demise, far more than I really could have hoped to expect. Any fear I might have had that ditching chim and adopting a less insane writing style was a bad idea have quickly been quashed by two new story acceptances, to be published under my proper name Mike Philbin:

1) BEE STUNG will appear in Cyber Pulp's Halloween anthology (last year's anthology got 120,000 downloads so that's a great bit of exposure)

2) THE MIDAS TOUCH will appear January 2005 in The Book Of Dark Wisdom.

3) THE MUTUAL MASTURBATION CLUB will appear January 2005 in THWN Presents: Voices
From A Dark Future: when a story was pulled by another writer and the editor invited me to submit a piece for it. Hey, and my birthday's in January, too.

All the above are paperback editions.

The largest and most recent short story THE PLANET OF THE OWLS (11,500 words) is still out with a prestigeous UK paperback magazine, pending. And I'm still not sure whether the ending is just the beginning of a big book. I must get round to those other new projects I've been outlining for a few months now. There's some real potential in there. More news as/when it arrives.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Mike Philbin, Editor

Still reeling from the nightmare excesses of CHIMERAWORLD #1? Relax a while and enjoy the ambient tones of sadness, depression, degradation and utter hopelessness of CHIMERAWORLD #2. A perfect paperback anti-dote to that brain battering bitch that was CHIMERAWORLD #1. Enjoy the pure power-chords of deep, deep despondency. I will again want 23 original stories. 1000-4000 words. Note: I contacted the authors of Chimeraworld #1 and have already accepted 5 stories (8 rejections) which means there are now only 18 slots left and I have already received a new batch this very morning. Pay is equal share of royalties. And just to speed things up at my end, there's a one month submission window of 1 - 30 SEPTEMBER 2004. Oh, that's right now! Send submissions to

There is no hope, only CHIMERAWORLD #2.

Available from Cyber Pulp, Q1 2005.