Grendel’s Mum


J. R. R. and Christopher Tolkien

Mariner Books, August 2015


A thousand years on, the sharpness of Beowulf‘s images still strikes us. Longships cruise amid icy spray. A king stares with fear amid the riches of his hall. Then comes the fiend Grendel stalking across the moors. Tolkien’s translation weds to these visions the rhythm and grandeur of language that rumbles even as it exults, which rolls like the swells of the sea. Continue reading

El Shaddai


Chapter 21 (Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)

Without any warning, my neighbour put three poodles in his yard. He went from none to three in a single black afternoon. After that he paid them little attention. As far as you could tell, they never left the yard. From morning until night they bombarded the neighbourhood with shrill barrages of barking that tore your concentration in two. They’d cease just long enough to let you collect your thoughts back together before shattering them again with the next barrage.

When home, their owner would bawl at them to shut up from behind his screen door. On other evenings, enraged neighbours assumed the role. It seemed like just a matter of time before some neighbour rationalised euthanizing them with poisoned meatballs. Continue reading

David and Goliath


Chapter 17 (Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)

A few days after Scott started housesitting at a penthouse apartment on Exhibition Street, a mob of us went around to visit him. An ancient tomcat lived in the laundry room. I remember it as Old Pukey. According to Scott, if anything startled it, it could vomit, and anything might startle it.

Old Pukey’s fur had started to fall out in patches. When it tried to purr, it made this awful gulping noise that sounded like it trying to clear its throat and not quite managing it. Continue reading

Prince of Databases


Foundation Publications (1997, ISBN 978-1885217721)

A few years ago I attempted to rent advertising space in The Bible between the Old and New Testaments. I created a website for a fictional business called ‘Prince of Databases’ at:

I then emailed The Gideons International, who print and distribute Gideon’s Bible, at Continue reading

Alien Women

Holy Bible


Lamsa Bible (Chapter 20, Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)
Amplified Bible (Chapter 20, Zondervan Publishing House, 1995, ISBN 0310951852)
Paradise Lost (The Portable Milton; Paradise Lost, John Milton, Penguin Books, 1976, ISBN 0140150447)

In the book of Leviticus, God reveals further commandments conceived in the all-encompassing fire of limitless intellect. For example, from Lamsa’s translation, Continue reading




Chapter 21 (Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)

Halfway through the book of Exodus, God proclaims to Moses the ordinances governing different kinds of ox gorings[1]. For example,

 “And if one man’s ox gores another man’s ox so it dies; then they shall sell the live ox and divide the money; and the dead ox also they shall divide.”[2]

It amazes one how relevant that remains today. Continue reading

Valley of Segola



Chapters 13-14 (quotes taken from the Lamsa version, Holy Bible, ISBN for example 9780060649234)

As he nears the land of Canaan, Moses sends ahead scouts to reconnoitre the terrain. He directs them to ascertain both the enemy’s strength and the fertility of their land.

To their delight, the land appears fertile, Continue reading

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      The Tragedy of Fidel Castro is an entertaining jaunt into political and religious irreverence.  Communism, capitalism and Catholicism all get a heart lashing as God intervenes, at the beck of Fàtima, in a war between Fidel Castro and JFK.  In the meanwhile, the nature of politics, humanity and religion are … Continue reading