The Omnibus

As is fairly obvious, I don’t update this blog often, instead I tend to try and promote any new articles I have via Twitter or Facebook. However, it’s easy for things to get lost on social media, so for the benefit of anyone who would like a round up of what I’ve been up to every month with links, recommendations and a bit of chat I’ve started a monthly email newsletter, called The Mark Clapham Omnibus.


You can sign up for the newsletter here.

I might actually link to the odd blogpost here now and again, if old content becomes relevant. I have recently tweaked the site a bit, clearing out old sidebars and tidying up my bibliography, which you can still find to the right —>

Long term I’ll probably want to collapse the blog altogether and have a simpler website, but for now if you find anything that needs updating, please feel free to comment below.


May 15, 2019. Uncategorized. Comments off.

I asked Twitter users about their romantic feelings towards a cartoon fox

This blog hasn’t been touched in a while, partially because people don’t blog very much any more, and partially because I’ve been busy with other things, one of which has been writing articles for Hero Collector, mainly features but also the odd listicle. The latest list I’ve been working on is a Top 10 of alternative Robin Hoods, to go up when the Taron Egerton/Jamie Foxx version is released in a couple of weeks. I knew that one I needed to include was the Disney Robin Hood because… well, because he’s an actual fox, which makes him unusual. But I also wanted to touch upon something else I knew, but which I couldn’t speak to myself: that loads of people had a crush of one kind or another on this cartoon fox. As I didn’t know how to approach the topic myself, I decided to ask Twitter for some quotes, possibly anonymous, to throw into my piece.


Now, I knew there were certain risks here, especially in throwing open my DMs, and that I could end up with my notifications on fire, receiving exceptionally lurid material about bin-diving mammals in green hats for the rest of eternity. There was also the possibility that I would get no response whatsoever, always a risk in the world of c1000 followers online micro-fame.

What I actually got – so far, at least – is a lot of intelligent, enthusiastic replies from people – mainly women – happy to go on the record about how the character represents a certain romantic ideal. Far more responses, in fact, than I possibly needed for a short paragraph on one film in a top ten list, especially bearing in mind that this would no doubt all be somewhat beside the point as far as my editor was concerned. So, here I am back on a blog so out of date the profile pic shows me with a full head of hair, so I can share some of the best replies I got, loosely organised. Where replies were public I’ve added twitter links so readers can find like minded souls :

Romantic sentiments

‘Robin Hood the Fox is EVERYTHING a hero should be.’ – Jan Jones, romance novelist.

‘He was so dashing!’ – @WhateverLizzie

‘When Robin said ‘Marian, my darling, I love you more than life itself’ I basically fell in love 😂 What a hero!’ – Amanda Rutter, literary agent and freelance editor.

‘He is quintessentially DREAMY. The voice, the eyes, the charm… *swoons*’ – Helen B

‘ I think it was something about the combination of his feats of bravery and skill alongside a visible tenderness in his interactions with the other characters. He’s brave but never reckless, charming but never smarmy, masculine but softly so. The romance with Marian is also interesting too because it is established before the film even starts. We don’t see their romance blossom, they are already in love before the story even starts. There is also this incredibly romantic ideal about the scene where Prince John has him tied up and he’s totally calm, and delivers that line “Marian my darling, I love you more than life itself.” It’s very simple but very moving. I think as a child coming to the film, the depth of romantic feeling is quite unusual – and created without any kissing or visible passion. Robin Hood is attractive (skinny little fox body but a complexity in the drawing of the eyes – I think he is attractive in a similar vein to Tennant’s Doctor) but he’s also non-threatening.’ – via DM.

‘Disney’s Robin Hood is the optimal masculine ideal. Charming but sincere, heroic but not brutish, confident but not arrogant. And kind. Especially to children. So I get that crush appeal.’ – Ron McKenzie, writer.

OK maybe not *romantic* as such

‘He made me feel things I’d never felt before.’ – via DM.


Out and proud

‘WHO WOULD BE ASHAMED OF THIS??? ROBIN HOOD FOX FOREVER KING OF MY CHILDHOOD HEART.’ – Dr Fern Riddell, historian, author and broadcaster.

‘Oh yea big time first crush, this does not need to be a DM slide I have nothing to add and most importantly AM NOT ASHAMED’ – Dora Summerville.

‘I have no shame admitting publicly to crushing on a very dashing cartoon fox’ – Joanne Hall, fantasy author.

‘Why would anyone need anonymity? Disney Robin Hood is a stone cold FOX (obvs). 7 year old me was not confused by these feelings at all.’ – @BeccaMeriel

Solid life goals

‘I’m staying single until I find someone who calls me My darling in exactly the same way as Disney RH’ – @Jedihamster100

We’re all thinking it 

‘Foxy Robin Hood remains a dreamboat. Essentially, an entire generation of people have a very complicated relationship with anthropomorphised animals because of Disney.’ – Jen Williams, author.

‘This is the cause of Furryism’ – Mike Stacey

‘Disney Fox Robin Hood made sure every one of us grew up to be at least a bit of a furry.’ – Shelby.

… OK, we’re probably *not* all thinking this.

‘I always fancied a threesome with Disney’s Robin Hood and Thomas O’Malley from the The Aristocats. It would probably go down in that jazz club.’ – via DM.

… and there were also some people who told me they fancied the Vixen Maid Marian instead, but that’s a matter for another day. Thanks to everyone who replied – please get in touch with me if you’d rather be edited out of this post.

The Top Ten Alternative Robin Hoods should go up on Hero Collector later this month. For all my Hero Collector posts, please head to my author’s page on the site.


November 10, 2018. Uncategorized. Comments off.

Moviedrone: Bill the Galactic Hero

I’m a member of a film club at my local library, and when it came to my turn to present a film I went with Alex Cox’s Bill the Galactic Hero. This is my introduction to the film, or at least the one I wrote before I went off script and started rambling, followed by the film itself (as uploaded by Cox himself on to Vimeo):cox

(Edited to add: the film itself is mildly NSFW due to some animated blue alien nudity in the very first scene. Thought I better mention that.)

British director Alex Cox made a splash with his first two films, Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, in the 1980s, but for film fans of a certain age he’s known less for his directing as he is as presenter of BBC2’s cult film strand Moviedrome.

It was through Moviedrome that I first saw films as diverse as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Django, Carnival of Souls, Solaris, Manhunter and Les Diaboliques. But overall its Cox’s short intros, with his laconic manner and twangy mid Atlanticised Liverpool accent, that are most memorable.

So… when after a patchy film career of increasing obscurity and decreasing budgets Cox re-emerged in 2013 to kickstart a new movie, the campaign launched with a Moviedrome-style to camera video, it seemed only fair I should pay him back for my movie education by backing this new film.

Blame me for what you are about to see. I helped make it happen.

Tonight’s film is Bill the Galactic Hero, based on the novel by Harry Harrison, adapted into a screenplay by Cox, rejected by movie studios for nearly thirty years, and eventually made as a $100,000 student film co-directed, starring and staffed by students on the film programme at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Cox has described it as the largest student film ever made, and I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s certainly one of the most ambitious. Bill the Galactic Hero is the story of a pizza delivery guy who is duped into joining up with the Space Troopers in their pointless and destructive space war against a race of lizards called The Chingers, though his real enemy proves to be the bureaucracy, stupidity and brutality of the war machine he is a part of. There are spaceships, alien planets and robots.

As a student film there are rough edges. The camera crew are frequently visible, reflected in space helmets. The secondary performances and sound mix are variable, and I don’t really think the animated prologue and epilogue are all that great.

But the core of the film really works. The black and white photography, and the use of spacesuits and gas masks, create a nightmarish sense of disconnection as Bill is pushed around by forces much bigger than himself and driven to his wit’s end. The unpolished student cast suit a story about conscripts in a war suffering massive casualties and rapid turnover. The use of redressed real locations is charmingly reminiscent of cheap SF of the past, from the B movies to the BBC, and the model shots and computer generated visual effects are ingenious and imaginative.

It’s a weird, scrappy film, but a very individual one. Cox’s anti-war sensibility and weird humour chimes with that of the book, which was based on Harrison’s experiences in World War II. It’s not surprising that studios turned down such an eccentric and downbeat project, but I’m glad that crowdfunding and the possibilities of digital technology allow for films like this to be made.

Cox has gone back to the crowdfunding model for Tombstone Rashomon, an episodic western showing the Gunfight at the OK Corrall from different perspectives, currently in production.

He clearly thought Bill the Galactic Hero worked out OK.

You can now judge for yourselves…

BILL THE GALACTIC HERO from Alex Cox on Vimeo.

September 22, 2016. Uncategorized. Comments off.

Badge of Honour

So, while talking about the last series of Line of Duty I had an idea for some badges, which I eventually had made up and posted to a couple of friends, including Eddie Robson who took this pic:

badge pic

I also sent some to the series production office, as it seemed only fair:

They seemed to like them. In the replies, quite a few other people would like similar badges.

So, for anyone who wants one, here’s the image I very crudely made up in Paint and Open Office, for you to pop into the design tool of whatever online badge provider you prefer (I used Camaloon, who were very good.):

Hold on there head (2)


June 20, 2016. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.


I did a little Black Library story recently, for a Deathwatch project that turned out to be the tie-in story collection for the Deathwatch: Overkill boxed game. My story is ‘The Known Unknown’ and involves Jensus Natorian, a Blood Raven Librarian with serious mentor issues. I think it turned out really well.BLPROCESSED-Deathwatch Ignition

You can buy either the story as a standalone ebook or the whole collection, Deathwatch: Ignition in either ebook form or hardback. I haven’t read any of the other stories (or seen the game – one of the interesting things about a job like this or the Fellguard stories is working from a brief that’s perhaps a page or two of notes), but there’s some good people in there like Braden Campbell (whose Dark Eldar story in Fear the Alien was great) and Doctor Who books alum Steve Lyons.

BLPROCESSED-Deathwatch Short 10 Known Unknown Cover

Not sure what the book’s distribution will be outside hobby shops but you can get it either from your local Games Workshop or via the website:

Buy Deathwatch: The Known Unknown as a standalone ebook from Black Library. 

Buy Deathwatch: Ignition in hardback or ebook from Black Library. 

One more Black Library thing due from me, if the stars align. Later about that.


February 28, 2016. Uncategorized. Comments off.

Hollow review

Off social media at the moment to get some work done, so instead I’ll link to HachiSnax’s review of Hollow Beginnings right here.

When writing for a big line with a lot of output it can sometimes feel like your work is getting lost in the deluge, so it’s always appreciated when someone pays attention.


September 21, 2015. Tags: . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Hollow Beginnings

hollowbI introduced Anvindr Godrichsson and his pack of Space Wolves in the short story In Hrondir’s Tomb three years ago, in Black Library’s emagazine Hammer and Bolter. As part of Black Library’s annual Summer of Reading campaign, where they release a new piece of fiction every weekday, that story has now been re-released as a standalone ebook. If you didn’t buy it in the original issue of H&B, or in the H&B Year Two e-compilation, or in the print Best of Hammer & Bolter volume 2… well, here’s another chance.

As part of the same campaign Anvindr and his pack return, some years later, in Hollow Beginnings.  If the previous story hinted where I’ve been going with these characters, then this one outright states it. The title’s a bit of a giveaway.

I like writing Anvindr. As a Space Wolf he sees himself and his pack as legendary warriors engaged in a mythic battle, and being a Space Marine he’s pretty much right. But there are many ways to fight a war, especially a war for the survival of humanity, and Anvindr experiences a constant unease when dealing with branches of the Imperium with less honourable tactics than the Wolves. It’s the tension between his loyalty to the Emperor and his dislike of some of the Emperor’s other servants that makes him fun to write.

Speaking of which, I’ve been quiet for a while on here, and will probably be quiet for a while longer. We’ve had the Beginnings, now someone needs to finish the Rest Of.

tl;dr version:

New standalone eshort version of In Hrondir’s Tomb can be bought for £2.49 here.

Follow up eshort Hollow Beginnings can be bought for £2.49 here.



September 2, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Farewell Tour 2014

I’m getting a PS4 for Christmas. Lovely news, but it means one of the boxes under the TV needs to go away to make space. As it’s been threatening to red ring for most of the year, I decided to mothball the 360. While this is actually my third 360 – I’ve had one new one, an ancient second hand one given to me by Family Gamer TV maestro Andy, and another second hand one I got to replace THAT when it keeled over – the platform has been my main gaming format for well over half a decade. So it’s kind of a big deal to move on to all-Sony consoles.

First I had to wrap up some unplayed games. I played LA Noire, and fell through the bottom of the universe one time:

photo (4)


















I also played Dishonored, tried Far Cry 2 but gave up after a bit, similarly played various review copies I’d given up on midway through until I got bored and gave up for good. Then I threw myself into Fallout New Vegas, where amongst many of the virulent bugs that survived countless patches, a corpse floated to the ceiling:

photo (4)


















I enjoyed New Vegas, but it wasn’t Fallout 3. It lacked the devastated urban splendour of that game, even though it was technically bigger – seeing a desert turned into a wasteland isn’t as much of a transformation as Washington DC laid low. So before the 360 got boxed up for good, I decided to do a quick tour of the Mall and some other fondly remembered locations, meet some people and shoot some Super Mutants.

Oh, and I found a floating hammer:



















Goodbye Capital Wasteland, you charmingly desolate hellhole, and goodbye buggy old 360.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, here are the badly formatted, uncropped and oversized pics.



December 19, 2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Disney Infinity Yondu & the Falcon

I’ve read some comics so apparently that makes me an expert. The two corrections I’ve had to issue in the comics comments *might* be considered to undermine that:


Oh, and let’s just stick the Infinity Spider-Man Playset one here too, rather than expend another post on this stuff:



September 12, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

Let’s Play Doctor Who Legacy: Robots of Sherwood (Season 8)

Second of my Family Gamer TV videos. You can now find a playlist of these in the links bar to the right.


September 9, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. Comments off.

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