No Lunatic Preamble This

At long last moving into publication mode for “Helios on the Moon”. Here’s its Auctorial Preamble, with some lynx and a couple of new graphics:

Helios on the Moon

Ad for the last two novels in the Launch 1980 story cycle, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014

Black and white version of an ad for the concluding books in the Launch 1980 story cycle from Phantacea Publications

– Auctorial Preamble –

Thus ends Phantacea Phase One.

So I intended to write on the inside front cover of Phantacea Seven in 1981. Except, it never got finished. I next reckoned on writing it about a decade later when Phantacea Phase One #15 came out. Except, this time, that project never got beyond the #1 stage; not in print anyhow.

Phase One #2, along with a number of background stories, were ready for press; as were the scripts and reprint art for a good deal of the rest. While most of these last did make it into one or another of the graphic novels subsequently released by Phantacea Publications, pre-orders didn’t warrant continuing the Phantacea Mythos at that time; especially not in that form. (Artists aren’t just temperamental, they’re costly.)

Let me repeat: ‘Thus ends Phantacea Phase One’. Sounds good, after all these years, but “Helios on the Moon” does much more than that.

It also ends the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle, my personal project to novelize the PHANTACEA comic book series. Plus, for those who felt the ending of the last trilogy, ‘The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories’, as presented in “Goddess Gambit”, was not absolutely clear as to whether anyone survived – or anyone not explicitly done away with already didn’t – that will be sorted starting about nine chapters, or ‘moons’, from now.

3 comic book covers incorporated in ad for Phantacea Publications

Covers for pH-2 (Gordon Parker), pH-3 (Richard Sandoval), and 4-Ever&40 (Ian Fry, Ian Bateson), all of which figure in “Helios on the Moon”

Not surprisingly Ninth Moon shares commonality with “The War of the Apocalyptics”, the first book in the Launch trilogy, in that it begins winding down the stirring saga of the Damnation Brigade and their erstwhile companion in supra-doings, Kid Ringo, nowadays Ringleader.

As for the Family Thanatos and their never-remembered guest, the fiendish, always smiling fellow who speaks in bold-italics, they show up three moons prior to D-Brig et al. Of course non-devic characters didn’t just precede non-devic characters literally, in terms of literature, they preceded them chronologically.

Witness “Feeling Theocidal” and “The Thousand Days of Disbelief”, which were set in the Cathonic Dome’s Fifth and mid-Sixth Millennium respectively. Or “Forever & 40 Days”, which featured a series of graphic story snippets set before there was a Dome, let alone a Genesea necessitating one.

The previous book in this trilogy, “Nuclear Dragons”, divided into four parts. ‘Indescribable Defiance’ began it with the launching of the Cosmic Express. We saw what happened to one of its cosmicars in War-Pox, and to the cosmicompanions aboard it in Gambit. We’re about to begin finding out what becomes of one occupant of the control hub, one of the other cosmicars and the seven cosmicompanions occupying it.

Nuke’s aforementioned first part additionally brought our attention to the highly disconcerting matter of a perceived menace on the Moon, something also alluded to during War-Pox, and what governments and top dog corporations were doing about it.

For starters, they set up the United Nations SPACE Council (‘Society for the Prevention of Alien Control of Earth’) and appointed the by now 80-year old Great Man, Loxus Abraham Ryne, to run it.

He thereupon had built, and launched, the United Nations of Earth Spaceship (UNES) Liberty. Not long before Hel-Moon gets (over more so than) underway, it boldly blasted out there in order to deal with said menace, be it alien or otherwise. (Go with the otherwise.)

In terms of the titular pair who provided ‘Indescribable Defiance’ with its sectional sub-heading, did you know the Space Shuttle Columbia took off secretly in December 1980, months prior to its official inaugural flight? Returned safely as well. You do now. You’re also not too many moons away from finding out whom it was transporting towards the Liberty, which is already in lunar-synchronous orbit.

Nuke’s second section, ‘The Strife Virus’, focused our attention on, among others, a pair of (very) long lasting, inveterate nasties, Daemonicus and Strife. Both first appeared, or at least were mentioned, in Feel Theo, the initial book of the ‘Glories’ trilogy. To say the least it seems they’re extremely difficult to deal with permanently.

Until, that is, in terms of her anyhow … well, that would be telling too much for a preamble. That said, while preambles may be no place for telling all that’s to come, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least remind you of All, capitalized.

Nuke readers will recall the Phantom Freighter, whence Crystallion and Hell’s Horsemen, whence also Sharkczar. And what have they got to do with Incain’s She-Sphinx you might ask. Once again I refer you to Feel Theo, as well as “Janna Fangfingers” and Gambit. Ginny the Gynosphinx is no Andy the Androsphinx. She moves. And when she does, be smart. Stay out of her way.

Speaking yet again of Feel Theo, the time-tumbling Dual Entities featured in a number of its story snippets, if perhaps not explicitly so in its underlying narrative, the one-day saga of Thrygragon (Mithramas, Year of the Dome 4376) as told from a number of different viewpoints. As foreshadowed during the course of ‘The Strife Virus’, they do much more than feature in this book; hence its title.

In some respects remarkably, Nuke’s final two subsections, ‘Supra Survival’ and ‘Sinking and Swimming’, did leave a few tales left to tell. One who won’t be telling them is the deviant Legendarian, Jordan ‘Q for Quill’ Tethys. (The legendary 30-Year Man, aka 30-Beers, came as close as anyone in the Phantacea Mythos comes to being a protagonist throughout the ‘Glories’ trilogy.)

Collage and covers indicative of action recounted in "Nuclear Dragons"

Mr No Name collage prepared by Jim McPherson, 2014; pH-7 cover, incomplete, by Ian Bateson, 1980; pHz1 #1 cover, the Mighty Eye-Mouth in the Sky by Ian Bateson, 1985

Gambit readers may recall that, for a change, Jordy’s latest lifetime did not seem to be in jeopardy once the moment of its moderately cliff-dangling dénouement arrived. Indeed, they probably assumed that either he or the improbably enormous, ever-fishifying Fisherwoman had saved everyone worth saving.

That was certainly one of the impressions left. Another was that the subheading for Gambit’s final third, ‘Endgame-Gambit’, meant endgame everyone. When it comes to the Phantacea Mythos, it’s always dangerous to make assumptions. That’s why it’s Anheroic Fantasy (anheroic = without heroes).

I do feel fairly confident in leaving you with one almost certainly accurate assumption, however: Every ending begets a new beginning. And a correction to my opening statement.

Thus begins the ending to Phantacea Phase One.


Jim McPherson


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Mixed Swag

1. Now that his early summer travels and the World Cup are over, Jim McPherson, creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, is supposedly back at his work desk after a six-week hiatus. The weather’s wonderful in Vancouver, though, and the Folk Fest is this weekend, so don’t expect much more than a weekly update for pHantaBlog, at least in the near future.

2. Reports supranormal storytelling has added a couple of new raconteurs. Joining McPherson (PHANTACEA) and a fellow by the name of George RR Martin (Wild Cards), are Ian Tregillis (The Milkweed Triptych) and Lavie Tidhar (The Violent Century). Of the two, and after reading a couple of offerings by each, Tregillis seems worthy of recommendation, this despite his use of — drumbeat of dread, please — time travel.  Quel horreur!

3. Got a link forwarded from NY Times re, well, have a boo yourself. It’s long but fairly unbiased and impacts on self-publishing, a subject near and dear to not just McPherson and his bank balance:  “Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed“.

Feel free to register, if you aren’t one of the (literally) hundreds who already have, and leave a comment on article or issue in box at bottom of today’s entry. pHantaJim loves comments, so long as they contribute to the conversation. Spam gets rejected forthwith, so no more lynx to handbag websites or suchlike, por favor.

4. Character Likenesses 2 is now up on pHanta-pHlickr.  Commentary by blog-meister, yours truly.

5. Also check out the latest entry in Serendipity and PHANTACEA: “Tell-Talos Talaria”  for yet another oddball connection to “Helios on the Moon“, the upcoming final entry in the Launch 1980 epic trilogy.


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D-Brig gets five stars and an asterisk on Goodreads

Phantacea  Revisited 1:  The Damnation Brigade (Phantacea Revisited, #1)Phantacea Revisited 1: The Damnation Brigade by Jim McPherson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Damnation Brigade is the first Phantacea Revisited graphic novel.

The cover is by Ian Bateson, who also contributed a good percentage of the interior illustrations. Until now Ian’s Damnation Island sequence has never seen print.

Flyer for Phantacea books, 2012

Giveaway flyer prepared by Jim McPherson, 2012; artwork by Ian Bateson for Phantacea Phase 1 #1, 1986, derived from Dave Sim for Phantacea One, 1977

Of additional interest to aficionados of independent comic books, Dave Sim drew most of the Launching of the Cosmic Express sequence shortly before he began Cerebus the Aardvark in late ’77/early ’78.

Other featured illustrators include Gordon Parker, Verne Andrusiek (later Verne Andru), Carl Muecke, Vince Marchesano, Tim Hammell and George Freeman (Captain Canuck).

The book, whose dedicated webpage is here, begins with the launch sequence from Phantacea One (1977), as redone for Phantacea Phase One #1 (1987).

Flyer prepared by Jim McPherson, 2912

Giveaway flyer prepared by Jim McPherson, 2012; artwork by Ian Bateson for Phantacea Phase 1 #1, 1986, derived from Dave Sim for Phantacea One, 1977

It carries on with the titular struggles of an ultimately ill-named, 10-member band of supranormals from their re-embodiment on Damnation Island (the original version appeared in Phantacea Two, 1978), through their battles with the Byronic Nucleus, the Primary Apocalyptics and their allies, on both sides of the Whole Earth.

It ends with their inevitable reckoning as it first appeared in Phantacea Five (1980), which has been out-of-print since the very early 1980s.

Ian Bateson's full colour, wraparound cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, 2009

Ian Bateson’s full colour, wraparound cover for The War of the Apocalyptics, 2009

Jim McPherson adapted and expanded on the material presented in this ambitious graphic novel with 2009’s “The War of the Apocalyptics“, a full-length Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel that commences the ‘Launch 1980’ epic trilogy.

Front and back cover mockups for "Helios on the Moon", prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

Mockup sent to potential cover illustrators for “Helios on the Moon”, the next scheduled Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel

It also includes parts of the Centauri Island and UNES Liberty storylines that  continue (“Nuclear Dragons“, 2013) and will conclude (“Helios on the Moon”, 2014) the latest blockbuster fantasy from Phantacea Publications.

Overall this a delightful complement to the ongoing Phantacea Mythos catalogue of novels, mini-novels, comics and graphic novels; highly recommended.

BTW, it gets an asterisk because Jim McPherson, the creator/writer of the Phantacea Mythos, wrote the review.

View all my reviews

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Kitty Clsym hits Goodreads

Cataclysm Catalyst (Phantacea Revisited 2)Cataclysm Catalyst by Jim McPherson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Cataclysm Catalyst” collects the entire Soldier’s Saga storyline, which began in Phantacea Two (1978) and concluded in Phantacea Six (1980). Most of the artwork in this sequence was by Verne Andrusiek (later Verne Andru). Last year (2013) Verne redid and completely coloured a black and white drawing of a proposed cover for an issue of Phantacea Phase One specifically for this publication. It’s quite splendid.

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of "Cataclysm Catalyst",  the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Flyer prepared for April 2014 launch of “Cataclysm Catalyst”, the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Much of the Soldier’s Saga formed the basis for Jim McPherson’s “Goddess Gambit“, a full-length Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel released in 2012 that concluded the epic “Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories” fantasy trilogy. The graphic novel also includes parts of the Centauri Island storyline that Jim McPherson novelized for his full-length 2013 Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel entitled “Nuclear Dragons“.

Advertisement appearing the convention brochure for APE - Alternative Press Expo, features b/w versions of front covers for Nuclear Dragons and the Damnation Brigade graphic novel

Advertisement appearing in the convention brochure for APE – Alternative Press Expo in October 2013. It features b/w versions of front covers for Nuclear Dragons and the Damnation Brigade graphic novel. Covers artwork for both publications by Ian Bateson; text by Jim McPherson

Of particular interest to Indy comics collectors in general and Phantacea aficionados in particular are the final six pages of the graphic novel. They were done by Phantacea stalwart Ian Bateson in 1980 for inclusion in Phantacea Seven, which was never published. Digitally re-lettered by Jim McPherson in the past year, this is the first time they have seen print. Also included is a reprint of “Tail Teller”, a short piece drawn by Ian Fry in the mid-1980s for the Phantacea Phase One project.

Page by page list of illustrators whose work appears in the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Page by page list of illustrators whose work appears in the second Phantacea Revisited graphic novel

Overall this a highly pleasing addition to the ongoing Phantacea Mythos catalogue of novels, mini-novels, comics and graphic novels; highly recommended.

A partial list of excerpts from the graphic novel can be found by clicking here.

View all my reviews

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Baroque Convolutions

With a dashing of syntactical twists and turns

  1. Top of Page
  2. Setting the Scene for the Skreigh
  3. Begin Rant
  4. Seed those Dumps
  5. Memo to Self
  6. Syntactical Turns
  7. Twists to Thievery
  8. Unfashionable Omniscience
  9. Writers don’t just play God in their own Books
  10. Capital Crimes
  11. Non-Issues
  12. Never Done in North American English
  13. Never say ‘Never’ in any English
  14. Well, that clears that up then
  15. According to one person anyhow
  16. Speaking Personally
  17. Speaking Thirdly
  18. Anheroic Mosaic Shared
  19. Conclusive Coherence
  20. Quotation re Multiple Viewpoints in a Novel
  21. Quotation(s) re Perspective Breaks
  22. Bottom of page comments


Helios on the Moon - comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

Helios on the Moon – comic book cover; art by Richard Sandoval 1978

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So, Jim McPherson came back from a 6-week working break in warmer, sunnier climes reckoning Helios on the Moon was ready for a quick edit by a professional prior to a Spring publication.

Reckon anew, mate.

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This came back from a 10-year pro in the field, albeit not specifically in the field of editing full-length fantasy novels:

Here are a few more questions and thoughts:
And here are Jim McPherson’s responses.

1) There is a seriously large amount of initial information. Is it my understanding that readers will be aware of much of the background and back story? Is this an alternative history? I’m just trying to get my bearings, as ordinarily I’d suggest a writer drop that back story in over a long period, “seeding” it more organically rather than employing the huge info-dump you do here.

This hurts, all the more so since I’m super-conscious of the issue already. Yet I heard the same criticisms re “Nuclear Dragons”. They came despite my efforts to set up background and back story details in such a way that they could be skipped readily.
I even went so far as to write a preamble (reprinted here and here) in which I advised (highlighted here) readers to bypass material in parentheses if they find it too distracting or time-consuming.
Guess I’m supposed to accept the supposedly
‘prevailing wisdom’ that the days of leisurely, information-laden immersion in someone else’s imagination is non-Helios history. A sad situation to be sure.

That said, I’m hearing it so often I’m going to step back and reconsider the whole way I’m handling this issue. Might I need to revert to Character Companions like I did for 1000-Daze? Or add a glossary? Maybe it just needs more seeding, less dumping. Comments appreciated.
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2) Your style is quite convoluted, and even baroque in its syntactical twists and turns. That is definitely not a criticism … your readers’ expectations might be quite sophisticated and therefore it’s not a concern. The current trend is to write more simply.

Definitely sounds like a criticism to me. And if it isn’t a concern why mention it? As for writing simply, what does that mean? I’ve read efforts by folks I reckoned very good writers to produce material for Young Adults. The results sometimes seem so simplified that if I didn’t know better I’d assume they were written by simpletons for simpletons.
Still, I quite like
‘convoluted and baroque in its syntactical twists and turns’. Think I’ll steal it.

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3) Whose voice is narrating this? Is it a third-person omniscient perspective? If so, that’s fine (although again, not currently fashionable), but the sudden injections of colloquialisms such as “um” and “sure as shit” might need to be dialed back a little. They are jarring from a “god” type perspective.

What you’re dealing with, in me, is a chatty, conversational writer trying to be both friendly, as in non-threatening, and entertaining.
As for having a narrator with ‘a third-person omniscient perspective’ not being fashionable, that’s nonsense. Then again, if it isn’t, is that what you have to learn to write in this day and age of low-sales and writers increasingly having to turn to the DIY ‘Indy Market’ to stand any chance of seeing their writing in print?
In which case, call me determinedly unfashionable as I hate being nonsensical, at least in the sense of writing rubbish. 
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4) Gypsium? Is this an invented element or mineral? A play on gypsum? I couldn’t find it anywhere online or in my dictionaries. Either way, I don’t think it ought to be capitalized. We don’t capitalize granite or limestone, etc.

Hel-Moon is the sixth full-length Phantacea Mythos to be published by Phantacea Publications. The imprint would not exist were it not for the Phantacea Mythos.
Gypsium etc, like Deva (as in Master Deva), has been capitalized in every one of the books, in the comics before them and in the many web-serials betwixt and between.
Gypsium etc are made up words, I treat them like proper nouns and will continue to do so. Similarly, when I use the term Shining Ones (which is what the word ‘deva’ literally means) I capitalize it.
Capitalization makes a word stand out, gives it a kind of heightened status. It adds emphasis without the use of either italics or single quotes.
And if we do go ahead, don’t bother changing all the en-dashes to em-dashes. That’s not how I use them so I’d just have to change them all back.
Em-dashes, especially in mid-sentence, are unsightly.
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5) Re the use of single quotes: It’s just never done in North American English… except when it’s a quote within a quote, or is within a newspaper headline.

I would dearly love to eliminate single quotes, especially where I’ve had to add emphasis in form of italics. They’re a pain to have to reformat when it comes time to move over to In Design in order to prepare a PDF for the POD-printer.
They are, however, extensively used in fantasy novels, some of which I perhaps oddly believe use North American English. Steven Erikson’s Malazan books for example ( and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, which are probably the two series I most admire in the field, use them a lot. Erikson is Canadian and Martin is American.
Single quotes are often used for dialogue in flashback sequences and very commonly to indicate conversations conducted in telepathy. Devas often communicate via telepathy.
BTW, in a previous section, I used single quotes and emphasis as follows: “the word ‘deva’ literally means”. Is that wrong too?

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Front and back cover mockups for "Helios on the Moon", prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

Mockup sent to potential cover illustrators for “Helios on the Moon”, the next scheduled Phantacea Mythos mosaic novel

When asked for clarification on an earlier point (#3), the editor came back: “… today readers are not as primed for it [someone writing from a third person viewpoint often using … godlike omniscient perspective]. They find it odd or jarring or even boring …”

To which I replied: Huh and double huh!?! Sez you, I say.

Personally I won’t buy anything written in first person. I mean, what’s the point? Especially in terms of action-oriented books wouldn’t this be a typical sentence: “I whirled, kicked him in the knackers but he managed to shoot me anyhow, so now I’m a zombie. Have to be, right — otherwise how could I be writing this?”
Talk about boring, an action hero writing his own book. Certainly eliminates the stress of worrying if hero live or dies.

As for following one character throughout, even when it’s in third person, well, that’s almost as bad. Without pulling them off the shelf – or more like pulling them out of boxes in basement – I can guarantee you Erickson and Martin don’t do that and they’ve hundreds of characters in every (really, really long) book.
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Phantacea is ‘anheroic fantasy’, as in without heroes. It’s also a Shared World novel with a lone writer ( Another common term for this sort of thing is a mosaic novel (; albeit, ditto, one written by one author.
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Hel-Moon progresses to its conclusion via a series of events that are experienced by a wide range of characters in a variety of disparate situations that may not cohere until its final chapter, though there could be lots of little endings along the way. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.)
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That in mind …
“Multiple viewpoint novels are common in literature, so it would hardly be a risky choice if you chose to write one yourself.
“…  a Third Person Story is narrated by that invisible, godlike witness to the novel’s events (or the magic camera, if you prefer that analogy) – and it seems perfectly natural for this narrator to choose to slip inside not just one character’s skin during the telling of the story, but several.”
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Which leads to this:
“But when should you switch [viewpoints]? There are a few simple rules here…It is virtually always best, if at all possible, to start a fresh chapter when you switch from one viewpoint character to another. Next best is switching viewpoints during a break within a chapter (the kind denoted by a line of white space, or by asterisks if the break occurs at the bottom of a page).”
When it comes to what I call ‘perspective breaks’, as much as possible, I double-up with a eight ======== followed by a paragraph or two of italics then another =========. I also use dates to provide breaks, though that’s usually at the beginning of chapters and not so much in mid-chapter.
And that’ll do for now.
End longest rant yet.
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Found but unfudged — Full-length Gambit Press Release

Goddess Gambit Email Press Release

B/w covers of all the novels, mini-novels and graphic novels to date released by Phantacea Publications, prepared by Jim McPherson, 2013

B/w covers of all the novels, mini-novels and graphic novels to date released by Phantacea Publications

Black and white covers of the various Phantacea comics and graphic novels

Black and white covers of the various Phantacea comics and graphic novels

In-page lynx

Whoever writes these things really needs an editor.

Oh, wait. pHantaJIm wrote this and, even if he does occasionally invent his own punctuation rules, he is an editor.

Full Cover for "Goddess Gambit", artwork by Verne Andru 2011/12

Full Cover for “Goddess Gambit”, artwork by Verne Andru 2011/12

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Phantacea Publications Press Release

Friday, February 3, 2012


Phantacea Publications is pleased to announce Ingram Books, Ingram International and Coutts Information Services are distributing “Goddess Gambit” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-2-8), the latest PHANTACEA Mythos print publication worldwide.

Its publication both ends ‘The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories’ trilogy and continues the ‘Launch 1980’ story sequences begun with “The War of the Apocalyptics” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-4-2).

Gambit’s cover, bonus graphics, a selection of excerpts from the novel, and plenty of additional information on the book, the trilogy it concludes and the story cycle it continues, as well as convenient, one-click ordering lynx to online booksellers, can be found here:

James H McPherson, Publisher
Phantacea Publications


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The back cover blurb puts its contents tauntingly.

Back Cover of ‘Goddess Gambit’

“For the Dead to thrive, the Living must die!” So proclaims Nergal Vetala, the Blood Queen of Hadd.

She’s the lone devic vampire.

For 35 years she has been unable to prevent the encroachment of the Living on her realm, the Land of the Ambulatory Dead.

Then her soldier falls out of the sky and she’s back in the pink again — as in arterial.

Too bad for not just her, everyone who plays a Trigregos Gambit loses.


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A more detailed synopsis of the novel reads as follows:

Goddess Gambit — Book Three of ‘The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories’

On the Inner Earth of Sedon’s Head the gods and goddesses, the demons and monsters of ancient myths and legends continue to exist. The Latin word for god is ‘deus’. The Romans spelt it ‘DEVS’. Collectively, the Hidden Continent’s immortal gods and goddesses calls themselves ‘Devas’, which means ‘the Shining Ones’ but is also a Vedic term for gods. Their offspring, by themselves, are called ‘azuras’.

Devas and azuras are names for deities in both Hindu and Zoroastrian Faiths. Monotheists call gods and goddesses ‘devils’. In the PHANTACEA Mythos, the gods and goddesses (who are physical beings with, more often than not, 3-eyes), together with their immediate offspring (who are virtually invisible Spirit Beings with as many eyes as the shells they occupy), make up the ‘devazur’ race.

Nergal Vetala is the Blood Queen of Hadd, the Land of the Ambulatory Dead. She is the lone devic vampire. Her azuras are known as Vetalazurs or Lazurs for short. They animate Haddit Zombies. Another kind of azura, Sangazurs, animate the Glorious Warrior Dead or Valhallans.

For 35 years she has been unable to prevent the encroachment of the Living on her realm. Then her soldier falls out of the sky and she’s back in the pink again — as in arterial.

The Trigregos Talismans are a curved blade, a mirror that can be used as a shield and a bloodstone tiara. The Head’s anti-devazur movements cherish them as the three Sacred Objects because they reputedly can be used to kill devils. For exactly the same reason devils call them the three Accursed Objects.

(You can call them the Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories if you like, because that’s what they’re known as in “Feeling Theocidal” and the three mini-novels comprising “The 1000 Days of Disbelief”, the first two books in the trilogy Gambit concludes.)

They’ve been separated for hundreds of years, since roughly two years prior to All-Death Day in 5494 YD. However, they’re composed of Brainrock-Gypsium, the remnants of the Big Bang’s Primordial Godhead. Due to the PHANTACEA-fact this Godstuff is both transmutable and teleportive, once you’ve found one it should lead you between-space to the other two.

At stake is mastery of devils, the gods and goddesses of not just the Living. At stake as well, potentially, should be mastery over the entire Headworld. Not surprisingly, when one of them finally shows up again, it suddenly seems like nearly everyone wants all three of them.

Too bad, as Nergal Vetala should know better than most, everyone who ever played a Trigregos Gambit in the past has lost.

She reckons it won’t happen this time. Not once her slavish soldier (who might be an incarnation of Chrysaor Attis, a dominant figure in Feel Theo, and who calls her “Goddess”) acquires all three of them and becomes Trigregos Incarnate.

Re-enter what’s left of the Damnation Brigade after “The War of the Apocalyptics”.

Ah, but will they be in time to stop the Blood Queen of Hadd and her justifiably declared Trigregos Titan or will these last finish what they and the Apocalyptics began the day before?

Will Lathakra’s long-reawakened Scarlet Empress, almost as long no longer Mithras’s Virgin, and Gravity, also Byron’s Moon Goddess, who has only recently been released from All of Incain, play and win the same game?

Will their fellow firstborns, their brother-husbands, King Cold and Savage Storm (Byron’s Beast), join them or save them? Who is Freespirit Nihila?

Is it any wonder the Smiling Fiend never stops smiling?

And if you hate questions as much as I do, you now know where to find the answers.


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The colour side of a postcard Jim McPherson prepared in 2012 as a handout; artwork taken from cover of "Goddess Gambit"; artwork by Verne Andru

The colour side of a postcard Jim McPherson prepared in 2012 as a handout; artwork taken from cover of “Goddess Gambit”; artwork by Verne Andru

The first book in ‘The Thrice-Cursed Godly Glories’ trilogy is “Feeling Theocidal” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-0-4). The 1000-Daze mini-novels are “The Death’s Head Hellion” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-5-9), “Contagion Collectors” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-6-6) and “Janna Fangfingers” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-7-3).

E-versions of Feel Theo and all three 1000-Daze mini-novels (Hellion, Contagion and Fangers) are now available on the Kindle platform. Until the end of March they can be ordered exclusively from and a number of its affiliates in Europe and Asia.

As yet there are no plans to release e-versions of “Goddess Gambit”, “Forever & 40 Days – The Genesis of Phantacea” (a graphic novel – ISBN 978-0-9781342-3-5) or “The War of the Apocalyptics” (ISBN 978-0-9781342-4-2).

As more books come out featuring the Phantacea Mythos, I am hoping sales of Gambit and the aforementioned, earlier publications will increase dramatically.


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Note: The Goddess Gambit e-book came out in 2013. You can look inside it here. Which of course means you can also look inside the printed book there.

E-book cover for Goddess Gambit, artwork by Verne Andru

E-book cover for “Goddess Gambit” — ISBN 978-0-9878683-3-6

Indeed, you could check out these lynx to Google Books or amazon’s “Look Inside” program: or for plenty more free reads.

Want even more? Boo here.

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That’s Diegesis, not Diogenes

Potential b/w ad for Nuclear Dragons, prepared by Jim McPherson, artwork by Ian Bateson 2013

Potential b/w ad for “Nuclear Dragons“, artwork by Ian Bateson, 2013, rendered grey for b/w reproductions

Front Cover Ad for "Nuclear Dragons", art by Ian Bateson, 2013, text and ad preparation by Jim McPherson, 2013

Front Cover Ad for “Nuclear Dragons“, art by Ian Bateson, 2013, text and ad preparation by Jim McPherson, 2013

On-page lynx:

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As also per here, here or here, in his preamble to “Nuclear Dragons“, Jim McPherson wonders:

How much back story is too much back story?

Somewhat later he concludes:

As near as I can make out, short of eliminating [back stories] altogether, there are a number ways of dealing with [what back story hasn’t been chopped out in the editing process]. Character companions, parentheses, footnotes and/or an addendum come to mind. [For “Nuclear Dragons”] I’ve chosen parentheses.

While the reader can skip them as he or she pleases, I’d recommend perusal. Especially when in comes to “Nuclear Dragons”, I do some of my best work in parentheses.

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Front and Back Covers for "Nuclear Dragons"; artwork by Ian Bateson, 1980/2013; text by Jim McPherson

Front and Back Covers for “Nuclear Dragons“; artwork by Ian Bateson, 1980/2013; text by Jim McPherson

Here’s an interesting distinction for writers to make:

Diegesis is a style of fiction storytelling which presents an interior view of a world and is:

  1. that world itself experienced by the characters in situations and events of the narrative
  2. telling, recounting, as opposed to showing, enacting.

In diegesis the narrator tells the story. The narrator presents the actions (and sometimes thoughts) of the characters to the readers or audience.

… By contrast, mimesis shows rather than tells, by means of action that is enacted.

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Furthermore …

Artwork from Phantacea Forever & 40 Days by Ian Fry circa 1990

Artwork from Phantacea Forever & 40 Days by Ian Fry circa 1990

Diegesis is multi-levelled in narrative fiction.

  1. The extradiegetic level … is the narrator’s level, the level at which exists a narrator who is not part of the story he tells.

  2. The diegetic level is understood as the level of the characters, their thoughts and actions.

  3. The metadiegetic or hypodiegetic level is that part of a diegesis that is embedded in another one and is often understood as a story within a story, as when a diegetic narrator himself/herself tells a story.

Best response for writers whose friends/critics admonish: “Show me, don’t tell me” therefore isn’t: “it’s a bloody book. You read it. You don’t watch it”.

Try instead: “It’s a doggone diegesis, not a mangy mimesis”.

[BTW, Diogenes was a cynic, from the Greek kynikos, “dog-like” and that from κύων, kyôn, “dog” (genitive: kynos)]
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Helios on the Moon, front cover of Phantacea Three, art by Richard Sandoval, 1978

Artwork from the “Helios on the Moon” side of pH-3, which was a flip book; Richard Sandoval, 1978

As for Diogenes, according to tradition, during the time of Plato and Alexander the Great ‘… he wandered around Greece carrying a lantern and searching for an honest man’. As for why he did that, one theory is here.

For what it’s worth, here’s a quotable line from the article linked above:

‘Alexander found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, “I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave”.’

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Nuclear Dragons now available from Phantacea Publications

PRESS RELEASE                                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jim McPherson’s ongoing project to novelize the Phantacea comic book series continues with “Nuclear Dragons”

Nuclear Dragons Interactive PDF

VANCOUVER, BC: In 2009 Phantacea Publications released “The War of the Apocalyptics”, the opening entry in the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle. At its centre stood the same stirring saga of extraterrestrial Shining Ones and the doomed but unyielding Damnation Brigade as that related in “Phantacea Revisited 1: The Damnation Brigade”.

That 2013 graphic novel gleaned material from the pages of Phantacea 1-5 (1977-1980) as well as Phantacea Phase One (mid-1980s). Its novelization’s until then untold Outer Earth sequences introduced or re-introduced a number of fascinating protagonists; ones who appeared or would have appeared in the comic book series had it continued.

With a breathtaking cover by Ian Bateson, “Nuclear Dragons” turns the spotlight back on many of them.

Front and Back Covers for "Nuclear Dragons"; artwork by Ian Bateson, 1980/2013; text by Jim McPherson

Front and Back Covers for “Nuclear Dragons”; artwork by Ian Bateson, 1980/2013; text by Jim McPherson

Given what’s coming, though, if they’re on Centauri Island days after the launching of the Cosmic Express, will any of them last long enough to return for a third entry in the ‘Launch 1980’ story cycle?

No matter. Jim McPherson’s Phantacea Mythos is as full of incredible individuals as it is of astonishing challenges for them, and/or others, to survive.

Review copies available. For more information contact:

Phantacea Publications
74689 Kitsilano RPO, 
2768 West Broadway, 
Vancouver BC, V6K 4P4
Primary website:
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Last Week’s Rant

Jim McPherson advises that in the early ’60s the Clancy Brothers put out a song called “McPherson’s Lament”. When Chopper (Ray Cooper), the bass and cello player for Oysterband, put out a solo record a few years ago he called much the same song: “McPherson’s Rant”.

Ergo, he’s just carrying on the family tradition with this sort of thing, which began with a correspondent asking him for comments on a business card he was working for none other than Captain C:

Potential Business Card for  "Captain Cannabis", art by Verne Andru

Potential Business Card for “Captain Cannabis” sent to Jim McPherson for comment

Jim McPherson writes:

I assume they go back-to-back in standard wallet size. Captain C colours good, background brown very earthy, not sure about the shining front of panties. Recall also men have bulges down there, especially stoners looking for a date.

The shield’s good. Will tap into Josh Whelan’s Agents of SHIELD, which is hyped to be the TV hit of the season. (Haven’t seen it yet but programmed PVR to copy.)

From a writer’s perspective, the text on backside needs either an ‘and’ or a gerund to read right. Unless, that is, my English is too Twentieth Century for today’s (lack of) readers (teens, twenty and thirty-somethings, what used to be Generation Pick-A-Letter but now seem to be called Millennials in MSM (mainstream media).

Backside of potential Captain Cannabis Business Card

Backside of potential Captain Cannabis Business Card

Ordinarily ‘godlike’ or ‘godly’ are preferred to God, especially when capitalized. Never forget they’re out there. Not the aliens, the Evangelicals. And they’d like nothing better than to bring the Apocalypse crashing down upon your pagan headstone.

Gerund = “using“; the ‘and‘ between date & is. A ‘whereupon’ instead of an ‘and’ would work except, um, you know, it’s got three syllables. (Always wanted to put a warning on my books: “Millennials beware: Contains words with more than two syllables.” Then again millennials has 4 syllables.)

Maybe *“Love-obsessed stoner finds alien marijuana; gains godlike powers only to be sucked into battle from hell. Yawn! But does he get a date?”*

Here’s a recommendation from one of those Book Baby blurbs (more here & here):

“You must be able to explain your book and its main benefit in a single sentence.”

I think that’s nonsense but it is the prevailing wisdom — the elevator pitch preposterously pint-sized (‘reductio ad absurdum’). As near as I can make out no one has time to read, let alone buy a book, in the Twittering Twerp age, unless it’s the Twerking Twit age. Hell, they hardly ever buy CDs anymore.

Still, graphic novels are big – don’t need to read when you can look at pretty pictures – and movie makers love them if only because they’re self-contained storyboards.

End rant.

That said, should point out that there is an elevator pitch on the backside of many business cards and handouts produced for Phantacea Publications. Some of them are here. The same thing is here.

The message side of a business card used by Jim McPherson when out and about on behalf of Phantacea Publications

The message side of a business card used by Jim McPherson when out and about on behalf of Phantacea Publications

It reads:

The gods and goddesses, the demons and monsters, of ancient mythologies have been trivialized, their worship proscribed and the entities themselves mostly confined to another realm.

Jim McPherson’s PHANTACEA Mythos chronicles their ongoing striving for a return to paramountcy.

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DIY Publishing — Collecting Aphorisms

Quick lynx:

Where have you heard this before? Only you can answer that. Where can you hear this again? Ah, well, as to that … How about starting here?

Black and white covers of the various Phantacea comics and graphic novels

Black and white covers of the various Phantacea comics and graphic novels

(Though, just to be clear about the ear, to hear it properly you’d have to read it out loud.)
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  1. “… the publishing industry … want(s) to bet on a sure thing.”
    (here and at
  2. Re Marketing Muddle: “… maintain a daily presence on Facebook and Twitter, write a bi-weekly blog, and send out emails to (your) mailing list.” (
    Nowhere near daily, not weekly either, let alone regularly. Bad boy. As for pHant tweets, not a chance. (Coming to your neighbourhood’s main street soon: Instead of caution signs saying “Slow to 30 kph, Children Playing”, watch out for “Slow to 30 kph, Walkers tweeting”.)
    Haven’t got a newsletter but Facebook is here: and Google+ is here: Comments appreciated both places as well as throughout most of pHantaBlog.
  3. List your books for free (
    Done that. Lynx to pHant pHree Reads are here:
  4. Re Marketing Muddle again: “… finding time to market books and write (them) is the biggest challenge – there just aren’t enough hours in the day.” (here and
    To which every writer would add “Here! Here!” or “Hear in the ear!”, as the case may be. Not “Flea in the ear!”, though, as that would be really annoying.
  5. KISS: “You must be able to explain your book and its main benefit in a single sentence.” (here and Rule #1 here)
    More narcissistic nonsense as far as I’m concerned. In an age when, apparently, no one has time to listen to anyone else, in an elevator or elsewhere, one wonders if it’s even worth pitching your book.
    I mean if you can’t listen because you’re so busy, how will you ever get around to reading anything? Won’t be long before we see warning signs on busy streets: “Walkers texting. Slow to 30 kph”

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