Withnail Books

Web Name: Withnail Books

WebSite: http://www.withnailbooks.com





Withnail Books

I collect books. I've got too many of them. So now I've opened a bookshop by mistake. In Penrith.


HomeContact/Visit Withnail BooksWatching Withnail at Uncle Monty's: A Night at Crow Crag, aka Sleddale HallWithnail Books @ Bookshop.org

Saturday, 20 November 2021

A (Very) Limited Edition Doctor Who Action Figure

This is the story of a very, very limited edition Doctor Who collectable (there is only one of them) which also happens to be The Best Present In The History Of Presents.

As I have mentioned to almost no-one over the years (really, I hardly ever mention it, ever), I WAS IN DOCTOR WHO ONCE!!

Long story short, I worked for one day as an extra on David Tennant's debut adventure, 'The Christmas Invasion', and am visible in the final scene for very nearly 13 and a half seconds. That's me, top right. I wander across screen, and as I look up at the fallout from the exploded Sycorax ship, I stroke my chin thoughtfully. (This was not in the script by the way; it was all my own work.)

If you want to read a very long two-part account of my day on set, you can do soHERE, but this post is about how my amazing wife Sharon took this fleeting moment of Doctor Who fame (which I may have mentioned to her occasionally) and turned it into the Best Present Ever, for my 50th birthday earlier this year. Here it is:

Isn't that something?

As you can well imagine, I was somewhat overcome when I unwrapped this present (during a Zoom call with my far-flung family, who knew what was coming and wanted to see my expression). Sharon had managed to keep the whole thing, months in the making, totally secret from me. It was a complete and wonderful surprise.

Once Sharon had had the original idea to create a figure of the Chin-Stroking Man, she co-ordinated with a bunch of people to help bring it into existence. My family helped remember exactly what it was I was wearing that day, down to the colour of my shirt, belt and boots, and the tartan scarf — none of this is actually visible on screen of course, but they got it all dead right. My friends and fellow Whovians Mark, Johnny and Dave were on hand for creative input, including the 'backstory' for the Chin-Stroking Man/Temporal Archivist (originally created by the aforementioned Mark in a not-entirely-serious Outpost Gallifrey post just after the episode's transmission as I recall — seeing my rather relaxed pose, he posited that perhaps this mysterious chin-stroker was another Time Lord...).

Sharon made the (utterly perfect) box entirely by herself, but for the figure, after a key introduction by our mate Steve, she turned to the artist and sculptor Phill Hosking. I emailed Phill to say thank you, and he had this to say:

"I feel like I know you in a strange kind of way. Was a total pleasure to make the piece. I love working on things with meaning, and was great to see it through from idea right through to final painted model. All took a bit of working out with the clothes etc, so glad it was all accurate. Scarf was particularly interesting to paint. Really glad you liked it."

Yes Phill, I do like it. I love it! Phill also kindly shared a bunch of process shots, which I will post below. Sharon gave Phill some photo reference of me to help (as the screen grabs weren't much to go on!), and from the initial digital sculpt, through the 3D printing of the various parts, to the assembly and meticulous hand painting, it's fascinating to see it all come together.

You can find Phill on Instagram, where he posts his stunning art,both 2D and 3D, as eclecto2d andeclecto_3d

Thanks again to everyone who helped create The Best Present Ever, butespecially to Sharon. I am a very lucky chap.

DISCLAIMER: In case it is not already blindingly obvious, I should probably point out that the Chin Stroking-Man figure is a one-off piece of celebratory 'fan art', is NOT for sale (andnever will be!!!) and all copyrights, logos etc remain with their owners.

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Sunday, 31 October 2021

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Forgotten Tale of a Lovecraftian Witch Cult. A Limited Edition.

***SOLD OUT!***
She began to cry forth again."We'll burn his heart in pig's fat at the Sabbat!"...— from 'Gods of Darkness' by F. Scott Fitzgerald

LIKE MOST OF OUR PREVIOUS LIMITED EDITIONS, GODS OF DARKNESS SOLD OUT QUICKLY.Limitedcopies remain ofAt the Door of Darkness, aforgotten episode from Joseph Conrad'sHeart of Darkness, deleted from the published version, and now reconstructed from the original manuscript. Detailshere.

In the mid-1930s F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, wrote a short story set in medieval France, with a lead character, 'The Count of Darkness', based on the young Ernest Hemingway. It also featured a witch cult, drawn from a research source which greatly inspired the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Fitzgerald's agent, perhaps unsurprisingly, was somewhat nonplussed, but the story was sold for (belated) publication in a magazine. Since then, 'Gods of Darkness' has been forgotten by the reading public, and quietly ignored by Fitzgerald's estate: it has never been included in any collected edition of the author's work. Indeed to my knowledge it hasnever been reprinted anywhere... until now.
GODS OF DARKNESSBy F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald's forgotten story of a medieval witch cult, drawn from a source that also inspired H.P. Lovecraft.
The story has never been collected in any edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's works, and is reprinted here for the first time.
With an extended afterword by Adam Newell, detailing thebackground to the story, and its fascinating links to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, with relevantexcerpts from Lovecraft's writings.
A strictly limited, never-to-be-reprinted edition of 250 hand-numberedcopies for sale.
Each copy features a tipped-in frontispiece illustration, based on an original linocut by Sharon Newell.
A5 format, 40pp (over 10,000 words in total), printed on uncoated stock, including a cover printed on heavy Tinteretto Gesso paper. With a frontispiece printed on 300gsm silk stock, tipped in by hand.
Our previous limitededitions have tended to sell out, sodon'tmiss out on this one...The Slave Race, featuring Philip K. Dick's first SF tale (not in his Collected Stories),soldout in a matter of days (detailshere).Our two Lawrence of Arabia titles(see detailshereandhere), were described by the T. E.LawrenceSocietyas "a very beautiful publication" and "a valuable piece of ephemera for your collection".The Ghost of the Private Theatricals, a newly discovered tale of terror by Mary Shelley, the creator ofFrankenstein(detailshere), was featured in theTimes Literary Supplement, and also sold out quickly, with copies going to every continent except Antarctica!Limitedcopies remain of At the Door of Darkness, aforgotten episode from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, deleted from the published version, and now reconstructed from the original manuscript. Detailshere.


There are 250 hand-numbered copies, first come, first-served. There will be no reprint.

NOW SOLD OUT (in less than a fortnight...).

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Thursday, 21 January 2021

Limited to 100 Copies: A Forgotten Episode from Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Now Reconstructed from the Original Manuscript

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Sunday, 18 October 2020

Rediscovered! Philip K. Dick's first published SF story, not in his Collected Works. Limited to 250 copies.

Philip K. Dick's first published science fiction tale — not included in his Collected Short Stories

A limited edition of 250 hand-numbered copies


Each copy features a tipped-in frontispiece illustration, based on an original linocut by Sharon Newell

'The Slave Race' was Philip K. Dick's first published science fiction story. It appeared in his local newspaper in 1944, and has been largely forgotten since — it does not feature in any edition of his Collected Short Stories. Though brief, it is nevertheless an astonishing piece of work, an epic in miniature, dense with ideas and concepts to which Dick would return again and again...

This chapbook is A5 format, 12pp including a cover printed on heavy Rives Shetland paper, and interiors on uncoated paper. The frontispiece illustration is printed on a separate 300gsm silk stock postcard, and tipped in by hand.

More photos below


Many thanks to Sharon Newell for her wonderfully evocative linocut which became the basis for the frontispiece, and to Martin Stiff for his impeccable design and layout skills. A special tip of the hat to Frank T. Hollander, for his efforts in making sure that Dick's earliest published work has not been completely forgotten. This little edition stands on your shoulders, sir.

DISCLAIMER:This publication, presenting a story which is in the public domain in, and will only be sold to, the USA and other countries which follow the Rule of the Shorter Term, has not been licenced, prepared, or approved by the estate of Philip K. Dick.

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