apocalypse then

apocalypse then

apocalypse then

The Cold War is over, and with it the golden age of atomic fiction. But are we really over our fear of nuclear war?

Some thoughts on the end of days, survival narratives, and teething babies.

Three AM with a teething baby. It may not surprise you to learn that my thoughts turned to the end of world.

Making the most of the insomnia that followed, I sat up to watch Threads (1984). Imagine “Little Boy” mushrooming into Ken Loach’s Kes and you’ve got a pretty good idea of how Threads goes down. Set in Sheffield in the mid-eighties, it follows the members of two connected families before, during, and after a devastating nuclear attack. With its kitchen-sink concerns—teenage pregnancy, unemployment, working class families making ends meet in Thatcher’s Britain—the first half of Threads has the feel of a Look and Read serial, or a public information broadcast (”Do you know where your lad’s going tonight?”). There are only the vaguest hints of the looming disaster: the radio in the kitchen, the headlines in Dad’s paper, the six o’clock news on the pub telly. The breakdown of communication between the global superpowers is just background noise, to both characters and audience. It is something happening somewhere else, to someone else. Even as tensions mount and war of some kind becomes inevitable, no one can take it seriously. Mum gives Dad a bollocking for taking down the kitchen door to make a shelter. The young parents-to-be are decorating their flat, planning for the future. No one believes this war will amount to anything. It will all just blow over.

But, of course, it doesn’t.

Most apocalypse narratives are tales of survival. We get the same thrill from them as watching Bear Grylls make fire from a heap of wet seaweed or chew the beak off a renitent squid. It is the vicarious experience of competence in a hostile landscape, of escape from our increasingly inactive, monotonous, and apparently meaningless existence. Civilisation’s-end fantasies, like John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, Stephen King’s The Stand, or the seventies TV serial Survivors, offer us a world that is dead but intact. It is an empty playground for the last living beings, where the sense of omnipresent danger is as titillating as the wish-fulfilment of looting—when there is no queue at the supermarket, no sneering sales assistant in the department store, and, best of all, no limit on your wallet-full of extinct credit cards, you have retail therapy with no consequences. Our current and lasting obsession with the zombie apocalypse takes this survival fantasy and beats its brains in with weapon-porn, giving us the thrill of mass murder that is socially acceptable because its victims are already deceased. In all of these narratives, the arrival of the outside agency, be it killer virus, vegetable space invader, or legion of undead, initiates a cataclysmic change, abruptly terminating life as we know it, yet leaving room enough for the protagonists to scratch out a new, perhaps even a better, life. This offers an escapist fantasy that, although bleak, is motivated by hopeful idealism: let’s wipe away all the crap that we hate in the world—bankers, politicians, class and gender divisions, demoralising jobs, that homework due on Monday—and rebuild everything from the ground up. It’s The Good Life, with a laser-sighted compound bow.

Threads, on the other hand, is remorseless, utterly devoid of hope. It’s not just the end of civilisation, it’s the end of life. To have survived the blast is neither a mercy nor a blessing, but a sentence worse than the instant vaporisation at ground zero. You inherit a scorched, dead world: of toxic soil and poison water; of rubble cities and corpse forests, of dustbowl landscapes bristling with charred limbs; of scarcity and sickness; of degeneracy and devolution. What scraps of life persist are impossible to sustain. As in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, where the only food is tinned, preserved, or human, the world of Threads is a Boschian nightmare, in which the survivors are not heroes of agency and resilience, but skeletal phantoms with parchment skin and hollowed eyes, animals led by their stomachs through ruined cities and desolate moors, where degenerate offspring grunt in bastard pidgin and babies are stillborn from malnourishment and the invisible sickness. There are no heroes, only victims. The survivors are, themselves, the undead.

I never saw Threads when it first came out, but watching it brought back a ground wave of grim nostalgia. It wholly embodies the paranoia of the Cold War’s last days and evokes it with a realism so stark as to be almost irresponsible. Watching it thirty-odd years after the fact transported me back to that time, to the inchoate anxieties of my childhood, to the whispers of annihilation which, irrespective of their basis in reality, set the emotional tone of my life in Britain in the early eighties.

I must have absorbed these fears by osmosis, for the anxiety about human extinction was latent in me before I ever read or watched anything about it. At the age of seven or eight, I had apocalyptic dreams of flying toward the Earth from space, zooming into the atmosphere, closing on the planet’s surface, a desert crosshatched with gravestones. I remember conversations at the dinner table: Would my mother go down into the council shelter? Or come home to die with us? I thought a lot about the three-minute warning: What would it sound like? Would I hear it in time? Where was I going to hide? Books like Raymond Briggs’ When The Wind Blows or James Herbert’s Domain fleshed out my nascent anxiety, giving form to those formless terrors. By the time I reached ten I was obsessed with the imminence of nuclear destruction, I even began writing atomic vignettes, rich with gruesome detail: of flesh melting from bone; of brick-glass-metal fusing with bodies in the flash of impact; of suppurating sores and ichor-spouting eye sockets; of toothlessness, vomiting, and the leprous decay of radiation sickness. Perhaps I was too young to be reading about this stuff, but what I read only gave shape to that shapeless fear already inside of me. Before everything, this fear existed. It was like an impenetrable cloud of black smoke, or a vacuum, in which my young imagination blossomed with dead flowers and noxious vines. If anything, those tales of horror brought the fears out of the shadows and into the light of the known.

The golden era of nuclear fiction died with the eighties. There will be no other Dr Strangelove, no new Akira, no more Canticle For Leibowitz, Riddley Walker, or On The Beach. And even though the fin de siecle fizzled with our nightmares unfulfilled—Y2K, the Mayan calendar, and the predictions of Nostradamus came and went without effect on the world that persists even when we stop believing in it—we still dream of the apocalypse, long for it even (if only in fantasy). Apocalyptic fiction grants us the clean slate that the ever-increasing complexity of life on Earth consistently fails to deliver. As fantasy, it gives us a reason for life’s cruel pointlessness, pulling down the dehumanising scaffolding of the modern world to remind us what it means to be simply human. And there are no shortage of post-apocalyptic universes for us to lose ourselves in, no end to our secret longing for civilisation’s collapse. Although these days we prefer our cataclysms vague: think “The Fall” in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, or the unspecified fire in The Road. It would be frightfully passé to refer to it directly, and downright gauche for it to be atomic in origin. With the end of the Cold War and the slow cross-fade into our present age of media-friendly warfare, the unspoken nightmare of generations has become an outmoded form. Nuclear war is now a cliché.

A little ironic, that, in an age where the actual risk of nuclear attack is probably greater than during the Cold War. We live in a time when more nations have nuclear capability than ever before—more unstable, borderline-psychotic nations, looney-bin nations run by narcissist despots with low self-esteem and a fight to pick. This is also a time when global fundamentalism and the black–white polarisation of beliefs makes calm, rational debate impossible, where exponents of every position are primed to explode—like grenades with the pins pulled—ready to defend to the death their own rightness. And those calling for tolerance and understanding are labelled traitors to this or that cause, ridiculed at best, fire-bombed at worst. It is a time, argues Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, where humanity has to decide: work together to confront the existential risks of runaway technologies, fundamentalist violence, and destruction of the biosphere (or a terminal shit-storm of all three); or succumb, and witness the extinction of humankind within the next 85 years. The paranoid simplicity of the Cold War days would be a relief by comparison.

What new landscapes of fear, I wonder, will our children inherit? A mouthful of emergent molars might seem, now, like the end of the world, but it’s got nothing on what’s around the corner.

a case for books

a case for books

a case for books

Are words enough?

Or do books themselves contribute to our experience, enjoyment and ability to remember once they’re back on the shelf?

Our bookcases are just too small. Or too few. Or something. They’re already over-stacked, yet seem daily to accrete new piles to further obscure the books behind. Every square inch of available space is stuffed so tight with paperbacks and hardbacks all shapes and sizes, you can hardly hook a finger in to pull one out. It’s time for a cabinet reshuffle. Taking the books down and reordering them to make space can be an emotional procedure, in which we rediscover old friends, dead loves, forgotten adventures; the peculiar personal history that otherwise lays dormant on our shelves.

I never feel more at home than amongst books. Like a dragon on a pile of gold, I can’t get enough and I don’t want to let go of my treasures. The musty quiet of second-hand bookshops attracts me like a pheromone, or a silent siren song that lures me in no matter what else I am supposed to be doing. I’m an addict of the zen-like stillness that descends, not knowing what I’m looking for until I stumble across it, and the childlike delight of stepping out with an unexpected find wrapped in a paper bag. I love to scan the bookshelves of friends and strangers, nosing through the titles as though it were an inventory of their inner world. And I am never quite able to trust someone who’s home has no books whatsoever.

I grew up around books, surrounded by books. My parents’ living room was dominated by great towering shelves that stretched all the way to the ceiling, on which books of every imaginable subject huddled. There were books of art, ancient history, and comparative religion. Natural science books, mythology books, and my father’s arcane chemistry books. There were great, thick dictionaries, and encyclopaedias spanning many volumes, some so ancient that their absent spines revealed bindings decaying like the skin of a mummy. The dining room, the landing and, eventually, even the stairs, were stacked to collapsing with fiction. Back-pocket paperbacks of Fleming, Christie, Sayers, Marsh, Dick, Wyndham, Heinlein, Pohl, Vonnegut, Updike, Irving, Roth, and on and on and on. With their weathered spines, browning pages and intense, evocative covers, they enraptured my childhood imagination—even before I could read—alluding to worlds of danger, mystery, and incomprehensible wonder. And, of course, the smell: part dust, part ageing paper, part unknowable residue from the many palms against which those spines had nestled, the many forefingers by which those pages had been turned.

There is something magical in a shelf stacked with books you have read, books you have yet to read. It is an intersection of the abstract and the physical, the internal and external, where pockets of memory and meaning are stitched, glued, and bound together, kept in store for us to reconnect with whenever we pick them up. On those shelves sit valuable pieces of our inner life, the words and stories that over time have come to shape—even define—who we are, or, at least, how we think of ourselves. They are nestled up against promises of future inspiration, future fulfilment: all the words and stories we are yet to read, but which call to us every time we see their spines on the shelf. They are both universal and uniquely personal: singular gifts that generations of writers have entrusted to all those prepared to read their words, to turn their pages, gifts that become ours as soon as we have read them. Once read they are a part of us, influencing or affirming the person we will become, interpreted through the lens of the person we are (or were) at the time.

There is a photograph of Samuel R Delany at work in his office that depicts this book-centric aesthetic. It’s taken from a position somewhere near the ceiling with a fish eye lens, and shows him seated behind his ancient word processor. Beside him a small window, behind him a door—the only clear spaces in a room otherwise completely dominated by books. Shelves cover every other available surface, stretching from floor to ceiling, from wall to wall, each one packed to bursting with books. These shelves, and Delany himself, are further contained, held back by piles and piles and piles of freestanding books, towers of paperbacks made precarious by the convex distortion of the lens through which we view them. This picture seems to me like a freeze-frame from a longer, dynamic sequence; were we to resume playback, we would see the walls, the door, the window obscured, the dwindling space filled, and Delany, with barely space to move his fingers across the keyboard, walled in like the unwitting antagonist in Poe’s Cask of Amontillado. Yet in the picture he is grinning, arms wide, glad to be an axis between the books read, the books written and the book he is, we suppose, in that moment writing. The work becomes an extension of the books, the books an extension of the work, the read and the written an inseparable whole that includes the yet-to-be-read, the yet-to-be-written.

“So what?” says a voice (perhaps it is yours). “The book is just an object. It’s what’s inside that counts.”

Well, that may be true for you, Voice (whoever you belong to), but, for me, the book, the words, the story, and the experience of reading, are inseparable. Like the supposed duality of mind and body, they only appear to be disparate systems; in reality they are so entwined as to be indistinguishable. Perhaps this is why, whenever I read book-less words, electronic words, I find I have no capacity to retain them, no motivation to complete them. My eyes are engaged, and some aching portion of my frontal lobes, but it is like the buzzing of a mosquito, lacking the rich, deep tones that come from the other senses. The sampled sound and the supposed-to-be-reassuring animation of a page turning ring false: my body knows it is being deceived. And, worst of all, when the eBook is finished, it shrinks back to a mere string of words among others in a list, or a thumbnail among thumbnails on a virtual bookshelf. Whatever I have read disappears with it.

When it comes to books, I think like a primitive, like some pre-human animist who believes that the god is alive within the object itself. All I need to do is see the spine, touch the cover, inhale that smell, and the spirit of the book is reawakened inside me, a bubble of colour that tumbles upward from the darkness to burst into consciousness. Just knowing they are there all around me—these pockets of condensed meaning—makes me feel connected to some sense of self greater than I can hold in memory at one time; connected to every author, to every character or event, to every reader who, holding the book in their own hands, lives the same dream through the eye of their mind; connected to all those former selves, who, on the path to becoming the person writing these words, read all those books along the way.

I wouldn’t trade that for all the shelf space in the Library of Babel.

WiHM7 review #3: The Road by Amanda J. Spedding

WiHM7 review #3: The Road by Amanda J. Spedding

WiHM7 review #3: The Road by Amanda J. Spedding

I thought I was getting off lightly this week.

When The Road To Golgotha, Cohesion Comics’ first double A-side release, turned up on my doorstep I figured it would be a breeze. There’s less to read. There’s pictures. Easy.


Amanda J. Spedding’s tale The Road is simple only deceptively. On the surface, it tells of a woman’s descent from the earthly realm to the dark centre of the Underworld, to a union with the devil himself. Beneath that, however, is a quest for identity, an inverted hero’s journey, in which the protagonist must endure ritual trials, overcoming demonic manifestations of her deepest fears in order to reach her full, most frightening potential.

Riley’s story begins at the train station of a reimagined Erebus, gateway to the modern Underworld. She is in search of magic, real magic, like the kind she used to read about as a kid. She is fleeing her mother, her country upbringing (the mythological significance of both becoming apparent at the story’s climax), and is prepared to endure anything to find that hidden power, to claim it for herself.

The true beginning of her story is lost, both for the reader and for Riley, left behind in that other world on the surface. We are left to imagine what kind of rite or initiation would be required for passage on the Midnight Train—although, given the destination, we can assume it to have been somewhat final. But there is to be no nostalgia, no looking back.

At Erebus she is challenged by a series of increasingly otherworldly beings (who may or may not be manifestations of Charon, Cerberus, Lethe and others), whose relation to the recognisable, modern world becomes more and more tenuous as Riley descends. With each encounter, Riley’s responses become more proactive, more violent, as she is transformed from cautious neophyte to bloodthirsty antihero.

By the end of her journey, she has shed not only all of her clothes, but all of her worldly inhibitions. Killing becomes for her an art, in which she sees the beauty of dismembered limbs, the poetry of jutting bone, the wonder of gushing blood. It is through unrestrained violence that Riley gains agency, is finally liberated. In choosing a new, magical name, Riley is reunited with her uncle–husband, the god of the Underworld, becoming her own forgotten god-self.

Like Spedding’s award-winning Shovel-Man Joe, or the more recent The Whims of My Enemy, The Road is a story of transformation, a journey from the strictures imposed by personal history and society to the liberation of the deepest, darkest potential of the self.

In Shovel-Man Joe, it is Carmody’s status as fallen woman that singles her out for the scorn of her fellow passengers, yet also marks her for survival, making possible her decisive final gambit. The Whims of My Enemy tells of a different kind of fall, as Jael struggles to hold in check her inner beast, to survive a journey on the brutal Death Train without committing murder. The Road, by comparison, is a Crowleyan initiation rite, in which the debasement of conventional morality is a worthy aim and a vital step on the path to the Will (to appropriate Crowley’s own terminology) and the highest level of magical attainment: the realisation of our own dark divinity.

These are stories of women making choices that readers of a more conventional, conservative bent may baulk at, choices that empower through sexuality, through violence and dark magic. They are tough stories, with tough characters who punch and smash and gouge their way through living nightmares without flinching, without turning away. They are emotionally and morally complex stories, sleight-of-hand stories that distract us with vivid depictions of brutality and gore, while nurturing seeds of true horror in the dark hearts and opaque decisions of the protagonists.

You can connect with AJ at her website or on Twitter @AJSpedding. Even better, you can buy The Road to Golgotha (which includes His Own Personal Golgotha by G. N. Braun and artwork by Monty Borror) from Cohesion Press.


WiHM7 review #2: The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall by Kaaron Warren

WiHM7 review #2: The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall by Kaaron Warren

WiHM7 review #2: The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall by Kaaron Warren

Kaaron Warren’s 2015 collection, The Gate Theory, is a slim volume. I’m glad. Since I first read its six stories late last year, the images and feelings they evoked have clung to me like a persistent dream. Or a haunting. Any more would have been too much.

To confess: I avoided reading The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall for a long time after first picking up the book, almost entirely due to its kooky, hooky title (which, of course, makes perfect sense once you finish the story). As is so often the case with things we avoid, it is now hands-down my favourite story in the collection, embodying so many of the things I love about Warren’s writing: the spare, vivid prose; the descent from a dark everyday to an even darker fantastic; and, above all, the skewed perspective of a narrator who is, at best, amoral, contaminating the reader with their toxic point of view.

Gaze Dogs is the story of Rosie McDonald, a morally destitute rare dog dealer, who takes a commission to find and capture vampire dogs for a corrupt doctor. She goes with her sister-in-law, Gina, animal psychologist and psychic, to the island of Viti Levu in Fiji, where they discover that the vampire dogs and their giant yellow alpha can be found at the lowest, darkest point of an interconnected series of waterfalls.

The descent through the nine waterfalls is like a journey into hell. From the brightness and gaiety of the tourist picnic spot at the first, past ponds where the fish are precooked by volcanic currents, past giant toxic mushrooms and pools bloated with the roe of a submerged leviathan, lower and lower, to the realm of the bloodsucking vampire dogs and their mythic, demonic leader.

In spite of all the horrors and grotesqueries that we witness—from the hawkers selling beetle carapaces the size of turtle shells (that made me think of the black meat of the giant centipede in Naked Lunch), to the dreadful confrontation with the great yellow alpha—the darkest corner of this tale lurks within Rosie herself.

Rosie is not afraid to lie. She pretends that her husband is the boss and she just his gofer, a self-serving deception that both comforts her male clientele and divorces her from any sense of responsibility. In reality, her husband is a paraplegic in a care home, victim of a savage biting attack by one of their dogs. You get the impression that all of Rosie’s perceptions are warped by denial. At one point, describing her husband’s condition, she says, ”Bobble head, I’d call him if I were a cruel person.” A sentence that perfectly captures her desire to both do the thing she knows to be bad and distance herself from it at the same time.

Throughout, Gina acts as a sort of external conscience for Rosie. She feels deeply the pain of all the animals they encounter, is physically and psychically oppressed by her empathy. But this strength of Gina’s, which Rosie has clearly used to great advantage throughout her career, will prove to be her undoing in their encounter with the alpha at Nine Waterfall.

How Rosie responds to Gina’s predicament is, to me at least, the central horror of this story. You can assume a certain level of moral bankruptcy in someone in this line of work, but her detachment from what she does is almost sociopathic. Almost. While she is not afraid to lie, cheat or deceive, you can’t help feel that Rosie’s not all bad; there is a sense of slippage, of veering off the path one bad decision at a time. At the story’s beginning there is still some hope that Rosie may be able to redeem herself in some way, to cleave to some remaining fragment of inherent goodness. “You’re not so tough,” says Gina, as Rosie stuffs wide-eyed gaze dogs into her jacket. But when we find out what they are really for, all hope of redemption is lost. And Rosie has still further to fall before the story’s end.

One review quoted on the back of the collection describes Warren’s prose as “elliptical”. I wonder how long they searched to find that wonderfully specific word. It is the perfect adjective for prose that is both precise and ambiguous, concise and amorphous. We are led by measured steps along a clearly defined path, feeling all the while that we are in safe hands. Yet, outside the range of our narrow lens, all is in shadow. And, in the shadows, dreadful things are lurking.

Gaze Dogs, like the other stories in this fine collection, captures the elusive quality of a dream: the strong, darkly surreal images, but also the resonant feeling. So often—in stories, as in dreams—the feeling dies away and only the image remains, a husk that has lost reference to its once-valuable contents. The power of Warren’s stories is to hold onto both simultaneously, giving us the image–feeling complex in all its potency, and nightmares all the more frightening for being only half glimpsed.

You can connect with Kaaron at her website  or on Twitter @KaaronWarren. Or, even better, you can go ahead and buy The Gate Theory from Cohesion Press.

WiHM7 review #1: Fence Lines by Joanne Anderton

WiHM7 review #1: Fence Lines by Joanne Anderton

WiHM7 review #1: Fence Lines by Joanne Anderton

It was hard to choose which story to review from Joanne Anderton’s award-winning collection, The Bone Chime Song. So many, gnarled, unusual tales, so many weird, memorable worlds, each rendered in spare, vivid prose. Fence Lines drew short straw for being one of the most recent stories in the collection and one I hadn’t yet read.

The story is set in an unnamed post-apocalyptic world, in which the mysterious fence lines of the title are all that stand between sanctuary and the horrors outside, the flames and toxic ash, the deathless ghouls among the fires. From this scorched backdrop, Anne, her young son Tom, and her wheelchair-bound father-in-law, emerge seeking refuge within a desolate sugar plantation, maintained by Kara and her dying mother.

Kara grants them safety behind the fence lines, if they are willing to work for it. The plantation is coming to the end of a “cycle”, and the harvest and gruelling refinement of the sugar is too much for just one person. From the beginning, there is tension and distrust between the two women, neither willing to let down their guard, and the new arrivals, conditioned by fear—having survived for years in the burning world—are reluctant to believe in the possibility of safety, afraid to sleep with both eyes closed.

Soon, though, Anne and Tom are gaining strength—the hard work, the sleep, and the mysterious properties of the sugar are bringing them back to life. But as the cycle comes to its close Kara begins to change, and the true nature of the plantation and the fence lines that protect it is revealed. The cost of safety will be high for Anne and her family, but what they receive in exchange will last longer than their bodies.

Anderton paints the world of Fence Lines with deft strokes, leaving just enough to the imagination to bring both the mysteries of the plantation and the horrors of the world outside to vivid life. The apocalypse and its perpetuation—the flames that never stop burning, the foul ash that infects all it touches—are only ever alluded to, yet the sense of relief we feel behind the ghostly fence lines is palpable. Although the plantation produces only a single crop, it is a world still *alive*. And though the work is blistering, back-breaking, harsh in the extreme (you could write a whole essay on Fence Line’s inversion of the horrors of colonial sugar plantations), it is a holiday compared with the moment-to-moment fight for survival in the world beyond.

The story’s central mystery is unveiled with precision, like the mist that slowly clears to reveal the fate of Tom’s grandfather. Although, by increments, we discover the truth of the fence lines, they are never described visually by either protagonist, leaving them mysterious and other-worldly even after the story’s close. Similarly, the grotesque transformation of Kara’s mother and of the intimate connection the two women share with the plantation’s crop—the true meaning of the “cycle”—is present from the very beginning of the story, yet comes into focus only in the final scenes. When at last we get the big reveal, it is delivered not as a twist but as an inevitability.

At the heart of Fence Lines is a story of transformation and rebirth. The sugar is a heretical communion, the literal body of an eternal woman who is both the mother of herself and her own daughter, all one in the sprouting cane. The refugees are nourished by her, they are sustained, long enough to perpetuate the cycle before they too are drawn to join the fence lines. The world outside is an embodiment of hell: the flames never die, and neither do the creatures within them, those once-humans, irreversibly transformed by the ash and smoke. By comparison, the plantation is a kind of heaven, a physical gateway to a happier afterlife, in which those who enter—who the fence lines, motivated by their own hunger, allow to enter—are granted an eternity in the service of the cane goddess.

But Fence Lines is not some trite religious metaphor. It condenses and distills themes that run through the other stories in Anderton’s collection. That transcendence is bound to the body and its transformation: the cane bursting from within the dying mother and sprouting beneath Kara’s skin parallels Mah Song, with its Akira-like tech-gods and the painful bodily modifications of its chosen ones; there are reflections, too, in the life-giving properties of art in Sanaa’s Army, or the covert self-mutilations of the narrator in Always A Price. That magic and sacrifice are intertwined, inseparable: like Casimir’s buried atrocities in The Bone Chime Song, the creature in the alley in Always A Price, the very literal sacrifice of the Mah Song.

Reading this collection you can’t help but feel that, while the world may be filled with horror and darkness, and though events will likely not work out the way we want them too, there is a core of goodness at the heart of things.

You can visit Joanne at joanneanderton.com. Or, even better, buy The Bone Chime Song direct from the Fablecroft shop.