Hjalmar Wåhlin – Digital Artist

I met this amazing young artist at Swecon, the national Sci Fi convention in Sweden, earlier this year. He produces the most amazing Science Fiction inspired artwork of landscapes and worlds in space.

Pink Elephant by Hjalmar Wåhlin

My particular favourite, of a man looking out of a huge window in space at an incredible vista of stars and nebulae took my breath away because it was such a powerful echo of Lord Stiletto’s library in my own stories. Spooky.

Supergirl by Hjalmar Wåhlin

With a background in commercial retouching, Hjalmar describes himself as a freelance illustrator and digital artist who loves to create.

Observatorium by Hjalmar Wåhlin

I follow a lot of amazing art work on Twitter. Hjalmar’s work is as good as anything done by the greats of Sci Fi and fantasy art. Majestic, imaginative, beautiful, the works speak for themselves. Check out more of his work at his website by clinking on the link, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out Hjalmar’s website   www.hjalmarwahlin.com

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017

The Assassination

Henrik, a nice young man at heart, had been told to up the ante. The order to assassinate Lord Stiletto had come directly from The Rabbit and had put Henrik under a great deal of stress and confusion.

He wasn’t a killer, he knew that in his heart, and basically, he had quite liked Gregory and Stiletto when he had met them in the now vapourised Sweden, that vanished reality of his planet Earth. He realised that he owed his life to The Rabbit, but knew deep inside that he wasn’t a murderer.

Lord Stiletto had been out driving in the Oxfordshire countryside in his favourite Bugatti. It was an original car from 1939, one he had picked up from the Milan home of Ettore Bugatti himself, just as the Second World War was kicking off. He had driven it down to Sicily where he had shipped it over to Malta, and there stored it in a cave on the small adjacent island of Gozo.

Now he was racing along the road to Lechlade, wind buffeting his bowler, goggles firmly in place.

Henrik had gone for an indirect method of murder. His choice, spiked metal sheets nailed into the tarmac surface of the Lechlade road. Almost immediately behind the caltrops he had parked a traction engine, recently stolen from the neighbouring village’s steam fair. He felt a nascent thrill in perverting Stiletto’s love of the arcane and ancient.

Stiletto came around the corner in third gear doing eighty-five miles per hour, and saw the traction engine stationary in his path. Taking his foot off the gas that powered the super turbocharged engine, he slammed it on the brake, and the Bugatti skidded sideways down the narrow Cotswold roadway. When he hit the caltrops, the tyres exploded on the sharp metal spikes, and as it left the ground, the beautiful old car began to roll, and accelerated towards the waiting engine.

Henrik had been having second thoughts about his murderous course. Several days before the date with Stiletto, he had taken the opportunity to send a message to Gregory. Stiletto took some persuading to sacrifice his beautiful sports car, but with Haydrift Eaglebeard as a passenger, and some nifty hand jive, at the moment of impact, the two friends were travelling through an alternate dimension. The classic sports car, almost a national treasure, exploded in a ball of fire as it slammed into the huge steel roller in front of the traction engine, which had been artfully placed in the Bugatti’s path.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Tram

Eight Earth weeks earlier…

The image was burnt onto Gregory’s retinas. The pink manic eyes of The Rabbit in the window of the Belgian tram.

Stiletto had taken a wrong turn, in more than one sense of the word. Now his old Bugatti was screaming in reverse between medieval buildings as the looming city tram pursuing them gained on the startled friends.

The day had begun much better. They had been in Ghent, to attend the Science Fiction Convention. Gregory, Stiletto and Lady Bane had arrived in good time and made their presence in the great hall. Comic artist legend, Ian Gibson, a well-respected Master of the genre, and well represented in Lord Stiletto’s fabled library, was unexpectedly at the adjacent table. Stiletto was delighted to meet this unsuspecting mentor, and was fortunate to spend time talking to him and learning from the old Master. Was this why he miscalculated the shenanigans of The Rabbit? Like an avalanche that starts with a single pebble, the origin of Karma is often lost in the mists of events.

Rubber tyres burned and howled as Stiletto accelerated the car in reverse, horn blaring to clear the Saturday evening crowds. Once over a small bridge he applied his handbrake, and the car squealed in a tight arc almost about its own axis and shot backwards in a straight line down a narrow side street.

Stuck on its tracks, the tram hammered past. “It was the Girl with the Red Hair,” commented Lady Bane. A part of Gregory’s mind had noticed her, driving the tram at the fleeing car, but most of his horizon had been filled with the piercing pink eyes of The Rabbit.

Gregory was reasonably sure that vampires didn’t exist, at least in the daytime, so he was quite surprised to meet a Steampunk one. Back at the convention, he and Sarah were manning the table whilst Stiletto was off wandering the halls. A beautiful lady in full role play, had been talking to Gregory and had his full attention. It was the teeth he found so fascinating, they looked completely genuine. She claimed she had paid thousands for the dental work.

Lady Bane had seen some sights in her life. Stiletto coming through the door in his shirt sleeves and waistcoat, but still wearing his bowler hat and goggles, threw the broken, bloody chair leg into the waste paper basket.

“Goddamn vampires,” he spoke calmly as he took his empty pipe from his pocket and nonchalantly put it between his teeth.

“What, not the one talking to Gregory?” she asked in amusement.

“The very same. The genuine article. He actually invited her in, to his room.” He chuckled, taking his pipe out to speak more clearly, “Besotted, quite besotted!”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Pain

In the end it was all down to the slime. The slime extracted from the gall bladder of a very angry space cucumber. This special ingredient was used in the creation of a neural thread that allowed the user to explore the secret pathways of the universe.

Gregory had been metaphorically bashing his head against the walls of reason, trying to come up with a plan to rescue Aiasdotter, when all along what was required was the ability to slip under the surface.

Lady Sarah looked like she had gone several rounds with a Megafraken pit fighter, and that was before Stiletto’s technicians changed her face. It was she who had volunteered to use the slime to penetrate the dark planet of The Hrym.

Like a corrupted Japanese Daimyo listening to the screams of a boiling Dutch cabin boy, The Hrym was carried away by the music coming from Aiasdotter’s cell. He didn’t have to actually be present, because tuned into every nuance of the minutiae of his planet, he was aware of everything.

The Hrym was a connoisseur, and just as the conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra could hear the minutest change in the tone of his lead violinist’s E string, so too, The Hrym felt the minutest of fluctuations in the terror and pain experienced by his erstwhile brilliant and efficient private secretary.

Connected to his neural network, The Hrym linked straight to the cell where Aiasdotter was being kept and tortured.

In the Hrym’s future world the dimensional reality of neural communication and entertainment had come a long way from the 3D cinema and TV back at the beginning of twenty-first Century Earth. It was as if The Hrym was in the cell, and had brought his presence with him.

Sat there in the chair was Aiasdotter, and yet The Hrym knew it was not her. Like the skin of a deep ocean octopus, his supermarket suit and shiny shoes changed from pale blue to a raging crimson colour, as the sensitivity of the neural net picked up the subtle shift that his physical presence would never reveal.

The colour change was a step too far. Haydrift Eaglebeard who had been stood silently in the corner, momentarily lost control. Using an ancient Tibetan meditation technique, he had been holding himself in a stasis of No Thing whilst the switch between Aiasdotter and Lady Sarah had taken place.

Seven and a half seconds were required, and to Sarah strapped to the plastic chair, it seemed like an infinite moment of torment.

Suddenly The Hrym was standing before her, face almost catatonic in its banality, yet his whole presence burning red like Lucifer on a bad day.

And then, that kindly face appeared from the corner and with a few waves of his hand, Sarah’s pain was gone.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018

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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Spectacles

The friends had gathered for a dinner at Gregory’s private dining room at the Savoy. Gregory mused that they could be forgiven for being mistaken for a private dining club rather than a close-knit band of cosmic adventurers.

Lord Stiletto had particularly enjoyed the quail although he had had some issues with eating them. But what was the difference between them and organic poultry, or estate shot pheasant? Just that quail are cute. Not a thought he would have been too happy sharing with the table. It was good that the seven were all together again. A magical number, although in truth and in secret they were nine. He was just settling down to some goats’ cheese when they were disturbed by a knock on the door, and the Maître d’, profusely apologising for the interruption, supervised the wheeling in of a large widescreen TV. He placed a remote control, and a small engraved wooden box in front of Gregory, bowed and left the room, silently closing the large double doors behind him.

“What the devil,” growled Eaglebeard.

“I thought there were no interruptions,” commented Magnus.

“Is it a surprise?” asked Lady Sarah.

“Sorry,’’ replied a disturbed Gregory, “I’m as much in the dark as you are.”

“Then you had better press Play,” said ‘Schripp, his empty sockets holding them all where his useless eyes had been removed, and skin transplanted from his buttocks had been grafted over to cover them.

Gregory picked up the remote control and meeting the eyes of his friends, carefully pressed Play.

Sat in a simple grey plastic chair, terror etched into the lines around her eyes, was the limp and haggard form of Aiasdotter.

Held loosely in her bruised, bleeding hands was a small wax sealed package.

“I think you had better open the box,” said Stiletto calmly.

“It might be a trap,” purred the Lady Susanna.

“I don’t think so,” replied Gregory, and releasing the catch of the beautifully crafted box, he took out a pair of round, golden ladies’ spectacles.

“What’s the engraving on the box,” asked Eaglebeard.

“Oh, only a Rabbit.”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Personal Assistant

The Rabbit wasn’t the only one who had been recruiting at the Steampunk Festival at Gavle, Sweden.

Aiasdotter was the best PA The Hrym had ever had. Efficient, organized, brilliant, she kept his cosmic empire ticking like clockwork. Working for such a totally evil being had caused her to make some psychological adjustments, and some nights she woke up screaming from the vacant banality of it all, but Aiasdotter knew she was a crucial element of the friend’s campaign against The Rabbit.

All hell had broken loose. The Hrym was not happy. It was impossible to tell from his face, which showed no sign of personality or emotion, but his instant annihilation of all the barmaids in every part of the city, along with their friends and families, was a sure indication that yesterday’s events had got under his skin.

Confident from the moment of their landing outside his city, he had played with the bastard retards like wasps in a jam-jar. He was incandescent when they escaped. Over and over, he replayed the vid of the tall one losing his eyes, but his satisfaction was spoiled by the calm and determined way the tall man then carried on, as if he had his face destroyed on a daily basis. And, how was it possible for him to fight so well?

Aiasdotter placed the cup of tepid water on The Hrym’s desk, and returned to her duties. It was hard to maintain her own sense of calm when she saw the events of the battle and escape played over and over again.

And then she saw it. Computers had long ago left the realm of hardware. The software was now tied into the neural processing power of the user’s brain, although in big business, or in the employ of cosmic psychopaths, it was heavily encrypted. Still, being such a trusted part of The Hrym’s network, she had very high clearance access, and accessing security updates, she had just learnt the whereabouts of the Package. Hard to imagine it was still intact.

She had no chance of getting a message to Gregory, so she would have to act. Leaving her desk, she said something banal to The Hrym, and headed down to the storage facility.

The Hrym was disappointed. Aiasdotter was a fantastic asset, even if she was leaking information to the Retards.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018
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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Bank Job

Lord Stiletto strode through the lobby of the Union City Bank in his shirt sleeves, bowler hat and goggles, and one of his most garish purple check waistcoats. Unusually, the pipe clenched between his teeth was emitting a rather yellow plume of smoke.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” an anxious young lady bank employee said to him. “You can’t smoke he…” but before she could finish the sentence she was dropping where she stood. Stiletto caught her, breaking her fall, and laid her carefully on the marble floor.

Others were not so lucky, and clerks and security guards alike were hitting the floor left, right, and centre.

Once the coast was clear, into the lobby sauntered Haydrift Eaglebeard, although one could only identify him from his flowing beard and ponytail, as his face was covered, by what looked to Stiletto, a world war one gas mask.

The electronic security of the bank with its cameras, both overt and hidden, and the latest twenty-first century technology, was no match for Stiletto’s future technicians, and had been disabled seconds before he came through the lobby door.

Still the safe complex had some good old-fashioned iron doors with top grade tumbler locks, although these would be no defence against his accomplice with his dimension breaching hand.

Sitting outside a bank in a vintage Bentley with the engine running might be a bit of a giveaway, so Gregory and Sarah were parked in the underground garage. With Stiletto’s nerve agent, this time a mild version, and his neutralisation of the security system, they weren’t expecting any problems with their escape. But somebody hadn’t taken into account the tenacity of The Rabbit.

The Rabbit was sitting in the shadows, whiskers twitching, watching the occupants of the old turbocharged Bentley. With a twitch of his ears he gave the signal for the counter-offensive.

Lord Stiletto and Haydrift Eaglebeard knew exactly which vault contained the package, but when they slipped through reality into the vault, the window in the space time continuum closed behind them with a pop. The vault wasn’t empty though. It contained a grizzly bear.

Had The Rabbit borrowed the grizzly bear from London Zoo, it might have been a little easier to manage, but this one had been taken from the Alaskan wastes, and it was seriously hungry and pissed off. Its roar in the confined space was deafening. Its mistake, however, was standing up on its hind legs to offer its challenge.

With lightning speed, though an almost casual air, Eaglebeard reached through its chest and crushed its pounding heart. Unfortunately, fourteen hundred pounds of dead bear toppled forward, crushing and trapping him against the vault floor.

Sarah’s gun of some sort had been built in the future by Lord Stiletto’s technicians. Having access to the books in his library inspired a vast array of potential effects. One of their favourites was the Medusa ray, which like her fabled glare, turned the living to stone. At the moment though, it was creating explosions, which was useful because it had an approximation factor built in, and even if you missed the target all together, it could still be taken out by the environment, in this case shrapnel from the architecture, and motor vehicles in the underground car park.

Haydrift Eaglebeard came from an ancient and warrior-like race, and he was made of strong stuff. Still he was pinned to the floor, and had concussion, and the benefit of several broken ribs, one of which was causing some internal bleeding. Left to his own devices he would not have been able to extricate himself from under the dead weight of the bear, even with his new and special hand which was trapped beneath him. Fortunately, his accomplice was Lord Stiletto.

Strong as Stiletto was, he couldn’t shift a fourteen hundred pound carcass, but he had one of those iridium blades, said to be able to cut the fabric of the universe, although not in the way of Eaglebeard’s hand, and he was able to joint the bear into manageable lumps. Fifteen minutes later a very broken and bloody Haydrift Eaglebeard sat on the floor, wondering with his friend, how the bloody hell they were going to get out of this one.

Being a serendipitous lot, where the thought of a friend often found that friend walking around the corner, or at the least, calling on the phone, at that moment the door of the vault momentarily hummed, then vanished, and silhouetted on its other side was Sarah, aka Lady Bane, holding a gun of some sort.

Back at the Savoy, clean and spruced up, with Eaglebeard’s ribs healing below the bandages, the four friends, Gregory, Stiletto, Eaglebeard and Sarah, were joined for dinner in Gregory’s private dining room, by Duke Magnus and Lady Susanna. Over dessert Magnus was amusingly recounting how the porters had discovered Henrik unconscious under his newspaper, and unable to awaken him, sent him off to Great Ormond Street Hospital in an ambulance, siren blaring, blue light flashing.

Copyright by Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018
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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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Slime and Motion

Where was Stiletto?

Stockholm, as it happened, so no help from that quarter. Gregory was at the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank of the Thames in London, waiting for Eaglebeard who had been delayed. Why he would want to be stuck in traffic rather than use his hand was baffling.

The Snowdon exhibition hadn’t disappointed. Amazing photographs and better yet, no sign of The Rabbit.

Sunday. Breakfast and Campari weren’t the usual mix, but Gregory had travelled down to Brixton to have breakfast at the new café bar, Parissi. Everybody said Brixton was the new happening place in London, safer now with gentrification, and definitely no trouble.

The girl, sat on the stool with her back to the bar, facing Gregory, didn’t look quite right. Her face was odd, and Gregory couldn’t quite put his finger on it. It was rude to stare. She was pretty with a nice frock, but pretty strange at the same time. Then a lump about the size of a marble appeared in her cheek, and slowly drifted down, under her mouth, and up the other side, disappearing near her left ear. Gregory was both fascinated and seriously alarmed, and forgot that it was rude to stare.

Suddenly her skin peeled back as the girl’s face exploded into a miasma of tentacular activity, like a worms-nest on acid. No features to speak of, just slime and motion.

So, no trouble then.

Like the eye of a hurricane, the rest of the girl was normal, except for the large and weird looking gun that she slowly removed from her tiny handbag.

Spyros, the proprietor, who had been making a customer’s latte behind the counter, calmly leant over and threw the freshly made coffee into the heaving mass of motion. The nightmare creature emitted a blood curdling scream of agony, as the tentacles thrashed blindly, only to be cut short by the razor edge of Gregory’s sword, drawn like fluid poetry from the folds of his stylish Abercrombie overcoat, parting the writhing mass from the attractive body below.

Handing Gregory a napkin to wipe the slime from his antique blade, Spyros placed the cup in the sink, and with a smile, dryly commented, “Goddamn aliens!”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018

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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Savoy

“The square root of nothing is fuck all!”

Gregory spun around. He had heard that raucous tone before. Henrik.

The young man stood behind Gregory, a big smile beaming broadly on his friendly face, but Gregory knew Henrik was an agent of The Rabbit.

Pretending bonhomie, he engaged the charming young Swede in conversation, wondering as always, where the devil had Stiletto got to?

Lord Stiletto was sat with his pipe in a comfortable arm chair in the lounge at the Savoy, watching with wry amusement their conversation going on at the bar. He had no concern for his friend, but he was still troubled by the unanswered question, “Who was it that had knifed Gregory at the Fitzwilliam, and removed the package from his waistcoat pocket?” Surely not Henrik!

“And what brings you to London?” Gregory was politely enquiring.

“Oh, just here to catch a show,” the young man said, beaming. “Wicked is still playing, and I’m hoping to catch the Matisse exhibition at Tate Modern before it finishes.”

Gregory had finally caught sight of his friend across the lounge, and steered young Henrik into a rather smart looking armchair next to him.

“How’s the girl?” asked Stiletto evenly of Henrik.

“Well she had a hell of a headache and was out of action for a few days, but she’s around,” replied the debonair dandy.

Stiletto was always surprised, even here at the Savoy, at the curious and sometimes mocking glances their Victorian dress instigated. Still, he leant across to brush some fluff from his own trouser crease, then forward a fraction more to do likewise to young Henrik. The needle on his finger was so fine Henrik didn’t even feel it, but within seconds the Swede was unconscious. With a broadsheet to cover his recumbent form, he looked like an old gent who had dozed off whilst reading the paper. The two friends made their exit.

Waiting outside at the wheel of a vintage Bentley was Haydrift Eaglebeard. No sooner had Gregory and Stiletto settled in the rear seats than Eaglebeard shot the car out into the Strand, horn blaring, as he wove between the early afternoon traffic. Lady Bane as usual was riding shotgun, restored to her normal silk and bustled self, but with a rather strange metallic contraption cradled in her arms that most peoples, wherever they might be in the universe, would recognise as a gun of some sort.

“What’s that?” enquired Gregory.

“It’s a gun of some sort,” Sarah replied with a smile.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2014 2018
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To buy Revenge Of The Hrym visit my Book Page
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The Hobbit – Battle of the Five Armies – Film Review

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Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

Tonight I watched the final film of The Hobbit.

Absolutely fantastic.

I would imagine like many authors of Sci Fi / Fantasy I was a Lord Of The Rings nut. Read the book a lot when I was young. Taped each episode off the BBC radio production in 1979/80 and listened to it over and over again, to be replaced in time by CDs and mp3. And, of course, the films were fantastic and the extended versions even more so.

 So when I heard The Hobbit was to be made in three films, like everyone, I was surprised. The second film dragged a bit in places but the scenes with Smaug and in Mirkwood were incredible.
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The latest one is just incredible. Who cares if it plays fast and loose with the characters and plot.
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Smaug’s conversation with Bard the Dragon Slayer is breath taking and the special effects, scenery, architecture and fight sequences are just so exciting and beautiful and awesome. It wasn’t perfect, occassionally a tiny detail could of been better, but overall I was in awe. The action sequences are electrifying and just keep on coming, never stopping the quality. I think the best fight scenes ever, although the sequence in Balin’s Tomb in the extended version of Fellowship Of The Ring take some beating.
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Martin Freeman is truly brilliant. His acting career has gone from strength to strength, and Peter Jackson gives him some great lines. Also fine performances by Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Luke Evans as Bard the Dragon Slayer, Evangeline Lilly and Aidan Turner as the romancing elf and dwarf, a surprising and entertaining performance by Billy Connolly, and a marvellous voicing of Smaug by Benedict Cumberbatch.
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I was talking to a good friend before the film and he hasn’t seen the Hobbit films and didn’t care for Lord Of The Rings.
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I suppose you love it or don’t. Clearly I’m not a professional film critic but I watch a lot of films. This one’s fantastic. It’s loosely based on the book and much more tied to The Lord Of The Rings especially character wise. But, as I have said, who cares? Unless you are a dyed in the wool purist, if you like Tolkien you are going to love this film.
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