Tag Archives: The Pustoy

“Operation Staffhound,” by Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron

Hey, gang — if you missed its appearance last week over at The Bees Are Dead, here is the audio for my reading of Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron’s “Operation Staffhound.”  The poem is from his superb 2014 dystopian science fiction novel in poetry format, “The Pustoy.”

“Operation Staffhound” describes the brutal domestic police force employed by Lev Solokov, the future dictator of Britain and the novel’s central antagonist.


“Operation Staffhound,” by Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

I’m happy today to be able to share The Bees Are Dead’s release of my audio recording of “Operation Staffhound,” by Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron.  This truly excellent poem is an excerpt from his 2014 dystopian novel in verse format, “The Pustoy.”  (I quite positively reviewed the book both here at the blog and over at Amazon, where it can be purchased — “Operation Staffhound” might be my favorite poem in the complete work.)

“The Pustoy” is a particularly dark science fiction epic that imagines a genocidal dictator, Lev Solokov, ruling a nightmarish future Britain.  The brutal “Staffhounds” are his fascist foot-soldiers in the streets.

I had great fun reading the poem.  I’m grateful to Philippe for allowing me to interpret it, and to The Bees Are Dead for sharing my recording with its audience:

Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron’s “Operation Staffhound” at The Bees Are Dead




Check out “Ode to Sabrina” and “Redsands,” by Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron

Dead Snakes featured two outstanding poems on Monday by my friend and colleague, Philippe Atherton-Blenkiron.  Readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of his first collection of poetry, “The Pustoy.”

The poems titles are “Ode to Sabrina” and “Redsands.”  The latter is titled after a real, abandoned, youth residential care facility in the author’s native Britain, and it’s accompanied by a set of moody black-and-white photos that he took there himself.

I love “Redsands.”  Its final stanza and closing lines remind me of the ending of lines near the end of one of my own favorite poems, “The Shield of Achilles,” written by W.H. Auden and published in 1952:

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

Read both of Phil’s poems at the link below.  You won’t be disappointed.


Are there any lovers of dark, dystopian literature on your holiday gift list?

Then please consider surprising them with “The Pustoy,” an outstanding book of poetry by Philippe Blenkiron.  It’s a science fiction and political epic in poetry format, describing future Britain’s rule by a genocidal dictator who scapegoats an underclass to facilitate his rise to power.  It’s quite dark, and I quite loved it.  Click the link below to read my review last year:

A frightening future, skillfully envisioned — God help “The Pustoy.”

“The Pustoy” is also easy to purchase in either paperback or Kindle format.  You can find it at Amazon right here:

“The Pustoy” at Amazon.com

I suggest that this would make an excellent gift for lovers of books like George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-four” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.”  And its format in verse would make it an even more interesting companion book.


A frightening future, skillfully envisioned — God help “The Pustoy.”

“The Pustoy” is a frightening and effective set of vignettes detailing the rise of a genocidal dictator in a dystopian future Britain.  When scientists ostensibly discover “the soul,” a scapegoated underclass, accused of being without souls, are executed on sight.  They are “The Pustoy” (Russian for “empty”), and their government sanctioned murder is painted cheerfully by the government as a needed national public service.

Philippe Blenkiron’s creation is an epic political poem with depth and detail, but it is still quite easy to read.  Fans of “1984”and “Brave New World” will doubtlessly find it a dark and satisfying bedtime story.

I think what surprised me the most is that this poetry collection will please fans of horror and thrillers as well.  Blenkiron has a terribly nice knack for rendering fearful images – be sure to take a close look at his various descriptions of the Staffhounds.  Yeesh.  If Blenkiron so masterfully creates such scary bad guys, it makes me wonder whether he might write horror stories.  I’d happily read them if he does.

He has a wonderfully unique voice.  And his ability to juggle of various points of view – each of which has a distinct, character- specific voice – is admirable.

This is a compelling set of poems.  Pick it up here at Amazon.com:



Dennis Villelmi on Philippe Blenkiron’s “The Pustoy”

I harbor a resentment against Dennis because his book reviews read better than my prose.  

Nevertheless, I’ll put that aside and share his review here of Philippe Blenkiron’s “The Pustoy.”

It sounds like an incredible book — and a real treat for science fiction fans.

Here is Dennis’ review at Amazon.com.  Click the link just below it for “The Pustoy” on Amazon, and consider picking up a copy for yourself:

“From across the pond, and stepping out of the prosaic and into, rather masterfully, the poetic is a work that is horrific, hermetic, Stalinistically reminiscent and…disturbingly quite possible. In Philippe Blenkiron’s, “The Pustoy,” (the latest offering from UK’s Dagda Publishing) we have before us world where metaphysics is no more immune to the malevolent policies of totalitarianism than has been the study of physics. Enter Lev Solokov, the new Prime Minister of a Britain that clearly has lost whatever Arthurian hope it may have had left; so much so that it has elected a man with a Russian name in which “Solo” foreshadows the terrifying autocracy to come. When first he mounts the rostrum of history it is to report to the public that Science has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a.) the human soul does exist, but b.) some have soul and some don’t. Those falling into the latter category are “pustoy.” a Russian word for ’empty.” And therein lies the horror, as Solokov casts his own soulless shadow over the Isles, drawing the same dividing line that we have seen in the former Soviet Union, Hitler’s Germany, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and so forth.

“Brilliantly written in a poetic form that pulls the reader along and into the darkness of this narrative, “The Pustoy” is a book that should be on the shelf or on the Kindle carousel of everyone who lends ample thought to the most important “what if” questions.
Certainly, what Mr. Blenkiron has given us is a window into the future that, unless we heed the warning signs given us by history and philosophy, will surely open and through which will come the chilled draft of dystopia such as only autocrats can offer. When reading this at the cafe, library or city park, do well to look around you and imagine your surroundings suddenly awash in the colors of incarceration and despair; do that and you will have gotten to the heart of “The Pustoy.” This is a book that can and should be read looking through the lenses of past and present, thinking both of Stalin, or Himmler, as well as Putin and, maybe, some as of yet unseen leader who will arise here…in the democratic West. Accolades, and nothing but, to both Philippe Blenkiron and to Dagda Publishing UK for this truly bewitching work.”



“A Guilt-Free Solution to the Economic Crisis.” (Dagda Publishing releases “The Pustoy” today!)

“A Guilt-Free Solution to the Economic Crisis.
“Feed the Soul, not the Soulless!
“Kill The Pustoy!”


Phillipe Blenkiron’s “The Pustoy,” the dystopian science fiction poetry collection released today by Dagda Publishing, sounds amazing.  I can’t wait to read it.

From Dagda Publsihing:  [Well, it’s here. The Pustoy has been released on Amazon for kindle and paperback. Follow the links below to purchase this highly original (and a little bit topical) collection of poetry by Philippe Blenkiron. We are very, very pleased to present this to you.



(Also find it on your local Amazon store)

Also, add it to your Goodreads shelf here, suggest it for group reads, share this status, and help us get the word out about this very, very special collection of poetry.