Thoughts of a Yellow Dawn

David has been gone over 5 years now, and on this first day of 2021 I can’t help thinking what he would have made of the time since his passing. We’ve had the omnishambles of Brexit, the rise of a functionally illiterate far-Right president in the United States, the founding of a space force, a global pandemic, not to mention the first commercially funded manned space flight, the re-emergence of long-frozen life forms as the permafrost thaws (some of whom weren’t that dead as it turns out), and fantastic advances in computing, molecular engineering and cybertechnology.

Personally, I think he’d have loved it. He was always forward-looking, seeing trends in culture, science and technology, and realising before anyone what the implications of those trends might be. He wasn’t a scientist, or even particularly technically-minded, but he had a knack for understanding how new ideas would fit into the world, and how they would change it. More, he had a firm grasp of human nature, both the good and the bad, and knew how people would exploit new technologies. Like me, he tended to look on the bleaker side when prognosticating, and like me he was sadly very rarely proven wrong.

When a New Year arrived, David and I would often have one of those long, involved telephone calls I so miss. Him steaming in the bath, me pacing in circles around my library. We’d talk about what we saw coming for the year ahead. I tended to focus on science and technology, he tended to focus on people, but together we usually managed to come up with a pretty accurate view of the immediate future. Since he passed, it sometimes feels to me like the future no longer exists in anything but the most abstract of senses.

Looking back over the last year, I think David would have struggled with the isolation, at least to start with. He was very much a people person – you only had to see the hundreds of people who turned up for his funeral to realise that – and enforced social distancing would have been a serious blow. He’d have adapted quickly enough though, and the idea of communication through video calls would have tickled that part of him that grew up watching 70’s and 80’s TV sci-fi. His extra-ordinary drive to write would have, I think, seen him blossom creatively in lockdown. At the very least we’d have a new novel and some short stories to enjoy. The news would have been a gift to him; the headlines grist to the mill of endless invention that was his creativity.

It seems strange to talk about a future in which David plays no active role. In ending his life the way he did, he chose to forever became part of the past, one that grows more distant every day. And yet his ideas and his unique way of looking at the world go on, in his friends, loved ones and readers. In my own writing, when I run up against a block or a particularly stubborn scene, I often challenge myself to look at it the way David would. I do this in my life too, though not as often as I should. It’s especially useful when there’s something I’m afraid of doing, or something I’m not sure of. What would David do? More often than not he’d jump in with both feet and laugh like a maniac while doing so.

One thing he and I occasionally butted heads over was the dating of his Yellow Dawn future history. He wanted to have specific years when his stories took place, whereas I didn’t think it was a good idea. Even the best stories get a little weird when the present catches up with them – just look at Blade Runner. Still, I can’t help smiling at the irony of the way the world has changed over the last year, when looked at through the lens of his fiction. True, we don’t have dead cities filled with zombies, nor do we have a two-tiered system of society, with the rich and technologically advanced secure in orbital habitats while the rest of us scrabble for survival on the ground, but we might as well have. Lockdown turned even the busiest of our cities into eerily empty mausoleums, and the vast gap between the super-rich and the rest of us is so vast they could well be living in orbit.

Perhaps, even now, the wheels are in motion among the wealthy and the mad, to create the beginnings of a Yellow Dawn.

The Hotwells Horror & Other Stories

hotwellscoverSo, we did it. As of January 2018, our little tribute to David J Rodger can be found at Amazon and all good online vendors. It’s a strange feeling to be writing this, over two years since we lost David. I’m not going to say it provides closure, because it doesn’t. I doubt anything except time ever will. It does feel good though.

I’m proud of it. Out of our shared grief has come something really rather special. When we were planning this, the working title was simply “For David”, because we decided to create an anthology of tale that we felt he’d enjoy. David’s work deals with themes of urban alienation and decay, existential horror and betrayal, transhumanism and cosmicism, sex and death. We deliberately chose not to make something sombre or overly cerebral. Instead we aimed for something that would have raised the crooked smile we all love and miss. I think we succeeded.

The majority of the actual heavy lifting was done by Peter Sutton, which is something I will always be grateful for. After proposing the idea (which it turns out Peter and Tom Parker had already discussed) and putting out a call for contributors, I basically checked out of life for over a year. Grief does weird things, even when you think you’re hardened to the occasional jape that life plays on you. It was only when the deadline for submissions arrived that I was able to stir myself, and even that was a “down to the wire” thing where I was typing away at three in the morning because I’d promised Pete I’d have the story with him the next day.

Dave Sharrock provided us with an amazing cover, which you can see above. Look at it. It’s gorgeous. It looks even better on the dead tree version.

The contents are as follows;
The Hotwells Horror, by David J Rodger
Out of Context, by Chris Halliday
A Day at the Lake, by Thomas David Parker
Coffee and Cthulhu, by Ian Millsted
A Piece of the Puzzle, by Cheryl Morgan
Hillraiser, by Ken Shinn
Psilocybin, by Dave Sharrock
HIAB-X, by David J Rodger
The Lost Brother, by Simon Brake
Dead Reckoning, by John Houlihan
Fall of Ophiucus, by Samantha J Rule & Eli Johnston
Salvation, by Dave Bradley
Signal in the Dark, by Peter Sutton
Fast Love Die, by David J Rodger
David J Rodger: Some Memories, by Floyd Hayes

The last piece by Floyd is a beautiful montage of moments with David across a number of years, and is deeply touching. Along with the three stories by David and the remembrances of the contributors, it all makes something that I’m proud to have on my shelf next to his novels.

All profits go to MIND, the Mental Health charity, because we all go a little mad sometimes. You can pick up a copy in print or ebook at;

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Other vendors are also available (but I’m not going to provide links because Google is a thing, okay?) If you like it, leave a review. Heap praise upon the authors and encourage them to create more. Every single one of them is lovely, and they deserve good things.


Chris Halliday,
Bristol, 20th February 2018

David J Rodger, 1970 – 2015

On 22nd November, 2015, David J Rodger passed away. I’m writing this over a year after it happened, and it’s still very raw for everyone who loved him. It’s only today that I discovered that David had given me editing rights to his blog, and after talking to his girlfriend Jo, I felt it was important to post something about his death here. His blog still gets a lot of visitors keen to learn about his work, and he wouldn’t want them to think he was ignoring their questions and comments.

On Friday, 12th December 2015, I was honoured to speak at David’s funeral, to a venue packed full of his many friends. Below is the text of my tribute to a remarkable human being.

Hi. My name is Chris Halliday. To David, I was “Doc Toc”, or occasionally “Mr Sardonic”. Looking out at the faces here, I’m struck with a sense of “Deja Dave” – the feeling I’ve seen many of you in David’s photos.

David was only the second friend I made when I arrived in Bristol eight years ago, but it’s through him that I met many of my closest and dearest friends. David delighted in friendship – more than anyone I’ve ever met he understood the true value of it, the joy of a life made of precious moments shared with the ones you love.

David was, first and foremost, a storyteller. Many of you I first came to know as characters in David’s anecdotes; colourful characters with larger-than-life names – Oj, Miss Scarlet, Sharky “Bones” McCoy, Game Breaker Hagen, Penfold, Nice Guy Tony, Hiab-X, and many others. When I became a character in those tales with a name of my own, it was a badge of honour. I wear it proudly.

David’s passion for life was infectious. Through him I discovered new authors, new music, new places. He loved unearthing gems of experience and sharing them with others, and he loved when it was reciprocated. He introduced me to Hybrid, I gave him M.R. James. He gave me Leftfield, I gave him Robert W. Chambers. A glance at the most played tracks in my music collection shows his influence – over half the bands there are ones I first learned of through him.

David was a catalyst. He drove things, events, people; either by setting an example or by his honest encouragement and feedback. Because of him, I’m a published game writer. His unfailing kindness and loyalty – and that of the wonderful friends he brought into my life – helped me get through some very dark times. That’s not to say that there weren’t moments when he was the very devil. I’m sure many of us have woken up at some point with random objects taped to us, or had our most embarrassing and intimate moments painstakingly documented on film and video. We all have Dave stories like that.

I think it’s well known how much of an influence H.P. Lovecraft had on David’s life and writing. The day before David left us, I read the following passages in the pages of what is probably Lovecraft’s most optimistic and uplifting story; “Beyond the Wall of Sleep”. I like to think that it describes David himself; a visiting Trickster god, part Loki, part Coyote, sliding in on a light beam to remind us that the only real things in life are love and laughter.

“I am an entity like that which you yourself become in the freedom of dreamless sleep. I am your brother of light, and have floated with you in the effulgent valleys. It is not permitted me to tell your waking earth-self of your real self, but we are all roamers of vast spaces and travellers in many ages. Next year I may be dwelling in the Egypt which you call ancient, or in the cruel empire of Tsan Chan which is to come three thousand years hence. You and I have drifted to the worlds that reel about the red Arcturus, and dwelt in the bodies of the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter. How little does the earth self know of life and its extent! … We shall meet again – perhaps in the shining mists of Orion’s Sword, perhaps on a bleak plateau in prehistoric Asia, perhaps in unremembered dreams tonight, perhaps in some other form an eon hence, when the solar system shall have been swept away.”

David was a chameleon; many things to many people. To me, he was a mentor, a brother, and a friend.

We shall meet again.

David J. Rodger, August 30, 1970 – November 22, 2015

Never forgotten, always in our hearts

NOTE: It was only after creating the original post that I noticed the tag at the bottom leads to David’s last post on the blog, entitled “Designer Death”. I have a feeling that this is another of David’s practical jokes from beyond the veil.

Designer Death

There’s a grim fate in store for any of your engineered workers if they don’t consume their daily quota of Zone.

Ensure loyalty and obedience. Get value from your investment. Contact your nearest FUJI-BROKELL representative for details.

Designer death - genetically engineered humans used in sex industry and low skill jobs - cyberpunk in the post-apocalyptic world of YELLOW DAWN by David J Rodger

Designer Death. Image by Borja Pindado. Copyright David J Rodger

Words and image from the forthcoming release of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur (3rd edition). An RPG and basis for several novels that blends Cyberpunk themes with H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos in a post-apocalyptic setting. With a deal on the table from Modiphius (Achtung! Cthulhu) under their license with Chaosium, the new edition has been written to work with Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.   Artwork by superbly talented Borja Pindado.

More info here

The bright lights of the city were like jewels she’d seen a thousand times before but never noticed just how beautiful they could be, until now.  It was difficult not to stagger as she moved along the street, colliding here and there with one of the people who moved with such hurry.  She didn’t want to hurry.  She wanted to soak up every moment – she wanted to grin, to show this freshly comprehended world how happy she was to finally join it.  But the Masters had warned her about this reaction, and about appearing to be different.  This city was not the UDP.  The people here might point her out and then men with violence in their hearts and cold blood in their veins would take her away – and dispose of her like the trash she used to carry from the restaurant.  Yet to walk and twirl slowly, head angled upwards, soaking in the sights, reading the commercials flashing across buildings and vehicles and to know what it all meant, to see her place in this vast world and feel the joy the colours brought to her spirit; it was intoxicating and wonderful.

– Covert Chronicles, a blogger with access to everything and everyone.



Biopunks, Grinders and Synthetic Biology:


First glimpse of script for Yellow Dawn – The Movie

I had a nice surprise the other day. Contact from the US screenwriter who has been working on the idea of a movie based on the world of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, which encompasses the role-playing game and the three novels (Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake, The Social Club).  We’ve had a number of video calls this year fleshing out a two page treatment for the movie. Now arrives the first 6 pages. Great stuff. He’s really captured a strong flavour of Yellow Dawn and I’m more than happy to see how another mind translates it into their own vision and words. I’ve signed-off what he sent through. Here’s a glimpse: Continue reading

Video Animation ¦ Ruin – a post apocalyptic short

A little under 10 minutes this is a wonderfully atmospheric cyberpunk post-apocalyptic short that plugs straight into your adrenal gland. Definitely make sure you’ve got big sound, full screen and a do-not-disturb holo hovering above your skull.

There’s a fantastic absence of dialogue, adding to the enigma of the story’s background: what is the character searching for and why did this happen? Is the character even human, or something else? Great sense of peril from the autonomous machine response.

It would fit seamlessly into the post-apocalyptic universe of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, except for the fact it shows nature having reclaimed the abandoned cityscape. In Yellow Dawn, one aspect of the Infection that dominates the daily life of survivors who have chosen not to seek sanctuary in the Living Cities, and is part of the pervasive Influence of Hastur, is the fact that the flora and fauna of Nature does not grow anywhere there are significant populations of Infected victims (erroneously called zombies by survivors and media). Even 10 years after the event known as Yellow Dawn happened, the Dead Cities remain free from the choking overgrowth of weeds, trees, wild grasses or anything else; adding to the intensely disturbing atmosphere to these places.

Here’s the video:


Story by Wes Ball. Produced by Oddball Animation


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David J Rodger – DATA

Unveiled: New Cover for 3rd Edition of Yellow Dawn

Borja Pindado creates an epic scene of post-apocalyptic action adventure, steeped in the potent mystery and thrill of investigating H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos

Borja is one of three artists who have been working on the Yellow Dawn project since I started writing the new 3rd edition in January (2015).  With a deal on the table from Modiphius (Achtung! Cthulhu) under their license with Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu products, the 3rd Edition of Yellow Dawn has been written to work alongside CoC 7th Edition rules.

I briefed Borja to create a scene that conveys the idea of the Earth becoming a “new wilderness”, littered with the ruins of Dead Cities where strange and alien horrors now lurk.  I wanted the cover to convey a blend of scavenged military equipment and medieval revivalism.  And beside all this tactical gear, firearms, leather armour and bows, there is the raw awakened power of the Road Mage wielding an old magic.

Dead Cities are where scavengers go to risk their sanity and their mortal life for plunder.  But the world of Yellow Dawn includes a vast, almost limitless range of genre and style of play. From the high-octane, high-technology and low street culture grime of Living Cities with their Cyberpunk glare, through to cautious investigations among rural settlements that cling close to the boundaries of these rare Living Metropolises.  And beyond, into the deep plunge of the unknown New Wilderness, along lonely roads and over rugged terrain, to where survivors have been cut off and isolated for a decade or more, since the apocalyptic event known as Yellow Dawn first struck the Earth and ushered in the Age of Hastur.

Here’s the new cover:

Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur written by David J Rodger - 3rd edition artwork by Borja Pindado

Learn more about Yellow Dawn here:

Sneak Peek: Nova Punks rage across a post-apocalyptic wasteland

Nova Punks post-apocalyptic road gangs from the world of Yellow Dawn and RPG written by David J Rodger - artwork Borja Pindado

Nova Punks. Artwork Borja Pindado

New artwork from Borja Pindado who is wrapping up the last of the briefs I sent through for the new 3rd edition of Yellow Dawn, a post-apocalyptic RPG based on the world of my books.  This image features Nova Punks, tapping into the “Mad Max” flavour that is one of many you can experience within the Yellow Dawn universe.

Learn more about Yellow Dawn here:


New Cthulhu Mythos fanzine due to launch in Japan

Hush! Hush! Top secret.  Currently corresponding with editor of a new Cthulhu Mythos fanzine who is based in Japan. No formal launch date yet. More info when available.  Just finished final proof of MS containing short story I submitted to him, featuring a new Great Old One and weaves together some of the underlying concepts of my bigger work.  Looking good.