Category Archives: Hopeless

A Hopeless Love Song

Starfish love song

The tide brings us back here once more
Starcrossed starfish lovers
Cast up on the shore
Amidst things that are broken
And washed up and drowned
Battered unwanted and strewn all around
I find you aren’t quite out of reach
Here we are, yet again on this beach.

How can we go forward,
Sweetest love of my heart
Five arms, and five directions
Anatomy keeps us apart.

When we’re apart I dream of you
I’d call out your name if I could
A starfish can’t shout we just mumble
And none of it does any good.

I’d give you my bony ossicles
I’d take all your arms in my arms
We could extrude our stomachs together
Oh darling one show me your charms.

I’d bring you the pearls of these waters
The bright shining lumps of sea glass
Fragments of bones horns of gramophones
A bite from a dead sailor’s ass.

Sometimes we cling to a boulder
The sea comes in and goes out
Sometimes we are torn from each other
To languish in fear and doubt.

Love is the tide that we swim in
That drops us so often on land
Fate brings us back to each other
As we slowly dry out in the sand.

The tide brings us back here once more
Starcrossed starfish lovers
Cast up on the shore
Amidst things that are broken
And washed up and drowned
Battered unwanted and strewn all around
I find you aren’t quite out of reach
Here we are, yet again on this beach.

(It has a tune, but I haven’t recorded it yet. All being well it will be in Hopeless Maine’s Ominous Folk show next year. Starfish doodles also by me.)

After the storm

After the storm, the sailors saw a lost princess in the ocean.

I filled my dress pockets with stones
Walked quietly into the sea
Nothing but memory remains here
A shadow reflection of me.


I am the mist on the water
The passing outline of a cloud
A touch of sky and the ocean
Wearing the cold sea as my shroud.


Queen now of nothing but sorrow
The mistress of solitude, cries
Gone is the breath from my being
Absent is the light from my eyes.


Spectre of sadness remaining
The echo that once was a life
No peace in the deep my ending
No final escape from all strife.


I haunt myself at the shoreline
Condemned to exist and to be
Trapped for all time recollecting
And never again to be free.

(A collaboration from Dr Abbey and Nimue)

A future Salamandra

In the summer of 2020, Dr Abbey started drawing Salamandra with green hair. I knew as soon as I saw these interpretations that there was no way Salamandra could have green hair during the graphics novel arc we have planned. Life is dour on Hopeless, colours are muted, and Salamandra has her attention focused on less-fun things.

I wrote the first draft of the graphic novels more than ten years ago. Since then there have been stories set before and during that time frame. Nothing had previously turned up that belonged after the graphic novels.

One of the things that happens with the island, is that pieces of the story turn up all over the place. They don’t come to me – we’ve got a hugely important story from Merry Debonnaire in the next graphic novel. Hopeless is strange and magical in its own ways, and sometimes it happens to people.

I looked at green haired Salamandra and realised that Dr Abbey could see something of what might come next. So earlier this year I sat him down and started asking about that. He had a lot to tell me!

I’ve been in the exciting process of developing those storylines for some months now. It will be a while before any of it makes it out into the world, but I can confirm that while there are two more graphic novels to come out, the story continues beyond the graphic novel arc.

We have to stop doing graphic novels because they are so labour intensive. We’re going to move into illustrated fiction and maybe poke about in light novel form hereafter, because that will be much more sustainable for us. There are some huge changes on the island by the end of the graphic novels. I feel very comfortable making it obvious that Salamandra survives because I am never going to write a story in which the magical girl does not get to grow up and live long and well.

(Green haired Sal by Dr Abbey)

Hopeless Maine Stories

Hopeless, Maine - New England Gothic & Other Stories ebook by Keith Errington,Brynneth Nimue Brown

If you backed our kickstarter a few years ago, you may already have copies of New England Gothic or The Oddatsea. You may have since managed to acquire one at an event. But, maybe you didn’t, and maybe this has left a gaping hole in your bookcase…

Much to our delight, Outland entertainment (who are publishing American editions of the graphic novels) are also publishing the prose fiction. It comes out in August and is widely available from book selling places, including…

In the USA…

Kobo (ebook version) https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/hopeless-maine

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hopeless-maine-keith-errington/1139080560?ean=9781954255128

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Hopeless-Maine-England-Gothic-Stories-ebook/dp/B098GWBBHW

And in the UK…

Hive – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Keith-Errington/Hopeless-Maine–New-England-Gothic–Other-Stories/25936608

Wordery https://wordery.com/hopeless-maine-keith-errington-9781954255128

Bookshop – https://uk.bookshop.org/books/hopeless-maine-new-england-gothic-other-stories/9781954255128

(Also Amazon in the UK, but, other places are less likely to spend your money on going in to space).

And here, for your delectation, is Nimue reading a bit of New England Gothic

Hopeless Maine in Japan

The limited edition print run of Personal Demons has arrived in Japan!

Dr Abbey with the Sloth/Japan personal Demons, somewhere in Tokyo!

At this point, we’re looking at three potential Japanese shows this summer! There’s a limited edition print run for the first one, and if that sells out, we may well be looking at proper Japanese versions, possibly even in translation – although Dr Abbey has to sleep at some point and we don’t want to entirely wear him out!

Here’s a celebratory Sloths in Okinawa that our publisher Nic did for the first show, which happens in July.

Hopeless in Japan

We’re very excited to be part of an exhibition in Japan this summer – organised by Dr Abbey. Bits of Hopeless will be there, alongside work from our excellent steampunk chums Dr Geof and Jennie Gyllblad. Also other people that we don’t really know.

In honour of this event, Sloth Comics has put together a special edition limited print run of Personal Demons (The first half of The Gathering for UK folk). We’re massively excited about this. It’s hardly normal for a small, indy comic like ours to go on sale in Japan. There’s even talk of doing a larger print run, in translation!

A spell for divination

Take a fish. What sort of fish it is, matters. It is as well to understand the nature of the fish.

Put the fish onto The Plate Of Divination. The fish will tell your fortune.

If you have chosen a fairy fish, it will not simply tell you of the future. It may help you create the future.

If you have used the wrong sort of fish, it may attempt to eat your head. It is best to be ready for this eventuality.

Do not, under any circumstances, use the head of a mermaid.

Even if you are a fish, it is not a good idea to use your own head. However much you worry about the future, your head is not the answer. Use anything except your own head.

But obviously, don’t use blood. You know what happens to magical items when you use blood.

Wash everything carefully afterwards.

We knew you thought you knew better. You were supposed to use a fish. Now look at you. This is what happens when you don’t read your occult texts properly.

(Sea dragon and fish divination spell by Nimue, based on an idea by Dr Abbey).

The Hopeless Maine family strikes again

There are many truly lovely people who have, one way or another, thrown themselves into the tentacled embrace of Hopeless, Maine.

It would be fair to say that we’ve had a tough few months. As many of you know, Tom had a stroke back in December – he’s recovered well but it was scary at the time. Nimue has been ill a lot – nothing so dramatic, but ongoing adventures in pain and weariness. And so it was that some of the wider Hopeless Maine family gathered together and did a lovely thing to cheer us up.

This was apparently the brainchild of Nils Visser – who you will have seen a lot of here on the blog with his glorious Diswelcome series. He pulled a fabulous team together to make this happen. He’s a fine chap, and responsible for inventing Snugglepunk. Or possibly Smugglepunk.

There’s Professor Elemental doing the music, aided and abetted by Tom Carunana. We love the Prof, and the video features some of the art Tom’s done for him over the years.

Bob Fry is a longstanding supporter and spoon fancier, also an essential part of Nimue’s Wherefore project.

Herr Doktor once went so far as to make a spoonwalker. He’s also widely believed to be a deity of the steampunk pantheon.

John Bassett can be held responsible for Steampunk Stroud, and is also part of the Hopeless Maine film team, wearing many different hats for that one. All in one stack, obviously.

Cair Going is a gorgeous person and we were there when she was crowned as Queen.

Bill Jones can teach you how to grow Victorians in your garden. You may have seen his work in Private Eye.

Lou Pulford has written for this blog and performed with us in public places and has the best tentacles.

Susie Roberts sings with A Cup Full of Tentacles – the performance side of Hopeless – when we’re allowed to go out and do unspeakable things in public places.

Deep gratitude to you all, for being in our lives, for being so relentlessly lovely, and for making us cry over this video. You are all splendid and we wish we could hug you all.

Hopeless Moths

Some years ago, we had the strange experience of outing Hopeless in an art gallery as part of the local book festival. I made some very random things for that! One of the things I made was a collector’s case of moths. The moths were of course all works of fiction and no actual moths were hurt in the process. I invented quite a few moths for the island – some of which I still remember because I rather liked them.

The poisoned Druid moth was made from mistletoe, so was sort of a joke, because of me being a Druid.

The granny’s shroud moth was large and pale, and I like to imagine them flapping about disconcertingly at windows late at night, and being especially horrible to pick out of spiderwebs.

The greater and lesser git moths are the sort of moths who eat clothes, and other household items.

Thinking about the moths this week has led me to realise that we haven’t given much thought to bats on the island, so there are bats going into the bestiary for the role play game.

Here’s a video from the art gallery. The moth case is at around the 10.30 mark…

Hopeless Role Play

As a young human, I played a fair few role play systems and it was a significant part of my life. One of the normal features of a role play game is that the world is… well… world sized. The setting you game in is usually as large as your imagination is willing to invest in.

A role play game set on Hopeless Maine is clearly a very different kettle of fish (or tentacles). It is, by any definition, a rather small setting. You could walk across it in a matter of days, and one of the features of the island is that it is very hard to leave it and go elsewhere. It is a tiny reality of its own, full of weirdness, but it is not really how most role play worlds function.

But, small can be beautiful. Small can be really intense and there’s not much scope to run away from the consequences of your actions. Everything you do as a player on Hopeless will stay round to haunt you – probably in a literal sort of way. You can’t just leave town and move on if things don’t go well, or you’ve nabbed the treasure or made an enemy. Outside of town, beyond the farms it is difficult to survive, which is why people mostly aren’t living there.

Hopeless as a role play setting is really good for intense scenarios. It lends itself to mysteries and murder mysteries. If you’re looking for a setting where your characters will have to make long term relationships with NPCs, this is for you. If you’re looking for situations where people have to think and role play rather than dungeon crawl, Hopeless works well. It’s not going to be the right setting for anyone who wants to spend their time slaying monsters, grabbing treasure and hooking up with pretty NPCs. But, if you like your gaming experiences to be weirder, more gothic and with more focus on the role play, this could well be the ideal setting for you.

The Hopeless Maine role play game has been a work in progress – and largely the work of Keith Healing – for some time now. We will have some significant news for you soon, we think, which is why I’m dangling this teaser-tentacle today. Also, the cover above is the old cover, there will be a new cover soon…