Monday 20 September 2010

Chris Barker

In earlier threads I have written about Chris Barker.
FantasyCon 2010, though, was the first time I actually had the opportunity to meet him, when I spotted him, stood at one end of the hotel bar, chatting with Reggie Oliver. Not to my surprise, when I went up to him and introduced myself, I found him a really nice bloke. I had already noticed his blogsite, horrorwatch, had closed down. I am glad it has. It's been my opinion, rightly or not, that he does not handle internet debates very well. He is much better to talk to face to face. He is also a much better writer than I think those who have become bitter enemies of his would like or imagine.

Anyway, I'm glad to have met Chris Barker, after having occasionally sparred with him in the past, and been able to shake hands at last.

Click on this link to see my comments on Chris Barker's story, The Melancholy Haunting of Nicholas Parkes.


  1. It was pleasant to meet you - your wife was very charming - but I do wish you would dispense with the rather patronising and obsessive references to internet rage and Horror Watch.

    Despite what you might think, several people at the Convention told me that they lamented the demise of Horror Watch, and you may be slightly discomforted to learn that a couple of other people also had access to the Horror Watch keys.

    HW was closed down for reasons which had nothing whatsoever to do with your low and - you must forgive my impertinence here - rather old-fashioned views.

    I promised you that I would try and lobby EOP for your overdue review copy of Tenebrous Tales. I hope you like it but I won't lose any sleep if you don't. However, more importantly I will send you CDs by Babyshambles and Arcade Fire along with some Mighty Boosh stuff.

    You need to lighten up and take things less seriously.

    [No offence, but I have no interest in impressing or arguing with you. But I would like to help you.]

  2. Hi Chris. I'm sorry if you thought my references to HW were patronising. They weren't meant that way, believe me.

    As for Tenebrous Tales, as I think I told you when we met at FantasyCon, I was very impressed with the one story in it which I have already read, a longish tale called The Melancholy Haunting of Nicholas Parkes, which you emailed to me some time ago. If the rest of the stories in your collection are of that standard you shouldn't have anything to worry about from any unbiased reviewer, whether that bothers you or not - though I am sure, as a writer, you would prefer positive reviews rather than negative, whatever your opinions may be about the reviewers concerned.

    By the way, I think there may be a misunderstanding about how I have ordered your book. I haven't ordered it from the publisher. There have been too many complaints voiced in a variety of places about the unreliability of Ex-Occidente to deliver their books for me to risk that. As with Reggie Oliver's Madder Mysteries I have ordered it from a British supplier, Cold Tonnage Books.

    Anyway, it was good to meet you face to face at last. That's one of the best things about events like FantasyCon. It cuts through any misunderstandings that online communication sometimes creates.

    By the way, if you knew me better you would know that I really do not need to lighten up and take things less seriously, whatever impression my sometimes maybe badly phrased comments on here may make you think. Honestly.

  3. I have also slightly altered my original post, which maybe wasn't phrased exactly as I meant it to be. (It was written perhaps too soon after driving back home from FantasyCon.)

  4. Unfortunately now Cold Tonnage can't supply this book. They too have had a falling out with the proprietor of Ex-Occidente. For a fairly new publisher Dan Ghettu certainly seems to have a way of upsetting potential customers, including the trade.

  5. [CB smiles wearily and winks his eye in agreement.]

  6. Not to worry, though (hopefully). Johnny Mains has promised to review it for me - and the last I heard from him before he disappeared into the wilds of Scotland (and a visit to see veteran writer John Burke) was that he loved it.

  7. Just started a real-time review of TENEBROUS TALES by Christopher Barker (Julian Karswell):

  8. Hi Des, Glad you liked that first story, which is the only one I've read so far. In my view it should be reprinted in any "Best of..." collections out in the next twelve months. It deserves reprinting somewhere where a wider public will be able to read it.

    Any chance of a review in the next day or so for Prism?

  9. I note Chris's facebook has completely vanished. I hope he's OK, as his recent posts seemed to be from inside hospital. All the best to him, should he be reading this.

  10. I did hear that he has been seriously ill and, I must admit, when I met him at fantasycon he looked ill then. Like you, Des, I can only wish him the best and hope he's on the mend.