Got my very first print copy of the Lovecraft eZine
in the post today and I must admit I am really impressed with it. For
all that a lot of people like to criticize Amazon, the printing of the
magazine is excellent and it arrived fast (2 days
from ordering) and well packaged. I haven't had time yet to read any of
the contents (there's 106 pages of them) it looks really good, with
some brilliant illustrations. I'll definitely be getting more print
copies of the magazine after this, including the Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire
one (the next on my list).
There's a great 5-star review for my horror novel The Return on Amazon.co.uk.
"The genres of crime and horror have always skipped hand in hand like a
deranged Jack and Jill (see "Falling Angel" and "The Damnation Game")
and with "The Return" David A Riley continues this tradition. If you
like your cosmic horror to be tinged with the darkness of the human
condition that can be seen in noir-ish crime then this is the book for
Riley evokes a wonderful sense of place in the rundown Grudge
End, a place that is dying but the creatures that dwell within will tear
the world apart as they try to enact their own return just as our
protagonist does returning to the place where he is from now that he has
I would recommend this book to both fans of
Lovecraftian fiction and those who like their horror tales to be fused
with the gritty reality of the old ones - a kind of "Cthulhu tries to
The great news is that one of the BBC's better programs is due to return for a third series after it was originally axed. Amazon Prime Instant Video and the BBC will work together to produce a third series.
These replicas of the Cthulhu statue or idol mentioned in Lovecraft's story The Call of Cthulhu, are highly tempting. They're advertised in the Lovecraft eZine and are not too expensive - $65 plus shipping. Standing almost 8 inches tall they are the same size as the one in the story too.
Great news that Steve Jones has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the HWA in this year's Stokers.
HWA President Rocky Wood said, "This is the second year in three we have
recognized an Editor with the Lifetime Achievement Award – editing is a
crucial skill in our genre, where anthologies regularly showcase the
best of horror writing. Stephen Jones, in his capacity as editor of both
the annual Best New Horror series and as editor of dozens of
stand-alone anthologies and author of nonfiction titles, has had a
profound impact on the genre and we are pleased to recognize him with
our genre's highest award."
I was pleased to discover that it's easy (and cheap) to order print copies of the Lovecraft eZine in the UK via Amazon.co.uk. I have just ordered the new issue, number 29. The magazine cost me £4.27 plus £2.75 postage which, at over 100 pages, is not bad.
Fingers crossed that eventually some of the older issues will be available in print, especially number16, which is the only one in which I have a story.
Inside No 9, written Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, is shaping up to be the best horror series of short stories on British TV for years. We're three tales into the series now and each has proved to be totally different and in many ways even better than the last. This week's episode, Tom and Gerri, had perhaps a little less humour, but more than made up for it with growing chills, especially as twist followed twist towards the end. The acting was superb.An immediate classic.
The good news is that a follow up series has already been commissioned by the BBC.
Halfway through the first season of Hannibal and am loving it. No
attempts to make Lecter a likeable character with some screwy but
positive virtues like those with which Dexter became increasingly burdened. It pulls
no punches and is definitely not something to watch while eating -
well, not unless you share a taste for Lecter's culinary delights! (He
does like his livers, kidneys, lungs, brains, spleens, etc) And Jack Crawford spends too much time having meals at his house. I'm sure he'll be in need of therapy when the secret behind them is finally revealed.
Nice to see my horror novel The Return is included in Robert Essig's Killer Reads in 2013. Thanks Robert!
"The Return by David A. Riley
is a dark, depressing tale of Lovecraftian mystery and plenty of
horror. If you haven't read David A. Riley then you need to pick up one
of his 2013 releases and rectify that. He's been publishing short
stories professionally for decades and I'm glad he has finally given us
such a fantastic novel."
A great review posted on Amazon for The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror from Douglas Draa of Weird Tales magazine:
"Lurkers" has to be the finest collection of single author short stories that I've read in many a year.
This collection is 100% entertainment. There's not a week story in the book. These are simply great stories extremely well told.
single one of these stories oozes straight forward old school story
telling. And what sets them even higher above the competition than they
already are is the hard edge of urbanity with a strong touch of modern
sensibility. There's not one drop of ironic post modernism in the book.
Just pure grim horror. There's no happy endings in these stories. and
that's one of the books joys. Mr. Riley doesn't pull any punches or
weaken his tales with false sentimentality. Bad things happen to the
undeserving in David's universe.
If you love demons, monsters,
zombies, cursed locations, sorcerers returning from the dead, a sly nod
to HPL and Stephen king then this collection is for you. And it's no
wonder that the titular story made not only the years best list when it
came out, but was also chosen by John Pelan for Cemetery Dance's monster
"Centuries Best" collection.
The only reason I'm giving this 4
stars is that if I gave it 5 then you would just figure that I was full
of it if I gave it five stars.
It's a five star book though in all honesty.
Believe me though, (And I know what I'm talking about. I work for Weird
Tales Magazine) I'm a tough sell after reading horror for over 40 years
and this is one of the finest new collections that you can find today.
Do yourself a big favour and order it now.
I purchased my copy through Amazon.de
Alert for the very small number of people who may still have not
watched Raiders of the Lost Ark. After watching The Big Bang Theory and
Amy Farrah Fowler's criticism of Raiders that, for all Indiana Jones'
actions in the film, he didn't alter the outcome one bit, that if he
hadn't been there the Nazis would still have ended up on the island with
the Ark and what happened to them would have
just been the same, that he made no difference to the outcome
whatsoever, I decided to give it a watch as it was quite some time since
I last saw it. And, damn it, she was right! Not only that, but aren't
some of the things in it just plain daft, even for a fantasy adventure
movie - such as the technology that enabled whoever built the temple at
the start of the film to build traps that would send out deadly arrows
or bolts at whoever crossed a beam of light! Light sensitive traps!
Still an enjoyable romp, mind, even after all these years - and far, far
better than the Crystal Skull fiasco.
Herbert Manning’s Psychic Circus and
Other Dark Tales
By David Williamson
December, 2013; £4.27/$6.29 pb;
David Williamson’s first story appeared in
the Twenty-eighthPan Book of Horror. The 30th volume
saw an impressive three more tales - which I think must have made it inevitable
that many years later he would become a regular contributor to that modern
incarnation of the legendary series, with stories in the 5th, 6th,
7th, 8th and 9th volumes of the Black Books
of Horror (Mortbury Press). He has also been published by Hersham Horror (Alt-Zombie).
Perhaps more than any other writer I can
think of David Williamson’s wickedly nasty tales fit in perfectly with the
style of the later Pans. Although there may be little of the supernatural in
most of them, they are full of all too human evil, with some of the most truly
horrible sets of characters you could ever hope to find.
Like a very British Robert Bloch,
Williamson is a master of the twist in the tail. A Night to Remember features
one of Williamson’s regular types of characters: vengeful, even sadistic
offspring. It is easy in this story to understand why the narrator hates his
parents so much – or can we? Just how reliable a narrator is he? In any event,
what happens to his parents is Grand Guignol at its bloodiest. The title
character of The Chameleon Man is able to mimic every hideous disease known to
man. Yet has he gone one step too far when he is goaded into trying to mimic
death itself? In The Switch we have a story that reminds me so much of EC
Comics I could visualize it in graphic form. It has also one of Williamson’s
best twists. Matrimonial hatred, murder, revenge – favourite themes of the
later Pan Horrors – are the major elements of Rest in Pieces in which a husband
thinks he has found the perfect way to dispose of his hated wife, while Boys
Will Be Boys has yet another bloody offspring whose actions are definitely not
for anyone with a weak stomach! Blind Date, reprinted from Alt-Zombie,
is one of the few supernatural stories in this collection, a zombie tale with a
neat twist. The final story, the titular Herbert Manning’s Psychic Circus, has
a circus owner facing ruin in today’s PC-ridden, health and safety obsessed
world who is made an offer he can’t possibly afford to refuse by a mysterious
stranger, though he fails to realize the full implications till far too late.
These are strong short stories, graphically
told, with minimal subtlety. If you like your horror full in your face, these
are definitely for you.
On Friday I received an unexpected payment via Paypal for a review I did for hellnotes from its corporate owner, Journalstone. This is the first time I have ever been paid for a review, though I have done quite a few over the years. Although it was only $10 this is more than many small presses pay for full-blown stories in their anthologies these days!
I very much enjoyed Inside No 9 last night, with its opening episode
"Sardines". An amazing cast list - and a genuinely scary climax. How is
it that some of the best horror on TV these days is comedy? Last night's
episode was written by Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith, both of
whom appeared in it.
I first became aware of Simon Pegg when I watched his two series on British TV, Spaced (1999-2001), which was an amazing saga of a young wannabe comic artist, Tim Bisley (Pegg), his flatmate Jessica, a would-be writer played by Jessica Hynes, Bisley's best friend, gun-mad, part-time soldier, full-time lunatic Mike (Nick Frost) and other eccentric oddballs, an inventive, endlessly funny series which amply displayed Pegg's love for science fiction, etc. His parodaic funeral pyre for his Star Wars collection after the release of The Phantom Menace is unforgettable - and spot on true.
He went on to make one of the best ever zombie comedies with Shaun of the Dead (2004), and Paul (2011) is a witty, enjoyable take on aliens and UFOs which could have been a follow-on to Spaced.
His track record, though, seems to me to have been uneven, with some downright dire films, such as Run, Fatboy, Run (2007) and the very uneven Hot Fuzz the year before, not to mention the very unfunny comedy Burke and Hare (2011).
The World's End is again, for me, a bit uneven, though mostly it succeeds. It's a frenetic tale of old mates being coerced by Pegg's Gary King into going on a mammoth pub crawl which they started but never finished decades ago when they left school. Pegg is on top form, as are the rest of the cast, as they revisit pubs that have altered out of all recognition since the halcyon days of their youth, morphing into characterless modern day wining and dining establishments rather than the earthy pubs of their memories. This, though, isn't the worst they need to worry about, because a mind-chilling disaster has begun to take over their old home town, a place none of them have visited in years. Hence the title, The World's End, which isn't only the name of the last pub on their crawl but maybe the fate that awaits us all...
This is a return to comedy science fiction for Pegg, a high-octane, frantic, ever more chaotic tale that makes even Shaun of the Dead look tame by comparison! If I have any complaints it would be that some of the well-orchestrated fight scenes go on for too long - but that's not uncommon these days. These and chases invariably seem to go on forever in films nowadays.
Still, putting this quibble to one side, the action, humour, and plot twists go on at a relentless rate and there is barely a second within which to get bored. Whether it's the kind of film, like Shaun of the Dead or Paul, which I would gladly watch again some time, I'm not so sure. But it's definitely a film I enjoyed first time round.
I am enjoying Joshi's I Am Providence, which is perhaps the most
detailed biography of Lovecraft you could ever hope to come across, but I
wish he would resist just now and then from giving his evaluation on
every story, travelogue, poem, etc that Lovecraft wrote. And on many
stories that other people wrote as well. I like a biography to be
factual, not littered with critical comments unless there is some
genuine reason for it. I have my own opinion on the merits or otherwise
of these stories and I really don't need to have them all compared to
how closely they fit in with Joshi's preference for cosmicism. My only
gripe so far, mind. Other than this it's a great book and I have learned
a lot from it.
Unlike a lot of people I really liked and appreciated the dark nihilism of the final season of Dexter. It was never going to have a happy ending - and the one it had - full of false hopes, bleak, ongoing - was as near perfect as you could get.
David Williamson has just had a collection of stories published by Hazardous Press, Herbert Manning's Psychic Circus and Other Dark Tales. It's available in both paperback and ebook formats. David Williamson's stories first appeared in the Pan Books of Horror and he has since become a regular in Charles Black's Black Books of Horror, in which many of the stories in this collection were first published.
About the Author
David Williamson has been writing short stories for many years
now, inspired by the likes of James Herbert, Stephen King and,
especially, The Pan Book of Horror series. When (after several
attempts!) he was first published in The 28th Pan Book of Horror, he
became almost speechless with excitement. Later, after discovering that
he was to have THREE of his tales in The 30th Pan Book of Horror, he
became a gibbering imbecile. A state, alas, which he has remained in
until today. He has more recently, appeared in Black Books of Horror
(the spiritual home of The Pan Books of Horror) numbers 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
from Mortbury Press, as well as Hersham Horror's wonderful Alt-Zombie
anthology. His latest tale, 'Lazarus', can be found in From Their Cradle
to Your Grave, from Cruentus Libri Press and also in their Christmas
Special You'd Better Watch Out! with his tale entitled 'Tis the Season
to be Jolly'. His story 'Stuck!" appears in Another 100 Horrors, and
'The Mission' can be found in War is Hell, again, both from Cruentus
Libri Press. His story '10 Weeks' appears in the anthology Horrific
History, from Hazardous Press. Follow David online at
I was sorry that I missed out on getting a copy of Christopher Richard Barker's
short story collection Tenebrous Tales when it was originally published
by ex-occidente. I have just learned, courtesy of D. F. Lewis, that it
is now available on kindle.
Barker also has an interesting blog: Elegant Horrors, which is well worth perusing. The collection includes:
Pleased to see that Toby Whithouse will be one of the guests of honour
at this year's FantasyCon in York. His BBC series Being Human was one of
the best genre productions put out by the Beeb for ages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toby_Whithouse
I was amazed to see a stunningly great review for my collection The Lurkers in the Abyss & Other Tales of Terror on hellnotes.
Two quotes from it:
"The universe that Riley presents is not a forgiving one. Like
Lovecraft, Riley’s early influence, his universe does not care about you
nor is it concerned with whether you are a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person or
even what could be considered ‘fair’ in life. Many of the main
characters in Riley’s fiction are people who are simply going about
their regular lives until something happens and suddenly they have been
marked by darkness."
"In the introduction, David A. Sutton characterizes Riley’s stories as
“urban horror” and there is plenty of that here but there is also
something more. Something that, like the work of Ramsey Campbell, is
out of synch with the rest of reality. Even more, with Riley’s fiction,
you are left with the feeling that you yourself, at any time, doing the
most mundane acts, could be consumed by darkness."