Sunday 15 January 2012

Zombies: A Compendium of the Living Dead

For anyone interested in this anthology, edited by Otto Penzler, there is a lively ongoing discussion about it on the Vault of Evil.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Lovecraft eZine

Just received an email from the editor of Lovecraft eZine accepting my 10,000 word story Fish Eye.

The Screaming Book of Horror

Stephen Upham's Screaming Dreams will be publishing The Screaming Book of Horror later this year (cover by Steve). Included in it will be my story Old Grudge Ender, along with:

One of the Family – Bernard Taylor
Glory and Splendour – Alex Miles
What Shall We Do About Barker? – Reginald Oliver 
Cut! – Anna Taborska
The Christmas Toys – Paul Finch 
The Quixote Candidate – Rhys Hughes 
Helping Mummy – Kate Farrell 
The Iron Cross – Craig Herby 
The Baby Trap – Janine Wood 
The Club – Sara Brunsdon 
Sometimes You Think You Are Alone – Alison Moore 
The Tip Run – Johnny Mains

Saturday 7 January 2012

Cowboys and Aliens

Watched this on DVD last night and, though it was great fun while it lasted, I did feel it lacked in terms of involvement. Neither Daniel Craig nor Harrison Ford seemed to engage as characters, as if they were both sleepwalking the film. Perhaps they were. There were some neat ideas in there and the film certainly didn't lack in scope, photography or location, but there was very little heart - and the aliens were by no means as scary as they should have been. Perhaps it was because they were the all too common CGI concoctions, which might look good in stills, but lack in something important when seen in action, which as usual these days was far too quick. I think the film's basic weakness was that none of the main characters came over as credible; they were cutouts about whom the viewer could have little empathy and lacked credibility. Entertaining enough during it's two hours, but not something I would ever feel the inclination to revisit.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Zombies: A Compendium of the Living Dead edited by Otto Penzler

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! which was published in the States last year by Vintage has been reprinted in the UK by Corvus/Atlantic Books, with a new cover and a new title, Zombies: A Compendium of the Living Dead. Included in its 832 pages (the second story in) is my own After Nightfall.

I only discovered this when Pete Coleborn wrote about the book on Facebook. He had reviewed it on his blog Piper at the Gates of Fantasy.

It's great to see this 1970 story getting yet another airing! A nice surprise for the New Year.

The Ruins

Watched a DVD of The Ruins last night, which was an interesting horror movie that at 86 minutes certainly didn't outlast its welcome. It's about a small group of young Americans who are invited by a German they meet to visit an archeological site in the Mayan jungle that his brother is working on. Near the end of their Mexican holiday, the friends take a taxi with him on the first leg of their journey, the rest of which is on foot. After a short trek they come upon a Mayan pyramid covered in vines. Which is when things start to go wrong. Inexplicably at first, after having taken a brief look at the pyramid, they are confronted by a group of armed locals who refuse to allow them to leave the temple. When one of them tries he's shot dead and the rest are forced to retreat up it. The locals make no further attacks but surround the temple, besieging the friends. It is only now that, gradually, the true horror of their situation becomes clear. The locals have in reality not besieged them; they have placed them under quarantine. The true evil are the vines that are both bodily invasive and carnivorously intelligent. There are some quite gruesome scenes: leg amputations using a rock to break the bones and a knife to sever the flesh, and operations to remove cancerous growths of vine that slither beneath the flesh. The grim situation the friends find themselves in is played out straight, relentlessly, with a mounting feeling of claustrophobia atop the pyramid on which they are trapped. Enjoyably grim and, though far from perfect, better than many horror movies I've seen over the past year.

Monday 2 January 2012

The Century's Best Horror Fiction - Shipping this month

Cemetery Dance have just issued an email stating that this two-volume set will be shipping later this month. After all the years that have passed since I first signed the contract for my story, The Lurkers in the Abyss, to appear in it, it seems hardly believable.

The table of contents is incredibly impressive (the best company I have ever been in):

Table of Contents
1901: Barry Pain — The Undying Thing
1902: W.W. Jacobs — The Monkey's Paw
1903: H.G.Wells — The Valley of the Spiders
1904: Arthur Machen — The White People
1905: R. Murray Gilchrist — The Lover's Ordeal
1906: Edward Lucas White — House of the Nightmare
1907: Algernon Blackwood — The Willows
1908: Perceval Landon — Thurnley Abbey
1909: Violet Hunt — The Coach
1910: Wm Hope Hodgson — The Whistling Room
1911: M.R. James — Casting the Runes
1912: E.F. Benson — Caterpillars
1913: Aleister Crowley — The Testament of Magdelan Blair
1914: M. P. Shiel — The Place of Pain
1915: Hanns Heinz Ewers — The Spider
1916: Lord Dunsany — Thirteen at Table
1917: Frederick Stuart Greene — The Black Pool
1918: H. De Vere Stacpoole — The Middle Bedroom
1919: Ulric Daubeny — The Sumach
1920: Maurice Level — In the Light of the Red Lamp
1921: Vincent O'Sullivan — Master of Fallen Years
1922: Walter de la Mare — Seaton's Aunt
1923: George Allen England — The Thing From—"Outside"
1924: C.M. Eddy, Jr. — The Loved Dead
1925: John Metcalfe — The Smoking Leg
1926: H.P. Lovecraft — The Outsider
1927: Donald Wandrei — The Red Brain
1928: H.R. Wakefield — The Red Lodge
1929: Eleanor Scott — Celui-La
1930: Rosalie Muspratt — Spirit of Stonhenge
1931: Henry S. Whitehead — Cassius
1932: David H. Keller — The Thing in the Cellar
1933: C.L. Moore — Shambleau
1934: L.A. Lewis — The Tower of Moab
1935: Clark Ashton Smith — The Dark Eidolon
1936: Thorp McCluskey — The Crawling Horror
1937: Howard Wandrei — The Eerie Mr Murphy
1938: Robert E. Howard — Pigeons from Hell
1939: Robert Barbour Johnson — Far Below
1940: John Collier — Evening Primrose
1941: C.M. Kornbluth — The Words of Guru
1942: Jane Rice — The Idol of the Flies
1943: Anthony Boucher — They Bite
1944: Ray Bradbury — The Jar
1945: August Derleth — Carousel
1946: Manly Wade Wellman — Shonokin Town
1947: Theodore Sturgeon — Bianca's Hands
1948: Shirley Jackson — The Lottery
1949: Nigel Kneale — The Pond
1950: Richard Matheson — Born of Man & Woman
1951: Russell Kirk — Uncle Isiah
1952: Eric Frank Russell — I Am Nothing
1953: Robert Sheckley — The Altar
1954: Everil Worrell — Call Not Their Names
1955: Robert Aickman — Ringing the Changes
1956: Richard Wilson — Lonely Road
1957: Clifford Simak — Founding Father
1958: Robert Bloch — That Hell-Bound Train
1959: Charles Beaumont — The Howling Man
1960: Fredric Brown — The House
1961: Ray Russell — Sardonicus
1962: Carl Jacobi — The Aquarium
1963: Robert Arthur — The Mirror of Cagliostro
1964: Charles Birkin — A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
1965: Jean Ray — The Shadowy Street
1966: Arthur Porges — The Mirror
1967: Norman Spinrad — Carcinoma Angels
1968: Anna Hunger — Come
1969: Steffan Aletti — The Last Work of Pietro Apono
1970: David A. Riley — The Lurkers in the Abyss
1971: Dorothy K. Haynes — The Derelict Track
1972: Gary Brandner — The Price of a Demon
1973: Eddy C. Bertin — Like Two White Spiders
1974: Karl Edward Wagner — Sticks
1975: David Drake — The Barrow Troll
1976: Dennis Etchison — It Only Comes Out at Night
1977: Barry N. Malzberg — The Man Who Loved the Midnight Lady
1978: Michael Bishop — Within the Walls of Tyre
1979: Ramsey Campbell — Mackintosh Willy
1980: Michael Shea — The Autopsy
1981: Stephen King — The Reach
1982: Fritz Leiber — Horrible Imagings
1983: David Schow — One for the Horrors
1984: Bob Leman — The Unhappy Pilgrimage of Clifford M.
1985: Michael Reaves — The Night People
1986: Tim Powers — Night Moves
1987: Ian Watson — Evil Water
1988: Joe R. Lansdale — The Night They Missed the Horror Show
1989: Joel Lane — The Earth Wire
1990: Elizabeth Massie — Stephen
1991: Thomas Ligotti — The Glamour
1992: Poppy Z. Brite — Calcutta Lord of Nerves
1993: Lucy Taylor — The Family Underwater
1994: Jack Ketchum — The Box
1995: Terry Lamsley — The Toddler
1996: CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan — Tears Seven Times Salt
1997: Stephen Laws — The Crawl
1998: Brian Hodge — As Above, So Below
1999: Glen Hirshberg — Mr. Dark's Carnival
2000: Tim Lebbon — Reconstructing Amy

Sunday 1 January 2012

A Kindle for Christmas

Well, I've finally got one, courtesy of Cassie, Alan, Christy, Erin and Neil! Many thanks to you all.

I must admit I was unsure whether I would ever make much use of one, even though I have two e-books out of my own (Goblin Mire and Sendings). Somehow, though, because they have only ever existed as e-books they have never seemed all that real to me.  I will also have a hardback collection of my earlier short stories out in September from Noose & Gibbet Press, The Lurkers in the Abyss. I have spoken to N&G's owner, Johnny Mains, and we have agreed to publish an e-book version of this collection after the print version has been sold out. This will ensure the collection will remain available and widen its market potential. I know there are a people (probably a growing number these days) who prefer to get their books this way.

The debate over e-books and printed books is still a hot issue, and there are those who will never accept e-books as being "real". But for writers I can't see any argument against them. They are an extra market, and an easy one for readers to access as bookshops dwindle in number and as the variety of books sold by  those that remain dwindle even more. It doesn't worry me. There will always be a place for print versions; there will always, I am sure, be a substantial number of readers who will continue to prefer their books in print. On the other hand, there are already many who actually prefer to read their books in an e-book format. The market can cope for both tastes. And with printing technology advancing all the time, with POD becoming better, and more widespread even amongst mainstream publishers, it's good news to writers - and for readers too.

In the meantime I now have about 20 books downloaded onto my Kindle - and the very latest copy of Theaker's Quarterly and Paperbacks.

Happy New Year Everyone!

I hope everyone has a great New Year with none of the problems they might have had in 2011.