Thursday 31 October 2013

Off to the World Fantasy Convention

In a few minutes Lin and I set off for the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, so there'll be no more blogs till we get back. Early next week I'll be publishing a detailed report here of our experiences, including loads of photos.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Getting Ready For the WFC

My last day at work this week and it's all about getting ready for going to Brighton tomorrow morning for the start of the World Fantasy Convention. The weather looks good today, and I hope it stays that way for the next few days!

Other than attending various program events as a member of the audience and taking photos, I only have one commitment, and that's the Shadow Publishing book launch on Friday afternoon at 2.00 p.m. for, amongst others, my short story collection The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror. Sorry to have just learned that the only other author who was due to be there, Samantha Lee, won't be able to make it. That just leaves Dave Sutton and me.

The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror - where all the stories in it have previously been published

I was checking through my records earlier today and surprised at just how many appearances many of the stories in this collection have had over the years since the first of them was published in 1970. Here are the book and magazine covers.

The Lurkers in the Abyss:

After Nightfall:


Writer's Cramp:

A New Lease:

Out of Corruption:


Terror on the Moors:

The Shade of Apollyon:

Winter on Aubarch 6:

Inside the Labyrinth:

The Shadow by the Altar:

A Sense of Movement:

Soft Little Fingers:

His Pale Blue Eyes:

Fish Eye:

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Dark Visions 1 - out in paperback

Grey Matter Press's anthology Dark Visions 1, which has been out as an ebook for several weeks, is now available in paperback.

Collage by Jay Caselberg
What would you do if you lost your one true love? Most of us will be faced with that question at some point in our lives. That is, unless, we are the one lucky enough to get out first. It’s said that love hurts. But does it have to hurt this much?
Delicate Spaces by Brian Fatah Steele
There are places all over the world where the veil between the living and the dead is so thin that those on either side can sometimes see through. It’s when the dead choose to step across that line that it becomes a problem.
The Last Ice Cream Kiss by Jason S. Ridler
The mind of a disturbed child is a terrifying thing, like an abandoned building filled with dark and dangerous hallways. There are passages that should not be walked, doors that are better left unopened and rooms whose secrets were never intended be revealed.
Mister Pockets: A Pine Deep Story by Jonathan Maberry
Pine Deep, Pennsylvania is a typical small town with a not-so-typical dark and troubled past. But it’s just another ordinary day for young Lefty Horrigan until there is a mysterious murder and he come face-to-face with Pine Deep’s sole hobo. Has the trouble returned to “the most haunted town in America?”
Raining Stones by Sean Logan
A gruesome series of murders plagues San Francisco as the broken memories of an absent father point an alcoholic reporter in a direction he may not want to go. Are Lonnie’s dreams merely liquor-fueled hallucinations, or are they instead leading him down a darker path into the strange world of religious fanaticism?
Scrap by David A. Riley
Childhood should be a time for leisurely days spent playing in the sun. But for two abused brothers coming to grips with life on their new English estate, a day of adventure opens the door into a world of evil and sets in motion a chain of events from which there seems little hope of escape.
Second Opinion by Ray Garton
Greg is a failing author who hasn’t had a bestseller in years. But he believes he has just the right manuscript to revive his career. In need of a fresh set of eyes, he shares the story with a friend and fellow author who provides him with a bit more than a second opinion.
Show Me by John F.D. Taff
There is something very strange about Joe Middleton, and everyone on campus knows it. But that doesn’t mean the college junior is off limits when it comes to trying to get into his pants. But be forewarned, once you know Joe, you will never be the same again.
Thanatos Park by Charles Austin Muir
There are horrible things that exist just beyond the barrier of human perception. Sometimes we hear them in that steady, chronic drone of a world humming along around us. Other times we stumble onto the truth in the darkness, unprepared and incapable of grasping the sheer magnitude of our wholly inaccurate concept of reality.
Three Minutes by Sarah L. Johnson
For an orphan living in a group home, John doesn’t have much of a future to look forward to. Awakened each night by the same horrifying nightmare, he takes to sneaking out to the local lake in order to avoid the Dream Eater that plagues his sleep. His goal: to hold his breath underwater, for only three minutes.
The Troll by Jonathan Balog
The magic of summer is over, and the new school year has begun. Time that was once Marty’s to enjoy is now sure to be filled with the drudgery of homework and avoiding grade-school bullies. That is until he hears a strange voice calling to him from beneath a bridge.  One he meets the troll, life for Marty become a whole lot more interesting.
The Weight of Paradise by Jeff Hemenway
Humans have tried for years to live their lives without worry. For some this might mean a desire for wealth, fortune or fame. For Alfie it means trying to fight off the deadly form of leukemia that’s killing him long enough to enable his scientist girlfriend to find a cure. But sometimes it’s important to be careful what we ask for.
What Do You Need? by Milo James Fowler
John wakes up in an unfamiliar place that appears to look like any run-of-the-mill 1970s motel room. But the problem is, it’s not the ‘70s. What is he doing here? How long has he been here? And whose is that terrifying voice on the phone?

The Bride of Frankenstein

I have seen any number of stills from this film, but this must be the most impressive yet, colourised to great effect. Although it's over seventy years old, this is still one of the greatest horror films ever made. Elsa Lanchester, who played both Mary Shelley and... the bride.

Monday 28 October 2013

World War Z

Watched this on DVD for the first time. I enjoyed it more than I expected and there are some genuinely tense moments, particularly near the beginning and towards the end. And the special effects, as you would expect from a film with such a huge budget, are truly spectacular. You definitely realise that what you are watching is a global catastrophe.The action spans the United States, South Korea, Tel Aviv and Wales. The zombies are fast moving (I have never seen any faster, in fact!) and are massed in greater numbers than I can remember in any other film . They literally explode like a never-ending tsunami of undead flesh, overwhelming everything in their path within seconds. You don't get scarier zombies than these, against which even the most advanced weapons seem useless.

Yet, for all its scale and the impressively realistic effects, it's almost too big, too global. It is all action, with no time for contemplation or for the viewer to develop empathy with the characters in it. There are several ways in which to develop a zombie story. There's this, and there's the more leisurely, in-depth, character-filled alternative such as the BBC's In the Flesh or US TV's The Walking Dead, whose budgets are almost negligible by comparison. But in these you begin to care about the characters, especially In the Flesh, where even the zombies have lives of their own. Autumn, too, developed our interest in the survivors - and it's the survivors' stories that matter. That's what a good zombie story is all about.

Unlike many of the best of them, from Romero's Night of the Living Dead onwards, I don't know whether World War Z is a film I would want to re-watch again and again now that I have seen it and know what happens. None of the characters, even Brad Pitt's (and he's in the film from start to finish) come over as real people. Oddly enough, when they rampage in their hordes, the zombies too, for all the realism of their appearance, barely registered with me as real zombies. Perhaps it was a case of too much and too fast. 


Back in the mid sixties I was starting to get into fantasy, SF and horror. I already regularly bought copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland, which whetted my appetite. Then I saw an ad somewhere (I can't remember where but it could have been in Books & Bookmen) for a magazine dedicated to horror, printed and published in the UK. This was Gothique - and it was my introduction to the world of fanzines - most of which in those days were produced by enthusiasts on hand cranked gestetner duplicators. Gothique was a revelation to me, and from then on I eagerly looked forward to the next issue arriving through the post. It also led to me buying Dave Sutton's landmark Shadow magazine, which was the first devoted entirely to literary horror. Gothique, though, was my initiation.

The first issue I bought:
Looking at them now, the articles were far less in depth than I seemed to feel they were at the time. And the printing was certainly primitive compared to what would be expected today, but there was a charm and vibrancy to these then which stirred the blood for me anyway.

Sunday 27 October 2013

World Fantasy Con 2013 - Brighton

The World Fantasy Convention in Brighton starts this Thursday. Lin and I are setting off first thing Thursday morning to reach the convention hotel, The Brighton Hilton, in the early afternoon for what promises to be an eventful weekend.

Appropriately, our first night there will be Hallowe'en. I have only one commitment on my time there: the Shadow Publishing books launch on Friday afternoon at 2.00 o'clock. Alongside my own short story collection, The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror, Shadow Publishing will be launching Samantha Lee's Worse Things Than Spiders and Eddy C. Bertin's The Whispering Horror. There will also be copies of David Sutton's Phantoms of Venice. Plus wine and soft drinks for buyers while they get their copies signed.

Other than this I intend to enjoy listening to as many of the panels, speeches and talks being held at the convention as I possibly can. I'll also be taking lots of photos for a report on the convention afterwards on this blog.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Frightful Horrors

Frightful Horrors is a website created by Caroline Callaghan to help promote small press books. The latest posting on its facebook site is about my short story collection, The Lurkers in the Abyss & Other Tales of Terror, which is Frightful Horror's "book of the day".

"Frightful Horrors will be running an occasional ‘Book of the Day’ feature. Today’s featured book is David A. Riley’s The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror, from Shadow Publishing (2013). Cover artwork is by the very talented Paul Mudie.

David Riley’s first professional sale was the short story, The Lurkers in the Abyss, published in the The Eleventh Pan Book of Horror Stories. The story was also chosen for inclusion in The Century’s Best Horror Fiction, published by Cemetery Dance in 2012.

His first collection of short stories, His Own Mad Demons: Dark Tales, was published by Hazardous Press in 2012. This second collection brings together under one cover seventeen of the author’s best blood-curdling stories, including the title story from The Eleventh Pan Book of Horror Stories.

The Lurkers in the Abyss can be purchased direct from Shadow Publishing’s website and can also be bought via Frightful Horrors. If you’d like to purchase the book here please message me, Caroline Callaghan, with your name and address. Alternatively, email me on I’ll let you know how to pay via PayPal (or by cheque, if you don’t have a PayPal account). The price, inclusive of P&P in the UK, is £14.50 (Eur £17.00; USA/RoW £18.00).

If you’ve read the book and would like to leave a comment below telling us what you thought of it, you’d be most welcome to do so. Frightful Horrors would love to encourage readers to share their reading experiences with others (especially since I’ve just ordered a copy for myself and I’m wondering what I’ve let myself in for! – CC)."

Monday 21 October 2013

The Appeal of the First Person Narrative

I'm halfway through a fairly large anthology of new stories and have been struck by how overwhelmingly many have been written in the first person. It's so prevalent in fact that when I see an opening sentence with the inevitable "I", I begin to shudder.

Now, let me be clear, I have nothing against first person narratives. But in my own writing I have only ever used it thrice - and then only in some of my earliest stories. I haven't used it in decades.

Which is perhaps why I am puzzled why so many writers in this anthology have chosen this form of narrative. Is it because this is now more popular, at least amongst younger writers? Have I missed spotting a new trend? Or is it because many of these writers, being new, feel it is easier to use this viewpoint?

For a horror story, it has always struck me that the first person has distinctive limitations, particularly for the climax. Not to mention limitations in characterisation. It takes a particularly good writer to be able to give a distinctive character to the narrator when theirs is the only voice.

As I would automatically start a new story in the third person singular, I am interested to know why there are so many first person viewpoints in this anthology, all but to the exclusion of any other. It's something I'll probably feel obliged to look out for in other anthologies too now that I've noticed it here to see if this is prevalent today.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Highest Hits on this Blog Yet

Last month this blogs's stats showed that it had attracted the most hits since I started it in 2010. Astonishingly, it has already attracted the same number this month - and it's only the 17th!

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Whispers From The Abyss

Starting to read this Lovecraftian anthology on my kindle tonight. Looks like a great lineup of writers:

Introduction by Alasdair Stuart.
“Iden-Inshi” by Greg Stolze
“Pushing Back” by J.C. Hemphill
“Nation of Disease: The Rise & Fall of a Canadian Legend” by Jonathan Sharp
“When We Change” by Mason Ian Bundschuh
“Nutmeat” by Martin Hill Ortiz
“The Last Tweet” by Charles Black
“Secrets In Storage” by Tim Pratt & Greg Van Eekhout
“The Well” by Tim Jeffreys
“The Neon Morgue” by Nathan Wunner
“The Deep” by Corissa Baker
“Fear And Loathing In Innsmouth: Richard Nixon’s Revenge” by Jason Andrew
“My Friend Fishfinger By Daisy, Age 7″ by David Tallerman
“Chasing Sunset” by A.C. Wise
“The Thing With Onyx Eyes” by Stephen Brown
“I Do The Work Of The Bone Queen” by John R. Fultz
“Suck It Up, Get It Done” by Brandon Barrows
“The Substance In The Sound” by W.B. Stickel
“Stone City, Old As Immeasurable Time” by Kelda Crich
“Hideous Interview With Brief Man” by Nick Mamatas
“The Sea, Like Glass Unbroken” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
“The Decorative Water Feature Of Nameless Dread” by James Brogden
“Henry” by Lance Axt
“My Stalk” by Aaron J. French
“Give Me That Old Time Religion” by Lee Finney
“Afraid Of Dobermans” by Chad Fifer
“Leviathan” by Nicholas Almand
“Horrorscope” by Charles Black
“The Jar Of Aten-Hor” by Kat Rocha
“The Floor” by Jeff Provine
“Waiting” by Dennis Detwiller
“Other People’s Houses” by Sarena Ulibarri
“You Will Never Be The Same” by Erica Satifka
“Death Wore Greasepaint” by Josh Finney

Shadow Publishing Book Launch at the World Fantasy Convention

Shadow Publishing will be launching four books at the World Fantasy Convention on Friday the 1st November. The event, which includes complementary wine, will be from 2 till 3 p.m.

The books launched will be:

  The Lurkers in the Abyss and Other Tales of Terror (David A. Riley)
  Phantoms of Venice (David A. Sutton, Mike Chinn, Tim Lebbon & Conrad Williams)
  Worse Things Than Spiders and Other Stories (Samantha Lee)
  The Whispering Horror (Eddy C. Bertin)