Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Those tales of terror just keep on coming

Well ... it seems that the world didn't end in December 2012 after all, and most of us made it through to 2013.

So Happy New Year on that score.

Will it be a good one? I suppose that remains to be seen. Do you, for example, determine 'good' by its potential to transform you into a multi-millionaire, or simply by the quality of the books you read (and/or write) and the movies and TV shows you watch (and/or script)? If it's the latter, I suspect you have less chance of being disappointed. But of course it's early days on both of these counts.

The New Year started in reasonably buoyant fashion in this neck of the woods when my attention was drawn to this rather splendid review of TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA, which came courtesy of DARKLING TALES.

Follow the link for the full details, but I've snipped out the following nice extracts:

"All in all a really good collection!"

"Finch does a super job of reflecting all the different glories and mysteries of East Anglia."

"Terror Tales of East Anglia deserves a place on the shelf of anyone even faintly interested in horror."

The reviewer, Joy Silence, congratulates me for exploring the wide variety of East Anglian scariness, but also points to the collection having a decidedly 'antiquarian' feel. I can't really deny this. East Anglia is the location for many of M.R. James's classic spook stories, and it was that Jamesian atmosphere of bleak landscapes, ancient monuments, rural myths, scholarliness and supernatural evil that I was specifically looking for when I sent my invitations out.

It's been a source of some minor controversy that I don't thrown these TERROR TALES anthologies open to all writers. There are two main reasons behind this: firstly, because the limitations of time prevent any chance of my wading through a huge slush-pool of submissions; but secondly and mainly, because, as I mentioned before, it's always my intention to create a certain kind of book. Maybe that's down to me being a writer myself, but I always know what kind of anthology I want to develop before I set out to do it. Even with my editor's hat on, I doubt I could ever put together an anthology entirely on the basis of hitting the green light and then sitting back and seeing what the fates throw at me.

That said, it is my aim to use as many different authors as possible in this series, so the line-up will be different with each new collection (though obviously there will be some cross-overs), and those who haven't had a go yet will get one in the near future.

Perhaps this is better illustrated by the next book in the line, TERROR TALES OF LONDON, which is due out around Easter, but for which the final table of contents has at last been established. Suffice to say that there'll be fewer 'antiquarian' outings in this one and distinctly less of that 'pleasing terror' that seemed to earmark TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA. In this case we're going more for the urban jugular, and in proof, I'm going to break my own rule and give you an exclusive right now - a list of the contributors (though at this early stage no story titles or order of publication can be revealed):

Christopher Fowler; Barbara Roden; Nicholas Royle; Gary Fry; Marie O'Regan; Anna Taborska; Mark Morris; Jonathan Oliver; David Howe; Nina Allan; Adam Nevill; Roger Johnson; Rosalie Parker.

How does that little lot grab you? (Hopefully by the gonads).

In addition, there will be the usual plethora of short, anecdotal essays contributed by my good self, each one concentrating on a different aspect of allegedly true London horror phenomena. Again, no further details will be given yet (am I a tease, or what?), but some of you might recognise the various locations pictured in this column, and must draw your own conclusions about places and venues.

They are, topside: an antiquarian bookshop (oh drat, that 'A word' again) in London's fashionable West End - feel free to ignore the dimwit posing next to it; further down, a prison which even in Dickensian times gave lessons in hellishness; and near the bottom, London's most famous cemetery, now overgrown and derelict because it is long disused - and with very good reason (picture by Michael Reeve).

That's all at present. It's the usual thing: keep watching this space for much more info about these and other projects. With luck, it will be coming thicker and faster than ever in 2013.

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