Friday, 10 May 2013

Old terrors linger in our rural backwaters

Okay, first off – the big development of the week is that I’m slowly but surely joining the modern world. I’ve at last made my presence felt on Twitter. I can be reached there, should anyone desire to follow my inane ramblings, at @paulfinchauthor.

The next bit of news this week is that I’m able to announce, with some excitement, that a major British film company has expressed interest in a novella of mine, The Stain, which was first published back in 2007 in my collection, STAINS.

I can’t say too much yet for fear of putting the mockers on it. And let’s not kid ourselves, ‘expressing interest’ means nothing more than it says – they are considering it as a possible project, and that’s all. No one has asked if there’s a script. No one has taken out an option. There are no guarantees of any sort. In fact, the only guarantee in the world of movie adaptations is that, from the moment of first interest to the day of principal photography can be such an agonisingly long wait that Ice Ages will have been and gone in the meantime (and that’s assuming you ever actually reach that hallowed final stage).
But let’s not be boring either. It’s always a bit exciting, and without bits of excitement what would life be? For those who don’t remember, or haven’t yet read it, The Stain tells the story of a struggling film company’s attempt to plan the sequel to a legendary 1960s horror movie, and their ill-fated efforts to write the script at the same location used for the original: a gothic mansion in remote woodland, which has apparently has had a disturbed atmosphere ever since the cameras stopped rolling. I mean come on, what on Earth could go wrong?

Still on the subject of spooky stories, I’ve also heard, and am chuffed to bits, that two superb contributions to last year’s Terror Tales books – The Cotswold Olimpicks by Simon Kurt Unsworth (TERROR TALES OF THE COTSWOLDS) and The Fall of the King of Babylon by Mark Valentine (TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA), have both been selected by editor Stephen Jones for inclusion in THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST NEW HORROR 24, which will be out later this year.

Well done and congratulations to those guys, both of whom truly bought into the Terror Tales ethos by creating stories combining mystery, folklore and nightmarish horror. 

It’s always gratifying to see this kind of recognition, but I had no doubt in my mind, on first accepting these submissions, that they would catch the eye.

The Cotswold Olimpicks concerns the arrival of an outsider at the famous ‘Cotswold Games’, a celebration of rural eccentricity, which has occurred in that lush part of the world every spring bank holiday since 1612. There is lots of singing, dancing and drinking, but as you know, it’s never a good idea to take these ancient countryside customs lightly – something deeper and darker nearly always lies beneath.

The Fall of the King of Babylon takes us to old Ely, and Babylon, the decayed warehouse district of the city, now cut off by the River Ouse and degenerated into a den of thieves whom the authorities seem unable to touch. Of course that isn’t the end of the matter. There are ancient forces in this remote, mist-begirt landscape, and they’ll have their say as well. 

By the way, TERROR TALES OF LONDON, the fourth in the series, is now in its final stages of production. Keep watching this space for cover art, table of contents and preorder details.

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