Thursday, 20 September 2012

Quartet of horror as the Con approacheth

Well … FANTASYCON is fast approaching – in fact it’s only seven days away – to be hosted in Brighton at the Royal Albion Hotel. Veterans of the Con will know that it always presents a great opportunity to pick up all the latest books, and to get them signed by those authors and editors who happen to be there in person (and that’s usually most of them).

I myself am fortunate enough to have two new books at the Con this year: TERROR TALES OF EAST ANGLIA, which I’ve edited, and ENEMIES AT THE DOOR, which is latest collection of my own short fiction. (Links, artwork, TOCs and so forth, will appear on this blog in the next couple of days – keep checking back). But short stories of mine will also be appearing in four other anthologies due for launch in Brighton:

The 9th BLACK BOOK OF HORROR is the 9th in the series of the same name (well, obviously), and is basically the latest chapter in editor Charles Black’s amazing endeavour to recreate the style and atmosphere of the old Pan and Fontana series of horror anthologies, rebooted for the modern age.

The BLACK BOOKS OF HORROR have premiered some exceptional horror stories to date, Minos Or Rhadamanthus (by Reggie Oliver), Two For Dinner (by John Llewellyn Probert) and Schrodinger’s Human (by Anna Taborska) having already earned themselves a cult status similar to that enjoyed by such Pan classics as Belvedere’s Bride (by Jane Gregory) and It Came To Dinner (by R. Chetwynd-Hayes).

I haven’t read any of this latest installment in the series yet, but the cover, as always, is a delight – thanks to artist Paul Mudie (as displayed above), and the TOC, which follows, ought to make anyone grab this book off the shelves at the first opportunity:

The Anatomy Lesson by John Llewellyn Probert
The Mall by Craig Herbertson
Salvaje by Simon Bestwick
Pet by Gary Fry
Ashes To Ashes by David Williamson
The Apprentice by Anna Taborska
Life Expectancy by Sam Dawson
What’s Behind You? by Paul Finch
Ben’s Best Friend by Gary Power
The Things That Aren’t There by Thana Niveau
Bit On The Side by Tom Johnstone
Indecent Behaviour by Marion Pitman
His Family by Kate Farrell
A Song, A Silence by John Forth
The Man Who Hated Waste by Marc Lyth
Swan Song by David A. Riley

The next book in which I’ll feature at the Con marks my second appearance this year in a PS publication. For those not in the know, PS PUBLICATIONS, helmed by a writer of no small repute himself, Peter Crowther, also focus on horror, fantasy and science fiction, but pride themselves on truly beautiful products: exquisite hardcover collectables, engraved slipcased editions and so forth.

A CARNIVALE OF HORROR looks like being a particularly interesting addition to their list. It is yet another anthology edited by that indefatiguable duo, Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan, and it tells disturbing stories centred around the circus and the fairground. The cover, as you can see here, comes to us from Ben Baldwin, and is very special indeed.

No less impressive, in my humble opinion, is the TOC, as follows:

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
A Flat Patch of Grass by Muriel Gray
Some Children Wander By Mistake by John Connolly
Spurs (AKA Freaks) by Tod Robbins
Tiger, Tiger by Rio Youers
Blind Voices by Tom Reamy
Mister Magister by Thomas F. Monteleone
Twittering From The Circus of The Dead by Joe Hill
The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
Face of The Circus by Lou Morgan
Escardy Gap by Peter Crowther & James Lovegrove
The Circus of Dr Lao by Charles Finney
In The Forest of The Night by Paul Finch
All The Clowns in Clowntown by Andrew McKiernan
Nine Letters About Spit by Robert Shearman
To Run Away and Join The Circus by Alison Littlewood

Next up we have the SCREAMING BOOK OF HORROR, edited by Johnny Mains, another grafter in the genre who has great ambitions to resurrect the golden age of the horror anthology. As such, this one could be a simple one-off or may prove to be the start of something incredibly exciting in terms of an ongoing series (Johnny sounded undecided when I last spoke to him). Its unmissable cover comes to us courtesy of STEVE UPHAM and, once again, it boasts an amazing line-up of talent in its TOC. Check ’em out:

Christenings Can Be Dangerous by John Llewellyn Probert
Larva by John Brunner
The Swarm by Alison Littlewood
Natural Selection by Robin Ince
One of the Family by Bernard Taylor
Cut! by Anna Taborska
The Christmas Toys by Paul Finch
The Quixote Candidate by Rhys Hughes
Helping Mummy by Kate Farell
The City of Plenty by Alex Miles
The Iron Cross by Craig Herbertson
Sometimes You Think You Are Alone by Alison Moore
Bird Doll by Claire Massey
What Shall We Do About Barker? by Reggie Oliver
Old Grudge Ender by David A. Riley
Jack and Jill by Steve Rasnic Tem
The Blackshore Dreamer by John Burke
Imagination by Christopher Fowler
The Baby Trap by Janine Wood
The Tip Run by Johnny Mains
Dementia by Charlie Higson

Last but not least – not by any means least (this one is likely to be one of the biggest of the year) is ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: FIGHTBACK!, edited by STEPHEN JONES, which forms a sequel to ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!, the massive hit of 2010 – and who knows, it may actually end up being part two of a dedicated trilogy.

The first book – which was really a mosaic novel rather than an anthology – detailed the eruption of a zombie plague in London when demolition workers inadvertently opened the guts of a medieval church. Black magic and deranged science interwove to provide the explanation for what, in the opinion of many reviewers, was the most vividly and realistically portrayed ‘dead men walking’ cataclysm to date. A number of writers were involved, yours truly included, several of which make their mark again in this second book in the series. Check out these contributors, and admit that you can’t afford to miss it:

Tabloid Tales by Jo Fletcher
From Prof Margaret Winn by Christopher Fowler
From Simon Wesley #1 by Christopher Fowler
Lord Of The Fleas by Reggie Oliver
The Hobbs End Horror by Jo Fletcher
From Simon Wesley #2 by Christopher Fowler
Hard News by Jo Fletcher
Morphogenesis by Brian Hodge
Dead Air by Paul Finch
Consent Form by Amanda Foubister
From Simon Wesley #3 by Christopher Fowler
The Well Of Seven by Christopher Fowler
From Simon Wesley by Christopher Fowler
Paris When It Sizzles by Anne Billson
Pages From A British Army Field Manual by Guy Adams
Peace Land Blood by Sarah Pinborough
Zz Experiment Camp by John Llewellyn Probert
Down Among The Dead Men by Neil Gaiman & Les Edwards
#zombey by Simon Strantzas
Rendition by Paul Mcauley
Fright Club by Brian Hodge
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #1 by Peter Crowther
In The Cloud by Pat Cadigan
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #2 by Peter Crowther
Corpse Gas by Peter Crowther
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #3 by Peter Crowther
Getting It Right by Michael Marshall Smith
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #4 by Peter Crowther
A Shamble Of Zombies by Roz Kaveney
Day Of The Dead by Lisa Morton
To Serve Man by Amanda Foubister
You Are What You Eat by Peter Atkins
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #5 by Peter Crowther
The Play’s The Thing by Robert Shearman
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #6 by Peter Crowther
Island Life by Lisa Tuttle
The World According To Bernie Maughmstein #7 by Peter Crowther
My Fellow Americans by Nancy Holder

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